Google rolled out a core update on December 3 that is so broad in scope it may rival the massive core update the goliath debuted in May (a mere seven months – and many lifetimes – ago). Googles’ December offerings are sure to reverberate throughout most (if not all) vertical markets, so let’s take a closer look and make sure to contact our digital marketing experts with any questions you may have.
Just the Facts, Ma’am
December’s update was a bit longer in coming than usual, and its most substantial fluctuations (to date) were experienced the day after launch on December 4. While core updates are generally scheduled every three months or so, this one took nearly seven months to materialize. Further, like all core updates before it, December’s is a global update that does not target any one region, language, or category of sites. The expansive time frame involved may account for this update’s breadth. The timing of a rollout of this magnitude has been criticized by many for failing to take the holidays into careful consideration. While Google maintains that the early December date was intended to slip in between Thanksgiving and the December holidays, those businesses for whom December is their bread and butter have serious concerns.
RankRanger Weighs In
The rank wonks at RankRangers know from core updates, and they’ve labeled the December version as major. Consider all of the following highlights:
- Google’s top 3 results saw an uptick of 17% in rank volatility in December over May.
- Google’s average position change more than doubled in December over May.
- When compared across industries (health, retail, finance, and travel), the post-rollout fluctuations are fairly even (with slightly less happening in the travel niche).
The SEMRush crew ranks the December update as a 9.4 – or very high – on its version of the Richter scale (which goes to 10). SEMRush verifies that the biggest punch came on Friday, December 4 and that the following sectors felt it the hardest (in terms of desktop searches):
- Real Estate
In terms of mobile searches, the following sectors took the brunt of the blow:
- Pets and Animals
- Real Estate
SEMRush goes further by separating the winners from the losers in the fallout from the December 2020 core update. Those who benefited most include:
Those who did not include:
Searchmetrics Cautions that Bigger Changes May Be on the Horizon
Searchmetrics confirms that there are already evident shifts in digital rankings where we’d expect to find them after the December update, including E-A-T related areas and the following content areas:
Both Spotify and Twitch suffered some serious damage in the last update, and while they were expected to recover somewhat with December’s update iteration, they have not (to date). One thought is that Google may be employing a carefully calibrated slow release that allows it to analyze the results against the intended effects. Another theory is that the effect of the holiday season on Google’s update was less powerful than it has been in the past. Only time, however, can tell. The winners and losers (so far) according to Searchmetrics include (in the positive camp):
- Verywellhealth (the only major player to completely recover and gain over its May-update losses)
Those who fared less well include:
Last but Not Least: Sistrix
Sistrix also has a thing or two to say – and goes so far as to question whether Google’s core update is an early Christmas present (especially for social media platforms – with the notable exception of Pinterest). One of the major downturns shaken loose by the update was experienced by online dictionaries (predicated by Google’s new quality rater guidelines, which specifically pinpoint the offerings of online dictionaries and encyclopedias). While three major players (lexico.com, wiktionary.com, and dictionary.com) took serious hits, three others (collinsdictionary.com, britanica.com, and merriam-webster.com – all of which made their names in book form) made gains. Said gains are thought to be a counterbalance to the category losses, but they do not reach an equal level of gain.
Not to be outdone, Sistrix also weighed in on the biggest winners and losers. The winners include:
Those in the losing category include:
A Note on Rankings
It’s worth pointing out that each of the above rank experts tracks its own brand of metrics, sites, and keyword sets, which is why their results do not align with one another exactly – although there is overlap.
If You Took a Hit in the 12/2020 Core Update, Call The Web Guys Today
There’s plenty of chatter out there in the ether about what many would characterize as a hardcore core update from Google. If you took a hit in the sweeping changes effected by Google’s December offerings, there’s no need to take it personally. Surviving and thriving online is all about evolving, and these periodic updates are part of that evolution.
The latest update was vast, and pinpointing where to focus your ongoing efforts might feel insurmountable. A better approach may be to take a breath and a step back and to think about your site organically. The digital marketing pros at The Web Guys feel your pain, but we also have the expertise, insight, and tools to help you move forward – by focusing on where you’re hitting your marks and how you can up your overall game. With 2021 on our heels, it’s time to brush off your rankings-related losses and to focus on crafting your business’s brightest future.
Contact us today at (317) 805-4933 for assistance in everything digital marketing related.