What You Need to Know About the December 2020 Core Update

What You Need to Know About the December 2020 Core Update

Google has launched a new and, hopefully, last core update of the year. The December 2020 Core Update was announced and released last week. The last algorithm core update Google released was back in May of this year. Was the timing of this core update ill-timed? There are obviously winners and losers for this core update, so let’s find out what this core update entails.

December 2020 Core Update

Google Announcement of December 2020 Core Update

As mentioned Google announced the December 2020 core update on December 3 and started rolling it out on December 4. This is the 3rd Core update Google released this year which is released 7 months after the May 2020 Core update. 

Much like with other core updates, the December 2020 Core Update led to some winners and losers in the industry. Especially from December 3 onwards since the SERPs became volatile during those days while the Core Update was actively rolling out. 

Since there have been numerous core updates released since last year, there are numerous resources that can help you deepen your understanding of what core updates entail and how exactly can you “optimize” for them:

SERP volatility

Here are some screenshots of sensors from different tools that show the same conclusion – SERPs were extremely volatile during the initial roll-out of the core update

CognitiveSEO signals

CognitiveSEO Signals SERP Volatility

SEMRush sensor

SEMRush Sensor SERP Volatility

Accuranker grump rating

Accuranker Grump Rating SERP Volatility

The problem with the December 2020 Core Update

Although the December 2020 Core Update has not been full of surprises (yes, traffic spikes and drops are fairly normal during core updates), there were a lot of voices of opposition primarily because of the date when the core update was released. Here are the facts:

  • The core update was released right after Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, which is actually a good thing since none of the currently performing websites were affected during the season of these sales. 
  • The core update was released just before the Christmas season. The problem with this is that a lot of websites are suffering from the effects of the pandemic and are hoping to, at the very least, make some profit during the coming Christmas season. A lot of SMBs are expecting to leverage some of their search success to have made some sales. Additionally, in an old tweet by Matt Cutts during his stay in Google, mentioned that they tend to avoid release major algorithm updates during the holiday season:

Matt Cutts Tweet

Key takeaway

There’s not a lot of things to discuss regarding this core update except for the problematic date of its release. A lot of SMBs are already affected by the pandemic and some of them are even relying on their search presence to stay afloat. Will this core update help them gain success or be a hindrance to their recovery. What can you say about the December 2020 core update? Let me know in the comments below!


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Sean Si

About Sean

is a Filipino motivational speaker and a Leadership Speaker in the Philippines. He is the head honcho and editor-in-chief of SEO Hacker. He does SEO Services for companies in the Philippines and Abroad. Connect with him at Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Check out his new project, Aquascape Philippines.