Google Search Glitches Show Service Not Infallible
Marketers expect searches on Google sites to go off without a hitch, but a couple of queries using the keyword "Google" on Google News left the results page blank.
On any ordinary day that search would return more than 387 million results. Doc Sheldon, founder of search agency Top Shelf Copy, calls it "a system hiccup of some kind, perhaps an update rollout or shifting servers."
Taking a "stab in the dark," Sheldon suggests the "search could come up dry" in the event of a server bank shift. "I suppose it's possible that you either managed to hit two transitions, twice or that it was a protracted glitch," he said. "I would assume most rollouts are protected by not deleting the path to old data until the new path is confirmed, but on a failure, who knows?"
Reports of blank pages started popping up in a developer forum, citing Google Chrome as the culprit. Developers point to a compatibility issue with Windows 7 and the latest version of Chrome, but that wouldn't explain why the search query returned zero results in Microsoft Explorer and Mozilla Firefox.
Wissam Dandan, SEO consultant and founder of LebSEO Design, calls the Google News glitch a "little bug," and points to a missing data issue in google.com that limits results on each query page. "For the last three days, when I go from page 1 to page 2 in google.com, it shows me three listings," he said. "When I go from page 2 to page 3, I get zero listings."
Agreeing it might concern search marketers running paid ads on google.com, Sheldon said sometimes the first search engine results page claims thousands of entries, but a click on page 3 reveals truncated results, which drastically reduces results.
Difficult to confirm why, but a variety of issues could contribute to the glitch, according to Jim Yu, BrightEdge CEO. He points to tests by Google to reduce the number of results per page, for example.
Google did not respond to email inquiries.