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April 30, 2024

Google’s John Mueller Shares Insights On Website Recovery After Core Updates

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Google’s John Mueller provided valuable insights on website recovery after Google’s core algorithm updates, emphasising that while recovery is possible, the timeline remains uncertain.

Highlights
  • Recovery from algorithm hits is possible but might require waiting until the next core update.
  • Enhancements to your website don’t ensure you’ll regain previous rankings or visibility.
  • Google’s guidance on the recovery process is somewhat opaque.

Let’s take a look at the conversation!

Website Recovery After Algorithm Hits

John Mueller offered solutions for the websites impacted by recent search algorithm updates. Jepsen started the discussion and tagged Mueller on X (formerly Twitter) asking:

“Google has previously said Google doesn’t hold a grudge and sites will recover once issues have been solved. Is that still the case after HCU?”

Mueller stated that website recovery after getting attacked by the core algorithm is possible, but it may require waiting till future core updates. He suggested making improvements to the website and content; however, it doesn’t guarantee regaining lost rankings and visibility. Google doesn’t hold grudges against sites impacted by core updates, but recovery can be a slow process, and patience is required.

Addressing Recovery Timelines

Responding to a query on X (formerly Twitter), Mueller explained that recovery from core updates might take months, and significant changes may require another update cycle. He emphasised that the ranking process is complex, and while site improvements are essential, they’re not a guaranteed pathway to recovery.

“…some things take much longer to be reassessed (sometimes months, at the moment), and some bigger effects require another update cycle.”


Mueller referenced a Google help document explaining that broad core updates occur every few months, and recovery might not happen until the next core update. However, rankings aren’t guaranteed in search results because ranking is based on content quality and relevance.

“Broad core updates tend to happen every few months. Content that was impacted in Search or Discover by one might not recover—assuming improvements have been made—until the next broad core update is released.
Do keep in mind that improvements made by site owners aren’t a guarantee of recovery, nor do pages have any static or guaranteed position in our search results. If there’s more deserving content, that will continue to rank well with our systems.”

Recovery After Specific Updates

Mueller indicated that each case is unique and generalized answers might not be helpful. Regarding sites impacted by the “Helpful Content Update” (HCU), he mentioned that while core updates may be necessary for recovery, other factors, like content quality and technical site improvements, play a role. He acknowledged that site migration issues could also affect search rankings, further complicating the recovery timeline.


However, the thread explode with comments when @selectgame user raised some concerns about Google Discover traffic.

“Google Discover is affected by core updates as well as other parts of Search (and there are more policies that apply to Discover).”


Frustrations and Concerns

SEO professionals expressed their frustrations regarding the uncertainty and lack of clear guidance from Google. Lily Ray, a prominent industry figure, noted that many sites significantly affected by the March Core Update have seen further declines despite making significant improvements. Mueller acknowledged that recovering from algorithm updates could be challenging and time-consuming.

“…many HCU-affected websites – which have been making all kinds of improvements over the last 7 months – have only seen further declines with the March Core Update.
I have seen some sites lose 90% or more of their SEO visibility since the HCU, with the last few weeks being the nail in the coffin, despite making significant improvements.”
“And in my professional opinion, many of these sites did not deserve anywhere near that level of impact, especially the further declines over the past month.”

Key Takeaways

  • Making significant site and content improvements can eventually lead to recovery, but patience is required.
  • Recovery could take months and may require a future core algorithm update.
  • While recovery isn’t guaranteed, producing high-quality content is essential for improved rankings.
  • Reach out for support if needed: If you’re experiencing prolonged site migration issues, contacting Google may provide additional guidance.

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