Subscribe
Join 40,000+ sales and marketing pros who receive our 4x a week insights, tips, and best practices.
Thank you! You have been subscribed.

Free Guide: The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

Read the Guide Subscribe
Join 40,000+ sales and marketing pros who receive our 4x a week insights, tips, and best practices.
Thank you! You have been subscribed.
Learning Center
Learning Center
Close
The IMPACT Learning Center

Free resources to help you master inbound marketing and They Ask, You Answer

Access the Learning Center

Access the Learning Center

Access the Learning Center
learning_center_grey__What is They Ask, You Answer-v2-black

What is They Ask, You Answer?

What is <span>They Ask, You Answer?</span>
Articles, Podcasts, & Updates

Articles, Podcasts, & Updates

Articles, Podcasts, <span>& Updates</span>
learning_center_grey__Free Courses and Certifications.svg

Free Courses & Certifications

Free Courses & <span>Certifications</span>
On-Demand Keynotes & Sessions

On-Demand Keynotes & Sessions

On-Demand <span>Keynotes & Sessions</span>
Events
Events
Close
IMPACT+ Membership
IMPACT+ Membership
Close
Services
Services
Close
Navigation_8_2021_taya

They Ask, You Answer Coaching & Training

They Ask, You Answer Coaching & Training
They Ask, You Answer Workshop

They Ask, You Answer Workshop

They Ask, You Answer Workshop
Navigation_8_2021_workshop

Inbound Marketing Services

Inbound Marketing Services
Navigation_8_2021_website design - monitor

Website Design & Development

Website Design & Development
Navigation_8_2021_hubspot implementation

HubSpot Training & Implementation

HubSpot Training & Implementation
Navigation_8_2021_virtual selling

Virtual Sales
Training

Virtual Sales <br>Training
Navigation_8_2021_swell - paid ads

Paid Search & Social Services

Paid Search & Social Services
Become a Certified Coach
Become a Certified Coach
Close
... Inbound Marketing Search Engine Optimization
Close
The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

Free Guide:

The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization
Read the Guide
The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization
Free Search Engine Optimization Guide
View The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization
The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

Free Guide:

Generate more traffic, leads, and sales with search engine optimization

In this free guide, you will learn:

  • What search engines are and who uses them.
  • What search engine optimization is and how it works.
  • Best practices for search engine optimization.

Google Shares Lessons Learned from Indexing Issues

By Katie Pritchard

Katie Pritchard also recommends this free guide, The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization.

Google Shares Lessons Learned from Indexing Issues Blog Feature

Historically, we know very little about Google’s algorithm and its frequent updates. What we do “know” is very assumptive. 

Along with the mystery surrounding its algorithms, Google has been somewhat aloof when it comes to general communication with the users of its products (which is, basically, everyone). Anyone that’s ever tried to talk to Google directly on the phone has probably gone through troves of forums looking for that one phone number that actually works.

Free Guide: The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

For the most part, the people who want to reach out to Google and get answers are users of free tools like Google My Business and Google Search Console, not necessarily paying customers.

Don’t get me wrong, the company publishes articles on its Webmaster Central Blog, but most of the time these feel more like product updates. 

So, when Google published this article on Monday, we were excited to see that not only was leadership honest with what went wrong a few months ago, they made a point to clear up how we ‘non-paying complainers’ can communicate with them moving forward. 

So, what issues were they actually bringing to light, and why should we care? 

Google admits its mistakes

If you’d like to read the issue described by Google word for word, I recommend reading the article directly. Otherwise, here’s a summary of what you need to know:

1. Indexing issue

What happened? 

On April 5, Google’s system that stores all data for ranking websites intended to push an update live, but malfunctioned. As a result, a "small number of documents" were removed from the index. Programmers quickly found the issue (thanks to Twitter!) and reverted to their most recently saved files over the course of six days. 

How it affected companies

For the small percentage of ‘documents’ that were removed from the index, this caused related website pages to be removed from the search index. For the time period, this caused some websites to not show up in search results, and reduced organic traffic to those websites accordingly. 

At a small scale, pages weren’t showing in Google. At a larger scale, this potentially could have caused prospects to find a competitor first, if your business' site was temporarily de-indexed.

2. Search Console issue

What happened? 

Search Console is a tool many people use to understand the performance of their website. Because of the indexing issue, Search Console was incorrectly reporting. Because Google reverted to solve the indexing issue, it caused the Search Console database to pause reporting. From about April 15th-30th, Google was fixing this tool. 

How it affected companies

For these fifteen days, Search Console users may not have had the most accurate data, which could have stalled any changes they wanted to make to their websites. 

3. Other Unrelated Issues

At the same time as the issues above, Google also had “brief problems gathering fresh Google News content. Additionally, while rendering pages, certain URLs started to redirect Googlebot to other unrelated pages.”

These issues weren’t related to those listed above, but Google found them when monitoring their systems.

How Google fixes Google

While Google was handling most communication via Twitter, it’s a pretty big deal that the company admitted that it messed up, and that company leaders were willing to do a deep dive into exactly what went wrong and how they plan to combat similar issues in the future. (Go Google!)

According to the article, “When things break at Google, we have a strong ‘postmortem’ culture.” In other words, they create a document to record the issue to prevent it from happening again — and share it company wide. The detailed process can be seen here

As per the issues in April, Google stated it intended to figure out ways to more quickly share info in Search Console, more promptly post to the Search Console data anomalies page, and continue tweeting as quickly as possible about such issues.

How to communicate with Google

Google gave us the info, which is great — but the additional nugget of goodness the article gave us was a very specific set of ways to reach out and stay in communication with Google in the future.

In order to get in touch with Google (officially): 

For those cases, all webmasters can debug issues using Search Console and our Help center. After doing so, if you still think that an issue is not coming from your site or don’t know how to resolve it, come talk to us and our community, we always want to take feedback from our users. Here is how to signal an issue to us:

  • Check our Webmaster Community, sometimes other webmasters have highlighted an issue that also impacts your site.
  • In person! We love contact, come and talk to us at events. Calendar.
  • Within our products! The Search Console feedback tool is very useful to our teams.
  • Twitter and YouTube

Although you may have read about these issues from April in another blog or on Twitter, Google officially didn’t have to tell us this information in depth. But it’s important that the company chose to release this post-mortem. Many of us may not be paying customers, but we owe large parts of our businesses to Search. And, as seen in April, any error can affect things quickly. In the end, it’s appreciated to get some type of response to issues like this, and to have light shed on how we can continue to rely on these tools in the future. 

The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization
The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

Free Guide:

The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

Generate more traffic, leads, and sales with search engine optimization

In this free guide, you will learn:

  • What search engines are and who uses them.
  • What search engine optimization is and how it works.
  • Best practices for search engine optimization.

Topics:

Search Engine Optimization
News
Published on August 15, 2019

Recent Articles

9 SEO Best Practices for Stronger Organic Traffic in 2022
November 18, 2021 • 12 min read
Google Shares New Tools to Audit Website User Experience
August 12, 2021 • 3 min read
Google: Website Content Quality More Important Than Quantity
August 10, 2021 • 3 min read
How Long-Tail Keyword Research Can Drive Business
August 9, 2021 • 6 min read
ICYMI: Digital Marketing News Update for July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021 • 6 min read
How to Optimize Videos On Your Business Website for Search
July 23, 2021 • 4 min read
ICYMI: Digital Marketing News Update for July 19, 2021
July 19, 2021 • 6 min read
Google: 'Here's how to prepare for the future private web'
July 16, 2021 • 4 min read
What the Heck is Going on With All the Google Updates? (Content Lab, Ep. 54)
July 15, 2021 • 1 min read
ICYMI: Digital marketing news update for July 12, 2021
July 12, 2021 • 5 min read
Too many internal links in content can confuse Google about site structure
July 9, 2021 • 5 min read
ICYMI: Digital marketing news update for July 6, 2021
July 6, 2021 • 5 min read
Google July 2021 core update rolling out over next 2 weeks
July 2, 2021 • 4 min read
ICYMI: Digital marketing news update for June 28, 2021
June 28, 2021 • 6 min read
Inbound marketing help: My traffic and leads are down — what am I doing wrong?
June 28, 2021 • 5 min read
ICYMI: Digital marketing news update for June 21, 2021
June 21, 2021 • 5 min read
Finally, Google page experience core update is rolling out
June 18, 2021 • 3 min read
ICYMI: Digital marketing news update for June 14, 2021
June 14, 2021 • 6 min read
What is a Featured Snippet? [Definition + Examples]
June 10, 2021 • 4 min read
ICYMI: Digital marketing news update for June 7, 2021
June 7, 2021 • 6 min read
Google June 2021 core update live, July core update coming
June 4, 2021 • 3 min read
ICYMI: Digital marketing news update for May 24, 2021
May 24, 2021 • 6 min read
Google's June page experience core update will be mobile first, then desktop
May 21, 2021 • 3 min read
ICYMI: Digital marketing news update for May 17, 2021
May 17, 2021 • 5 min read
ICYMI: Digital marketing news update for May 10, 2021
May 10, 2021 • 6 min read