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This 312 message thread spans 11 pages: < < 312 ( 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 11 > >     
Big sites suffering no title / no snippet in SERPS
Is google penalising big sites?
cyberax




msg:38271
 12:15 pm on Mar 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

As of around a week ago it seems that a lot of big sites, particularly some UK search sites, have lost a lot of their indexed pages in Google.

The pages haven't been totally removed, instead it seems that the pages exist in the Google SERPS but they have no title and no snippet and therefore no longer appear for any searches.

At first I thought this was some sort of penalty / filter to remove some of the controversial search sites from its index, but it seems this applies to other large sites, e.g. dmoz. I would estimate that dmoz has had around 200,000 pages "nuked".

Has anyone noticed this phenomenon on any other sites?

 

seodave




msg:38301
 5:57 pm on Mar 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've seen this on sites with less than 10 pages that have a fair amount of links. It's also what you see when a site is being removed from google for a penalty or because they have lost a significant number of back links.

I removed all links from a site recently (switched domains) and over a period of about 8 weeks the pages are being removed from google starting with the title and description (listed as similar pages). It's a 900 page site, so taking a fair amount of time for them all to be removed.

Since google is making it's updates on an ongoing basis it could be it's not finding the links to the specific pages that are losing there descriptions and so treating them as orphaned pages.

If you track this long enough you'll also find the descriptions do sometimes come back. this would be explained by a new round of spidering and this time the links to the pages were followed and hence the description.

Since deep content pages tend to have just one link to them from the same site it's not hard to see that Googlebot could miss multiple pages of a site and so not list it's description etc...

David

Dayo_UK




msg:38302
 6:03 pm on Mar 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

seodave

That does make sense and I agree that for my site the pages that appear in this manner are ones that have not been picked up from the recent deep(ish) crawl experienced on my sites this weekend.

The site in question is weak on backlinks (Other sites just as weak had a good crawl - oh well)

However, I have not seen this lack of title/description as wide spread as is currently being seen in the Google serps.

HughMungus




msg:38303
 8:45 pm on Mar 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

I used to think this too. However with more and more sites being effected, including good quality sites it is started to point more towards being a bug. :(.

"good quality sites" is a subjective opinion. If they're getting hammered by this penalty, they should put titles on their pages like they're supposed to.

BallochBD




msg:38304
 8:45 pm on Mar 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

It would certainly seem that Google is "broken" and since no one seems to be willing to comment otherwise I think we can accept that this is so.

Scarecrow




msg:38305
 9:02 pm on Mar 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Too much analysis. This is not a penalty -- it's merely a symptom that Google is broken.

Google broke a year ago. Read the thread about update Cassandra [webmasterworld.com]. Back then it was called "crawl lite." Now there are layers of analysis over exactly the same symtoms.

It broke a year ago, and is still broken. Get used to it.

eclipse




msg:38306
 9:19 pm on Mar 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

My site got indexed. 1k pages, all just url, no description, no title. This Sux!

SlowMove




msg:38307
 9:41 pm on Mar 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Besides Webmasters, are the SERPS better or worse for Google users? What do they think?

expert_21




msg:38308
 9:51 pm on Mar 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think this is only temporary. I've got the same problem (only url, no title/desc) and the last time was 2-3 days back. Now they are back with title/desc and everything.

And my site is PR5.

trimmer80




msg:38309
 10:02 pm on Mar 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

If valid content is not being indexed then the serps are worse for users. They will unlikely to acknowledge this though as it is not as noticable as spam being at the top. But possible results that are not being shown.

as a developer i google alot, if all forums (such as this one) are missing 1 third of its pages from the serps then the chance of me finding a solution is decreased significantly. If i then jump to yahoo and do a search and find my solutions then i am going to eventually switch for good.

SlowMove




msg:38310
 10:17 pm on Mar 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

One thing that helped Google beat out the competition was that they showed how search phrases were used on pages. A lot of the lesser engines were just showing meta tag descriptions. I wouldn't mind seeing more text instead of less.

ThomasB




msg:38311
 7:10 am on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

ok, another story, just to skip the "Google is broken theory"

- site has PR 7
- has 16k backlinks according to ATW
- was in fresh crawl
- had 120k pages indexed, now "site:domain.com" brings 91k
- "site:domain.com kwdoneverypage" gives 132k
- about 70% of listings for "site:domain.com" bring URL only
- GB hits: mar 16k, feb 69k, jan 311k
- visits becoming less every day since feb 9th
- no changes except adding links and adding some more content into the cms

It's a site I've access to the stats but I don't SEO, so very natural. :)

BallochBD




msg:38312
 7:56 am on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't quite get your point Thomas. Are you saying that Google is not broken?

One other thing is that if that single site you mention has lost nearly 300,000 visitors over the last two months where are they now going for their information? Would this be an alternative site or an alternative engine?

Dayo_UK




msg:38313
 8:22 am on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Ok, still the same situation this morning (I did not expect any changes to my site as no crawl on the no title/no description pages was done!)

I am totally convinced that it is not a problem with the sites experiencing this bug and that it is a problem at Googles end.

I guess that the only way this will be fixed is to wait for the next crawl (However long that will be)

ciml




msg:38314
 8:47 am on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think there's a difference between Google being broken and Google trying something new. From the results for affected sites that I've been sent, I get the impression that this is a tweak, not a bug.

What confuses a lot of people, I think, is that it comes while Google have been changing their spidering patterns over the last nine months or so.

BallochBD




msg:38315
 9:27 am on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think there's a difference between Google being broken and Google trying something new. From the results for affected sites that I've been sent, I get the impression that this is a tweak, not a bug.

Ciml, I really cannot see how you can come to this conclusion. Are you really dismissing the dropping of all of these long established, authoritative, non-spammy sites as the result of a "tweak"?

My original background was in electrical and electronics engineering and you can take it from me that if you tweak something too far or tweak it in the wrong direction you can break it.

I'm not sure that the many people who are being forced to struggle against this problem will be reassured by your submission. I think that this is a very serious problem that will probably attract far more activity on this thread. Watch this grow!

[edited by: BallochBD at 9:38 am (utc) on Mar. 16, 2004]

ThomasB




msg:38316
 9:28 am on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

One other thing is that if that single site you mention has lost nearly 300,000 visitors over the last two months

The numbers you're referring to are just GB hits, nothing else. And a decrease by 90% is significant imho, especially on a PR 7 site that should have enough power to be deep-spidered quite frequently.

ThomasB




msg:38317
 9:34 am on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

But the problem is:
Was there a tweak or is there a unforseen problem with spidering/whatever?

I personally think that they made a tweak that was not completely succesful. And I'm trying to understand what kind of tweak it was, as everybody affected. So let's stop discussing the broke/tweak thing and let's look which sites are caught by the filter.

Dayo_UK




msg:38318
 9:58 am on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

ThomasB

Unfortunately, we can not post urls - I have plenty of examples.

Dmoz and WW are the more obvious ones but on these I can think of a reason why they might possible be listed in this manner. (Dmoz has obviously the problem of lots of mirrors (duplicate site penalty?)) WW has a structure that can cause mirror urls being linked to and listed twice and therefore duplicates.

Then there are the UK sites which link to their own serps to get exposure in Search Engines, some of these have been effected.

However, caught up in this are sites which have unique content, good backlinks etc.

petehall




msg:38319
 10:40 am on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Around 6,000 of our pages suffer from the same problem.

We have about 4 sites constructed in the same way using very similar structures and only one of them has been hit.

Surely if this was a tweak the others would have suffered too?

The only difference between the site that has been hit and the others is that a large number of pages can only be found via the index page. This has never been a problem in the past and they still exist in the supplemental index.

HocusPocus




msg:38320
 10:52 am on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

For my site I am seeing no title / no snippet for orphaned pages.

I would guess that Google's defination of an orphaned page is a page with no internal and external links to it. This is a guess, and I would be interested in what the forum thinks the Google definition of a what an orphaned page is.

BallochBD




msg:38321
 11:06 am on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Good point Pete! During the last two or three years I have created a few small sites and I am noticing that some of them are escaping this while others are suffering.

They were all built entirely by myself using similar techniques. I now notice that some of them have escaped. Others have had some pages suffer and some now only have the home page showing a title.

Perhaps we should be trying to find a common link between the sites that are being damaged. Or perhaps someone from GOOGLE could let us know what the h@ll is going on?

Dayo_UK




msg:38322
 12:05 pm on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>>The only difference between the site that has been hit and the others is that a large number of pages can only be found via the index page. This has never been a problem in the past and they still exist in the supplemental index.

Pete, I wonder if you could clarify.

Is the site with the missing title/description the one with the index page links or is this the design of the sites which are still in the index.

Important distinction as obviously one sites pages are deeper than the others.

ciml




msg:38323
 2:15 pm on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

BallochBD:
> Are you really dismissing the dropping of all of these long established, authoritative, non-spammy sites as the result of a "tweak"?

Sorry, I think I've been unclear. I meant that as well as the general changes in Google (fresher, but with more URL-only listings), there are additional sites that do not appear to fit that pattern.

For the orphan pages that HocusPocus mentions, this has been the case for a long time. Over the last nine months or so, there have been deep URLs uncrawled even though they have links and a little PageRank. Now, I can also see some high level pages with many backlinks and plenty of PR that are no longer fully-indexed. With 99% certainly, those would have been fully indexed in the past.

This is why the 'slow death' penalty idea does not seem daft to me, but let's be clear that there are other (probably more common) reasons for URL-only listings or non-fully crawled domains (just as PR0 is not normally due to the heavy-crosslinking penalty).

petehall




msg:38324
 2:23 pm on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>>>Is the site with the missing title/description the one with the index page links or is this the design of the sites which are still in the index. Important distinction as obviously one sites pages are deeper than the others.

Hi Dayo_UK - the pages with the missing titles/descriptions are only accessible via a single page of the site.

All the other sites are structured slightly differently to this one, in the sense that you can find most of the pages from almost any page.

I am about to re-launch the site with a much smaller and more accessible structure under a new domain (I will of course kill the old domain) to see what effect it has. At the moment many of the positions have been destroyed so the way I see it there is nothing to lose.

Hopefully Google will let go of the original pages then and I can start again with the original domain. A real pain but I am bored of waiting now....

BallochBD




msg:38325
 3:05 pm on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

My main site has a link to a site map from the home page and as far as I know it uses standard navigation procedures and links. It is full of information and spam free but just not being crawled.

If I had deep pages that were not being crawled I would understand this a bit better but there should be no problem for the bots on this or, for that matter, any of my sites. Is anyone aware if there has been any comment from Google about this or any similar problems?

Does anyone know if there is a chance that my site will recover or will I have to get a new domain name and relaunch? This would cause me a lot of pain because my site has been there for two and a half years and it has repeat visitors and links from many other sites.

eclipse




msg:38326
 3:17 pm on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

don't worry. My site with 1k pages waited 2 months to be indexed with title/description. 2 months ago i had only 100 pages in google index and all without titles/descriptions, just url. Few days ago it was fully spidered ;). Be patient.

petehall




msg:38327
 4:00 pm on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

I really don't advise killing your existing site - I am doing this because I feel it will improve our site for our users and for us in the long run.

The chances are the existing site could be fine, but the whole situation has made me take a better look at the site and how it is structured.

The reason for the new domain is I can't get Google to drop all the old pages.... of which there are thousands.

Sharper




msg:38328
 5:07 pm on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

One interesting thing that I've noticed is that Google will actually display pages with no cache/no description in the results of a link: command, further evidence that many of these pages had been fully indexed in the past (before the last backlink update), but for some reason aren't anymore.

Is Google simply expiring old index data before it's had a chance to recrawl the page?

BallochBD




msg:38329
 5:22 pm on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Interesting find Sharper! I just checked my site out and sure enough it is still displayed as a link to some other sites. This must have some significance but I am not sure what it is?

Dayo_UK




msg:38330
 5:32 pm on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Pete

That might explain the difference between your sites with the no description/no title pages being deeper and therefore having "crawl lite"

>>>Is Google simply expiring old index data before it's had a chance to recrawl the page?

That would fit in with what I am seeing. Mmmm - I wonder.

ThomasB




msg:38331
 5:46 pm on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

that means that the sites dropped between the last backlink update and now. If a site gets a manual penalty you see the same thing. That makes it more obvious that the good site (at least PR 4 because of the link) was dropped by some kind of penalty.

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