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Google SERPS showing URL instead of TITLE
For some, but not all of my pages.
NoLimits




msg:766484
 2:21 pm on Oct 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

I found what I believe to be the reason I have seen a loss in traffic from G in the last week or so.

A lot of my pages are being indexed, but the title is not being recorded - instead, the URL is being used.

I'm using a php driven site, but haven't had any indexing problems to date... anyone have any input on why this is happening and/or how I stop it from happening in the future?

 

Powdork




msg:766485
 6:23 pm on Oct 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

I had a similar problem until about June, when things got fixed. However since the update we didn't have in September (and possibly to some extent before then), Google lists about 80% of my pages as URL only. Of course, they also say I have 9700 pages on this site when in fact there are only 2-3 thousand or so. This is a mostly html site although there is also a phpbb forum as well. Yahoo seems to have it indexed perfectly.

g1smd




msg:766486
 6:48 pm on Oct 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

"URL only" occurs on new pages/sites when Google has seen the link on another page, records that URL and displays it in the SERPs, and does so before the page has actually been crawled and indexed.

For a site that has been online for a while, a URL-only entry often points to a penalty of some sort: usually simply just serving the same site at both www and non-www locations is enough. A 301 redirect will fix that in a matter of a few weeks.

You should also check that every page of your site has a different title and meta description to all of the others, and the title and description used actually reflects what is on the page.

Powdork




msg:766487
 7:05 pm on Oct 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

For a site that has been online for a while, a URL-only entry often points to a penalty of some sort: usually simply just serving the same site at both www and non-www locations is enough. A 301 redirect will fix that in a matter of a few weeks.
I added the 301 as well as taking steps to make the pages less duplicate in April/May along with correspondence with Google so I could never really be sure what resulted in the fix in June. It may have been something completely different anyway. I want to add a Google search box to the pages so users can pull up the images on my site related to their interests, but Google can't hold on to the information in order to retrieve it.
Kind of runs a bit contrary to their mission I would think.

moftary




msg:766488
 8:38 pm on Oct 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

An on site duplication would also cause this.

I had a forum and its SEOed archive, stupidly I forgot to force gbots not to index the forum which caused a duplication in the SERPs. The forum is actually a portion of my site, but still that caused all important pages to be dumped out of SERPs leaving only URLs of the forum archives.

And yes, it caused my site to %99 of its google traffic, while not being banned (PR the same, #1 for the company name keyword which is the %1 source of the google traffic!).

NoLimits




msg:766489
 8:53 pm on Oct 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

It's only some of my pages, however it is a new section - and the pages are no more than a month old.

But its strange. It just randomly picks some and displays URL only... no logic to it.

I did have links to some of the more recent articles on my index page, along with on the articles index. Would that cause something like this?

NoLimits




msg:766490
 1:41 pm on Oct 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm hoping this will work itself out during the next deep crawl.

Sucks having half your content pages showing up as rubbish.

There were sorting options that could have made it show up as different urls... It has been corrected.

John_1976




msg:766491
 2:42 pm on Oct 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

g1smd

>>For a site that has been online for a while, a URL-only entry often points to a penalty of some sort: usually simply just serving the same site at both www and non-www locations is enough. A 301 redirect will fix that in a matter of a few weeks.<<

Most servers list both www and non-www. Many major sites have .org, .net, etc, that point to their .com, so how can you conclude that this creates a penalty for older sites? I am just curious as this problem has affected me for 9 months. I have added some java script code to my site to redirect from non-www to www. But it is now 3 weeks later and there has been no change.

NoLimits




msg:766492
 5:32 pm on Oct 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

I am doing a re-direct in my htaccess file. all www for the last 4 weeks.

Seeing more and more page titles showing up as [domain.com?id=23...] instead of the actual page title.

I'm a bit worried atm.

stickyboy




msg:766493
 5:58 pm on Oct 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have had the URL problem for 11 months. The pages which are listed ok varies from time to time as does the URL ones as well. Cant find any logic to it at all. Done all the 301 redirect at the start of the year had changed all content, moved hosts, The only consistency is that the homepage itself is probably the only page always listed as URL only, other randomly get titles & descriptions.

NoLimits




msg:766494
 6:25 pm on Oct 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Would a mod re-write solve this problem?

Is it the PHP that causes this problem?

All I know, is my traffic has fallen off by more than 50% now, and is slowly dwindling down to levels seen more than 60 days ago. SOB!

g1smd




msg:766495
 6:55 pm on Oct 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> Most servers list both www and non-www. Many major sites have .org, .net, etc, that point to their .com, so how can you conclude that this creates a penalty for older sites? <<

About 2 or 3 years ago, Google used to run a process over their database several times per year that "normalised" the URLs indexed. At that time they would equalise the PR on www and non-www as well as make the link: query return the same results for both.

In the last year or more there has been a different approach (maybe someone found some loophole in the old process). Nowadays you have to keep Google aware of what is related to what by using the correct redirects, otherwise your site suffers.

Older sites might have had their data "grandfathered" in; but maybe a major change to a site starts the process over again, and then you have to follow the "new rules"?

You should set up redirects so that all versions (both www and non-www), from all domains (.com and .net etc) are all redirected to one canonical version (like www.domain.com for example). This should always be a 301 redirect, and Mod_Rewrite is one way to get that done.

For Apache it is just a few lines of code in the .htaccess file.

tedster




msg:766496
 7:48 pm on Oct 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

John_1976
I have added some java script code to my site to redirect from non-www to www.
But it is now 3 weeks later and there has been no change.

Sorry, but that won't make a difference -- javascript is parsed client-side by the browser and Googlebot does not parse it at all. Best practice is to use a permanent (301) server-side redirect, along the lines that others have mentioned above.

NoLimits




msg:766497
 9:30 pm on Oct 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thank you g1smd -

I did put into effect the 301 a while back (not long enough to say it's officially reciprocated throught the internet yet though)

Just as another precautionary measure (and I may be shooting myself in the foot) I have removed my url from all page titles.

They used to read: Title Text - at www.domain.com
Now they read: Title Text

I did this because I was worried G might be thinking my titles are too similar and penalizing some of my pages as a result - probably not, but I had to do it.

John_1976




msg:766498
 10:39 am on Oct 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

tedster

This is the code that I used and I saved the index page as a .php. Are you saying then that this code will not sovlve the problem?

<?php
if (!ereg("www", $_SERVER['HTTP_HOST'])) {
header("HTTP/1.1 301");
header("Location: [mysite.com");...]
exit;
}
?>

stella_kl




msg:766499
 10:40 am on Oct 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

I would be worried if I were you. My PHP pages went from normal Title being shown to just URL to nothing!

au_sammy




msg:766500
 11:20 am on Oct 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Here is something slightly off topic that I noticed, which is also err... slightly interesting!

My domain name is "redwidgets.com" and the main term i want to rank for is "red widgets".

When I search for "red widgets" my page is displayed in the SERPs with the correct title "red widgets" listed.

Now, the strange part, when I search for "marone widgets" (marone meaning another word for red, if that makes sense) I also appear in the SERPs, yet my title is shown as "marone wudgets".

No idea why, as the ACTUAL title for the main page is "red widgets" .... I have not come up with any explanation for this, but I can guarantee my title is "red widgets". I think perhaps quite a while ago (6 months+) the title WAS once "marone widgets", but the the site is PR6 and is crawled regularly...

Interesting?!

NoLimits




msg:766501
 7:47 pm on Oct 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yeeeeehaaaaw! More and more pages turning into URL only.

G - I'd just like you to know that forcing me to diversify isn't good for your future.

bobmark




msg:766502
 8:07 pm on Oct 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have a different problem but thought I'd try here as it is sort of related.

A Google search: link:www.widgets.com shows zero backlinks
However, a Google search: link:www.widgets.com/index.shtml shows normal backlinks
(which is what used to show for link:www.widgets.com).

Far as I know nothing has changed (site was fine for 4+ years) and all my backlinks (other than maybe some unsolicited ones) link to: [widgets.com...]

Any ideas?

NoLimits




msg:766503
 2:28 am on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

New pages are showing up with Title... the same pages that were URL, are still URL only however.

*breathing in paper bag*

When was the last deep crawl?

NoLimits




msg:766504
 5:17 am on Oct 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

I thought I would post back to say that my pages are starting to re-appear as Title/Description listings.

Yeeeehawwwww!

For anyone in the same situation - the two simple changes I made after they started going URL only were:

1) Removed www.sitename.com from titles (was universal throughout the site)

2) Re-worked php coding to not allow multiple URL's for the same page.

I can not be sure the changes I made recently had anything to do with my URL pages being relisted with Title/Description - but I'm just happy they are...

Thanks to those who offered suggestions!

tedster




msg:766505
 6:12 am on Oct 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

Are you saying then that this code will not sovlve the problem?

Your post said "I have added some java script code..." and, I was saying that javascript will not solve the problem. Javascript is client-side and is not parsed by googlebot. But a server-side script creating 301 redirect at least has a chance.

NoLimits




msg:766506
 9:00 pm on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

In follow up to this thread -

My URL only problem persists.

Random pages... they come and go. It's almost like G puts a limit on the number of my pages that can have a real title. I'm stumped - and adjetated.

g1smd




msg:766507
 10:09 pm on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> When I search for "red widgets" my page is displayed in the SERPs with the correct title "red widgets" listed. <<

>> Now, the strange part, when I search for "marone widgets" (marone meaning another word for red, if that makes sense) I also appear in the SERPs, yet my title is shown as "marone wudgets". <<

And that latter result is shown as a supplemental result I assume?

That is the same problem that I have been seeing for at least the last year, you will rank for your current content as well as whatever was previously on the page too...

I can't predict whether the cached page against the "ancient content" result is going to be one only a few days old or is one from about 12 to 22 months ago - I have seen both happen.

Patrick Taylor




msg:766508
 11:06 pm on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

g1smd... you have previously referred to the use of


<base href="http://www.domain.com/" />

... as being good practice in addition to the 301. Should this be identical on every page?

g1smd




msg:766509
 11:23 pm on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)


If your navigation uses relative links then you need the full page URL on every page.

If you use absolute linking, like http://www.domain.com/other.page.html or just /folder.name/other.page.html with a leading / on the URL, then the base tag only needs the base domain in it.

Patrick Taylor




msg:766510
 11:37 pm on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

hmmmm... thanks. So much for base href. The site in question has too many variations, so the safest measure I suppose was to remove the tag.

Interesting. I never until now thought of an URL like /page as absolute.

g1smd




msg:766511
 12:01 am on Nov 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Well it is "absolute from the root" (/folder/file.html) rather than "relative to the sub page where you are now" (../../page.html), but it is still a relative link if the domain isn't clarified with a base tag.

The combination of "domain" base tag and "/folder.name/file.html" linking is absolute.

Patrick Taylor




msg:766512
 12:22 am on Nov 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

The combination of "domain" base tag and "/folder.name/file.html" linking is absolute.

Thanks for the clarification. Unfortunately I am running Window Home Edition and can't set my PC up as a server, hence various sites are made with relative URLs for convenience - something I think I will need to look at.

g1smd




msg:766513
 1:12 am on Nov 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Get yourself a copy of Apache, and install that. You don't need anything from Microsoft.

You can then serve your website on your home box as a development copy. Easy to set up.

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