Yesterday (January 13th 2020) Google announced on Twitter that they are rolling out a medium to large scale algorithm update impacting mobile and desktop organic search results and search queries.

As per usual, no specifics into the nature of the algorithm update. That will be left to the search community to pick apart. It’s worth noting that the last couple of years Google announcing or pre-announcing a Broad Core update is nothing unusual, in fact, it has become standard practice by Google.

In days of the past, Google never announced an algorithm update. It was left to the wider digital marketing community to decipher when and what happened. It also left speculation in the naming of the updates, one such algorithm update was coined and adopted the name, Fred.

Naming an update Fred that potentially impacted hundreds of thousands of websites and affected many thousands of peoples livelihoods was probably a slap across the face for many. You can see why Google decided to come clean. Probably under the influence of Danny Sullivan, ex digital marketing journalist and co-founder of Search Engine Land turned Google spokesman.

What’s interesting about this recent broad core algorithm update that it was pushed and rolled out so early in the year. 13th January 2020 to be precise! Previous broad core updates have generally followed the release pattern of Spring, Summer and Autumn (Fall). This most recent update seems to have gone against the grain.

Previous Broad Core Algorithm Updates

  • January 13, 2020
  • September 24, 2019
  • June 3, 2019
  • March 12, 2019
  • August 1, 2018
  • April 17, 2018
  • March 8, 2018


Four Broad Core Algorithm Updates in 2020

I have predicted these dates for the 2020 broad core algorithm updates, all 4 of them.

I know it’s only speculation at this point, but I can’t help thinking maybe we’re in for potentially four broad core algorithm updates in 2020. Launching the first update so early in the year certainly adds weight to the theory.

So when can we be expecting the updates? I’m not one for crystal ball gazing, so don’t take this prediction as gospel. Judging from the last 2 years worth of data (see above), I would expect the following roll-out dates. The last updates have been rolled out either on a Monday or Tuesday. Following that timescale, for fun, I have predicted these dates for the 2020 broad core algorithm updates, all 4 of them.

  • Monday, January 13 2020
  • Tuesday, April 7 2020
  • Monday, July 20 2020
  • Monday, October 12 2020

Light humour aside. I know the impact that these updates can have on businesses ability for growth in organic search. Google’s advice has and always been to create meaningful content for your visitors. Ensuring that the content is easily accessible on most devices (especially smartphones).

The Impact Algorithm Updates can Cause

It’s not that your website’s structure, performance, and content is bad. It’s that Google has found a better website than yours.

These types of algorithm updates can hit big. I’ve seen many months of hard effort wiped out virtually overnight (YMYL springs to mind). You have to just stick at it, learn from your mistakes and keep striving for a better experience. I have mentioned to client’s in the past if they have been negatively impacted by an algorithm update. It’s not that your website’s structure, performance, and content is bad. It’s that Google has found a better website than yours, and that’s why they have leaped-frogged you for key search terms.

If you can get that mentality to stick with clients, that’s when you can open their eyes to opportunities and help make that better browsing experience for their visitors and customers. For many businesses, especially smaller businesses with smaller marketing budgets competing organically online can often feel like a fruitless venture.

My advice for those businesses is that you really need to have a serious think about your acquisition methods for winning new business and customers. Stop skimping on your digital marketing budget. Hire reputable vetted local digital marketing consultants to help you formulate a strategy for keeping up with the pack.

Think of it this way, if you don’t invest, your competitors will take that opportunity. Especially the younger technology-savvy business start-ups. There’s no race in organic digital marketing, there’s no winning. It is as I mentioned staying with the pack, if you’re one of the forerunners in that pack, Fantastic, take advantage of the opportunities that it brings.

So what is the January 2020 Broad Core Algorithm Update?

the dialling down of older weighting signals

Just at this moment in time Tuesday evening at 8:30 pm I’m unsure. I would take an educated guess based on previous updates. It’s more of the same! Combatting webspam (content and links). Website performance in the form of ease of use, usability, structure and speed. Oh, and most likely the quality, structure and context of topics and content. Another conservative guess but highly probable is the dialling up of the machine learning technologies.

And as per usual the dialling down of older weighting signals that have no usage in the modern organic landscape and the introduction of newer weighting signals. I’ll keep my eye out for any further developing news and update here accordingly.

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