On 13th January 2020, Google announced via its Search Liaison Twitter account (@searchliaison) that the first Core Update for 2020 has now gone live. Let’s look at what this update means and how it might affect SEO performance.
As Google explains on its Webmasters blog, Google Core updates are essentially more significant versions of the changes they make every day. The Google algorithm – i.e. the complex calculations which enable the Google Search experience – is an ever-evolving piece of technology, and Core updates are similar to updates we see in software. The aim of a Core update is to ensure that users searching are provided with the most relevant and authoritative results. That said, from the perspective of website owners, it can seem a little frustrating because a site’s position in the search results may change (positively or negatively) seemingly at random.
The January 2020 Core update was announced on January 13th via Twitter and Google has said it will be “rolling out to our various data centers over the coming days”. This means that website owners can expect to see potential changes over the next few days or weeks. Unlike previous updates, such as the so-called “Speed Update”, January’s algorithm change isn’t focused on one specific area of search, so it’s not yet clear what (or who) will be affected. If you notice that your site is negatively affected by a Core update, one good rule of thumb is to check who is now ranking above you and try to ring the changes to learn what you can do to improve your performance.
Google can be somewhat guarded when it comes to its Core updates, so it’s never easy to predict exactly when the next one will be released. In fact, some updates come without any formal release notes at all, relying on third-party websites to detect changes in the algorithm. That said, bigger updates – like the January 2020 Core update – are usually signposted via Google’s official Search Liaison Twitter account.
We hope this article has given you the low-down on January’s Google Core update, but if you have any questions at all about SEO, the algorithm, or anything else, get in touch with the DPOM team today.