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This 467 message thread spans 16 pages: < < 467 ( 1 ... 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 [12] 13 14 15 16 > >     
Google's 302 Redirect Problem

 4:17 pm on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

(Continuing from Google's response to 302 Hijacking [webmasterworld.com] and 302 Redirects continues to be an issue [webmasterworld.com])

Sometimes, an HTTP status 302 redirect or an HTML META refresh causes Google to replace the redirect's destination URL with the redirect URL. The word "hijack" is commonly used to describe this problem, but redirects and refreshes are often implemented for click counting, and in some cases lead to a webmaster "hijacking" his or her own URLs.

Normally in these cases, a search for cache:[destination URL] in Google shows "This is G o o g l e's cache of [redirect URL]" and oftentimes site:[destination domain] lists the redirect URL as one of the pages in the domain.

Also link:[redirect URL] will show links to the destination URL, but this can happen for reasons other than "hijacking".

Searching Google for the destination URL will show the title and description from the destination URL, but the title will normally link to the redirect URL.

There has been much discussion on the topic, as can be seen from the links below.

How to Remove Hijacker Page Using Google Removal Tool [webmasterworld.com]
Google's response to 302 Hijacking [webmasterworld.com]
302 Redirects continues to be an issue [webmasterworld.com]
Hijackers & 302 Redirects [webmasterworld.com]
Solutions to 302 Hijacking [webmasterworld.com]
302 Redirects to/from Alexa? [webmasterworld.com]
The Redirect Problem - What Have You Tried? [webmasterworld.com]
I've been hijacked, what to do now? [webmasterworld.com]
The meta refresh bug and the URL removal tool [webmasterworld.com]
Dealing with hijacked sites [webmasterworld.com]
Are these two "bugs" related? [webmasterworld.com]
site:www.example.com Brings Up Other Domains [webmasterworld.com]
Incorrect URLs and Mirror URLs [webmasterworld.com]
302's - Page Jacking Revisited [webmasterworld.com]
Dupe content checker - 302's - Page Jacking - Meta Refreshes [webmasterworld.com]
Can site with a meta refresh hurt our ranking? [webmasterworld.com]
Google's response to: Redirected URL [webmasterworld.com]
Is there a new filter? [webmasterworld.com]
What about those redirects, copies and mirrors? [webmasterworld.com]
PR 7 - 0 and Address Nightmare [webmasterworld.com]
Meta Refresh leads to ... Replacement of the target URL! [webmasterworld.com]
302 redirects showing ultimate domain [webmasterworld.com]
Strange result in allinurl [webmasterworld.com]
Domain name mixup [webmasterworld.com]
Using redirects [webmasterworld.com]
redesigns, redirects, & google -- oh my [webmasterworld.com]
Not sure but I think it is Page Jacking [webmasterworld.com]
Duplicate content - a google bug? [webmasterworld.com]
How to nuke your opposition on Google? [webmasterworld.com] (January 2002 - when Google's treatment of redirects and META refreshes were worse than they are now)

Hijacked website [webmasterworld.com]
Serious help needed: Is there a rewrite solution to 302 hijackings? [webmasterworld.com]
How do you stop meta refresh hijackers? [webmasterworld.com]
Page hijacking: Beta can't handle simple redirects [webmasterworld.com] (MSN)

302 Hijacking solution [webmasterworld.com] (Supporters' Forum)
Location: versus hijacking [webmasterworld.com] (Supporters' Forum)
A way to end PageJacking? [webmasterworld.com] (Supporters' Forum)
Just got google-jacked [webmasterworld.com] (Supporters' Forum)
Our company Lisiting is being redirected [webmasterworld.com]

This thread is for further discussion of problems due to Google's 'canonicalisation' of URLs, when faced with HTTP redirects and HTML META refreshes. Note that each new idea for Google or webmasters to solve or help with this problem should be posted once to the Google 302 Redirect Ideas [webmasterworld.com] thread.

<Extra links added from the excellent post by Claus [webmasterworld.com]. Extra link added thanks to crobb305.>

[edited by: ciml at 11:45 am (utc) on Mar. 28, 2005]



 12:12 am on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

My thoughts are that if there is something a website is doing to hurt another Google should be able to identify it.

For what is is worth and if it helps I will tell my experience.

I believe that Google has made a change to target Spam. I am not 100% sure but am 80% sure this change took place around January.

I also think they made mistakes with this change.
In my case an image file which was used as a background set in a CSS file was set wrong.
I sometimes use copy paste and it can get you into trouble if you don't remember to make the changes needed.

In this case the image was being read from another website I run and Google it seems flagged it as spam.
I forgot to alter the URL after pasting it.

It took me a few weeks to find this mistake.
It's not easy to locate some mistake you made that you may have done 2 months ago.

So under the new system you can't have a background image that is located on another website else it will trigger off a penalty and your PR goes out the window.

I don't know what other items Google is looking at as Spam but I am sure others are getting hit the same as I was.
I really can't see how a background image would ever be considered spam but it seems Google does consider it so.



 12:26 am on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi Vin: I don't know if there is an offsite-image penalty or not.
If so, I like the idea really, though it could hit some innocent sites.

Its _possible_ G is simply penalizing hot-linkers.
Do you have some good evidence this might be the case?
Could it be some other problem? I'd like know this if true. -Larry


 12:41 am on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

I am liking that if they are going to penalise scrapers and hotlinkers.

Bring it on.


 12:51 am on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi Gs1: Personally I'd just love it if so. Meanwhile:

To stay on the safe side, and since we _don't_ know, I suggest:

NO 302 redirects unless they start and end within the same website / domain.
NO hot linked images, not even between two sites owned by the same person.
Straight outgoing html links (href=realsite) only.
Find another way to do 'statistics' (chuckle) - Larry


 1:07 am on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hey Vincent, thanks a lot for you post about potential offsite-image penalty. Just as you states my site lost all its google juice in mid January. I have all my image files loaded from another web server on another domain that I own to save the bandwidth of my main server. In my case it improves user experience as pages load noticeably faster. If what you suspect is true then it is outrageous! How can one assume that if I load my images off of another domain then Iím a spammer. Don't you think such policy should be documented in google's "best practices"? I canít believe this may be happening. Iím speechless.


 1:09 am on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

It's true and it took me a while to figure it out too.
In January all was fine.

Then the last week of January I notice a drop in traffic from Google. This drop was very big.
Traffic was off 80% from a norm that I have seen from google.

Of course I was looking everywhere for a solution - even at a possibility of a 302 hijack.

Starting looking at my Templates and other pages to see if something there triggered it off.
I finally noticed a large number of hits from my UK Website to my USA website for an image.
Then I found the CSS file was pointing to the wrong website for the image.

The entry in the UK site caused the problem in the USA site.

Now that I think of it this os not a good thing for google to be doing.

They should exclude images from their checking!
There is no way this can be considered spam!

When I made the change it worked so one would not see any problems right off - the image displayed as it should have. What I didn't know was it was reading the image from my USA website.

Now the tag for that image is in a template so that made it worse since the template was used for over 1,000 pages.

After I corrected the CSS file the traffic resumed only a few weeks later.

An image set in a CSS file does not show up if you do view page source so with that in mind the only explanation is google now reads the content of the CSS file. That has to be true since it's the only way to know that I had it set wrong.

I suspect that they are taking it a step further in that if you have a CSS tag and no CSS file or a CSS file that does not have this class name then this too may wind up as a penalty.

This may have come about due to a SEO that has misused the class tag which should have had a valid CSS entry but did not.

It was instead used as a method to trick the SE's into giving a high link count by having a list of URL's following the class= tag.

The number of websites with the spam entry was in the many thousands and growing.

If you notice Google has placed the SEO warning on their Site not long ago and I think they made the change at that same time.

I had to think about posting this for a long while.
Still not sure if I should have let this cat out of the bag.

I suggest you refer this to the google guy since this may well be a big problem if not corrected.



 1:14 am on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)


Will those of us requesting "Re-inclusion Request" at the web form you specified earlier in this thread receive any confirmation that our sites will or will not have the 302 spam penalty removed and thus be re-included back into the index again?

Those of us that have completed the Re-inclusion Request are simply sent the automated response that states that our sites are in the Google supplemental index.



 1:20 am on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)


From what I see it seems to be limited to the use of background images.

Having an plain image tag does not seem to be a problem.

Also not sure if it's a problem if the code in used within the HTML of the page.



 1:29 am on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Vincent, thank you again for very informative post. You defiantly sound like you know what youíre talking about. In my field there isnít much spam so I never noticed any CSS class tag abuse. In my case all my pages are dynamic and I have a global variable to control the location of resources. It would be just a matter of changing my config file to flip all my images back to main domain and see if the site recovers. Unfortunately back in January I probably misdiagnosed the problem and while fighting 302s managed to remove my whole site from the index using the infamous URL console. Too bad I wonít be able to confirm your theory any time soon.


 2:04 am on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

viewing offsite images as spam?

what about affilliats? they use offsite images for tracking and for the ads.

One thing I found worked well for me (and MAY help those who accidentally deleted their index.)

Make sure your robots.txt file is FLAWLESS this is critical. It's ok to exclude directories and stuff but NOTE: whatever is disallowed will be removed.

Submit your robots.txt file to the removal tool (in the place that asks for your robots.txt URL.)

I did that and it found a few things in the directory I didn't even know existed and removed them.
The reason I say it MAY help is because you are telling it what IS NOT disallowed. It may just pick up your index page again. Also you are giving it a snapshot of your site. I would try it if I was in that situation.


 2:13 am on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)


Hope you fare out well - best to ask google guy how long it will take to correct.

I don't recommend the use of the remove url tool.
It's too risky and not worth it.

Also as Google Guy said it was not designed for this purpose.

I think if you suspect a 302 problem it's best to follow the correct path and email google.

In your case it might help to do two things.
Submit your website in the add url page and also email them of your troubles.

Maybe they can help - in my view point they should have addressed this board early on so people would not have reverted to trying these methods that may do more harm than good.

I have a viewpoint which is different than many regarding the secrecy that Search Engine use as an excuse to keep from letting out information.

I think a SE should inform those that list more info on what not to do and what's best to do.
I don't go along with the policy this info will be abused by spammers.



 3:07 am on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks for your advice vincentg. I wrote Google 7 or 8 times for the past 3 month, and did received
an explanation that my site is not penalized - it just fell out of index due to ďnatural index fluctuationsĒ! In msg 313 ([webmasterworld.com ]) I described my situation in greater details hoping for a slim chance of GG noticing and actually doing something about it. Googlebot spiders my site on daily basis just not a single page shows up in the index. Even my 302 hijackers are gone as if never there.

There must be some sort of standard defining what a SE compliant web site should look like. And not just for google but a generic standard across all search engines. W3C claims to lead the Web to its "full potential". Maybe they should be the one who assume the role of standard keeper. There must be a publicly accepted standard that is not easy to abuse. Secrecy is not the way of the future IMHO.


 5:37 am on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)


<I described my situation in greater details hoping for a slim chance of GG noticing and actually doing something about it.>

GG has mentioned that he is trying to help fellow members in your situation. However after a busy last week he decided to take the weekend off

I guess... he shall show up in this thread soon relaxed and glad to help ;-)


 8:11 am on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)


I got ANOTHER deep crawl today (80% of pages). This makes the second time since Thursday--which was the first time in months. Maybe some positive changes are taking place as you said, despite my recent drop in pagerank to 0.

Wait and see.

Chris :)


 8:28 am on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)


>> ASP - response redirect

AFAIK, an IIS response.redirect is equal to a 302 redirect on an Apache server. Specifically, the server header would look something like this (omitting a few header variables and including the html-part of the server response):

HTTP/1.1 302 Object moved
Server: Microsoft-IIS/5.0
Location: http //www.new-domain.co.uk/

<head><title>Object moved</title></head>
<body><h1>Object Moved</h1>
This object may be found <a HREF="http //www.new-domain.co.uk/">here</a>.

You really don't want to do that, as it signifies that the move is temporary, not permanent. That is also most likely the reason for your problems, as by doing that you have probably hijacked your new domain. If you had made a meta refresh in stead, chances are that you would have done the same.

My suggestion:

Remove the response.redirect and put a static page up with this content in stead:

<title>Page moved</title>
<meta name="robots" value="noindex,follow">
This page has moved to <a href="http //www.new-domain.co.uk/">www.new-domain.co.uk</a>.
Please update bookmarks and links.

Check in a server header tool that it returns a status code of either 200 OK or 304 Not Modified. You don't need any meta tags.

You could also

Implement a 301 redirect, which is "Moved permanently". This will make all the Search engines understand that your site has moved permanently. Unfortunately i have no idea how to do this on IIS.

You should not:

What you should not do is to take down the ".com" as Google thinks that this is the real location for your domain. You should not serve a 302 or meta refresh either.


 9:01 am on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Does anyone know a reliable (but cheap) hosting company that offers 301 redirects?

I have been using 302 redirct from the domain registrar but my rankings have gone way down..


 9:09 am on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi, welcome everyone :)

Almost any hosting company runing Apache and mod_rewrite will do the job.

You just need to create a .htaccess file:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^example.com$ [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.example.com$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ [new-example.com...] [R=301,R]

www.example.com - old domain
www.new-example.com - the new domain


 12:40 pm on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi Claus

Okay, I have now implemented this. I also sent you a mail.




 1:31 pm on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)


I was told that your backlinks get removed as part of the process and that they will eventually get counted again.

The party that told me that wasn't sure how long it would take.

But if the bots are a slurping then things are working better then they were.


 3:21 pm on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks Zeus for your help.

Yeah I agree. I personally thought that denying entry to the cgi-bin was a good idea for many reasons (many high profile well respected sites do this). As well as needing click tracking stats I also think it is the webmaster's perogative who gets linked to directly and who does not (as long as you are blocking the cgi-bin then the person getting linked to still gets free traffic with no harm). I don't think of that as black hat just freedom of choice for us webmasters. If they link back then you can link directly which yes may or may help their PR (who really knows) - this is one way of possibly rewarding and incentifying. I don't see the problem in this. We are supposed to get links and we are increasingly getting cornered into what is possibly acceptable and what isn't possibly acceptable which limits our powers more and more as well as leaving us in the dark. I think I speak for many webmasters who are trying to do the right thing and are frustrated becuase they don't know what to do anymore.


 5:29 pm on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

TheBear said
I was told that your backlinks get removed as part of the process and that they will eventually get counted again.

The party that told me that wasn't sure how long it would take.

Well, my pr has gone to zero from 7, but backlinks still show. That's why I am concerned about a penalty. But as I said, I am getting repeated gbot visits/deep crawls for the first time in months. I still have my fingers crossed though they are starting to hurt LOL.



 6:20 pm on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have seen a few posts regarding the moving of a domain and backlinks, and had a couple of thoughts on the issue.

1. Those who are consilidating (www.domain.com and domain.com), to a single version have a much better time because both 'domains' currently exist and are not subject to any aging delay.

2. If your move is from www.domain.com to www.new-domain.com, your backlinks will be transfered by the 301 pointer, but the domain and links are 'new' and as such, subject to any aging delay process. I think this very easily describes the reason all backlinks could/would show, but the page rank is not there.


** If you would like to know how long the entire process is, I don't know... have been waiting for one of my domains to show in any SERPs from G for over 9 months (I do show in exact "search terms").

Pages are listed and indexed, G-bot visits, no-penalties, real content, my content. Y directory - check. Y and M top 10 for multiple 1 and 2 word 2-12mil result searches - check. Over 600 pages indexed Y and M - check. Never a speck of trafic from G - check.


 7:49 pm on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

1. Those who are consilidating (www.domain.com and domain.com), to a single version have a much better time because both 'domains' currently exist and are not subject to any aging delay.

2. If your move is from www.domain.com to www.new-domain.com, your backlinks will be transfered by the 301 pointer, but the domain and links are 'new' and as such, subject to any aging delay process. I think this very easily describes the reason all backlinks could/would show, but the page rank is not there.

Last week, I moved a couple of hundred pages to new directories at my existing domain and redirected them with 301 statements in my .htaccess file. The redirects are working fine, but the pages are showing all-white Google toolbars at their new locations. I don't know quite what to make of that. Is this normal behavior?


 8:07 pm on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

On my secures site, Google seems to have the same pages indexed twice. It displays results for the secure version (https://mysite.com) and the regular version (http://mysite.com).

If this was a www vs non-www issue, I could use 301s. Does anyone have any suggestions for a http vs https issue?


 8:40 pm on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Europeforvisitors -

Let me clarify,

What I believe is happening is when a site is moved to a new-domain that is not through the aging process, the domain aging process begins at the time of the move.

When links are moved (pointed) to a different/new-domain, the aging process for the links begins at the time of the move.

So by pointing links to a new un-aged domain you are hit twice. Once for the new-domain, which has to go through the aging process. Once for the old links pointing to a new domain, which makes them new links to the domain.

Just my thoughts, but would seem to make sense, and appears to be supported by the reports of domains moved, that keep all things equal, except the actual age of the new-domain and the age of the links pointed to the new-domain.

This would explain why a high pr site which transfers it's content and links to a new domain would suffer a total loss of page rank... Nothing is through the aging process yet.

You could even go farther and say that all links were added at the same time, and so there is no 'natural' growth of the new-domain's inbound links, and this could cause a 'spam' trigger.

Again just my thoughts - I normally stick to mod_rewrite and regular expressions, stuff I understand - but thought this might be helpful.



 8:55 pm on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> Last week, I moved a couple of hundred pages

Nothing unusual there - normally it takes at least one full month for 301's to propagate.


 9:24 pm on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

I asked a? about 301's a few days ago & it hasn't appeared yet. So I'll ask here since we're talking about 301's. Just recently(I think) Google picked up my index page without the www. It's not cached yet, just shows: mysite.com in the search. I currently do not have any 301's on the site and am wondering if I should implement this now before G goes any deeper. Can I expect some sort of rankings drop or the like? Also, I did notice that y has several of my non-www pages indexed, how will they be affected? I wrote in a previous post about losing about 600 pages on G about a month ago. Could these have been the non-www and seen as dup content? Alot of the pages indexed now are just the URL..I'm getting nervous..please advise.


 9:29 pm on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> suggestions for a http vs https issue?

You'll find it in this thread:


 9:30 pm on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Nothing unusual there - normally it takes at least one full month for 301's to propagate.

Google must be working overtime, then--about 75 of the pages are already listed at their new addresses within my existing domain, even though they aren't yet displaying toolbar PR.

Anyway, it's a relief that they aren't listed as supplemental results. :-)


 9:52 pm on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> Last week, I moved a couple of hundred pages

Nothing unusual there - normally it takes at least one full month for 301's to propagate.

One month isn't my experience wrt non-www to www 301s. As I mentioned in thread [webmasterworld.com...] I've had a 301 in place for about 6 months with no results. I have taken g1smd's suggestion in that thread btw.


 9:57 pm on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

glad to know Google is all over this problem. Here is the email they just sent me 10 mins ago:

< email quote explaining that there's almost nothing someone can do to harm a site, that dogboy could contact the other webmaster, that pages and rankings change often and that they don't guarantee listings >


That was a response to my 1000 character email pointing out that when they search for MY url, the result is a site which has my title and description on someone elses URL and when you click on that URL you go to my site..... which, by the way is no longer in the index.

How could anyone respond to a letter like that with "Please note that there
is almost nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your
site removed from our index."

ahhhhhhhhh sorry Google, the emporer has no clothes. I wish I was a lawyer so I could just sue them for fun of it. Obviously THAT site isn't associating MY content with THEIR site.... so it must be GOOGLE associating MY content with ANOTHER author. And I've already asked them once in a DMCA not to to do that.... yet they seem to insist that they are within in their right to publish my information and give credit to some other company.

[edited by: ciml at 9:45 am (utc) on April 27, 2005]
[edit reason] Email quote summarised. [/edit]

This 467 message thread spans 16 pages: < < 467 ( 1 ... 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 [12] 13 14 15 16 > >
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