Written by Aaron Rains March 5th 2021

Google announced last May that they were rolling out a second core search algorithm called the “May 2020 Core Update.” We won’t sugar coat this, so here’s everything you need to know about what this update means and how your SEO expert can help you recover now that it’s been nearly a year since the update.

What You Need To Know About Google May 2020 Core Update

Though the first core algorithm update was released in January 2020, the world and its searches have drastically changed since then.

It typically takes a few weeks for these significant updates to fully roll out, but developers and SEO experts everywhere saw pretty quickly that this Core Update was a big one. As things seem to be changing quickly and maybe not entirely for the better, the newest Google Core Update seems to bring unprecedented SERP (search engine results pages) volatility as well.

January’s core update led to average volatility; this May update peaked those rates, meaning that it had a much stronger influence on SERPs and ranking positions.

Don’t panic just yet. Let’s dive into some of these updates and then discuss a recovery plan to help you get back on the first page when it comes to your search position.

What Does This Google May 2020 Core Update Mean For Your Rankings?

First, keep in mind that Google’s broad core algorithm updates are explicitly designed to bring noticeable changes within search results worldwide, creating clear winners and losers in the SERPs.

You will have no doubt noticed ranking drops and gains after this update, and clearly, some industry searches will have dropped due to the pandemic. If you’re in the travel business or host live events and similar, you likely weren’t surprised about your category’s volatility.

After the announcement, the most influenced traffic were Travel, Real Estate, Health, Pets & Animal, and People &Society (thank SEMrush for the data. We noticed that big domains were highly affected, specifically those with traffic exceeding 1 million monthly visitors.

core update winners by traffic

SERP Winners (Those Who Gained Positions)

It’s no surprise that the SERP Winners, categories that gained popularity after the core update, involved the News sector.

may core update winners

Everyone is watching the news nowadays, and many media outlets gained unmatched user attention. Whatever they are doing SEO-wise is working. Additionally, insignificant ranking PR outlets also gained some significant ranking traction with the update; sites like Businesswire, PR Newswire, and GlobeNewswire have gained around 50+ positions each.

SERP Losers (Sites That Lost Their Rankings)

Obviously, the offline entertainment industry has taken a significant hit, and with this update, their websites took a hit too.

Here is a breakdown of the industries that saw the most significant drop in their organic positions:

may core update losers

What Now? 

If you’re worried about navigating through this past update and future guidelines, make sure you’re reading any and all updates from Google. They will provide you with guidelines on how to make changes so that you can be prepared for more core updates that could affect your business.

Google has pretty much always kept digital marketers at arm’s length, stating that there isn’t anything you can do about algorithm updates and changes in rankings. However, the one thing they always recommend is to continue to improve your content quality. Here’s what they said about one of their past updates: “They’re designed to ensure that overall, we’re delivering on our mission to present relevant and authoritative content to searchers.”

Another update is inevitable, so now is the time to evaluate whether or not your content is helpful to users, formatted adequately to help make it easier for search engines like Google to find it, has authority, and whether or not it is search engine optimized. SEO experts will use tools like SEMrush to audit websites and highlight any potential issues that could be affecting your rankings.

Once you’ve evaluated your content, the next step is to tighten up your SEO efforts and create new content of higher quality and provide all the information your target audience and search engines need.

Worried About Your Rankings Slipping?

Have you noticed changes in your rankings and the overall SERP because of the Google May 202 Core Update? If you’re worried at all about your rankings, recovery is possible! Ask your SEO expert (or me!) how to fix your SEO and set up custom triggers so that you know when you slip in rankings.

Especially if you were negatively affected by this update and feel like your rankings should be higher, I would love to help you. We’ll start with an audit of your website and catch the low-hanging fruit. Then we’ll do an overhaul and fix all those big things you likely didn’t know were impacting your rankings.

Reach out to me today, and let’s set up a consultation.