More Google Search bugs: Top stories indexing snag, coverage report delays

Late Friday, Google confirmed it had an indexing issue that specifically impacted what content was shown in the Top Stories section in Google Search. In addition, the Google Search Console coverage report has not been updated in about two-weeks, which is unusually delayed.

Indexing issue. Google said there was an indexing issue that lasted about four-hours on Friday evening. It started at 6:00 p.m. ET on Friday September 11, 2020 and lasted until about 10:00 p.m. ET that same day. Google confirmed on the issue initially on Twitter that day at 8:45 p.m. ET.

“We had an indexing issue with new articles appearing in Top Stories beginning around 3pm PT,” Google said. “We’ve now fixed this, though full restoration will likely take several hours, maybe less.”

Google later confirmed it was fixed and said the issue was fully resolved by 10:00 pm ET that night.

Coverage report delays. On top of that issue, Google still has an ongoing issue with the Google Search Console coverage report. The coverage report is now about two-weeks delayed. I see data as early as August 31, 2020, while some see data as of September 1. Normally this report is about two or three days behind, not 14 days.

The coverage report shows the indexing state of all URLs that Google has visited, or tried to visit, in your property. So if you are trying to access this report to debug recent changes to your site, you are currently out of luck.

Google wrote, “We’re currently experiencing longer than usual delays in the Search Console Index Coverage report. This only affects reporting, not crawling, indexing, or ranking of websites. We’ll update here once this issue is resolved. Thanks for your patience!”

This should have been resolved over this past weekend but it was not. Hopefully it will catch up in the next few days.

Why we care. If you notice a drop in traffic on Friday evening for a few hours, and your site is often in the Top Stories section in Google Search – this may be why. It should have been resolved within four-hours, so hopefully any traffic problems were not long-standing.

On the coverage report issue, you are not alone. Google is aware of the issue and hopefully will fix it soon. For now, just wait it out and check back daily to see if Google has updated these metrics. The report being delayed has no impact on your rankings, crawling or indexing.

Postscript: The Google coverage report is now showing more recent data as of September 15, 2020.

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