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Google Ranking Bug De-Ranks Sites On Weekends

Google Weekend Ranking Bug completely removes websites from search results but only on weekends and then restores them on Monday

Google Ranking Bug De-Ranks Sites On Weekends

Multiple Google support forum discussions call attention to a possible bug in Google’s algorithm that causes select generic top level domains (gTLDs) to disappear completely from the search engine results pages (SERPs). Multiple publishers with the same kind of gTLD are reporting the exact same Google Weekend Ranking Bug.

What they all have in common is the type of domain name and a complete disappearance from Google’s SERPs on the weekend, some unable to even rank for their site names.

This issue came to light in a tweet by Olesia Korobka (@Giridja):

These issues are affecting a form of gTLDs that are also known as ICANN-era generic top-level domains. These are domains like .academy, .car, .care, etc.

The person who recently reported the issue shared a graph showing traffic to the site crashing approximately every weekend then returning on Monday. They reported that this pattern began in November.

Is This A Quality Issue?

In my  opinion this does not resemble a quality issue.  A quality issue affects rankings every day of the week, all month long.

The Google Weekend Ranking Bug is limited to certain kinds of domains and only on the weekends.

Is This A Cyclical Issue?

A reasonable assumption is that maybe traffic dries up on the weekend, that’s entirely normal, right?

But it’s not just traffic that’s declining on the weekends, it’s the actual rankings, including the name of the website. It seems like a complete de-indexing every weekend. Additionally, this appears to be happening to specific kinds of generic top level domains.

So no, this is not a normal weekend traffic phenomenon.

Google Weekend Ranking Bug

The person posting the support question for Google listed 14 URLs of other support threads related to gTLDs that were experiencing similar problems, of which nine out of the 14, 64%, were from January 2024 and the earliest listed was from 11/24/2023.

We can’t assume that’s a complete list of support threads on this topic but it does seem extraordinary that there are so many from this year that are experiencing the same odd pattern of weekend de-indexing and that it’s happening to these specific kinds of keyword gTLDs.

A Sample Of Ranking Anomaly Reports

From 1/3/2024, A publisher with a .consulting gTLD wrote:

“Our company website seems to be disappearing from Google search engine results every couple of days, resulting in a significant loss of traffic. None of our web pages are showing up on Google during these periods, and we’re struggling to understand the root cause of this recurrent issue.”

From late December, another publisher with a .club gTLD shared a screenshot from their Search Console showing a similar crash and rank cycle.

Screenshot Of De-indexing Pattern

Google Ranking Bug De-Ranks Sites On Weekends

From 12/15/2023:

“Traffic drops every weekend
Since 2 weeks our traffic started dropping down every weekend.
It’s not so much the drop – less traffic on the weekend is normal. It’s the context that is very strage: we noticed that pages from our site don’t show up for keywords they normally rank for very well. This includes our brand name; the site disappears from the SERPs around Friday and is back on Sunday/Monday.”

From January 5, 2024:

“My site loses its position on the Google results page several days on a week!

After November 22, 2023 this site: (redacted for privacy) lost it’s position on SERP for few days and came back to normal on November 22! This happened on December 7 and back to normal on December 11 again(!) and repeated 4 more time until now!

During this, I checked all probabilities like: There is no issues on manual actions and security issues report. There is no critical issues on any report on GSC.

Also in URL Inspection (Google index and live test) report, (redacted for privacy) is on Google and also available to Google. This site was performing good about 2 years before this problem and reached 60k click on 28 days!

Notice that when this problem happened, “sitemap read” list is get empty but I’m not sure this is the issue or not!”

From January 5, 2024 a publisher with a .care gTLD experiencing the same problem responded to a support thread about this issue:

“100% same problem – also other German and international cases.

As you said: experts are ignoring the fact of the site’s periodic return to its previous positions and that sites of no better quality replace the site that dropped out.”

There’s another one from January 8, 2024 that is on the .life gTLD:

“Randomly daily index/deindex our site + impact on Business profile
Hello,
From end of November we experience strange result in our Performances report, it’s not a seasonal drop.
We don’t have any issue in Manual actions nor in Security issues indexing looks normal.”

That person posted a screenshot:

Screenshot Of Weekend Ranking Losses

Google Ranking Bug De-Ranks Sites On Weekends

Why Are Websites Dropping Out On The Weekends?

There’s an old problem dating back to the earliest days of Google where a domain would get stuck in a ranking loop and get de-indexed for a month and then return for a week and then disappear all over again, not even ranking for its domain name. I first saw this around 2003 or 2004 and the cause of it was that the domain had a history of spam and for some reason that status wouldn’t go away. Google never acknowledged the problem until twenty years later. I was calling it a Legacy Domain Penalty.

Google’s John Mueller commented about the Legacy Domain Penalty:

“The other thing that I’ve very, very rarely seen, is that a site gets stuck in some kind of a weird in-between state in our systems in that…

…at some point our algorithms reviewed the website and found it to be absolutely terrible and uh for whatever reason those parts of the algorithms just took a very long time to be updated again.”

Although there’s a similarity between gTLD rank and crash pattern and the legacy domain penalty, I suspect they are probably not the same issue.

The gTLD weekend rank crashing appears to be predominantly specific to keyword gTLD domains, are apparently not associated with past spam. It’s not a quality issue because Google does’t respond to a quality issue in this manner.

The problem sounds like it could be a bug in Google’s systems, possibly caused by something new that was introduced into their algorithms possibly around the end of November which is now having an unintended effect.

Read the original support thread here:

Intermittent Disappearance of Website from Google Search Results

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Jaaak

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SEJ STAFF Roger Montti Owner - Martinibuster.com at Martinibuster.com

I have 25 years hands-on experience in SEO and have kept on  top of the evolution of search every step ...

Google Ranking Bug De-Ranks Sites On Weekends

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