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Google: Rankings for New Sites Could Fluctuate For Up to a Year

Google says it’s normal to see search rankings for new sites fluctuate heavily within the first year.

Google: Rankings for New Sites Could Fluctuate For Up to a Year

Google’s John Mueller recently advised that it could take up to a year for the search engine to figure out where to rank new sites.

During that time there is likely to be some significant fluctuations in search rankings.

That’s completely normal, Mueller says, and not necessarily related to anything a site is doing right or wrong.

This topic came up during a Google Webmaster Central hangout held on June 12. A concerned site owner asked a question about their 8-month-old website, which was apparently ranking well up until a month ago.

The site owner notes their rankings drop coincided with a negative SEO attack by a competitor which resulted in over 1,500 spammy backlinks.

Now the site is nowhere to be found in search results and the site owner wants to know how to recover their rankings. How do they proceed from here?

John Mueller’s Response

In response, Mueller informs the webmaster their site is still considered very fresh. Compared to the history of the internet, 8 months is not a long span of time.

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Google’s algorithms are still trying to figure out how the website should be ranked amongst all other content on the web. This process could take up to a year before rankings level off.

“I think if your website is just, let’s say, a couple of months old, maybe 8 months, maybe a year, then that’s still very fresh with regards to the rest of the internet. So that’s kind of a time where our algorithms are still trying to figure out how and where we should show your website in the search results overall.

So that’s something where it would be normal to see some kind of fluctuations around how it’s being shown in search. Sometimes things go up for a while, sometimes they go down for a while. And then, I’d say over the course of a year, things settle down in kind of a stable state.

So that’s something where I wouldn’t necessarily worry too much about this particular situation. I’d continue working on your website, and over time that’s something that should be reflected in search overall.”

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Related: A Complete Guide to Launching Your New Website

What about the spammy backlinks?

The site owner directs Mueller’s attention back to the spammy links and asks if they could be negatively impacting rankings.

Mueller confirms, as has he has stated before, that Google’s algorithms ignore those types of links.

“That’s something that we see all the time. It’s really easy for people to run a script and to drop thousands and millions of links on the internet and we ignore that. That’s something where people get really busy, and they do all this crazy stuff, but our algorithms have seen it so often they’re used to just ignoring it…”

Further, anchor text doesn’t matter in these cases. It also doesn’t matter whether the links are nofollow or not. Google ignores all of it.

“This kind of thing is really easy where you can take 5 dollars and send it to someone and they’ll put thousands of links up on the web. People have been doing this for years and years.”

Lastly, the site owner asks if the spammy links show be disavowed as a precautionary measure.

“I don’t think you need to. I don’t think that would change anything. I would just completely ignore it.

If your competitor is focused on building bad links for your website then at least they’re not making a better website for themselves.”

Related: Link Building for a New Website: 20 Ideas to Get Links

Hear the full question and answer in the video below:

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Matt Southern

Lead News Writer at Search Engine Journal

Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a degree in communications, Matt ... [Read full bio]

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