Google announced on December 3rd 2020 that they would be rolling out a core update.
This latest update came as a last-minute surprise. Google revealed the update via Twitter and that it was to be rolling out the same day. This is the third core update of 2020 following the May 2020 core update.
How to prepare for the December 2020 core update
While there isn’t anything you can do to prepare for this update, Google has given advice in the past. To help webmasters understand potential negative ranking impacts, Google has offered a list of questions you should consider if badly affected by a core update.
However, negative rankings caused by the core update don’t necessarily mean there is anything wrong with your pages. With any update, it’s important to leave some time for your rankings to recover if they have dropped.
Things to consider if you’re negatively affected
If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of being negatively impacted by the update, you should refer to the guide from Google on how to improve your pages. This should help you to better understand what has happened.
All of the questions in the guide, rather unsurprisingly, revolve around content. Most of the prompts are suggesting that webmasters continue to put quality content at the top of their list. Here are a few example questions from Google Search Central:
- “Does the content provide original information, reporting, research or analysis?
- Does the content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
- Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?”
Clearly, this update is continuing to rank original content that serves a user’s search intent above all else. It also seems the algorithm is getting better at understanding rewritten or paraphrased content too.
Aside from general content purpose, the update will also be looking at things like presentation. Here are some more examples from Google Search Central:
- “Is the content free from spelling or stylistic issues?
- Was the content produced well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
- Does content display well for mobile devices when viewed on them?”
By addressing these questions you should save yourself from being potentially negatively affected by future core updates. That’s why it’s so important to be regularly checking Google Search Central to be in the know.
What do SEO’s think of the December 2020 update?
Our Associate Director of Performance Marketing & SEO, Jamie, says that webmasters and SEOs should ensure sites are technically sound,
“Google release several core updates each year and whilst they don’t target specific things such as links or speed, they do cause noticeable ranking fluctuations across the industry. The important message remains the same – ensure that your site is technically as sound as it can be and that the content you are producing is of good quality, timely and relevant.
“Sometimes it can be a case that a site or page was previously under-valued and has now moved up the rankings, which obviously shifts everything a few positions. This might be interpreted as something ‘wrong’ with those affected, but it really is a case of them being outperformed!”
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