Google’s January 2020 Core Algorithm Update: What You Need to Know for SEO

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Google pre-announced a core update in mid-January 2020, as is becoming tradition.

Before this update, the last core update was the September 2019 core update.

What is Google’s advice? It all comes down to content and ensuring you are giving your audience the content they want.

Google’s advice remains the same:

There’s nothing wrong with pages that may perform less well in a core update. They haven’t violated our webmaster guidelines nor been subjected to a manual or algorithmic action, as can happen to pages that do violate those guidelines. In fact, there’s nothing in a core update that targets specific pages or sites. Instead, the changes are about improving how our systems assess content overall. These changes may cause some pages that were previously under-rewarded to do better.

One way to think of how a core update operates is to imagine you made a list of the top 100 movies in 2015. A few years later in 2019, you refresh the list. It’s going to naturally change. Some new and wonderful movies that never existed before will now be candidates for inclusion. You might also reassess some films and realize they deserved a higher place on the list than they had before.

The list will change, and films previously higher on the list that move down aren’t bad. There are simply more deserving films that are coming before them.

As explained, pages that drop after a core update don’t have anything wrong to fix. This said, we understand those who do less well after a core update change may still feel they need to do something. We suggest focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward.

So far, it seems like web pages dedicated to money and your life (often referred to as Your Money, Your Life or YMNL) have been hit.

Health and finance have also been hit, with a lot of movement within the SERPs.

Overall, it appears that the core update was a very large update, but its impact is not specific. It has changed things across the board for many industries and niches, and has affects lots of ranking positions.

It’s worthwhile taking a look at your rankings, your organic traffic and your overall website performance since the middle of January to see how it has affected your site or specific types of content.