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Changes to Infrastructure May Trigger Indexing Drop via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s John Mueller answered a question about declining crawl rates after making large changes to the websites infrastructure, in this case, moving to a new content delivery network (CDN).

Mueller explains why indexing may appear to slow down after these kinds of changes.

The person asking the question noted that they created redirects for URLs and moved to a new Content Delivery Network (CDN) and soon after began experiencing notable drops in indexing rates.

Background on Website Indexing by Google

Indexing is a reference to the process of Google’s web crawler, Googlebot, visiting a web page and downloading it to Google’s search index.

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Google’s search index is where candidate pages eligible to be ranked exist. Search results come from Google’s search index.

That is the reason why indexing rate by Google is so important. Google needs to crawl and discover new pages to rank.

It is considered a major problem if something causes Google to not crawl a web page.

According to Google’s help page on crawling and indexing:

“We use software known as web crawlers to discover publicly available webpages. Crawlers look at webpages and follow links on those pages, much like you would if you were browsing content on the web.

They go from link to link and bring data about those webpages back to Google’s servers.

…We take note of key signals — from keywords to website freshness — and we keep track of it all in the Search index.”

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Changing Content Delivery Network is a Major Change

A content delivery network is a network of servers positioned all around the world. The purpose is to speed up the delivery of website content by serving the content from a server that is close to the person trying to visit the web page.

So in theory Google should be able to visit the site and index it even faster, which is the reasonable expectation.

This is the question asked:

“After redirecting and changing and CDN we’re seeing a drastic drop in crawl rate.”

John Mueller Explains Severe Drops in Crawling

Screenshot of Google's John MuellerGoogle’s John Mueller answered:

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller

“Yes! That’s every reasonable.

If you change your website’s infrastructure then we will change our crawling.

On the one hand, first, to be a little bit conservative and make sure we don’t cause problems and then later on we automatically ramp up again.

So if you change to a different CDN that’s a significant change in the infrastructure and we recognize that change and we hold off crawling for a while and then we ramp up again if we think everything is fast.”

Google is Avoiding Being Disruptive

The whole point of a “drastic drop” in indexing when major infrastructure changes are made is to make it easy on the updated site.

Sometimes a site that is rolling out a major change can have multiple changes over the course of a week or longer.

Indexing a site that might not be completely updated or ready to be indexed can result in confusion at Google if the site is in a state of constant change.

So it’s actually a good thing that Google slows down its crawling after a major infrastructure change to the website.

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Citation

Watch Mueller answer question at the 29:10 minute mark

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NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

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