May 2020 Google Core Update - Changes & Info
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!