Google Reasserts: Indexing and Algorithm Updates Operate Independently

In the ever-evolving world of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), website owners and marketers constantly grapple with Google’s updates. Recently, Google reiterated that its indexing systems and algorithm updates, like core updates, function independently. This might seem like old news, but it holds significance for understanding how Google processes and ranks content.

What it Means:

  • Indexing vs. Ranking: Google first needs to find and store your web pages in its vast database (indexing) before it can consider them for search results (ranking). This article by Search Engine Journal [Google Explains Index Selection During A Core Update] provides a helpful breakdown of these processes.
  • Independent Operations: Gary Illyes, a prominent Google Search Liaison, clarified that indexing decisions (including canonicalization, which picks the most relevant version of a web page) are not influenced by core algorithm updates.

Why it Matters:

  • Focus on Quality Content: Since indexing isn’t directly affected by algorithm updates, SEOs can concentrate on creating high-quality content that aligns with Google’s guidelines for helpful content. This ensures your webpages get stored in the first place.
  • Debunking Myths: Google has squashed the misconception that crawl rate spikes occur during core updates, meaning there’s no need to panic about sudden changes in crawling activity.

Is This New Information?

While Google has maintained this stance for years, some SEOs might have encountered conflicting information. This re-emphasis serves as a clear reminder of the separation between these systems.

So, What Can You Do?

  • Prioritize User Experience: Google’s core updates prioritize content that benefits users. Focus on creating informative, well-structured content that addresses user search intent.
  • Stay Updated on Google Guidelines: Google constantly refines its search quality guidelines. Staying updated on these guidelines through official channels like the Google Search Central.


Understanding the independence of indexing and ranking allows SEOs to strategize more effectively. By creating high-quality content and adhering to Google’s guidelines, you can increase your chances of having your webpages indexed and ranking well in search results, regardless of core algorithm updates.

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