Google’s December 2020 Core Update


Google’s latest algorithm update has been recording impact since its release on the 3rd of December. Multiple sites recorded the most significant effect of the global core update starting the 4th of December, 2020. The core update released just a few days before the holiday was considered an early Christmas gift to some and harmed others, particularly those who would typically record sales boost towards the holiday.

Google started rolling out its latest core global update about seven months after the last one. According to early results from different search data companies, this newest update is a massive one, bigger than the May 2020 update, which was considered grand.

The update is regarded as a classic global core update in that it lacks specificity to a particular region, language, or website category. Early results from multiple search data companies have indicated the gigantic nature of the update and platforms that have won and lost from the changes compared to the May 2020 update.

Google’s Core Updates

Google periodically releases updates in algorithms, which often impacts the visibility of websites and the SEO community. These updates are usually followed by guidelines that help websites improve their ranking, particularly those who lost from the release of a core update.

Before now, Google would release its core updates every three months, the last three being in September 2019, January 2020, and May 2020. This most recent update has to be the one that has taken the longest time so far before its release. The wait was sure worth it, considering the impressions the update has had since its release, of which many data companies still expect more reactions in the next few weeks.

Data Reports on Google’s Update From Different Companies



According to Rankranger, the December update showed an increment in changes compared to the May update, and these changes were evident in the top three and ten results. RankRanger tracked Google’s top twenty positions and recorded larger fluctuations compared to older updates. The values more than doubled when set side-by-side with its May counterpart.


Results from SEMRush showed that sites felt the update’s impact majorly a day after its release, but Google has said that rollout completion might take a couple of weeks. Early results from data showed that the changes were recorded in different sectors when comparing desktop and mobile search results.

Google december 2020 Update Semrush
Google december 2020 Update Semrush


Data from Sistrix reported dictionaries and encyclopaedias to have suffered the most significant losses, which was not surprising due to the new guidelines for their rating introduced at the last update. We also got a list of winners and losers from Sistrix’s published report.


Early results from SearchMetrics also emphasized the apparent changes recorded in sectors like music, health, news, e-commerce, and finance. The CEO of Searchmetrics, Marcus Tober, believes Google could be releasing the update in multiple folds to test results. They also detected that some winners and losers recorded changes in visibility compared to the May update. There are various sites like Spotify and Twitch that still haven’t recovered from the last update with this new one. The report made wasn’t without recourse to the possibility of visible changes in the coming weeks.

Comparing Reports on Google’s Update From Different Sources

The reports given by different data companies had several intersections. One would, however, notice independent results from each reporting company. This differing result is mostly due to differences in metric systems. Most companies investigated different websites, keywords, and metrics in general, hence the inability to get precisely similar reports from all companies’ data.


Like all previous updates, the impact felt has not been equal across all platforms. The SEO community also had its fair share of effects, with common sites recording a reduction in traffic up to 40% and others with about 150% increase in traffic. Every site severely hit, especially those with consecutive losses would naturally want to correct such patterns. While there might not be so much to do to change results, Google has offered recommendations on how to improve your sites and position correctly for a win with the release of core updates.

However, these core updates may indicate the need for you to take an overall look at your website for complete improvement. If the update has hit you negatively, it is probably time to restructure or re-optimize your site.