Beginning early this morning, there have been numerous reports of images not loading in Google’s Top stories carousel (as seen below). The issue seems to affect search results globally and Google has confirmed that it’s a bug.
A problem on Google’s end. “Yeah, it looks like an issue on our side,” Google’s John Mueller tweeted regarding the issue. The company is currently working to correct the bug, Danny Sullivan, the company’s public search liaison, has confirmed.
Why we care. A blurred featured image may negatively affect your clickthrough rate, so make sure to annotate your reports to reflect this oddity. Some professionals have taken screenshots showing the Top stories carousel with just one or two images that loaded successfully, which could mean fewer clicks for the stories that didn’t show a featured image. And, since the Top stories carousel is an important source of visibility and traffic for some publishers, this could also impact advertising revenue and other marketing opportunities that depend on getting a user onto your site if the bug goes unresolved for an extended period. Fortunately, Google is already aware of the issue — we’ll continue to provide updates as they come in.