The 2020 Broad Core Algorithm Update: Is Google SERP Changing?

020 Broad Core Algorithm Update

Google kicked off 2020 by releasing its broad core algorithm update called the January 2020 Core Update on Twitter on January 13, 2020.


Google clarified that the update is live and the rollout will take up to 2 weeks for changes to be complete.


The update is non-specific and is applicable worldwide, so there is no one thing to address if a website drops in ranking or traffic. All we can do is just focus on the quality of content. A high performing website on Google SERP always has great content.

Google revealed its concept behind these core updates as:

One way to think of how a core update operates is to imagine you made a list of the top 100 movies in 2015. A few years later in 2019, you refresh the list. It’s going to naturally change. Some new and wonderful movies that never existed before will now be candidates for inclusion. You might also reassess some films and realize they deserved a higher place on the list than they had before.

The list will change, and films previously higher on the list that move down aren’t bad. There are simply more deserving films that are coming before them

The broad core update will impact a site positively or negatively depending upon its credibility and quality. The more trust and reliability a domain has, the more potential for changes when Google changes these values internally. 

Domains that are already got hit by the previous updates are more likely to be affected again. In such a case, fluctuations will be highly visible in the health and finance sectors. The biggest algorithm change happened recently with Google’s BERT update. Google BERT was released on October 24, 2019 to better understand and interpret complex search queries to display the most relevant search results. Google is becoming more precise with its evaluation standards, so this new update may not need to deviate much from the previous assessments.

The data provided by Google Analytics shows large fluctuations in the organic traffic from Google search engine:


The graph compares Google traffic to a website between the dates of January 6, 2020 and January 13, 2020, showing a drop of 15.98%.

On the other hand, some domains saw more traffic after the rollout.


The second graph depicts an increase of 6.60% page views after releasing the 2020 core update.

These examples show that the update isn’t affecting any particular ranking factors but a variety of elements. There isn’t anything necessarily wrong with the content on these pages, rather the content is now being assessed against other content that has been published since the last update, or content that was overlooked.

The data from automated tracking tools are showing prominent fluctuations in the overall search results. 

SERP Metrics

30day flux charts (page one only)



SERP volatility for the last 30 days;



7 1

These graphs show that the January 2020 core algorithm update is going to be as broad as its title. Some domains are showing positive indications by a slight increase in the CTR and impressions in the Google Search console over the past week. Still, full-fledged changes in various sectors due to this huge update can only be seen in the coming days.

What if you find a variation?

During the rollout of the core update in August, Google published a blog on its Google Webmaster Central Blog about the actions to be taken if a website is negatively impacted by its update. It is not an indication that your pages are violating Google’s guidelines or something is wrong with your website, in such an entropy Google has offered a Questionnaire to consider to analyze your website.

Whenever Google announces an update it should be understood that your site may do better or worse, this is an indication that either your website has to enhance its quality or Google has made some changes in its algorithm. The only way to address this is to always keep an eye on your analytics and rankings.

If you do find that your website has seen a drop in rankings after this January 2020 core update, take a look at the content that is now outranking you and consider how you can change your site to provide better value to searchers. And don’t forget to share it with us and the community!

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