In Google’s December 2022 edition of the SEO Office-hours Hangout Q&A Session, one of Google’s team answered a question about algorithmic penalties and how long does it take to recover from one. Before we delve deep into the topic, it’s important to remember that the question itself pertained to content quality issues and penalties that arose because of them. And that as opposed to the old format, which was more of a direct interaction with Google’s team, the new one doesn’t allow room for follow-up questions. And that sometimes leaves a lot to be desired. The clarity on “penalty” is also a bit muddled; it’s not quite possible to decipher what the user means by the word. Did the website disappear from the search results altogether or simply dropped a few places. Keeping all this in mind, we’ll try and present a rational view of the response.
So, how long does it actually take?
Here’s what the viewer asked.
“…if a website gets algorithmically penalised for thin content, how much of the website’s content do you have to update before the penalty is lifted?”
To which, a Googler responded.
“Well, it’s generally a good idea to clean up low quality content or spammy content that you may have created in the past. For algorithmic actions, it can take us several months to reevaluate your site again to determine that it’s no longer spammy.”
Several months. That is a long time, indeed, especially because it is undefined. But the response is quite similar to what Google Search Advocate John Mueller (we’ll get to it in the next section) had said a little over a year ago. Our experience tells us that it is generally after the next big core update that Google reevaluates your websites after all the content-related changes are made and thin content is weeded out of your website’s system.
Yes, it takes months for Google to reevaluate your website.
Right! Now to Mueller’s response on a similar question that pertained to overall site quality including, of course, content 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 will it take Google to reassess the website and fully restore authority, search position and traffic? Does Google have a memory as such?”
Here’s what John had to say about it.
“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 key is to strive to create a better website all the time, with quality content and quality backlinks in place so that even when an update hits or a penalty is given, you can either phase out that difficult period and bounce back pretty quickly. Overall site experience, with faster load-time and easy-to-comprehend site design and content placement also goes a long way, in our opinion. You can listen to Googler’s full response at the 24:24 minute mark, and perhaps stick around for the rest of the discussion for some other valuable insights.
Source: Search Engine Journal