Google Glitch: 10th August 2020 – What Happened?

Lachlan Perry

Lachlan Perry

From a digital marketing and web hosting background, Lachlan is keen to provide all of his insight and knowledge learnt over the years working in the industry to those who want to see their business succeed. On weekends, you can find him enjoying good music and even better food.

As if 2020 wasn’t already stressful enough – it appears Google had incidentally suffered from an algorithmic glitch and the initial results were interesting, to say the least.

The glitch resulted in local searches for businesses and eCommerce brands being outranked by nonsensical websites such as spammy forums, random Facebook posts, obscure job listings, Quora and Reddit posts – anything you wouldn’t expect to outrank quality content.

It’s been several days since the Google glitch occurred and it appears most of the dust has settled, but the initial drop in rankings for popular and authoritative websites drove a lot of discontent amongst SEOs and webmasters.

Even businesses were ranking at the bottom of page 1 for their own branded search, with some being outranked by chamber of commerce pages.

What do we do know so far about the 10th August Google Glitch?

Speculation: Was It A Glitch Or An Update?

Given its early days and Google only released a brief statement, we’re unable to divulge the full extent of what the glitch was but it appears to have affected SERPS (search engine results pages) the most.

It also appears to have been a less ‘user-focused’ update that Google primarily push with each algorithm change, which is why some were led to believe it was actually a bug or rolled out improperly.

Google’s Public Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, had the day off so it seems very unusual for Google to roll out an update to this level of magnitude with their public liaison not around to help clear up any confusion.

Barry Schwartz of SearchEngineRoundTable first broke the news with an article letting SEOs, digital marketers and website owners to prepare for another algorithm change. It’s safe to say many were not aware of how adversely it would affect their rankings and their client’s rankings.

Given there was no real, clear algorithm pattern for SEOs to work off, and the dramatic change in the SERPS, many believed it was a glitch as opposed to a Google update.

Since the initial drop in rankings that many industries felt, it seems to have been rolled back and almost feels relatively normal.

Reaction From The SEO Community About The Glitch

When an unprecedented change in the SERPS occurs, there is always going to be some discontent felt with website owners worried about the level of ranking drops.

This Google glitch was certainly no different, with the SEO community sharing their experience with the initial SERPS issues.

It appears some had success with the glitch, but it appears the majority suffered as a result of quality content being pushed to the 6th and 7th pages whilst less-desirable, spammy sites started to rank on the first page.

How SEO’s reacted:

A forum snippet of a third person reacting to the 10th August 2020 Google glitch.
A forum snippet of a second person reacting to the 10th August 2020 Google glitch.
A forum snippet of a person reacting to the 10th August 2020 Google glitch.

It appears it only seems to have affected the SERPS negatively for a short while, but a time long enough for people to start noticing and feeling its effects.

How Twitter Reacted

A twitter snippet of a person reacting to the 10th August 2020 Google glitch.

Just when we thought 2020 couldn’t get more interesting – we’re thrown an algorithmic curveball which products a wide range of speculation but it appears it wasn’t anything more than an error.

Just A ‘Google Glitch’ – Things Return To Normal

Most felt like this was some sort of algorithm glitch as opposed to an update rolling out and it appears as though they were correct.

Google’s John Mueller also notified the SEO community it appears to have been a glitch which is a huge sigh of relief for those affected.

Despite being a glitch, the effects were felt far and wide between many different industries and even companies ranking for their own branded terms.

Since the glitch has been rectified by Google, it appears the SERP’s craziness has settled down and things are relatively back to normal, but we empathise with anyone feeling real concern over their rankings.

Google Webmasters also released a statement on Twitter regarding the glitch situation earlier, as Google’s ‘go-to’ guys such as Gary Illyes and Danny Sullivan remain relatively quiet on all fronts.

A lot of false-alarm heart attacks were to be had for sure. Still, this begs the question of how could this have happened?

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