Google December 2020 Core Update

Google announced the December 2020 Core Update on 03 Dec 2020. The rollout ran through the following week and affected a wide range of domains. It was the third core update of 2020.

The December 2020 Core Update was announced by Google on 3rd December 2020 via a Twitter announcement via the @searchliason account.

Image of the core update tweet from Google

How do I find out if I’m affected by the December 2020 Core Update?

The vast majority of sites will remain unaffected by the change but those that are affected may see major changes. The daily Visibility Index can help to identify changes and you may also see data in Google Search Console. There are some important points to note.

  • Changes in rankings may not be a direct result of the algorithm on your domain, but a reaction due to changes in a closely related competitor domain.
  • Small domains usually have large % changes in the normal course of SERPs updates and Core Update changes may be difficult to spot.
  • There have been many cases where changes have occurred on a website at or around the data of the Core Update. Webmasters should always consider that their site may have been affect by local changes.
  • You can check a domain using the free Google Update Check tool.
Google Update Check tool example.

How big was the Dec 2020 Core Update?

We continuously monitor movements across SERPs and make summary data available for free with our Google Update Radar tool.

The life-cycle of the Dec core update as seen in UK search visibility.

The graph above shows the lifecycle of the core update and its affect on changes in domain visibility during the update. The changes are extensive and have been seen affecting a number of sectors.

What sites did the Dec Core Update affect?

We saw affects across many types of domains but some areas stood out.

Dictionaries and reference sites saw large movements both in losses and gains., and losses in the Dec 2020 Core Update, and losses in the Dec 2020 Core Update, and dictionary sites gained in the Dec 2020 Core Update., and dictionary sites gained in the Dec 2020 Core Update.

News media sites were also affected and almost all of them negatively. The following table lists a selection of UK news media sites affected by the update.

Google Core Update December 2020: News media in UK search 11 Dec)
DomainVI Change (30 Nov to 11 Dec)

What is a Google Core Update?

Google has a long history of core updates. Google implements hundreds, if not thousands of small changes every year but the core updates affect a large number of websites. No detailed information is given on the core update and what it affects apart from the usual (and correct) “create website content that users love”, and advice to pay attention to Google’s Search Quality Raters Guidelines (PDF)