Several times each year, Google makes broad updates to its search algorithm. Google made such an update yesterday, and called it the December 2020 Core Update, because it’s a core algorithm update made in December 2020.
Click through to find a complete answer. Broadly, Google’s algorithm is a set of hundreds of rules its search engine follows to find the best possible result for people using Google.com to find answers. You can imagine it asking itself, “How’s the spelling? Are there too many intrusive ads? Are there facts, and if so are they real?” at incredible speed before choosing to show the website to the searcher.
Or, more accurately, doing so in its downtime and ranking the website to speed up its response to the searcher.
Core updates are broad changes in the algorithm, not specific small changes. These changes will affect the rankings of many websites.
The first question to ask
Your first question when you consider a core algorithm update should be this:
Does your website provide fresh, valuable content to your target audience on a regular basis?
You will never be penalized for this by Google. If you can honestly answer “Yes” to the question, you can relax.
Google says it like this:
As explained, pages that drop after a core update don’t have anything wrong to fix. This said, we understand those who do less well after a core update change may still feel they need to do something. We suggest focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward.
It still makes sense to check your rankings and see whether you can get any sense of whether or how they have changed. In the next week or two, you should check your analytics and see whether you have lost or gained traffic since the update took place.
It doesn’t make sense to panic. If your sales fall, you should examine all the things you normally would examine, rather than jumping to the conclusion that Google caused that.
Some more questions
The Google link above lists a lot of sensible questions you can ask yourself if your website doesn’t do well in the core update.
We have seen websites that have traffic apparently falling off a cliff directly after a core algorithm update. This has never happened to a website we were taking care of at the time, but people have come to us for help after it happens. You really can’t miss it.
This doesn’t mean that Google has done something wrong. It means that it’s time to ask yourself some searching questions, like
- Have you been relying on SEO tricks instead of producing good, useful content?
- Have you been copying or spinning other website’s content?
- Is your content good quality?
- Have you been ignoring your website?
- Is your website technically outdated?
- Does your website provide a good experience for visitors?
If you’re not happy with your answers, we can help.