Google has confirmed that its January 2020 core update, which began Monday at noon, is now mostly done rolling out as of Thursday morning. Google said on the @searchliaison account “the update is mostly done, though as with any core update, it may take to two weeks to fully complete.”
Google January 2020 core update. This Google search algorithm update was announced on Monday and began rolling out Monday at 12pm ET. The rollout is global and impacting all Google search regions and languages. This update is just about done rolling out but you may see fluctuations throughout the next two weeks, Google said.
Why we care. With any Google algorithm update, it is useful to know when Google has confirmed such an update. Now you now that if you see significant ranking changes for your site or client sites, then you might be able to pinpoint this to a core update.
Google advice on improving your site’s ranking for future core ranking update
Google has posted advice on core updates, Google’s core search ranking algorithmic updates. Google does updates to its core search ranking algorithm every few months or so, the last one was the June core update.
Google’s previous advice was that there is nothing you can do to fix your site if you see a decline in search rankings after a core update. Google doubled-down on that advice in this new blog post, but has added some overall advice that you should focus on your content.
Nothing to fix. Google reiterated there is often nothing to fix on your site after these core updates. “We know those with sites that experience drops will be looking for a fix, and we want to ensure they don’t try to fix the wrong things. Moreover, there might not be anything to fix at all.” Google added, “There’s nothing wrong with pages that may perform less well in a core update.”
So what has changed? The question then is what has changed? What do I need to do to make my site rank better in Google after a core update. Google said what has changed is how its systems assess content overall. Google gave this example on top movie ratings:
“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. The list will change, and films previously higher on the list that move down aren’t bad. There are simply more deserving films that are coming before them,” Google wrote.
What can I do? Google’s latest advice is similar to the advice it gave in 2011 around its Panda algorithm: “We suggest focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward.”
The company offered the following list of questions to consider when evaluating your content:
- Does the content provide original information, reporting, research or analysis?
- Does the content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
- Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
- If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources and instead provide substantial additional value and originality?
- Does the headline and/or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?
- Does the headline and/or page title avoid being exaggerating or shocking in nature?
- Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
- Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
- Does the content present information in a way that makes you want to trust it, such as clear sourcing, evidence of the expertise involved, background about the author or the site that publishes it, such as through links to an author page or a site’s About page?
- If you researched the site producing the content, would you come away with an impression that it is well-trusted or widely-recognized as an authority on its topic?
- Is this content written by an expert or enthusiast who demonstrably knows the topic well?
- Is the content free from easily-verified factual errors?
- Would you feel comfortable trusting this content for issues relating to your money or your life?
Presentation and production questions.
- Is the content free from spelling or stylistic issues?
- Was the content produced well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
- Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
- Does the content have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
- Does content display well for mobile devices when viewed on them?
- Does the content provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
- Does the content seem to be serving the genuine interests of visitors to the site or does it seem to exist solely by someone attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
Quality raters guidelines and EAT. Like many SEOs have said over the past couple of years, you should read the search quality raters guidelines, which has moved locations and focus on the EAT sections. EAT stand for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. “Reading the guidelines may help you assess how your content is doing from an E-A-T perspective and improvements to consider, “Google said.
Why we care. Now we have something we can point to from Google about how to move forward after site was impacted in a negative way after a Google core update.