Open Discussion: How Often Does Google Update its SERPs?

By Daniel Scocco

This is a question that has been on my mind for some time, and despite researching around the web, I was not able to find a clear and definitive answer.

How often does Google update its SERPs?

That is, how often does it incorporates the information that it gets from its crawling bots and applies it to the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages)?

I think there are 2 possible cases here. On the first one Google would update the SERPs in real time and constantly, as soon as new information is retrieved from its crawling bots. For example, if a bot was crawling a certain page and discovered that the Title tag was changed, it would immediately report it back to a central data center, that would in turn update the database and the ranking positions for this particular website.

A second possibility is that Google has a fixed schedule to update all the results together. For example, it could do it once every 48 hours, and on every update it would combine all the data retrieved from crawling bots and recalculate all the SERPs simultaneously. The schedule here could be daily, every 48 hours, every week and so on.

This factor is quite important because it gives bloggers and webmasters a time frame to check the results of your optimization efforts. Suppose you discovered that all your h1 and h2 tags were messed up on your site. You learn how they should be properly used, fix the problem, and then start monitoring specific keywords to see if your ranking positions will be affected.

But how long should you wait to see the results? Let me know what you think!




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63 Responses to “Open Discussion: How Often Does Google Update its SERPs?”

  • MrCooker

    From my experience I think it updates as soon as Google has it’s crawlers information.

    I think this because new blog posts or any other page for that matter, can get indexed as soon as 5-10 minutes after you’ve made the post.

    For new pages it’s definitely not 48 hours.

  • Patrick Altoft

    The answer is that it depends on the site in question. Some sites are crawled all the time and each page probably gets hit at least once per day. On other sites a page might go 6 months between crawls.

    Once a page has been crawled it is usually a matter of 1 minute to 24 hours before the index is updated.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @MrCooker, could be. I have seen changes take as long as a couple of days to appear thouhg.

    @Patrick, what you think influences if it will be 1 minute or 24 hours?

    The crawling rate is no mystery, I wonder how often Google uses that info into the SERPs though.

  • Sumesh

    It may very well depend on the crawl rate, domain age and authority. Daniel, maybe you should publish a post, make sure it is indexed and then make a small but identifiable change and then check how long it takes to update that info on SERPs. I’ll be doing it too, and it’ll be a fun and educating experience 😉 (DBT is more authoritative, and mine’s not, so it could also give us an insight into variations betwen domains).

    Speaking of messed up h1s and h2s, the last time I checked, DBT’s index had h1 for each post (while most sources advise one h1) and even Google does not recommend multiple h1s on a page.

  • Arlo Gilbert

    I have been noticed this also in Google Data Centers. It was irritated for some of us. But that is ok. This is good and it is a challenge for us to make more efforts. 🙂

  • Nate Nead

    Both the post and the responses were very helpful because it’s a question I’ve had for a while. Thanks.

  • Tony

    I dont know exactly, but I know it is pretty quick, cuz it posts stuff from my Photo Blog, sometimes on the same or next day..!!

  • Jaan Kanellis

    Different types of changes, different types of updates to Google. I have created a new blog post and seen it live in the SERPs within a few minutes. Where I have changed the title tag of a post and it has taken 2-3 days to update.

  • Stephan Miller

    I deal mainly with sites that have been around for a while. I don’t have a new site to test currently. But I have seen changes in SERP’s within 24 hours. And when I purposely try to rank a page, I see the inkling’s that it worked within 3 to 4 days it seems.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Sumesh, we can try. The problem I see with that is that small changes would hardly be noticeable, and that we can’t control external factors like people linking to you post.

    To test this one would need to create a hidden page, get it indexed, and then totally screw it up to see how long it would take for Google to remove it from the index.

    @Everyone, keep in mind that getting a post indexed and getting one that is already indexed to change its ranking position can be two different things for Google.

  • Jaan Kanellis

    @Daniel, right I pointed that out above. Both a completely independent. it is funny that new posts show up faster than changes to posts that are already indexed though.

  • Susan

    I don’t now how often Google updates the SERP, but it’s pretty frequently. I’ve been able to search for posts within 5 minutes of posting.

  • BlogTalks

    It’s probably a mixture of the two as traversing that much data is going to take a hell of a lot of processing power.

  • blisters

    I’ve always debated about this with friends. My opinion is that they do update their SERPs almost real time, meaning as soon as they received changes from their crawler bots, they’ll make the updates.

  • Denis

    The reason new posts get indexed almost immediately is WordPress automatically pings popular Update Services. http://codex.wordpress.org/Update_Services

    —————-
    Here are the stats for my latest post:
    20/May/2008 17:01:20 – Published
    20/May/2008 17:01:41 – Mediapartners-Google bot (AdSense) visited the new page (in 21 seconds!!), the home page and the feed
    20/May/2008 17:02:00 – FeedBurner indexed the feed
    20/May/2008 17:02:13 – YahooFeedSeeker visited the home page

    20/May/2008 17:43:11 – Googlebot visited only the new page (40 minutes later)
    —————-

    The new post can be found in search result.

    During the next two days Googlebot occasionally visited random (not all) pages, including the home page.

    The excerpt from the home page result and its cached version is still a week old. And Google Webmaster Tools (https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/) still says “Googlebot last successfully accessed your home page on May 16, 2008.”

    One of the Google Webmaster Tools is the crawl rate – “See statistics about how often Google crawls your site, and optionally adjust that speed if desired.”

    Links to Google Help:

    Google 101: How Google crawls, indexes, and serves the web? http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=70897&topic=8843

    How often does Google crawl the web?
    http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=34439&topic=8843

    How often will Googlebot access my web pages?
    http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=33569&topic=8843
    “For most sites, Googlebot shouldn’t access your site more than once every few seconds on average.” 😉

    Anyway, after you’ve optimized you tags and keywords, and Google has updated your page in its database, you will not immediately see the effect. It may take weeks and months. As they say, “relevancy is determined by over 200 factors” and many of those factors are external and don’t have anything to do with your tags optimization.

    So, fast conclusions based on two day’s search result position fluctuation may be inaccurate.

  • Bill Cannon

    I’ve had Google index my new content and pages within five minutes of posting on occasion.

    Other times, it takes 24 to 48 hours.

    Usually I have faster results if I submit to news sites such as Slashdot, Digg, Reddit, etc.

  • Remkus

    I have the same thing as Bill happen to different blogs I own. Can’t put my finger on it when of why it happens but I have noticed being indexed anywhere in between 5 minutes and indeed 48 hours.

    Strangest World I have ever known…

  • Bluetooth

    I am sure it totally depends on the website popularity in the eye of google. the more the number of visitors the more it will be crawled becuase i have seen many website with same and old content like online aution site or shopping site which is having similar content for years are crawled daily becuase of the number of visitors per day.

    And i have seen many website upadate content daily and crawled weekly or fortnight so it all depends on the traffic you got.

  • Webmasterworld01

    which time update Google page rank

  • Tom

    I have a slightly different question. Does anyone know why google search results only appear within a certain time of the day. I have noticed that only between a certain time of the day do I see a traffic spike on my site. In fact, the only time my site starts showing up on the SERP for the same keywords is between 4 a.m – 7 a.m. any other time for the same keywords my site does not show up on the first couple of pages.

  • SEO Genius

    I would say more than once a day, especially in my experience i might rank in one place one hour then a few hours later my ranking will of changed.

  • Neopresent-new

    Good day to all

  • Amaan Goyal

    I am sure it totally depends on a lot of factors some of which are- how soon is the content updated, links and visitors to a website which affects the being crawled .

  • Yuri

    Looks like we are talking about different things here.
    I agree that pages get indexed and updated in Google’s cache quickly but search positions are updated very slowly. In my experience it takes weeks and sometimes months to move from serp 100+ to say 10+ . Other experiences?

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  • Jan von Hildebrand

    How often does google update its cached version of my website?

    I’ve check on google and the cached version dates from Aug 5th (Today is the 23rd). Meanwhile my page has totally changed!
    Is there anyway I can inform google about this?

  • plaipiefe

    Is this gonna end someday??

  • mmorpg

    Good question. Depends both on your website…how many links its getting as well as when Google indexes these links. Combined it seems slow and steady but in reality its probably more in leaps and bounds.

  • Harshit Agrawal

    Yesterday i have seen my website got a pr3 from pr 0.But this does not have any impact on serp.So i want to know is that when will google update serp.

  • Brian

    I’ve been making almost daily tweaks to a new client site, http://www.andersonairllc.com which is just a simple CSS site. I have another client who is a WordPress BLOG site. Both have new (less than 3 mos.) domains, and relatively small amounts of content.

    The beauty of the WordPress site is that it was visited almost 45 minutes later!!! The CSS site…5 days so far since last visit!!!!

    Brian

  • Dressup Games

    Google doesnt seem to be getting my backlinks added says i only have 3 but i know i have alot more.

  • DIYdavid

    You may have more but google only thinks 3 are relevant. Harsh I know, but join the club.

  • karpenisi

    DIYdavid are you sure about that?

  • Kelvin

    Well, my site got over thousand pages indexed by Google after a couple weeks from sitemap submission and just recently I tweak the title tag and little, but I don’t see Google update the indexed records.

    Perhaps they never will get updated?

  • Loki

    Wouldn’t this really depend on your backlinks ? I meen google wont know about your changes untill they crawl you again, and that depends on how many, and how good your backlinks are. It may take them 24 hours to use the info thier spiders return, but if they only crawl you once a week, then the point is mute.

  • Loki

    Dress up games, Google knows about your other links, and factors them into your serps, however, when you use link:yoursite.com to see them, that only provides a sampling (usually the most relivent or higher ranking links) the best way to see what links google has picked up is webmaster tools “pages with external links” this will show you what pages have links to them from other sites, and how many links they have, click the number of links to see them. one of my sites shows 0 links in search, but 300 in webmaster tools.

  • Gary

    Looks like anybody’s guess is as good as the other guys. I’ve been trying to find an authoritative answer on how often Google updates its SERPS. I don’t think anyone really knows.

  • Loki

    Ok i’ve done some researching, and spoke to some “insiders”. this is how it works

    Changes to your site will start to effect your serps, 24-48 hours AFTER YOU WERE LAST CRAWLED. But may not be consistant, untill all the data centers are updated. (around a week)

    so make sure you have backlinks, from forums that are crawled daily. (like this one) the quicker google bot, gets to your site, the sooner you will see updates in serps.

    Info for your “webmaster tools” is collected from all the data centers and applied weekly. mine seems to be on tuesdays.

    Page rank is calculated weekly. but the pagerank browser tool is only updated every 3-4 months. ( it may tell you your site is a PR 2, but google already sees it as a PR 3) The last update was JAN 1 09

    Backlinks will start to effect your PR 1 week after they are discovered

  • Terrie

    If it was easy to read Googles mind there would never be any SEO companys.

  • Paul

    Still no answer for sure having read the thread but i find it tends to work as loki said and for changes in keyword density for me certainly takes days rather than hours.

  • denbagus

    can social bookmarking give oportunity to increase SERP ?

  • Online Shopping Centre

    I think indexing of sites depends on the site popularity in the eyes of Google, but ranking updates take a while. Also, I believe Google has several sets of criteria to base search results upon, and these criteria are used alternatively hence no fixed positions at all times.

  • JD

    I agree with Online shopping Centre, it really depends on the importance of your site, traffic, page rank etc.

  • Lubbock auto

    Our site usually reacts to changes within 1 week. Typically around 4-5 days. We are very new, with only a few backlinks. Hope this helps someone.

  • Private Victoria Tours

    I found my site at the top of google when I searched “private victoria tours” but the description was pretty much gibberish. Since then I have updated the metatags so there should be an actual description but it is still showing up weird. So it might take a week from the next time my site is crawled, but how long will it take before it is crawled by googlebot?

  • Martin Eshleman

    Google Serps update really fast that’s for sure. I have noticed though that the actual ranking changes fast but the meta descriptions that show up in search results lag behind in time. I guess it just depends on the website in questions and authority of that site.

  • Ziv

    I have seen SERPs changes every day – even every hour.
    One day, one of my articles gets 370, the other day 150. One article gets 150 and then 30.
    Some other articles climbed from 1visit to 20 visits.

    So, SERPs changes very often.
    Though, I just can’t check every phrase that often, I can figure out that this is not a visit-trend but rather changes in the SERPs.

    However, the average site’s visitsis not changed that much –like a give and take. ..

  • Sarah

    I think with higher page ranking you get the googlebot visiting you more frequently and so your website will be updated and indexed faster. Websites with lower page ranking and traffic will have longer to wait for google to update and index. I found my new site was indexed very quickly to begin with but now I am still waiting months for pages to be indexed. Changes that I make to new pages take a long time to appear in the search results. Also google is contstantly updating its page ranking internally so even if you have a low page rank showing it may be that you are getting better spidering and faster indexing if it deems your page rank has gone up. Then we get those times during the year when the page rank visibally changes for all to see.

  • Johnny

    Did you find out the answer?

    I think it depends on the keywords you’re targeting… For instance, it took me 1 month to rank #4 in a major keyword (200,000,000 other pages), while it took me 1 week to rank #1 in a minor keyword (2,000,000).

    But I too would like a clear, definitive answer.

  • Veronica

    Speaking of Google’s toolbar PR indicator, I’ve noticed that it seems to have a problem with computing pagerank if you have multiple tabs open in your browser. I could be wrong, just an amateur’s observation.

  • H2P

    thank you, now I just know how to update the SERPs and Google’s indexing of their pages. So it’s good to consider keywords and update it if we start changing content.

  • Mahi

    I think evry 1 or 2 day it takes to update (offcourse it depends on many factors like how many pages, links, content updation etc) as i see my keywords rankings changes after evry one or 2 days.

    Plz correct me if m wrong

  • Len

    Great information!

    I’m starting to keep my eye on google myself.
    I pretty much figured out yahoo. Google is
    a bit more complex.

  • Raymond C Blanchett

    My experience is that Google update the seps results throughout the day. For instance a major PLC company hires a leading SEO company and withing time rankings appear higher fluxuating for certain keywords daily until it reaches its peak positon. Positions of key terms for a website can and do fluxuate from position one to 3 and off the first page and return agin later in the day. Fluxuations occur as the search term is competitive.

  • Trevor Bandura

    What I have noticed is that Google updates it’s search results pretty often thought the day but the actual cache of the page is not updated as often.

    One of my sites for example, when I search for my keyword, the page title is correct and up to date but if I click on the Cache link to view the cache of the site, it is still the old version and it’s been close to 10 days since the cache of the site was updated.

  • Jamie Dolan

    Some of my sites it is updated in minutes, on another site, that is crawled daily, Ive been waiting a week for the index to get updated.

  • Streaming movies

    I have changed keywords on my site but after 4 weeks the keywords are still not ranked. Site is only 2 month old and almost all pages got indexed within 24 hours. How long will it take to get keywords indexed/updated in google? Pagerank at the moment is zero.

  • Thavil

    Thank you, for your nice share and I already reading and step after you.

    Thank you so much…

  • Kevin

    In my experience, usually it takes around 1 week for Google to update SERPs. Google page rank is a different story.

  • Dom

    How frequently SERPS are updated, in my experience with my own and client’s websites, seems to depend on age of site and quality of backlinks.
    Aged domains with good quailty backlinks are more prone to change SERPS quicker.

  • jennifer

    I have not had a crawl in 7 days according to the webmaster tools. Just before my last crawl I had a Grumblar attack and all my internal pages that had ranking in google on the 1,2, and 3rd page are now all wiped out. I fixed all the security issues and the hack yesterday. And my rankings are still not back. What do I do?

  • Marc

    The frequency with which Google’s SERP are changed is variable. Aside from the PR changes that take place, they take many factors into account every time they show a SERP. Part of the reason they are the largest search provider has to do with the way they provide information. Pretending to know exactly how they do this is unreal.

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