Google’s search algorithm suffered an unprecedented glitch that affected search results. Many in the search community believed it was an update. It was not an update.
Google’s John Mueller tweeted:
“I don’t have all the details yet, but it seems like this was a glitch on our side and has been fixed in the meantime.”
Google Search Outage Was WorldWide
The outage was keenly felt in Europe as well as Asia and all English speaking countries.
Google’s search glitch appeared to affect all languages, countries, and niches. It affected everything from local services to recipes. Ecommerce sites reported extreme fluctuations in rankings.
Bad Search Results
Recipe Blog SEO Casey Markee (@MediaWyse) https://twitter.com/MediaWyse tweeted a screenshot of how bad the recipe search results were.
The carousels are f**ked. Look at this one for “baked beans” it’s all over the place. I have several other examples. Good times. pic.twitter.com/avxxu10Fed
— Casey Markee (@MediaWyse) August 11, 2020
Continue Reading Below
Joe Youngblood (@YoungbloodJoe) tweeted that he saw a Minnesota company ranking for a Dallas search phrase.
A Minnesota company ranking for “Dallas SEO” lol
— Joe Youngblood (@YoungbloodJoe) August 11, 2020
Google Search Glitch Created Poor Search Results
Google’s search results became incredibly bad, some to the point of being useless.
I tried searching for an article from a specific site and Google wouldn’t show it to me, even when I used the name of the site that contained the article.
It felt somewhat like in the old days when PageRank had a stronger influence.
WebmasterWorld had great real-time coverage of the glitch as it happened.
A member from WebmasterWorld, webdev29, noted how the big sites like Amazon seemed to dominate the SERPs.
“huge update also in France ATM, no word to describe the mess, its simply crazy ! there is no more ecommerces in my SERP (decoration) and mine has just lost everything…6 years destroyed in just one minute and the lives of several employees at stake! it’s not possible that it continues like this, in the SERP, there are only the big marketplaces (cdiscount, amazon, laredoute, aliexpress…) and some more or less recent sites without much interest…all the rest has disappeared on the deep pages of the search engine.”
Continue Reading Below
Report from Italy
WebmasterWorld member teokolo shared:
“Seems like a big update in progress here in Italy.
Every niche I follow is messed up. Shops are gone, affiliate sites have disappeared, serps are full of Amazon, ebay and news sites.”
Google Outage in Norway
“wow insane big update here in Norway, never seen so big change.”
Massive Fluctuations in Google Search Results
Whether it was on Facebook, WebmasterWorld or Twitter, the common observation was that there were massive fluctuations in the search results.
This report from WebmasterWorld member Whoa182 is typical:
“What the hell is going on?
Just noticed my articles have gone from page 1 to page 7+
Seems to have just happened in the past few hours! Quite a few of my competitors have all disappeared from the SERPs.
Edit: Okay, it’s just massive fluctuations in page positions. One minute it’s on page 1, next it’s page 7 or whatever, and then back again.”
Google Has Not Yet Explained the Cause
Google’s Danny Sullivan is the one who typically announces updates.
Webmaster Trends Analysts, Gary Illyes and John Mueller also share announcements of changes at Google as well, including glitches.
For example, at the beginning of 2020 Google suffered a glitch that caused an issue with Google’s index. It was Gary Illyes who did the explaining.
So far we’ve only heard from John Mueller. Danny Sullivan took the day off.
Google suffered a massive glitch that caused the search results around the world to become less usable. The cause of the outage is not yet known.