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December 2020 Core Update from Google: observations and first findings


Since the beginning of autumn, many seo-specialists, noticing significant changes in the search results or on their projects, each time assumed that this was the next Google update.

December 2020 Core Update

On December 3, first Danny Sullivan, and then a notification appeared on the official google search twitter - the search engine began to roll out an update to the main algorithm. The official name is December 2020 Core Update.

The duration of the update was this time 13 days (from December 3 to December 16).

During this period, there were several tangible shake-ups in search results. On the projects of our customers, these changes were noticed on December 4 and 10.

Traffic changes during the launch of Google's December 2020 Core Update

As Google experts say and what we notice, even after completing the update of the main algorithm for several weeks, search results are still undergoing changes. This time, we are already ready to show how the changes made were reflected on the websites of our customers and what worked best.

Who got lucky during the Google update in December 2020?

And so, if we talk about niches, then we observe tangible changes in the following:

  • the medicine;
  • sites of B2B;
  • training projects;
  • e-commerce;
  • automotive theme.

But this is not a complete list, as there are sites from very different niches that have won.

For greater clarity of what the projects of our customers received in the context of specific sites, I suggest that you familiarize yourself with the data in the table below.

Here I have collected:

  • dynamics of changes in organic traffic after the update, in comparison with the period before. The data was taken for a week, for objectivity, since different sites are presented, some of which always have a decline on weekends;
  • traffic dynamics compared to the same period last year. This will allow assessing the impact of seasonal fluctuations. In other words, the results of the update will be evaluated more objectively.

In order to maintain the confidentiality of information about our customers, instead of site addresses, niches and geographical affiliation will be registered.

Website (topic+region) Weekly dynamics after the update (in comparison with the previous period) Dynamics in comparison with the previous year
Service stations in Odessa +21% +276%
Plastic surgeon in Zaporozhye +103% +468%
Medical center in Lviv +51% +113%
Online furniture store (Odesa) +20% +34%
Plumbing services in Odesa +165% +347%
Dentistry in Dnipro +56% +441%
Education and immigration in the EU +27% -15%
Printing house (Kyiv, Ukraine) +15% +44%
Year-round hotel in the Carpathians +63% +50%


This is the traffic of the winners looks like:

The result of the work to promote the site with the Right after the Google update 2020
SEO result after google update 2020


But there are also those who did not work properly, for which they were “punished” by Google. We have less than 3% of such projects.

An example of the negative impact of a Google update looks like this:

The negative result of the Google update in December 2020

Subject: Jurisprudence

Result: -12% in weekly organic traffic

The work plan for them is defined by the following steps:

  • for each specific case separately - analyze and understand what became the main and additional factors of the negative impact of the update. To help us will be those projects that have grown;
  • draw up a work plan for correction and improvement;
  • collection of all necessary information;
  • implementing all necessary changes.

What factors contributed to the growth of sites during the Google update?

Perhaps the main questions are what worked best, what to scale more actively on other projects, what factors to pay attention to in the first place.

And here, I won’t say anything new that I haven’t talked about yet, discussing the trends of 2021.

Here are the main things that are reflected in the results of the December 2020 Core Update:

  • Responsive version of the site. Several of our projects that this year replaced sites with adaptive ones, which were already growing, received an additional + 30-50% in organic traffic with the update.
  • E-A-T factors. Pay special attention to what you write on websites; who is the offline support of the business that the site represents (people, your experts); how long ago did you check the relevance of the information provided on the site. All this needs to be kept under control, it is not enough to do it and forget it once.
  • Behavioral factor (external and internal). A convenient site is the final factor in the top three that worked. No matter how useful your site is, if it is not convenient, the user will leave without completing the target action (internal factor). So - will return back to the search (external factor).

We were waiting for an update. We are pleased with the results. And we are ready to scale our results to your e-commerce websites or other projects.

Tatyana Zhevega

Head of SEO at Sprava Agency

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