The Next Google Update

I would venture to guess that one of the most common questions on any webmaster forum involves someone asking, “When is the next Google update?” Although they are probably asking about visible PageRank updates in the Google toolbar, the answer involves a bit more than that.

Visible PageRank is what you see in your Google toolbar. At this point, that has been updating an average of every three months or so.

HOWEVER, real PageRank is continually updated and continually factored into how the search results are determined. By the time you see a change in the toolbar, any effects of that change have already long since been included in the search results.

Google updates its index data, including backlinks and PageRank, continually and continuously. We only export new backlinks, PageRank, or directory data every three months or so though. (We started doing that last year when too many SEOs were suffering from “B.O.”, short for backlink obsession.) When new backlinks/PageRank appear, we’ve already factored that into our rankings quite a while ago. What Is An Update by Google Engineer, Matt Cutts

For a few years now people have been confused as to what the cache date on page actually indicates. It used to be that if there were no changes on the page since the last cache date, then often Google would only change the cached version of the page about once or twice a month. If there had been changes, people would see the cached page updated much sooner.

Google has now changed the cache date to reveal the last date the page was accessed by Google. (Updated September 6, 2006)

“We’ve recently changed the date we show for the cached page to reflect when Googlebot last accessed it (whether the page had changed or not). This should make it easier for you to determine the most recent date Googlebot visited the page.” Google Webmaster

How often a page is crawled is determined by the number of links that are out there bringing the robots back to your website again.

Search engine spiders crawl the web on a continual basis by following links. The more links that are pointed to your site, the more often your pages will be crawled.

This means that websites with very few links pointed to them, will notice it taking longer for Google to find and index their new pages.

Websites with a large number of links pointed to them will likely see their new and updated pages added to the index quite rapidly.

The search engine result pages update continually. As Google finds new information, it is added to the index. The goal of the search engines is to display the results in the exact order of relevance to the search query. The more relevant your page is to the search query, the higher your page should show in the results.

Since the information going into that determination is continually changing, so are the results you see in search engine results. When you combine all that with occasional changes in how Google factors page relevance (algorithm) to the search query, you end up with results that are continually fluctuating.

In the end, all of this should mean very little to you as a site owner. The more time you spend focused on what Google is up to, the less time you are spending on building a website filled with quality content for your visitors.

If you follow the basic guidelines and develop a quality site that invites incoming links naturally, you can focus on your results over time, rather than day to day search engine fluctuations.


J. Cricket Walker

Small Business Marketing Consultant and SEO Training Specialist
Copyright © 2007 J. Walker of GNC Web Creations All Rights Reserved