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This 467 message thread spans 16 pages: < < 467 ( 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 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]



 11:39 pm on Mar 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

So what are you saying exactly?

Are you saying that a person has altered his server to produce a redirect which is not normal?

You are correct in that most people do not understand the codes and really do not need to since the server is producing them and not the website owner's web page.

The only time a person might instruct the server to issue a specific code is if they may want lets say a redirect to the root such a www.domain.com verses domain.com.

When a redirect takes place it is rare that anyone will code it anyway other than to just instruct the server to redirect to the requested URL.

If this is what you are saying - that in fact a website owner has to alter the redirect request by substituting the request code then only Google can check for this.

But I am still not 100% convinced that this is a problem since we do not know 100% for sure the Google Bot is being tripped up by an alteration such as this.

This is a big topic and it seems many are starting to believe it. Google on the other hand has and most likely will not comment on it.

One thing I do feel is important is for Major Search engines to at least provide a report if requested.
Now they do not have to give out info that will compromise the algo scripts.
But they should give out basic info such as penalties issued and show a break down of some sort.
They could charge for this service and I don't think anyone would mind paying for it.

With the present system they are the Judge and Jury of websites and worse the court is held behind closed doors not open to the public.



 12:35 am on Mar 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

With the present system they are the Judge and Jury of websites and worse the court is held behind closed doors not open to the public.

Well put


 1:29 am on Mar 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

Are you saying that a person has altered his server to produce a redirect which is not normal?

Google seems well able to handle normal 302 redirects. These are commonly used by tracking scripts to count the number of clicks made on an outgoing link. I'm not into the mechanics of tracking scripts but apparently they use a 302 redirect to add to counter mechanism and send the browser on it's way.

I thing the problem is not in server response codes but in the interpretation of the META refresh. This is interpreted like a 302 redirect from the page itself.

Typical use of a META refresh.
In Canada there are many bilingual websites. There is an 'intro' page which has 2 links, French or English. These intro pages also have a META refresh tag which will send the browser to a default location.

Google interprets this META refresh page as the 'intro' page and rather than sending the browser to a deeper page within the site it will send it to the 'intro' page for the choice to be made (ie french or english browser type, shockwave, flashplayer). This is part of googles algo to deliver the best entry point into that website. In other words to google the META refresh means "the information you are searching for can be found on the other side of this page".

Now if another website has a link with your name on it that points to a blank page with a META refresh pointing at your home page, google interprets this as "any information found on that website should be directed through this page".

This is only one variation of the 302 redirect problem.

A year ago this was only understood by a few but it is now being marketed as an SEO tecnique, a 'get rich quick with adsense" scheme. That is why we decided to bring it out into the open and cause an outcry for google to find a solution. Too many webmasters have lost years of hard work and patience to this undefendable attack. Unless we ALL start doing it to each other, then the web will be just one big nightmare.


 2:10 am on Mar 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm not too smart but since Google has in all cases the actual location of the target it could (pardon me being a thick headed old fool) just index target under target's url.

End of problem.

I don't really care what Google does with the orginal url provided they do not credit it with the content of the target or place it into the targets site view.

As far as I'm concerned Google doesn't even have to credit the target site with a link.


 5:27 am on Mar 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

I agree bear - it should be the webmasters problem wether the browser is compatible or the language.
If you want to run a bilingual site or a flash site, or whatever,then you should be responsible for directing all traffic to the intro page or dealing with it in some other ingenious way.

Shouldn't be the search engines problem they should just serve up the page and let the webmaster worry about compatability issues.


 9:04 am on Mar 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

Great post accidentalGeek - you summed up the HTTP issues in a nice way there :) And you're right that most webmasters don't think about these issues, as normally they don't even have to know they exist.

>> Keep the target URL

This is the solution that i have also mentioned a couple of times (but only for 302's that cross to another domain). Yahoo does the exact same thing (with cross-domain 302's).

Google in particular is famous for very frequent spidering. If a URL is temporarily moved to another location, keeping the target URL will actually be an option to Google as the googlebot is likely to re-visit both URLs relatively quickly. With the spidering frequency of Google, this should pose a very little problem, if any.


 5:01 pm on Mar 31, 2005 (gmt 0)


How can you be sure Google is doing this?
Is this not just speculation?
Are we saying maybe Google is doing this?
Thing is I am still treating this as a rumor.

In the past writers came out with stuff presented as a documentary like The Devils Triangle or Aliens from out of space built the Pyramids.
These types of stories which are based on creative facts are science fiction and nothing more.
Of course you will have people believing it and a story such as this can't be disproved.

It's much the same as someone claiming there are aliens on the other side of the moon waiting to attack us.
The only way to prove this is false is to go to the other side of the moon.
The most recent one was a fellow from France claiming the World Trade Center Attack was fake.

Now this rumor has gotten to the point where people are reacting to it. You have website owners that are amateur programmers writing scripts for Bots to hunt down such sites.
You have people requesting their links be removed.
This can turn into a mess and it can be a big mess with more harm than good coming out of it.

Many are creating quite a stir based on what?
Oh there will be those that will be quick to give us a lecture on HTML codes.

But not one person can tell us what the Google bot is doing. And the reason is only a worker from Google can tell us that info.

Yes I know a few will say that I don't know what I am talking about.

But I remain convinced this is nothing more than a rumor until one person can show a list of sites with proof that this is taking place or a statement from someone in Google that this was or is a problem.

What is taking place here reminds me of these old western movies where a mob tries to hang a person for a suspected crime.

What I am saying is think about what you are posting.
Many are posting this as if it's fact where no proof exists at all.

In my book you can state we believe this is a problem.
We are not sure since we have no input from Google but it maybe true.

You can further ask those that feel they have been affected by such a possibility to allow those on this board to document it.

Show the print outs before and after.

It's not enough to just have people claim they have had a problem.

Lets try to avoid a Virtual Riot is what I am saying.

Hope this helps.

Vincent G.


 8:41 pm on Mar 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

How can you be sure Google is doing this?
Is this not just speculation?
Are we saying maybe Google is doing this?
Thing is I am still treating this as a rumor.

There is definitely a problem with some sites. I did see a few webmasters go overboard and talk about removing all 'strange looking' links that appear in an allinurl: search. I totally discouraged them from doing so.

When some webmasters actually did find some 302 hijacking URL's appearing in a site: search and I (or we)encouraged them to remove those ones (after all isn't this search revealing googles view of a perticular domain?) and lo and behold, after wondering for months why their website is non-existant in the google database it re-appears 7-14 days after removing the foreign URL's associated with the said domain.

True we don't know for sure how google works but we do see a recovery of these mysteriously penalized websites on a fairly consistant basis we can make some assumptions based on cause and effect.

You cant 'see' wind or electricity but it is still a scientific fact.

This thread started a year ago, see alll the threads listed at the beginning of this one. There is a mysterious problem sending websites into google oblivion and although this may not be the cause of every one of them this is definitely a problem.

We have determined how to fix this perticular problem and have seen more than a few recoveries of website suffering from it. The reason google needs to fix it is because (based on our assumptions) there is no way of preventing this from happening again.

Tell me - how does an adult or pharacutical site become a part of a travel domain just by linking to it?
How does that travel domain lose all its PR and fall so far in the SERP's that even a search for the specific domain name turns up 'no results'. How does this domain recover everything a week after removing these associations? You tell me.

Part of this thread has been used in discouraging a 'witch hunt' of 302 links but there are some authentic cases and some pretty happy webmasters who have managed to regain their lost SERP's.


 9:04 pm on Mar 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

Show the print outs before and after.

You can find many cut and paste examples and descriptions of results here. The real result is traffic loss and recovery.

I can show you some directories built upon this exploit who gather domain names and have thousands of them in 'categories'. Looks like a real directory too but don't cry to me about the drive-by installations you get from visiting them, how they replaced your google toolbar with their own or how you found a hidden server installed on your system.
While your there you can purchase the e-book on how to get rich quick by f*king other webmasters out of thier SERPs.


 9:05 pm on Mar 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

accidentalGeek, thank you for a super introduction to HTTP and the redirect problem.

> any arbitrary URL that the attacker designates

Generally, the PageRank needs to be higher to accomplish this. While PageRank remains a useful trust metric on large data samples, it can be manipulated and I don't think it is the right answer for individual decisions such as in canonicalisation.

<side point: Mostly there is no 'attacker' as the Google 302 'hijack' is not intended>

> Because this is a protocol-level problem, I believe that effective solutions are to be found on the protocol level.

Though there have been reports of successfully using Google's canonicalisation to trick the manual removal tool, I agree with you fully that it makes sense to deal with this in HTTP.

The two main protocol-level solutions suggested are to keep the target URL (my favourite thus far) or to keep the target URL for 302's that point to a URL on another domain.

How about "Keep the target URL if the 302 points to a URL on another domain, and keep the URL with higher PageRank if the 302 points to a URL on the same domain".

This would largely solve the '302 hijack' problem, but would use PageRank to make the solution better than Yahoo!'s solution. Could that not keep both Google and webmasters happy? :-)

> only a worker from Google can tell us that info

When someone goes to http://www.google.com [google.com], enters a url and then sees it's title listed with the link going to some other URL (that happens to be a 302 redirect to the URL he or she just searched for); then that person will feel "sure" that something has happened - even if he or she is not a Google employee.


 9:30 pm on Mar 31, 2005 (gmt 0)


As discussed in the "New Google Patent Details Many Google Techniques" thread...

A Google patent application contains this: "A large spike in the quantity of back links may signal a topical phenomenon ...or signal attempts to spam a search engine ... by exchanging links, purchasing links, or gaining links from documents without editorial discretion on making links. Examples of documents that give links without editorial discretion include guest books, referrer logs, and "free for all" pages that let anyone add a link to a document."

So there it is, straight from the horse's mouth, links from sites without editorial discretion can hurt you. If Google is furthur confused by thinking that your content is now part of editorially challenged site you're going get hit even harder, I would suspect.

In fact it seems that any link, if added in a manner that is seen as unnatural, can possibly lead to problems. Something to think about (or not, if you wish to remain sane).


 4:22 am on Apr 2, 2005 (gmt 0)


Is it possible to somehow make public the URL's that have been noted so far as possible bad guys?

If there is enough evidence that a few websites have been effected by this then we have to assume there may well be a problem.

Can we not track the offending website to see if it's taking place over and over with other sites?

I know the web is becoming a jungle.
We have Hackers, Spammers, and from your experience which sounds reasonable this new problem.

So the question now is why are so few sites effected.
If this is a coding mistake by google why is it not more wide spread?

Vincent G


 6:26 am on Apr 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I don't know if 'few' sites are affected or wether many are affected and just don't know it.
I saw a few that just figured they were 'sandboxed' when in reality they had these type of links holding them down.
Also i think high PR makes you immune or less susceptible so the majority of affected sites are inexperienced webmasters who just don't get it or experienced webmasters who see one of their fledgling sites 'stuck in the sandbox' or 'penalized somehow'.

There are many sites that have fallen out of the SERP's or remained in the sandbox for various reasons, all I can say is to check for this symptom:

site:yoursite should not show backlinks, and if so they are being associated with your domain for some reason. Also If you are able to remove these links by making YOUR page generate a 404 and they are showing in site: then get rid of them, some sites have recovered by doing this.

Others tote the allinurl: test but this only shows results for the search term appearing in the URL.
when I do this I get the .com evuivalent of my .net domain, which has nothing to do with me other than having the same name.
Allinurl: can also reveal some appended type links such as somesite.yoursite.com but I don't know if these are harmful or not, all i can say is they should not show in site:yoursite otherwise there is a problem with domain association.


 6:46 am on Apr 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

If there is enough evidence that a few websites have been effected by this then we have to assume there may well be a problem.

As far as further investigation of these directories I found, I had a very bad experience there and spent the next day cleaning my system, they replaced my google toolbar and installed a server on my hard drive, I was running virus protection but it only found these things after a few reboots and checking out 'files not accessed' because of denied permissions. I only caught it because it was one of my own files doing this.
I don't want to go there again, at least not on a windows system. These guys are very elite dark-hats, at least that's what I was told and found out by going there.
After that i just left it to google to figure out, there's a network of them and i had problems with a similar network of black-hats before. My philosopy now is to just avoid them unless i find them in my backyard.


 6:53 am on Apr 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Reid, let me guess ... was that "directory" you mentioned on a .cz domain? And the site: command shows about 1.4 million pages?


 7:34 am on Apr 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I can definitely affirm that there is one black hat site doing 302 redirects,
just as described, and for the obvious purpose of SERPS ratings.
I went to the trouble of calling HEAD on the many many URLs for pages affected.
The URLs look like www.badguy.com/sites/site1234.htm

HEAD for that site leads directly to a page of mine.
Googling for snippets in my text brought up /site1234 before mine.

This is not just one page, but several on my site alone.
Badguy did the same thing with numerous other high ranking sites in my niche.
He must have hijacked content-credit for a hundred pages, maybe 200.

Digging further on Badguy.com, I even found a few straight <a href= links,
but even those were buggered to prevent "PR leak". It looks very 'professional' indeed.

Badmaster has a weasel worded copyright statement absolving himself
since his ads are non profit! Hahahahahahaaaah.
"If you want your materials removed, email badguy@badsite.com"
No response of course, and no action taken on his end.

Badguy has TWO sites doing the same thing in the same field,
carefully linked and set up so one does not harm the other, just everybody else.

So, somebody wants proof? I have all the evidence I need right
in my arcane back yard. I can only guess how rampant this is
in the more heavily traveled parts of the web. - Larry


 9:20 am on Apr 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have a similar problem with a site using the 302 redirect to my site and was wondering what would happen if you set up a HTTP_REFERER or htaccess file to keep the re direct going.

Re direct the Re direct to either a lower ranked site or page, or back to the offending site.

Is this feasible.?


 9:48 am on Apr 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

actually I dont remember the URL but it was a .com

There's a bunch of em out there, they look like a directory but if you look closer you see that it is auto generated pages and pages and pages of links. Lots of get rich quick, casinos, adult content, pharmacuticals featured on the home page and the first few levels but as you go deeper there are hundreds of thousands of categories like it's auto generated.
The real give away is the 'bad neighborhoods' featured upfront (the big sell) with the cleanstuff buried beneath it and the drive-by installations making your cpu do overtime.
These guys seem to have no limit.


 10:06 am on Apr 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Re direct the Re direct to either a lower ranked site or page, or back to the offending site.

This has been brought up many times.

a ----> 302 -----> b ------->301 ------>c = a--->302--->c
also how can you redirect visitors from your high rank home page to a low rank page?
if b is your high PR page how will googlebot index it after you bypass it with a redirect?

The best way to deal with this issue right now (until google fixes it) is to keep an eye on site:yoursite and deal with them as they come using the removal tool.
It's not that often depending on your niche.

googlebot has no referer string and does not follow the link anyway. It simply notes the 302 link and lists it as a part of the hijackers page, the damage is done. later another googlebot fetches your page for indexing the other page.


 10:30 am on Apr 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

There is one solution if you are getting these type of links a lot. But I think it requires a high PR to begin with and it takes a bit of ingenuity to set up.

It works like this:
Each time a user-agent visits you home page it is 302 redirected to a randomly generated page which will only exist once, after that it will return a 410 gone.

This way when googlebot comes to fetch a previously-generated page that it got from a 302 on another domain it will get a 410 gone. if googlebot asks for your home page it will get a newly-generated valid page.
I think this would require a high PR to begin with to pass to the newly-generated pages.

This would thwart the auto-generated hijacks which are after your home page but would not prevent one of your other pages from being victimized.


 10:46 am on Apr 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

This has been brought up many times.

a ----> 302 -----> b ------->301 ------>c = a--->302--->c
also how can you redirect visitors from your high rank home page to a low rank page?
if b is your high PR page how will googlebot index it after you bypass it with a redirect?

My thoughts were to redirect only visitors/bots from the offending site not all visitors via REFERRER REDIRECT.

302 redirect or an HTML META refresh causes Google to replace the redirect's destination URL with the redirect URL

Set up REFERRER REDIRECT on the index.html page which is what these site link to, and if they come from the offending site, then redirect them else where.


 2:09 pm on Apr 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

None of these things will work and you will only get into more trouble.

If there is a website that has used a coding method to steal your PR we need to look at it close to see how it was done.

Everyone is only guessing on how it has happened to those effected by it.

If we can look at both sites that will give you an idea if it can be prevented.

But the only solution to this is at the source which is google.

I would really like to know how wide spread this problem is.



 2:41 pm on Apr 2, 2005 (gmt 0)


I'm sick and tired about hearing that there is nothing we can do about it.

What are we, a piece of crap on the ground that everyone steps over.

We have no say in Where and How our sites are presented.?

You'll have to decide that, but I'm certain on how my site should be displayed and how.


I read most posts of the Re Direct problem and I see everyone standing around winging and winning.

[ Tears in the eyes] saying Google is the cause of all my problems and my “SERP” status and there’s a bad man / woman out there taking all my traffic.
Mummy can you help.?


[edited by: lawman at 6:28 pm (utc) on April 3, 2005]


 4:34 pm on Apr 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> I would really like to know how wide spread this problem is.

Then you have come to the right place vincentg. Start out with reading the whole of this 713 message thread [webmasterworld.com], then continue to work your way through those mentioned in the opening post of this thread. It should give you a fair impression.


 8:44 pm on Apr 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

My thoughts were to redirect only visitors/bots from the offending site not all visitors via REFERRER REDIRECT.

Redirecting visitors from the offending URL will do nothing to prevent or fix the problem, there probably are very few (if any) visitors following that link anyway.

Googlebot does not have a referer string and is not coming from the offending site. It has recorded your page as belonging to that site earlier and is now coming through the front door to retrieve that page (which is the temporary location).

We have tried to see this from every angle, there is no way to stop it.

It is googles problem. We can only point out the problem and offer a patch solution until google fixes it. This forum is doing a good job of making the problem known so that google HAS to fix it.

[edited by: Reid at 8:58 pm (utc) on April 2, 2005]

[edited by: lawman at 6:29 pm (utc) on April 3, 2005]


 1:24 am on Apr 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Who is going to moderate this witch hunt?


Who is going to check every directory and decide wether it is being done intentionally or unintentionally

It’s simple to evaluate the sites that are using this method for the sole purpose of inflating their own PR or stealing yours.

All you need to do is to request the removal of your link from their site, if they refuse or do not answer the request that is reason enough to post the details.
Webmasters of legitimate directories will have no problem in removing your link.
In the case of the DMOZ dynamic feeds you may have to get DMOZ involved.

decide which are really the bad guys and which are just competitors trying to diss someone

Please give us some credit to decide what the real motive is, the targeted Webmaster will have this Forum to respond to any allegations.

Redirecting visitors from the offending URL will do nothing to prevent or fix the problem, there probably are very few (if any) visitors following that link anyway

Some of these sites have upwards of 100,000 pages listed in Google and PR of 5 plus, if they don’t get any traffic from that, we are all in trouble.

It's the sole purpose of why these site's do this, to get credible listings and rank and to get the traffic so they can capitalise on it.

[edited by: vitaplease at 10:41 am (utc) on April 3, 2005]
[edit reason] rude language [/edit]


 3:23 am on Apr 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

I could see it now. We'll send an e-mail.

Webmaster world has decided that you are a bloodsucking scumbag. We have added you to our blacklist. If you would like to appeal this decision then you can come to our forum and beg forgiveness.

If this forum started 'blacklisting' I sure wouldn't come here anymore. And if any forum decided to add me to their 'blacklist' I would just laugh about it and continue on my merry way.


 3:24 am on Apr 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Nice post minesite

Getting people organized and motivated around here is like “The Life of Brian” It reminds me of the scene where The Peoples Popular Front of Judea make an aborted rescue attempt on Brian. It’s time to take some definitive action, what’s the point talking about patches and fixes?

The 302 redirect problem is entirely Googles problem. There are no patches or fixes. It is a fact that Google’s index can be manipulated by these scumbag webmasters.

GoogleGuy gave us all instructions on how to report canonical page issues, but as far I know, no one ever got an intelligent reply. Google told me to contact the webmasters hijacking my sites and ask them to remove the redirecting links.


 4:46 am on Apr 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

vincentg wrote:

Everyone is only guessing on how it has happened to those effected by it.
If we can look at both sites that will give you an idea if it can be prevented

I can show you one right now, or 2 from the same 'supposedly reputable' directory.
Both sites got a 'free link' from this place opting out of the 'paid inclusion'. This was a link building campaign that I learned a few lessons from.
One is on my site where I asked them to remove the link and they did. Only problem is that the .cgi file still exists and I can't use the URL removal tool because it says 'the page exists but is not retuning a header'. The day, no the hour they removed that link my site traffic jumped 50%. The link is still sitting there in site:mysite with the old cached page from Nov 1st. I'm now (after 2 weeks) gone from 20-30 uniques a day to 60-70.

The other one is my buddy's. The same directory did the same thing to him. But they refuse to remove his link. I removed the link from site:hissite over a week ago with the url removal tool but it's still sitting there (but moved to 'omitted results' and his site is still crap. 15-20 uniques a day.
His site went up (last august) 2 months after mine so were hoping that he will come out of the sandbox 2 months after I seem to have but who knows. His link (rather their link with his description in site:hissite) also has the cache from last Nov when I added both our sites.
Both of our homepages are changed dramatically. The old cache of our homepages show empty boxes where images used to appear but no longer exist.

It's pathetic, I guess google will never update that cache or what?


 4:40 am on Apr 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

Ciml - very informative - thank you for the summary posts with are super helpful.

How can I tell if ours is a variation on this theme where we have "hijacked" our own pages?

site:oursite.com shows enormous numbers of our *tracking links listed as pages at our site - these resolve to the external sites. 6 weeks ago we changed robots.txt to allow bots to follow our tracking links, but that has not removed them. Our substantial Google traffic was reduced by 90% on Feb 3.


 11:34 am on Apr 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

Joeduck, you should ask for removal of these links from Google.

You will probably have to re-enter them in your robots.txt (*), but it will be easier if they have a generic componenet, as; when you request removal from Google with the URL-console, there's a limit to the size of your robots.txt file.

Also, you might have to enter them one-by-one in the url-console, which will take some time.

(*) That is, if you can't make them return html with the meta tag <meta value="robots" content="noindex">

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