As we have been covering, the Google Search results have been pretty unstable recently. Yesterday and this morning are no different. I am getting complaints both about indexing issues and ranking changes over the past 24-hours or so and honestly, I have no idea if this is a feature or a bug or both.
By feature, I mean, is this a Google ranking update, an algorithmic tweak to the rankings. By bug, I mean, is this Google having problems indexing and ranking or maybe it is Google still working on the fix? I do not know.
What I do know is that there is a lot of instability in the Google search results right now. Isn’t there always instability in the search results? Yes, but not at these levels.
I already summarized what is going wrong with Google search recently in this post, but here is a quick snapshot where we know there are canonicalization, mobile-indexing, news-indexing, top stories carousel, and sports scores breaking issues.
Let’s talk about the past 24-hours. I have been fielding emails, tweets, forum posts, about complaints on indexing with Google search. Google has not yet said the canonicalization issue is fixed yet, so maybe, just maybe, it is Google working on this issue? But I am not sure.
The ongoing WebmasterWorld thread has as of yesterday a few people saying they are seeing this resolved, for the most part.
Canonical problem is pretty much fixed for me too. Almost 90% URLs are back.
Canonical for one of my websites is fixed an hour or so ago. Was broken since late September. Rankings for that page seem to be back a bit better than expected. But, I wouldn’t hold my breadth; could be my eyesight.
But there are still many indexing issue complaints:
Managed to index one article from 1 day ago.
The one from 2 days ago is still not indexed. Even made a sitewide link. Amazing.
Takes much longer to index pages now than it did before may. Like MUCH longer. Usually would happen within minutes.
Manual indexing on GSC totally broken and has been broken for almost half a year now. Google never bothered fixing it and instead they roll out this Core Vital. How are we supposed to “fix” our sites if Google doesn’t even crawl or doesn’t even want to crawl manually requested pages for indexing?
There is another bug today? Some page are deindex in search, in Italy. From search console them are OK and index. But all page that are crawled from 13 Oct are deindexed from search console. Not only for my site but for some. Them are disappeared also with site: command.
Here are some, not all, of the complaints sent to me via Twitter:
it seems the indexing issue isn’t corrected. we still see multiple pages not being indexed. for some pages GSC says indexed while they are not (check pics). any idea what should be done to get the pages indexed on time? cc @JohnMu @rustybrick @martinibuster @searchliaison tks pic.twitter.com/vpcsejZQHJ
— Razvan Gavrilas (@razvan_gavrilas) October 14, 2020
@googlewmc We are facing an indexing issue with one of our URL. It was previously indexed and now i am unable to even ‘request indexing’ and the URL is unknown to google in live test URL.
Please help! pic.twitter.com/t2FD5LlMaQ
— Xact Auditing (@XactAuditing) October 14, 2020
Like I said, I also received numerous emails and complaints via private channels.
Plus, if you look at the complaints about ranking fluctuations in Google, there is a lot:
Hopefully, analytics is slow from yesterday or I just lost 30% of my traffic.
I have seen a drastic drop in ranking for this week. Did anyone notice the same?
HUGE DROP Started on the weekend !
I’m not seeing a huge sustained drop…Saturday dropped, but then Sunday was high. Monday and Tuesday normal, and increasing SERP visibility. The SERPS have been fluctuating day by day for weeks now.
Had a +30% yesterday compared to the previous Monday after weeks of stagnation. Curious to see if that continues throughout the week.
Portugal, poetry niche.
My site never flutuates much from week to week, at most 10%.
25% drop on monday and same pattern today.
And the complaints go on and on.
Now the tools are all lighting up as well.
Here is more from Dr. Pete on Moz:
There were noticeable drops in stable URLs (URLs that appeared consistently on page one in August) on Sep. 24, Sep. 30, and Oct. 13 — the previous two recovered the day after. There’s always a steady decline (as new URLs appear), but these are the most apparent dips in the data.
— Dr. Pete Meyers (@dr_pete) October 13, 2020
Signs of some index recovery on Google last night after yesterday’s drop, but still down (and down prior to before when things were supposedly fixed). Possible there was an update or something, as the metric I’m using is just a proxy for index stability.
— Dr. Pete Meyers (@dr_pete) October 14, 2020
If I hear more from Google on this, I will let you all know.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.