Google de-indexing bug affecting Search Console reports and Inspector

Posted by Edith MacLeod on 16 Apr, 2019
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Fallout from the de-indexing bug, which Google fixed last week, is continuing.

Google deindexing bug

Update: Google confirmed on 30th April that the issue with the indexing reports in Search Console had been resolved, adding that only the backlinks report still needed some time to update.

Google over the past couple of weeks has been struggling with a de-indexing bug, and its ramifications are still being felt.

The bug, which caused website pages to be dropped from Google’s search index, was reported by Google on 5th April. Google tweeted that the issues were “mostly resolved” on the 7th, but it was not until the10th that it said the issue had been fully resolved. 

However, yesterday Google said that issues arising from the de-indexing bug were affecting Search Console. As index coverage and enhancement reports hadn’t been updated, Inspector might not reflect the live status of the page.  

deindexing bug

This means users looking at their Search Console index coverage and enhancement reports may not see accurate data. SearchEngineLand reported SEOs noticing “huge drops” in their index coverage report over the weekend, after the de-indexing bug had been reported as fixed.

Google says that until current issues are resolved,  the best way to check if a URL is indexed is to use site: search, adding that the broader indexing issue had been resolved.

deindexing bug

Users who believe they have a site-specific issue are advised to report this to Google via the Search Console Help Forum.

Pete Myers of Moz attempted to quantify the impact of the de-indexing bug through an analysis across a number of historically stable URLs. He reported clear drops on April 5th and 7th, with roughly 4% loss.

The de-indexing bug itself has now been fixed, and Google has promised to update when the Search Console issues are also resolved. Until then it’s important to be aware that you may not be seeing the correct information in the two Search Console reports and in URL Inspector.

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