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On December 3rd 2020, Google announced the roll out of their December 2020 Core Update:
Later today, we are releasing a broad core algorithm update, as we do several times per year. It is called the December 2020 Core Update. Our guidance about such updates remains as we’ve covered before. Please see this blog post for more about that:https://t.co/e5ZQUAlt0G— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) December 3, 2020
Google has two types of search algorithm updates. Smaller tweaks, which have little to no impact on most websites, and big, sweeping changes that impact a huge number of sites. This one is the latter, hence the “Broad Core” terminology.
Typically, Google releases a Broad Core Algorithm Update about every 3 months. But, just like a lot of things in 2020, that didn’t work out as planned. The last Broad Core updates came in January and May 2020 (arriving on May 4th, it was dubbed the “Star Wars” update. We like to refer to it as, “May the Core be With You”).
The next Broad Core update was originally expected in September. Our SEO specialists did see significant volatility in search engine result pages (SERPs) near the end of September, but Google never released anything official. Many thought that perhaps Google wouldn’t release another algorithm update this year since they tend to avoid releases around holiday shopping season. That turned out not to be the case!
Broad Core Updates can take anywhere from 1-2 weeks to roll out completely. The last one took a full 2 weeks. Your rankings and traffic may experience dramatic dips and spikes during this time. As these metrics stabilize we will be able to determine the full affects of the update. If you experience a major fluctuation in rankings or traffic, we recommend patiently monitoring it for 48 hours and contacting your marketing expert, or contact a Wit SEO specialist!
SEO leaders across industries and specializations are tracking fluctuations in rankings. There’s one thing we know for sure so far: this one is big.
Our team saw the biggest fluctuations on December 4th, the day after the update started to roll out. As of today, December 8th, it’s too soon to know with certainty what the update is and how to optimize for it. Rest assured, the team at Wit is monitoring the roll out closely and if your site is affected we will be working hard to stabilize it however we can.
Google’s advice is pretty broad, and intentionally vague, but in a nutshell they say, “don’t update too much, and focus on content.” We are inclined to agree.
Changing a lot of things on your website all at once during an algorithm update may result in poor indexing of your site and a bad user experience (UX) which will do more harm than good in the long run. If you are concerned about your website during an algorithm update, reach out to Wit or your marketing expert with questions. Don’t start changing things without a plan!
Although Broad Core Updates can shake up a website’s traffic and rankings, an algorithm update is really about one thing: improving Google’s ability to find quality websites and content and serve it to the people who need them.
Think of a search algorithm like a list of The Best 100 Albums of All Time. Every year new albums come out that deserve consideration for that list, and the list needs to be updated. This is basically what Google does with an algorithm update. They shift rankings around and ultimately the best websites (like the best albums) rise to the top.
If you have questions about the recent algorithm update, reach out to a Wit SEO Specialist. We can help you navigate next steps!
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