Learn
Learn
Close

They Ask, You Answer

A revolutionary approach to inbound sales, content marketing, and today’s digital consumer.

Learn MoreLearn More

Free Courses in IMPACT+

Dozens of sales, marketing, and content courses inside IMPACT+. Start learning now.

See all coursesSee all courses
Events
Events
Close
IMPACT+ Membership
IMPACT+ Membership
Close
Coaching & Implementation Services
Coaching & Implementation Services
Close

Services Overview

See how you can dramatically increase your inbound leads and sales.

Services Overview

Digital Sales and Marketing Mastery

Fast track your team’s success with IMPACT's most popular service.

Digital Sales and Marketing Mastery

Web Design

Launch a beautiful website that consistently generates leads and revenue.

Web Design

Virtual Sales Training

Equip your sales team with comprehensive training designed to help them close more deals in today's virtual-first world.

Virtual Sales Training

HubSpot Training & Implementation

Train your company to take ownership of HubSpot and get the most out of your investment.

HubSpot Training & Implementation

Case Studies

See dozens of examples of companies succeeding with Digital Sales and Marketing Mastery and They Ask, You Answer.

Case Studies
Become a Coach
Become a Coach
Close

Google's massive May core update: What you need to know

Google's massive May core update: What you need to know Blog Feature

May 13th, 2020 min read

Google rolling out a core update every quarter is about as close to tradition as it gets with the search giant.

Since the last update hit in January, it's no surprise that Google snuck in a core update on May 4th. The last core update in January was overshadowed by its rich snippet updates, but this update is straight-to-the-point.

No May-the-fourth Star Wars-themed names (what a missed opportunity). No overshadowing feature updates. Just a SERP shakeup to put marketers on their toes.

So, now that some of the dust has settled, what does a core update look like in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Let's dive in.

This is a big one

When Google launches "core" updates, we can usually see an obvious trend within the first few days. Certain niches or SEO strategies will be impacted, while the majority of websites will remain steady with little-to-no immediate impact.

This update seems a little different. This isn't another "medic" update or even a quasi-medic fix like last September; this update appears to be reasonably wide-reaching.

PathInteractive recently used Sistrix's visibility index to showcase the 550 most impacted websites. Surprisingly, there were websites from a plethora of different industry verticals. Nutrition, news, fitness, music, entertainment, banking, history, and many other website types made the list.

Moz's Mozcast temperature tool — which shows turbulence and ranking changes in Google's algorithm — showed 112 degrees on May 5th. For context, the last three core updates hovered around 97 degrees. In fact, the temperature of this update rivals August 2018's massive "medic" update.

So far, most search data companies are reporting that this is a huge update. To top it all off, it hasn't fully rolled out yet, so there's probably more changes in store.

Is this a COVID-19 update?

A core update in the middle of a pandemic that's drastically changing search behaviors and consumer consumption habits; it can't be a coincidence, can it?

Let's get straight to the point. Does this update center around COVID-19?

So far, it's hard to say.

SEMRush recently reviewed some of the "winners" and "losers" of the update. And, according to their report, news was the biggest winner, and arts and entertainment was the biggest loser. But this isn't clear cut. So far, it seems the majority of the "losers" are websites that pull in +1 million monthly visitors.

Despite news as a whole receiving positive ranking fluctuations, many major news outlets have been negatively affected. Sistrix's visibility index shows that nypost.com, huffpost.com, snopes.com, theguardian.com, and other major news outlets all took a significant ranking hit.

This is a little strange.

News consumption is up by 67% during this ongoing pandemic. Yet, we see negative ranking hits for some of the largest news outlets. This could be a correction due to traffic surges, but it goes deeper than news.

Twitch saw a -44.99% visibility change despite a 24% increase in viewership over the past month.

There are other examples, but the main point is that this update isn't solely centered around boosting COVID-19-centered content. A great example of that is health.ny.gov, which also received a slight ranking hit — despite being a critical resource for COVID-19-related data.

We're not sure if this is for self-correction due to high traffic influxes, but we do know that this update certainly has some ranking elements that seem to be related to the ongoing pandemic. Eventbrite took a massive rank hit, and so did virtually every major music streaming service.

If we look at this directly, it may seem like Google has centered this update (at least partially) around businesses impacted by the pandemic.

But let's take a step back.

All of these "winners" and "losers" aren't necessarily taking ranking dives due to the update. Snapshots of SERP shares aren't intrinsically indicative of algorithm changes.

We're all going through a strange period. Is it surprising that a week snapshot of Eventbrite shows its traffic falling when the events industry is in a massive downfall due to social distancing guidelines?

Is it shocking that Spotify — who has been one of the few major streaming platforms to see reduced traffic during this pandemic — is dipping a little? Does the massive influx of positive and negative rankings in the news industry have to do with the update or changes in media consumption?

It's hard to say.

In our opinion, this is an incredibly difficult Google core update to measure. We know that things changed. But why did they change? Was it Google's update, or was it COVID-19-related search patterns?

This update obviously had an impact — temperature ratings skyrocketed. But measuring that impact in the middle of an ongoing pandemic isn't easy.

What to do if you were impacted

Did your website take a dip during this core update rollout? Google has an official guide on some questions you should be asking yourself if you were impacted. Also, check out Marie Haynes E-A-T guide, which Google seems to love linking to in discussions regarding core updates.

Finally, Google's guidance on building high-quality sites is a great resource for webmasters looking to check off the basics.

Want to learn more about digital sales and marketing?

Master digital sales and marketing when you join IMPACT+ for FREE. Gain instant access to exclusive courses and keynotes taught by Marcus Sheridan, Brian Halligan, Liz Moorehead, Ann Handley, David Cancel, Carina Duffy, Zach Basner, and more.

Sign up for free
Take a peek

Access hundreds of FREE courses and keynotes

Free Course
Digital Sales & Marketing Framework for Today’s Buyers
By: Marcus Sheridan
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
A New Way to Compete & Win
By: Brian Halligan
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Virtual Keynote
How To Genuinely Feel Confident, Be Likable, And Build Trust On Camera
By: Liz Moorehead
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
The Future of Marketing is Conversational​
By: David Cancel
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Deep Dive
HubSpot On a Budget: Getting Started with HubSpot Starter Hubs
By: Courtney Caldwell
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Assignment Selling: Content is Your Greatest Sales Tool
By: Marcus Sheridan
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
The Big, Bold, Brave New World of Marketing​
By: Ann Handley
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Investing in Incredible Digital Sales and Marketing Results
By: Chris Duprey
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
How To Show Your Content Makes Money With HubSpot Marketing and Sales Hubs
By: Liz Moorehead
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Virtual Keynote
The Visual Sale
By: Marcus Sheridan & Tyler Lessard
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
Marketing Tech: What’s Now, What’s Near and What’s Not Anytime Soon?​
By: Dharmesh Shah
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Inbound Lead Generation & Conversion Optimization
By: Carina Duffy
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Virtual Keynote
Fundamentals of Videography: You Can Be a Great Videographer Too
By: Zach Basner
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Deep Dive
The Ultimate Customer Service Toolkit for Any Budget
By: Andriti Gulati
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
6 Topics Subject Matter Experts Need to Address
By: Kevin Phillips
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
Fanocracy: The Power of Making Business Personal​
By: David Meerman Scott
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
The Power of Pillar Content
By: Liz Moorehead
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
SEO for the Future
By: Franco Valentino
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Fundamentals of Social Media Marketing
By: Stephanie Baiocchi
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Deep Dive
A Practical Guide To Video Graphics
By: Colton Trcic
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Session
How To Get Your Community To Know, Like, And Trust You With Video
By: Marki Lemons Rhyal
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Video Sales and Marketing Strategy
By: Zach Basner
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Here Are Some Related Articles You May Find Interesting

Want to Contribute Content to impactplus.com? Click Here.

IMPACT+ Sign Up
A FREE online learning community with on-demand courses, hundreds of expert-led sessions, thousands of your peers ready to support you, and much more.
Check it out
Hundreds of courses and recorded keynotes, completely FREE
Check it out
Access hundreds of digital sales and marketing courses and recorded keynotes, completely FREE