A fascinating discussion in a Google Office Hours hangout on how long it takes to re-rank a site that had previously hosted low quality content. Google’s John Mueller answers how long it takes for Google to recalculate the quality of a site after removing thousands of low quality pages and then explains why it takes so long.
The question involved a website in which 80% of the web pages are low quality. The context of the question was rehabilitating a site that is poorly crawled by Google.
Low Quality Content Affecting Crawling Patterns
The question was asked within the context of a larger question about insufficient crawling of a site where thousands of pages were not indexed.
The line of questioning then drifted toward trimming the low quality pages so that Google could find and crawl the 20,000 higher quality pages out of a total of about 100,000 pages, the majority of which were low quality.
Google’s John Mueller on How Long to Re-rank a Website
Strategic Culling of Low Quality Web Pages
The person asking the series of questions finally asked how long it would take Google to recalculate the site quality after site improvement and to commence crawling, indexing and ranking the site like a normal one.
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The person asking the question asked:
“So if you started off in that 100,000 camp and are migrating to the 20,000 more limited higher-quality pages, how long would you say it takes for Google to recalculate that reputation of pages and site map being reliably… pages worth crawling.”
John Mueller addressed the the issue of improving site quality itself, saying it’s less of a technical issue than a strategic one.
But he didn’t yet address how long it took to re-rank the site.
He does that in the follow up answer.
“Improving the quality of a website overall, I think that’s something that is less of a technical issue for the most part and more almost like a strategic issue.
Like, how do you approach what you publish?
One approach that is a little bit more technical is to think about what you can do to reduce the number of pages that you provide so that you have …like instead of saying you have 100,000 pages you say well I have 20,000 pages that I want Google to crawl and index and these are our 20,000 best pages.
And by doing that, it’s a lot easier for us on the one hand to say well, we can crawl and index 20,000 pages, that’s fine.
And we could look at these pages and we can see oh these are performing really well, these are really good pages.
And then from there over time we can kind of expand to the rest of the site.
So that’s something I sometimes see sites do and I think in general that’s a good strategy.
Because it also helps you to refine a little bit and think about what actually makes a good high-quality page, and how could we determine that, maybe automatically in scale.”
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How Long it Takes to Re-rank a Rehabilitated Website
The person asking the question followed up by asking how long it takes for Google to re-rank a site that followed his advice for cutting out 80,000 low quality pages out of 100,000 pages in order to present the 20,000 pages that were of the highest quality.
“I would assume that takes a couple of months, maybe a half a year, something along those lines.
Because we really need to take the time to understand the essentially new site that we find like that.
And some things we’ll pick up fairly quickly.
But when we’re talking about the overall quality of the website, that does take a bit of time.”
This statement is similar to an answer from April 2021 where he advised:
“It’s probably more like… I don’t know… three, four months, something like that, if you make significant quality changes.”
Interesting answer by Mueller because first, he said that the dramatically changed website that had 80% of the content removed is technically considered a new website in terms of the content of an entire new site versus the old site and the content on that site.
The second interesting comment by Mueller was of course that it takes from a few months to half a year for Google to crawl and re-rank an essentially new website of about 20,000 pages.
Watch John Mueller answer the question at the 29:16 minute mark