Google Search outage causing major issues with search quality and indexing

Last night at about 9:30 pm ET Google had a widespread outage with Google Search, the issue lingered through the night but restoration efforts seemed to mitigate some of the connectivity issues many have experienced. But this seemed to result in a cascade of other issues with Google Search around search quality in general.

The Google Search issues. It seems that the outage, although the most noticeable issue, is not the only issue. I’ve seen issues with the overall search results impacting search quality. These issues 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  • Google Search results look stale and outdated
  • Huge ranking fluctuations

I posted some screenshots of the issues on the Search Engine Roundtable.

What happened? It seems a Google data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa caught on fire and the result of the fire injured some workers and causes these issues in Google Search. The incident occurred at 11:59 a.m. local time on Monday, the Council Bluffs Police Department told SFGATE. A Google spokesperson told them:

“We are aware of an electrical incident that took place today at Google’s data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, injuring three people onsite who are now being treated. The health and safety of all workers is our absolute top priority, and we are working closely with partners and local authorities to thoroughly investigate the situation and provide assistance as needed.”

Google is aware. Google is aware of the issue, as you can see from the statement above. But Google is also aware of the overall Google Search issues related to this fire. John Mueller from Google commented on Twitter about how things should come back to normal as restoration efforts are underway. Here is what he posted:

Why we care. If you notice ranking changes, both positive or negative, or big swings in traffic from Google Search, this might be why. Things should return to normal as this issue gets resolved but it is unclear how long it will take for everything to come back to the state it was prior to this fire.

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About The Author

Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry can be followed on Twitter here.

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