December 2020

What happened?

On 3rd December 2020, Google officially rolled out another Core Update. This one, however, was even larger than the previous update in May the same year.

According to Searchmetrics, the same types of websites weren’t affected: “What’s interesting is that some winners and losers from the last Core Update in May have gained or lost visibility, but only a few of them. Spotify and Twitch, who suffered major losses with the last update, have so far not yet shown signs of recovering.”

This is very interesting because the same types of sites are usually affected by a Core Update.

In the graph below from SEMrush, you can see changes (volatility) increasing on 3rd — and even before — while peaking on the 4th. What’s different about this update is that we can see another very high peak again on 18th. Core Updates usually last two weeks anyway seeing as there are so many websites these days, but to witness a second peak is unexpected.

Google December 2020 Core Update Volatility

Action needed

If you have noticed fewer visitors to your site during December then it’s possible the reason is either to do with Christmas or this update.

However, even if you have been impacted by this update, Google says there may not be anything wrong with your website. It’s clear that even though they say that, your competitors have obviously done a better job if you’re slipping down the order.

There are, as always, a few things to think about for your own site: Concentrating on quality, specific content that does a good job of answering relevant questions will do well.

Ranking factors

EAT: Expertise, Authority, and Trust are major factors for showing up on the first and second pages of Google. Consistently concentrating on creating quality content will get you there though — as long as you’ve done your homework on the popular keywords (entering them into Google’s Keyword Planner), stay concise and on-topic, and follow the next two points below.

Search intent: When you find a particular search term where you’d like to appear on the first page, check those that already exist. If they’re all videos, then it’s likely your blog post won’t make the cut.

Fix SEO issues: Google hasn’t got time for sites with issues that are preventing them from providing a good experience to their users. If you haven’t already hooked your site up to Google’s Search Console, then do it immediately!

Winners and losers

Dictionaries and encyclopedias were hit hard after comments from Quality Raters*.
There’s some overlap below but each data provider tracks different metrics, although there are some similarities.



* Quality Raters are thousands of people employed by Google around the world to who are constantly feeding back with information on whether websites have fulfilled their needs.


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