Recently Google Search Console sent out numerous emails alerting publishers of redirect errors. However on Monday the official Google Search Central Twitter account updated the search marketing community that the emails may have been sent due to an internal indexing error and that they were investigating.
Search Community Receives GSC Emails
The search community noticed a lot of errors for what is normally a relatively rare issue. It’s abnormal for something like this to happen.
Glenn Gabe tweeted:
Heads-up, I'm seeing a big spike in redirect errors across sites in the Coverage reporting. Those redirects looks fine when analyzing them… Also, that coincides w/a crawl stats error for "Server Connectivity" across those sites impacted. I think Googlebot had too much eggnog 🙂 pic.twitter.com/PGY0EkLAcv
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) December 12, 2021
A redirect error is something that many publishers might not see often in their Google Search Console. It’s a technical SEO issue related to 301 and 302 redirects.
In general, unless a publisher was making mass changes to their website or a plugin update went really bad, a redirect error is not something that’s going to suddenly manifest on its own.
Google’s developer page lists four examples of redirect errors that Google Search Console reports on.
- Redirect chain that was too long
When a URL redirects to another URL which redirects to another URL and so on. This is often happens to older websites that update older publishing technologies with proprietary URLs to newer web publishing technologies with more standard URLs.
- Redirect loop
This is an issue when a URL redirects to another URL that redirects back to the first URL, forming an essentially infinite loop.
- Redirect URL that exceeds max URL length
This is another technical SEO issue that comes from the Chrome side in which the maximum URL length is 2MB. The recommendation of maximum URL length is for security and performance reasons.
- A bad or empty URL in the redirect chain
This is self-explanatory.
Google Search Console Fixing The Problem
One of Google’s official Twitter accounts noted there was an internal problem and tweeted assurance that the problem was being looked into.
“An internal issue is causing an increase of redirect errors during indexing, and associated email notifications.
This is not due to any website issues, but is due to an internal Google issue. We hope to fix this problem quickly.”
An internal issue is causing an increase of redirect errors during indexing, and associated email notifications. This is not due to any website issues, but is due to an internal Google issue. We hope to fix this problem quickly.
— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) December 13, 2021
What Caused The Issue?
Google hasn’t said what caused the issue, only that it’s an internal issue.
Many in the search community have expressed the opinion that Google appears to have reduced web page indexing and some responded to Google’s announcement with questions about that.
Oh hello? When are you going to fix pages not getting indexed issue?
We are moving to Duckduckgo.
— Vinyas Gowda (@Vinyas_gowda95) December 13, 2021
The person asking the question has a good reason to ask. There’s no doubt that it may be top of mind with others who may perceive a connection between Google’s apparent change in indexing behavior.