At a Google Webmaster’s online hangout, a user asked Google’s John Mueller what he thinks about the ranking fluctuations when new content is published. To borrow the example of the user asking the question, this user had their newly published content ranked at a princely 12 on their target keywords soon after publishing. However, after just a day’s time, the ranking simply vanished in thin air and they couldn’t find it on the search results at all!
The question asked was, why was there such a drastic fluctuation in the rankings?
Mueller answered saying that such fluctuations were extreme but normal. His reasoning was that when new content is published online, Google is still looking at ways in which the content fits the user’s requirement. The entire analysis of the content is not done, so the search results often end up over-estimating or under-estimating the worth of the newly published content. Over a period of a couple of weeks, the true value of the content is judged and then it settles down at a particular spot.
Before this stage is reached, extreme fluctuations of ranking can be expected. Here’s a full text of what Mueller actually said:
”That can be completely normal. The tricky part there is when we find new content, on a new site or existing site, we kind of have to estimate where we think we should show it where it’s relevant. Sometimes we estimate fairly high and, over time, that kind of settles down.
So it could be that it settles down in a similar position, it could be that it just fluctuates for a while and then settles down in a similar position, or maybe it’ll settle down ranking higher or maybe it’ll settle down ranking a bit lower.
So especially with completely new content, the rankings that you see there I would expect would fluctuate quite a bit. Maybe — I don’t know, I’m just making up a number — a week or two until things kind of settle down into a state where we say this is the normal ranking that we think is appropriate…
It’s kind of extreme, I guess, but it can definitely happen that we index something that we rank it fairly high that, for a couple of days, it disappears completely and then it pops back in maybe at the same position or maybe a slightly different position.”
So, the next time you publish new content and find the ranking going awry, don’t panic!