Getting a clearer picture of the May 2020 Google core update

Google May 2020 Core Update for SERPs

To the surprise of nobody, Google is at it again with another update. But this one is particularly important to affiliates. 

On 4th May, the tech giant made changes to its algorithms – which it called a “core” update. Some pretty big sites have seen their rankings dip, including Spotify and LinkedIn. Even the New York State’s government website was not spared. 

We’ve talked in the past about what to do if your rankings suffer. But in this particular blog post, we’ll talk about how you can adapt to Google’s core update as well as reiterating on a couple of those points. 

What exactly did Google change?

Google released their first core update of 2020 back in January. But unless you’re lucky enough to have been living on Mars, you’ll be pretty aware that the world (and internet) have changed *just* a little since then.

In short, the website has shifted its algorithms about to deliver search results that better-match users’ queries. It does this many times throughout the year and naturally, some art more noticeable than others. 

This is one of those cases. According to SEMrush Sensor, SERP volatility jumped to ‘very high’ from 4th May – 7th May. Prior to that, it had been at the low end of ‘high’. 

How did websites that saw their rankings increase, rather than decrease, achieve this?

Refresh old content regularly. According to an article by Neil Patel, 187 out of 641 tracked sites – who refreshed their content on a regular basis – enjoyed traffic increases of 10% or more. Comparatively, just 38 saw theirs decrease by the same percentage. 

The information within almost all online content will eventually go out of date. Once that happens, the article is naturally less useful. Less relevance equals lower authority, which leads to lower rankings. Avoid this by updating your content and keeping the information and statistics you use current. 

Get your SEO in check. The events that have turned the world upside down are a perfect example of how fast things can change. That also applies to the online world, where demands and behaviours are ever-evolving. 

You should be conducting regular SEO audits anyway, but now it’s even more important to do so. Check for issues such as duplicate meta tags, the word count on your articles and page loading times on both desktop and mobile. User experience is vital when it comes to both doing well in search engines and the survival of your business in general. 

Ask yourself some difficult questions. A lot of people don’t get where they want to be because they’re scared of tackling tough decisions. But the world doesn’t reward the afraid, and neither does Google. 

There is no point in holding onto something that no longer provides value. For example, you might have a website page which doesn’t attract visitors. Is it necessary that you keep this? If the answer is no, then get rid of it. And while we talked about word counts in the previous point, it doesn’t make sense to add for the sake of adding. If your point is well-delivered in short text or visual content, focus your energy elsewhere instead. 

Final thoughts

Believe it or not, you’re not in a constant war against search engines. Both they and you are actually striving towards the same goal – to provide the best possible user experience. And that’s what Google has set out to do again with the May 2020 core update.

If you have found your website deranked since the beginning of this month, there was probably a reason for it. So, before you write an angry email to Silicon Valley, carry out a full website audit. Is your content stale? Have you used links that are now dead? Etcetera, etcetera. 

The first step to improving your rankings is taking responsibility for where you are right now. Once you do that, everything becomes easier. And if your rankings are going up, congratulations – keep up the good work and don’t rest on your laurels. 

Get more affiliate marketing news, insights and tips delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.