Google announced on 12/3 that a new December 2020 Core Update is being launched for its search algorithm.
Google Core Updates are larger changes Google makes to its search algorithm. Historically, Google releases larger core updates for its search algorithm every few months, with the last one being released in May 2020.
Examples of larger core updates include items such as site speed being prioritized as a significant ranking factor.
Because these updates are larger in scale, they can have a strong impact on keyword rankings and organic traffic.
Google aims to confirm core updates because they can produce notable changes and provide webmasters with the opportunity to make the right types of fixes if they experience a positive (or negative) change in organic performance.
Typically core updates do not target specific pages or websites and are designed to improve how Google’s systems assess content. Feel free to check out Google’s guide on core updates, but here are a few actionable items:
If your website was negatively impacted by a core update, you’ll want to check your keyword rankings and organic traffic to see which specific pages experienced losses/gains.
Once you’ve compiled a list of pages, your next step should be doing deep dives to see what elements may have been impacted by the core algorithm update.
A deep dive includes performing a competitor analysis to see what pages Google is now prioritizing in the SERPs for the targeted keywords that your pages had ranked well for.
What do these competitor pages have in common? What are they doing well? What can you emulate from these target pages?
Beyond content updates, you should also look to see what site changes were made pre-algorithm. As an example, your site may have undergone a design refresh, which impacted site speed or overall crawl depth which can negatively impact your SEO.
Depending on the changes that were made, this can give you clues as to what the core update targeted and an action plan to help fix these issues and get your site back on track to rank well organically.