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by OppGenetix

Google’s aptly named January 2020 Core Update went live on January 13, 2020.

In a tweet, Google’s Public Liaison of Search Danny Sullivan referred to a blog post published in August 2019 regarding search algorithm updates for guidance.

Like previous core updates, Google didn’t share any specifics about what this update entails, leaving those discoveries up for dedicated SEO analysts and experts. 

The best way to stay on top of the January 2020 Core Update is to pay attention to search rankings for the following days and weeks.

If you notice your rankings were negatively affected by the core update, take the time to re-evaluate your website with the following items in mind:

 

1. Update and revise quality content

To quote Google’s August 2019 post about core updates: 

Pages that drop after a core update don’t have anything wrong to fix.

So, what’s the big deal, then? Why did your website’s page drop after the core update if there’s nothing wrong with it?

The answer to those questions might be found in a page’s content. You should try to offer the best content you can. The best content is thorough, up-to-date, and provides original information.

If your page had a high SERP position prior to this core update, it may be worth your while to see the last time your page was updated. It could be that some of the information the page provided is outdated.

If the websites that rank higher than yours have more recent information, it certainly would not hurt to get your content up to date.

 

2. Review search quality rater guidelines

Algorithms are very much works in progress. Google knows this, which is why the company hires search quality raters. These raters give Google further insights about algorithms’ effectiveness. If an updated algorithm isn’t coming up with better search results, the raters will inform Google.

Though the raters have no control over how pages rank, they do give feedback for how effective Google’s algorithms are working. Think of raters like customer service feedback request forms. If you fill one out after a shopping experience, the feedback shows what that business is doing well as well as areas of improvement.

Thankfully, Google has shared its search quality rater guidelines, so you can review what these search quality raters (and Google as a company) consider to be quality content.

 

3. Write for humans, not an algorithm

On October 25, 2019, Google introduced a search algorithm called Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, or BERT for short. BERT reads searches and content like a human being would. 

Before BERT, Google’s search algorithms processed words based on the words around them. BERT reads each word one by one in order, allowing it to take the full context of a word into account. The way BERT “reads” gives it a better understanding of the reasoning behind a search query.

“It’s more important than ever to write like a person,” said Will Stockton, Senior SEO Lead at OppGenetix. “That may sound strange, but the days of tricking search engines by writing for a machine are over. Google is closer to reading like a human than ever before, and everyone should start writing content for who they should have been writing for all along — other people.”

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Write, Review, and Revise: How to Adjust to Google’s New Core Update