seoplus+ Digest – May 2020 Core Update

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Graphic of hand holding up a cellphone. On the screen is a bell ringing.
Graphic of hand holding up a cellphone. On the screen is a bell ringing.

While the world of physical shopping and talking to real people has come to a temporary halt, the digital world has not stopped moving once. On the contrary, we can see technology firms putting in work to support small businesses and even offer their services at reduced rates. As many local businesses had to convert their stores to e-commerce in record time, this extra support is timely and useful. People are supporting their local communities by shopping local too. Google even took this opportunity to release a core algorithm update, which has had interesting impacts thus far. Let’s dig in. 

May 2020 core update

On May 4th, Google Search Liaison introduced the new update on Twitter, attaching the same guidance on following the quality rules as before. The last broad core update was in January 2020. According to this article from Search Engine Land, this update is bigger and more substantial. Several search data companies such as SEMRush conducted their own analyses. This is their update: 

The May update is stronger and influences more SERPs and positions. Their Sensor tracking tool shows a score of 9.4, whereas the January update was closer to 8. In other words, this was a big update even when compared to other core updates.

semrush 1588771082 | Award-Winning Digital Marketing Agency
Google has been working on improving the algorithm to prioritize content and brand value; ranking factors given more prominence in the latest update include click-through rate (CTR) and metrics related to user data. This update also increased ranking volatility and is said to be more uniform across niches, rather than targeting specific industries like medical or retail. Although it is broader, some industries are still impacted more than others: travel, real estate, health, pets & animals, and people & society. 

According to another article from Search Engine Journal, some of those experiencing losses because of this update had negative link velocity, where the site loses links faster than it is acquiring them. This tells us that Google is focusing even more on trustworthy links when it comes to your website ranking. As always, there isn’t specific guidance on what to do besides ensuring your E-A-T factors are being met.

Google updates

Core Web Vitals

Google didn’t stop there with the updates. Chrome Developers released a tweet introducing Web Vitals, essential metrics to evaluate the health of your site. There are core web vitals which include loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability. Basically, these three measures need to return “good” results to be in the green and for your site to be considered healthy. These core web vitals can be measured in Javascript using standard web APIs. 

This is still in the early stages and it is Google’s attempt to show web developers what should take priority since there are so many tools and measures available. 

Does site speed matter for rankings?

So we just learned that Google considers loading speed one of the core web vitals for a healthy website. However, we also see in this tweet from Gary Ilyes at Google that site speed doesn’t have a big impact on your rankings at all. What matters is that a fast site helps you convert users and reduce friction during their consumer journey.
Screen Shot 2020 05 19 at 10.37.33 AM | Award-Winning Digital Marketing Agency

New support from Google My Business

A couple of weeks ago, Instagram added stickers to purchase gift cards or order online to its stories. On May 11th, Google My Business announced a new update – you can now make a post under the section “get support from your customers.” Here is what they say:

With this feature, merchants will be able to add a donation link, gift card link or both to their profile. They can also share a personal message in their post to inform customers how funds will be put to use.

Posting to your Google My Business listing is important to alert customers of what’s going on and now, how they can support you. These posts show up when someone googles your business and the listing is visible on the right side. 

These are the updates from the first half of May! Stay tuned for the second article where we analyze further effects of the core update and bring you new changes from Google, Facebook, and more. As always, if you need any help with your digital marketing or you have a question, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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seoplus+ Team

The award-winning seoplus+ expert team includes digital marketing specialists and business advisors with a combined experience of over 75 years. Since 2012, seoplus+ has provided demand generation and business growth services to companies ranking from SMBs to multinational enterprises. Our team's rich and diverse backgrounds range from SEO, PPC, social media, content creation, digital PR, UX design, web development, and ecommerce, to customer success, lead generation, and growth strategy. seoplus+ is also an SEMrush Agency Partner, Google Premier Partner, and Shopify Partner.

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