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How Long to Re-rank a Rehabilitated Website

John Mueller, Google’s director of web development, provides detailed information about the time it takes to rank a website that has been rehabilitated and why it takes so much.

In a Google Office Hours Hangout, a fascinating discussion took place about how long it takes for a website to be reranked after it had previously been home to low-quality content. John Mueller, Google’s webmaster, answers the question about how long it takes Google to recalculate a site’s quality after it has removed thousands of low-quality pages. He also explains why it takes so much time.

The question was about a website where 80% of its pages were of low quality. Google was not crawling the site well.

Low-Quality Content Impacts Crawling Patterns

In the context of a larger question regarding inadequate crawling of a site with thousands of pages not indexed, this question was asked in the context of a larger question regarding inadequate crawling of a site.

After removing low-quality pages, the line of inquiry shifted to trimming them so that Google could crawl the 20,000 pages of higher quality out of the total of approximately 100,000 pages.

Google’s John Mueller on How Long to Re-rank a Website

How long to re-rank a website
Image Credit: SEJ

Strategic Culling of Low-Quality Web Pages

The person asking the series of questions asked how long it would take Google to recalculate the site quality after site improvement and commence crawling, indexing, and ranking the site as a normal one.

The person asking the question asked:“So if you started off in that 100,000 camp and are migrating to the 20,000 more limited higher-quality pages, how long would you say it takes for Google to recalculate that reputation of pages and site map being reliably… pages worth crawling.”

John Mueller addressed the issue of improving site quality itself, saying it’s less of a technical issue than a strategic one.

But he didn’t yet address how long it took to re-rank the site.

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He does that in the follow-up answer.

Mueller answered:“Improving the quality of a website overall, I think that’s something that is less of a technical issue for the most part and more almost like a strategic issue.
Like, how do you approach what you publish?
One approach that is a little bit more technical is to think about what you can do to reduce the number of pages that you provide so that you have …like instead of saying you have 100,000 pages you say well I have 20,000 pages that I want Google to crawl and index and these are our 20,000 best pages.
And by doing that, it’s a lot easier for us on the one hand to say well, we can crawl and index 20,000 pages, that’s fine.
And we could look at these pages and we can see oh these are performing really well, these are really good pages.
And then from there over time we can kind of expand to the rest of the site.
So that’s something I sometimes see sites do and I think in general that’s a good strategy.
Because it also helps you to refine a little bit and think about what actually makes a good high-quality page, and how could we determine that, maybe automatically in scale.”

How Long it Takes to Re-rank a Rehabilitated Website

The person who asked the inquiry went on to ask how long it takes Google to re-rank a site that followed his suggestion of removing 80,000 low-quality pages from a total of 100,000 in order to focus on the 20,000 high-quality pages.

Mueller Answered:“I would assume that takes a couple of months, maybe a half a year, something along those lines.
Because we really need to take the time to understand the essentially new site that we find like that.
And some things we’ll pick up fairly quickly.
But when we’re talking about the overall quality of the website, that does take a bit of time.”

This statement is related to one he made in April 2021, in which he said:

“It’s probably more like… I don’t know… three, four months, something like that, if you make significant quality changes.”


Mueller’s response is intriguing because, first, he claims that the substantially altered website, which has had 80% of its information removed, is technically new in terms of the content of a whole new site vs. the previous site and its content.

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