I really wish Google would stop responding to algorithm update questions with “we do hundreds or thousands of changes per year.” Like I’ve been saying for years, I’d bet 95% of those updates have little to do with core ranking but more related to UX, UI and feature changes.
So at the end of my conversation with John Mueller of Google around when does Google confirm updates and he threw out the line “We make changes every day because we’re not always playing pool all day we’re actually working,” it struck a bit of a cord. Yes, I know they work hard on search – it is amazing what they do. But I don’t like when they use that line to give a reason on why they won’t confirm algorithm updates.
I knew Danny Sullivan of Google said back in March that Google does several core updates per year – not hundreds, not thousands. The daily tweaks are less core focused and more related to UI, UX, general changes in the index and the internet in general. But core ranking changes, Google told us several per year. So stop using that line that they cannot confirm all core ranking changes if they only do several per year. I assume some of those updates we are seeing are tweaks to core algorithm updates they released weeks before – that is fine. Don’t confirm them. But I would love Google not to lump them all together and use that as a reason for not confirming these updates.
You can see why John Mueller might hate me by watching the exchange back and forth around this question:
John Mueller: We make changes every day because we’re not always playing pool all day we’re actually working.
Barry Schwartz: You guys literally release code changes to the core algorithm every single day or almost every day? Changes every day meaning, forget UI experiments but core releases every single day to the algorithm?
John Mueller: I don’t know what the last numbers were that we published. I thought it was something like 2000 changes a year and like thousands of experiments, something like that.
Barry Schwartz: A lot of those changes could have been UI changes or treatment changes and stuff, not just core algorithm changes.
John Mueller: Well all kinds of changes have an effect in the search results right. I mean otherwise we wouldn’t be making them. And sometimes small UI changes throw people off as well so that’s something I think it kind of makes sense to put all of those together.
Barry Schwartz: Okay if you ever want to like tell us what core algorithm changes per year versus the other that’d be great.
John Mueller: I don’t know where you would draw the line with regards to like core algorithm update.
Barry Schwartz: Specifically impact the ted blue links. Not featured snippets, the local packs, just the ten blue like ranking changes.
John Mueller: So if we change like the algorithm for capitalization in the search results.
Barry Schwartz: Just ranking, pure core ranking.
John Mueller: You’re making up all these kind of subtle differences.
Barry Schwartz: No I am not, just core ranking, just the ten blue links and how they are ranked.
John Mueller: I don’t expect us to to pull out those kind of numbers and I think it would be really hard to kind of evaluate what what those numbers would mean. Like if we were to say like out of 2,000 – 200 were core ranking changes, what does I really mean.
Barry Schwartz: It just gives me more of a frame of reference to say, you know people always say oh you wrote a blog post about an update, and people say they do 2,000 updates a year or 300 updates a year. But a lot of those updates are not specific to ranking. So it just gives you more context .
John Mueller: Yeah. I don’t know, we’ll see, we’ll see.
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I watched it and I can see how I came off a bit rough and I apologize for that – I was a bit passionated about the topic. So I am sorry.
I really wish Google would just not use that line around core algorithm updates.
Forum discussion at Google+.