Recommended Changes For Google Core Update 2020

Google Core Updates, May 2020

The Impact

The last Google Core Update sent a lot of SEO experts on a run. Many that worked or represent companies in the health industry got a rude awakening that may have taken up to a month to fix. We too have some health clients that felt the impact. We are going to use this article to give you a better idea – and some research to back that up – on what you can do to fix your rankings.

As an example, we are going to use just one of our health clients that has given us approval to show their site as a real-life experience scenario. We are going to cover their names out of respect and disclosure purposes.

After the Fall-Out

After the updates where launched, one of our health industries sites that we manage saw a drastic drop. At first, we thought this shouldn’t have happened. From our understanding, the core update wasn’t a penalty type of update. Rather it was Google making changes to their algorithm to better suite their users and what information they seek. A different way to display their results potentially.

Nonetheless, reality is that it had an effect so we looked towards additional changes that could provide improvements. We used SEMRush in order to find discrepancies between us and our top competitors. Reassessed what and how we were targeting keywords and its content. The image below shows our lowest points. You can see that we hit a visibility of .08% on May 24th 2020. Our client is the green line.

We provide a list of the changes we made.

  • On-Page SEO Strategy
  • Keyword Cannibalization
  • Content Optimization
  • Semantics
  • Technical SEO
  • User Experience

On-Page SEO Strategy & Keyword Cannibalization

Keyword Strategy & Cannibalization is one of the first things we looked at. We noticed that some pages we previously ranked high in, were no longer taking those top positions. We looked at those pages in the website which were ranking or targeting duplicate keyword positions. We separated the keywords to stop cannibalization and changed our content strategy.

We ran a new on page optimization scan with SEMRsuh. Then we took a look at what top competitors had for these same keywords. This was based on reverse engineering what we could learn from our top competitors.

Look at our image example of what something like this could look like in SEMRush.

Keyword Strategy

Content Optimization

We started with our content. We looked at where keyword stuffing could be considered by Google bots even if it reads friendly to the user. We also looked at how we could enrich our content while providing insightful and informative content to the readers.

One category we focused on was laser dentistry. It was a high-ranking word before the core updates and brought in a lot of quality leads that were more likely to convert. A blog article was competing for this keyword as you can see by the image above so we canonicalized that article to the top-level service page for this category.

We optimized a considerable amount of the content as shown on the image below.

Content Optimization Strategies

Our content was optimized in multiple ways. First, we focused on some of the basic steps that are now marked as completed. By this point we had gained considerable ground in our visibility report. You can see these gains in the graph below, between the 20th and the 28th of May 2020. Some of the content optimization done are listed below.

  • No keyword stuffing in the body tag, meta, title and h1 tags.
  • Added target keywords to the meta tag, body, h1 and title tags.
  • Focus on creating more informative content
  • Added a video content through Vimeo for page speed, not YouTube.
SEMRush SEO Visibility Report

Technical SEO

Technical SEO has many uses, all of which contribute to your overall site health and technical SEO standards. Some of the points you need to make sure are completed:

  • Avoid duplicate content (Run a report with Siteliner and SEMRush)
  • Use robots.txt best standards (don’t block pages you need)
  • Use all proper meta tags (YoastSEO can help you with that)
  • Avoid duplicate title tags
  • Add proper schema markup
  • Add internal linking strategies with incoming internal links to each page
Technical SEO and Page Speed

We still had to improve our page speed load time. These are areas you should consider fixing as well. Especially since Google’s mobile first index. I always try to make this a top priority. A bounce rate of 30% or below should be your goal. Your page speed load time should be 3 seconds or less. There’s always a give and take because you still need content, animation and tracking that all causes pages to load slower.

After you make these changes, wait 1 week and see how the visibility trend progresses. Keep a record of each day and find more backlink opportunities, of quality where possible. Think long term relationships when you do your search.

Our Comeback

Almost a month after core updates, you could see that the latest changes were causing increases. This increase alone is due to better or updated content strategy. A strategy focused on using a page to target less keywords, with more efforts focus on those minor keywords. This method helped many more pages increase their position with targeted terms. They started by reaching the top 100 positions on May 20th 2020. It also provided more low hanging fruits that we could apply other strategies too. Like quality outreach for referrals and Backlink opportunities.

SEMRush SEO Visibility Report


By the 29th, we had increases in visibility well over 1.8%, as you can see in the graph above. By this point, we decided to focus on backlink opportunities from quality sites. Along with improving our semantics and enriching our page with more insightful content (Image below). Here are some examples you can use to enrich your content for laser dentistry. With any category, your can find at least a dozen synonyms and key terms or more to improve your copy.

Semantics Content Optimization

This additional work allowed our positions to increase from our lowest peak of .08% to 2.22% visibility in a matter of roughly 25 days.

Feel free to send us a message to our Facebook or Twitter. What else could we provide to make this article clearer, by your understanding. Thank you for reading.

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