On May 4, 2020, Google SearchLiason announced via a tweet that they would be releasing a broad core algorithm update, called the May 2020 Core Update. A day later, on May 5, they again tweeted that the update had started rolling out live, which was completed on May 18.
So, what is this core update?
A core update means that there is a significant change to the Google Search Algorithm, which ends up affecting a lot of websites. Core updates give birth to some widely noticeable effects on web page rankings. This doesn’t mean that the pages that perform less well are in any way being penalized. It instead changes the process of how Google’s systems assess the overall content, thereby rewarding some web pages with a higher ranking than before as they must have focused on content upgrades.
A simple example to explain this is: Suppose you made a list of the top 10 books to read in 2016. A few years down the line in 2020, you update the list. Obviously, it is going to change. Some new and amazing books that were published in these interim years will now be possible options to include in the list. This will make you assess some books and realize that they should be placed higher in the list than before. The list will get updated, and some books will move down in rankings. This doesn’t mean that these books are bad. There are simply better books that deserve a spot above.
Which industries were affected?
As per the data released by SEMRush and reported by Search Engine Land in one of their blogs, we can see that the profoundly affected industries are Travel, Real Estate, Health, Pets & Animals, and People & Society. The ones at the bottom, such as News, were the least affected.
The websites most affected by this update can be seen to belong to the categories which more than often find a mention in the daily lives of almost all the human populace. The ones that are least affected are categories that target a specific audience based on age groups, gender, job profiles, and other such metrics.
Update your content frequently
Post the May 2020 Core Update, websites are bound to notice gains or drops in search engine rankings, which will be based on content relevancy. The more relevant content has become since the last update, the higher it will go up in rankings, and vice versa.
Updating content does not necessarily refer to creating and publishing new content on a daily basis. The websites that are doing well are instead focusing on updating their old content as well. These updates can range from adding an image or adjusting a sentence, to rewriting the whole article. Irrelevant information needs to be removed from the old content. This is similar to how Wikipedia updates its content.
Google has provided a fresh set of questions which will help you analyze your content quality and relevancy:
Content and quality questions
- Is the content original and provide unique information?
- Does the content provide a detailed description or analysis of the topic?
- Is the content relevant to the topic?
- If the content makes use of external sources, is it just copied content or has some additional useful information as well?
- Is the page headline or title reflective of the content summary?
- Is the webpage something that you would like to save for future reference or share it with your friends or colleagues?
- Do you think if this content would be printed or referenced in some magazine or online journal?
- Is the content presentation indicative of a trust mechanism such as clear sourcing, evidence of the involved expertise, author/publisher background?
- Does your website come up as a widely-known or well-trusted authority on the topic of discussion?
- Has a subject matter expert-written this content?
- Is the content free from easily-verified factual errors?
Presentation and productive questions
- Is the article easy to read and comprehend, devoid of any fluff and complex words?
- Is the content written with a clear strategy in mind, or has it been produced in haste to meet the submission deadline?
- Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a significant number of developers, or distributed across an extensive network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
- Does the content include excessive ads that can possibly distract the reader from the main topic?
- Is the content optimized for mobile display and viewing?
Fix your thin content
Thin content refers to the web pages that are low on word count. It has been analyzed that the latest core update marks down most of the web pages with thin content. This negatively affects your website ranking. Now it is understood that some pages cannot be filled with a thousand words, such as the contact or category pages. Also, there might be some pages where you can get the point across to the web page visitor in a few hundred words, such as that of a cooking recipe.
For pages that should contain in-depth information about the topic of discussion, below are three essential questions you need to consider while fixing the web pages with thin content:
- Is it imperative to keep the page? This is the first and foremost question that you need to answer. If the web page provides little to no value to the visitor and there is no scope for improvement, you should consider the option to delete the page and 301 redirect the URL to a similar but different page of your website.
- How is your page performing in comparison to the competition? You should check similar web pages ranking on the top of search engine results. You can get an idea of whether to add or reduce the content on your own web page.
- Is it imperative that you add more words to the content? Wherever possible, get the message across through images or videos, or maybe a few hundred words. A good user experience is gained when the answer to a question is obtained in a few seconds, instead of sifting through useless content for minutes.
Fix SEO errors
SEO errors still play an active role in determining search engine rankings. The on-page optimization of your website needs to be up-to-date and in accordance with Google’s policies. Ensure that there is not much duplicity in meta-tags and descriptions. Also, ensure that your website had a valid and updated sitemap.xml file and a valid SSL certificate. The content and website code should be optimized for faster page load times and mobile viewership.
Taking care of all the points mentioned above will ensure that you do not get affected in a detrimental manner due to the core algorithm update. If you look carefully, fixing the issues mentioned above and errors will directly result in better user experience for website visitors and if you are still confused you may contact KVR Chandigarh.
The only way to win Google SEO is to provide a much better user experience than your competition.