Google SEO Core Update: May 2020

May 14th 2020

Google SEO Core Update: May 2020

Overview Of Update

In May 2020, Google released a HUGE update to their search algorithm. Many people were surprised that Google would release an update at this time, especially with so many people unable to respond or fix their website right away, due to the coronavirus update.

This is the second big update that Google has released this year. The previous update dealt with YMYL content (Your Money Your Life) and rewarded more authoritative and trustworthy websites. So far, as the data has come in on the newest update, it is commonly believed that this newest update is not a penalty update, but an “reward” update that benefits websites with great SEO.

Today, we are going to overview 3 of the major reasons your website may have been impacted in the newest update. Then, we will discuss how you can fix those problems and ensure your website is safe from negative Google updates in the future.

3 Ways You May Be Impacted

1. Thin Content

Thin content pages are a big reason why you are falling behind your competition in this latest update. What is thin content? Thin content is when your website has a 300 or less words on page.

Google thrives off of lots of content on pages. When you have plenty of content, it is easier for Google to analyze and understand what your webpage is about. This, in turn, makes it easier for Google to rank your content.

I generally find thin content pages whenever I review websites from the real estate or photographer type websites. While these genres of websites obviously benefit from showing their work through pictures, it’s even better to supplement the pictures with content.

Another offender of this rule has been small businesses who run their own websites. Generally, these types of websites have an owner who is too busy to update their website content and is more focused on running the daily tasks of building a business.

If you scroll through your website and notice there is less than 500-700 words on your pages, then you have identified a great place to begin optimizing and fixing.

2. Diagnosing Your Local SEO Issues

One emerging focal point from this update has been the conclusion that local search is in serious flux.

If you’re a non-SEO expert, you probably don’t have a ton of knowledge about “local SEO” or even how to identify the problems. We can explore solutions later. But as far as identifying your problems, that can be simple.

  • Is Your Business on Google?
    When you search for your business on Google, there should be a profile that renders on the page.

    For example, when I search Iterate Marketing, this is the image that shows.

    Example of Local SEO optimization

    You can see that on the side of this element, there is a sidebar that shows an overview of your business. This is a great optimization opportunity, as this is the first element that potential visitors will check out before visiting your website.

    It also contains a great call-to-action and is much more convincing than a simple link on a Google Search results page.
  • Is Your Business On Google Maps?
    A key way many people find new businesses in their location is through Google Maps. Are you showing up there?

    For example, if I search for “Beaverton SEO Services”, this is the first element that shows:

    beaverton SEO services - Local Maps Optimization

    This is known as the Map Pack in SEO terms, and is very important as far as local SEO goes. People in your area will look up all sorts of services around them, and optimizing your Map Pack is a great way to drive traffic to your website, especially if you are the first result.

3. Fix SEO Errors

SEO errors are a huge deterrent in allowing Google to crawl your website. A few major ones that I’ve seen greatly impact websites include:

  • Linking to 404’s.
  • Buying bad backlinks from fiverr.
  • Long loading speed
  • No HTTPS

Linking to 404’s

If you haven’t gone through your website in a long time, you may be surprised to find that places that you’ve linked to are missing! They completely dropped off the web. This reflects badly on you, as Google doesn’t know how to properly categorize this link in relationship to you. Make sure that you don’t have any 404 errors or bad links on your website.

Buying Bad Backlinks

Everyone is occasionally attempted to take shortcuts. This is one area where it won’t pay off. It’s very straightforward for Google to check your backlinks, see where they originated, and know whether or not they are trustworthy. If they aren’t, you are in for a world of hurt!

Long Loading Speed

When Google crawls your website, it takes every variable into account. It wants to mimic a real-life user, that is actually experiencing your website. One of the main focuses is loading speed. If your website takes a long time to load, your competitors have a huge advantage over you, plus customer’s won’t want to visit your website.

This is such a straightforward element to diagnose. Check your website on your phone, and on your computer. If you have to blink before it loads, there’s room for improvement.


Security is of the utmost focus, and Google is taking it seriously. If you go to your website and it says, “Insecure”, in the address bar, you need to add an SSL certificate to your website.

HTTPS allows visitors to your website to visit without being tracked. This is especially important when it comes to SEO, as Google considers HTTPS to be a ranking signal. If you have it, you will be rewarded. If you don’t, you shouldn’t be surprised when other websites start to outrank you.


If you found issues with your website, especially with the ones we listed, it’s time to start taking SEO seriously and begin rebuilding your digital strategy. The latest Google updates haven’t been penalty updates, but reward-based updates. If you have a great website, you will benefit from Google’s updates, not suffer.

To take a look at what we can do for you, visit our Search Engine Optimization page that discusses how we can help you. If you want to see how we helped others in the past, check out our Case Studies page that demonstrates how we helped companies similar to yours build a great SEO strategy.

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