Google confirmed that a broad core algorithm update simply titled the ‘Google January 2020 Core Update’ is out today. Being a broad core update, the January 2020 core update will impact all search results on a worldwide scale. It’s not an update that targets something specific that webmasters can improve upon, like the “Speed Update.”
Google’s guidance regarding this update remains the same as previous core updates. Google points to this blog post specifically.
About the Update
When explaining how core updates work, my favorite analogy to reference is this one from Google:
“One way to think of how a core update operates is to imagine you made a list of the top 100 movies in 2015. A few years later in 2019, you refresh the list. It’s going to naturally change. Some new and wonderful movies that never existed before will now be candidates for inclusion. You might also reassess some films and realize they deserved a higher place on the list than they had before.”
Let’s break down this analogy. If you ranked your top films a couple of years ago you may have had Goodfellas in the number one slot. For arguments sake let’s say The Irishman was a better film, which came out last year, and now it’s at the number one position. Now Goodfellas has dropped in rankings, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad film.
As Google says: “The list will change, and films previously higher on the list that move down aren’t bad. There are simply more deserving films that are coming before them.”
With that in mind, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with pages that drop in rankings following a core update. They’re just being reassessed against content that has been published since the last update, or content that was previously overlooked.
Widely noticeable effects are to be expected, which may include drops or gains in search rankings, so paying attention to your rankings in the days and weeks to come is paramount.
If your rankings drop, look at what is now ranking ahead of your content and consider how you can provide an even more comprehensive solution for searchers.
For more information about core algorithm updates, see these resources: