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Google de-indexing bug riles SEO agencies

The big news in the search industry this April was a lingering bug in Google’s search index. Starting in early in the month, SEOs and webmasters noticed pages being de-indexed for no apparent reason. Google swiftly announced that the bug was a technical issue; on April 6, Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller announced that it had been resolved, to the relief of every SEO agency.

Mueller’s statement proved untrue, however. Pages continued to be de-indexed, leading to reduced website traffic. Site owners began to worry about financial ramifications. SEOs fretted over their clients’ rankings.

“It does look like there are still some pages that need to be reprocessed,” Mueller tweeted on April 7. “Our systems are making good progress here, but it’s taking longer than I initially expected.”

Google’s SearchLiaison account chimed in on April 9, tweeting: “The indexing issue should be almost completely resolved within the next eight hours. Some documents might take an additional 12-24 hours to restore.”

Finally, on Wednesday of last week, Google announced once again that the issue was resolved. Chatter in the SEO agency community soon corroborated the claim. Google has not disclosed what caused the issue; we only know that “it was substantial and took days to rectify,” as Search Engine Land’s Barry Schwartz wrote, and that it affected about four per cent of websites.

Our clients’ websites were not among the four per cent affected. However, the de-indexing bug served as a reminder that SEO sometimes involves factors that are out of our control. As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing and SEO agency with unique insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media is ideally positioned to weather sudden upheaval in the search marketing industry. When glitches or bugs occur, trust us to ensure that your website remains online, indexed, and findable.