[Analysis] December 2020 Google Core Algorithm – What to Do If Your Rankings Dropped

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If you’re like me and your business relies on Google rankings for traffic and leads for your business. Every time I hear the word Google algorithm update, the anxiety kicks in a bit.

Any Google Core Algorithm update is going to cause a shakeup in site rankings across all industries and all markets. It’s the reason you see hilarious threads like this on Twitter…

Google Core Algorithm Update - Search Liaison Twitter

Google Search Liaison announces December Algorithm Update.

As always at Carrot we strive to understand these updates as best we can so we can give our members the best information to ensure their sites continue to perform well.

Problem: Post Google Core Algorithm Update Research

After the core google algorithm update that was rolled out from December 6th – December 20th the team went back and researched a broad scope of sites using tools, such as…

We found that the algorithm update did have an impact on a significant number of sites in the real estate industry, some positive, some negative, and some stayed relatively consistent. For example, this Carrot member account shows stability after the Core algorithm update. But this site has heavy credibility, BBB, trust, and many Google reviews, etc

Google rankings after the core update in December 2020

We decided to review a collection of 20 or so sites within our own platform and reviewed historical rankings, site freshness, uniqueness of content, backlinking profile, the works.

Primary Findings

What we found …

Stale sites, i.e. sites that hadn’t been updated in the last 6 months or so, appeared to be much more vulnerable to negative impacts from the update than sites that were actively being updated on a consistent basis.

Those updates could be continually adding blogs and content on a consistent basis, active social media accounts, ongoing backlink development, etc.

For example, henrystreetpg.com which hasn’t made any content updates, or posted any social media posts, or utilized any of our content packs in the past 6 months took a significant hit.

Henry Street Property Group Carrot Website

From mid-page one for a lot of rankings down to the bottom of page two top of page three type rankings. Here’s a look at one of the keywords Henry Street PG has been targeting and the drop in rankings beginning December 6, 2020.

Henry Street PG Drop in Rankings

On the other hand, sites that were regularly posting on social media, consistently adding backlinks, consistently adding blogs and new content to their site either stayed consistent or improved in their rankings.

Additional Findings

We also found that some sites that we deemed were unfairly negatively impacted between December 6th and December 20th, but have since made a rebound while others remain in the lower rankings, primarily due again to the lack of any updates to the sites.

Based on our findings we have decided more than ever how important it is to stay consistent with your ongoing SEO and site maintenance.

Solutions: Initiatives You Can Take

Using the case study above where Henry Street Property Group dropped significantly in the rankings, here are some initiatives they are going to take with their site and follow the effects of the changes.

Implementing an active Social Media presence.

One of the quickest and easiest things you can do if you haven’t started yet is to implement a consistent posting schedule on social media. This indicates to Google that you are an active business and presence on the internet.

Review backlink profile

See if you can get any quick wins with a few citations here or there. Review your competitor’s backlink profiles to see if you can get some additional ideas for backlink options.

backlink profiles

Content review

A few quick wins here would be to check your average word count and strive for an average of 1500+. Review the content and look for places you can clean up and clarify for your site visitors.

word count minimum for SEO

Update Google My Business information

Review your google my business profile to ensure everything is up to date. Ensure your company descriptions and information accurately describe the work you do.

Google My Business for Real Estate Investors

Utilize h tags in a proper format

People often think the more h tags the better. Stacking h1 or h2 tags on top of each other.

properly using h tags in your content

You want to follow a typical article format.

  • Only one h1 heading per page.
  • You shouldn’t stack h headings on top of each other
  • There should be standard paragraph text under each heading as though it were a standard article you’d read in the paper or magazine.


A drop in search rankings is a given in the SEO world. Knowing how to investigate what may have caused the drop is an important piece of the puzzle.

We also highly recommended that you have monitoring that tracks changes to your website’s content and keywords. Carrot members can easily accomplish this using the keyword rank tracking tool.

If you’ve read this article, it’s obvious your website’s SEO is really important to you. If you would learn more about SEO check out our Real Estate SEO page for more comprehensive guides. You can also stay up to date on Google updates through our SEO News page.

Grady Sullivan

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