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Google on Tablet

First Google core update of 2020 takes place

Google on Tablet

First Google core update of 2020 takes place

Google revealed yesterday that its January 2020 Core Update is now underway, meaning that website owners may notice some fluctuations in their rankings over the coming days.

The announcement was made on Twitter at around 8:00am UK time, with a second tweet following an hour later to confirm that it had gone live.

The search engine makes minor adjustments to its algorithms on an ongoing basis, but only formally announces what it calls its ‘core’ updates. Years ago, these were announced well in advance and their specific aims were outlined, such as combatting ‘black hat’ SEO. They were also give names like Panda or Hummingbird – if not by Google itself, then by industry analysts.

Today, these updates are performed with minimal prior notice, and Google is only naming them after the month in which they take place. The search engine is no longer issuing specific advice for each update either, opting instead to direct webmasters to a general guide to core updates from last August.

The last year has seen core updates take place roughly once every three months, with the last three being in March, June and September. Some SEO experts noted that the September update had a fairly minor effect in comparison to the June one.

At this stage, we can only speculate on what effect this latest update will have, but it’s worth noting that this is the first core update since Google introduced its natural language algorithm BERT during October and November. In the early stages of 2020, “intent research” has been the big buzzword in search, discussed by both Google’s John Mueller and Bing’s Frédéric Dubut, so perhaps this will be the update that sees webmasters rewarded for bearing user intent in mind.

At Engage Web, we share Mueller’s opinion that keyword research will never become irrelevant to SEO, but we welcome the move towards intent displayed by major search engines. Find out how we can help you rank for what your target audience is looking for by speaking to our team today.

John Murray
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