Did December 2020 Google update affect your business?

Now that the December 2020 Google Update has been officially deployed worldwide, the SEO community has reported that its significantly affected ranking.

The fact that the Google core algorithm update was released a fortnight before the holidays had a negative impact on certain e-commerce websites. Let’s take a look at the most affected industries to understand in which ways website owners can adapt their SEO strategy for better results. 

December 2020 core update UK winners and losers (which businesses were affected the most)


After an in-depth look at the results, it’s interesting to see that alternative medicine websites have improved their general ranking worldwide. This doesn’t apply to all alternative medicine sites, but particularly those that were affected by the 2018 core algorithm update are now seeing improvements resulting in a potential trend.

Losers – e-commerce & shopping are taking a hit

With Amazon being the worst affected, e-commerce took the biggest hit in the UK.

We don’t have the data as of yet to determine the cause of this huge drop. It’s possible that Google is aiming to offer smaller businesses a chance at the top spots to compete with the retail giants. Another theory is that Google, similar to in the past, is manipulating the results for test purposes.

Google core update December 2020 – impact

We’ve performed analytics based on previous experience of core updates and the data we’ve been monitoring over the past month. Here is a summary of the observations we’ve made so far.

User experience is more important

One important factor for both the winners and losers was user experience. User experience can be measured according to design, layout, ad loads, and the ease with which users can find what they’re looking for.

Let’s look at some examples!

Ehow’s UX is substandard – it’s overloaded with ads and makes it difficult for users to find the answer they need (see below).

Answers.com has a better layout in general, with all important information clearly presented in an organised design with minimal ad loads. Notice how it resembles a mobile site with a narrow content section.


Google is putting more focus on UX making the mobile version of a website more important. For example, the recent bug on mobile indexing.

In fact, it was indicated that mobile would be part of the December 2020 Google update.

According to this chart, we can see that Google could probably be testing. Although if you look at Airbnb’s example you see their exceptional mobile version appears up to date with the latest UX and design trends.

What should you do if you’ve been impacted by the update?

Google claims that broad core algorithm updates are for reevaluating the quality of their ranking system, and for this reason guidelines for website administrators remain the same. 

This does not mean targeted industries won’t be affected, however, even when following the guidelines. 

One emerging trend is that Google updates seem to have a focus on user experience. In fact, Google is even said to be planning core update dedicated just to user experience. Bearing this in mind, website owners should aim to improve their website UX, design, and speed.

E-A-T also continues to be an important factor, and Google still rewards the sites that can demonstrate expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. This should always be a focus of your SEO strategy.

If your website has been impacted negatively by the December 2020 Google Update, enlist the services of an SEO team that can help you improve UX.

Last words

Authority and UX appear to be core themes in the December 2020 Google Update between winners and losers. Google has been shown to reward authoritative brands and penalise domains with poorer UX. These results also match the predicted trends from the upcoming google core update in May 2021, so lets wait and see.