Each time Google releases one of their broad core updates, I get manage to get an email or two from readers asking if I’m planning on writing an article on my thoughts.
While I truly appreciate that some of you want to hear my thoughts (I’m talking to you, Bowen), there’s a very simple reason that I don’t often write about these algo updates.
I don’t know anything.
It would be pure conjecture, like all of the other blog posts where people are claiming that they know THE thing that the update was targeting. And if you want to recover, just sign up for their course at $999.99 …blah, blah, blah.
Actually, there is one thing that I can tell you with complete confidence.
There are absolutely zero SEOs who can definitively tell you what got you hit by an algo update.
So, don’t believe any assholes who try to sell you their bullshit analysis.
Sure, some of them might end up being right. But the only people who know for sure work for Google and they’re not telling us anything.
My History With Google Algo Updates
Another reason that you don’t see me talking much about these algo updates is that historically, I don’t have much experience getting hit by them.
I know that I’ve been fortunate, and I’m not saying this to brag about it because I know that any site can get hit at any time.
And no, I cannot tell you why I’m usually spared.
If this isn’t your first time here, then you know that I had a site get hit by the May 2020 algo update.
I still have not taken the time to dig into that and try to determine why that happened. With a portfolio as large as mine, it just hasn’t been worth my time to do so because this site didn’t earn much when it got hit.
But that May 2020 update was the first time that I ever had a site get really decimated by one of these updates.
And if that had been my only site, then I suspect that I would have been mental about it all. I can’t even imagine a massive drop overnight that dries up your income stream.
Coincidentally, this is why I never advocate the single site approach.
What I Can Tell You About The December 2020 Algo Update
First things first, remember that I don’t know shit. All I can do is share what I’ve seen across my own portfolio of almost 30 sites of varying sizes.
I had one site get obliterated by this update.
I’m talking about fucking carnage here.
A 75% drop in traffic at almost the tail end of the update.
A 75-fucking-percent drop in traffic is mental.
Here’s the relevant details for this site:
- Started out on two different niched down domains in 2015 and 2016
- I combined and moved both of those sites to a broader domain in 2018
- In 2018, I used Authority Builders to send 7 guest posts to this site.
- Between Feb 2019 and September 2020, I did absolutely nothing to the site and it kept all it’s top rankings
- In September 2020, I moved some content from a broad site I bought to this site (301’d the old URLs, which the previous owner did guest post link building for)
- This is an Amazon affiliate site with a DR of 10
So, with just that information above, you could come to any of the following conclusions:
- sites using 301s were hit
- Amazon affiliate sites were hit
- sites without fresh content were hit
- low authority sites were hit
- broad topic sites were hit
- it was the site that I bought in September and moved some content from that resulted in the hit
But can I get rid of any of those assumptions based on the other sites in my portfolio?
- I have multiple sites with 301’d content
- I have multiple Amazon affiliate sites
- I have some other sites without fresh content
- I have multiple low authority sites
- I have other broad topic sites
- I moved some of the content from the site I bought to a totally different site in my portfolio
The fact remains that I only had this single site take a 75% nose dive. Sure, across my portfolio there were small ups and downs, but nothing else really worth mentioning.
But here’s where things get interesting since I have a large site portfolio…
I have two other sites that target some of the same keywords as the site that was hit by the algo update. One site saw a bit of a small boost from the update and one is basically zero change in traffic.
For keyword #1, here’s what happened:
- my DR10 site dropped from #2 from #8
- my DR13 site dropped from #1 to #2 (this site got some natural links and has been updated more regularly)
For keyword #2, here’s what happened:
- my DR10 site dropped from #8 to not in top 100
- my DR0 site increased from #12 to #8
So, infer what you will from that data. I’m not really certain you can come to anything concrete though.
Hey, I’m Shawna. I make a living working from my laptop in places like London, Sydney, Dubai, Rome, Oslo, Bangkok, Las Vegas, Barcelona, and Amsterdam. I share how I do some of that on this website.