Over the past year, Google has started to make an official announcement when releasing some major algorithm updates. Although Google updates constantly, we never know quite what to expect. For instance, the last official “core” update Google made was at the beginning of January 2020. Google announced a core update on May 4th, 2020 that would begin to roll out on the next day, May 5th. Changes in website rankings can start immediately or take up to a week to roll out and take even longer to stabilize.
So how will the new update affect your website? We sat down with our lead SEO specialist, Bob Weber, to find out.
What’s a “core” Update?
What really constitutes a “core” update is cause for much speculation, Google hasn’t really defined it, but the thought is that this is a systemic algorithm change that will have a wide-reaching impact rather than a specific change designed to address a specific segment or issue.
Why did Google release an update right now of all times?
There has been some criticism of Google for rolling this update out during the pandemic crisis. Many SEO companies, including us, have seen tremendous volatility and ranking changes during the pandemic. We believe that the cause of this is largely due to changing search patterns by the public. With shelter in place/stay home orders, fewer people have been searching for services like dentistry. As a result, the Google algorithm may be favoring other sites more than they do the sites of dental offices. Releasing this core update adds to the confusion generated by an already uncertain environment.
How has COVID-19 affected the analysis of the update?
The release of the May 2020 core update during the COVID-19 lockdowns has made analysis very difficult. In fact, many in the SEO community are questioning the value of trying to pin down what has changed in these updates at all.
How does this update compare to past ones?
The core update was significant, perhaps the most significant since the Medic update in August of 2018 in terms of the number of sites that were impacted. The May 2020 core update affected the rankings of sites in the health and finance markets. Two specific areas that seem to have been hit are cryptocurrency (bitcoin) and recipe websites.
How has the new update affected dental offices?
Generally the latest algorithm update has had a negative impact, but changes haven’t been severe. There also seems to be a lot of movement on the rankings, so we may not know the full extent of the change for a few weeks. We have sites that saw one-day losses in ranking but immediately bounced back to their previous levels. There are also sites that saw no impact or slightly upward trends. We will need to analyze the long term results in the days and weeks to come.