Google Search Hurt By Major Glitch – August 2020

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Adam Cook

So last night Google Search saw massive ranking shifts right across the board, worldwide. It’s been confirmed by Google John Muller as a glitch, by him tweeting this:

John Muller on Google glitch

The Google search glitch, 10th August 2020, affected the entire search platform with rankings droppings and being replaced with what seemed like a lot of directory listings – from Yell, Indeed, Linkedin, and more. 

How Long Will it Last?

It’s already come and gone, and if you were too like me, you probably completely missed it (it happened gone 10pm GMT), lasting only a few hours. Thank god rankings returned to normal by morning! 

At first, there was a lot of chatter, panic, and pleading in comment sections speculating on why Google would release an algorithm update without an announcement, and with such poor quality results. Google Search marketers across the world were struck the hardest they’d ever felt by Google. With keywords dropping off left, right, and center.  

Here’s a look into a search term we took ourselves last night:

Search engine results showing huge changes

Usually you wouldn’t see even one directory site on this search term, however last night you can see it was a totally different story.

Gumtree was top listing! With listing web pages from Three Best Rated, Digital Agency Network, Indeed, and Facebook – though we did manage to cling to page one (just).

Just how big was it?

As widespread and instant as Google changes go, this is right up there as the most rapid and far-reaching, I’m sure. Rankings were shifting up and down across the space of 5-10 minutes. 

We typed in the same search 10 minutes later and saw a completely different SERP each time.

I don’t think the major glitch affected any industries in particular (and why would it it’s a glitch not an update) but there are reports that eCommerce sites were somewhat more affected, with Webdev29 saying this

“huge update also in France ATM, no word to describe the mess, its simply crazy ! there is no more ecommerces in my SERP (decoration) and mine has just lost everything…6 years destroyed in just one minute and the lives of several employees at stake! it’s not possible that it continues like this, in the SERP, there are only the big marketplaces (cdiscount, amazon, laredoute, aliexpress…) and some more or less recent sites without much interest…all the rest has disappeared on the deep pages of the search engine.”

Can you protect your website from Google changes?

I don’t think there’s any way you can protect your rankings from glitches like these. But this goes to show just how easy rankings can change, and if you’re not on top of your website’s SEO and you’re not following Google’ Webmaster guidelines – or you’re following spammy blackhat techniques – you could be hit like this again by an algorithm update. Though at least Google gives announcements before they go live. 

Any Explanation from Google?

Nope, at least not yet, only the tweet from John Muller confirming it to be a glitch, so we’re still waiting to hear the cause.

Google glitch august 2020