Oops, LinkedIn temporarily drops out of Google Search

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Early Wednesday morning, the www version of LinkedIn.com, one of the most popular web sites with over 690 million members, dropped out of Google Search. If you tried to find any web pages for www.linkedin.com on Google Search, Google would not show any results.

LinkedIn not in Google. LinkedIn has hundreds of millions of web pages on the www root domain and none were showing up in Google search. If you did a site command for [www.linkedin.com] in Google search, Google returned this:

Oops, LinkedIn temporarily drops out of Google Search

When it started. This all started early Wednesday morning, sometime before 4:30am ET, when Andy Levy-Stevenson from Five Blocks notified me on Twitter. David Sedley, his colleague, then shared more data of LinkedIn dropping like a fly in Google Search:

What went wrong? It seems most likely this was an issue on LinkedIn’s end. We asked Google’s PR team and various Googlers about this, but nobody would comment. However, John Mueller of Google posted on Twitter, shortly after the news of LinkedIn came out: “PSA: Removing the ‘http://’ version of your site will remove all variations (http/https/www/non-www). Don’t use removal tools for canonicalization.”

This did not appear to be an issue or bug with Google Search, but rather a technical change LinkedIn made.

We reached out to some of our friends at Linkedin but we have not heard back by the time of publishing this story. If we hear back, we will update here.

All good now. At 1:45pm ET, around 10 hours after the indexing issues were first spotted, LinkedIn began to start showing back up in Google search results.

Oops, LinkedIn temporarily drops out of Google Search

Why we care. This is a good reminder to the SEO world that even massive web sites can run into Google search issues. We do not know yet why this happened but chances are this was a mistake at LinkedIn.

There are several ways sites can (accidentally) remove themselves from the search results — by blocking search crawlers with Robots.txt or the site removal tool in Google Search Console, for example. Maybe someone at LinkedIn pressed the wrong button, uploaded the wrong file, or some other technical issue that resulted Google dropping all these pages from its index.

It is back, several hours later and this should not have a material impact on the site’s overall search performance and overall metrics going forward.


 

About The Author

Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry’s personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here.