Google released an update to its core algorithm in May 2020. Unlike some of its other updates, which had fun names such as Panda or Caffeine, this one doesn’t have a name and is just a Core Update released in May 2020. Some were critical of
Google’s decision to put out an update during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has already caused enough hardship for both people and companies. However, Google’s update may have been urgent in order to address changes in how people search online during the pandemic.
So what is still important in SEO after the May 2020 Core Update?
What Is EAT in SEO?
EAT is still extremely important in SEO. EAT stands for:
The idea is that Google will rank sites that show expertise in their subjects, should be the authority in their field, and should be trusted by other sites.
Many sites that were optimized for EAT found that their rankings dropped, however. Typically, past updates involving EAT have boosted these sites’ rankings. It’s thought that perhaps earlier updates had overemphasized the importance of authority, which gave priority to larger websites with more backlinks, preventing smaller sites that could potentially have high-quality content from competing. If so, this recent update may have leveled the playing field a bit.
EAT is still important and those websites already producing content per EAT guidelines should keep doing what they were already doing, even if their rankings suffered slightly with this latest update.
How Important is Quality in SEO?
Even more important than authority, however, is content quality. Each web page needs to have a strong focus on one subject and contain high-quality content on that subject. Some pages that may have had good content but combined multiple subjects into one page could have sent unclear signals to the algorithm, which would then decrease the rankings for that page.
Quality content has always been important in SEO. High-quality content keeps users engaged and provides a higher-quality user experience. Sites with high-quality content are the ones that will see return visitors and benefit in turn from improved rankings.
How Important Are User Signals in 2020?
The primary purpose of Google’s Core Update in May 2020 was to update its algorithm to better interpret user intentions behind searches. This is why it may have been urgent to release during the coronavirus pandemic: users’ search intent may have changed because of the pandemic. Google’s focus has always been on providing the best possible results for its users and the best possible user experience.
User signals, or UX signals, are important to your rankings and it’s a good idea to pay attention to them. UX signals are user behaviors that can indicate how useful your content and SEO efforts are to users. If you have a high bounce rate, for example, then you’re reaching a lot of users who aren’t staying to read your content because it isn’t exactly what they’re looking for.
With Google better interpreting a user’s search intent, this may benefit both users and websites by better matching users to the right content.