What is Google Honeymoon Period?
According to the Honeymoon Theory:
When you launch a new website, it gets ranked on Google’s first page for some particular targeted keywords after getting indexed on SERPs. This can usually happen within hours or may last for a couple of weeks.
This theory believes that Google ranks new websites to see whether they will perform well in SERPs or not.
Google collects the user data such as CTR and Average Time on Page to see whether this new website offers value to the searchers.
If people choose to spend more time on a newly submitted website or if its CTR is high, the drop-off rankings will be insignificant.
On the other hand, if the newly submitted website has a low CTR or Bad Time on Page, Google will de-rank its keywords that got pushed in the start after being indexed on SERPs.
The honeymoon effect or period does not last forever. It is a chance for you to give your best content to Google to earn instant credibility for your website.
However, Google denies this theory.
What are the possible explanations for the Honeymoon theory?
There can be several explanations for this theory.
SEOs assume that:
Google may put the website in higher SERPs to collect the data to see how relevant a site is for a particular keyword or phrase. It considers the CTR, bounce rate, content quality, mapped keywords, time spent on a page, and other factors.
If a website offers value to the searchers or provides answers to the queries of its visitors, Google may consider this data while putting the website on the index.
Another explanation is that Google ranks the newer websites in the top positions because they provide recent, relevant, and more accurate information on a particular topic.
Another possible explanation is that you probably rank for a low-competition keyword, possibly a new product, brand name, or another topic no one has even thought about writing it.
Big websites may notice that later on, and they will start writing on these topics and ultimately displace your ranking.
Misconception about new pages
There is a common misconception about the new pages regarding the Google honeymoon period. Sometimes, an old domain adds a new web page and quickly gets ranked. It can be due to the following reasons:
If an old website writes about a low-competition keyword or a new topic no one is talking about, Google will quickly notice it because other websites have not written about it yet.
This content is new and gets an instant ranking, but this is not because of the honeymoon effect. This is because of the competition for that particular keyword which is low.
The second possible factor that can contribute to a new page ranking is a website's domain authority. If a domain is old or has high authority, its content will be instantly ranked.
Again, it is not because of Google's honeymoon period but because of its authority.
So new pages on an old website can also be ranked instantly, not due to the honeymoon effect but due to the low competition for that particular keyword or the high domain authority of that website.
What is Google’s verdict on the Honeymoon period?
There is a lot of debate over the internet about the existence of the honeymoon period. Many SEOs believe that this effect does exist. It ranks the newer websites in higher Google SERPs but tapers them off after a specific period of time.
Google’s John Mueller was asked about the newer websites during a live session. Although the person who asked the question did not directly highlight the honeymoon effect, Mueller explained it later.
In the SEO world, this is sometimes called kind of like a sandbox where Google is like keeping things back to prevent new pages from showing up, which is not the case. Or some people call it like the honeymoon period where new content comes out, and Google really loves it and tries to promote it.
And it’s again not the case that we’re explicitly trying to promote new content or demote new content. It’s just, we don’t know and we have to make assumptions.
And then sometimes those assumptions are right and nothing really changes over time. Sometimes things settle down a little bit lower, sometimes a little bit higher.
Google disagrees with the honeymoon theory and refutes its existence by saying that its system makes assumptions about a piece of content and settles it at a particular location.
Watch John Mueller talk about the honeymoon period at the 23:05 minute mark.
How to take advantage of the Honeymoon period?
Whether Google agrees with the honeymoon period or not – you can still take advantage of this effect by adopting a few measures. This brief period of higher ranking is an opportunity for your site to get benefits.
Here are a few ways by which you can show Google that your website is authoritative and provides value to the searchers.
Work on a fast-loading website
You may experience a slow-loading website due to multiple factors like plugins, file sizes, design elements, inefficient servers, and web hosting services.
Google focuses on user experience, so a slow-loading website will negatively impact it. Searchers immediately move away from a website if it takes more than 3 seconds.
To get the favour of Google during this short period of honeymoon, you must concentrate on a fast-loading website.
Organic link building
Link building is the practice of earning links from other websites. This practice plays a significant role in showing your website's relevance and value (authority) to Google.
It is worth taking some practical steps to earn organic backlinks from high-authority websites, especially during the honeymoon period.
Focus on optimizing your metadata
Take advantage of every opportunity to get the attention of Google. Focus on optimizing the metadata of your websites, like the title and description.
When your web page appears in search results, it displays a short snippet of information. Searchers look at this snippet first and prefer to click a particular link when they think it is relevant and will answer their query.
Post content that is helpful
Suppose, you want to take advantage of the honeymoon period or improve the ranking of your website in general; in that case, you must focus on creating quality and meaningful content for your website visitors.
This content must answer the searchers' questions and set you apart as an authority in your niche.
SEO experts believe the Google Honeymoon effect is a concession period that ranks the newer websites higher in SERPs. However, Google refutes the existence of a honeymoon period.
Keep in mind the honeymoon period does not last forever. Newer websites must concentrate on improving their loading speed, content, user experience, organic backlinks, and other metrics to improve the ranking of their websites gradually.