Google has rolled out several updates over the years, all related to stopping spam inclusions in search results. In general, every major update has led the sites I work on to grow further in search as a result. Google lays out some fairly simple guidelines, namely revolving around being genuine. This is the process I utilize, alongside some proprietary structures in place for how content is rolled out and the purpose of that content.
However, a few recent questions from clients, some data research, and historical data comparisons have shown some weird underlying changes that are beginning to show their faces. The biggest one is how fast (or how slow I should say) Google is indexing new content.
November 2021 Core Update: Spam Update
This is being called a spam update that rolled out over the course of 8 days at the beginning of November, it was completed on November 11. 2021.
How Google Announced it:
“As part of our regular work to improve results, we’ve released a spam update to our systems. This November 2021 spam update should be fully rolled out within a week. We encourage sites to follow our best practices for Search.”
Google then linked to the generic Google webmaster guidelines for more “guidance”.
From my perspective, I never saw a severe shake-up in client ranks – up/down or anything indifferent to the growth patterns leading up to the update.
Where it got weird is when a new client’s content campaign showed that all of the new content is not being indexed – this is over 88 new URL’s and has been over 2 months now (updated 2/5/22).
Then, I started paying attention to this part. I soon realized that all content posted since November for a handful of clients has had weird index times, and seems to have nothing to do with the order of creation.
Another client had 4 pieces of content deployed in one week. One-piece, the third in the order, was indexed in 24 hours and is number 1 for its targeted search that same day and ever since.
The rest? Still hanging in “Discovered – currently not indexed” land ~ this is in week 2.
I am seeing this story repeated and not too much in regard to why one is indexed faster than another. In a couple of these examples, the pieces that got indexed quickly had no other help – no social shares, no incoming links, no user activity – no reason..
Since some time has passed, and the SEO community is now noticing this – we have some more to add:
From Search Marketer Ammon Johns:
This is the first marketer I have seen outside of myself to bring up the slow index rate since this update – but it’s definitely happening.
“There’s no single unifying theme (yet), no suddenly recurring problem or symptom surfacing in the various SEO groups.
Only the ongoing mass of issues many smaller site owners had in the weeks running up to the update where crawling was reduced, and sites with lower crawl priorities found they couldn’t get their new content indexed.”
In regard to keyword rankings (which aligns with what I mentioned previously):
From Steven Kang: SEO Signals Lab
“I’m seeing mixed results. Some went up and some down. I’m not seeing the seismic difference…”
From Japan-based SEO Kenichi Suzuki
“The November 2021 Core Update seems to have made much less impact on rankings, compared with other core updates.
The ranking changes are not that different than daily fluctuations.
That said, we’ve seen Google look at who (author/company) publishes the content more carefully.”
This update has provided what I consider a big kink in the works, slow/no content index rates. This has been the biggest factor affecting my new client base. It is not a negative effect in regards to how the content campaigns are and will work, but it has taken an already slow process and made it a slower one – which actually blows my mind. You’d think things would get smarter and faster, but Google really focuses on “complications” more than anything – unfortunately.
I think what Kinichi said, “That said, we’ve seen Google look at who (author/company) publishes the content more carefully” may carry some weight.. but we are waiting to see how that plays out as well.
Hé Eric, I came across your site. I experience very slow indexing for clients. So I used Google en found your post. Luckily I’m not the only one experiencing problems. A new site I made (Dutch) link in the website field is taken over a month to get indexed… Search engines like Bing and Yahoo already indexed the site. Do you have any tips?
Greeting from the Netherlands.
Hello, yes – I have no good – new news on this, just trying various things. I don’t see any issues with your client site – other than it falls in the category of developed after this update.
With my sites that have issues, Bing and Yandex indexed everything within 24 hours, which also populated Yahoo and DuckDuckGo – which are all driving traffic, currently.
My site here is not very special, but this blog post was indexed quickly and has provided the highest traffic to my site in the last month. The only difference with my site is that it was live and operating before the update. I have no links or anything coming here.
So far, this is all I can identify – Google is not treating new sites, or historically thin sites that have decided to expand after this update very fairly (one site literally has experts writing original/current/well-integrated content 6 days a week – nothing indexed for over 2 months).
All of that said, I will have a follow-up post once some things finish getting tested, but that is not looking great so far.
Hey Eric, thanks for your swift reply. I appreciate. I’ll keep monitoring this and consider writing my own dutch blog post about it. At my company’s site (again in the website field) I see new pages getting indexed slower than before, but existing content gets a relative
quick update. In an attempt to get the mentioned site indexed, I made a dummie one page static html site (www.barbaradijkshoorn.nl). To my big surprise, this site was index in Google within 48 hours. Thereafter, I made a 301-redirect in an attempt to get the main site indexed… I hope I’m just a bit impatient. But annoying it is… Again, thanks for your reply.
Google 100% has slowed this, I see it on 4-5 sites since August I launched, some really popular ones too. Its most likely them saving money in some way.
Yes, definitely an issue. We made headway with one of the sites, will be putting that update together in the near future.