Google Adjusted How It Shows Index Count Estimates
Bad timing: Google's Index Status report had a bug that showed a drop in index counts around the same time Google updated their index estimation formula.
Google has told us that they have adjusted how they estimate how many pages of a website are found in their search index.
A few weeks ago, Google told us, based on reports of a significant drop in the index count within the Google Search Console Index Status report, that “this change reflects a more accurate estimation of how many pages Google is indexing.”
The interesting part of this is that the day after we received this statement from Google, the Google Index Status report updated, and the numbers reported went back to the old count.
So I asked Google, “Why would it go back to the old count when you told me that the new lower count number is more accurate?”
Google’s John Mueller answered this question for me yesterday in a Google hangout, saying that the timing was just a coincidence. That Google did update how they estimate your index saturation, but also, at around the same time, Google had a bug in their Index Status report. So while there was a drop in index count, the bug was the reason it was so significant back then, not the new way Google counts your pages.
Here is the transcript of the video where I asked John Mueller about this at the 5:35 minute mark:
“I think that was just a normal data glitch. Something got messed up with the counts, and we kind of showed that in Search Console.
“So I think the difficulty there is the timing, in that we had this weird data glitch that we noticed afterwards and at the same time we also made adjustments with what we would show in general. So it looked like some of these things were based on the adjustments that we did. The answer you got from PR, the thing I said in the German hangout, but at the same time there was this glitch in the report. So it is a bit of a, a lot of coincidence.”
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