During the Q&A portion of a John Mueller Google hangout, John was asked about whether they roll out the same updates all the time, or if they stagger them.
John said that they don’t exactly hold back on updates during core update time.
The core updates themselves take about a week to roll out entirely. Even though a core update may be ongoing, this does not result in the “holding back” or delay of other updates.
There are usually lots of updates during this time.
Sometimes you might see Schema structured data updates. Other times, you might see shifting the UI by a couple of pixels or something. Maybe even a change in the colors that are being used.
Normal updates, however, are the types of updates where Google won’t hold anything back. They’re the kinds of updates that will keep rolling out one after another.
For updates like Schema, however, Google may hold back some of these types of updates, just so it doesn’t appear as if there is an avalanche of updates happening all at the same time.
The other regular updates that Google does are independent of the core updates.
This happens at approximately the 30:19 mark in the video.
John Mueller Hangout Transcript
John (Submitted Question) 30:19
Let’s see, Google updates more than 10 times a day. During the core update period, do you carry out the same updates as on regular days, if the changes in the core updates are subtle, it’s indistinguishable from regular updates.
John (Answer) 30:35
I don’t think we hold back on normal updates, during kind of this core update time or like when we roll it out. The core updates usually take, I don’t know, a week or so to be rolled out. So I imagine like the rollout now will probably be complete soon. And the normal updates, we tend not to hold them back during that time, because we make lots of updates over the course of time. The things we would hold back a little bit are maybe other bigger updates that we want to let people know about.
So essentially, if we have, I don’t know, some bigger update involving structured data that we want to talk about, then probably will try to hold that back a little bit so that it’s not like one update after another. But more kind of like we can talk about the update a little bit clearer, and make it a little bit easier for people to understand what exactly is changing. But the kind of the normal updates that we do all the time, like, I don’t know, shifting the UI slightly by a couple pixels, changing colors or things like that. Those are all updates that we can do independently.