A sudden drop in their Google Sitemaps index count has been reported by many webmasters. Does this include you?
Some sitemap index counts have reported to have dropped as low as zero and Google has pinpointed the reason as being a minor bug in the Google Webmaster Tool causing indexing count to be temporarily impacted.
The problem was first reported by a US based webmaster on 21st April when he realized that all of his blogs had been suddenly un-indexed from Google. Following which many other webmasters reported similar problems of their index count of 287 suddenly dropping to 0. Knowing that the index count is of great significance to webmasters one can only imagine what it might have been to suddenly find the count drop to 0.
The error webmasters were seeing was:
We were not able to download your Sitemap file due to the crawl rate we are using for your server. For information on increasing crawl rate, please see our Help Center.
Webmasters can now breath a sigh of relief, Google has reportedly fixed this problem.
Here is the response from Google’s Asaph Zemach to one impacted webmaster:
We have looked into the issue you reported with sitemaps for arizonarealtyexpert.blogspot.com and uncovered a minor bug in our reporting system. You should see accurate numbers in a few days. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Note that this is just a reporting issue, it does not impact actual crawl or index of your site.
However, 68% of the webmasters felt that there was an issue with the crawl rate and links being reported to specific web sites were inflated and wrong. This resulted in Zemach posting the following response:
We had a problem in one of our backend systems that caused this issue. We believe the problem is now fixed. I checked onewayfurniture.com in WMT and the “links to your site” data looks correct now. Please let us know if you are still seeing issues. Note that it’s next to impossible for us to debug problems without a site name to work with. We apologize of the inconvenience and thanks for using WMT.
If you are still experiencing this problem, I would suggest reporting it directly to Google through the Google Webmaster Help forum.