What You Need to Know About Google’s Latest Core Algorithm Update

If you depend on getting traffic to your website from Google, updates to the Google algorithm can be anxious moments. The history of Google algorithm updates is littered with websites that have found themselves on the wrong side of the line, with traffic reduced to a trickle compared to before. So, with that in mind, what can you expect from the latest major Core Algorithm update from Google?

What is the update called?

Rather unimaginatively, Google is calling this update its December 2020 Core Update.

When is the update being rolled out?

Google algorithm updates are usually phased in. The search giant started rolling out this one on 3 December.

Is it unusual to have an algorithm update this significant?

Not at all. Google releases what it calls broad updates to its algorithm multiple times a year. This is the third one to be implemented in 2020 alone.
In fact, for those of us involved in SEO, the time since the last update is a lot longer than we normally anticipate. The last update was in the beginning of May, so we would have expected another long before now. It is likely disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic impacted Google’s update schedule.

What are core algorithm updates?

Core algorithm updates implement larger than normal changes to the way Google’s search algorithm works. We say larger than normal as Google updates its algorithm on an almost daily basis. When it does a core update, though, the impact is felt much deeper and wider, so it makes it known when these updates will occur.

What can you expect from this core update?

The impact from this core update is likely to be similar to those that have been rolled out in the past. In simple terms, some sites will see drops in traffic while other sites will see improvements.
You can also expect to see some movement in traffic, up and down, as the algorithm update settles.

When will the impact be felt?

Rollouts of core algorithm updates usually take a couple of weeks, and the impact, if any, will start to become apparent shortly after as you study your Google Analytics report.

What should you do?

The advice with this update is the same as all other core algorithm updates from Google – focus on creating and publishing high-quality content on your website. This should be an ongoing process where you enhance existing pages, posts, and articles to make them more relevant and useful. You also need to publish fresh, new content.
One of the main measurements you need to use to assess the content on your website is relevancy, i.e., is the content on your site relevant to people who would be searching for the products or services that you offer?
Note the above question on relevancy focuses on the people using the Google search engine, not relevancy in relation to your business. This is an important distinction. In other words, if you are publishing highly relevant content based on what people are searching for, you are likely to see gains from this core algorithm update and those that will come in the future.
If you see drops, the solution is to enhance the content you publish by making more it relevant.