In a recent Google SEO office-hours Google answered the question as to how long it takes to recover from an algorithmic penalty that arose from content quality issues.
Google’s new office-hours format doesn’t allow for follow-up questions, resulting in answers that lacks nuance and are less helpful than the old format where the Googler can ask clarifying questions.
For example, we have no idea if the “algorithmic penalty” that is referenced in the question means that the site completely disappeared from the search results or if it simply dropped a few positions.
There’s a difference between the two situations.
This is the question that was asked:
“…if a website gets algorithmically penalized for thin content, how much of the website’s content do you have to update before the penalty is lifted?”
There’s a lot of information that is missing from that question.
- Did Google send the publisher a message that their content was “algorithmically” penalized?
- Is the person asking the question assuming they are penalized and doesn’t actually know?
Here is the answer:
“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.”
It Takes Months For Google to Evaluate Site Quality
Clearly it’s important to fix as close to all of the low quality content as possible. But after that’s done it may take a few months to bounce back into the search results.
John Mueller said something similar in November 2021 about how long it takes for a site that lost rankings to bounce back.
“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’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.”
Similarly, at the 5:21 minute mark of this Google video, the Googler Aurora Morales refers to what happens to sites that violate Google’s guidelines, including the policy on thin content.
The Googler advises:
“Sites that don’t meet the monetization and organic search guidelines may be removed from the Search index and have their ads disabled.”
Listen to the Google SEO office-hours at the 24:24 minute mark here.
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