Google’s SEO Glitch Cost Australian Businesses Millions During COVID-19

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Google’s SEO Glitch Cost Australian Businesses Millions During COVID-19


17, Aug // 2 min read

Google’s recent SEO “glitch” created frustration for web users all over the world. In an instant, search engine results pages became completely jumbled, losing many companies significant exposure & revenue. While the Google malfunction did not last for longer than several hours; the damage and losses were significant.  This concerning incident shows users just how crucial it is to invest in SEO and to diversify their digital marketing strategy. 

Google’s Algorithm Glitch

On Monday the 10th of August, Google’s algorithm glitch cost Australian businesses significant exposure and revenue. The glitch resulted in a massive fluctuation in Google’s search results. A Google spokesperson confirmed that the error was a technical bug that they were in the process of fixing, although at the time, they were still trying to fully diagnose the issue.

A Twitter user posted an example of their search engine result “glitch” when it occurred. The user had searched for “baked beans”.  The search results returned were quite strange.  For example, a selection of bean-related recipes, Borlotti beans but no “regular” baked beans.  In fact, hundreds of thousands of Google users were infuriated and frustrated with the unexplained search engine glitch, some believing it to be a Google update. Others were left simply confused.


Additionally, concerned users complained that the Google search engine results pages were only displaying results from well-known large websites (such as Amazon, AliExpress, eBay and some other newer websites).  This impacted other businesses significantly as they simply disappeared from the search engine results pages or were removed from the first page results and pushed back to the 3rd, 4th or even 10th page.

The Importance of an SEO Strategy

Statistics show that 82% of businesses that implemented an SEO strategy found it to be effective. 61% of digital marketers believe that SEO is the key to online success. Why? With SEO, ROI can be measured with proper tracking and analysis; the outcome significantly improves websites’ traffic. Investing in SEO is not as expensive as many individuals believe; the monthly costs vary depending on the business and the strategy. Actually, an ongoing SEO strategy can cost up to ten times less to acquire an interested visitor than paid advertising. In 2019 there were 3.5 billion Google searches per day, with millions of users Googling different products and services.  There is no doubt that investing in organic search increases engagement, traffic and conversions.

The glitch in the Google algorithm (which lasted several hours) meant many brands losing significant traffic and suffering tremendous losses due to the issue. The algorithm glitch impacted users’ Google search quality, leaving many frustrated.  Additionally, the majority of online brands rely on SEO for traffic and most importantly, conversions. Companies lost millions in revenue due to the glitch.  This is why investing in SEO is crucial for an online business as it is a long-term strategy which brings new opportunities and maximises visibility. The number one organic result is ten times more likely to receive a click compared to a business sitting on page ten. Some of the brands that were not as greatly affected had still implemented a diversified digital marketing strategy, and while organic search makes up the vast majority of website traffic, the glitch would doubtless have had a profound effect.

Whilst glitches such as this are hard to predict and may happen from time to time, organic search continues to be a significant source of relevant exposure, traffic and revenue for many brands.  Investing in your brands ongoing search engine optimisation is a sound long-term strategy that can help future-proof your search presence against future search engine algorithm updates (and maybe even some glitches too!).

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