Google's January Algorithm Core Update
Jay Volak

Readers please note, this is a technical SEO analysis of a recent Google algorithm change and was originally intended for internal education. We've decided to share it with our clients in case they were interested in learning more about the changes and what it means for their SEO campaigns.

Important news from the SEO world:

Google rolled out a new Core Update between January 13th & 16th. 

As has become standard practice, there was no prior announcement from Google explaining what, when, and how this was happening until the morning of said Core Update.

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Since this update, we have been experiencing dramatic keyword and position ranking swings on many of our client SEO campaigns. There also has been substantial shifts and drops in traffic for the vast majority of our client sites.

There are some telling industry trends that seem to have been more affected by this latest update (as well as the previous two core updates) than others, and it paints a picture to let us know we are not alone in this shift. 

According to MozCast, the Health/Dental realm was the most impacted industry. 

MozCast is a “weather report” showing turbulence in the Google algorithm over a set period of time. The hotter and stormier the weather, the more Google's rankings have changed.

From MozCast scoring, we can see the number one impacted industry for SEO has been that of Health (which Dental is obviously a part of) which was WELL above the average impact of 98°:

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This can also be seen visually in the 30 day weather report from MozCast, clearing showing this spike and the subsequent waves we have been noticing in ranking and keyword changes (beginning on Jan 13th with the highest variance):

MozCast 30 Day Weather

Multiple outlets are also reporting and discussing wild changes with their sites and traffic patterns to confirm that the playing field has been shaken once more:

The Twitterverse:

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From WebmasterWorld forums:

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What does this mean for GDW and our clients?

First, we are aware of what has happened and have been working on re-gaining traction in the keyword and position space, which in turn will yield traffic patterns increasing accordingly. Our clients can rest assured that we are pro-actively trying to “stop the bleeding”, but also that they are FAR from alone and this is a massively wide-spread issue. We have also started seeing position ranking rebounds over the last 7 days, but are not settling for remaining at the status-quo level of riding the rollercoaster. 

Second, our strategy involves reevaluating our keywords, patterning methods of sites that were not hit as hard for successful ranking improvements. We are also updating pages and content regularly with a better semantic approach - wholesale - across the board. This was already in the works for our team and organization, as rich content (and relevant content) is key. 

While challenging for SEO and our clients, this is an industry of adaptation and evolving, and we will continue to do so as needed to provide the best results possible for all stakeholders. 

Please see the mentioned links for in depth detail:

Google January 2020 Core Update Is Live & It's Big

Google's January 2020 Core Update: Has the Dust Settled?

As always, if you have questions or want to learn more, please contact your account manager or

Jay Volak
Jay was born and raised in New England before relocating to Colorado over 16 years ago. Leading our Marketing Services team, his Digital Marketing and Creative background spans multiple industries and lends itself to Jay's "big-picture-strategy" approach to SEO/SEM campaigns for our clients. In his free time, Jay enjoys producing music and photography, spending time with his family and pets, and pursuing his fitness passions in the great state of Colorado!

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