When you realize your website is underperforming across the board, it’s time for a complete revamp. But, as you pull together a new strategic plan for your site, the question arises: How long will it take for Google to crawl and re-rank the new and improved site?
In a recently recorded Livestream, Google’s own John Mueller gave some insight into this question.
Pruning an Underperforming Website
The question posed to Mueller concerned a website running around 100,000 pages, 80% of which were low-quality and underperforming. These statistics led to low crawl rates and less indexing.
The question was asked:
So if you started off in that 100,000 camp and are migrating to the 20,000 more limited high-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?
Before answering that question directly, Mueller first addressed the idea of pruning the site to improve the overall site value.
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 all these pages 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.
By reducing the number of pages and rehabilitating the pages you keep, Google has an easier time crawling and indexing your content. With fewer pages to crawl and high-quality content, you’ll be on your way to the top of the SERPs.
But How Long Will It Take?
After putting in the work to prune your website and rehab your content, how long will it realistically take for Google to crawl and re-rank your site?
Mueller gives insight:
I would assume that takes a couple of months, maybe 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.
Half a year may seem like a long time after all the work put into rehabilitating a site. However, implementing these practices may help speed up the process and provide a good baseline for future site maintenance.
- Earn New High-Quality Links – Links are like roadmaps for crawlers, so including your links naturally and strategically on well-known sites can give you a quick boost.
- Improve Site Speed – There’s nothing more frustrating than a slow-loading page, and it limits Google’s bots’ ability to crawl efficiently. Checking server response times and optimizing your content for speed makes a crawler’s job that much easier.
- Regularly Upload New Content – Consistently creating fresh quality content signals to the bots that your site is active and growing. You also have the bonus of internally linking new pages to past related content, creating more link paths for crawlers to follow.
While it takes some time for Google to re-rank a rehabilitated website, it’s well worth the time spent to create an optimized, high-performing site. The above strategies combined with continued maintenance boost your rank and conversion rate, which leads to more clicks and more sales.