Google confirmed an indexing bug with Google News publishers that went on for about three weeks. It started around June 21st and was officially fixed on Friday, July 14th.
Let me give you the timeline. News publishers began to report noticing issues with their site’s visibility and traffic from Google News around June 29th in this Google New Publisher Help thread. Some noticed the declines in traffic and visibility starting June 21st, some on the 22nd and some on the 23rd.
I began writing the story for this site on July 10th in the morning but then Google confirmed the issue in the afternoon of July 10th by posting the issue in the Google Search Status report. Here is the timeline as Google posted it there:
- 10 Jul 2023 – 13:01 PDT: There’s an ongoing issue with indexing in Google News that’s affecting all sites. Sites may be experiencing a decrease in traffic from Google News. We’re working on identifying the root cause. Next update will be within 24 hours.
- 11 Jul 2023 – 13:31 PDT: We’ve identified the issue with indexing and have been working on a fix. Next update will be within 24 hours.
- 12 Jul 2023 – 10:41 PDT: We’ve identified the issue with News indexing and have implemented a fix. We’re monitoring the situation to confirm that this resolves the issue. Next update will be within 24 hours.
- 13 Jul 2023 – 23:01 PDT: We’ve identified the issue with News indexing and have implemented a fix. We’re monitoring the situation to confirm that this resolves the issue. Next update will be within 24 hours.
- 14 Jul 2023 – 14:06 PDT: We fixed the issue with News indexing. There will be no more updates.
Google’s John Mueller said on Bluesky on July 14 at 6:30ish am, “It seems pretty fixed now, we’re just a bit cautious about giving an early all-clear.”
Then later that day, Google posted an update on that search status site at 5:06 pm ET saying it was resolved fully.
John Mueller then replied to me on Bluesky saying, “The “it’s done” button is now clicked. Woot!”
So if you saw weird traffic drops from Google News from around June 21st through July 13/14th, this is probably why. Hopefully, you are seeing more traffic from Google News now, but normal is a bit hard for news and trending topics…
Forum discussion at Bluesky.