According to a recent post on SEO Roundtable as well as many different online platforms,  Google has officially it’s latest core update known as the January 2020 Core Update. Read our quick summary of the news:

Google are always evolving the way it functions in order to serve users the best and most authoritative content in the most efficient way possible. The January 2020 core update seems to be continuing that focus and objective, just with more advanced aspects and technology.

In the official Google Webmasters Blog, Google state that as long as your pages do not violate their webmaster guidelines or are subject to any kind of manual action, you do not need to worry too much but rather focus on great content and ensuring your website gives the best user experience.

Snippet from Google’s Webmaster Blog:

‘There’s nothing wrong with pages that may perform less well in a core update. They haven’t violated our webmaster guidelines nor been subjected to a manual or algorithmic action, as can happen to pages that do violate those guidelines. In fact, there’s nothing in a core update that changes are about improving how our systems assess content overall. These changes may cause some pages that were previously under-rewarded to do better’.

WARNING: Your site may feel a knock with this update

According to the same article, Google can confirm that with a broad core update, they typically do produce some kind of noticeable impact or effect on websites which can be either good or bad. It all seems to depend on the quality of your site and various tick boxes which are checked in terms of compliance. I have heard many SEO‘s on chats around the world stating that they have seen drastic drops in traffic as well as a decrease in the number of times Google is crawling and indexing their site.

It is important to note that within a broad core update, there is nothing which targets specific sites or pages or even sections of your website, it is an overall update to how the engines can find, understand and serve content overall.

If this is the case, why don’t we just continue to try to be the best at what we do and consistently work and being better and improving our results? The latter is how I am handling the new update. Granted, I do still have quite a few client websites to audit so I may be speaking to soon! Matt Cutts once said, ‘it is easier to be real than to fake being real’. So in my mind, onward and upward.

In a section of the press release, Google simply says:

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.

I don’t find that helpful at all, to be honest. However, what I do take away from that statement is that as long as you are following Google’s guidelines, providing a great user experience and not taking part in any dodgy SEO practices aimed at manipulating the search rankings then you should be fine.

If you do take a bit of a knock in a negative way, I would suggest the following:

    • Take a deep breath, you are not alone
    • Let your team or your client know (honesty is the best policy! You could even send out a quick email to all your clients stating that there has been a core update etc, and if they want more info they can read it for themselves)
    • Analyse your site in both Search Console and Google Analytics and document your findings
    • Use this really good Google penalty checker tool called Fruition (I am not sure how fast they update their system but its a great tool)
    • Review crawl rate, crawl budget, live accessibility and indexing
    • Document keyword rankings and compare these to the previous week
    • Document backlink profile and compare this to the previous week too
    • Analyse your competitor websites and industry-related sites to see if it is indeed a natural fluctuation within your niche or if it is only hitting you
    • Run a full SEO audit across your website to identify any issues or opportunities for improvement
    • Reach out for help, ask questions and talk about it with other online forums, Slack channels or SEO groups

There have been quite a few times where I have reached out to my peers with a question or an issue which I can’t figure out. Most of the time, you will find that people are very keen to help and that they have faced something similar or, better yet, are going through the same thing and you guys can work your way through it.

I highly suggest checking out the Traffic Think Tank which is a membership-based platform shared with thousands of brilliant SEO‘d and digital gurus around the world. I have learned more from these guys than I ever did doing online courses or traditional marketing courses.