Google – the search engine giant, has a long history of search index changes and algorithm updates. Mostly these are minor updates and often go unnoticed. But at times, the search engine rolls out major changes that may influence the SERPs. 2020 was a year that saw a broad range of algorithm launches, refreshes, and updates. Check out the major Google SEO updates 2020 you should keep an eye on to devise an effective SEO strategy.
January 2020 Core Update
On January 13, 2020, Danny Sullivan announced a major algorithm update. This sent out apprehensions regarding how it can affect the SERPs. Being a broad Google update, it did impact the search engine results globally. The temperature was soaring and therefore seven categories touched 100°F and more on January 14, 2020. These are:
- - Health
- - Family & Community
- - Beauty & Personal Care
- - Finance
- - Internet & Telecom
- - Vehicles
- - Law & Government
Google confirmed that the core update and subsequent impact on search engine results do not indicate there is something wrong with the site or it is being penalized. Instead, changes in search engine rankings after a core update reflect “content relevancy.” In other words, if the content gains relevance since the last update, it will achieve a higher ranking and vice versa. As such, there ought to be some drops and gains in SERP rankings, Google confirmed.
Having said that, the impact of the January 2020 core update on SERP has been significant. However, there are some clear winners and losers as Moz emphasizes in its study. What’s more important is to monitor your rankings in the days to come and consider how to improve your SEO strategy.
Featured Snippet Deduplication
Immediately after the January 2020 core update, Google released its Featured Snippet Deduplication change on January 22, 2020. However, as per this Google update, web pages with featured snippets will no longer appear twice in Page 1 organic listings. Quoting Danny Sullivan’s tweet,
“If a web page listing is elevated into the featured snippet position, we no longer repeat the listing in the search results. This declutters the results & helps users locate relevant information more easily. Featured snippets count as one of the ten web page listings we show.”
As a result of this change, webpages that earlier appeared in Google’s featured snippet position on Page 1 had their rankings pushed back to Page 2. However, Sullivan stated that if you lose a featured snippet after this SEO change has been made, deduplication ends. In addition, your website ranking will automatically come back to Page 1 as an organic result below the new featured snippet.
But this isn’t 100% definitive. Above all, according to Moz, the Featured Snippet Deduplicating feature had major implications for organic CTR and rank-tracking.
May 2020 Core Update – One of the Major Google SEO Updates 2020
On May 4, 2020, Google announced another broad Core Update, the second of its kind in the year. This caused radical flux in search engine rankings from May 4-6, with the temperature soaring at 113°. As measured on MozCast, it is the 2nd highest Core Update after Google’s August 2018 “Medic” update.
According to Google, there is no way you can fix your website if its search engine ranking has been negatively impacted due to the Core Update. “There’s nothing wrong with pages that may perform less well in a core update,” added Google.
In addition, the search engine giant advised how to make your site rank better in Google after a Core Update – “We suggest focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward.” They offered a list of questions that you can consider to evaluate your website content. Check these out at Search Engine Land.
December Google SEO Updates 2020 Core Update
In between May 2020 Core Update and this one, Google released several bug fixes with no major impact on SEO. And then announced the third Core Update of the year on December 3, 2020. It substantially impacted rankings on December 3rd with MozCast hitting 112°F. Despite the changes in SERPs, some websites reported a reversal in their page rankings after a few days, but this wasn’t definitive.
Hopefully, Google SEO updates 2020 will continue to have its impact on SERPs in 2021 until we see another major Core Update. To address the challenges as a result of these updates, it is recommended to hire professional SEO services that can help optimize your strategy and improve your rankings post algorithm updates.