What you should know about Google’s January 2020 core search update

A new core algorithm update is now live!

A new core algorithm update is now live, and it’s simply called the “January 2020 Core Update”.


As it’s a core update it affects all search results, and doesn’t target anything specific like the Panda or Penguin updates did. A core update, normally released several times a year, makes significant but broad changes to their algorithm. The outcome is that search results become more and more relevant to each user, delivering higher quality and authoritative content links.


So, what has changed?

Google has moved to reassure site owners that if their sites are experiencing decreases in rankings or traffic, that there might not be anything wrong with their site. But they do ask that you focus on only offering your users the best possible content, which is what their search algorithms want to deliver to search engine users.

What has changed is the way that Google’s systems now assess site content, and they provide a quick and simple example of how this works.

The liken a Google search core update to a top movies list from a few years ago, let’s say 2015. When you assess that same list in 2019 or 2020, there have obviously been newer and better movies released, so the site needs to be refreshed to be relevant for today’s audience.

This doesn’t mean the older movies that get replaced are bad, there are just others that deserve more attention now.


Should you change your content?

If you’re looking to assess the quality of your content, Google has included a list of questions you can ask yourself to gauge if you’re doing the best you can. Working through those questions, as well as reading other guidelines will help you improve your site content.

Note that if your site does decline in rankings and traffic after this latest core update, your site might not regain its previous power until the next core update even if you make improvements.

Also remember, Google is constantly making changes to their algorithms, and the details on smaller updates are not announced. So, it’s important to keep an eye out to see if there are any fluctuations in site traffic.

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