Fixed: Google Search Results Bug Prevents Clicks To URLs With + Characters

Oct 3, 2018 • 8:01 am | comments (0) by | Filed Under Google Search Engine

Google Bug

Google fixed a bug that prevented some searchers from viewing some search results over the past five or so days. It seemed to impact URLs that contained + signs in them or other special characters. Google confirmed the issue and fixed it as of yesterday.

Wellness Heaven posted about the issue on Twitter and showed this video below of how when a user using Safari tried to click on their URL in the Google search results, nothing happened. There was a bug with the search results interface that prevented searchers from clicking on some URLs. This obviously led to a decrease in traffic and thus revenues for this company and others in the same position.

Here is the video of it in action:

You can see this Google Analytics chart showing how much traffic the site lost because of the bug:

click for full size

It was a coding issue, a JavaScript bug, with Safari (Mac), Firefox (Win and Mac), IE (Win), Edge (Win), the Google search results, for URLs with + signs in them or maybe other special characters:

There was another similar complaint about this in the Google Webmaster Help forums but that site didn't have + signs in the URLs, but had other issues.

Google confirmed the issue and said it had nothing to do with ranking or the Google Birthday update.

But the result of traffic loss the past five days or so is something those impacted cannot get back.

It is not common for Google to have such bugs, but they are human, they do make mistakes and we've seen many bugs over the past 15 years of covering Google.

Forum discussion at Twitter and Google Webmaster Help.

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