Page Index Still Recovering After Weekend Problems, Full Impact Still Uncertain
Over the weekend, an apparent technical issue caused Google to drop pages from its search index. The initial reaction from the SEO community resulted in a direct response from Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller on April 6.
Sorry — We had a technical issue on our side for a while there — this should be resolved in the meantime, and the affected URLs reprocessed. It's good to see that the Inspect URL tool is also useful for these kinds of cases though!
— ???? John ???? (@JohnMu) April 6, 2019
Mueller confirmed that this was the result of a technical issue on Google’s side of things, adding that the issue had (apparently) been resolved and affected URLs were being processed and recovered.
But come Sunday morning, the SEO community was still reporting issues. Mueller followed up to report that it looked like there were still a few hiccups and that Google’s systems were still making good progress, but that it was taking more time than initially thought.
As of Monday morning, Google was still in the process of recovering these lost pages. In short, Google knows something went wrong, they’ve fixed it, and they’re working to rebuild, and process pages dropped from the index.
It may take time, but things should correct themselves automatically with no action required if your pages were affected.
Still, it’s a frustrating situation for SEOs and webmasters who’ve lost significant traffic due to this “technical issue” and the time taken to recover.
When a page is deindexed, it’s effectively removed from Google Search entirely—this can really hurt sites that depend on organic traffic, impacting leads, ad clicks, and other conversion metrics.
Simply put, even a minor technical issue with Google can have a big impact. Google has not confirmed how many pages were affected, and likely won’t provide a number. According to Mueller, a single number isn’t representative of the issue, and not useful in providing context.
The good news is that SEOs and webmasters can use Google’s URL Inspection Tool (available through Google Search Console) to expedite the process for certain pages.
It’s worth noting that not all pages are indexed by Google, so if you do need to use the tool, focus on the pages that matter for your traffic and leads.
Issues like this highlight how prevalent and all-encompassing Google is when it comes to the digital world.