Google rolled out a Broad Core Algorithm Update, on Dec. 3 known as “Dec 2020 Core Update”. This is the third Core Update of the year after the First January Update and Second Update in May 2020.

Here is Google’s tweet announcing it, where the tweet said

“Later today, we are releasing a broad core algorithm update, as we do several times per year. It is called the December 2020 Core Update. Our guidance about such updates remains as we’ve covered before. Please see this blog post for more about that:”

Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) December 3, 2020

It is too early now to predict the full impact of the Dec 2020 Core update. Though from Dec 4th onwards many webmasters reported they saw 30% – 50% percent fluctuation in the ranking. It is recommended not to react quickly and wait for the full update to roll out which usually takes 1-2 weeks.

What is December 2020 Core Update?

Every time an update is made, Google reassesses that the SERP rating of websites is built on Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness (E-A-T). Google has previously announced that major core algorithm updates are intended to reassess the content quality of pages currently ranked on Google.

Thin Content and Unsupported Backings won’t work anymore

Keyword stuffing and backing up the content with poor backlink source for the sake of getting it on your website are long gone. These practices are going to further penalize the site and demote the ranking.

Thin content that is short, poor quality and does not cover the topic extensively are going to see a decrease in SERP ranking. Authority in-depth contextual content is going to come on top of the search results. The value of high-quality writing and in-depth knowledge of industry is more critical than ever.

It appears that while back-linking is still an important part of Google’s algorithms for SERP outcomes, content that is sustained just by backlinks went down greatly after the May 2020 Core Update and is expected to continue in this December too.

Google Algorithm update can also recognise if the content supported by the links are of poor quality or doesn’t match with the text. On the other hand, rich content with proper backlinks practice and better user experience are going to see a jump in ranking.

Highlights of the Dec 2020 Core Update

  • Adhere to the standards of Expertise, Authority, and also Trustworthiness (E.A.T.)
  • The update is more content-oriented and focuses on the quality of the content.
  • The update results in dropping of keyword, loss of traffic, loss of rich snippets and the overall global ranking
  • Fluctuation in ranking positions can be noticed for search queries globally.
  • The update improves contextual outcomes for search queries.
  • There is no fix for websites that were affected by Google update, however, to enhance the content quality.

Checklist to Identify Effects of Google Dec 2020 Core Update

Have you noticed a sudden and drastic drop in Google rankings since the rollout of Google’s December core algorithm update? Algorithm updates are not always the reason behind the organic traffic loss. To adhere this issue one must look the below factors:

  • Is it a specific page or the complete website that lost the traffic?
  • Is the traffic loss limited to only new visitors or it affected the previous traffic also?
  • Were any major changes done on your website?
  • Are your pages displaying properly?
  • Are there any broken landing pages?
  • If the drop in traffic on the site is not due to these reasons, there is a higher chance that your site may be hit by the Google Broad Core Update. Of such instances, the only way out is to create high-quality content for your users.

How to recover from the Dec Core update?

Google had earlier tweeted, – “There’s no “fix” for pages that may perform less, other than to remain focused on building great content. Over time, it may be that your content may rise relatively to other pages.”

“Danny Sullivan” emphasised the value of providing high quality content in a tweet.

Want to do better with a broad change? Have great content. Yeah, the same boring answer. But if you want a better idea of what we consider great content, read our raters guidelines. That’s like almost 200 pages of things to consider

Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) August 1, 2018

If your site got hit by the update, the only solution is to rework the content strategy and make the content more relevant to your target audience’s search intentions.

Focus on user experience and ensure writing the topic with extensive research based on the topic and follow the E.A.T guidelines.

It seems that Google prioritises the topic-based results more than keyword-centric results so you can cater to user intent and rank better on SERP.

Google Advice on Quality Content

Content & Quality Questions:

EAT Questions

Expertise Questions:

EAT Questions

Presentation & Production Questions:

EAT Presentation Questions

Comparative Questions

EAT Comparative Questions

E.A.T Guidelines for Better Results

  • Include profiles of the author on all blog posts
  • Reduce content that do not follow E.A.T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness)
  • “About Us” page optimization
  • Including Schema Markup to give extra information
  • High-quality backlinks
  • Social media presence
  • Site security with HTTPS

SERP Fluctuation Detected by Different Algorithm Trackers:

Here are the tracking data from most of the tools that are spiking like it was a core update


Mozcast Dec 2020 Core Update


SEMRush Dec Core Update

SERP Metrics:

SERP Metrics Dec Core Update

Advance Web Rankings:

AWM Dec Core Update

Rank Ranger: Desktop

Rank Ranger: Mobile

Rank Ranger

Algoroo Tracker

Algoroo Tracker

What SEO Professionals are tweeting: 

We are waiting for an official tweet from most of the SEO Experts like Rand Fishkin, Vanessa Fox, Brian Dean, and Neil Patel.

In the meanwhile, let’s take a look at some of the early reactions from popular SEO Professionals across the globe:


Here are some of the user reactions just after the day of the rollout:

Final Thoughts

We are keeping a close eye on the impact of the Dec 2020 core update and will keep our readers updated with SEO industry latest happenings once the update completely rolls out in the coming weeks.



Everything You Need to Know About Dec 2020 Core Update was last modified: January 19th, 2023 by Md Azharuddin
Mohammed Azharuddin is Founder and Senior digital marketing trainer @ Web Trainings Academy. He has 16+ years of experience in training and digital marketing services.

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