Did a feeling of uneasiness come with the May 4 announcement of the Google algorithm update? We understand - change can be scary, especially when it impacts your business. We're here to help break down what a Google broad core algorithm update is, and more importantly, how it may affect your website so you can prepare for changes in traffic.

About the author

Jessi Russell is an Account Strategist at Motion Tactic. Jessi works closely with clients and the Motion Tactic team to manage website and digital marketing projects. Her background in project management and her creative eye help ensure clients receive the best in service and quality.

What is a Google Core Algorithm Update?

A broad core algorithm update is a periodic update to search results that Google releases to improve the end-user experience. These updates are changing the requirements and importance of 200+ ranking factors, aiming to better match search queries with relevant websites. While these updates don't happen quickly (they can take weeks to completely roll-out), they can quickly "make or break" websites.



Here’s Why The Latest Google Algorithm Update Matters

The May 4, 2020 update has been called, “an absolute monster,” with unprecedented volatility for Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) shown below.


SERP Volatility Chart from SEMrush for May 2020 Algorithm Update


SERPs are the pages displayed by search engines in response to a query by a user and Google algorithm updates drastically change where certain industries rank in Google search. This affects organic search and how users find and interact with businesses. In our opinion, this recent core algorithm update is Google's reaction to COVID-19. Google’s top concern: How do we connect people with accurate information?

Notice a recent drop in website traffic? The latest Google algorithm update may be to blame. Or, if you're seeing an uptick in traffic, you may have the recent update to thank. It's largely dependent on your industry.

A lot has changed, but overall, these are the industries impacted most: Travel websites, health websites, real estate sites, pet & people related websites, and people & society websites. Keyword ranking, Google My Business (local pack) ranking, and Google “Top Stories” are the most noticeable changes made in search.

Example of Google “Top Stories.”

Our Recommendations for Clients

Even Google says websites that see a drop in traffic following the core update “don’t have anything wrong to fix.” However, we all understand that answer may not suffice. To start, we recommend reading Google’s official guidelines, which will help you navigate this core algorithm update more easily. Google’s biggest tip? Make sure you’re offering quality content.

Second, watch your traffic! Become best friends with your Google Analytics account and note nominal changes, good or bad. If you're seeing a significant loss in organic users: Stop, drop, and roll all efforts toward improving your organic search rankings.

Some immediate actions to take if you’ve been negatively impacted by the broad core algorithm update:

  • Evaluate your website and identify pages that have been impacted by the update. These pages may have lost keyword position or search traffic. Before addressing content and usability, make sure no technical issues are present on the page. A site audit from SEMrush can help locate and address broken links, missing meta titles and descriptions, slow pages, and more. Fixing technical issues will lay the foundation for a strong website, allowing you to expand on other search engine marketing tactics without limitations.
  • Dive into your content and see where improvements can be made. Quality content, when it comes to modern searching, is more important than implementing keyword agnostic features. Why? It goes back to Google’s probable concern: How do we connect people with accurate information right now? Additionally, with quality content, we can expect searches to be connected to relevant and informative pages (Google’s BERT update in 2019 assists with this). Answer the questions below as you rifle through each webpage. If you answer “no” to any of these questions, take the time to improve these pages. Your time investment will drive organic traffic and, as users start finding your pages and realizing that we have what they’re looking for, we’ll see better engagement and conversions.
    • Does your content answer a question that users are asking?
    • Does it provide accurate and original information?
    • Are basic on-page SEO features present? (A single H1 heading, and a logical hierarchy of headings? Optimized meta titles and descriptions? Are links to relevant internal pages present?)
    • Excluding e-commerce archive pages and service/solution overview pages, do your web pages and blogs focus on one topic? Present a new idea or one focus keyword?
  • Access the design value of your website. Design is everything these days. It’s not just affecting bots, but users too. Access the design of your website and see if you’re lacking features or elements that would speak to your audience and solve user problems. If each page is following our tips to improve the value of design, you’ll see improved rank, engagement, and conversions.
  • Contact Motion Tactic. If you’re unsure where to start, or if your team cannot keep up with Google algorithm updates and the negative impact it causes, contact Motion Tactic. We will work with your team to address the side effects of the May 2020 core algorithm update and set up your website for ongoing organic success.

No Change in Traffic after Google’s Latest Algorithm Update?

Great work! Maintain your organic traffic and grow your customer base by following white hat SEO tactics only.

Take it a Step Further - We Can Help!

Our resident SEO/digital marketing manager, Katheryn, is here to help! Send an email to info@motiontactic.com to request your free search analysis. We'll outline the impact of Google’s core algorithm updates over the last year and solutions to remedy your loss in traffic and rank.

Subscribe via Email

Receive articles and updates from us directly to your email.

Subscribe via Email

Receive articles and updates from us directly to your email.