May the “fourth” be with you” – this is the phrase Star Wars fans look forward to saying on May fourth; it is typically a happy day. Unfortunately, this day was met with gloom, unhappiness, and unjust.
So, you heard about Google’s “core “update, and you’re wondering what changed. What is so special about this particular update? Why has your website’s ranking changed so significantly? Why the nepotism towards top sites like Amazon, Pinterest, Etsy, etc.? Lastly, was this update core enough?
While every day and night bring the same monotony to the rest of us amidst this rising pandemic environment, things seem to be a little more exciting at Google.
The pandemic does not directly handicap the workings of the major search engine as it has done to us – and Google takes proper advantage of this perk. No pandemic, or recession or anything stops it from doing its job – and that is precisely what it did on May fourth, 2020. It was just protocol, having a major update – yet this update was just over-hyped and not as relevant as it was made to seem.
Every year, Google has some updates; records show that it made a whopping 3000+ updates in 2018, which must mean that it had 8+ updates each day- can we keep up?
Every year, Google has these updates – some are regular ones, and some are the more important updates. In 2018, amongst the incredible 3000+ updates, one such update was of significant importance – called the “Medic.”
Coming back to 2020, there have been two updates so far – One In January and one that took place on May fourth.
Now obviously being a core update, it was of major significance because these core updates substantially affect site ranking. Despite this, the response so far has been far from affirmative.
What exactly is a core update? How is it important to Google?
Well, for starters, it brings about some major changes to Google’s algorithm – which means it affects several websites. And these major changes are relevant for sites because while these changes roll-out, the rankings are highly volatile. The sites with better and updated content will rank higher and then ultimately, proudly take home the winner award.
To put it in simple words, rankings can move around a lot during a core update. Now, although there was a major update back in January (when going out was not illegal), the one that happened in May has seen some negative responses from several sources. But a core update is supposed to be important and relevant, not bring about a negative pool of opinion. So what happened to the update, and why are people taking to Twitter to troll Google’s newest update? Does Google plan on retaliating and defending the update?
What are Google May 2020 Core Update facts, and what do we know?
Well, if you would have noticed, your website probably was going through a volatile period sometime between May 4th-6th. This was not there before, obviously, and you might have been able to track it this time – it’s pretty natural during a core update.
But after it got over, you would have noticed that your website seemed to show a fluctuation in rankings because of the volatility, and would also notice that your website’s ranking has either gone up or down. If your website’s ranking has gone up, then Kudos to your hard work, and you would have nothing to complain about – but, if your website ranking dipped dangerously lower than expected, then fret not, you are not alone.
This was the case for many websites.
To the dismay of many e-commerce sites, there were a few top companies that took to the winner’s list. According to famed blogger and entrepreneur Neil Patel, Industries such as travel, real estate, pets and animals, health, etc. were affected by this volatility. Some companies, you normally wouldn’t notice otherwise, showed an unexpected surge in rankings.
Several people found this rather surprising and unexpected. It’s still believable that the health industry took a few hits on the upper side, but what about the others?
That’s not all.
Don’t they matter? Or are they not top-notch enough to get on the list? No one really knows why it happened, because there isn’t an exact reason. However, we are aware and agree that this is not fair. Some people call this update “a carnage,” “a monster,” “heavily flawed,” – seen as trolling on Twitter – and other negative things, and no one could blame them for showing such a blatant display of disdain towards the change.
It is difficult to comprehend that when all the hard work put in towards your business doesn’t work out and, in fact, turns out to be a set of futile exercises, then disappointment prevails. Everyone works hard to attain some objective or success, and should it not be fruitful, then the expected result would be a heartbreak, to say the very least.
Many renowned sites such as Spotify.com, Linkedin, etc. had turned prey to this partial ranking. This led to an outcry, trolling, and reposts on social media – something that is natural when anything scandalous turns up, and this was nothing short of one.
But does this mean that the other companies have to cut their losses and move ahead? Does this mean that these sites will never see the light of top SERPs?
Fortunately, unlike the Coronavirus, there is a cure to this raw deal – you just need to keep updating your content and make it fresh to get back on top. The best interpretation would be to strive to make each piece of content the most holistic resource on the web for the user and the website owner.
But what is the relation between Covid-19 and search results?
Pinterest’s quarantine surge – rightly compared to a typical Christmas bump?
Studies have shown that during the quarantine period and more specifically, during this core update volatility period, sites like Pinterest, Etsy, Amazon, etc. have shown a significant surge in SERPs – one that can be rightly compared to the Christmas season sales, which are at an all-time high every year.
Sources have mentioned that sites like Pinterest and Etsy have been at the top of results during the 2-3 day rolling out. Essentially Pinterest and Etsy are the sources of handmade DIY projects, which several people have started to enjoy. It could be possible that since the pandemic has handicapped our ability and access to the outside world, most of us have resorted to traditional handmade projects at home – it is a beautiful hobby which helps kill some of the boredom and gloom from being locked up at home all day, every day.
Studies and cases have also shown a surge in SERPs involving Pinterest and Etsy, and sometimes Amazon too. There seemed to have been a direct link with Pinterest, where the keyword “handmade” was typed. It’s not that we have something in particular against the sites; it’s just that Google SERPs did not give other companies and businesses a chance to be found on the internet, despite belonging to the same niche as the desired keyword.
However, this was not the only site where Google’s flawed SERPs showed so much partiality.
Spotify, a leading music and streaming service, showed a sharp decline during this two-day roll out. All of us know that Spotify has gradually risen to the top music apps list. It is known to dominate the streaming industry, with first-hand professional expertise always ready to update the content, market, and promote. It is considered number one in most countries; hence domination and authority are clear. However, having an authoritative position could not spare this site from ranking low during the core update.
Linkedin’s Ranking Crash – Did Google adjust its algorithms according to quarantine?
Another example of an unjust ranking was Linkedin. During the 2 day roll with Google’s heavily flawed SERPs, Linkedin was shown to disappear from the list completely. Linkedin – a major communications site where professionals and employees connect and have helped millions of people get jobs matching their requisites – too, could not save itself.
It is agreeable that Linkedin, as an online employment site, had not much of a role to play during this pandemic situation where employment was laid off, retrenched, and forced remote jobs were the trend – but the treatment this site received was not just, and entirely out of proportion.
Linkedin is such a powerful website that the name itself creates a brand loyalty – and yet, it failed to do well during this core update. The ratings had gone so low in the SERPs that it just disappeared from the search results. For many of us, what could be more unfair than that?
This led to a flood of negative opinions, trolls, articles, etc. Although things have stabilized a little after the live rolling out – this question still plays on so many minds. Why did this happen? Why was Google so partial about selected companies? Did these companies not deserve any better?