Something Unusual In Top Stories

“A picture is worth a thousand words”

A picture can convey information easily, grab the attention of casual visitors, give a general idea to the audience, drive traffic to websites, etcetera. Though the content adds value to one’s life, the image or thumbnail adds life to the content. At present, we don’t have an option to add an image to every Search Engine Result Pages to drive traffic. The title tags and descriptions have taken the role of images by attracting users. It is advisable to have a fully optimized title tag and a description so that the users can understand the services/products you offer within seconds. Every SEO specialist tries to give the best experience to the users making use of the limited characters. Apart from the title tags and descriptions, websites also gain traffic from the images displayed on the top stories of the google result pages. If you use Google via a desktop, usually three pictures will be advertised as top stories where news websites chiefly gain traffic. 

People started to notice something unusual in the top stories carousel on August 18, 2021. The images are correctly visible. They appeared to blur, in plain solid color, or even blank. There is no data regarding the number of pages affected, but results for keywords like news, redmi note seems to have these bugs. 

Every website was not highly affected, but the news websites lost a significant amount of traffic due to this bug. Some news websites stayed unaffected and continued to have good thumbnails, while it has affected certain websites alone. This issue is not only found in the desktop version but on the mobile browser as well. 

Many SEOs were confused whether this issue was due to a bug or an update from Google filtering images related to specific keywords. Some suspected whether Google had introduced any new criteria to accept the thumbnail. There were several people from various news websites reporting on Twitter about the bug. They also tagged Google Search Advocate John Muller, Google Public Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, and others. 

Later at 5:11 pm, the Google Search Advocate John Muller replied to rustybrick’s tweet by saying that it is an issue from their end. At 8:50 pm, Google’s official channel Google Search Liaison confirmed in the form of a tweet saying it was a bug and will be resolved quickly. 

There are still some websites facing the issue on the top stories. The impact created by the bug harming publishers with low CTR is unimaginable. Let us hope that the bug to be fixed soon.