Google Core Update December 2020

Of course, we didn’t miss the latest Google Core update, which Google confirmed a few days ago. As always, many domains have won, others have lost. As already often described here in the blog, it is usually a data refresh of ranking data, and certain industries are also regularly considered in focus. Official information from Google can be found here. Basic theories about core updates from me can be found in the blog post about the last update in May. As always, Sistrix has a list of winners and losers, as well as a few theories about them. My advice: Feel free to analyze your competitors and yourself to see what the differences could be. However, you shouldn’t drive yourself crazy. It was often the case that the winners of one update were the losers of the other. Nevertheless, the quality of the website and the content is the top priority and can never hurt!

This blog post is an updated version of a blog post from 2014. With arrows like ↗ I show you whether a corresponding ranking factor has increased in importance ↗, increased strongly ↑, remained the same → or lost↘ since my original blog post in 2014.

Very important ranking factors in 2021

Mention of the keyword in the < title> ↗

If you include the keyword in the < title>, then you have already taken the first step towards a potentially good ranking. For me, the title is still one of the most important ranking factors a URL can have. That was already the case in 2014. The meaning of the title has felt more than it has decreased.
Keyword contained in the document →

Of course, the keyword should be included in the document. In my opinion, this factor has remained the same (high). To be honest, I haven’t seen a URL for several years where the target keyword wasn’t in the text.
The internal link ↘

Internal links are very important for the ranking of a URL. But it feels like its importance has decreased since my first version in 2014. These days, top URLs can be badly linked internally. If the signals from outside (e.g. traffic in the Google SERPs) are good, the ranking remains constant. In 2020, internal linking has more to do with crawling and less with ranking. Which, of course, does not mean that you cannot achieve better rankings through better linking.
Keyword contained in internal links →

“Google penalizes too many keyword links from external domains. However, this does not apply internally! In this respect, it is important to use the keyword internally when you link to your document. ”Was written here in 2014. This is still very important today. Internal link texts are essential for a good ranking and also have positive effects.
Authority of the linking external domains (trust) →

A link from a good domain is just as important for a specific URL today. Actually, the arrow should go down slightly. Backlinks have not become less important, but other factors are more important today – which is why their relative importance has decreased.
Document matches the keyword and various search intentions relating to the keyword are fulfilled ↑

In 2014 I wrote: “This is actually my favorite ranking factor because many SEOs grit their teeth and nothing is going on. The solution to the riddle is often: the product / landing page just doesn’t match the keyword. ”Satisfying the search intention is probably the most important factor today. Compared to 2014, it has felt enormously important. Not only that: In my opinion, it is actually the reason why most of the other factors have lost their importance. This factor will persist even after many others become obsolete. The best URL for a search result remains the best URL for a search result – and it will continue to be so in ten years’ time.

Click rate in search results ↑

It feels like the CTR has also become enormously important. As already described at several conferences this year, I do not believe that the CTR will be included directly and unfiltered in the ranking.

In a nutshell, my theory about the CTR

Google calculates the expected CTR of a result and, based on this, a quality factor for the snippet
Google measures the CTR over long distances, takes a closer look at abnormalities and updates the historical data from time to time.

Click stream ↑

We SEOs tend to always look at one search query and one click. The engineers at Google often look at a user’s search session over several days or weeks. You are interested: How was the customer journey of user 349323, who four weeks ago googled for “Canary Islands” for the first time and has now made a booking for a holiday home on La Palma today? Which websites did he visit when, where did he get information and how can this process be made even more pleasant, faster and better for user 349323 (and other users) in the future?

Google will differentiate even more here in the future – and we SEOs have to be careful here

 

Because: Maybe you are the provider from whom people get information. But then they book somewhere else! This is also a great danger for Google. If the algorithm only promotes the conversion-strong brands without content, then good content will die out over time – and with it the quality of the content on Google.
For shops: number of products within the document, “variety” ↗

You have no chance of getting a good ranking for the keyword “winter shoes” if you only offer two different pairs of shoes. Since the user behavior of users is becoming more and more important, this factor is also becoming more important.
Complete listing of the relevant “buzzwords”: WDF * IDF ↘

WDF * IDF was very important for a while. That’s it for any information-oriented or know search query. In the case of transaction-oriented search queries, the importance felt has decreased significantly. Other algorithms are now at work here that place great value on user experience and other things. Text is still important on category pages of online shops, for example, but not as important as in a guide article. At least that’s my impression.
Uniqueness of the content compared to other websites (no duplicate content) ↗

Duplicate content was and is something that Google absolutely doesn’t like. In 2014 there were still many websites that aggregated content, such as social bookmarking platforms such as Yigg.de or Webnews.de – both are no longer online today. When it comes to price comparisons and fashion shopping clubs, Google reacted quite clearly and mercilessly punished those who could not prove a good user experience.
Uniqueness of the content compared to other documents in the same domain (recurring text modules) ↘

Duplicate content can also be a problem within a domain. Google writes:

“Minimize recurring text modules: Instead of adding extensive copyright notices at the end of each page, you can just provide a short summary with a link to detailed information.”

In 2014, recurring text modules were still a big problem. In 2020 they are no longer such a huge issue. But that may also have something to do with web design trends. A lot of text is no longer “in” today, there are simply fewer and fewer recurring text modules.
Document loading speed ↑

The loading speed has also been a public trend topic on Google for years. She is high on the Search Quality Team’s agenda. Probably one of the biggest factors in search dissatisfaction is when a website loads. This factor will increase when the Google Core Web Vitals are included in the ranking in May 2021. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t do everything slavishly to land perfectly on Google Pagespeed 100. This tool is just one help of many – most of it makes up the actual user experience.

File size of the document ↑

“In 2014 we usually had 30% mobile access to our website. Those who use excessively large images annoy mobile users and thus also create bad user signals. So it is very important not simply to downscale images in mobile versions, but to make them available in a smaller file size. ”As you know, mobile access has continued to increase and today it is usually the case that more mobile users than desktop users visit your website come. This factor has also increased accordingly – Mobile First!
Response time / speed of the server →

That was important back in 2014 and is just as important today. You need a fast server with a good connection.
Number of other documents on the same topic on the domain (= subject-specific domain vs. domain with many other topics) ↘

I find the point very interesting! In 2014 it said: “Google often has quite a bit of prejudice when it comes to domains. In this way, Computerbild manages to rank well on every PC topic, while it is unlikely to have great success even with an excellent article in the fashion sector. Google divides entire domains thematically and ranks the documents accordingly. So stay true to your topic! “
This point has changed enormously and in a number of ways

When it comes to medical issues, the whole thing has become much more extreme. Only a few, really verified domains still have a chance of good rankings.
The rest of it has softened a bit, I would say. Computerbild actually ranks for keywords like “Flaconi voucher code”, “Treadmill test” and others, even if the focus is of course heavily on technology. Google no longer felt such a strong preference like “a technology website should only rank for technology”. The quality of content is now much more checked at the URL level. By means of new analyzes, but also by measuring performance in the search results.

The content is visible “Front and Center” ↑

In my opinion, this has become even more important.
The document is clear and easy to read – subheadings and paragraphs are sensible ↑

A good document structure has become even more important. Something else has also changed: While in 2014 you could shovel almost everything onto a URL with holistic landing pages that you can only imagine on a certain topic, this strategy is no longer effective in 2020. Too much unnecessary content can be harmful. The pillar page is a bit of the opposite concept, but in my opinion just the replacement of one buzzword by the next. 😀 Hence my tip: Orient yourself to the user and what he would like to find in his search session for keyword X – try to prepare this content as well as possible – on a URL.
Topic relevance of the external linking domains →

This factor has remained the same, although, as already mentioned, the backlinks factor has not gained in importance overall (other factors certainly).
Number and quality of the links within the document ↘

In 2020 you should also link good sources within your URL or point out further content. But it felt like it subsided. Fewer webmasters link to external sources, that’s just a trend. External links are made all the more via social media.

Number of pictures and videos ↗

Change compared to 2014: Not only the number, but also the quality now plays a major role. The quality is measured by the user behavior. It is quite possible to rank in a contested topic without a lot of content if you have a great video on the topic.
Up-to-dateness of the document (“Query deserves Freshness”) →

In 2014 it said: “Some search queries are given the abbreviation“ QDF ”in the algorithm. These are keywords that not only have to deliver good search results, but for which the search results should also be very up-to-date. Examples are search queries for news, but also for “Iphone”. Because even a very strongly linked page to the Iphone 4 is no longer what users are looking for. When searching for “Iphone”, the majority of users want to know something about the Iphone 6. More information on this at Sistrix. “- Nothing has changed about that, except for the versions of the Iphones. 😉
Less important ranking factors
Number of keyword repetitions in the document →

Keyword density is almost as old as search engines. In 2020 it is still necessary that you do not mention the keyword just once in the text, but possibly several times. But that usually comes up automatically with good content.

Keyword is contained in the description →

If the keyword is included in the description, it will be written in bold when searching for the keyword, thus increasing the click rate.
Filename of the document keyword.html ↘

The same applies to the file name of the document. But it is also important: Many external links only show the URL and no keyword. If you are linked with seokratie.de/seo/, that is better than with seokratie.de/?pageid=12. With the first you have the keyword in the link text, with the second you don’t!
Number of words in the document ↘

2014: “In the Searchmetrics Ranking Factors Study 2014, Marcus Tober found that Google is increasingly tending towards long documents. It is also clear: a document on ranking factors with over 2,000 words is probably more extensive than one on the same topic with 200 words. I think that the topic is also important here, but in principle it is correct: the more words, the better the ranking. At least up to a certain length. ”As I said, Google initially tightened this trend until they then rolled backwards in 2018/19, see the point above“ The document is clear ”.
Headings & Keyword included in the heading →

Of course, Google likes it when a document is logically well structured. However, headings are far less important than you might think. Google can now recognize graphic text markups and sees it when certain words are larger or smaller than others. The keyword should appear in the main heading, in small sub-headings I would rather go into related terms and especially terms within the semantic environment (WDF * IDF). This text from 2014 can be left as it is in 2020.
Number of external links from different domains ↘

“Until mid-2012, that was the most important ranking factor, at least for a domain. In 2014 (almost as early as 2015) this factor is no longer so important. It depends on the quality of the web pages that link to the document. Many documents are not necessarily suitable for links either. ”This factor weakened even more in 2020, especially at the URL level.
Keyword contained in external links ↘

Hardly anyone will work with external keyword links in 2021. So that has decreased.
Conclusion

As already mentioned, these were the ranking factors when looking at a document individually (without its domain). New factors weren’t really added, but many were refined and some gained in importance and others lost. Quality is viewed and evaluated much more on a URL basis

SEO-Content ✔️ Blog Content ✔️ SEO Content Writing ✔️ Article Writing ✔️ E-Books ✔️

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Content for Voice Search

Content for Voice Search The term "voice search" stands for search queries using spoken language, such as those possible with Apple's Siri. These queries pose new challenges for content providers, because both the processing and the response here are different from...

Content Curation

Content Curation Content curation describes a marketing measure that is particularly widespread in the social media sector. Content from other sources that is thematically relevant is disseminated on the company's own website, blog, or social media channels. As part...

Content Advertising

Content Advertising The term "content advertising" originates from online marketing and describes a method of distributing content with the help of active advertising measures. Due to the terminology and methods used, content advertising is often equated with content...

Clickbaiting

Clickbaiting The term clickbaiting, sometimes also referred to as "clickbait" in German, describes a technique of advertising content on the Internet with headlines or images that usually arouse exaggerated expectations in the user. In general, this practice is viewed...

Click-Through-Rate

Click-Through Rate The click-through rate, often abbreviated to CTR or referred to as "click rate" in the German variant, describes the ratio of impressions and clicks, i.e. the relationship between the number of page impressions and the number of clicks on a...

Churn Rate

Churn Rate It describes the proportion of customers who no longer use a product or cancel a contract during the period under review. This could be, for example, an app that is no longer used after an initial hype. The opposite of the churn rate is the retention rate,...

Chatbot

Chatbot A chatbot is a dialog system - a program that enables text- or voice-driven communication between humans and machines. Chatbots are the basis of virtual assistants such as Alexa, Google Assistant or Cortana. Dialog-based supports on websites also use speech...

Case Study

Case Study A case study is a description of a typical case from practice (usually that of a company). On the basis of the examination of the representative example, generally applicable rules can be derived. Case studies are used in various fields and industries....

Call-to-Action

Call-to-Action A call-to-action, also abbreviated to CTA, is a request for action. It can therefore be used for many different purposes, but is particularly important in marketing. Here, the call-to-action is used to directly persuade the customer to make a purchase...

Branded Content

Branded Content Branded content is a form of marketing that attempts to build a bond with the target audience in a rather subtle way. As the name suggests, content plays a major role in branded content. For example, a company could upload a film or video to the...

Brand Awareness

Brand Awareness Brand awareness is a term from market research that describes the awareness of a brand. The percentage value indicates which part of the people surveyed recognized a brand. For more in-depth studies, brand awareness, for which the term "Brand...

Bounce Rate

Bounce Rate The bounce rate is a value that describes how many users enter a website and leave this domain without performing any further (specified) action. Bounce rate, also known as bounce rate, is used to describe the number of users who enter a website and leave...

Blog-Marketing

Blog Marketing Blog marketing is considered the success factor par excellence for online marketing. Thus, the term refers to the monetization of a blog - for example, through SEO and the placement of advertising. Since informative, advisory and entertaining blog...

Black Hat SEO

Black Hat SEO The term "Black Hat SEO" describes methods of search engine optimization that do not comply with the guidelines for webmasters that Google has established. It goes back to old western movies, where the color of the hat was often used to characterize the...

Behavioral Targeting

Behavioral Targeting Behavioral targeting is a method in online marketing that works with behavior-based targeting. The advertising displayed to the user on the Internet is selected on the basis of an online chronology. This is because the pages visited allow...

Accessible website

Accessible Website An accessible website is designed technically and in terms of content so that it can be used despite physical disabilities such as impaired vision or blindness. It can be displayed and easily navigated on all Internet-enabled devices in any browser....

Bad Neighbourhood

Bad Neighbourhood Bad Neighbourhood is a term from search engine optimization. The proximity of a website to bad neighborhoods is mainly conveyed by outbound and inbound links (backlinks). A bad neighborhood is considered a potentially negative factor for the ranking...

Backlinks

Backlinks The term "backlink", also known as a return link, refers to a link that leads from one website to another. In contrast to a "normal" link, however, a backlink is an inbound link - the user is thus redirected from another page to your own website. Such...

B2C-Marketing

B2C Marketing B2C marketing stands for business-to-consumer marketing and refers to measures designed to win over private consumers for a specific product, service or brand. In terms of content, the term is to be distinguished from B2B marketing, i.e....

B2B-Marketing

B2B Marketing B2B marketing stands for business-to-business marketing and describes all marketing measures aimed at companies as customers. The term is used in distinction to B2C marketing, business-to-consumer marketing, which targets end customers. Although the same...

Types of search queries: transactional, navigational, informational

Types of search queries: transactional, navigational, informational Internet users use search engines with different search intentions. Depending on what a searcher intends to do, he or she formulates his or her search query in a different way and therefore also...

Anchor-Text

Anchor text The anchor text is part of a hyperlink. It is the part of a link that is visible on the website. The choice of anchor text is important for the overall concept of a website and has an impact on the ranking on Google. The anchor text is what the user clicks...

Affiliate Marketing

  Affiliate Marketing In affiliate marketing, affiliates advertise the products and services of other companies on their websites and receive a commission for doing so. Affiliate marketing is a tool that can be used for performance marketing, i.e. data-driven...

AdWords ad Texts

AdWords ad Texts AdWords is Google's advertising network where advertisers can place paid ads. These ads are displayed for the corresponding search queries on Google's search results pages and on websites with matching content. The ad texts used in the ads follow a...

Advertorial

Advertorial The term advertorial is a portmanteau of the words "advertisement" and "editorial". It is therefore a mixture of advertising and an editorial article. The great advantage of this marketing measure is that the reader usually does not immediately recognize...

Above the Fold

Above the fold In web design as well as online marketing, the term above the fold describes the area of a website that is displayed to the visitor at first glance, i.e., it does not become visible only by scrolling. Detailed explanation: Websites can be divided into...

What is off-page SEO?

The definition of off-page SEO is that it refers to those things you do outside of your own web pages to enhance their rankings in the search engines. So basically let’s say you built up your site and your searching for other sites or your customers are searching for...

What is On-Page SEO?

On-Page SEO refers to things you do on your own site to enhance its ranking in the search engines. Here are steps and in detail later of On-Page SEO: Creating content around specific keywords. Formatting/designing your site so that the most important keywords are...

SEO For Commercial Real Estate

Pауіng аn еxреnѕіvе bundle fоr аn аdvеrtіѕеmеnt іn thе newspaper, оnlу tо hаvе іt recycled thе next day juѕt doesn’t mаkе sense tо me. Whу wоuld уоu wаnt tо ѕреnd ѕо muсh mоnеу оn a fоrm of аdvеrtіѕіng thаt’ѕ so short lived? Nоt tо mеntіоn the ѕрасе constraint аnd...

Local Search Ranking Factors

Introduction To introduce you to this Local Search Ranking Factors Guide I am going to start you off with definitions of words and as you go on you will learn the top 5 factors that have a positive effect on Results and other things like that. So I hope you enjoy this...

SEO Optimization for Bing: Is It Worth the Effort?

The search engine Bing is the number 2 search engine after Google in the western world - the market share for desktop search queries is 13.5% in the USA and 9.5% in Germany. In the online marketing mix, Bing should therefore not be neglected, because Bing users are...

Holistic SEO takes the user experience into account

Holistic SEO aims to optimize websites beyond the multitude of ranking factors and to holistically improve the online presence of companies. An essential part of this extensive consideration is dedicated to the topic of user experience. Because: Classic SEO (keywords,...

The Ultimate 20 Point WordPress SEO Checklist

  Do you want to use WordPress for your website? A good choice, because with WordPress you can do a lot personally - even without a developer. So that you can do everything right when it comes to search engine optimization, I have put together this SEO checklist...

Better Rankings by Deleting Content

Away with the old texts! Better rankings by deleting content You want to know an SEO trick that works quickly, brings a lot and that hardly anyone practices? Here you go: delete your poor quality content! How this works and what I mean by it, you will find out in my...

What is the Bounce Rate?

What is the bounce rate? The bounce rate is a term used in web analytics. It is given as a percentage and shows how many visitors leave a website after a short time. According to Google Analytics, this is the case when only one subpage is visited and thus only one...