Google's John Mueller On Recovering From Core Updates - Maybe You Had A Good Run...

May 28, 2024 - 7:41 am 48 by

Google Kitchen Sink

John Mueller, a Google Search Analyst at Google, wrote a response to a site owner who saw their site tank in September 2023 and hired SEO, and there has been no improvement. John's response was that it was likely not one thing but many things and that even possibly the site had a good run and it is time to move on to something new.

John wrote on Reddit the following points:

  • Server issues were likely not the issue
  • Removing a few ads won't solve the issue
  • Disavowing links won't solve the issue
  • Buying links won't solve the issue
  • Switching to a new SEO plugin won't solve the issue

He goes on to explain that sometimes maybe "consider that you've possibly had a good run already" and that you should apply what you've learned to "another project."

Here is what he wrote:

The server downtime most likely has nothing to do with the changes you're seeeing, it was just awkward coincidental timing. The bump after your server downtime was probably just things catching up again.

To be fair, downtime of over a month (from a rough glance) is terrible for search, since a lot of pages will fall out of the search results during that time. It takes time for them to be reindexed again. Even with a technically-correct 503 response code, a downtime of more than a day or two will have effects (and with a change of hosters, I doubt you served a 503 anyway).

There will be more core updates, so there's room to grow again, but you really need to rethink your site's strategy to get into a good spot (caveat: I have no idea which site you're talking about). This is not about dialing back the ads from infinity to infinity-1, disavowing 5 links, buying 5 links, nor about switching to another SEO plugin. It is hard, and I think some sites may find that their business models do not work out with changes (eg, if you have at most 50 cents to spend on autogenerated content - to give an extreme example). If you suspect you're in the "doesn't make sense anymore" camp (well, I hope not, but sometimes cutting losses & moving on is good for peace of mind too), consider that you've possibly had a good run already, and you've learned a lot on how to make / optimize / monitor / debug technically reasonable sites, all of which you can apply to another project - or to professional work that you do with clients.

This reminds me of Glenn Gabe's kitchen sink approach - where you simply cannot point to one issue anymore with a site and it's Google positioning.

I mean, this site seems to have been hit by the September 2023 helpful content update and there were not recoveries yet for that update.

Forum discussion at Reddit.


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