The Google Core Update December 2020

Dennis Benjak



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Few site owners and SEO’s expected this, yet Google rolled outa new core updatejust before the end of the year.
Google is (quietly) constantly working on optimizing its algorithms.

Core updates are all updates from Google that bring “major changes” to the algorithm (here: core algorithm) and the rating of websites. The official confirmation for the update came on 03.12.2020 via Twitter.

Google Core Update December 2020

The most important facts at a glance:

  • As of 2020-12-03, the update has been rolled out, but not all of the effects are immediately visible. According to Google, it takes up to two weeks until the results are final. So the deadline is Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020.
  • The Google E-A-T principle also plays an important role in this update. Initially, it was focused in particular on areas such as health, finance or education. One suspects an increased focus on these areas in this core update as well.
  • Pages of flight providers, encyclopedias & e-commerce are affected more than average.
  • In particular, pages with “thin content” or content that is very similar to Wikipedia articles show conspicuously high losses.
  • This update seems to act in a more targeted manner than its predecessors. Often the whole domain is not penalized, but only parts of a page.
  • Here Google provides more important general info about the Core Updates.

In the SEO scene, the reaction afterwards is usually like this:

Google Core Update December 2020

Overview of Google Core Updates 2020

Initial assessment: “Large domains” in your sights?

It is very noticeable that this time many very strong domains, such as Expedia, Amazon and many dictionaries have to note losses – some more, others less.

According to Sistrix’s post, Xing has bspw. the directory of user profiles has gained a lot of visibility, whereas the directory of companies has lost a lot.

A good example of this is that it is not necessarily the whole domain that is affected positively or negatively, but possibly only certain areas of that domain.

Google Core Update December 2020

The winners & losers of the Core Update December 2020

The general losers mainly include sites that “pick up” existing content, copy it or present it in a different form. With regard to dictionaries, Google explains that the user’s search intention plays an essential role and therefore there would be a major change especially in these areas.

What also speaks for a targeted approach: many magazines & newspapers have lost visibility only selectively. What is striking here is that these are rankings that do not fall into the actual subject area of the page.

We took a closer look at Sistrix’s list of winners. If we compare these with our projects, it quickly becomes apparent: Particularly valuable content for Google is that which is not “stolen”, but properly researched and supported with sources. Things like your own analytics, your own content, and the strength of your brand play a major role in this.

Many health sites with their own researched content and no “rewritten copy” logically come out ahead!

Link building also seems to play a role in this. Pages with rehashed content, which is always available to read on page 2-5, in a different form, have extreme ranking losses to note, although they have achieved good rankings so far.
It is therefore not possible to determine whether a page has been negatively or positively affected by the update on the basis of the topic environment alone.

How do I know if my website is affected?

For the time being, you should keep calm and not take any action too quickly, even if perhaps your own site is showing a negative trend in the last few days. That’s because the Google update is still in what’s called “rollout” – meaning the actual impact is still not final and there may still be some changes, at least this week. Nonetheless, in most cases, the trends are clear and confirm them further.So first, check how your visibility has changed overall. The easiest way to check this is with the free tool from Sistrix.

Our tip: look for similar websites (also in scope) and compare the changes of your site with them. If the sites show similar changes, you should go into detail and compare the content and rankings. This way you can gradually rule out what the problem is or identify what you have done wrong.

Google Core Update December 2020

Just enter your domain in the search box and you will get the overview of the visibility changes of the core updates from Google.

Our conclusion

– Google continues to enforce its basic principle (E-A-T) and is more targetedin this update than ever before
. – Not always “complete domains” (incl. subdomains) are affected, but sometimes only certain areas that are not sufficient for one or more claims (such as weak brand and thin content).
– The quality and research of one’s own content plays an increasingly important role. Especially when creating your own content, you should always keep in mind that the “uniqueness and added value of the content is THE most important ranking factor.
– The technical up-to-dateness of the pages also plays a major role, as it is already known that Google will not index “desktop only versions” of websites from 2021 onwards.
– However, this does not refer directly to the update, but is generally a prerequisite for the listing in the Google index in 2021.
– Here again is the general info about the Core Updates from Google.


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