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Does Google Set Limits to Search Traffic?

Google's John Mueller answers if it's true that Google throttles search traffic.

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller answering if Google sets limits on how much search traffic sites receive

Google’s John Mueller answered a question about throttling traffic to sites displayed in Google Discover. Many publishers have over the years suspected that Google puts a limit on how much traffic some sites receive.

The question was about Google Discover, a feature in Android where Google will show sites of interest to users on a mobile phone.

So, with Google Discover, if a person enjoys bicycling, Google may begin showing articles in the Google Discover feed about biking.

Google Search Traffic Limit Theory

Some in the SEO search marketing community have suggested that Google throttles traffic. Throttling means to control how much of something flows through.

Web publishers have noticed that traffic sometimes comes in bursts and that the daily traffic totals seem to have a ceiling, a limit.

This phenomenon is what caused some publishers to suggest that Google throttles traffic.

The person asking the question implicitly asks if it has something to do with the server capacity.

Does Google Put Limits on Search Traffic to Websites?

Here is the question that was asked of John Mueller:

“…as we see Google crawling according to the server capacity, so does Google set a Discover traffic limit?

Like that website received that much of traffic from Discover than its server can handle?”

Google’s John Mueller answered the question but didn’t limit the answer to Google Discover. He expanded the answer to be inclusive of search traffic as well.

John Mueller Looked Up as He Considered His Answer

Screenshot of John Mueller answering a question

Google’s John Mueller answered:

“No. I don’t think so.

I mean, we generally don’t have any kind of… search traffic limits.

So that applies to Discover as well.

So it’s not that we would say this website gets 1,000 visitors from search and then we stop showing it.

Because, I mean, the ideal situation is we show a website that is really good for a search query, and we show it to anyone who comes because it’s a good website.

So it would be kind of weird to say, we think it’s a good website but we’re not going to show it to people.”

Google Traffic Throttling is a Myth

There are many reasons why traffic might be heavy during a part of the day and then taper off. Sometimes it’s because people at work or after school are researching. Sometimes it’s because people are at lunch and are casually browsing the web.

Search intent is not just why someone is using certain keywords. It’s also situational in that search intent is also related to where the query is made and when the query is made.

Tools such as Google Trends can help publishers understand where (geographically) the majority of certain queries are made and that can give a clue as to why those search visitors tend to taper off at a certain time of day.

Google’s John Mueller confirmed that if search traffic tapers off at a set amount per day, the reason is not because Google is turning off the search traffic.


Watch Google’s John Mueller answer if Google throttles search traffic:

Category News SEO
SEJ STAFF Roger Montti Owner - at

I have 25 years hands-on experience in SEO and have kept on  top of the evolution of search every step ...

Does Google Set Limits to Search Traffic?

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