First things first - What is an algorithm update?
What is an algorithm update you may ask? Well, Google supposedly changes its algorithm thousands of times a year, however these changes are so small that they mostly go unnoticed. But, occasionally they carry out the ‘broad core update’ an update so major that it has a fundamental impact on SEO.
The main purpose behind the Google algorithm update is to reassess and reorder the quality of web pages currently ranking on Google, providing the opportunity for websites that were not placed highly previously to get a boost in their ranking.
However, hand in hand with this comes the inevitability of websites also dropping in their ranking. This reorganisation of these pages aims to ensure optimum user experience by providing them with, according to the algorithm, the most relevant results to their search queries. With a 7 month interval between the Google algorithm updates, the December 2020 update was met with great anticipation.
An overview - Google’s December 2020 Algorithm Update
The long awaited Google algorithm update was eventually released on December 3, and after a hiatus of more than seven months (the last one being May 4), the update was huge! Despite the slightly controversial timing of the update being rolled out - with the upsurge of the pandemic, and with the Christmas shopping season being well underway - it was still welcomed by most.
There were surges and drops across all industries - Business & Industry, Internet & Telecom, along with Beauty & Fitness, were amongst the ‘winners’ of the update. Travel and Real Estate, unsurprisingly, were amid those who suffered. The quality of content and the overuse of ads, seemed to be the prominent reasons behind drops. Additionally external factors, predominantly the impact of the pandemic, also need to be considered when questioning why certain websites benefited or suffered as a result of the broad core update.
What happened as a result of the December 2020 update?
Everyone would agree that 2020, without question, was a year like no other. It undoubtedly had a monumental impact on the digital marketing community and the world of SEO. The update, alongside the impact of the pandemic, forced the SEO community to adapt in order to keep up with the ever changing climate. Google algorithm is based on user behaviour, meaning: as user behaviour changes, so does the algorithm.
Originally, many sites saw an increase in organic traffic, however 3 days after Google rolled out the update they launched the reversal update. So after initial relief, many were left discouraged. As explained by Google’s Gary Illyes, Google’s core ranking algorithm is made up of “millions of baby algorithms working together to output a score”. Highlighting how it’s impossible to identify a singular issue with your website.
What does this update mean for your SEO team?
If you’ve found that your website has dropped in search rankings as a result of the Google algorithm update, it’s easy to panic, but it is important to remember - it doesn't necessarily mean there is something wrong with your page. So with that in mind, try to avoid making any rushed or drastic changes to your website. It’s also important to remember that any recent changes made to your website will not have been reflected in the update.
Consistency is key when it comes to any online presence, so the best advice is to continue to produce high quality and valuable content for your users. Try to identify and fix any existing SEO problems to ensure a smoother user experience. Regarding recovery, this may not occur until the next update, but as the saying goes “patience is a virtue”, so through constant optimisation of your pages, and by focusing and working on your niche, you should be rewarded when the new update comes around.
How can Wriggle marketing help you?
If you’re looking for SEO specialists to help improve your company’s visibility then feel free to contact the team! Because here at Wriggle, we put your brand and your business where the right customers can find you.