It was on Dec 3, 2020 that Google announced the release of a broad core update that they named Google December 2020 Core Update. Panic and anxiety followed among marketers and site owners. Dec 17 saw Google saying that the update rollout had finished. Since then there are reports of mostly improved organic traffic across various niches. Read on to understand why relevance is the single most important factor for ranking your content, now more than ever.
What is a Google Core Update?
Each day Google is releasing one or more minor changes with the aim of bettering their search results. Most of these are not noticeable and no steps need to be taken for acclimating to these changes. An update is a collection of noticeable changes where some steps may be recommended to site owners. But a core update is more than that. It generally comes several times a year, with a lot of “significant, broad changes” to the Google “search algorithms and systems”.
What are the changes made in Google December 2020 Core Update?
While Google is very secretive about specific changes rolled out in a core update, these are some of them as declared on Google Search Central:
Structured Data Testing
With the update, bots are now more equipped to understand your page’s content. Ratings and reviews are now more relevant and glitch-free to appear alongside the search results.
Search Console API
- Fresh data filters are updated now to get access to both final data and fresh data that is not yet final through the API.
- News filters are updated that now helps to find news data through the API.
- Sitemaps API now supports domain properties.
API Library Changes
While there’s no changes to how the objects behave, there are package name changes to both Java and Python service-related imports.
Direct Discovery Document
URL for Google APIs has been changed. Also the name and version fields are changed.
What are the meaning of these changes?
Every time Google releases a core update it is usually followed with a lot of panic and confusion among the site owners about how to necessarily revamp their sites. And each time Google answers patiently that as long as you’re producing quality content, you usually don’t have to do a single thing.
Let’s look at what Google is saying in this matter:
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.
What are the things to do now?
Since the link between content and context is the key thing about how Google continues to rank its SERPs, here are the things that you need to do now:
- Provide content that proves your expertise on the covered topic.
- Ensure there are relevant backlinks to and from your content that proves your authoritativeness on the topic.
- Check your content for reliable facts and figures, reports, analysis, research. This proves that your content is trustworthy to Google.
Basically this is also more commonly known as the E-A-T (Expertise-Authoritativeness-Trustworthiness) approach to SEO. In a nutshell, stop writing for the bots and start centering your content more towards the humans who will actually consume it.
Besides, you should also
- Update your old blog posts on a regular basis
- Work on your ‘thin content’
- Conduct a technical SEO audit
Here’s what Google has to advise in order to create more quality content: https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2019/08/core-updates
The sole aim of Google has always been to provide the best experience for its searchers. Each core update till now had been followed by ranking of more relevant content on top of the SERPs. That means this time will be no different and the context of your content should be given topmost priority.
Did you gain or lose traffic due to Google December 2020 Core Update? Please feel free to comment to share your story.