Search Algorithms

Search engines have complex search algorithms which are used to ensure they are able to display the most relevant and useful results to their users. While algorithm changes are common and won’t usually affect a site’s ranking, search engines such as Google will occasionally introduce a major update which may impact search results. Our Hangout Notes cover insights from Google around these algorithms with best practice advice.

There’s generally no SEO benefit to repurposing an old or expired domain

December 6, 2021 Source

When asked about using old, parked domains for new sites, John clarifies that users will still need to put the work in to get the site re-established. If the domain has been out of action for some time and comes back into focus with different content, there generally won’t be any SEO benefit to gain. In the same vein, it typically doesn’t make sense to buy expired domains if you’re only doing so in the hopes of a visibility boost. The amount of work needed to establish the site would be similar to using an entirely new domain.

It can take months for Google to reassess site quality

December 6, 2021 Source

Google essentially has no memory when it comes to technical issues and there should be no lasting impact once a cause has been resolved. However, it can take Google weeks or even months to determine the quality of a site and establish how it fits into the wider context of the web. Therefore, improvements to site quality can take a lot longer to make a significant impact.

Backlink spam issues are unrelated to core algorithm updates

November 17, 2021 Source

A site owner mentioned that they saw visibility drops after a core algorithm update and that around that time, they were working to solve technical issues like 404 pages in their sitemap, but also suspected it might also be related to spammy backlinks they had pointing to their site. John replied that if you’re seeing changes after core updates, backlink spam issues are likely unrelated to the update. Core updates are more about understanding your site’s overall quality and relevance, and less about backlink spam or specific technical issues. He emphasized that overall quality and relevance are likely more important aspects to focus on after core updates occur.

SEO improvements based on CWV metrics take about a month to show results

October 30, 2021 Source

Google’s Core Web Vitals look at data that is delayed by around 28 days. This means that any significant page speed improvements you make on your website will typically take about a month to show up in the search results.  

Impressions from bots and scrapers can sometimes still make their way into GSC

October 30, 2021 Source

Google filters and blocks bots at different positions in their search systems. It’s still sometimes possible to see impressions from bots and scrapers appearing as impressions in Google Search Console (GSC). If bots appear in your GSC, you can flag these in the ‘feedback’ function. Sometimes bots are filtered out at a later stage in the search system but still will appear in GSC. 


Core Web Vitals are weighted equally across all industries and website types

October 30, 2021 Source

Neither the type of website nor industry vertical will alter how much weight is given to Google’s Core Web Vitals metrics.

Google algorithms can still lose trust in sites displaying a strong pattern of manipulative links

October 30, 2021 Source

Google tries to isolate and ignore spammy or toxic backlinks. However, there still are some cases where a site with a very strong pattern of unnatural links can lose trust and be penalized with a drop in visibility.

Google doesn’t necessarily announce update rollouts across all regions

October 30, 2021 Source

Using April’s product review algorithm update as an example, John confirmed that changes like this may continue to roll out across other regions without Google explicitly announcing them. This is because it’s not always possible to give individual country and language updates when changes are rolling out on a global scale.

Useful Text on Category Pages Helps Google

March 20, 2020 Source

Some useful and topical text on category page is useful as it helps Google to understand them a little better, but make sure that Google can still recognise the page’s intent as a shopping page, not an informational page.

Related Topics

Voice Search Search Queries Rich Snippets Featured Snippets Penalties Search Console PageRank SERPs Core Web Vitals