On 4 May this year, Google started to roll-out its latest broad core update.  Yesterday (18 May), the search engine announced it was complete – and we’re already beginning to see the effects.

Based on what the search community and site owners are reporting, this update is a particularly broad one, and has had a big impact on search rankings.

These global updates, which take place every few months, are not specific to any region, language or category of website. They’re more general changes to Google’s algorithm, which are intended to give searchers the most relevant and useful results. Sometimes, this can affect websites’ search ranking in an unpredictable way.

Previous updates, such as the January 2020 core update, saw websites in ‘Your Money or Your Life’ (YMYL) sectors hit hard. This is a term used by Google for website contact that could directly impact a person’s happiness, health, safety or financial stability. 

YMYL sectors include finance – and yes, accounting is included in that – along with healthcare, law and more. If you saw a drop in your accounting firm’s SEO rankings in January, this is likely to have been the cause.

January’s update was considered a major update among the SEO community, but this one was even bigger. Mordy Oberstein from RankRanger called the update “an absolute monster”, sharing the following chart comparing the core updates from January and May 2020:

Rank Ranger May vs Jan Google SEO update

He went on to say this update appeared to have a wider effect and impact across sectors than the typical Google core updates.

SEMRush, another search engine software provider, confirmed the update made a big impact on SEO. They said it was a stronger update than January and influenced more search engine results pages. By way of example, SEMRush’s sensor tracking tool shows a score of 9.4, whereas January’s update was closer to 8.

SEMRush Ranktool

Helpfully, SEMRush also shared the industries that were most affected by the update, which were travel, real estate, health, pets and animals, and people and society. Unfortunately, finance and accounting don’t come out unscathed – whilst not in the top five, they were number 15 on the impact list.

What’s changed?

At this stage, little is known about the changes that have been made and why sites are seeing dramatic changes in their SEO ranking. 

But conversations across various SEO forums and social media paint a fairly devastating picture, with some reporting a 60% to 75% drop in search rankings. Others, however, have seen a positive outcome, with one user reporting a 15% uplift in their search engine rankings.

What can you do if you’ve been affected?

If you think your accounting firm’s SEO has been impacted by this latest update, all is not lost. There are a few things you can do to get your website ranking again.

While Google doesn’t post specific information about its updates, it does have information on what to do if you think you’ve been affected. This post on Google’s webmaster central blog offers some advice around reassessing your website content following the update.

Alternatively, you can speak to us about your concerns. We can help by running an audit to see how you might have been impacted over the last 30 days, and putting together an SEO recovery plan. Call us on 0117 915 8639, or email us hello@practiceweb.co.uk.

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