On December 3rd, Google began rolling out the December 2020 core update. Early reports appear to show the rollout was mostly felt the following day but as Google said, it can take up to a couple of weeks to fully roll out. Based on everything seen so far, this update is a very big, broad update, possibly bigger than the May 2020 core update — and that one was very big.
Several data companies that track Google’s search results published impressions of this update and they mostly all agree, this was a big update that was significantly felt across almost all verticals.
What we know from Google that the December 2020 core update started to roll out around 1:00pm ET on Thursday, December 3rd. Like all core updates, this was a global update and was not specific to any region, language or category of web sites. It is a classic “broad core update” that Google releases every few months or so. In this case, it was the longest stretch since a confirmed broad core update, one that took just under seven-months, as opposed to the typical three-month time frame.
The most recent previous core update was the May 2020 core update, that update was big and broad and took a couple of weeks to fully roll out. Before that was the January 2020 core update. The one prior to that was the September 2019 core update. That update felt weaker to many SEOs and webmasters, as many said it didn’t have as big of an impact as previous core updates. Google also released an update in November, but that one was specific to local rankings.
However, the latest update trumps them all. Data from several search data companies all show that this update was very big and substantial and we saw many substantial fluctuations in rankings in early to mid December. This update seems to be slowing down, with rankings now returning to their more usual positions.
There has been concern about the timing of this update, that it was released a couple of weeks prior to the holiday season. Google said it was done after Black Friday and Cyber Monday but before the holidays. But for some, especially those that make a lot of their sales right before the holidays, this update can be devastating to their business.