Has the January 2020 Google Core update affected your website?

Photo by Rajeshwar Bachu on Unsplash

Weighing in quickly in the new year, Google announced its latest core update on Monday, the 13 January.

By Thursday, January 16th, Google Tweeted the update had almost finished rolling out:

By announcing its Core Updates, Google makes a break from its past, when we were left guessing if there had been an update or not. According to its blog post What webmasters should know about Google’s core updates, it aims to confirm that an update is going to happen and to give ‘actionable information that webmasters and content providers might take in relation to them’.

What’s the update about?

It’s interesting to note that Google wasn’t giving any specific advice about the January 2020 Core Update. Google refers everyone to its blog post from 1 August 2019. It says Google Core Updates ‘typically produce some widely notable effects. Some sites may note drops or gains during them. We know those with sites that experience drops will be looking for a fix, and we want to ensure they don’t try to fix the wrong things. Moreover, there might not be anything to fix at all’.

It goes on to say:

‘One way to think of how a core update operates is to imagine you made a list of the top 100 movies in 2015. A few years later in 2019, you refresh the list. It’s going to naturally change. Some new and wonderful movies that never existed before will now be candidates for inclusion. You might also reassess some films and realize they deserved a higher place on the list than they had before.’

In typical Google fashion, the blog post says there’s nothing wrong with pages that perform less well after a core update; the advice, as always, is to leave well alone and don’t do any nasty optimisation.

But I’m a fan of Directors’ Cuts

What does the SEO community make of it?

Search Engine Roundtable announced Google January 2020 Core Update Is Live & It’s Big, with posts from a significant number of site owners who are in pain.

Google January 2020 Google Core Update and see why I see ‘and it’s big’ as hyperbole.

There are always sites that take a big hit – you could argue that’s why Google does these updates – but there are those sites who find themselves rewarded for playing the right game, in Google’s eyes, over time.

At the time of writing, there is little discernible pattern – some are saying Google has hit medical sites again, but I have no first-hand evidence for that. But if you think about it, the lack of pattern for the update reflects Google’s announcement of January 2020 as ‘a broad algorithm update’ and making no specific recommendations.

There are always sites that take a big hit – you could argue that’s why Google does these updates – but there are those sites who find themselves rewarded for playing the right game, in Google’s eyes, over time.

What should you do?

I believe I’ve succeeded with my educated guesses of what Google wants if my and my clients’ websites show no noticeable change in their traffic levels. If they get more traffic, then great.

Occasionally, some of the sites I’m involved with take a hit. But it’s not a time to panic.

If you’ve been playing by the rules and your site is working well technically on good hosting, sit tight. Always, always wait until the SERPs have calmed down. Typically, we see a few days of sites’ key phrase rankings going up and down. If it’s a week on (certainly, if you’re reading this piece), and you’re still taking a traffic hit, then you can probably conclude that something about your site is not working with Google’s core update.

I’ve seen instances where businesses have made things so much worse by making wholesale changes driven by erroneous thinking. You can undo months or even years of good, solid SEO and content progress in just a few days.

It’s time to take steps to understand why your traffic has dropped. Get your in-house team, agency or SEO consultant looking for what could have caused the hit.

Always look for the obvious before you dig any deeper. Be honest. Have you had some slightly iffy SEO done? Has someone been experimenting with some ideas gleaned from forums on the shadier side of SEO? Are you at ease with the digital marketing advice you’ve been given?

Do your research and auditing before you do anything to your site. I’ve seen instances where businesses have made things so much worse by making wholesale changes driven by erroneous thinking. You can undo months or even years of good, solid SEO and content progress in just a few days.

Don’t know why it’s gone pear-shaped?

Or not happy with your current advice? Talk to an expert who hasn’t been involved with the site. A fresh view is invaluable. They may see something that you’ve missed.

This article was originally posted on my David Rosam Digital Marketing site at https://davidrosam.com/google/january-2020-google-core-update/.

find the cost of your paper

Sep 13, Grand Remembrances

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Being a Grand is a special honor. I feel very blessed that my wife and I have two grandchildren. We were able to visit them today. Yes, we are still being cautious with the coronavirus, but we also find it very difficult to not see them when they live so close. So today we did drop by to visit Jacob (age 10) and Sophia (age 7) along with their parents. We brought donuts and caught up with them. Our grandchildren are still pretty young and this is a precious time in their lives – and ours!

I wish I had known my grandparents better. We never lived in the same place. Dad was a career Air Force pilot, so we moved around a lot. But we did get to see them once in a while when they would visit us, or we them.

A Plague of Giants

There are five known magical ‘kennings’ or types: air, water, fire, earth, and plants. Each nation specializes in of these kennings, and the magic influences the society. There’s a big pitfall with this diversity of ability and locale–not everyone gets along.

Enter the Hathrim giants, or ‘lavaborn’ whose kenning is fire. Where they live the trees that fuel their fire are long gone, but the giants are definitely not welcome anywhere else. They’re big, they’re violent, and they’re ruthless. When a volcano erupts and they are forced to evacuate, they take the opportunity to relocate. They don’t care that it’s in a place where they aren’t wanted.

I first read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books and loved them (also the quirky The Tales of Pell), so was curious about this new venture, starting with A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. Think Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Elemental magic, a variety of races, different lands. And it’s all thrown at you from page one.

But this story is told a little differently. It starts at the end of the war, after a difficult victory, and a bard with earth kenning uses his magic to re-tell the story of the war to a city of refugees. And it’s this movement back and forth in time and between key players in this war that we get a singularly grand view of the war as a whole. Hearne uses this method to great effect.

There are so many interesting characters in this book that I can’t cover them all here. Often in books like this such a large cast of ‘main’ character can make the storytelling suffer, especially since they don’t have a lot of interaction with each other for the first 3/4 of the book–but it doesn’t suffer, thankfully. And the characterization is good enough, despite these short bursts, that by the end we understand these people and care about what happens to them.

If there were a main character it would be Dervan, a historian who is assigned to record (also spy on?) the bard’s stories. He finds himself caught up in machinations he feels unfit to survive. Fintan is the bard from another country, who at first is rather mysterious and his true personality is hidden by the stories he tells; it takes a while to understand him. Gorin Mogen is the leader of the Hathrim giants who decide to find a new land to settle. He’s hard to like, but as far as villains go, you understand his motivations and he can be even a little convincing. There’s Abhi, the son of hunters, who decides hunting isn’t the life for him–and unexpectedly finds himself on a quest for the sixth kenning. And Gondel Vedd, a scholar of linguistics who finds himself tasked with finding a way to communicate with a race of giants never seen before (definitely not Hathrim) and stumbles onto a mystery no one could have guessed: there may be a seventh kenning.

There are other characters, but what makes them all interesting is that they’re regular people (well, maybe not Gorin Mogen or the viceroy–he’s a piece of work) who become heroes in their own little ways, whether it’s the teenage girl who isn’t afraid to share vital information, to the scholars who suddenly find how crucial their minds are to the survival of a nation, to the humble public servants who find bravery when they need it most. This is a story of loss, love, redemption, courage, unity, and overcoming despair to not give up. All very human experiences by simple people who do extraordinary things.

Hearne’s worldbuilding is engaging. He doesn’t bottle feed you, at first it feels like drinking from a hydrant, but then you settle in and pick up things along the way. Then he shows you stuff with a punch to the gut. This is no fluffy world with simple magic without price. All the magic has a price, and more often than not it leads you straight to death’s door. For most people just the seeking of the magic will kill you. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Ahbi and his discovery of the sixth kenning and everything associated with it. But giants? I mean, really? It isn’t bad enough fighting people who can control fire that you have to add that they’re twice the size of normal people? For Hearne if it’s war, the stakes are pretty high, and it gets ugly.

The benefit of the storytelling style is that the book, despite its length, moves along steadily (Hearne is no novice, here). The bits of story lead you along without annoying cliffhangers (mostly), and I never got bored with the switch between characters. It was easy to move between them, and they were recognizable enough that I got lost or confused. The end of the novel felt a little abrupt, but I guess that has more to do with I was ready for the story to continue, despite the exiting climax.

If you’re looking for epic fantasy with fun storytelling and clever worldbuilding, check out A PLAGUE OF GIANTS.

The post A Plague of Giants appeared first on Elitist Book Reviews.

The Artwork Of Gary Choo

Gary Choo is a concept artist/illustrator based in Singapore. I’ve know Gary for a good many years ( 17, actually ), working together in animation studios in Singapore like Silicon Illusions and Lucasfilm. Gary currently runs an art team at Mighty Bear Games, but when time allows he also draws covers for Marvel comics, and they’re amazing –

The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo

To see more of Gary’s work or to engage him for freelance work, head down to his ArtStation.

The post The Art Of Gary Choo appeared first on Halcyon Realms – Art Book Reviews – Anime, Manga, Film, Photography.