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Google Offers Details on Core Update Recovery Times via @martinibuster



In a Webmaster Central Office Hours hangout, Google’s John Mueller answered a question about recovering from a core algorithm update. Mueller explained what a core update generally is and how a publisher can respond.

Must Websites Wait for Next Core Update to Recover?

Animated gif of multiple screenshots of Google's John Mueller discussing how to recover from a Google core update

The background to the question is that it has been the case that some sites hit by a core algo update sometimes recover on a subsequent update.


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That gives the impression that the work done on a site to “fix” problems goes unrewarded by Google’s algorithm until the next core update.

The question asked why do publishers have to wait.

This is the question:

“What exactly, websites that have been hit by the core updates can’t recover before the next core update, even if they make good improvements?

Some algorithms are launched one time for a couple of months or how does that work?”


John Mueller answered by first stating what Google’s core algorithms are primarily concerned with, which is understanding how web pages are relevant to site queries.

John Mueller’s answer:

“With core updates we’re essentially trying to re-understand how the relevance of the search results are.”


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Mueller then addressed the main question about having to wait.

He said:

“And it’s not something that requires a site to… wait for the next update to have a chance to be seen differently.

They can continue working on things and things can improve over time.”

In the early 2000’s, when Google updates happened on a monthly basis, it was true that a site would have to wait a month until the next update to see their site changes rewarded.


What Mueller’s confirming is that Google’s algorithm operates on a rolling refresh, where the entire index is constantly refreshing.

Once an algorithm change goes into effect, let’s say it’s a change to how “reviews” are ranked to promote reviews with some particular feature, then the index is constantly refreshed using those changes.

So if a site that loses rankings because of those changes adds those missing features because they realize it’s relevant to users, their sites should begin gaining back positions before the next update.

John follows up with an encouragement to keep improving a site in case the next update focuses on one or more of the improvements a publisher made.

“It’s possible that our next core update will make a bigger change in the same direction that you’ve been working and you’ll see a bigger change in your site’s performance as well.

But in general, sites don’t have to wait for the next bigger update in order to start seeing changes.

So, from that point of view, I wouldn’t… stop working on things once you think you’ve done the right thing. But I’d continue working in that direction.

You should see at least some incremental improvements over time.”



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Never Stop Improving Websites

One of the oldest and still useful approaches to content improvement diversifying the content.

Some sites can get stuck publishing the same kinds of content. That can put off audiences that get tired of the same thing. Or it can cause the site to miss out on acquiring more traffic from a related audience demographic.

The goal of diversification is to rotate through different content forms.

A mix of evergreen and temporary topics, plus diversifying into other kinds of articles, like image heavy articles, how-to articles, tutorials and so on can help a site attract a broader audience, address a range of needs and build stronger signals of authority.

Identifying new and related audiences can be helpful as well. The reasons people search for things, user trends and so on can be in a constant state of change.


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Watch Mueller’s answer here:


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



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.


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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