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January 2020 Core Update: which sites won, and who remained among the outsiders?


Not even a month has passed since the update of the Google search algorithm – the first in 2020, and we are already ready to share the first observations, results and conclusions.

How it all started

On January 13, the update started, and by January 16, Google announced the completion of the main work on launching the search algorithm update, called the January 2020 Core Update.

Message about January 2020 Core Update

On the official Twitter, Google reported that the tips on how to behave, what to do on the sites, remain the same as described in the article by Danny Sullivan in August 2019
We discussed this article in more detail in our

The update of the main algorithm was preceded by updates of two important documents of the search engine, namely:

What are the results of updating the algorithm?

Already from the first days of the update implementation, on one of the major e-commerce projects, we noticed a significant increase in positions and traffic:

What are the results of updating the algorithm on one of the SPRAVA projects

Our success was not limited to one project. So, among the websites of customers by areas of activity, we noticed positive changes in the following niches:

  • Medicine - this area has been updated the most. We are seeing a positive impact, both on the websites of full-fledged medical centers, and on dentistry, and on the websites of individual doctors. The increase is – + 40-60% of visitors to organic traffic.
  • E-commerce (in our case, this is agro topics);
  • Jurisprudence;
  • Taxi service;
  • Tourism.

As you can see, these are areas that affect areas of people's lives in the context of YMYL (Your Money or Your Life).

In the language of numbers, the impact of updating the main Google algorithm looks like this:

  • before the update, the daily traffic was 280-320 visitors on a weekday;
  • after the update – 640-680 visitors on a weekday..

Result: 116% organic traffic

Indicators of growth of organic traffic to the website of a medical center in a small regional center of Ukraine

Indicators of growth of organic traffic to the website of a medical center in a small regional center of Ukraine

There were also negative experiences. So, among the victims (those whose positions and traffic went into the red), we singled out representatives of two areas:

  • The medicine;
  • tourism.

Although the cases are single, they give us a more complete picture of the factors that mattered most in this update of the algorithms.

What influenced?

So, the top 3 factors that, in our opinion, underlie the January update of the Google algorithm:

  • Mobile version of the site. It is worth noting here that it is not only about the availability of an adaptive version of the site, but also its convenience, quality (including photos), content compliance between PC and mobile is also important.
  • Content quality. Examination and compliance with YMYL requirements. It is important to fully satisfy the intent of users on the requests for which the project is being promoted.
  • User Experience. Here we are talking about Usability, branded traffic and, of course, about the indicator of satisfaction with a particular site (both visually and content).

And despite the fact that the list is small, the amount of work is actually huge and constant. And in order to please you with the results of the updates, we recommend that you work ahead of the curve, and start working on your site right now! Our experts experienced whether in SEO for ecommerce or for specific niches such as real estate agents. If you need help call us.

Tatyana Zhevega

Head of SEO at Sprava Agency

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