January 2020 Core Update – Everything We Know So Far


Google has announced a new Broad Core Algorithm Update which rolled out on the 13th January 2020. The simply titled ‘January 2020 Core Update’ will impact all search results on a worldwide scale.

Quick Introduction

What most of us don’t know is that Google makes hundreds of algorithm changes per year, and often more than one per day. Many of the algorithms we hear of, such as Penguin, Panda and Possum are implemented to address specific faults or issues in Google algorithms. With these more popular updates, Google has informed us what they were trying to achieve/prevent, enabling us to amend and update our sites to ensure they complied with the new guidelines.

Core updates are slightly different. The way that we, here at Verto, understand it is that Core Updates are tweaks or changes to the main algorithm itself. The number of ranking factors varies from SEO blog to SEO blog, but we can all agree that there are between 200 to 500 different factors that affect your site’s ranking. Core Updates tend to look at the importance and order of the various factors, leading to a change in a site's ranking, the change, however, would be a combination of things and not due to one specific factor or cause.

What do we know so far?

This Core Update is not targeting any specific ranking factor, spam tactic or type of website.

There is not one thing to address or change if your site is losing rankings.

As Google continues to focus more on the user’s experience, great content remains the key to improving performance.

As can be expected with any update, some website may react positively to the algorithm changes, while others see a decrease in performance on search engines. Additionally, many websites won’t see a change at all. No update will ever permanently devalue your website and therefore it’s important to look out for patterns and adapt your tactics accordingly.

Previous Google Updates         

BERT Update: This update was announced towards the end of October 2019. Google uses BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) models to better understand search queries.

Broad Core Algorithm Update: Announced at the end of September, this broad core update didn’t come with any explanation of what would be targeted.

June 2019 Core Update: As this is a Core Update, Google tells us that there is nothing specific to fix as Core Updates encompass a broad range of factors.

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