What We Know About The May Core Update

Smack bang in the middle of the Coronavirus Crisis, just when we thought the world couldn’t get much more bananas, something big happened at Google. The second Core Update of 2020 rolls out at the start of May and now we’re just over a month from that happening it’s time to have a little look at what we know about the update and what we’re going to do about it.

Google made the announcement on 4th May and according to the MozCast Temperature scale, it was done and dusted by 7th May.

Here’s GrowTraffic’s average ranking trend showing the big jump in rankings that happened after the May Core Update.

GrowTraffic Average Traffic After Google's May Core Update

This is a trend we’ve seen with our clients that publish a load of original content. At GT we produce a few pieces of content on our blog each week, as well as running regular Facebook lives that go up on YouTube as well. I think that’s probably a fair amount of content but it’s not massive amounts of content and probably puts us well below the output of a lot of SEO and content marketing agencies.

Is E-A-T (Expertise, Authority and Trust) Important In The May Core Update?

It seems fairly clear to me that the May core update has everything to do with E-A-T. Again… But it would appear that it’s broader than previous E-A-T updates.

For those wondering what this eat stuff is all about, E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authority and Trust. It’s fairly standard stuff really, basically, if you want to rank for something you should be consistently creating content and commenting about that topic and doing it in a way that actually helps people by sharing what you know about the topic.

During some of the previous E-A-T updates, there was specific industries and sectors that were most affected by the update. For example, a lot of medical-related websites have been affected by these updates over the last year or so. That’s why August 2019 update was nicknamed the Medic Update.

It appears that what we’re seeing now is branding and content factors starting to come into play with each other in Google’s ranking factors. That’s my big hunch on this one and more data is required to prove anything. I think it’s really telling that Google has just released a Chrome Extension covering Page Experience and have announced that it will be a ranking factor in 2021. They must be nudging us in that direction.

I also think Google is correcting some of the previous updates with this one. In previous updates, there has been a lot of big winners. When looking at GrowTraffic’s clients it’s not the big clients that are winning, but the clients with smaller backlink profiles, but who are regularly creating content that positions them as experts and helps their potential customers.

Niels Dahnke, Head of SEO at Suxeedo believes both brand and links plays a factor in the sites that won in this update.

Everyone’s pointing to the growth in play.google.com and apps.apple.com but I think you can get too bogged down in focusing on what’s happening with those bigger websites when you should be looking at what’s happened to the smaller websites.

We should also consider the timing of the update. Google said they’d never had as many searches about a single topic as they had about Coronoavirus/COVID-19, so it stands to reason that they may have found themselves making changes to the algorithm to better deal with the content being searched for and produced during the crisis.

Anecdotally, I’ve also heard a number of SEO’s who are still using dodgy link schemes and private blog networks saying that they’ve been hit by this update.

Is There Anything We Should Be Doing About The May Core Update?

I think the biggest take-home right now is to carry on as you were. Create great content. Put it out there and improve the content you’re creating over time based on how it’s received. And work on your site, improve it, make people love to come back time and time again.

I’m not getting too hung up on these updates right now. I am confident we are going in the right direction with what we’re all about.

If you’ve been affected by the May Core Update and would like us to take a look or help out, please get in touch.

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