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|Meta Refresh leads to ...|
... Replacement of the target URL!
Say, i have a webkatalog. A listing's link is actually loading another page from my server that returns status 200 to googlebot and contains just this code:
<HTML><HEAD><META HTTP-EQUIV="Refresh" CONTENT="0;URL=http://www.webmasterworld.com/"></HEAD></HTML>
If i'd have a higher PR than WebmasterWorld, and if WebmasterWorld wouldn't have a google directory link, my page would make it to #1 at google for searches that formerly returned the WebmasterWorld index page at #1.
So if i'd search for WebmasterWorld the #1 snippet would read:
|WebmasterWorld News and Discussion for the Independent Web ... |
News and Discussion for the Independent Web Professional. WebmasterWorld
Highlighted Posts Mar. 17, 2004. Mar. ... WebmasterWorld Info and Utilities: ...
Doh! That's how google works currently. Found tons of examples. I know, that's nothing new. But it's annoying and ...
I call this broken!
You may not be able to bring action under copyright laws (personally I'd get new lawyers) but anti-hacking laws might be an alternative. It depends entirely how the legislation is phrased but it is a possibility. And that's criminal not civil law, so the threat of jail time is a possibility.
In addition, if you can prove that a position in Google has value, if someone steals that position, then proving criminal theft is not beyond the realms of possibility. Again there is a threat of jail time.
I don't know how these things work in the US, but in the UK, where a legal precedent may be set (in a test case) the Government will sometimes pick up the lawyers' fees.
Furthermore, if you were to notify Google of your intention to initiate such legal proceedings (against the SEO), I think they'd move heaven and earth to fix the problem before any journalists got hold of the story.
BTW they are definitely delivering pages based on the referrer...
as far Google doing anything, I don't think so... they will try to filter the best they can. I doubt they will reply with anything more then a thank you for helping bring this to their attention. My adsense advisor never returned a single call. This is a hands off thing... and there is no way to contact them other than by the way I'm doing it.
Why don't you put up a spam page and cloak it to them.
What would happen if you redirected to their site?
Would you knock them out of the index?
"What would happen if you redirected to their site?"
This only seems to work if the redirecting site has a higher p.r. than the hijacked site. I know most folks that build sites the hard way won't immediately see why this would happen... but these guys are buying recently expired domains with directory listings, etc. then buying press releases for links, buying links outright etc. to get high enough and fast p.r. to get away with this. When and if it busts they will start over, tell the paid links to redirect etc. and never miss a lick. They are to the www index what spam email and scumware are to the rest of the web. Only the folks at the plex know why it continues. They just need to change how they handle 301's... seems easy enough that there must be a problem, otherwise it would be fixed by now or at least we would have some feedback from someone on this.
don't know if that will work or not.... if I can press Google for a formal resolution, they may have to give me one... maybe not the one I want, but they will be required to act.
Also hoping that putting the flood light on this company will take them down to ground... if I don't end up with cash, I want payback.
I'm very interested in the symptoms your site is showing. I believe on of my sites is suffering from the same problem. This site is a PR 6 and until recently held the #1 position for 2 of my primary keywords. Now, it's lost over 19,000 indexed pages and the positions it held have dropped to +200. Also, when I do a search for www.mydomain.com the site is not found, but when I do a site:www.mydomain.com it shows 500 pages.
The listing that does show up displays my old title and description, but it shows the url of one of my link partners that has apparently changed their format to a meta refresh page. This could be a major problem in the niche this site operates in, because they have over 500 link partners listed in this directory and each listing has its own meta refresh page. I was wondering if your site is showing the same positions for any of the keywords you previously held or has it completely lost them all?
Google are going to have to give you more than the standard reply to this.
Good luck again and thanks for sharing.
Got another e-mail from Google saying they have passed it onto their engineering team. Hopefully they will fix the problem.
This is an awful problem - outrageous. I think it may explain the sudden loss of some of our clients sites that had first page results. Now they are zilched. They are all very clean sites, high quality. No nothing. Positions are gone, PR has been wiped.
Google, you have to act quickly on this.
Meanwhile what position with Google do we take to try to get back in the main search results?
|This is an awful problem - outrageous. I think it may explain the sudden loss of some of our clients sites that had first page results. Now they are zilched. They are all very clean sites, high quality. No nothing. Positions are gone, PR has been wiped. |
somerset - Sorry to hear about your client's problem. This may not be the cause. When I've observed the problem, PageRank of the destination page actually goes up, because the site linking to it has to be of a higher PageRank for this to happen.
Also, as I've observed the problem, the position doesn't disappear. In fact, because of the link, it too might go up. What does happen is that the result, with the title, description, and cached content of the destination page (ie, with your content), is displayed by Google (and by Yahoo, as has been mentioned earlier) with the url of the redirect page, not your url.
Redirect pages tend to have user unfriendly urls... and in any event they're not your domain... so even though the click through will go to your page, and your page will then display properly with its proper url in the browser address bar, on Google it doesn't display properly. Our experience was a big loss in click-throughs whenever this happened.
If the thread has veered off into different kinds of redirects from time to time (and from time to time it has), you might want to go back to the beginning of the thread and read through all the variants. I'm sure that a bunch of us may be talking about different things on this thread.
It has been amazing, I should add, how long it's taken for action on this problem, which I first reported to Google about a year ago.
|cached content of the destination page (ie, with your content), is displayed by Google (and by Yahoo, as has been mentioned earlier) with the url of the redirect page, not your url. |
This, of course, means that Google is almost certainly breaking copyright law by knowingly attributing the page (in their cache) to the wrong author.
Here's something to try - combine two issues into a third. What happens if you add a NOINDEX and/or NOFOLLOW robots meta to the redirecting page (and maybe use the url removal tool if its available)? It's almost an even-money bet that the target page will be killed.
Sometimes you have to wonder just how many former MS employees now work for Google!
Is this a new problem, or is it really an artifact of google reducing PR's importance on ranking pages?
Seems to me that PR has been less important for sites, yet it remains the way that Google determines which site wins the 'redirect'.
If Google sees a duplicate page, all duplicate content (using a redirect or a php page grab), and if that is of a higher PR than our sites, then it seems Google will penalize the lower PR page (our sites) which will then fall way down in the ratings.
Have I understood this correctly?
|If Google sees a duplicate page, all duplicate content (using a redirect or a php page grab), and if that is of a higher PR than our sites, then it seems Google will penalize the lower PR page (our sites) which will then fall way down in the ratings. |
Have I understood this correctly?
somerset - In the situation I'm talking about, there's no duplication needed. It may be different with situations others are discussing.
In the situations mentioned at the beginning of the thread, Google doesn't appear to be looking at the content in the redirecting pages. One of the examples I cited early on was that of a click-counting meta refresh redirect page for a banner ad, which usurped our content in the Google listing.
This redirect page was in fact blank, as in empty... no content... nothing there... not even a title... just the head section with the meta refresh redirect.
This page, even after we added the robots noindex,nofollow meta tag on the page, replaced our home page in the serps for about 4 months. Our title appeared as the title in the Google listing. Our content appeared in the Google snippets and in the Google cache. The redirect page url, not ours, was returned with the listing.
We didn't fall down in the listings... we actually moved up a place... but showing up as in indented subpage of this directory from which we'd bought the banner ad, not as our home page. Our home page with its own url did disappear entirely.
To repeat from my post #7 in this thread about why I think this is happening...
|This explanation is conjecture, but I think what's happening comes from Google's way of handling two problems... redirected doorway pages, and redirected splash pages. By assigning the content of the destination page to the originating url, they solve both problems... and the arrangement makes sense, as long as the link doesn't jump across domains. When it does cross domains, though, the arrangement is open to a lot of abuse, both accidental and deliberate. I don't think the Google arrangement anticipated the redirects used on click counting pages in directories. |
If this is the best way that Google can come up with to handle meta refresh doorways and splash pages, this may be another one of those situations where Google is calculating that the collateral damage may be less than dropping their current method.
And, again, Yahoo has the same problem. I've experienced it, with different sites, on both engines.
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