Massive Deindexation of Webpages in Google

A  brief recap on the strange incident happened at the beginning of April 2019.  A massive deindexing incident removed a series of URLs from the Index of Google’s Search Engine.

The incident

Last Friday, the SEO community woke up with a real earthquake: Google dropped many URLs and homepages out of its search engine index. Webmasters and SEO specialists had to manually check the status of their URLs and homepages. Miguel Cidre, our SEO Specialist, warned about this incident in the early morning via Twitter:

Although it was still early to know the cause of the problem, everything seemed to indicate that it was a specific error of Google, rather than a change in its algorithm or a penalty for a specific domain. The apparent randomness when deindexing URLs, without a clear pattern, pointed towards that suspicion.

First reactions

Throughout Friday and the weekend, SEO Specialists reacted on social media, both in Spanish-speaking countries and globally:

The official response

On Saturday April 6th, John Mueller (Google’s Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst) apologized and offered a response on Twitter (with some hidden humour), in which he acknowledged that this deindexing had occurred due to a “technical problem” that would be solved briefly. And we say so because the John was happy that “the Inspect URL tool is also useful for this type of case!”:

Update [09/04]: On Monday 9th, Danny Sullivan announced on Google SearchLiaison’s account that they were still working to solve the problem, giving a term of 12/24 hours:

Update [10/04]: On Tuesday 10th, Google SearchLiaison concluded the incident, apologizing for it and regarding the users’ patience … and Screaming Frog‘s answer was a cool one:

The solution

Even though this was quite of a dramatic morning start on Friday, the solution to the Google bug was easy. As Miguel points from his YouTube Channel, the first step is to go “Manual Actions” on Google Search Console, to check if all the links are okay. If you notice that one of the URLs of your page is missing in this section, you can manually index your website again, and it will automatically recover the positions in the Google Search Engine.

In this tutorial (in Spanish), you can learn more about this process:

If you want to clarify or add more info from your personal experience about this incident (already named as Indexgate), just share it with us in the comment section below.


Pepe Mansilla

Content Specialist

Redacto y dibujo por pasión desde que tengo conocimiento de causa. Más adelante, caí en la marmita del Marketing Digital y la pasión se convirtió en profesión.