Google Jan 2020 Core Algorithm Update Decoded!

The Buzz around the Google Jan 2020 Core Update Decoded

The cat is out of the bag. Not that it was kept captive on purpose but, there are times when facts can be revealed only after a careful analysis. And that requires data. Post the Google January 2020 Core Update, there’s been a lot of buzz about ranking loss and gain (mostly loss!) in the SEO circles. Webmasters have reported massive fluctuations in ranking. This post wraps up the ranking volatility that websites across the globe have experienced in the past one week and shares insights from industry experts.

How did it all start?

Google rolled out the first Broad Core Update of 2020 on 13th Jan around 12 noon, ET. It affected all regions and languages and was ‘mostly done’ rolling out by 16th Jan.

What’s the Buzz All About?

The mammoth update from the web Giant sent out shock waves that shook the World Wide Web and left many SEOs and site owners sleepless and sweating. Online discussions that ensued in the aftermath of the Core Update were heavy with grief of loss of chunks of rankings, not to mention the rank volatility that followed.

Buzz vs. Reality

With so much noise about loss and fluctuations it was hard to tell facts from buzz. But, now that data is out from some of the top-ranked contemporary data providers, here is a better picture of what happened and which niche were affected and how.

The Unanimous Voice of the Experts

A fair degree of unanimity in opinion was observed when data was analysed and opinion gathered from industry experts. According to Mordy Oberstein from RankRanger, the YMYL (Your Money, Your Life) niches were the worst hit., on the other hand, posted that sites related to YMYL have been re-evaluated in this update, and according to the data published by it, four of the top ten visibility losers have been from the YMYL niche.

Google core update jan 2020 dropsImage Source: Sistrix Blog


Marcus Tober from SearchMetrics further reinforced that the YMYL sites have been under scrutiny by Google with the biggest losers post the January 2020 update being,,,,,,, and

Is Google only Penalizing?

Is all this loser talk making you feel uneasy? It can! But trust us, Google Updates are not just about penalizing sites. In fact, that’s not even remotely correct!.

While there is scrutiny over sites that have more trust and credibility from their sector, the step is only to provide better content and serve users with better and more trustworthy information. This is the reason that there are sites which have gained visibility post the January 2020 Update. Though there is no single unanimous winner but as per the different data providers, there have been visibility gainers. So, a core update is not just about kicking down SERP rankings of sites but also rewarding the deserving ones.


With the minimal information that Google offers, it is hard to figure out what drives the Giant’s Core Updates. But, what can be figured out or, at least, has indications towards, is that Google is adjusting its trust in all domains based on machine learning. This was probably the reason why sites in the YMYL niche, the content of which have far reaching impact, have seen a re-evaluation.

If your sites or, those of your clients have been down ranked, it is time to take a re-look at the site and its contents and perform a thorough audit to understand the deficiencies and fix them.

One thing is for sure, core updates from the past and this one, have had a quality overhaul at their heart. After all, as we always say user experience and its improvement is what Google has always aimed to provide to all searchers.


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