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Google De-Indexing Bug Impacting Search Console Data

  • CATEGORY: SEO

While most of the nation is talking about measles outbreaks, we’re talking about a bug—the Google de-indexing bug.

De-indexing means that a website or webpage does not show up in search results. You can access the URL, but the content does not show up in search results for any keyphrases.

What Happened

In early April, Google confirmed that a bug was causing some pages to be de-indexed.

“We’re aware of indexing issues that impacted some sites… We believe the issues are mostly resolved and don’t require any special efforts on the part of site owners,” they posted on Twitter.

Moz believes that the de-indexing bug affected about 4% of indexed pages. Google has not confirmed this estimate. Indexing rates appear to have returned to normal, reports Moz.

Google says that the issue has been resolved in the main search results. However, Search Console reports and tools are now having issues.

Why Care

Google Search Console reports may not be accurate at the moment. Even though the indexing issue has been resolved, the bug seems to be “spreading like a virus to other parts of Google,” reports SEO Roundtable.

  • Inaccurate index coverage: Some index coverage and enhancement reports are not properly updating and are showing continued decreases in indexing, even after the issue was reportedly resolved. This issue has been confirmed by Google.
  • Faulty inspection tool: The URL inspection tool (used by SEOs to check the true status of a page being indexed) might not actually reflect the status of a page. This issue has been confirmed by Google.
  • Inaccurate click count: This issue is unconfirmed by Google, but some SEOs are seeing things in Search Console like “0 clicks in the last 90 days.”

What to Do

Being aware is the first step. “Search Console is still recovering from the indexing issue,” says Google.

For now, approach Search Console data with caution. You may see some unusual fluctuations in the index coverage report and enhancement report while Google works to resolve “the side effects” of the de-indexing bug. If you want to know if a page is in Google’s index, Google suggests you use the site: command.

Note that not every website in the world was impacted by this bug. Also, Google does not index every single web page in existence.

GPO is actively monitoring client websites for the number of indexed pages and manually reindexing them in Google Search Console if indexation issues are uncovered.

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