We’re halfway through 2020 (yeah… we can’t believe it either), and a lot of unexpected change has happened already this year. But there was one VERY expected change that happened recently—that’s Google algorithm update.
The May 2020 Core Update followed the January 2020 Core Update. This time around, Google seems to be drilling deeper into what quality content really is and how they can work their algorithm around it. Quality content has been Google’s mission for quite some time now, but a few searches as a Google user can show you that they’re not always hitting the mark.
Cue the algorithm to make mysterious changes we’ll spend the next few months trying to figure out.
Since we don’t have direct intel from the Google SEO team, we’re going to go over these core updates based on what we’re seeing in the SEO world.
Here are the 3 updates marketers need to know about SEO in Q3.
To the SEO bots, these pages have one purpose: create long-form content that ranks for a keyword (ex. Digital marketing, content marketing). The longer the content, the more time people spend reading, the higher our page duration time, and the lower our bounce rate. The Google bots are happy, and we can breathe a sigh of relief.
Even MORE importantly, these pages also have a purpose for our readers. Seeing the high page duration and low bounce rate on these pages is great, because it tells us our readers are liking what they’re reading. We want to use these pillar posts to build brand awareness, create engagement, and turn readers into subscribers so website visitors move through the Customer Value Journey.
We’ll venture to guess this is why these pillar posts are working so well for us right now. As Google keeps honing in on the ever-changing answer to “What IS great content?” we’re just as focused on creating great content for our readers.
Win, win baby.
#2: Quality Is Starting to Outrank Authority
Quality content is cool… what’s even cooler is when quality content outranks similar content from an authority website. This SEO update is exciting for marketers and businesses who geek out on publishing high-quality content. You don’t have to be Forbes or HuffPost to get that first-page ranking anymore… you just need to write something really good (and get a decent amount of traffic to it).
This new update is definitely a viable reason as to why the pillar posts we mentioned above have been doing so well in the search results. Humble brag: they are quality content. Readers love them. Google loves that readers love them. Google ranks them.
We can outrank pages that we used to struggle with before.
The May 2020 Core Update is giving websites with smaller audiences a chance to rank in a way that wasn’t available before. While website authority definitely still exists, it seems like they’re experimenting with giving opportunities to smaller websites.
As long as small websites are willing to put the work into creating better content than what already exists, this update is attempting to level the playing field in hopes of connecting readers with the best content for their search.
#3: High-Quality Backlinks Continue Their Reign
A strategy that seems to have survived SEO update after update is backlinking. In the May 2020 Core Update—we’re still seeing backlinks holding their weight.
This is probably why your inbox still pings with new requests for backlinks and it’s definitely one of the main reasons HEY’s new email platform found such a passionate audience.
Backlinks create a strong link profile… this is SEO talk for all of the links on other websites that link back to your website. A strong link profile has links from high authority websites. A weak link profile doesn’t have a lot of backlinks.
These backlinks are like the customer testimonials you read before buying your fancy coffee machine a few weeks after you realized we weren’t going back to the office anytime soon. It was a 10/10 purchase (because caffeine…) and a huge part of the reason you bought it was because of the awesome reviews.
When Google sees that YOU have a lot of “reviews” (aka backlinks) from other websites to yours, they deem you trustworthy. If other websites are going to be talking about you, and especially if high authority websites are going to shout you out—Google can feel confident that you know your stuff.
While backlinks certainly aren’t a new strategy in SEO, it’s interesting to see them still holding their weight after all these years.
We wish we could say, here’s EXACTLY what Google did in their May 2020 Core Updates, but we haven’t been able to figure out how to spend a spy fly into their SEO office… yet (we’re kidding Google, we swear!!!).
We’ll just consider ourselves lucky that Google lets us know these changes are coming so we can get ready for whatever they throw our way.
And we’re excited to see you taking SEO action alongside us.