We live in a fast-paced digital society that’s ever-changing. Ever wondered why? Well, this is thanks to search engine core updates. Google is currently the heavyweight in the search engine market, recording over 88% market share, which, in a traditional sense makes it a monopoly. Google is hands-down the best search engine on the globe and this is partially accomplished by releasing major algorithm updates on a regular basis in order to offer the best results possible to a user’s search query. They have also acknowledged making near-constant updates, over 3,000 in 2019 alone in addition to their major core updates, which we will discuss here.

In the current digital landscape, it’s essential to stay updated with the constant changes Google makes. With the help of the digital marketing experts at EverConvert, you can be sure that your website is able to adapt and evolve at the rapid pace required to experience consistent organic search success. The New Year symbolizes a time for a new beginning, and with this being the start of a new decade/year, Google utilized this opportunity to release their first change to its 2020 algorithm. Google’s January 2020 Core Update was unveiled on Jan 13, 2020, and has mostly been rolled out by now as announced by Google on the 16th of January.

5 Things to Know About the Google January 2020 Core Update

What is a Google core update in the first place? This is when Google changes its core search algorithm to return more useful and relevant results to the end-user. It basically reassesses content as a whole, and nothing in a core update targets specific websites or pages. The alterations will make some under-rated pages perform better, while also causing some previously high ranking pages to experience losses. So it’s not really surprising to see that when a core update comes out, there is much consternation among website owners about what actually happened and when it occurred. Some specifics of the most recent update are:

  • Google announced the roll-out of its 2020 broad core algorithm update on the 13th of January 2020.  It has been documented, in proper authority, that the update was global and not specified to any region, category, or language. It was a free for all.
  • The coming days saw the Google core update being rolled out and implemented in other Google data centers. On the 16th of January, Google said it would be fully functioning in about two weeks.
  • Google has continued its transparent pursuit of an open communication policy for updates that started in the summer of 2019. At that point, Google began to implement a policy of doing a pre-announcement of the updates then later doing a confirmation of the roll-out once it’s live.
  • The effect of the Google January 2020 Core Update has not yet been determined
  • Google also announced an update to its Search Engine Results Page layout for desktops that include favicons (company icons) being displayed in search results. This has been a feature on mobile since May of 2019, but it was added to desktop in the January Core Update.

statement from Google regarding January 2020 core update

Google January Core Update 2020: Analysis

Depending on who you are, the January 2020 Google Core Update could have had a positive, or a negative, impact on your site, and was potentially designed to make corrections or additions to previous updates. It was yet another update where pages with thin and low-quality content got penalized with Google emphasizing in YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) content. With this being the first update of the year, the most logical step to take is understanding the topics and clusters of search queries most affected.

Knowing the tweaks made in the Google algorithm and how it has impacted a website’s content is key if you are to succeed. The update already seems to be making waves, with SEOs reporting major changes with forums like BlackHat World and WebmasterWorld, acknowledging that the first Google Core Update of the year was quite a big one.

As we said, the January Google Core Update was a big one and noticeable in the majority of the categories. By now, the dust on the Google January 2020 Core Update has mostly settled. SearchMetrics shared with us specific examples of some of the big winners and losers of the January 2020 Core update. Though it’s challenging interpreting core updates, some of the key benefactors of this update were:

  • Onhealth.com was a winner during the March 2019 Core update and a loser in September 2019 and was a big-time winner again at the January 2020 Google Core update.
  • For multiple core updates, Draxe.com has been up and down. With the January 2020 update, they got a big win of approximately +83%, offsetting some of their losses in prior core updates.
  • According to SearchMetrics, the big winners of the core update were verywellhealth.com, onhealth.com, esty.com, overstock.com, bigfishgames.com, cargurus.com, addictinggames.com, and health.com.

What Do You Do If You’re Hit With A Core Update?

There are times you may find yourself on the short-end of a core update. Don’t despair. A decline in your ranking doesn’t always mean that there is something wrong with your webpages. Data providers all over agree that this January 2020 core update was a huge one and impacted multiple industry verticals, but the true impact often takes weeks, if not months of data collection and analysis to properly evaluate. You should keep in mind that Google rarely ever (and did not in this case) gives specific advice on what to do if you were negatively impacted. Here’s our advice on how to react to this.

Don’t Change Your Site

By resisting the urge to make immediate changes, you’ll be able to better pinpoint the exact cause of the gains or losses from the core update. If you’re making changes to ‘fix’ your drop in traffic following an algorithm rollout, you won’t know if the changes you made helped, hurt or made no difference. Algorithm updates and the machine learning that takes place immediately following means that in many cases, making immediate changes to try and correct losses can be the worst action a website administrator can take. Just be a bit patient until more time has elapsed.

Track EVERYTHING

You or your business may have a group of key performance indicators (KPIs) that you regularly monitor to check your site’s health, strength, and productivity, but if you experience a major drop, or gain, following a core update, it is time to expand your data collection. To be able to analyze and attempt to determine what led to the changes, you will want to look at more factors than just keywords ranked, average position, or total volume of sessions. Collect as much data as you can from the period before the update, immediately after the changes, and for the next several weeks to a month. Making appropriate corrective action is nearly impossible if you don’t have the data to support it.

Content

This is the backbone of successful websites with the common saying in SEO that “content is king”. While this phrase was first coined by Bill Gates in 1996, long before SEO was even a thing, it remains true to this day, more so than ever before. High-quality content is what will get your site up the rankings. Focus on creating content that users want to read, that is informative, engaging, and visually appealing. Google uses the acronym EAT to illustrate this principle and guide webmasters, meaning the best content shows Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Having great content on your pages is the most foolproof way to improve your Google search results performance and neglecting this core principle will cause you nothing but pain. Regardless of your current ranking, just keep on creating unique, great content on a regular basis, and you will very likely see a boost in your organic traffic.

Contact EverConvert Today to Put Core Updates to Work For You!

If you want your business to succeed in modern times, you have to be aware of new Google updates to stay ahead of the competition. Regardless of the nature of the update, there will always be publishers that gain traffic and others who lose traffic. Aligning yourself with Google’s broader intent, and a skilled digital marketing firm like EverConvert, is the best way to understand what your core audiences want. If your business has been negatively impacted by a core update, take advantage of our free SEO analysis tool to gain insight into the things Google sees, but that you may be unaware of. Contact our firm today to schedule a risk-free consultation with our SEO team, and stop letting Google updates affect your bottom line. Because no matter what Google does;

Sales Cures All!