Google, SEO

Google’s December 2020 Core Update- Reviewed

What is the December 2020 Core Update?

December 2020 Core Update

The Google search engine uses a “core algorithm” to maintain its SERP rankings. We all need to know the impact of this core update in order to stay on top of the game. 

As we know, Google’s algorithms are continually improvised for efficient search results. While some inbuilt filters are already in their query processors, releasing December 2020 core updates is a way to refine the search results and incorporate the latest research and findings into the core ranking algorithms.

So, the websites, which had been playing fair, get positive results while many try to manipulate the search results, and the outcome isn’t very favourable for them.

So, let’s talk about this particular core update in a little more detail.

When was it Rolled Out, and How Long Did it Last?

Google’s December 2020 core update was rolled out worldwide on December 3, 2020, at 1:00 pm ET. It is considered a bigger update than the last significant one rolled out in May of 2020. It was classified as a “broad core update.”

The nice thing about this update is that it fully rolled out in just 24 hours. This is considerably much quicker than the May core update, which started on May 4, 2020, and ended on May 18, 2020. Unfortunately, the timing of this huge update did not sit well for a lot of webmasters, given that the holiday season is fast approaching and it can significantly affect their websites.

The Winners and Losers of the 2020 Algorithm Update

Although it hasn’t been long since the core update rolled out, the shifts are already showing clear winners who benefited from it and losers who lost a deal. Few winning and losing categories for reference:


  • Finance (19.9%)
  • Accounting & Taxes (15.4%)
  • LGBTQ (14.0%)
  • Nutrition & Fitness (13.7)
  • Groceries (13.0) 


  • Natural & Alternative Medicine (-23.5%)
  • Addictions (-13.3%)
  • Senior Care (-7.5%)
  • Dating (-6.6%)
  • Sports (-4.3%)


How to Tell if You are Affected?

All paid subscribers of Ahref can check out the rise and fall of traffic around the update release date. Ahref 2.0 can help you by comparing historical data from the previous month or year or on a customed date range.

Suppose you see a noticeable decline or rise in the main terms driving traffic or affecting pages in general. In that case, this is an indication that the December core update affects you, positively or negatively.

SEMrush can help you scan traffic with its historical data tool if you see changes, whether a rise or fall in the primary traffic page or query. It means that the Google December 2020 core update has definitely affected you.

However, if you don’t have any paid tools, you audit your website using Google’s Search Console and Analytics tool. For Search Console, go to the performance section, check out the data in your previous week or month, then compare if there are drop pages or queries.

The process for using Google Analytics also involves comparing data before and after the first week of December 2020

How is this Update Different from the May 2020 Update?

According to many leading SEO professionals, this is considered more significant than Google’s May 2020 update. Websites reported that some experience declines and gains between 10% to 100% in organic search traffic. So those who missed the May 2020 update, did not spare them. Unlike many updates that affect a particular niche, this one was broad and the impact was quickly noticeable.

Tips on How to Recover from the 2020 December Update

There is no exact fix on how to recover from the 2020 December update. However, Google has provided several tips on what you can do to reverse the update’s negative impact on your website. Here are some of them:

Improve Content

December 2020 Core Update

Although there is no specific way to recover from being negatively impacted by any of the core updates, what’s familiar about the websites affected most of the time is that they require content improvements. Having content on the website that is either copied or thin and doesn’t add any value will surely see a drop most of the time. You may get away from a few updates initially, but eventually, those who do well and deserve will rank better and longer. Therefore, it is always a good idea to invest in original and substantial content in the first place.

Prioritize Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness

Google also emphasized the need for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness in ranking websites. If you have a good website in place but the contact details and address etc., are missing, you miss that authority factor on your website. Such websites are always under the radar and can drop off overnight. If you are not sure how to look into that, maybe get some professional help and hire someone experienced in the domain.


It can be really tragic if your website is hit by algorithmic changes, especially when the holiday season is fast approaching. What’s even more difficult is isolating the exact thing to do to reverse the damage made.

However, by the end of the day, the best thing you can do is step back and see how broad and wide the core update is and how it deals with specific issues. This way, it will be easier for you to identify which part of your website you can improve to recover.