2020 has been a real ‘mare of a year, and that’s a fact! There doesn’t seem to be any one area of the world or any one sector that events this year have not impacted, whether that’s down to bushfires, awareness of important issues or of course, the overriding cloud that is COVID-19. You might think though that Google would be relatively unimpacted by events of these events, but even the mega-search engine has faced problems this year in the way it indexes content.
Websites vying for a top position in Google isn’t a new thing and it’s always been a case of trying to juggle Google’s guidelines, competitor antics, keyword optimisation, good backlinks and an organic presence on social media (to name just a few things). Not an easy job for even the most knowledgeable of internet marketeers and for all that hard work you at least expect the search engine to do its part of the job properly, but not so this year!
More Indexing Issues Reported
Rumours first hit SEO forums and blogs back in February, when people started seeing issues with how many pages of their websites were being indexed. This wasn’t a new issue as Google had only fixed a major indexing bug in their algorithm in May 2019, so it was met with a lot of frustration, especially from those who had seen drops in their organic ranking positions as a result of a dropped page that used to be indexed. By April, specialist search news syndicates such as Search Engine Land had picked up on the issues and Google rep Danny Sullivan was forced to admit on Twitter that Google was aware and looking into things, which indicated that there was definitely an issue with indexing.
Given that many rely on their Google positions to drive traffic and hopefully conversions, as a sector we do expect better from such a big corporation. One of the problems is that Google indexes what it wants to index, not what you tell it to. You can offer your pages up on a plate but if the Google algorithm says no then that’s as far as you get. So, if this algorithm is having problems, you could see new pages not being indexed, or current ones being dropped.
As it stands now, Google has admitted to a delay with their Search Console reporting but have stated that everything else is now working as it should, which is an improvement on the issues reported earlier in the year. That said, there are clearly still issues being ironed out, which may affect the wider indexing tool as fixes are applied. If you add new content to your website and find it is not being picked up in Google after a few days, even after using the submission tool, then this could be why.
Having started out in this industry with about as much marketing knowledge as a gnat, I have worked my way up from tea-making trainee to Head of Search thanks largely to the staunch support of our director, Stuart, and a lot of late nights, strategy sessions and training. At work I am extroverted, creative and always on the Internet, but behind closed doors I’m happiest with my family, my dogs and a good book (usually accompanied with a good cup of tea!).