Google Confirms Two Indexing Outages via @martinibuster

1 month ago 52

Google confirmed two indexing outages affecting search results. One issue affects mobile indexing. The second one affects canonicalization.

Google Confirms Two Indexing Outages

Google’s Danny Sullivan announced via Twitter that Google Search has been impacted by two kinds of outages. The first outage affects mobile indexing. The second outage involves canonicalization which affected how duplicate content was being handled and shown in the search results, including syndicated content.

The announcement follows a week of anecdotal reports from the SEO community of dropped URLs.

Search Engine Journal today experienced multiple dropped URLs. Submitting the URLs back via Google Search Console seemed to get them back into Google’s index.

Have you noticed any random URLs vanishing from Google's index today, or very recently?

We've just discovered a couple so far on @sejournal today. Which means there are probably more we haven't yet discovered.

Hopefully not another major Google glitch…#SEO

— Danny Goodwin (@MrDannyGoodwin) October 1, 2020


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Google Explains Outage

Google SearchLiaison aka Danny Sullivan took to Twitter to explain the outage:

We are currently working to resolve two separate indexing issues that have impacted some URLs. One is with mobile-indexing. The other is with canonicalization, how we detect and handle duplicate content. In either case, pages might not be indexed….

— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) October 1, 2020

If a previously indexed page has gone, it might be the mobile-indexing issue, where we’re failing to select any page at all to index. If the canonical issue is involved, URL Inspector may show the URL as a duplicate & the Google-selected canonical will be different from it….

— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) October 1, 2020

There’s no action to take with these issues on the part of site owners. We apologize for the issues here and are working rapidly to resolve them. We’ll update this thread as each is corrected.

— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) October 1, 2020


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Indexing Issues Have Been Going on For a Week

There have been multiple reports on Twitter about web pages dropped by Google.

When web pages drop that means they’re no longer in the search results.

For example, this publisher tweeted to John Mueller when he asked for URL examples:

@JohnMu here's an example: (I can link to 4-5 on this particular site).

Shows in GSC as "crawled not indexed" – this time yesterday was position 1 in Google.

— Sam Frost – Digital Marketing Consultant (@frost_seo) September 30, 2020

There were many other reports of home pages being dropped from Google’s index.

This tweeted report is typical:

I'm not aware of any issues, and without URLs it's hard to say. Do you have a thread in the help forum with the details?

— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) September 30, 2020

Canonicalization Indexing Issue

The canonicalization issue appears to be an issue with how Google was handling web pages that were cited or copied by other pages.

This resulted in the original web page not showing in the search results.

Earlier in the day, someone who said they were from The Daily Caller Reported issues with pages that weren’t showing for searches. They reported that web pages that were citing their articles were showing but that The Daily Caller was not.

The Daily Caller tweeted to Danny how Bing and DuckDuckGo got it right but Google did not.

Later in the day when it was apparent that there was also a canonicalization issue, Danny Sullivan tweeted that Google had discovered what was the problem:


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To update, we found an issue with indexing that's not unique to just the Daily Caller. We're working to correct this for a variety of sites across the web, and our apologies for this to all for it. More is here:

— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) October 1, 2020

Good News

It’s been days that publishers and SEOs have been discussing indexing issues. The problems appeared to be worsening over the weekend, becoming more widespread today.

It’s good news that Google has identified the problems and is working to solve them.

This is a breaking story. This article will be updated as soon as more information develops.

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