SEO

Google confirms a search ranking bug where sites disappear from search results over the weekend

Google confirmed a search ranking bug, a “very narrow issue,” as Google called it, that affected a “small number of websites” where those rankings would drop out of the Google Search results over the weekend and then reappear during the weekdays.

Google’s statement. A Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land this issue has already been resolved and that it only impacted a “small number of websites.” Google wrote:

We’re aware of a very narrow issue that caused temporary fluctuations in search results for a small number of websites. The issue has since been resolved, and the sites should no longer be seeing its effects.

The issue. The issue seemed to have impacted sites that were on non-standard, vanity TLDs, top-level-domains. These TLDs ended in .club, .consulting, .life and other non-standard TLDs. Some of these sites were noticing that they completely stopped ranking over the weekends. Initially, I thought it was either a quality issue, being on the edge of quality, or a bug with Google Search. But it turned out it was a bug with Google Search.

The first person I saw cover this was Tomasz Rudzki at ZipTie. In short, he wrote, “On weekends, something strange kept happening – the website would completely lose rankings and traffic. People couldn’t even find it when they searched for it by its name.”

What was interesting is that those ranking issues coincided with several unconfirmed Google updates that happened over the weekend. He said, “9 out of 9 examples were non-standard TLDs, such as, .consultancy (example.consultancy), .care (example.care), .club, .info, .energy. The dates he shared coincided with the algorithm updates I reported on. He said these were the dates:

Sample ranking chart. Here is one example of a ranking chart showing the weekend drop in performance from organic Google Search:

Google Ranking Chart 1705535769 800x300

Why we care. This issue seems to have been going on since November 2023 but now a few months later, after these reports, Google has resolved the issue.

If you noticed weird ranking issues over the weekends and you are on one of these non-standard TLDs, then maybe this impacted you. I did notice these Google weekend search ranking updates stopped over the past week or so.

Hopefully, you won’t see this going forward.

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About the author

Barry Schwartz

Barry Schwartz is a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry can be followed on Twitter here.

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