Industry News

News Roundup: Google Gets Hit By Indexing Bug and Much More

  • August 17, 2020
  • Steven van Vessum

Another week, another round of SEO news. This time, all the major issues concerned Google, and it wasn’t the most pleasant of moments for them in most cases.

Google suffers an impactful indexing system bug

Although August is usually among slower months overall, last week started—and ended—by putting a scare into all SEOs.

On Monday, chatters and reports of insane changes in the Google search results flooded Twitter and other parts of the internet. Overall, rankings dropped massively. Thus many SEOs started thinking that they were witnessing a huge moment—that Google had launched yet another major core update.

However, in a reaction to Barry Schwartz, who called the Google update “so 2020” later in the day, Google’s John Mueller stated that the suspicious changing behavior of the search wasn’t in fact intentional.

To confirm Mueller’s words, on Tuesday, Google webmasters announced that it was all caused by a bug in their indexing system.

Of course, Google didn’t elaborate on what exactly was the bug that caused the rapid fluctuations in rankings.

But Garry Illyes later suggested that the effects of a malfunctioning indexing system could have affected other parts of Google search. In other words, that everything is connected, and if there is an issue in one phase of the indexing process, it will also affect the following phase—ranking.

While this is a plausible explanation for what happened, some SEOs were skeptical and said they think this was an intentional update, but it went horribly wrong.

What happened exactly? We’ll never know unfortunately.

Saturday’s update gets reverted

Only six days after the disputable bug, Google possibly rolled out yet another update. On Saturday morning, SEOs began to notice significant changes in their rankings.

Similarly to the events of last Monday, no one knows if this was a glitch or an intentional update. But in the evening, the results started to go back to their previous state, meaning that whatever the reason for the changes initially was, Google reverted them eventually.

Some say that ranking fluctuations like these often build up to big Google updates. It’s too soon to tell if that’s going to happen, but we’ll keep you updated!

DuckDuckGo: Google Search Mobile Market Share may drop by 20%

A recent study commissioned by DuckDuckGo suggests that if users buying a new Android phone were given a choice as to which search engine they would like to use as a default, 20 percent of them wouldn’t select Google.

The search engine, and Google’s competitor, conducted the study with 12,000 respondents in the US, United Kingdom, and Australia in light of the recent European decision to force Google to make users choose out of four different search engines.

Currently, Google makes up for 95% of the mobile market share in the US, 98% in the UK, and 98% in Australia.

The results suggest that if given the choice, 20% of Android users in the US, 22% in the UK, and 16% in Australia wouldn’t select Google as their default search engine.

“The results show that if a properly designed search preference menu is pushed to all smartphone users, Google's mobile market share is likely to immediately drop by 20%, 22%, and 16% in the U.S., U.K., and Australia, respectively,” DuckDuckGo says in the statement about the study results (opens in a new tab).

“This could just be the start. Because people would finally be able to easily change their search defaults, and as people become familiar with search engine alternatives, we expect even greater market share changes as time goes on,”

With this research, DuckDuckGo is elaborating on the recent European decision to make Google provide new Android phone users with a choice when they first turn their phone on.

In June, Each country in the EU selected other search engines to provide their citizens with during their first use of any new Android phone. In all countries, DuckDuckGo and managed to get on the list.

Google launches Core Web Vitals app for Shopify

eCommerce store owners using Shopify for their websites will now find it easier to comply with Google’s Core Web Vitals metrics (opens in a new tab).

Google recently developed an app that can help them speed up their store. The Core Web Vitals Dashboard (opens in a new tab) app enables its users to check their Core Web Vitals metrics directly in their Shopify environment, and compare them with those of competing shops.

The app’s creator is Ilya Grigorik, who announced it on his Twitter account:

Google recently launched Core Web Vitals as a set of three metrics that will play a major role within ranking evaluation in search. Scoring high on these metrics is a sign that a page downloads quickly and is highly usable for site visitors.

Google Web Vitals as a ranking factor

Google will notify users at least six months before (opens in a new tab) the Core Web Vitals are rolled out as a ranking factor.

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Steven is ContentKing's VP of Community. This means he's involved in everything community and content marketing related. Right where he wants to be. He gets a huge kick out of letting websites rank and loves to talk SEO, content marketing and growth.