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    Google Update Officially Over

    Google’s May 2020 Update is over. Expressions of dismay because of big brands perceived as ranking in positions one and two across a wide range of keywords.

    Google Search Liaison declared the May 4th, 2020 Google Update officially over on Monday, May 18th. What that means is that the process of rolling out the update around the world is done and the search results should now be stable.

    The response from the search community indicated a perception of problems in Google’s search results.

    Many are expressing a negative sentiment for the May 2020 Core algorithm update.

    Google SearchLiaison

    @searchliaison

    The May 2020 Core Update is now rolling out live. As is typical with these updates, it will typically take about one to two weeks to fully roll out.

    Google SearchLiaison

    @searchliaison

    The May 2020 Core Update rollout is complete.

    374 people are talking about this

    The overwhelming sentiment about this update was  of dissatisfaction.

    This is a typical response:

    Google SearchLiaison

    @searchliaison

    The May 2020 Core Update rollout is complete.

    Rosenstand-SEO@Rosenstand_SEO

    Yup. Complete and flawed as hell.

    See Rosenstand-SEO’s other Tweets

    Complaint of Social Media SERP Domination

    A popular complaint about this update is that sites like Pinterest were clogging up the search engine results pages (SERPs).

    Google SearchLiaison

    @searchliaison

    The May 2020 Core Update rollout is complete.

    Easy Home Bar Plans@HomeBarPlans

    What’s with the Pinterest infusion in this update?

    See Easy Home Bar Plans’s other Tweets

    And here’s another example of someone complaining of too much Pinterst in the SERPs:

    Google SearchLiaison

    @searchliaison

    The May 2020 Core Update rollout is complete.

    Guillermo Ynsfrán@guillermoyns

    So do you realize that there are keywords where basically all results are from Pinterest with different country’s TLDs right.

    See Guillermo Ynsfrán’s other Tweets

    Google SearchLiaison

    @searchliaison

    The May 2020 Core Update rollout is complete.

    Ammad Ali@AmmadAOfficial

    This is Not it is Social media Core Update. Because , , , , , and other Sites are ranking without any content only with Images or just a few lines while websites with High-Quality content are outranked.

    See Ammad Ali’s other Tweets

    Big Brand Winners

    Amazon Double Listings

    Another feedback about this update is that big brands like Amazon were winners.

    Google SearchLiaison

    @searchliaison

    The May 2020 Core Update rollout is complete.

    Roman Sadowski@sadowski_roman

    Search for “fishing game” in uk. Amazon 3 listings, argos 2 listings. This can be new normal?

    See Roman Sadowski’s other Tweets

    Roman Sadowski@sadowski_roman

    Search for “fishing game” in uk. Amazon 3 listings, argos 2 listings. This can be new normal?

    lara craft@shudancegirls

    Same thing. when find for any product always show ebay or amazon only

    See lara craft’s other Tweets

    Roman Sadowski@sadowski_roman

    Search for “fishing game” in uk. Amazon 3 listings, argos 2 listings. This can be new normal?

    Ste Hughes@SteHughes90

    I get 4 amazon results.

    Amazing…

    See Ste Hughes’s other Tweets

    Ste Hughes@SteHughes90

    I get 4 amazon results.

    Amazing…

    Hon. 1st Self Made Trillionaire@YiannisKrinelos

    We get 3-4 for our main kws. We’ve found this changes with each core update. Sometimes we’re above amazon, sometimes we’re below.

    When there are 3-4 amazons listings, we’re often pushed off page 1 which now only has 8 traditional organic listings.

    Google revenue tactic?

    See Hon. 1st Self Made Trillionaire’s other Tweets

    Etsy Double Listings

    Another person tweeted SERPs with double listings from Etsy for the following search phrases

    Google SearchLiaison

    @searchliaison

    The May 2020 Core Update rollout is complete.

    Jeff Benzenberg@jeffbenzenberg

    Hi. With many searches, you are now linking to Etsy twice, with the first two links. Both Etsy pages contain the same content. This is not ideal for google users:https://www.google.com/search?q=custom+pajamas https://www.google.com/search?q=custom+thongs https://www.google.com/search?q=mud+run+shirts 

    Etc Etc Etc

    See Jeff Benzenberg’s other Tweets

    Is the Entity ETSY Associated with Word “Handmade“?

    What’s strange is that Google seems to associate Etsy with the word “handmade” and ranks Etsy for almost anything with the word “handmade” in the keyword phrase.

    It’s as if the entity of Etsy is closely associated with the word handmade.

    A few examples out of many queries dominated by Etsy:

    • handmade fishing flies
    • handmade socks
    • handmade bongos

    Handmade Bongos is a keyword phrase that is dominated by two results from Etsy, two results from eBay, and one each from Pinterest and Amazon.com.

    Could Etsy and eBay Quarantine Bump Affect Google’s Algorithm?

    Google Trends shows that Etsy has received an uptick in searches. Could Google be rewarding Etsy with top SERP positions because it’s what users tend to be satisfied with while in quarantine?

    Screenshot animation of Etsy and eBay Google Trends for the past 90 days

    Amazon is also receiving a lot of quarantine related traffic, close to what is normal for the Christmas season and a seasonal July traffic bump.

    Screenshot of Google Trends graph for Amazon for the period of the last 12 months

    Considering that both Etsy and Amazon are in demand by consumers, could Google be rewarding both of them with more SERP positions because it’s what users are expecting to see?

    CONTINUE READING BELOW

    On the opposite side, gym-related sites took a hit in rankings. Could that be because Google is responding to quarantine related search trends in which searchers don’t want to see gym sites ranking for fitness-related queries?

     

    Did Google Adjust Algorithm for Quarantine?

    TechnologyReview.com, a magazine by MIT published an article about how AI is being disrupted by the extreme changes in human behavior due to the pandemic.

    The article is titled, Our Weird Behavior During the Pandemic is Messing with AI Models.

    Google’s algorithm has AI and machine learning models. If these models are being disrupted by pandemic changes in search behavior, then what Google may have done during this two-week long algorithm update is to make changes in the way Google responds to search behavior.

    According to the article:

    “The ripple effects have…also affected artificial intelligence, causing hiccups for the algorithms that run behind the scenes in inventory management, fraud detection, marketing, and more.

    Machine-learning models trained on normal human behavior are now finding that normal has changed, and some are no longer working as they should.

    Machine-learning models are designed to respond to changes. But most are also fragile; they perform badly when input data differs too much from the data they were trained on. It is a mistake to assume you can set up an AI system and walk away…”

    Unusual Update

    There is something unusual in this update. Many people are feeling it in a way that creates the perception that something is not right with the SERPs.

    The change is manifesting as big brands dominating the top of the search results for certain queries. For other keywords, social media seems to be dominating.

    There seems to be some relation to quarantine related search trends but we’re not sure. It could be a coincidence.

    Until Google publishes something like a general comment on what happened, many publishers and those in the SEO community are going to continue simmering with negative sentiment for Google.

    Should Google roll out a do-over in June?

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