Google’s May 2020 core update

Google’s May 2020 core update & Impact India on Business.

Google’s May 2020 core update

May the 4th be with you – was what was playing on every Search engine marketeers brian, on LOOP.  When google generally announces an algorithm update, it usually has all the SEO gurus, SEO Ninjas, SEO masters glued in to their search console and analytics data to avoid a trip to the cardiac unit.

Search Engine Land, compiled a report of several data companies that track Google’s search results to send us impressions of this update and they all agree, this is one of the largest Google core updates in a long time.

At TTB, we verified the data for the Indian the market, and India shows the same results – we’re a week or 2 late but wanted to ensure our research for India centric. The only reason for doing this is most reports that arise from Search Engine Land and Moz are more US, UK centric. In the truest sense, going #VocalforLocal for the Google’s May 2020 core update.

Initial Thoughts on the Google May 2020 core update

The Google May 2020 core update/ Google algorithm update started to roll out on Monday, May 4th. Like all core updates, this was a global update and was not specific to any region, language or category of web sites. It is a classic “broad core update” that Google releases every few months or so. While we had BERT come in a change things up for a bit, the May 2020 update was triggered by
1. Change in search patterns due to Corona Virus
2. The change in searches from mobile back to desktop because of the Work from home situation
3. To battle amazon and instagram shopping experience.
4. Australia’s and France’s stand on news publications.

That my take on this anyway:)

Here’s what thought leaders had to say:

1. Rank Ranger:

Mordy Oberstein from RankRanger called the May update “an absolute monster.” “The January update was a very big update yet this one slightly edges it out,” he added. The company shared this chart comparing the May to January 2020 core updates in terms of rankings volatility for the terms it monitors.

 

Google’s May 2020 core update_ Top 3 results, Top 5, Top 10 results on Google

What the graph means: In all cases, the May update shuffled the Google results more than the January update.

January 2020 Update for Top 3 searches: Rank Volatility: 35%
May 2020 Update for Top 3 searches: Rank Volatility: 38%

January 2020 Update for Top 5 searches: Rank Volatility: 55%
May 2020 Update for Top 5 searches: Rank Volatility: 63%

January 2020 Update for Top 10 searches: Rank Volatility: 84%
May 2020 Update for Top 10 searches: Rank Volatility: 93%

Oberstein added that the Google May 2020 core update is different than previous core updates because “this update appears to be far more uniform across the niches I looked at than your typical core update.” Here are two charts he shared illustrating the May core update’s impact on page one results across a number of industry verticals in RankRanger’s data set.

Google’s May 2020 core update_ Travel, Retail, Finance - Top 3 results, Top 5, Top 10 results on Google

Travel:
May 2020 Update for Top 3 searches: Rank Volatility: 31%
May 2020 Update for Top 5 searches: Rank Volatility: 56%
May 2020 Update for Top 10 searches: Rank Volatility: 91%

Retail:
May 2020 Update for Top 3 searches: Rank Volatility: 37%
May 2020 Update for Top 5 searches: Rank Volatility: 61%
May 2020 Update for Top 10 searches: Rank Volatility: 83%

Finance:
May 2020 Update for Top 3 searches: Rank Volatility: 47%
May 2020 Update for Top 5 searches: Rank Volatility: 72%
May 2020 Update for Top 10 searches: Rank Volatility: 97%

Health:
May 2020 Update for Top 3 searches: Rank Volatility: 38%
May 2020 Update for Top 5 searches: Rank Volatility: 63%
May 2020 Update for Top 10 searches: Rank Volatility: 94%

Google’s May 2020 core update_ Top 3 results on google

Travel:
May 2020 Update for Rank 1/ Position 1 on Google: Rank Volitility: 7%
May 2020 Update for Rank 2/ Position 2 on Google: Rank Volitility: 17%
May 2020 Update for Rank 3/ Position 3 on Google: Rank Volitility: 25%

Retail:
May 2020 Update for Rank 1/ Position 1 on Google: Rank Volitility: 10%
May 2020 Update for Rank 2/ Position 2 on Google: Rank Volitility: 20%
May 2020 Update for Rank 3/ Position 3 on Google: Rank Volitality: 29%

Finance:
May 2020 Update for Rank 1/ Position 1 on Google: Rank Volitility: 11%
May 2020 Update for Rank 2/ Position 2 on Google: Rank Volitility: 24%
May 2020 Update for Rank 3/ Position 3 on Google: Rank Volitility: 36%

Health:
May 2020 Update for Rank 1/ Position 1 on Google: Rank Volitility: 11%
May 2020 Update for Rank 2/ Position 2 on Google: Rank Volitility: 18%
May 2020 Update for Rank 3/ Position 3 on Google: Rank Volitility: 31%

2. SEMRush

Yulia Ibragimova, Olga Andrienko and the SEMRush team prepared a lot of data on this update. SEMRush said that this update was bigger than the January core update as well. They said, “the May update is stronger and influencers more SERPs and positions.” The SEMRush sensor tracking tool is showing a score of 9.4, whereas the January update was closer to 8. So this was a big update relative to other core updates.

Google’s May 2020 core update_ SEM Rush industries impacted

SEMRush data showed the industries most impacted were travel, real estate, health, pets & animals, and people & society. Here is the chart of breakdown volatility by industry from SEMRush:

Google’s May 2020 core update_ SEM Rush industries impacted List

SEMRush also shared the winners and losers of this update. The winners were local.com, yellowpages.com, superpages.com, businesswire.com, prnewswire.com, globenewswire.com, xe.com, mapquest.com, and gamekidgame.com. The losers were linkedin.com, manta.com, allmusic.com, idaily.com, nypost.com, discogs.com, afiavillage.com, eventbrite.com, peoplepill.com and owler.com.

3. The SEO community:

The SEO community in both the online discussion forums and on social media around the Google May 2020 core update have been extremely vocal about this and some people claimed to have lost over 90% of their Google organic traffic, while others did well from this update.

The community is split into two:

  1. SEO’s that are frustrated with Google and the constant effort of the search engine to keep users on Google and not take them to the website with PAA/ Knowledge graphs and
  2. 2. SEO’s that want to take over the PAA listings and use is as a tool for branding/ building credibility.Which side are you on?

What to do if your website is hit by the Google May 2020 Update:

Google has given advice on what to consider if you are negatively impacted by a core update in the past. There aren’t specific actions to take to recover, and in fact, a negative rankings impact may not signal anything is wrong with your pages. However, Google has offered a list of questions to consider if your site is hit by a core update.

Why we care:

It is often hard to isolate what you need to do to reverse any algorithmic hit your site may have seen. When it comes to Google core updates, it is even harder to do so. If this data and previous experience and advice has shown us is that these core updates are broad, wide and cover a lot of overall quality issues. The data above has reinforced this to be true. So if your site was hit by a core update, it is often recommended to step back from it all, take a wider view of your overall web site and see what you can do to improve the site overall.

Here’s the summary of the Google MAY 2020 core update: The TLDR (Too long didn’t read) version

  1. Perhaps the biggest and most volatile Google update yet.
  2. Industries most impacted were travel, health care, real estate, pets and people and society.
  3. PAA and knowledge graph continue to keep users for more clicks on google resulting in a lower CTR to site
  4. Voice search will get more efficient as Google rewrites Meta descriptions with AI ML and BERT logic
  5. Overall CTRs will drop as google is scraping website content and keeping users on google.com – Youtube plays as a light-box and PAA dominate SERP’s – you click on one and it opens related PAA’s
Pushkarraj Mehta

Author Pushkarraj Mehta

Just a human talking to bots

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