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How Google’s Latest Core Update Affected Healthcare Sites

Discover how to optimize your site to be a winner of the latest – and future – Google Core Updates

Google released their latest core algorithm update, the May 2020 Core Update, on May 4th, 2020. For some, the weeks that followed resulted in extremely volatile SERP rankings as the update continued to roll out around the world.

Though Google continuously works to improve their search results based on user intent, the core algorithm updates tend to be larger and more disruptive than any of these other ongoing efforts, which is why they only occur a few times a year. The May 2020 Core Update was especially disruptive, causing the most volatile changes in SERP rankings since 2018.

Many SEO experts and online business owners criticized Google for rolling out the new update in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic – during which search patterns have shifted drastically, which businesses of every size have felt. Many have been dissatisfied with the core update, stating that big brands, like Amazon, and social media platforms – most predominately Pinterest – are now dominating SERP results.

Others have said that the latest core update was an E-A-T (expertise, authority, and trustworthiness) update. This is in line with Google’s recommendations for weathering core update volatility, which focuses on pages providing robust, quality content.

How the May 2020 Core Update Affected Healthcare

This update seems to impact healthcare websites across the board quite differently. Though the healthcare industry appeared to be a “winner” of the core update, the most significant increases tended to be seen in bigger names in the healthcare industry. For example, WebMD saw a 22% increase in their ranking in May, the largest since 2020 began.

Though some Healthcare sites may have experienced large ranking fluxes, overall, our clients experienced no significant changes from the update. Organic search traffic has declined since the spike at the beginning of the pandemic in March. However, the decline appears to be traffic resetting to pre-pandemic totals.

What to Do if You’ve Been Negatively Affected by the May 2020 Core Update

Google is all about finding the “best possible content” to display for searchers. If your traffic has been negatively impacted by the latest update, the first thing you should do is review your content and ask:

  • Is your content answering your audience’s questions?
  • Are you offering quality content that follows SEO best practices?
  • Does your content demonstrate E-A-T?

Improving Your E-A-T

Proving your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness to Google and site visitors is crucial. You can do this by making sure you are producing original, well-honed content that focuses on user intent and user experience.

Using Keywords to Improve SEO

The best way to ensure your focus stays on user intent is to conduct extensive keyword research. Knowing what – and how – people are searching in your treatment area can provide you with the insights you need to enhance the quality of your content and improve SEO.

Need Help Addressing the Core Update?

If you’ve seen a drop in your Google rankings or organic search traffic, don’t hesitate to reach out. Our SEO and content strategy experts are here to help you optimize your efforts around users so Google —  and your visitors — will continue loving your site no matter what the next update brings.

Ally Machala

Digital Marketing Coordinator

How Google’s Latest Core Update Affected Healthcare Sites