Since this morning there have been numerous reports of images that have not been loaded into Google’s Top Stories carousel (see below). The problem appears to be affecting search results worldwide and Google has confirmed that it is a bug.
The top story carousel where featured images are not currently loading. Some also took screenshots where only one or two of the stories had an image that loaded as usual.
A problem with Google. “Yes, it looks like a problem on our side,” tweeted John Mueller of Google about the problem. The company is currently working on fixing the bug, Danny Sullivan, the company’s public search link, has confirmed.
Why we care. A fuzzy recommended image can have a negative impact on your click-through rate. Therefore, annotate your reports to reflect this curiosity. Some professionals have taken screenshots showing the top stories carousel with just one or two images that loaded successfully, which could mean fewer clicks for the stories that didn’t have a featured image. Since the Top Stories carousel is a major source of visibility and traffic for some publishers, it can also impact ad revenue and other marketing opportunities that depend on getting a user to your website if the bug doesn’t last for a long time is fixed. Fortunately, Google is already aware of the problem – we will continue to provide updates as they come in.
About the author
George Nguyen is an editor at Search Engine Land and specializes in organic search, podcasting, and e-commerce. His background is journalism and content marketing. Before entering the industry, he worked as a radio personality, writer, podcast host, and public school teacher.