Recently, everyone’s favourite Google search engine optimisation spokesperson, John Mueller, answered a question regarding link algorithms in a Webmaster Central hangout.

Mueller also lifted the lid on how long it takes for links to take effect in Google.

So, let’s dive into what he said, and why it is important…

The question to John Mueller…

The question posed to John Mueller was the following (abbreviated for relevance):

“I was wondering about when these big announced core updates happen, are there some parts of the linking algorithm updated as well?”

At the beginning of Mueller’s answer, he began by covering what the Google core algorithm actually is, and discusses the fact that it is, in fact, made up of a lot of different algorithms and not just one huge one.

On this, Mueller stated:

“So in general, a core algorithm update, the way that we have it defined is somewhat vague.

Because it’s not that we have this one piece of machinery that is the core algorithm and when we change one screw there, then that’s a core algorithm update.”

After stating this, John Mueller went on to describe the situation that actually occurs during a core algorithm update. 

Mueller explains this by compartmentalising two areas:

  1. Significant changes in a variety of algorithms
  2. A significant change in ‘interpretations’

To continue:

“But rather, we have so many different algorithms that work in search. And when we make significant changes across a number of them or significant changes in the way that we interpret them, then that’s something that we would call a core algorithm update.

So, from that point of view, it’s not that we would say… the way that we handle links never changes or the way that we handle links always changes when we make a core algorithm update.”

“These changes can happen essentially at any time. And they can also coincide with core algorithm updates.”

Interesting, right? 

Let’s discuss link algorithms, specifically…

Most people’s opinion is that the ‘effect’ of a link that you have gained takes anywhere from days to months to kick in.

Well, towards the end of Mueller’s answer, he circles back to links and search engine rankings and states the following:

“The way that we process links is something that is continuous. So it’s not that we have to wait for a specific time frame to see the new effect of the links.

But rather when we see links on the web we can take them into account essentially immediately.”

Now, this may seem a shocking answer, however – the belief that it takes months for a link to give any effect – may be due to the fact that the link that has been gained just isn’t strong enough to give any notable effects.

Regardless, this information from John Mueller is certainly food for thought, and is in no-doubt significantly insightful,