Search Engine Optimisation

Google Indexing Issue

Throughout last night and into this morning, Google Search has experienced a serious indexing issue affecting both large and small websites. Publishers across the world are reporting content that’s failing to be indexed in Google, despite being crawled and available. Along with many smaller sites, major outlets like Forbes, New York Times and The Times, who publish content regularly and rely on their latest news being found online, aren’t seeing their recent news in Google Search.

Recent checks at the time of posting suggest that new content may have started to appear in Google’s index. Posts for the The Times are appearing again as of around 40 minutes ago. Google have only recently updated their Search Status, adding comments that both the issue was identified and resolved at the same time. However, as when issues like this have occurred in the past, it may take Google a while to process the backlog. That will mean that newer content, recently published, may take a while before it’s found in search.

What users may not understand is that what we see in SERPs is a reflection of Google’s index rather than a direct view of the internet. Google crawls the web and selectively adds to its index, processing different elements. When a user submits a search query, it’s the index that is searched against, not a live snapshot of the web. If a site isn’t in Google’s index, then it won’t appear in search results.

As an SEO agency, we work across multiple sites, publishing, updating, changing and even removing content from client sites. We expect this work to be disrupted in the short term while Google fully resolves these indexing issues and catches up with the backlog that must contain millions of sites.

Google recently launched a Spam Update to their algorithm. Many SEOs are suggesting that this update has caused the issues but there’s no confirmation from Google as to whether this is true or not. The timing indicates the two events could be linked but it’s unlikely we’ll know for sure.

If you have any concerns about this indexing bug or would like to learn more about our SEO services, please get in touch.

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