The Time Required for Search Engines to Process SEO Changes of a Website

7 May 2018

At the video conference for webmasters on March 9, 2018, John Mueller—the Google search optimization expert—gave a clear answer to the question that every SEO specialist hears from clients: “When will I see positive changes on my website after SEO changes?” During the conference, John explained how quickly Google reacts to new changes of the site, described factors that influence this process, and explained why it can take a long time.

To make his answer more comprehensive for people who don’t come across SEO every day, we explain below what he means by SEO changes.

In the realm of search engine optimization (SEO), link building also remains a pivotal aspect that significantly influences a website’s performance. Building high-quality and relevant links plays a crucial role in enhancing a site’s authority and visibility on search engine result pages.

One effective strategy gaining traction in the SEO landscape is leveraging platforms like Help a Reporter Out (HARO) to bolster link-building efforts. HARO provides a unique opportunity for websites to connect with journalists and reporters seeking expert insights for their articles. By actively participating in HARO queries, websites can secure valuable backlinks from reputable sources, enhancing their overall link profile.

Answer of the Google Expert

John Mueller is a senior webmaster trends analyst. He leads a team of webmasters, provides operational information support to industry professionals, and regularly sheds light on the principles of the Google search for publicity.

John explained that after performing improvements at the page level, a webmaster would see results immediately after the URL is re-crawled and indexed by Google. But, when it comes to the whole site, this process takes much more time—often six months, or even longer. If your site contains millions of pages, then it can drag on for a year or even more.

It happens because the Google algorithm needs time to reassess the site overall and a lot of low-quality pages that can play a role there, as well as a considerable number of other factors that can influence the search ranking.

John Mueller explained: “If you remove one part, you really have to think about what can I do across the whole website to make sure that it’s significantly better. Even if you make big changes to the design and functionality, or you add new features and things, I would definitely expect that to take multiple months, maybe half a year, maybe longer for that to be reflected in search because it’s something that really needs to be re-evaluated by the systems overall.”

One of the main reasons for such an extended period of reassessment is that Google scans low-quality pages much less frequently than others.

Also, Mueller recommends using the time of anticipating rising positions with benefits, and continue to improve your site.

Listen to his answer starting from the 10:52 mark in the video below:

In the process of optimization of the website, Google recommends improving low quality content instead of deleting it. This is because content evaluated as low quality can add some value, and its removal can cause falling positions, but not their growth. In no case does this mean that you should have low quality content on a website.