May 2020 Google Core Update - Changes & Info

Last Update: May 04, 2020

Google has just announced they are releasing their latest Google Core update May 4th, 2020 in the late afternoon. This update appears to be more of the same touching on the same ranking metrics from prior Google Core updates and the Google Core documentation that was released back in August 2019.

You can read the full breakdown of Google Core here:

So what does this mean to you? Well first, if you haven't already "reacted" to the prior Google Core updates to improve your website based on their rankings factors, then you are likely going to see a negative impact from this most recent algorithm update.

After working with thousands of search engine marketers over the last year, the focus of Google has been more evident than ever. Some of the key factors Google is really starting to focus on when determining their rankings are as follows:

  • Hosting Speed. Google is after websites that load fast, and if your website loads fast, you are going to experience higher rankings. Good news, you are getting the fastest hosting in the Managed Wordpress industry here at Wealthy Affiliate, with speeds of your website meeting the Google PageSpeed scores of 99/100 or 100/100 on install.

    You can check your PageSpeed insights within the "Details" tab in the SiteManager, or you can do so directly on Google's PageSpeed testing tool. The quality of your hosting now plays a significant role in your overall rankings. A fast loading website leads to a great user experience, and as a result Google will love your website.

  • Theme/Plugin Speed. As a take off of hosting speed, there are many themes and plugins that can hinder your ability to rank in Google. This is a result of their "bandwidth" requirements. Many plugins and themes are huge bandwidth hogs and this is something that you should consider when choosing them.

    One of the biggest issues we have seen with themes is with the Thrive themes. A simple switch away from Thrive to another more speedy theme has led to a broad increase in rankings site wide for many users we have worked with.

    This is the case with lots of plugins and themes though, they are poorly programmed or require too much load on every page and thus slow down your website, which hurts your PageSpeed Score. We recommend that you check your PageSpeed Insights in Google after you add a new theme or plugin.

  • User Design. A few years back Google went "mobile first", meaning that they look at the mobile version of your website first when determining where your rankings should be within their search. If your website does not work well on mobile, it is going to be very tough to rank well. This is also called Responsive design, and by default almost ALL Wordpress themes are responsive in nature, so this is likely something you don't have to worry about. You can run your website through Google's Mobile Friendly checker to see how it fares.

    On top of this though, your actual design of your navigation and content pages needs to put users first. If your menus are very thin (don't offer a decent navigation experience), or your content is difficult to read or get to, then it is going to adversely impact your rankings. You see websites with HUGE header images, wacky fonts sizes/colours, choppy content design, and trimmed down menus being hit the hardest with these updates. So consider these when architecting your content.

  • Ads. If you have lots of ads on your website, chances are your pages are going to run slower. That is your first knock on your website. MediaVine and Taboola are a few ad placement websites that tend to have an adverse impact on rankings. Their requirements for content publishers to have "too many" ad blocks tend to impact user experience and speed. Even websites with Adsense (which is run by Google) can experience issues with rank.

    Google has indicated one of the Google Core qualifying rankings factors to ads is:

    "Does the content have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?".

    In other words if you have ads that take away from the readability or overall presentation of your content, then you are going to see some downward trends in terms of your Google rankings with each subsequent update.

And of course, quality content continues to be a focus. Google is looking for content that is original, that provides thorough insight into the topic, and that offers the user a captivating and engaging experience. These are things that are all taught here within the training and it is my belief that folks from Wealthy Affiliate are going to continue to benefit with each iteration of Google Core.

If you have any comments, questions or you want to share your Google Core experiences, I would love to hear about them below!

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JimintheWeb Premium
The Universe is getting smaller (phones) & faster (WA + GP).
Leaving for Mars next February, perhaps the Goog is setting-up for to be there too? Speed & Lightness -could be???
The "trimmed down menus" meaning simply having the pop-out menu icon up in the corner without the menu bar = Google no like?
Great intel. always from Kyle & Carson. Thank you.
So now giddy up!!!
keishalina9 Premium
*** Ahoy! ... interesting commentary ... thanks for sharing.... :) ***
NatNiches Premium
I lost probably 50% of my traffic. I got hit by a previous update so - overall it's a dramatic drop. I realised my site was slow running and hadn't optimized my images properly --- I now have them all optimized and things seem to be running much better. But I didn't do that until after the update unfortunately.

I am also with Mediavine, so I'm unsure what to do regarding that.
Kyle Premium
Well you are likely going to see some positive impacts on subsequent updates, the big one is going to be looking at Web Vitals and speed is considered in that aspect of their ranking algorithm.

Keep the foot on the pedal during a decline, it is the best way to come out of it.
NatNiches Premium
Thanks Kyle- I will do that.
JohnJStanley Premium
Thanks Kyle, I also lost around 50% of my traffic since 4th May.
So are you saying the most important thing to do is to clear the issues on Google Search Console? (attached) and to help us do this, to address the issues in Google Mobile PageSpeed? (Largest Contentful Paint)

So far I have gotten rid of sumo, bugged SiteSupport as much as i can and in the process of changing themes to GeneratePress. I'll have a closer look at images, but already using Kraken with WA so should I just aim to have every image below 400Kb or something?
Thank you
emerald860 Premium
Hi Kyle. I recently switched from Divi to GeneratePress and saw a huge improvement. I have to go through the whole site to get rid of Divi on each page/post. The homepage was quite slow. I finally fixed that and my speed is now 91 so I'm happy with the results.

I have noticed a drop in visitors but there could be other factors involved as well. Thanks for the heads up.

laparra1 Premium
Good evening Kyle,

SiteSupport advised to contact the theme provider. I sent them the following email.

Dear Sir,

Since the beginning of 2017, I have been using your theme "The Notes Lite" for both of my websites.

In the past, the speed of my sites was good, like 80/90 for my posts. I recently checked again with and was appalled at the result.

Both my websites perform poorly.

Their reported speeds are: is 10

www, is 24

It seems the Googlebot is blocked by robots txt and 14 pages could not be loaded.

I understand that is not good but have no idea how to solve this problem.

I hope you will be so kind to look into this matter so my websites regain their old speed again.


Taetske Guillaume

Here is a screenshot of your answer to my first comment 5 days ago.

Stay safe and healthy,

Kyle Premium
The reality is that you may never hear back from them, depending on the level of theme support they provide. They are unlikely going to be able to fix their issues in the near time and you might want to be proactive here and consider a new theme.

This will help with your SEO in the near term, as you don't want to go through too many Google Core updates with speed like this.
laparra1 Premium
Good Morning Kyle,

Thank you for your answer. I was fearing this type of advice.
I like the way my website looks, but now it seems the time has come to be brave and change the theme.
Would you do me the favor and look at my website? I want to keep it as simple as possible. A big header photo, a sidebar for the widgets and the rest only for my posts.
Could you please advise me what free WordPress theme I should be looking at with similar characteristics? That really would help me as I have no clue.

Stay safe and healthy,

LenaZ Premium
Hi, I use Google's PageSpeed testing tool to check my website, sometimes I get a high score, and sometimes the score is about 80. And I get the suggestion to use the JPEG 2000、JPEG XR, WebP instead of PNG or JPEG. What picture format your guys use? I am confused now.
Kyle Premium
Kraken will retain the format, and compress in that native format, at different sizes. It is the best in the industry at image compression and it is the technology that you get when you publish through SiteContent or upload your media for any sites hosted here at WAA.