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Google’s John Mueller dug into a question about a site that spent time improving its “mediocre quality” content but still did not see significant ranking improvements. John said that is not just about improving the content, but rather also working on fixing the overall quality of the web site and maybe even about differentiating your site from your competitors.
Here was the question that John Mueller answered at the 12:52 mark:
I have a website that was of mediocre quality but I improved it a lot in terms of content. Now it’s suddenly appearing on pages 4 to 6 and sort of stuck there for the last two month. I read you once mentioned that the effects of refining websites can take more than six months to reflect in search. Does that still hold true? If yes and then it wouldn’t make much more sense to start with a new domain instead of kind of improving the old one?
Two points in his response that I will highlight:
(1) Six months timeframe to see ranking improvements is not a fixed number. So don’t sit there waiting for six months to pass by. Rather, if you track if your pages were crawled by Google, then once most of them were recrawled, then maybe see if things improved?
(2) Improving content is a good thing but sometimes it is about the overall theme of the web site that needs to be improved.
Here is John’s response:
So six months is not a fixed time. That’s essentially just something that I I see from time to time. And it’s particularly something that with larger websites you tend to see. Like if you make really significant changes on a larger website, then there’s a lot of content that needs to be recrawled and reprocessed and that takes a lot of time. So that’s kind of where I pull that six months number out. It doesn’t mean it will always take six months. It doesn’t mean that like it will always be complete in six months. Sometimes it takes longer, a lot of times for for smaller websites it usually ends up happening a little bit faster.
So in your case it sounds like it’s more of a smaller website. If you kind of significantly improve the content of the whole website, then that seems like something that you can kind of I don’t know like I’m guessing on the order of maybe a hundred, couple hundred pages, and that’s something that usually we would be able to crawl in index a lot faster.
With regards to the ranking in general. There is no kind of fixed rule that we would rank pages significantly higher after you’ve improved the content. These things do take time as well and sometimes improving the content, it’s like there’s a lot involved with improving a website. It’s not just like rewriting some pieces of text and making them look a little bit better.
So that’s something where I continue to work on this to try to find ways to improve that. If you’re active in a competitive area then it might also make sense to kind of think about how you can differentiate yourself from other sites. Not just with with regards to kind of the content that you have there but kind of with your offering in general. Like what can you provide that is significantly different than everyone else. That is such that when people see your stuff for the first time, that they’ll be able to or they’ll want to come back specifically to your site.
Here is the video embed so you can watch and listen to it yourself:
Forum discussion at YouTube Community.