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 GoogleSearchConsole

A Google Sitemaps bug is causing many webmasters to see significant indexed page count falls within Google Search Console, but a fix should be on the way according to Google.

Google Search Console, known as Webmaster Tools until recently, is experiencing an issue causing confusion and concern among webmasters and marketers as huge declines are appearing in the indexed pages shown in the Google Sitemaps report.

Barry Schwartz is one expert who has seen hundreds of thousands of pages being suddenly displayed as no longer indexed by Google, and shared an example of how the problem can look on a report:

index_error-800x322

Google is already aware of the issue and is hard at work to resolve it. Google’s Gary Illyes responded to Schwartz on Twitter saying “it’s confirmed and we’re working on it.”

If you’ve encountered similar drops in indexed page counts on your reports from July 14, there’s no cause for alarm. The glitch will be fixed soon and won’t affect your traffic or rankings through the search engine in the meantime.

Google is in the process of rolling out a new hacked page classifier which puts a notice below sites in the search listings believed to have malicious code or other hacking issues. The only problem is, many webmasters are reporting getting labeled as hacked incorrectly.

Yesterday, Google’s John Mueller acknowledged that a small number of sites are being mislabeled in the search results, which is obviously discouraging to anyone considering clicking on the link.

You can tell if your site is affected by simply searching for your site on Google and seeing if a small blue text appears below the title tag reading “This site may be hacked.” If you don’t see it, you’re in the clear. On the other hand, if you’re seeing that line it means your site has either been mislabeled or really has been hacked.

Mueller suggests having someone experienced in working with hacked sites to review your site to ensure there are no problems. If they give your site a clean bill of health, you will have to notify Google.

This Site May be Hacked

The search engine says to fill out this form if you believe your site is mislabeled as hacked. Once it is submitted, someone at Google will review it and remove the label if they also find no issues. There is no indication how long it will take Google to review your site and remove the label, especially with the number of sites reporting the problem.

For more information on resolving issues with hacked sites, see Google’s best practices.