“Can Google Permanently Negate a Site’s Authority?”

Google’s John Mueller answers a question about Google and site authority: can a site’s authority be diminished forever?
SIA Team
December 1, 2021

During the English Google SEO Office-Hours From November 26, 2021, Google’s John Mueller read aloud a series of questions someone had submitted: 

“Are there any situations where Google negates a site’s authority that can’t be recovered even if the cause has been rectified? 

“So assuming the cause was a short-term turbulence with technical issues or content changes, how long will it take for Google to reassess the website and fully restore authority, search position, and traffic? 

“Does Google have a memory, as such?”

John’s response was:

“So for technical things, I would say we pretty much have no memory, in the sense that if we can’t crawl a website for a while, or if something goes missing for a while and it comes back, then we have that content again. We have that information again. We can show that again.

“That’s something that pretty much picks up instantly again. And this is something that I think we have to have because the internet is sometimes very flaky, and sometimes, sites go offline for a week or even longer. And they come back and it’s like nothing has changed, but they fixed the servers. And we have to deal with that.”

So, from a technical perspective, if things go back to normal, then that’s fine. 

But, what if something changes–particularly a change in site quality? 

John continued: 

“And users are still looking for those websites. I think it’s a lot trickier when it comes to things around quality in general, where assessing the overall quality and relevance of a website is not very easy, and it takes a lot of time for us to understand how a website fits in with regards to the rest of the internet.

“And that means, on the one hand, it takes a lot of time for us to recognize that maybe something is not as good as we thought it was. And similarly, it takes a lot of time for us to learn the opposite again. And that’s something that can easily take, I don’t know, a couple of months, a half a year, sometimes even longer than a half a year, for us to recognize significant changes in the site’s overall quality.”

“Because we essentially watch out for, well, how does this website fit in with the context of the overall web? 

“And that just takes a lot of time. So that’s something where I would say, compared to technical issues, it takes a lot longer for things to be refreshed in that regard.”

A Rare Occurrence That Can Negatively Affect a Site’s Authority in Google

“The other thing that I’ve very, very rarely seen is that a site gets stuck in some kind of a weird in-between stage in our systems, in that, I don’t know, at some point, our algorithms reviewed the website and found it to be absolutely terrible. And for whatever reason, those parts of the algorithms just took a very long time to be updated again.

“And sometimes that can be several years.

“But I mean, these are things that I’ve seen every now and then, but they’re extremely rare. So the chances of any random website kind of falling into is fairly low.”

Source: Google Search Central YouTube channel