google search algorithm core update december 2020

Google Search Algorithm Core Update December 2020 – Google has just announced a core update to its search algorithm. In this article we take a close look at what it means.

You will learn what a Google search algorithm core update is, what its effects are and what you can do if your website has been effected.

Aside from core updates, Google regularly makes changes to its algorithm. If you want to know more, make sure you check my other article:

If your website was hit by the recent Google update and lost rankings, feel free to check our SEO services.

What is a Google Search Algorithm Core Update?

A Google Search Algorithm Core Update is an official update made by Google to the core of its search algorithm (source: developers.google.com):

Several times a year, we make significant, broad changes to our search algorithms and systems. We refer to these as “core updates.” They’re designed to ensure that overall, we’re delivering on our mission to present relevant and authoritative content to searchers. These core updates may also affect Google Discover.

When Was the December Update Rolled Out?

The Update was rolled out on Thursday, December 3rd as officially confirmed by Google with a tweet:

When Was the Last Official Core Update Rolled Out?

The last official core update was rolled out in May 2020 and took nearly two weeks to be completed. Prior to that, Google rolled out a core update in January 2020.

How Google Makes Changes to Search Results

Google doesn’t make changes manually and doesn’t look at individual search queries.

They make algorithmic changes that apply to a broad range of searches.

In brief, the process is the following:

  1. First the team at Google identifies potential areas for improvement
  2. Based on their research, they find solutions to improve the specific problem
  3. After they find the solution, they test it
  4. This is the most important point. In order for the solution to be rolled out, it needs to provide a net positive for a large number of search results
  5. Once that is confirmed, Google launches the algorithmic change

Again from Google’s post (source: developers.google.com):

One way to think of how a core update operates is to imagine you made a list of the top 100 movies in 2015. A few years later in 2019, you refresh the list. It’s going to naturally change. Some new and wonderful movies that never existed before will now be candidates for inclusion. You might also reassess some films and realize they deserved a higher place on the list than they had before.

How to check if your website was affected?

The simplest way to check whether your website rankings were affected is to enter 2-3 relevant keywords in Google and check whether your rankings have changed or not.

You want to look for significant changes in the ranking, drops or spikes. Minor changes in the rankings should be consider as part of the normal volatility in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

If you are working with an agency, they for sure use an SEO tool to keep track of fluctuations in keyword rankings.

What to Do If Your Website Was Affected

If your website lost visibility following a core update, Google recommends to focus on content (source: developers.google.com):

We suggest focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward.

Sources

https://searchengineland.com/google-december-2020-core-update-rolling-out-344333
https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2019/08/core-updates
https://unsplash.com/photos/shr_Xn8S8QU

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