Google Starts the Decade With New Core Update

author image Written by: Rob May           Categories - In The News

Google Releases January 2020 Core Update and Says to Expect an Effect on Rankings

Google’s at it again. This time, with a new broad core algorithm update to jumpstart the decade. Not much is currently known about the update, except for the fact that it’s being called the ‘January 2020 Core Update’ and has started rolling out today. However, being that it is a broad core update, this will have an impact on all search results across the globe, but will not target anything specific that webmasters can improve on.

Google’s Advice

It must be Groundhog Day, because surprise, surprise – Google has offered up the same advice it usually does with similar updates. 

This time, though, Google specifically pointed to a blog post published to its webmaster blog back in August 2019, which stated:

“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.”

So, what does all this mean in terms of page rankings? Let’s look at it this way: For years, your favourite movie has been Man On Fire with Denzel Washington. But years later, you’re on a bit of a Quentin Tarantino kick and really into Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. All of a sudden, Man On Fire is no longer your #1 pick.  But just because it’s no longer your favourite film, doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie that you no longer enjoy.  Well, the same goes for web pages. Just because certain sites see a drop in rankings after a core update, doesn’t necessarily mean there’s an issue that needs fixing. They’re just being re-evaluated, taking into consideration any newer content that has been published since the last update, or content that had been overlooked. Therefore, there isn’t really much you can do except pay close attention to your rankings and look out for any dips or increases. And if you still feel compelled to take action after noticing any drops in rankings, Google recommends focusing on improving your content.

“…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,” says Google.

So, that’s about it. Besides following the same old tried and true advice, the best thing you can do is sit tight and keep an eye on rankings. 

Rob May

Small Google Algorithm Update Rolled Our October 26


Chatter within the SEO community might be limited, but if the tracking tools are any indication, it appears that a small Google algorithm update rolled out around October 26th. 

Search Engine Round Table is reporting that most tracking tools showed a great amount of volatility on or around October 26th, essentially confirming that some kind of update did take place.

And while chatter in the forums has been minimal, there were some complaints of ranking shifts in Google Search made over on WebmasterWorld.

Here are some of the top comments:

“We are having one of the most volatile months in terms of (unannounced) updates and serp fluctuations but one of the least active monthly threads.”

“For the past few days, new posts are not getting indexed, GSC is showing Discovered, but not indexed. sad It’s a 5-year-old website with 1M impressions daily(100K organic traffic). Unique content, +1K words, but still…not indexed. SAD!”

“No, high authority websites were never downranked in my niche until very recently, hence the major shuffle remark.”

Here’s what some of the tracking tools are showing:


Semrush tracking tool

Cognitive SEO:

Cognitive SEO tracking tool


SERP Metrics 

Nothing too crazy going on, but it’s clear that some kind of small update rolled out this week.

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Data Reveals That Google Search Results Have Been 68% More Volatile in 2021


Considering how many algorithm updates have been rolling out these past few weeks, we’re not surprised to report that Google Search results were 68% more volatile on desktop and 85% more volatile on mobile this year, according to Semrush data.

The data was published this week by Semrush’s head of communications, Mordy Oberstein.To get these results, Semrush looked at data between January 2021 through October 2021. In this context, high volatility translates to a score of five out of ten through eight out of ten on the Semrush Sensor tool.

Breaking down the data even further, Oberstein explained on Twitter that over 50% of the days in 2021showed above normal levels of volatility on desktop and mobile. Pretty wild, right?

In the end, these insights only confirm what we’ve been reporting all along – something is going on over at Google this year causing high levels of volatility. And while it may not be the best idea to obsess over every little ranking dip, it’s important to remain informed and know that this isn’t an isolated issue that only you are experiencing.

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