How Bad Was Google's Deindexing Bug?

Ecompromo | April 10, 2019 | SEO Resources

Posted by Dr-Pete

On Friday, April 5, after many website owners and SEOs reported pages falling out of rankings, Google confirmed a bug that was causing pages to be deindexed:

MozCast showed a multi-day increase in temperatures, including a 105° spike on April 6. While deindexing would naturally cause ranking flux, as pages temporarily fell out of rankings and then reappeared, SERP-monitoring tools aren’t designed to separate the different causes of flux.

Can we isolate deindexing flux?

Google’s own tools can help us check whether a page is indexed, but doing this at scale is difficult, and once an event has passed, we no longer have good access to historical data. What if we could isolate a set of URLs, though, that we could reasonably expect to be stable over time? Could we use that set to detect unusual patterns?

Across the month of February, the MozCast 10K daily tracking set had 149,043 unique URLs ranking on page one. I reduced that to a subset of URLs with the following properties:

  1. They appeared on page one every day in February (28 total times)
  2. The query did not have sitelinks (i.e. no clear dominant intent)
  3. The URL ranked at position #5 or better

Since MozCast only tracks …read more

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