Algorithm Rolled Out: January 13, 2020

Algorithm Overview: Overall Gist

In a tweet on January 13, 2020, Google stated that the “January 2020 Core update” had been released. With this update, many of our businesses saw significant increases in Google organic traffic. There was a handful who did not progress. We’ve looked into these as well.

The purpose of this post is to discuss some of the quality changes that we believe helped particular sites improve with the January 2020 core upgrade.

Highlights of the update:

It looks like truly good content has rewarded.

As defined by the Quality Raters’ Guidelines (QRG), several aspects of trust may have reevaluated.

Content related to pets may now be held to a higher standard. A lot of spammy content may have deindexed. Affiliate sites that didn’t properly disclose the affiliate links impacted.

Algorithm Winners & Losers

Due to the nature of data analysis, we won’t be able to solve the first issue completely. For the second issue, we must rely on you, the reader. We may solve the third issue by ensuring that we examine changes in both absolute and relative terms. If a site went from one position in our data set to two, knowing it acquired 100 percent SERP share isn’t interesting.

Sub-domainJan 14Jan 16Gain %
www.verywellhealth.com3265+103
finance.yahoo.com2841+46
www.dictionary.com81109+35
www.marketwatch.com3445+32
www.akc.org2836+29

While evaluating sites that either improved or decreased due to the January 2020 core upgrade, we discovered that many of the sites that deteriorated featured affiliate connections that not explicitly labeled as such.

A part of the QRG specifies various practices that might construed as misleading. You don’t want your material to be seen as misleading!

Product reviews published mainly to entice visitors to click so that you may earn affiliate commissions might be construed as misleading. Some of the sites that removed were well-written and did not appear to be fraudulent in any way. They frequently included an affiliate disclosure at the top or bottom of each piece. “This content contains affiliate links,” for example, written at the top of the piece. We will earn a tiny portion of the transaction if you click on these and make a purchase.” This is a very regular occurrence on most pages with affiliate connections.

However, the majority of your readers are unlikely to have read your disclosures. Consider how you look for information on the internet. If your footer includes a disclosure, they almost certainly haven’t read it.

Algorithm Solution: Ways to implement or take to cope with Google algorithm guidelines

If you manage an affiliate site, you should read the information on affiliate marketing provided by the Advertising Standards Authority. This is a solid set of guidelines to follow. 

You could accomplish this with a script that causes words to flash up when hovered over, or you could place all of your affiliate links in a single area labeled “Sponsored.”

Real-Time Implementation Example

With the core upgrade on June 3 and even more with the core update on January 2020, the following client saw amazing increases. Their articles are incredibly well-written. It is medical content that has prepared or reviewed by a medical doctor who specializes in that field of medicine for medical correctness. We believe that Google’s recognition of their articles’ considerable detail and veracity is responsible for most of their recent improvement.

client with june 3 gains

It’s worth noting that many of the sites that improved after the core update in January 2020 also saw major adjustments on November 11, 2019. This was a perplexing period for us because, on November 8, there was a large unidentified upgrade that we at MHC thought mostly about link quality.

We don’t know for sure, but we believe Google made another modification on November 11 that affected their capacity to better grasp language. This change appears to have occurred shortly after Google announced that BERT will used to improve language understanding.

The site listed below has been working on a number of concerns related to quality. Beginning November 11, they observed a dip in traffic, which restored with the January core update:

site with nov hit and jan gains

When we looked at the keywords that improved for this site and compared them to sites that decreased for those keywords, it was clear that the pages that were improving for our customers were the best of their kind. They were well-written and comprehensive. They contained medical information that was not immediately apparent but would be extremely beneficial to the common reader.
This is a pattern we’ve witnessed with numerous of our other clients that have good content.

Final End Result

As a result, we believe that Google has lately taken steps to reduce the likelihood of spammy site ranking due to SEO tactics and loopholes. This isn’t surprising, given that Google has been working on this for years. We believe that Google recently made certain modifications, either as part of this core upgrade or separately, to ensure that low-quality material not indexed from the start. The following are some suggestions:

If your site has affiliate links, make it very apparent to your readers that they are clicking on an affiliate link. A disclosure at the beginning or end of an article may not be sufficient. Consider eliminating certain ad blocks if you have a lot of advertising on your site, especially if they push content down so that most users can’t see anything useful above the fold. Examine rivals that have begun to outrank you after this upgrade to evaluate if they have superior, expert-written material.

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