Weekend Wobble: Google Search Rankings Fluctuate for Some Websites, Bug Now Fixed

why keyword rankings fluctuate

Mysterious weekend ranking shifts left some website owners scratching their heads in recent weeks. Reports emerged of websites appearing in Google Search results during weekdays, only to mysteriously disappear over the weekend and reappear on Mondays. The issue seemed to primarily affect websites with non-standard top-level domains (TLDs) like .club, .xyz, and .io.

Key Highlights:

  • Some websites experienced weekend ranking drops and reappearances on Google Search.
  • The issue primarily affected websites with non-standard TLDs (like .club, .xyz).
  • Google confirmed the bug and implemented a fix on January 22nd, 2024.
  • Website owners should no longer see unexpected ranking fluctuations over weekends.

why keyword rankings fluctuate

Search Engine Roundtable, a prominent SEO industry news website, first reported the phenomenon on January 18th, 2024. The report, based on observations from SEO professionals, highlighted the unusual ranking fluctuations experienced by websites with non-standard TLDs. Websites would rank well during weekdays but drop out of search results entirely over weekends, only to return to their previous positions on Mondays.

Confusion and concern spread among website owners affected by the issue. Some speculated that Google might be testing a new algorithm specifically targeting non-standard TLDs, while others feared their websites were being penalized for unknown reasons.

Adding to the mystery, Google Search Console data seemed to indicate a surge in 404 errors (page not found) for affected websites during weekends, further fueling speculation about a potential indexing issue.

Adding to the intrigue

some affected websites reported a surge in 404 errors (page not found) during weekends, coinciding with their disappearance from search results. This fueled speculation about potential indexing issues or temporary website outages, although Google hasn’t provided any specific information on this aspect.

While the immediate crisis appears averted

The incident has sparked broader discussions within the SEO community. Some experts highlight the need for greater transparency from Google regarding algorithm changes and potential bugs that can significantly impact website traffic and visibility. Others emphasize the importance of website owners diversifying their SEO strategies and not relying solely on search engine rankings for success.

Finally, on January 22nd, 2024, Google acknowledged the issue in a statement to Search Engine Roundtable. The company confirmed a “very narrow issue” that caused temporary ranking fluctuations for a small number of websites. Google further stated that the issue had been resolved and affected websites should no longer experience unexpected ranking changes over weekends.

While the exact nature of the bug remains undisclosed, Google’s confirmation and swift resolution brought relief to website owners impacted by the weekend ranking rollercoaster. It’s important to note that Google’s search algorithm undergoes frequent updates and adjustments, and occasional glitches or bugs are not uncommon. However, this specific incident highlights the potential impact such issues can have on website traffic and visibility.

In conclusion, the recent weekend ranking fluctuations on Google Search served as a reminder of the dynamic nature of SEO and the importance of staying informed about algorithm updates and potential glitches. While the issue has been resolved for now, website owners should remain vigilant and monitor their search rankings for any unusual changes

About the author


Jamie Davidson

Jamie Davidson is the Marketing Communications Manager for Vast Conference, a meeting solution providing HD-audio, video conferencing with screen sharing, and a mobile app to easily and reliably get work done."