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Does Google do a “holiday change”? (October 22nd 2010)

Does Google do a “holiday change”? (October 22nd 2010) - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

Here’s a question from Will in Brooklyn, New York. Will wants to know, what change occurred around October 21? A lot of websites complained about losing rankings overnight. Is this a holiday change? I actually want to answer the holiday change part of this question. Because it seems like if Google makes any kind of change, any time in the fourth quarter of the year, then people say, oh it’s a holiday change. Google’s trying to either make me buy ads, or do whatever. And the fact is, we go out of our way to try to prevent causing a lot of extra trouble during the holidays. So if there’s some change that’s really a huge impact, and it’s right near Christmas, or right near the holidays, sometimes we’ll delay that into January to make sure that the impact is not as big as it would be otherwise. So it’s definitely not our case to cause pain or stress to web masters. What we want to do is return the best sites to users. At the same time, we can’t just shut down for 1/4 of the year. Any time in October, November, December, and not make any changes to our search results. Because if we were only making changes 3/4 of the time, that would give plenty of opportunities for other search engines to keep making changes, to 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 by ads, or to cause uncertainty. We do what we can, within reasonable bounds, to try to make sure that webmasters don’t have a huge amount of stress around the holiday time. There’s 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, OK, if that’s something that’s really big, and it’s optional, and it’s right around the time when we could either delay it or do it early, a lot of times we’ll say, well let’s hold off and do it in January instead. So 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’s trying to hurt me. Google’s trying to hurt my business. And that’s not the case. Our objective is always to return the right answers to users. And then if we can get that, then we also try to do as much as we can for webmasters as well.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


Original video: