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Google’s Widespread Outage Causes Search Quality Issues

As the search engine rebounds, your site’s reporting may be off

You may have missed it, but Google experienced a large outage on August 8, 2022 around 9:30 p.m. ET after a data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa caught fire.

The outage impacted users all over the world. At its peak, more than 40,000 people in the United States reported issues with Google.

According to 9to5Google, users impacted by the outage were shown a 500 Internal Server Error or 502 Bad Gateway Error when trying to perform a search. Even Google’s main home page was taking longer than usual to load.


The outage was resolved quickly, but there are reports of lingering issues with indexing and overall search quality since the disruption. According to Search Engine Land, these complications include:

  • Outages and inaccessibility of Google Search
  • Old pages dropping out of Google Search
  • New pages not being indexed by Google Search
  • Google Search results look stale and outdated

The SEO community documented their issues on Twitter in the hours after the outage, with some users reporting a 40% drop in web traffic. Google’s Search Advocate John Mueller stayed abreast of the complaints and acknowledged that the search giant was working to correct any indexing issues or overall problems with search quality.

What Google’s Outage Means for Your Site’s Search Ranking

Luckily, hours after the global search community reported problems with their search rankings, search quality began to improve. However, if your site was impacted by Google’s outage, it may take awhile before your reporting turns back to normal. The good news is that it should resolve itself eventually.

While a fire at a Google data center is by no means normal, the incident does speak to the volatility of search traffic. It is normal for sites to have large swings in traffic as Google makes updates to its algorithm, or in this case, experiences its own issues.

This summer, Google did acknowledge that they plan to be more transparent about updates to its platform that could impact search rankings. But the increased knowledge only adds to the already very full plate sitting in front of site owners and content creators.

RebelMouse is a modern publishing platform that anticipates major changes from Google before they even happen. Our holistic search strategy makes sure that the sites within our network consistently rank highly on search and crush industry standards on site performance.

Never stress about what Google’s up to — whether it’s a planned algorithm update or an unpredictable server emergency — ever again. Request a proposal today to start publishing on a platform that empowers search success with every publish.

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Delivering a secure, high-performing environment with extreme reliability is essential to all of our clients at RebelMouse. We only use industry-leading, reliable approaches to host our infrastructure. This ensures maximum stability and security for all of our clients’ data. Here are just some of the reasons we’re able to maintain a hard-bodied product that’s flexible, too.

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Make sure your site is set up for success in 2022.

In the spring of 2020, Google let the world know that its Core Web Vitals would become the new benchmark for measuring a site's performance in its search results, known as the page experience update. Fast forward to more than a year later in August 2021 when, after much anticipation, Google's page experience update became official.

Since its rollout, developers have felt the impact of how their publishing platforms stack up against the new standard. Important decisions around the architecture of your site can now make or break your site's performance in the eyes of Google.

HTTP Archive, a tracking platform that crawls the web to identify trends and record historical patterns, has revealed how top content management systems (CMS) have weathered the page experience update through the creation of its Core Web Vitals Technology Report. RebelMouse consistently outperforms major CMS platforms on Google's most critical metrics since its rollout and into 2022:

Getting superior scores on Google's performance benchmarks isn't easy, either. The Ahrefs blog analyzed Core Web Vitals data from the Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX), which is data from actual Chrome users, to see how the web stacks up against Core Web Vitals. Their study found that only 33% of sites on the web are passing Core Web Vitals.

data from Ahrefs tracked on a line chart finds that shows only 33% of sites on the web pass Google's Core Web Vitals From Ahrefs.

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