Google Core Update - How To Prepare For Algorithm Changes

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Google had a new update. The Google Core Update in January 2020. The update started on January 14th, and it’s expected to roll out fully to all the data centers within the next 3 to 4 days. 

As with all the recent updates, Google did not provide any specific instructions or guidelines on what to do if you were affected by this update.

As with all the updates, there are three possible scenarios

  1. Get hit – Which means lose traffic and ranking
  2. Neutral – The update did not affect your search performance
  3. Improve – The update benefited your website as a whole or specific pages

Based on what the scenario is for your case, you should be able to take the appropriate actions.

If you got hit, you would need to dig deep into your data. The best data sources are Google Search Console and Google Analytics. What you are trying to do is to collect the pages that were mostly affected by the update. 

Once you have these pages, you will need to use Google search console to check out what’s the status of your pages on Search. In other words, you should be looking for metrics such as impressions, Average position, and clicks.

What you should be looking for is if the traffic loss is caused by a ranking change (dropping positions) or a change in the way the SERPs are presented (New Featured Snippets, Youtube on SERPs, People Also Ask, etc.).

Based on our data, from the thousands of websites that we are monitoring, each update tends to increase the number of Featured snippets, Local Packs, Shopping results, Knowledge Panels, Tops stories, Instant Answer, etc. 

This is Google stealing your clicks by providing straightforward answers to their users straight ahead rather than having them visit your website.

If you still see no significant changes in you’re the SERPs that you are competing into and your Rank Tracker says that you are rankings are tanked, then it’s likely that you got hit from the algorithm.

What you shouldn’t do:

  1. Panic. Stop Panicking; as SEOs, this is something we should be expecting at any moment. This is another challenge for you that will make you stronger in your game.
  2. Disavow or Remove links. By any means, don’t validate Google’s estimations that you have been “building” links by feeding them your links through their disavow system (Which is the data set for the Link Algorithms)
  3. Remove pages, Delete content, or undo recent changes. An algorithm is an algorithm, so your current articles or your current links wouldn’t affect the way that an algorithm evaluates your website.

What you should do instead:

  1. Change the way that you do link building. If you have been actively targeting your money pages, try to target your supporting pages or your homepage now.
  2. Change the way that you are coming up with your anchor texts. Try to use branded or generic anchor texts even if you are targeting your money pages.
  3. Use Correlation analysis to see what’s ranking and why. In other words, you should try to reverse engineer what’s ranking and what’s not. Each update ranks based on specific factors or signals, so you should try to find out what this “newest” update “likes” and give it.
  4. Freshen up your supporting content. Refreshing your supporting content and updating is known to provide quick results. That’s helping by increasing the Topical Relevance of your website regarding its topic.

Patrick Babakhanian


Patrick Babakhanian is a serial entrepreneur with an extensive background in search engine optimization, website development and domain names.

A few years ago he started his first SEO business SERPchampion, providing monthly links to companies that were looking for a traffic boost.

This venture turned out to be successful, leading to an even bigger team and two offices (Netherlands & United States) as well as worldwide reach.

The company has been featured on Social Media Today, Lion Zeal SEO, Neil Patel and YouTube.