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What we know so far

On December 3rd, Google rolled out their third Core Update for the year. It’s early days so the full extent of the impact remains to be seen.

First Insights:

  • The rollout is not complete – the true impact will be seen over the next 1 to 2 weeks.
  • We can see some clear shifts in rankings in typical areas related to E-A-T and content – music, health, news, and ecommerce – but unlike the other updates, there is no clear pattern yet.
  • Several music-related websites have seen major drops and increases.
  • Several medical and health websites have seen major drops.
  • So far, the rollout is primarily in the US. Countries outside of the US have been less impacted so far – we are monitoring large websites and can’t confirm the same impact as in the US.

2 things you should do

1. Check the impact on your business ASAP with our support.

To help you assess the impact, we’re offering short, obligation-free diagnostics for businesses. Get in touch today to see if your website or industry has been impacted.

2. Watch this space

Bookmark this page and follow our Social Media channels because we’ll continue our analysis and keep this post updated with our insights.

Early Analysis

The data comes from our Research Cloud which offers insights into the visibility of every domain for Desktop and Mobile search engine rankings.

Early Look at Major Drops

A quick glance below and we immediately see that music-related websites are seeing major drops.

We can also see several medical and health websites with major drops. It’s too early to say this is a steady trend. However, the data does show us it might be the case that these two industries will be heavily affected by this Core Update.

 

Domain Visibility Week 48 Visibility
Week 49
Week-on-week Difference Week-on-week Difference % Industry
wsfb.com 301,814 179,096 -122,718 -41% Agriculture
heart-music.com 11,612 7,103 -4,509 -39% Music
cocolate.org 22,005 13,546 -8,459 -38% Ecommerce
soundguys.com 10,840 7,502 -3,338 -31% Music
gearbest.com 16,083 11,488 -4,595 -29% Shopping
thechive.com 64,872 48,504 -16,368 -25% News
medbroadcast.com 27,598 20,747 -6,851 -25% Medical
cloverlyrcis.com 32,384 25,436 -6,948 -21% Lyrics
lyricenter.com 152,196 122,918 -29,278 -19% Lyrics
thesaurus.net 68,765 55,682 -13,083 -19% Dictionary
fmradiofree.com 27,917 22,657 -5,260 -19% Music
peoplepill.com 27,586 22,930 -4,656 -17% People News
biologyonline.com 29,628 24,692 -4,936 -17% Dictionary
carsforsale.com 61,201 51,070 -10,131 -17% Used Cars
complex.com 103,113 86,193 -16,920 -16% Celebrity, Music
publicschoolreview.com 72,804 61,767 -11,037 -15% Schools Directory
magzter.com 99,118 84,455 -14,663 -15% Newsstand
fpnotebook.com 51,954 44,326 -7,628 -15% Medical
teacherspayteachers.com 147,378 126,309 -21,069 -14% Educational
radiostationusa.fm 37,762 32,653 -5,109 -14% Music
aliexpress.com 132,631 115,145 -17,486 -13% Ecommerce
shopper.com 74,272 65,102 -9,170 -12% Voucher
wish.com 83,245 73,485 -9,760 -12% Shopping
helpguide.org 154,751 136,758 -17,993 -12% Health
eventbrite.com 96,992 86,764 -10,228 -11% Events
yellowpages.com 215,807 193,162 -22,645 -10% Yellow Pages
plannedparenthood.org 182,249 163,560 -18,689 -10% Care/Health

Early Look at Major Wins

As seen in the losses, we can see that music-related websites are seeing movement.

Several financial websites have seen positive movement; however, it is still too early to say that this is a definitive trend.

Domain Visibility Week 48 Visibility
Week 49
Week-on-week Difference Week-on-week Difference % Industry
valuepenguin.com 50,139 66,881 16,742 33% Financial
verywellhealth.com 149,904 198,419 48,515 32% Health
celebritynetworth.com 143,923 189,150 45,227 31% News/Gossip
vudu.com 82,634 100,735 18,101 22% Video
songmeaning.com 103,757 125,644 21,887 21% Music
zoominfo.com 132,526 159,370 26,844 20% Company Info
realsimple.com 75,937 88,690 12,753 17% Blog
creditkarma.com 65,101 75,933 10,832 17% Financial
cliffsnotes.com 45,421 52,200 6,779 15% Educational
elle.com 220,236 251,412 31,176 14% News
azquotes.com 45,438 51,107 5,669 12% Quotes
thebalance.com 200,791 225,449 24,658 12% Blog
nolo.com 63,910 71,528 7,618 12% Legal
computerhope.com 103,702 115,334 11,632 11% IT Blog
lyricsmode.com 56,649 62,805 6,156 11% Lyrics
songfacts.com 185,069 200,712 15,643 8% Music
soundcloud.com 479,485 513,837 34,352 7% Music

Job Listing Websites – Some Movement

We have seen several websites having either growth or decline. This could be an early sign that Job Listings websites are a focus of this update.

We can see linkedin.com and monster.com with significant growth and glassdoor.com and indeed.com with significant drops.

Job Listing Website Impact Google December 2020 Core Update

We will continue to analyze this sector to interpret this in more detail and share our findings here over the coming weeks.

Financial Websites – Some Impact Seen

Several financial websites have shown large growth since the update, as we can see below. Creditkarma.com and thebalance.com have seen large growth so far.

Financial Website Impact Google December 2020 Core Update

We will continue to analyze this sector to interpret this in more detail and share our findings here over the coming weeks.

Possible Impact to Stacked Listings

Stacked Listings happen when the same domain ranks multiple times for the same search term. There is speculation that websites previously resulting in Stacked Listings will see a reduction in rankings and traffic as a result of this Core Update.

One example we noticed within the Q&A space was Brainly:

Google Update December 2020: Possible Impact to Stacked Listings

Analysis: Notice the image on the left shows brainly.in in the top three results. But after December 3rd, in the image on the right, we can see brainly.in listed in Position One only and not present in listings further down the page.

This can have a serious impact on traffic for websites in this situation.  We will continue to monitor the impact over the coming weeks.

May 2020 versus December 2020 Core Update

Here we compare websites that had a decrease and increase in rankings in May 2020 to December 2020.

So far, we can see several have experienced a major impact since December 3rd with a few experiencing minor negative drops.

 

May 2020 versus December 2020 Core Update

 

Winners Googe May and December Core Update Comparison

We will continue to update these lists as the rollout continues.

Early Advice from our Experts

Marcus Tober

“It’s clear that this Core Update is still rolling out – better clarity around winners and losers resulting from this update should be visible in the next 1 to 2 weeks.

However, we can already see some clear shifts in rankings in typical areas related to E-A-T and content – music, health, news, and ecommerce – but unlike the other updates, there is no clear pattern yet.

So far, data shows us there hasn’t been a major rollout of the Core Update in Germany and other countries outside of the US yet. We’ll continue to monitor the impact globally over the coming days and weeks.”
Marcus Tober, Searchmetrics Founder


Jordan Koene

“This update is a rather surprising announcement – we are only days into the holiday shopping season and a few weeks from the traditional end of year black-out period during which many technology companies pause operations.

Considering Core Updates have a focus on content and quality it is no surprise this release took place after the US Election. During the Election, many experts suggested that Google favored higher authority websites and limited featured elements such as carousels and rich results. These elements are likely to have changed now that the election is over and the fear of misinformation impacting user judgement is limited.

Over the coming weeks we expect to see more volatility in rankings as Google evaluates the user benefits of these changes. Irrespective of the details of this update, due to the focus of Google on quality content in general, it is critical all marketers and web developers continue maintaining Google’s guidelines around duplicate content. This includes a full understanding of the Quality Rater Guidelines & E-A-T critical used to evaluate content.”

Jorden Koene, Searchmetrics Advisor


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