Google’s December 2020 Core Algorithm Update

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On December 3,  2020 Google announced that it was applying its new core algorithm update. This marks the third core update of the year. The Google SearchLiaison (@searchliason) tweet confirmed that, by the end of the month, we should have witnessed the full reach of the third core update for 2020.

Early Signs that the Google Core Update Was Impacting SERPs

It was apparent that there was an impact on SERPs. Here is how the Algorithm Trackers detected the impact of the December 2020 Google Core Update.

SEMRush Sensor

The SEMRush Sensor saw a large impact of the Google Core Update on December 3 and 4, 2020.

Graph

MozCast

Initially, the bulk of the impact seemed to arrive on December 3, with MozCast spiking at 112.4°F.

December 2020 Core Update Winners and Losers

Multiple sectors seem to be affected by this core update. In fact, even on December 4, we saw updates happening to “green zone” categories which normally see very little, if any, changes during these core updates.

Industries Which Were Affected Most

The following industries were the most affected during the first two days of the core update:

  • Finance
  • Health
  • Jobs and education
  • Law and government
  • Pets and animals
  • Real estate
  • Travel

The Biggest Winners from the Google Update

Industries that tended to see the biggest upswings were beauty and fitness, business and industrial, and internet and telecom industries.

The sites that saw large positive movement included:

  • brides.com
  • businesswire.com
  • ebay.com
  • linkedin.com
  • nerdwallet.com
  • realtor.com
  • soundcloud.com
  • twitter.com
  • vimeo.com
  • whitepages.com
  • yahoo.com
  • zoominfo.com

The Biggest Losers from the Google Update

Industries which tended to see the biggest drops were online communities, shopping and news industries.

The sites that saw large negative movement included:

  • aliexpress.com
  • dnb.com
  • echovita.com
  • findanyanswer.com
  • gettyimages.com
  • local.com
  • newsbreak.com
  • urbandictionary.com
  • wish.com
  • yellowpages.com

What to Focus on With the New Update

As we have seen in updates in the past, Google is always focusing on delivering the best results at the top. In this last core update, we have seen the following be a major focus of the moved pages both positively and negatively.

Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines and E-A-T

Recently changes have been made to Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines (QRG) they focus on two main areas:

  • YMYL pages and a larger impact that the safety implications can have on the end user. Anti-vax sites and non-mainstream health sites can and have been negatively affected by the update.
  • E-A-T content that answers a user’s intended search best have moved up as well. In many cases, we have seen where People Also Ask results have started to migrate and change, based on specific content on the site.

Link Quality Affected in New Update

We have also seen that particular types of links have started to be given a lower quality of link status for many sites. This is especially true for links garnered through PBNs and scraper sites, which has a major impact on some sites.

Solutions for Those Affected by the New Update

It is important to make sure that all of your pages take into consideration good content processes, and should not merely focus on a single keyword, but need to look at secondary and semantic keywords as well. Pages with larger amounts of content still appear to be doing well, especially those that incorporate strong hierarchy tag applications. Including making sure that users are never “knee deep” in words, but are given content with images in “snackable” packages. This will also be important as Google expands passage delivery in the SERPs.

If you need help dealing with the losses to traffic based on the recent Google algorithm update, please make sure to start a project by submitting for your site to be reviewed by our Performance Marketing team. You will be glad you did. Get in touch.