Starting December 3rd, 2020 we in the SEO world started to notice that Google was rolling out another core update. Google does updates often and those of us that have worked in this space for years know that big updates, like this one, often have winners and losers, and the variables that contribute to those gains and losses are different every time. This is exactly why at Local Blitz, we are consistently testing SEO strategies and engaging in International SEO groups, with some of the best SEO minds in the world!
We work tirelessly to stay on top of these updates, to ensure our clients, and us, win as much as possible when these new algorithm rolls outs happen. When we say win, we mean gain more relevant traffic and when we say lose, we mean the opposite, losing a significant amount of relevant traffic. Key phrase being relevant in both cases.
Enough about what we do though, let’s talk about what seems to have contributed to winners and losers with this most recent Google Core Update in December 2020. While there are a lot different changes with any algorithm update, there are normally some noticeable changes that we track across the numerous websites that we market and manage. It should be noted that, Google doesn’t just say “hey everyone we just released and algorithm update and here is what is contains”. Rather, we look for trends across a variety of different websites and compare notes with other industry professionals, to figure out what happened.
Here is what we surmised from the most recent update:
Optimized Content Wins
One of the major things that we do for clients is optimize content. This is some of the “behind the scenes” work that most clients honestly don’t even know that we do. We often times spend hours optimizing a single piece of content on our clients websites. When we do this, we use comparative data to attempt to give Google what it wants to rank that page of the website.
For instance, if Google is serving certain websites for a keyword that we want to go after for a client, we look at things like how much written content is on that page and also how that page is structured. Some of this we do manually, and some of these we do with the help of tools that some of our partners in the SEO industry have created specifically for this purpose. All this to say, once we get the content structured the way we want we push it back into Google’s index and move on to the next piece of content and do the same thing.
This is a process that never stops with SEO and won’t anytime soon. While there are other things that are equally important, this is one of the most time consuming things that we do as an agency that most clients would never even notice, but is VERY important.
With this very basic understanding of “onpage SEO” and thy types of things we do with content, I wanted to point out that this exact type of work has created many wins with the most recent core update. Clients that had older and optimized content seemed to gain a lot of footing and clients with newer, “thinner” websites, meaning websites without much content, either stayed flat or in some cased lost ground. The good news is that for our clients we already knew this and have been working on optimizing content behind the scenes as long as they have been a client, so they generally have all seen some level of gain as a result of this oftentimes tedious process that we have implemented on their behalf.
Internal Links Help
In addition to the optimization of content, another thing that we consistently look at on client websites is internal linking. Internal linking is simply just a page of a website that has a link to another page on the same website. This internal linking has historically been helpful to get pages to rank higher and that held true with this most recent update.
Pages that had relevant links pointing to them seemed to do better with this update, which is great being as it was already on our radar! We work monthly at a minimum on internal linking for all our client websites in which we are engaged on SEO and it helped this time for sure.
A Good Mix of Follow and No Follow Links was a good thing
When you are putting links on websites there are a variety of ways to do this. One thing that is important is dictating whether they are follow or no follow links. Essentially with follow vs no follow links you are telling a search engine to either pay attention to those links or not. A follow link means, search engine please pay attention to this, whereas a no follow means the opposite.
With this in mind, websites that had a variety of follow and no follow links on their website seemed to win with this most recent update. It the website had all follow links, the update didn’t seem to like that, and likewise too many no follow links. We are not yet sure of the exact mix that was beneficial and it was likely different for every website, but we have surmised that a mix of both was important.
Summary of Google December 2020 Core Update
It should be known that these updates have a variety of different implications, some of which we will likely never know, but these three areas seemed to have been the biggest focus based on the data we have in front of us now. For those in the SEO world or those like us that are working for clients a continued focus on this ongoing will be important to satisfy the most recent update and future updates for Google and other search engines. We hope it helps, or at least helps you understand what is going on with the giant known as Google!
Happy New Year and Happy Optimizing!