Google’s John Mueller answered a question about how long it takes for Google to recognize site quality. During the course of answering the question he mentioned something that bears a little more looking into and that’s the concept of how it’s important to Google to understand how a website fits into the context of the overall Internet.
How A Website Fits Into The Internet
John Mueller’s statement about how Google seeks to understand a website’s fit into the overall Internet as part of evaluating a site for quality is short on details, yet the emphasis he puts onto this and his statement that it can take months to complete the assessment implies that this is something important.
- Is he talking about linking patterns?
- Is he talking about the text of the content?
If it’s important to Google then it’s important for SEO.
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How Long Does It Take To Reassess A Website?
The person asking the question used the example of a site that goes down for a period of time and how long it might take Google to restore traffic and so-called “authority,” which isn’t something that Google uses.
This is the question about Google site quality:
“Are there any situations where Google negates a site’s authority that can’t be recovered, even if the cause has been rectified.
So, assuming that the cause was a short term turbulence with technical issues or content changes, how long for Google to reassess the website and fully restore authority, search position and traffic?
Does Google have a memory as such?”
How Google Determines Site Quality
Mueller first discusses the easy situation where a site goes down for a short period of time.
John Mueller’s answer:
“For technical things, I would say we pretty much have no memory in the sense that if we can’t crawl a website for awhile or if something goes missing for awhile and it comes back then we have that content again, we have that information again, we can show that again.
That’s something that pretty much picks up instantly again.
And this is something that I think we have to have because the Internet is sometimes very flaky and sometimes sites go offline for a week or even longer.
And they come back and it’s like nothing has changed but they fixed the servers.
And we have to deal with that and users are still looking for those websites.”
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Overall Quality And Relevance Of A Website
Mueller next discusses the more difficult problem for Google of understanding the overall quality of a site and especially this idea of how a site fits into the rest of the Internet.
“I think it’s a lot trickier when it comes to things around quality in general where assessing the overall quality and relevance of a website is not very easy.
It takes a lot of time for us to understand how a website fits in with regards to the rest of the Internet.
And that means on the one hand it takes a lot of time for us to recognize that maybe something is not as good as we thought it was.
Similarly, it takes a lot of time for us to learn the opposite again.
And that’s something that can easily take, I don’t know, a couple of months, a half a year, sometimes even longer than a half a year, for us to recognize significant changes in the site’s overall quality.
Because we essentially watch out for …how does this website fit in with the context of the overall web and that just takes a lot of time.
So that’s something where I would say, compared to technical issues, it takes a lot longer for things to be refreshed in that regard.”
The Context Of A Site Within The Overall Web
How a site fits into the context of the overall web seems like the forest as opposed to the trees.
As SEOs and publishers it seems we focus on the trees, headings, keywords, titles, site architecture, and inbound links.
But what about how the site fits into the rest of the Internet? Does that get considered? Is that a part of anyone’s internal site audit checklist?
Perhaps because the phrase, “how a site fits into the overall Internet” is very general and can encompass a lot, I suspect it’s not always the top consideration in a site audit or site planning.
Hypothetical Example Site A Site Quality Assessment
Let’s consider Example Site A. The phrase can mean, in the the context of links, the sites that link into Example Site A and what Example Site A links out to, and the interconnected network that creates and how it reflects in terms of topic and site quality.
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That interconnected network might consist of sites or pages that are related by topic. Or it could be associated with spam through the sites that Example Site A links out to.
John Mueller can also be referring to the content itself and how that content is different from other sites on a similar topic, how it includes more information, how the content is better or worse in comparison with other sites.
And what are those other sites? Are they in comparison with top ranked sites? Or just in comparison with all normal non-spam sites?
Mueller keeps referencing how Google tries to understand how a site fits within the overall web and it might be useful to know a little more.
Time It Takes For Google To Understand How Site Fits Into Overall Internet
Watch John Mueller discuss how Google evaluates site quality at the 22:37 minute second mark:
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.
Our December 2021 product reviews update is now rolling out for English-language pages. It will take about three weeks to complete. We have also extended our advice for product review creators: https://t.co/N4rjJWoaqE
— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) December 1, 2021
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
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
Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines
John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global
Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark
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