Google announced it is rolling out a new core update, the December 2020 core update. This is the third core update of the 2020 year, the first one was the January 2020 core update and the second one was May 2020 core update.
Historically, Google has released a core Google algorithm update every few months or so. It has been just about seven months since the May 2020 core update, which took place on May 4, 2020. So this one took a lot longer than previous updates to roll out.
The announcement. Here is Google’s tweet announcing it, where Google said “later today, we are releasing a broad core algorithm update, as we do several times per year. It is called the December 2020 Core Update.”
Roll out started at 1pm ET. Google has updated us that Google has begun rolling out this December 2020 core update at around 1pm ET, which is two and a half hours after Google said it would roll out.
Google said “the December 2020 Core Update is now rolling out live. As is typical with these updates, it will typically take about one to two weeks to fully roll out.”
Previous updates. The most recent previous core update was the May 2020 core update, that update was big and broad and took a couple of weeks to fully roll out. Before that was the January 2020 core update, we had some analysis on that update over here. The one prior to that was the September 2019 core update. That update felt weaker to many SEOs and webmasters, as many said it didn’t have as big of an impact as previous core updates. Google also released an update in November, but that one was specific to local rankings. You can read more about past Google updates over here.
What to do if you are hit. Google has given advice on what to consider if you are negatively impacted by a core update in the past. There aren’t specific actions to take to recover, and in fact, a negative rankings impact may not signal anything is wrong with your pages. However, Google has offered a list of questions to consider if your site is hit by a core update. Google did say you can see a bit of a recovery between core updates but the biggest change you would see would be after another core update.
Why we care. Whenever Google updates its search ranking algorithms, it means that your site can do better or worse in the search results. Knowing when Google makes these updates gives us something to point to in order to understand if it was something you changed on your web site or something Google changed with its ranking algorithm. Today, we know Google will be releasing a core ranking update, so keep an eye on your analytics and rankings.