Our take on Google’s January Core Update

Okay, so it’s quite safe to say that if you as a business owner were worried every single time Google rolled out a brand new update, because this may impact your businesses SEO-  well you would most definitely be in a permanent state of worrying.

And why do we say that?

Well, that’s simply because Google rolls out a lot of updates, this means that Google is always improving its algorithm, so if you were to think that every update could impact your businesses seo, well you could spend more time checking your Google Analytics than you would actually improving your company’s SEO.

So, if your currently sat at your desk, and your hands are trembling over the thought of a new algorithm update, well don’t- that’s if you’ve followed white hat best practices- if you haven’t followed white hat practices, then your business could incur a penalty, and that’s worth worrying over.

A penalty, such as a Google Penguin penalty could mean that your business drops down the ranks, not by just a few places, but sometimes by whole pages.

Plus, with some algorithmic or manual penalties could mean that your website could be removed completely.


“If you’ve implemented low-quality seo, well sure your website could move down the ranks substantially or even be removed from Google”- Kevin Right Adore Marketing Manager


So, even if you’ve implemented top quality white hat seo, well its normal for businesses to move up and down the ranks, that’s to say as your competitors improve their seo, well, its normal for the businesses that are competing for the same keywords to move up or down accordingly.

Just as you would if you had a list of businesses on the high-street, and you adjusted the order according to how much profit the business made the previous week. That’s to say one business may be in the number one position this week, but the following week, well that business may well be in position 6.

And this is the same for SEO, that’s to say businesses will move up and down the ranks, and this can happen on a daily basis, often this is not because of a penalty, just a fluctuation in where the business ranks.

If you are however concerned that your business has incurred a penalty, then its worth contacting a white hat SEO agency for advice on if a penalty has impacted your website, and what they recommend to fix the penalty.


So how much attention should be placed on when a new update is made?

Well this does depend, if it’s a relatively minor update, then not much, but if it’s a big update, such as the Google Hummingbird update, or let’s say the latest January 2020 update that’s been made by Google, well, we would say to you, or your SEO agency should pay a lot of attention.


Pay attention to what though?

Well, we glad you asked- when a major algorithm change occurs, such as January 2020 update, then we think here at this marketing agency that it is super important to check the following:



Have your rankings changed?

For example where was your business ranked in December 2019?

Now at the end of January has your business changed much?

Also, if your using an SEO tool, such as Ahrefs then check the average keyword position over say a week, or for a few weeks- that’s because if you just take into account one day, then this doesn’t give you much of an average as to see where your business has ranked, as most websites move up and down each month.

So we would recommend taking an average of where your business ranks over say a month.


Make adjustments

If the January 2020 update has meant that your website has moved down the ranks, then you may wish to work with a marketing agency, that’s to form a marketing strategy that will aim at improving your businesses SEO.

For example the marketing agency may then improve:

·        Your businesses backlinks

·        Content marketing

·        Onsite seo

·        Meta titles

·        Meta descriptions

·        Anchor text

·        Blog posts

·        Ever green content

·        Speed

·        Schema

·        Local seo

·        Organic seo

For example, your marketing company may undertake an audit of your website, and they may spot that your businesses content marketing is not quality, for example, each blog post that your company has written may only be 300 odd words, and doesn’t offer much useful advice to your businesses customers.

So, your marketing agency may advise that your businesses content marketing is improved, and then you may see your businesses organic SEO improve as well.



It’s really important to form a detailed marketing strategy, that’s to say don’t just spot that your businesses SEO has not improved since the January 2020 update, then implement a mass of changes all in one go.

Most Cardiff SEO agency’s, and ours included would recommend changes are made over a long timeframe and for the marketing company then monitor the results, say using Ahrefs.

That’s to say all work must be white hat, and all changes should be monitored to see if your businesses seo improves. This is why its crucial that you partner with a white hat seo agency, as if the work is not good quality, then your business could move further down the ranks.

Make sure all work is white hat

Google’s algorithm rewards businesses that implement quality seo. So, for instance one reason that a business may have been negatively impacted by the January 2020 update is simply because the business has low-quality content marketing.

For example, the business may have written its blog posts to hit a set word count, say 1000 words, believing that if the business published enough content marketing then the businesses seo would improve.

However, this approach does not work, Google’s algorithm now only rewards businesses that publish quality content marketing.


And what do we mean by quality?

Well, we mean content marketing that your customers will find useful.

So for example, lets say that you run a web design business, then you may publish a blog post about WordPress and why its used by so many businesses.

This article could then focus on the features that WordPress offers, such as an easy to use Dashboard, many free plugins and also an editor that allows the wording of each page to be edited easily.

A business that is looking to obtain a website may read this, find the information useful, and opt for a WordPress website, so the business has therefore published a blog post that its readers will find useful, and this may help to improve the businesses SEO.  

Is the SEO agency doing there job?

So let’s say you run a business that sells organic honey, and your business has employed a digital marketing agency.

Now, since the January 2020 update you’ve noticed that for the terms “organic honey” and “luxury honey” your business has moved from page one, to say page four of the SERP’s.

Now, if your seo agency cannot explain why this has occurred, then it might be worth thinking about switching seo companies.

How do we think the January 2020 update changed SEO?

For a very long time now various SEO companies have been stating that a business’s content marketing must be “good quality” but what does this even mean?

Well, here’s our take on what we think “quality” means when referring to how a business should be writing its content marketing.

·        Written by an expert

·        Well written, i.e no spelling mistakes

·        Should include your sources, i.e links to say a journalist that you have mentioned

·        Be useful

·        Have a high word count


What we would concentrate on

If a business was to approach our marketing company, and state that their business was impacted by the January 2020 update, and could we help, we would undertake an SEO audit.

We would then pay particular attention to the businesses content marketing, i.e is it good quality?

For example, if the business sells men’s suits, we would look at whether the content marketing offers good advice?

For example, are there blog posts which concentrate on offering advice on which suits could be worn to a wedding?

Are there blog posts about which suits are fashionable this year?

Or is the business just writing say a few lines of text, which states something very basic such as opening hours over Christmas, and if so this is not likely to improve the businesses seo, in matter of fact it could mean that Google’s algorithm deems the website as “content thin”– meaning that the website may not offer much information.

Google’s algorithm will want to supply quality websites to answer a question, so for example if someone was to ask “which style suits should be worn to a wedding”– if your business, or your marketing company have written a good quality blog post, then your business may get a lot of readers, which may help to improve your businesses seo.  

How our marketing agency can help:

If your business requires a new website, a website redesign, help to improve your businesses organic or local seo, then why not call us?