Associate Director, SEO

Google’s Core Algorithm Update

Google announced that it began rolling out a core algorithm update on December 3rd, and was completed on December 16th.

Google made an announcement about its third core algorithm update of 2020, as core updates “typically produce some widely notable effects,” aimed at presenting the most relevant and authoritative content to searchers; Google did not offer guidance on which categories or content types will be impacted by this update. It follows the May 2020 Core Algorithm update that hit many categories across the web, most notably: Travel, Real Estate, Health, Finance, Pets & Animals, and People & Society.

What is the impact of this update?

1. The social December update was much larger than the disruptive May Core Algorithm update, with greater volatility in rankings for top 3 and top 10 search results.

2. While core updates typically impact two or three specific categories, this update has affected rankings and traffic across a wider range of categories, most notably: health, real estate, law & government, travel, and finance.

3. Google continues to emphasize the prioritization of pages and sites by their content and E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness), or page quality..

4. Many sites that were hit from the May Core Algorithm update have seen improvements from the December update.

How does this update affect you?

This update impacts keyword rankings and visibility across Google SERPs, which can result in a change in the amount of organic traffic driven to your website.

While categories with the highest volatility in rankings (health, real estate, law & government, etc.) will be most impacted by this update, it is likely that websites across a wider variety of categories will also see changes in rankings and traffic.

What to consider moving forward

Continue to monitor changes in keyword rankings and traffic across your website. If you observe a negative shift in rankings or traffic, it is important to assess the quality of content across your website by asking these questions:

  • Does the content provide original information, reporting, research or analysis?
  • Does the content provide a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topics?
  • Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?


Please note this update is not the same update as the Page Experience update; the Page Experience update will roll out in May 2021.

Please reach out to Rise to learn how to best create, manage, and optimize the content across your website to maximize organic visibility following this update.



01/12/2021 at 11:58