Google is currently fixing an indexing issue affecting new articles appearing in the ‘Top Stories’ section of search results.
The issue began on September 11, 2020 beginning at 3pm PT.
To be clear – the issue has been fixed. It’s the full restoration of content that will take several hours to complete.
We had an indexing issue with new articles appearing in Top Stories beginning around 3pm PT. We’ve now fixed this, though full restoration will likely take several hours, maybe less. We’ll update when that’s reached.
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) September 12, 2020
An update will be provided when the fix has fully rolled out.
Though one can’t help be wonder how much it will matter at that point.
Considering timeliness of articles in the ‘Top Stories’ section, many articles that would have been featured may no longer qualify they’re restored.
It’s certainly a detriment to news publishers regardless of the content being restored at a later time.
To Google’s credit the company identified the problem and took action rather quickly.
Further, Google got the word out to SEOs and site owners as soon as the issue was fixed.
This is one of the rare times Google found an error and fixed it before people noticed there was a problem at all.
Traditionally, when indexing errors occur, there’s rumblings across Twitter well before Google acknowledges it.
In fact, it’s not uncommon for Google to discover these issues because of social media.
I haven’t seen any discussion about this particular issue at all.
Although that doesn’t mean it won’t go completely unnoticed, as news publishers will likely notice the affects in their traffic reports.
This is especially true for news publishers who usually have their content appear in ‘Top Stories.’
If that applies to you then it may be worth making an annotation in Google Analytics about this error occurring.
Also note the time the content was fully restored, which will be announced later.