Has the January core update been reversed?

This month the SEO community was convinced that yet another Google algorithm update had rolled out – and for good reason!

After the turbulence of the January 2020 update, we began to see what seemed like a reversal in early February.

However, Google has said that this wasn’t a Google core update, but a batch of smaller updates that they are always implementing weekly.

We of course know that Google is always updating and enhancing, but these few updates have really mimicked what we would expect to see with a core update.

January - February Comparative index

Image source: Pi’s SEO Platform

Reversal of the January update?

Looking at the Comparative Index from Pi’s SEO Platform, these fashion retail domains saw fairly significant drops around the 8th February, but since, have all pretty much returned to where they were in January, from an organic visibility perspective.

These drops initially tricked a lot of us into thinking Google had reversed the January update.

Let’s focus on just one retailer’s visibility – PrettyLittleThing.

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PrettyLittleThing visibility for womenswear terms

PrettyLittleThing Comparative Index

Image source: Pi’s SEO Platform

The biggest drop PrettyLittleThing saw in February for a keyword category was ‘Maxi dresses’, although they were negatively affected across all womenswear categories.

PrettyLittleThing’s performance for ‘Maxi dresses’ category

Diving deeper into PrettyLittleThing’s keyword level performance, we can see they dropped just a few positions – but this makes a big difference to sites that perform within the high CTR zone:

Daily Positions: PrettyLittleThing’s performance for ‘Maxi dresses’ category

Image source: Pi’s SEO Platform


There are no obvious signs of intent testing from Google, as many pages with similar content are not moving, whilst others have dropped.

In fact, none of the sites we’ve looked at benefited to the same extent to which others dropped.

We already know from Google that this wasn’t another update, but what did cause this flux?

To me, it almost looks like some sort of algorithmic glitch, from which most sites have fully recovered.

As Google are saying this is a culmination of several small updates, who knows how this might change in the coming weeks?

Subscribe to my newsletter to find out….

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