SEO Tip #138: Does Google Do A Holiday Change?

Matt Cutts: I actually want to answer the Holiday change part of this question because it seems like if Google makes any kind of change anytime in the fourth quarter of the year then people say, “Oh it’s a Holiday change. Google’s trying to make me buy ads or do whatever.”

The fact is we go out of our way to try to prevent causing a lot of extra trouble during the Holidays. If there is some change that is a really huge impact and it’s right near Christmas or right near the Holidays sometimes we delay that into January to make sure the impact was not as big as otherwise.

So it’s definitely not our case to cause pain or stressed webmasters. What we want to do is return the best sites to users. At the same time we can’t just shut down for ¼ of the year any time in October, November or December and not make any changes to our search results. Because if we were only making changes ¾ of the time that would give plenty of opportunities for other search engines to keep making changes and keep improving.

So we have to keep making changes. We try to insulate webmasters where possible but it’s definitely not the case. I hate the idea of a Holiday update or that Google is always trying to make changes in order to make people buy ads or to cause uncertainty.

We do what we can within reasonable bounds to try and make sure that webmasters don’t have a huge amount of stress around the Holiday time. There is not much that we can do if we have a change that needs to go out so I’m not going to say we never change anything. But we do try to take reasonable steps in order to say, “Okay if that’s something that is really big that is optional and is right around the time where we could either delay it or do it early a lot of the times we’ll say, “Let’s hold off and do it in January instead.”

I hope that explains a little bit. I know that it’s very popular on some webmaster forums and websites for people to just say, “Google is trying to hurt me. Google is trying to hurt my business.” And that’s not the case. Our objective is always to return the right answers to users and if we can get that then we also try to do as much as we can for webmasters as well.

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About the Author

Andy Johnson

Andy Johnson has been on the Internet since the its dawn(ie his first computer program was recorded on cassette tape) and his first hard drive cost about as much his current MacBook. His first byline was in 1993 for a local newspaper rag he eventually helmed, and his last “real job” was at a computer start up which ended when it ended. Throughout it all he’s freelanced and blogged. Now he is mesmerized by Search Engine Optimization forever trying to “rise to the top” for the right reasons. He’s been married to his wife Julia for as long as he can remember and has two lovely, wonderful children. He looks forward to sharing the latest in the technical best for all the online entrepreneurs.