Google: A Single Tweak Won't Boost Your Search Rankings

Oct 30, 2012 • 8:49 am | comments (35) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

silver bulletWhen it comes to search rankings, most people who think about it feel there is an easy way to get those rankings. In short, they feel they make a tweak and bam, their rankings go through the roof. When it doesn't happen, they feel that they are missing out on a silver/magic bullet.

Google's John Mueller said in a Google Webmaster Help thread that there often isn't a magic bullet. That often a single tweak made to a web site will not lead to significant ranking changes for the better. John explained that there are hundreds of ranking factors, so making a small tweak won't likely lead to increased rankings.

John wrote:

Often there isn't a single "tweak" that can be made to a website to automatically make it jump up in rankings -- we use well over 200 factors in crawling, indexing, and ranking, and it's always good to work on the small things as well. When looking at the bigger picture, it's useful to really take a step back, and to try to see what could be changed overall to improve the quality of the content (when it comes to our algorithms), especially with regards to the content that's indexed.

There are times where making a small tweak can have a huge impact. For example, if you are given an old aged site that has tons of quality content on it but never had any unique title tags. I.e. the site said, "" in the title. Changing title tags to the article headline often can be a huge silver bullet. That being said, hard to find sites like that today.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

Image credit to BigStockPhoto

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Nick Stamoulis

10/30/2012 01:29 pm

Like you mentioned, sometimes there are sites where one small change can have a big difference. For instance, I had a client that had a really aged and established site with lots of great content but they had never actively done any link building. Three months of link building and they shot to the top of the SERPs for a lot of their big keywords because it was that missing piece. But changing one title tag or internal link isn't usually going to push you over the edge.

Ryo Wibowo

10/30/2012 01:38 pm

Hope ..... there will be an article about the posibility of 200 factors here... i'm waiting for that.


10/30/2012 01:42 pm

^^^this guy^^^.......he never stops...


10/30/2012 01:44 pm

And that's why SEO in general became useless. SEO - was the magic bullet. It was an emergency. SEO specialist will not work on your site day-by-day during the year for example. It's not a SEO anymore, if you hire SEO guy on full time. It's interesting to watch how one algo update changed the industry roots. I would like to know, if Googlers expected such impact ...


10/30/2012 01:51 pm

Probably they didn't. They just increased the number of factors involved in algo. It was easy to find one (magic) to be improved, when it was 10 of them. And it's impossible when there're 200+ signals in algo.


10/30/2012 01:55 pm

Will you pay fine, if later this site will be penalized because of your link building ??

Aaron Charlie

10/30/2012 03:00 pm

I wouldn't call 3 months of link building a small tweak!


10/30/2012 05:18 pm

What is neglected is the fact that not all 200 variables are equal in importance, priority and longevity...


10/30/2012 06:25 pm

every site has its own troll :D

hate cheaters

10/30/2012 09:02 pm

You are a scroogler so you know that 200 signals mean jack if one or two count for 40% of the total ranking score. Get am honest job you cheating scroogler scum


10/31/2012 01:12 am

To say that you are anti-SEO is pretty ridiculous since 99% of sites are search engine optimized including Matt Cutts' website. If you completely ignore SEO e.g., META tags, on-page text, anchor text etc. And if you keep your site secluded from the rest of the web, your site will rank poorly in any search engines. There is a difference between SEO and overly optimizing a site e.g., link building, keyword stuffing etc.

consultor seo

10/31/2012 07:15 am

There are no better ways to increase serp than the actual combination of all the variables, where the production of link baiting is still the most powerful one.

Steve Masters

10/31/2012 08:42 am

Small tweaks on site can make a big difference - fact. But you cannot always expect to see a difference by making only small tweaks. It depends on the quality of the key factors on the page. It could be as simple as fixing an out of date sitemap.

Dulare Yadav

10/31/2012 11:26 am

Could any one give me the lists of these 200 factors

George Psaltakis

10/31/2012 11:31 am

There are also people that want to be first in search results, by publishing their sites to the Internet or by submiting to Google


10/31/2012 11:33 am

Lesson 1 in SEO primary school, take a holistic approach. This is why for the people who just smashed links and made a lot of money back in the day are moaning because this one dimensional approach does not work and at the same time they get hit with a penalty. Personally I find it quite funny

James Barker

10/31/2012 02:00 pm

I don't think it is funny, because those guys who "smashed links" were only doing what previously WORKED. Why wouldn't they? You are correct that a holistic approach is the way to go, but it hasn't always been like that. I understand why people are annoyed. Looking back, it's amazing Google took so long to devalue spammy tactics, those things worked for way too long, and people built their businesses around them working.


10/31/2012 04:09 pm

I wrote already before, that SEO by Matt Cutts and SEO by most people here have totally different meaning. SEO by Matt Cutts was important 10+ years ago, when nobody knows what does meta tags, keywords, links, etc. mean. Nowadays almost every kid knows about such things. And every kid consider him/herself as a SEO. The same as housewives, plumbers, writers, lawyers, etc etc etc. But this is not SEO anymore. This is common knowledge nowadays. From the other hand such things as links building for ex. also is not SEO for the obvious reasons. Creating false signals is not optimisation in any way. Re on-page text, anchor text, etc ... Again. It was important many years ago, when bots were stupid and you had to give them additional signals for better understanding of your content. Do I need to explain you, that nowadays bots are much smarter, than most of the SEOs are? SEOs are trying to fool the bots and they can't. Why? Because bots don't need additional signals. Furthermore, they can detect false signals. I can continue, but I hope the main idea is clear. And in conclusion ... I never did link building, on-page texts or anchor texts manipulations or anything else ... just nothing. Meta tags are the same as they were many many years ago. Website was top of the tops before Panda. Got hit from Panda. I must say deserved hit. Still ranks well. We can work on it further. And definitely our work has nothing to do with SEO. I'm pretty sure most of the top sites have aprox. the same story and statements like "99% of sites are search engine optimized" are from the SEOs dreams. You can't fool neither bots nor people in the long run. Think about it and take care )


11/01/2012 12:05 am

You honestly believe that bots can interpret content without on-page text, anchor and META tags? So we should just build sites with empty META title tags, right? Because all of the sites ranking well in Google have them missing. Also forget about site structure and linking to other pages on our site, forget anchor text because why would someone need to know what the link is about, right? We should also never use descriptive text because our readers and the bots will just understand what we are thinking because hey, they can read minds. So if we are talking about blue widgets, we should just leave the word widgets out because everyone will just know what we mean. Also forget about spreading the word about your site. Why would anyone need to know about it because people will just find it. I think any professional knows that this isn't true. I think you need to read Google's suggestions. Also, what you think SEO means and what it actually means are 2 different things. See the meaning of SEO:


11/01/2012 01:23 am

You read what you want to read, not what I wrote. Read my post again carefully. Also please provide some information about the web property you OWN. Again. OWN, not "I-have-clients" bla bla bla ... Everything, I'm talking about, is based on my real experience. Please proof you have real web development experience. Do you own website ?


11/01/2012 05:57 am

I don't do SEO services and wouldn't do it because it seems like a pain. I'd rather just build my own sites and I personally think it's a lot easier. I own a few websites and I think most people on here would be amazed by the quality - I really put a lot of work into it. Personally, I like to keep my business away from my hobbies (which is SER). First, I don't want my visitors or competitors seeing it and also I don't want to share my niche with other webmasters. I'm shocked that you would ask to see my site when you don't share your site with others (I assume this based on the fact that you remain annonymous). So if you assume that I'm not squeaky clean just because I choose to remain anonymous, what's your story?


11/01/2012 11:26 am

Did you run this through google translate? It's really hard to understand what you write because your grasp of English is so poor.


11/01/2012 04:08 pm

I didn't mean you would post your website domain(s). Just a confirmation, that you're real web developer. Not kind of analytic, SEO, blogger, marketer, etc ... So, you own few amazing quality websites. Good. Could you please clarify, are these websites so amazing because of the SEO done or because of "really put a lot of work into it" ?


11/01/2012 04:14 pm

Teacher, at how many languages can you share your thoughts ? I can make conversations in 4 languages (different groups btw). You ? )


11/01/2012 05:13 pm

Are the other 3 languages you converse in, as bad as your English? It really is difficult to follow along with your thoughts as you make the points so badly. Perhaps you need to be commenting on a blog that is written in your own language.


11/01/2012 06:27 pm

Sorry, but you activity doesn't support your statements. Obviously you can understand me since you're replying me ) And it was predictable that you can talk just in local dialect of your native language ) Hope, you're not a real Teacher.


11/01/2012 07:01 pm

In my experience, on moderately popular sites small changes cause a fluctuation 9 times out of 10, but the affected page will always drop back to a similar position within a couple of days. 200 factors, yes please.


11/02/2012 10:01 am

I ran it through Google translate and translated it from Gibberish to broken English. It's not perfect but it means you can understand the basics of even the poorest written conversation. The biggest problem in doing this is that being Google, it can change the meaning of words without notice. One day STEEL means STEEL and the next it means STEAL. I could never be your teacher because it is not possible to teach someone with a closed mind. You need to be receptive to new ideas outside of your current thinking. Alas, this is never possible when the subject knows everything already.


11/02/2012 12:26 pm

No reason to become a racist, if you're broken. I'm sure it's still possible for you to find the job on the farms around your town. Just try. Take care )


11/02/2012 03:34 pm

Playing the "racist card" when there is no indication of your race, sex, color or nationality mentioned anywhere, is clearly the reaction of a "professional victim". I merely pointed out your poor written English and stated how difficult it is to understand your points because of this fact. I bet your associates don't even bother with Google. They just ask you. The "man/woman" from "wherever", who speaks many languages poorly but knows everything.


11/02/2012 04:31 pm

music is good for SEO


11/02/2012 07:59 pm

ha...yes. someone please send me the list. thanks. kind regards, the jimster

Vikas Singal

11/03/2012 07:20 am

Its right that a Single tweak cant jump you on first page but 10* those small tweak can do a good jumping ..what you say guys :)

Noticias de Hoy

11/03/2012 07:08 pm

What does this exactly mean ? that If I create a site and is beating the competition in short time even authority sites I should leave it as is ? meaning doing the same work.

SubmitShop UK

11/05/2012 08:23 am

Yes, you are right at the point that a single tweak won't boost search engine ranking.Seo needs proper research Time & effort.

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