Google's Core December 2020 update

Google’s December 2020 broad core algorithm update started rolling out on December 3rd, and 16 it was complete. We waited several days to let things settle a little in the SERP.

Let’s see what things are actually happening in organic traffic. If you have opened Google Search Console and saw a huge drop in Clicks and Impressions this article for you.

Google’s December 2020 broad core update

We have been super busy analyzing the fallout from Google’s most recent core algorithm update. We spent a ton of time just pouring through the data. As you guys know I maths genius and I did his wizardry on this to get us some really cool numbers.

As part of this analysis, we’re analyzing the performance of around 1000 URLs from the Sistrix US Index. I’m going to get into the details of who are the winners and who are the losers.

Using Netpeak Checker for each domain, I collected the values of the following parameters: Visits Website traffic (Pro), Host Root Domain Whois, Root Domain Indexed URLs Wayback Machine, Host Mobile FCP, Mobile FID, Mobile LCP, Mobile CLS, Desktop FCP, Desktop FID, Desktop LCP, Desktop CLS, Mobile Score, Desktop Score, Is Mobile-Friendly, Status Code, Response Time, Title Length, Description Length, Meta Robots, H1 Length, Content Size, Words – On-Page, Content-Length, Domain Authority Moz, Root Domain Trust Flow – Majestic, Citation Flow – Majestic, External Backlinks Majestic, Referring Domains Majestic.

As you guys know, I’m a fan of AI for SEO. Therefore, we will use machine learning to analyze the consequences of Google’s December 2020 broad core algorithm update.

Based on the values of our dataset, a Deepnets was built.

Deepnets (an optimized version of Deep Neural Networks) are part of a broader family of classification and regression methods based on learning data representations from a wide variety of data types (e.g., numeric, categorical, text, image).

Deepnets’s summary report (fields sorted by Importance):

  • Citation Flow Majestic – 0.3059;
  • Title Length On-Page – 0.2457;
  • Desktop CLS (Origin Summary) Google PageSpeed Insights – 0.08604;
  • Mobile Score Google PageSpeed Insights – 0.05389;
  • Domain Authority Moz – 0.04545;
  • Mobile FCP (Origin Summary) Google PageSpeed Insights – 0.02708;
  • Desktop Score Google PageSpeed Insights – 0.02653;
  • Desktop LCP (Origin Summary) Google PageSpeed Insights – 0.02465;
  • Desktop FCP (Origin Summary) Google PageSpeed Insights – 0.02326;
  • Visits Website traffic (Pro) – 0.02161;
  • Mobile LCP (Origin Summary) Google PageSpeed Insights – 0.02131;
  • Indexed URLs Wayback Machine – 0.01885;
  • External Backlinks Majestic – 0.0177;
  • Words On-Page – 0.01247;
  • Content Size On-Page – 0.01236;
  • Mobile CLS (Origin Summary) Google PageSpeed Insights – 0.01001;
  • Trust Flow Majestic – 0.00791;
  • Response Time On-Page – 0.00777;
  • Content-Length On-Page – 0.00684;
  • Referring Domains Majestic – 0.00547;
  • Description Length On-Page – 0.00513;
  • H1 Length On-Page – 0.00428;
  • Majestic Trust ratio – 0.00425;
  • Mobile FID (Origin Summary) Google PageSpeed Insights – 0.00288;
  • Desktop FID (Origin Summary) Google PageSpeed Insights – 0.00263.

It reports us that the main groups of parameters belong to backlinks and Core Web Vitals.

Using Data Mining, we see the distribution of domains from our sample.

Fig.1

Google December 2020 Core Update.
Losers are hit by Google Penguin. Image credit by Viacheslav Varenia.

Horizontal – DA Moz, vertical – Citation Flow Majestic. Item size – Majestic Trust Ratio value. Losers are blue and Winners are orange. The crosses indicate non-mobile-friendly domains.

As you can see in Figure 1 Losers have Majestic CF up to about 35, DA Moz up to about 30, and they generally have a high Majestic Trust Ratio.

This suggests that such domains (Losers) have a lot of backlinks, but their quality is not the best.

You should do an SEO audit and pay attention to the number of backlinks, and their quality.

Next step, you should open Performance report in Google Search Console and set a new filter. Compare total clicks on your mobile site to clicks on your desktop site.

If the site lost traffic during the December Core Update in most cases you will see a huge drop in mobile search.

So pay attention to mobile Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console as well.

Useful links:

What is Google’s Core December 2020 update about?

As you may see it is about your backlinks profile quality and Core Web Vitals.

Please note that this analysis does not include the impact of content quality.

Share this post if you are interested in SEO and AI.

By John Morris

Researcher and blog writer. #ML, #AI

3 thoughts on “What you need to know about Google’s Core December update”
  1. There’s one thing suprising to me in a summary report, where positions are ordered by importance and google say it’s mobile first, but the desktop factor (“Desktop CLS”) is much higher in the report that the “mobile CLS”. Can you comment on that?

  2. Thanks for your feedback. Yes, this is true. Thus, the indicators in this dataset were distributed in order of importance. I suggest you look at it differently. Looking at the first five or ten metrics, we can certainly split them into two categories. These are Backlinks and CWV.
    This allows you to determine the main directions of the search issues.
    Stay healthy!
    Best wishes!

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