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What’s Going on with Google News? Confirmed bug is being fixed

Update July 21, 2023: A week has passed since Google announced they have fixed the Google News indexing issue. We have been monitoring Google News patterns and find that they’ve mostly returned to normal. There are still some strange indexing patterns occurring but that doesn’t seem to be having a direct impact on Google News. We will continue to monitor the News Dashboard and share any unusual visibility data results.

Update July 12, 2023: If you are a publisher who was impacted by the Google News indexing issue, keep a close eye on your visibility data today. In today’s update, Google says they’ve identified the indexing issue and implemented a fix. They are now monitoring to see if the fix addresses the issue.

Update July 11, 2023: We are pleased to report that today we are seeing an increase in Google News visibility for impacted publishers. Take a look at the screengrab below from the News Dashboard’s Google News report, which shows the improvement trend began overnight. We will continue to monitor the data and report any further developments as warranted.

Update July 10, 2023: Thanks to publishers from around the world (including Heiko Stammel of DER SPIEGEL and Matthias Thier of TAG24, among many others) who shared their concerns with Google about a steep decline in Google News visibility, a fix is reported to be underway. This update from Google today on the Publisher Center Help Forum may be reason for cautious optimism.

John Mueller of Google also confirmed the existence of what is referred to as an “indexing” issue with Google News.

According to the Google Search Status Dashboard, “There’s an ongoing issue with indexing in Google News that’s affecting all sites. Sites may be experiencing a decrease in traffic from Google News. We’re working on identifying the root cause. Next update will be within 24 hours.”

We will continue to monitor the Google News visibility issue and provide updates as warranted.

Read the original post below:

Last week we noticed a sudden and severe decline in Google News visibility for a wide range of major news publishers. We also had concerned Trisolute News Dashboard customers reach out to us for insights. 

After sharing our initial analysis on LinkedIn, we dove into the Trisolute News Dashboard data in earnest.  We won’t bury the lede: We have not yet determined a reason for the Google News decline for some publishers, but we have uncovered data points that could be useful in your own analysis if you are one of the news publishers investigating a decline in Google News visibility.

An important note for our Trisolute News Dashboard customers: We capture data from the general sections of Google News and not the personalized sections, such as the “Local,” “For you” or “Following” tabs. Therefore, the Google News graphs in the News Dashboard tool will never exactly match the graphs in Google Search Console. Even when taking those differences into consideration, there is still a significant drop in Google News visibility for some publishers.

Here are our key findings surrounding the Google News visibility decline for certain publishers:

  • The decline period began around June 18, mainly impacting YouTube, but by June 21-23, dozens of publishers saw a decline in Google News visibility. Some publishers who were affected have since rebounded to their normal Google News visibility rate while others have not recovered at all. (Note: We include YouTube as a publisher in News Dashboard reports to track video visibility for traditional news publishers who post on that platform.)
  • The impact is being felt globally, with news publishers from around the world seeing significant declines in Google News visibility.
  • Not all news publishers suffered a decline in Google News visibility; some saw a marked increase.
  • The most dramatic drop in Google News visibility was for YouTube, but their visibility has since rebounded, beginning June 28. 
  • There was a notable drop globally in Google News rankings overall week-over-week (for weeks of June 12 and June 19 excluding weekends.)
  • There was not a single type of publisher (sports, entertainment, politics) who suffered a loss in Google News visibility. A diverse mix of publishers were impacted.
  • It doesn’t appear to be an indexing issue, as Trisolute’s News Dashboard includes an Index Rate report which verifies that Google is seeing the articles being published by affected news publishers.
  • The number of US publishers ranking in Google News increased by about 100 beginning June 22. The number of ranking US publishers in Google News continues to be higher than the previous average for the month of June.
  • Google search ranking volatility: On June 23, Barry Schwartz posted on SEO Roundtable about the “incredible volatility” in Google Search ranking results that had been taking place well over a week. On Thursday, he posted an update, once again emphasizing the continued volatility trend in Google search ranking results.
  • News aggregator Yahoo saw a dramatic increase in Google News visibility during this period. Will Flannigan of the Wall Street Journal (and former Trisolute News Dashboard staff member) offered an interesting analysis in a Twitter thread.

Regional Insights:

Note the increase in the amount of Google News publishers and the notable decrease in Google News rankings.


Other factors we considered:

  • During the aborted coup attempt in Russia, there were reports of Google News being blocked in the country  See The New York Times report. However, the timing doesn’t match up with when we saw the initial decline in Google News visibility.
  • Titan sub: Because of the rise and dramatic fall of video provider YouTube in Google News visibility, we initially thought it could be connected to the missing Titan sub, which generated a mass amount of video coverage. When there’s a major global news event, normal search patterns can be skewed. However, the dates don’t correspond with the beginning of the decline trend in Google News visibility.
  • YouTube was reported to be running a “small experiment globally” that restricted ad blocker users after three video views. It’s unknown the date range of this experiment or its scope.

Our analysis is ongoing, so please reach out or comment on our posts if you have any additional insights you’d like to share.

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