We are seeing widespread reports of a potential bug with google that is resulting in many URLs and web pages being dropped from the Google Index. Chatter throughout the SEO world is indicating many pages not showing up in Google Search Console as indexed or showing up in SERPs when searched.
We have personally seen multiple URLs drop out. If you resubmit these pages to Google for indexing they will appear back in the result pages. However, for large sites with many multiple URLs dropping this is of course a long and frustrating process.
The impact of this could be huge for large sites with a decent amount of organic traffic. If 50% of a sites pages are not indexed there is likely to be a large drop in rankings and organic traffic. So far, despite multiple URLs dropping out of result pages our rankings and traffic still appear to be steady. Google has since acknowledged this is a technical issue that will soon be resolved and the URLs affected will be reprocessed. The nature of this technical issue is currently unclear and it is unlikely Google will expand on this.
What is the Google Index?
When Google crawls through sites it organises the information on the web pages that is available to it through the search index. Think of Google as a huge library and when crawling through pages it is effectively storing web pages as you would books in a library. This is all done through the use of Google’s indexing robot Googlebot. It is crucial Google can effectively crawl your site to allow pages to rank. This is highlighted by their increased emphasis on multiple technical SEO aspects such as site speed, internal linking and mobile-first indexing.
Google’s Indexing Issue April 2019
For now Google is aware of the issue and working on this. If you resubmit your pages via search console it allows you to re-index the pages manually. This is of course a long process for large sites so we would recommend indexing important pages that carry significant weight to them from a site structure perspective. Google often reiterates the fact they do not index every web page available and as such it is advisable to focus on the important pages for your site. We will continue to provide updates as and when they are announced.