seoplus+ Digest — January 2020 SEO Updates

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seoplus+ Team

Graphic of hand holding up a cellphone. On the screen is a bell ringing.
Graphic of hand holding up a cellphone. On the screen is a bell ringing.

It seems like three months have already passed since Christmas and it’s still January. Google made use of this “extra” time and released a whole bunch of new updates, starting with a Core Google Update, of course. In today’s article, we will cover what this update means and what industries it has affected thus far. We will talk about other big digital marketing updates and also highlight some of the best tech presented at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) earlier this month, just to switch it up a bit, you know? Grab a cup of coffee and take a break.

Core Google algorithm update January 2020

A new update rolled out globally on January 13th and seems to be way bigger than the September core update. According to Marie Haynes, this update focused on the Trust factor of E-A-T, hitting affiliate sites that didn’t label affiliate links as such. According to Google Guidelines, all advertising must be clearly labelled.

If you remember, Google rolled out BERT late last year, and with its use for Natural Language Processing, it’s getting better and better at reading content and identifying its quality. Sites that did benefit from this update had really good content (like very good), which means that Google is starting to reward sites for content quality based on tangible information and machine learning as opposed to vague guidelines.

Travelling? Google is tagging along

Google is working tirelessly to update its various products and in January this applied to their travel site. The travel site helps you plan your vacation, from exploring destination ideas to booking flights. Now, it’s even easier with three new tabs: “where to stay”, “when to visit” with weather conditions, how busy the destination is and even when it’s most affordable, and “what you’ll pay”. Basically, Google can plan your entire vacation for you. But it’s nice to have this much information and make educated decisions on your next getaway.
google travel | Award-Winning Digital Marketing Agency

Our favourite CES announcements

Let’s take a break from Google and see what concepts companies such as Pax, BMW, Lenovo, Canon and so many more had developed and presented at CES (Consumer Electronics Show)

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold

lenovo think pad | Award-Winning Digital Marketing Agency
Laptop, but not? Lenovo is working on a foldable display, which can act like a tablet or a laptop at the same time. You can add a magnetic keyboard to the 13.3-inch display and when you’re done, just close it like a laptop. The ThinkPad also accepts stylus inputs for more tablet-oriented usage.

Samsung Odyssey G9 monitor 

Samsung Odyssey Reveal Lifestyle 1 | Award-Winning Digital Marketing Agency
Curved monitors not only look sleek in any interior design but also provide the ultimate PC gaming experience. This new model from Samsung is 49 inches in size, is QLED and a 1440p resolution. Very futuristic, indeed.

Sony Vision-S

sony vision s | Award-Winning Digital Marketing Agency
When you think of Sony, cars likely don’t come to mind. But CES is always full of surprises and this year, Sony presented a concept car. The electric vehicle is full of features celebrating the best Sony tech such as displays and audio. It’s also equipped with more than 30 sensors and aims to fulfill safety and sustainability goals. The design does look similar to the classic Tesla model but who knows what the final result will look like if the concept does get developed. (

Your e-commerce site does need content

Anyways, back to it. If you’re selling products online, it might not be intuitive to place a high value on content — customers can see the product and read its specs, so why do you need to write stuff?

This article presents a case study, in which 25 informational content pages were removed and the URLs were redirected to the home page. In just a few days, all rankings for these pages were completely gone and within just three weeks, the site had lost about one-third of its overall visibility. Besides the content removal, another contributing factor to the loss in rankings could be from loss of links since the content pages contained external and internal links with good authority. To test the content theory, the 25 pages were put back in place, and three weeks later, the website recovered its visibility and the good rankings were regained, bringing the site back to almost the exact spot it started in. 

Google adds favicon to desktop results then backtracks

Besides the Core January Update and Google Travel updates, Google is also testing adding black ad labels to desktop search results and favicons next to organic search results to help users. This has been in play on mobile for a few months now and Google says that users have been happy. However, the SEO and SEM community have not been happy with the changes and design, accusing Google of trying to hide the black ad label among favicons for every search result. Google seems to have received this feedback and said they are still working on it and testing different versions.

Before labels:

google snippets 757x600 | Award-Winning Digital Marketing Agency

After labels:

google desktop search favicons 1579004977 705x600 | Award-Winning Digital Marketing Agency
That’s it, that’s all folks, for this month’s SEO updates. Have you noticed a significant drop in rankings from the January Core Update? Let us know! Talk to you next time.

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seoplus+ Team

The award-winning seoplus+ expert team includes digital marketing specialists and business advisors with a combined experience of over 75 years. Since 2012, seoplus+ has provided demand generation and business growth services to companies ranking from SMBs to multinational enterprises. Our team's rich and diverse backgrounds range from SEO, PPC, social media, content creation, digital PR, UX design, web development, and ecommerce, to customer success, lead generation, and growth strategy. seoplus+ is also an SEMrush Agency Partner, Google Premier Partner, and Shopify Partner.

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