May 16th, 2019 | in Data Analytics & Insights, Paid Search & Media Buying

Google Search Console’s Data Outage Caused By Indexing Bug

The aftermath of the indexing bug has resulted in a data outage for Search Console. Can we fully rely on Google tools?

By Lianna Haywood - SEO Content Executive

Google Search Console Data Outage

As digital marketing professionals, we heavily rely on Google Search Console for extracting important information and to help us better understand how websites are performing in Google. However, the recent data outage in Google Search Console, which resulted in a major loss of data, means we should be more concerned about the reliability of Google’s reporting channels.
It was the 5th of April when Google reported an indexing bug, which hit 4% of Google’s indexed pages. Four weeks on and the bug has finally been resolved. However, despite the issue being fixed, many users have noticed bad/missing data in their Search Console reports. Not only does this major indexing issue negatively impact on our analysis, but it also presents an important question about the reliability of Google.

Ineffective April Reports

The data outage means that reports for April cannot be deemed as accurate and is extremely problematic for Google Search Console users. Without correct data for the majority of April, users are unable to fully distinguish whether any of their website pages were affected by the indexing bug or if any other major changed occurred.
Following on from this, users are unable to use their inaccurate April reports from Google Console to improve optimisation for their website. A major data loss like this will set marketing professionals far back. This data is significant for understanding the performance of websites in Google’s results search and is a major part of planning the optimisation process.

Can we really rely on Google?

An important question we should ask is, was the bug acting randomly or systematically? If the bug was systematically targeting certain sites this could raise the possibility that Google could be testing a new algorithm. The fact that the bug took a long time to resolve also questions the reliability of Google’s data channels. How can we fully trust a medium that is unable to resolve a bugging issue more efficiently?
Though many marketing professionals rely on Google’s tools as a main source of data, the recent issues with bugs should lead users to question the reliability of Google’s software. The de-indexing bug highlights the importance of using a variety of channels to ensure that not only do you have enough data to work with and optimise, but also that should Google encounter another bug, you have the traffic to minimise the impact of these issues in the future.

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