Google says indexing issue has been fixed1. February 2024
UPDATE Feb. 8, 2024: Google has finally given the all-clear for the indexing issue that affected news publishers in several countries over the last week. At 6:36 a.m. ET today, Google posted on the Google Search Status Dashboard: “We fixed the issue with indexing. There will be no more updates.”
We continue to see more normal indexing patterns in the Trisolute News Dashboard Index Rate report.
UPDATE Feb. 6, 2024: While the latest Google update on the indexing issue says they are still working on fixing the problem, our Trisolute News Dashboard Index Rate data shows that the number of indexed articles across all our instances is back to normal levels since Feb 2nd. This can be seen, for example, in the average Index Rate for the top 5 publishers in Germany:
Also, the average Index Rate of the top 5 US news publishers shows that Google seems to have found a solution to the problem or is at least working on it:
And, to give you one more example, we can see some changes back to a “normal” amount of indexed articles in the average Index Rate of the top 5 UK news publishers:
UPDATE Feb. 2, 2024: As of 2:31 p.m. ET, Google posted an update to the indexing issue that has hit news publishers hard: “The issue with indexing has been mitigated and our systems are becoming stable, but we’re still working on a fix.” We noticed some positive development today on the Trisolute News Dashboard Index Report. Below is a screengrab of the average Index Rate of five major US news publishers as of 9 a.m. ET.
The average Index Rate of five major U.S. publishers from February 1, 2024 to February 2, 2024
A sudden downturn in indexed articles on Google has alarmed major news publishers around the world. This situation, which seems to have begun on the evening of January 31, has triggered a substantial decline in the number of indexed articles. Overnight on Feb. 1, Google posted the following message on the Google Search Status Dashboard : “We’re investigating an issue with indexing in Google Search that’s affecting a small number of sites. Sites may experience slower than usual indexing times. We’re working on identifying the root cause.”
At 11:10 a.m. ET on Feb. 1, Google posted an update on the Google Search Status Dashboard: “We’ve identified the issue with indexing and we’re working on a fix. Next update will be within 12 hours.”
While it may be true that the indexing issue is affecting a small number of sites overall, we’ve found that it is impacting a significant amount of news publishers globally. To shed light on how serious this issue is and whether this really is a worldwide concern, we carried out a quick analysis across five different countries: Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the U.K., and the U.S. For each country, we compared last week’s average Index Rate of five major publishers to today’s to detect whether there are any major differences. Here’s what we found out:
For Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, we focused on the time period between 12 a.m. and 11 a.m. (GMT+1) on both Thursday, January 25 and Thursday, February 1. In Germany, the average number of articles indexed plummeted from 271 to 57, marking an acute difference of 214 indexed articles. The following screenshot from the Trisolute News Dashboard further shows how extreme the drop has been when compared to the previous day. It seems like the issue started at around 6 p.m. on January 31, with the graph obviously dropping down and not really recovering by the next morning. When comparing the time period from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. on February 1 to the same time period on the previous day, a radical decrease is visible.
Switzerland & Austria
Similarly, in Switzerland and Austria, the average Index Rate saw a substantial decrease when comparing the two dates. On January 25, an average of 88 articles in Switzerland and 94 articles in Austria were indexed by 11 a.m. Fast forward to February 1, and these figures dropped to 22 indexed articles in Switzerland and 25 in Austria, signaling a decline of 66 and 69 articles, respectively. The two following screenshots from our tool show those decreases even more clearly:
What could already be noticed with German publishers seems to be the case in those two countries as well: around the evening of January 31, the numbers of indexed articles saw a major decline in both Switzerland and Austria and no significant recovery could be seen the next morning.
In the U.K., our analysis covered the time period from 12 a.m. to 10 a.m. on the same dates. The average number of indexed articles at 10 a.m. on January 25 stood at 338 here, while on February 1, it plunged to 92, indicating a significant reduction of 245 articles. Here’s another screenshot from our tool to show how noticeable the drop was:
What’s interesting here is that though the decline seems to have begun around the same time as in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, the numbers were able to recover for around two hours in the late evening and only then started to really drop.
The United Stated witnessed the most noticeable effects. From January 24, 3 p.m., to January 25, 2 a.m., the average Index Rate was 427 articles. However, one week later, in the time period from January 31, 3 p.m. to February 1, 2 a.m., this figure fell by 301 articles to a mere 126 indexed articles on average, underscoring a concerning difference. The following screenshot shows the extreme decline in indexed articles:
By delving into this data, it becomes evident that the issue with Google indexing does not seem to be confined to a specific region but is rather to be understood as a global issue, affecting news publishers worldwide. The reason for those issues are yet to be revealed by Google. Whatever it is, here’s to hoping that the issue will be fixed soon! We will keep you posted as we learn more.
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