Google Search bug with indexing over the past several hours

Google seems to have a bug where it has not indexed new content across both large and smaller publishers over the past several hours. The issue seemed to have started at about 5 p.m. ET, when Google Search was not showing most of the new content that content creators were publishing to their websites.

What are we seeing. Sites as large as AP News, CNN, Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Fox News, CNBC and even small sites like the Search Engine Roundtable, are all seeing issues with new content not being shown in the Google Search results.

This can be a Google Search bug with indexing or serving or maybe some rendering issue with the Google Search interface.

Here are some examples of the Google Search results filtered to show content published in the past hour from some of these publications that publish dozens of stories per hour. You can see some sites have no pages shown for content published on them in the past hour, some have one, some have three and so on:

Wsj Hour 1718924996
Ny Times Google Index
Cnbc Google Index

Checking Google Search tools. So when I was debugging this after covering this issue a few hours ago on the Search Engine Roundtable, I noticed the story I published on this news was not indexed by Google and is still not indexed a few hours later. The content published on this site normally gets indexed within minutes by Google Search.

Google Search Console’s URL inspection tool still says the URL is not indexed, hours later:

Gsc Not Indexed 1718926302

When I search for the story headline, filter by content published recently, or even search by the URL of the story, Google Search is not returning it.

Screenshot Google Bug

No word from Google yet. I have reached out to Google but have still not heard back on this issue. Google has still not published an issue update on the Google Search Status dashboard – I suspect they will eventually.

Spam update the issue. Is it possible that the June 2024 spam update broke Google Search? That is hard to say and it is, of course, just speculation. But we know with the last core update, Elizabeth Tucker from Google said their main goal was to ensure that algorithm update did not break Google. We also know that sometimes Google experiments cause issues in Google Search.

Others having issues. I posted the news on social media, including X and there are a lot of folks noticing this issue now. Just click through to my post on X and you’ll see a lot of the replies and quotes:

Why we care. If you produce content, like a news publication, and notice a drop in Google traffic over the past several hours – this may be why.

Hopefully Google will fix it and reply with more detail. Google clearly wants to ensure searchers can find the content, especially new content, that they are looking for. So I am sure Google takes these reports seriously.

Google is aware of the reports, but has not yet replied with any details. We will update this story when we hear back.

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About the author

Barry Schwartz

Barry Schwartz is a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry can be followed on Twitter here.

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