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- Google Search results look stale and outdated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.
\u201c@JohnMu Any internal information about Google status after the nights events? Us, and many competitors, have multiple pages not indexed (including frontpage)\u201d— Kristoffer Holten (@Kristoffer Holten) 1660035312
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.
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