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Google’s May 2020 Core Update: What it means for you

Earlier this week, Google announced the roll-out of a Core Update: the second core update of 2020. What does this mean for your website, your rankings, and your brand? Don’t panic, we’ve set out what you need to know below…


Here’s how Google’s Danny Sullivan announced the news:

Google makes significant, broad changes to its search algorithms and systems designed to ensure it delivers relevant and authoritative content to searchers. They typically produce some widely notable effects; some sites may note drops or gains during them.

What should I do if my ranking drop following the latest update?

Yes, sites can see fluctuations, for better or worse, in the search results. Google has emphasised that there aren’t specific actions to take to recover, and in fact, a negative rankings impact doesn’t necessarily indicate that anything is wrong with your pages.

Danny Sullivan said in 2018, in relation to how businesses should react to Core Updates:

“There’s no “fix” for pages that may perform less well other than to remain focused on building great content. Over time, it may be that your content may rise relative to other pages.”

Reassess the quality of your content

Don’t fixate on updates. The best advice is to focus on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can: that’s what Google’s algorithms seek to reward.

Google offers its own checklist of questions to ask yourself when assessing your content. Here are our top tips:

  • Focus on Page Quality. For this, Google focuses on Expertise, Authority and Trust (discussed in more detail in this blog by our Head of Organic Search, Mark).
  • Links remain important. Think about how and what your internal and external links – and on and off-site content – are communicating about your brand.
  • Expertise is vital. Demonstrate that your contributors are credible sources: if they’ve got relevant experience and qualifications, make sure they’re mentioned on your site in author profiles; encourage your writers to contribute to leading blogs within your industry and niche to help establish them as an expert.
  • Structured data is a must. While we should be writing primarily for humans, we also need our content to be readable by Google’s machine learning (via Google’s AI system, RankBrain) through the use of structured data and the appropriate schema markup.

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