Early Winners / Losers From Google’s January Core Algorithm Update

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Issue #161
January 21st, 2020

Hey, lunch buddies. I hope everyone had a great weekend. I spent mine celebrating my wife’s birthday. I worked with one of her friends to fly her into town as a complete surprise. To say my wife was shocked was an understatement. It was a fun weekend and I was happy to be able to spoil both her and our out of town guest.

Having MLK day off was a huge benefit. Not only did I wrap up a site migration deliverable but I also got my snowmobile certification. We received a bunch of new snow over this weekend here in Minnesota so I’m hoping to go out riding next week. More on that in next week’s issue!

Let’s get to this week’s goods!
– Nick

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What you need to know


Article: SEO analysis of Google’s January 2020 algo update

What’s Important: John and his team at IgniteVisibility recap their take on the January 2020 core algorithm update based on the 100+ sites they have access to. According to their findings, the auto insurance industry was one of the niches who saw some of the largest shifts. 

Nick’s Take: As someone who spent years in the auto insurance affiliate space, I’m bummed to no longer have any of these sites. This industry is full of low-quality content and spammy links that I’m not shocked to see it get impacted in the most recent update.


Article: Google Core Update: First Data & Analysis

What’s Important: Johannes and the Sistrix team also recapped early findings from Google’s core algo update. Their analysis covers more from the Google UK SERPS. Interestingly enough, they show a similar impact to Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) sites. They specifically call out a few sites in the health sector that benefited. They also show a few aggregator/affiliate sites that seem to be a common theme early on in impact publications.

Nick’s Take: Interesting. Another resource showing the impact on the health/finance space. Their list of losers also points to aggregator/affiliate sites as losers which doubles down on the IgniteVisibility analysis of the types of sites losing in the latest update. Is Google targeting affiliate websites and giving benefits to established brands?

Interesting Reads in Your Spare Time


Interview with SEO/Affiliate marketer Ian Howells (Podcast) – page2podcast
I’ve been following Ian for years. He’s a no-frills and no BS SEO which is exactly why I value his perspective so much. This podcast covers his early days creating affiliate sites, starting up Traffic Think Tank and becoming an in-demand SEO consultant. Definitely worth your time, especially if you’re into podcasts.

Case study: The true value of informational content for e-commerce SEO – SearchEngineLand
Eoghan shared a client story on Twitter several weeks ago. It goes like this. Ecommerce client is making a ton of cash through SEO. They then make a “business decision” to remove all content from the site. SEO performance falls off a cliff. Coincidence? I’ll let you read the full case study in his post recently published on Search Engine Land. Thanks for sharing, Eoghan!

Machine Learning for SEO – builtvisible
Do you love technical SEO posts? Then this is your top read for the week. Tom writes up one hell of a guide for leveraging machine learning to solve SEO problems such as image alt text and meta descriptions. Fire up your node.js and jump right in!

The true value of top publisher links – Moz
Kristin Tynski (Fractl) has been crushing it with some great articles as of late. Her latest post on Moz is no different. We all know links are valuable, but do you know what publishers are regularly linking out within their content? Great info in this post, thanks Kristin!

Favicon SEO – SEOBook
Aaron Wall is a pioneer in the SEO industry. Back in 2009 when I first started, I was glued to the SEObook website. After being fairly quiet the past few years, it’s great to see Aaron publishing again. This time he covers Favicons in the SERP and the conspiracy that Google is leveraging them to create banner blindness for the AD next to the paid listings. What do you think!?

Nick LeRoy
Nick LeRoy
Nick has 10+ years of SEO consulting experience building and executing strategies for clients ranging from multi-billion dollar consumer packaged goods to fashion entities with hundreds of physical store locations. He also writes the weekly SEO newsletter #SEOForLunch that allows you to stay up to date with industry updates in the amount of time it takes you to eat your lunch.

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