Dealer Teamwork Is Google's May Core Update Impacting Dealerships?

Joe Friedrichsen

Getting Refreshed
Jun 19, 2019
Eden Prairie, MN
First Name
Hi everyone! As many of you already know, Google updated its core algorithm on May 4, 2020. Here's a quick analysis of how the update impacts automotive dealerships.

Add on to this if I missed anything or if you've experienced something not mentioned.

Google released a statement, “We are releasing a broad core alright update, as we do several times per year. It is called the May 2020 Core Update. It will typically take about one to two weeks to roll out fully.”

The May 2020 Core Update is big enough for Google to announce it — which they usually only do when it includes significant items. The last announcement Google made was for the January core update. The chart below shows the search engine result page (SERP) volatility index.

SERP volatility is defined as being tied to the changes in Google SERP positions. These changes are the result of Google algorithm updates. The SERP volatility index shows the magnitude of those changes on a daily basis.

There is a simple take away from most Google algorithm updates. Google continues to focus on quality content factors, brand factors that may include items such as click-through rate (CTR), and large behavioral data sets.

Several large health and medical sites saw significant increases while travel and lifestyle sites were negatively impacted. Some pages may have lost rank if Google determined page content to not be comprehensive or helpful enough.

Automotive related sites and car dealership sites experienced average volatility (4.8/10). Large sites such as Autonation and Carmax saw mild impact and volatility with their rankings. Both sites experienced less than a dozen keywords increasing in rank and even fewer keywords decreasing in rank.

Industries affected with the most volatility,
  • Travel
  • Real estate
  • Health, pets & animals
  • People & society
COVID-19 dynamics may be a factor as search and consumer behavior around these topics have changed. While all industries have been impacted by the virus, these changes appear to involve the content relating to the sites in the non-automotive segments mentioned above.

Other industries have reported losing Google My Business (GMB) reviews or the GMB profile reverting to its original, default status. But, I haven’t seen this happening for car dealers.

The only change I continue to see in the SERPs is with car dealership GMB profile results. This isn’t necessarily new and may only coincide with Google’s May Core update. Dealers are seeing their service and parts profiles showing up in local results before their sales profile.

Possible solutions to fix this issue

  1. Are all of your GMB profiles fully optimized?
  2. Check the names, addresses, and service areas
  3. Check the categories associated with the profile
  4. Are all of the content sections used?
  5. Do your profile photos include separate photos of the dealership and the service or parts department?

Ford, Toyota and Honda are among the most common brands affected, but impacts are not solely limited to these OEMs. There has been speculation that Google is giving preference to “essential” business profiles that are open vs. profiles where hours have been impacted by state shut down rules. Establishing a pattern for these search results has been difficult.
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