homepage Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.211.68.132
register, free tools, login, search, pro membership, help, library, announcements, recent posts, open posts,
Become a Pro Member

Home / Forums Index / Marketing and Biz Dev / General Search Engine Marketing Issues
Forum Library, Charter, Moderators: mademetop

General Search Engine Marketing Issues Forum

This 83 message thread spans 3 pages: < < 83 ( 1 [2] 3 > >     
A Dropped Site Checklist
Start here when disaster strikes.
caveman

WebmasterWorld Senior Member caveman us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 2:31 pm on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

One of the most common themes of posting here in WW starts something like: "Last night, my site disappeared..."

"Losing" a site can be a painful and frustrating experience. To help ease the pain, perhaps a starting list of potential issues might help. I'll probably miss more than I'm catching with this list, but at least it's a start.

Do a site search at the SE in question to determine if all of some of your pages are gone. Some think that their site has vanished, when in fact an algo update or tweak has occured causing their pages to drop. Or, individual pages have been filtered or penalized, but not entire sites:

If *all* of your pages are gone (search on URL's to check that), then perhaps:
• your server was down at an inopportune time.
• you have a robots.txt problem.
• you've been removed from the index based on a perception of bad behavior (not good).

If only some pages are gone, or if your pages have simply dropped badly in the SERP's, then perhaps:
• you have some other technical issue not noted above (e.g., badly executed redirects),
• the algo changed,
• you've done something recently that the SE did not like, or,
• the algo changed and something that was previously "OK" is now being filtered or penalized.

Here are some specific things to look at:

Start with the basics: Was your server down recently?
Server failure is always a good item to check off your list when searching for problems. No need to start remaking your site if all that happened was a temporary problem.

Are you using a robots.txt file [webmasterworld.com], and if so, has it changed. , Is the syntax correct [searchengineworld.com]?
There are a variety of potential problems that can be caused by improper code in robots.txt files, or placement of the robots.txt file in the wrong location. Search WW on this topic if you're not sure what you're doing. Use the WW Server Header Checker [searchengineworld.com]. At worst, a robots.txt file can tell a SE to go away, and you really don't want that. ;-)

Have you more aggressively optimized recently?
Internal changes that can lead to potential problems include:
• More aggressive kw optimization, e.g., changes to Titles, META's, <Hx> tags, placement and density of kw's, etc.
• Link structure changes, and especially link text changes. Updates to link text or structure, if done for optimization reasons, can push a site into filter/penalty territory. Look in particular for overuse of kw's.

Have you added redirects?
The SE's *can* sometimes become confused by redirects. Assuming that the changes are intended to be permanent, use 301's, not 302's. Be especially careful about large scale changes. If done properly, redircts are important tools. Done without proper knowledge, they can lead to short term pain, often on the order of 1-6 months.
[webmasterworld.com...]

Do you have a significant number of interlinking sites?
If ever there was a strategy that might be summed up as: "Here today, gone tomorrow..." interlinking is it. You can succeed with this strategy. But if you add too many sites or links to the mini-net you're creating, or interlink too aggressively, it can catch up to you. Penalties can range from soft filters to complete manual removal in rare cases. Even with no recent changes to your sites, the SE algo's can change, making something that squeeked by yesterday illegal today.
[webmasterworld.com...]

Are you linking to sites in "bad" neighborhoods?
If ever there was a strategy that might be summed up as: "Gone today..." linking to "bad" sites is it. If you think that you might be linking to the dark-side, lose that link instantly, if not sooner.
[webmasterworld.com...]

Could you be suffering from a duplicate content penalty [webmasterworld.com]?
Some practices or occurances that can cause problems in this regard include:
• Use of a single, site-wide template
• Use of one template across multiple sites
• Competitors stealing or mirroring your content
• Redirects from an old domain to a new one
• Over reliance on robots.txt files to exclude bots from content areas you don't want exposed. WebmasterWorld Thread:
[webmasterworld.com...]

Are you cloaking?
Some cloak merely to deliver "accurate" pictures of sites/pages to the SE's. Examples of this are sites with lots of graphics and little text. But if you're a mainly text based site that is delivering one set of content to the SE's while users are seeing something less...umm...optimized...then there's always the risk that you've been caught.

Are you using AdWords?
This is pure speculation on the part of some seniors here, but some do seem to firmly believe that if you place highly with an Adwords listing, it might actually hurt your position in the SERP's. Don't shoot me. I'm just the messenger.

IF OTOH, the only issue is that you're not as high in the rankings as you'd like, then a better place to start would be Brett's 26 Steps to 15K a Day [searchengineworld.com].

Best of luck! ;-)

 

pleeker

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 5:03 pm on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

justsold -- I'm not a mod here, but I think specific questions about one SE or another should probably be directed to the appropriate Forum here on WebmasterWorld.

You may want to dig through some of the recent discussion in the Yahoo Forum [webmasterworld.com] to learn more about their algorithm and what works well there. It's definitely a different beast than Google's algorithm. Good luck.

RAHBoston

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 6:13 pm on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Start with the basics: Was your server down recently?

I have a fairly new site that we had gotten up to a PR5. We then had a ton of server problems causing our site to be down about 20% of the time. We dropped to a PR4.

It took us about a month to move it to a new server which we have been on for two weeks with no issues.

Do you have any idea how long it should take before Google give us our PR5 back?

Thanks a million! This thread was very helpful for me.

troels nybo nielsen

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 6:35 pm on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

RAHBoston, I would prefer a conservative guess and say that it may still take a couple of months to completely regain your position. Anything faster than that is a bonus.

<added>
But questions about Google are best asked in Google News [webmasterworld.com] where you will find the real experts in that field.
(Sorry for being slow at adding this)
</added>

[edited by: troels_nybo_nielsen at 6:49 pm (utc) on May 20, 2004]

caveman

WebmasterWorld Senior Member caveman us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 6:40 pm on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

As Pleeker said, specific questions about one SE or another, as well as questions about *how to fix* problems, are best directed to the appropriate Forum here on WebmasterWorld...

Let's try to keep this thread on topic (e.g., by adding to the list of things that might be the cause of a site disappearing from the SERP's at a SE). The point is to have a solid checklist of potential issues to start investigating, if and when your site suddenly seems to vanish.

Thanks!

teletrnr

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 7:07 pm on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have found that the Search Engine Spider Simulator is an excellent tool for identifying internal problems that may cause a site to be dropped.

teletrnr

AnonyMouse

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 8:22 pm on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

"Have you more aggressively optimized recently?
Internal changes that can lead to potential problems include:
• More aggressive kw optimization, e.g., changes to Titles, META's, <Hx> tags, placement and density of kw's, etc.
• Link structure changes, and especially link text changes. Updates to link text or structure, if done for optimization reasons, can push a site into filter/penalty territory. Look in particular for overuse of kw's. "

I know I've been out of the loop for a couple of months, but aren't the above the basic tenents of SEO? Or have the rules suddenly been turned on their heads - have I really missed something recently?!? Isn't the first step to optimise the content of your pages for the keywords, and the second step to get incoming links with the same anchor text to those pages?

EarWig

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 10:34 pm on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Excellent post caveman
Thanks for the checklist
I`m off to see if I can get my main page back in the index!
:-)
EW

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 8:01 am on May 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

caveman - One omission that's been gnawing at me, but I didn't quite know how to phrase it until I tripped over this comment of yours in the Supporters Forum. It sort of sums it up....

I guess you guys don't really want to talk about IP numbers in this thread, right?

Well, do we?

moneymancn

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 8:15 am on May 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks Caveman.
Bookmarked in case we need it
MM

caveman

WebmasterWorld Senior Member caveman us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 1:12 pm on May 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

Robert Charlton, excellent, thanks!

Perhaps what I'll do is wait a bit longer for helpful input like yours, and then edit my original post to add important points that were added by others, like your comment about IP's...

Nuri



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 7:43 pm on May 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

Also If you have 2 Web Sites and targeting same keywords on the same server, Only one of them ranks even if other one has higher PR.I had this problem for a year and last month finally after all other tests listed above I moved one of them to another server with another ISP and boom both ranking great now.

I hope this helps you guys.

cyberprosper

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 7:44 pm on May 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

Having Adsense on your pages does seem to affect things. I have recently put up new sites without adsense on them and their propensity to get booted seems to be lower. It is too bad. Adsense WAS a good money-maker.

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 10:42 pm on May 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

Also If you have 2 Web Sites and targeting same keywords on the same server, Only one of them ranks even if other one has higher PR.

This is exactly one of the things I was thinking about, even if you're not targeting the same words, but the sites are related in subject matter and tend to run in the same neighborhoods.

caveman - I'm eager to see what you post on the IP number issue. It's a topic that might also need its own thread.

Incidentally, when your server is down, Google will try again before dropping you. I don't know what kind of time window you have, but GoogleGuy has said this explicitly on the forums here, and Matt Cutts has said it at SES.

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 10:48 pm on May 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

PS: There's also the whole click counting page issue, where your content and the link to your page remains, but with a different url showing. Generally happens when some high PR directories and banner adds link to you via click counting pages with redirects. It may look to some like their pages are dropped...

See...

Meta Refresh leads to ...
... Replacement of the target URL!
[webmasterworld.com...]

There's also a thread about this on Yahoo. Same deal.

oaktown

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 4:24 pm on May 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Caveman, you rock! Gerate stuff (and brought out some terrific responses. Troels nybo nielsen's comment brings one quetion to mind for me...what about site-wide links? Are they becoming a high-risk item now? Thanks again Caveman!

renee

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 5:33 pm on May 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Great post caveman.

is it possible for you to indicate which ones have been established beyond doubt and which ones are opinions only at this time?

thanks

ronin100

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 7:28 pm on May 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Site-wide links? Are you referring to site-wide links in the footer area of site i.e. targeting the sections in the navigation and then are reproduced on every page? I used to do that...had three rows of text links on the bottom of each page that led to the sections in my navigation bar and my site was PR5 took them down and it is PR4 now? I know there are lots of things that will drop a site's PR but what about the above?

caveman

WebmasterWorld Senior Member caveman us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 8:06 pm on May 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

I realize that I'm not able to edit earlier posts, so I'll add this here, spurred by Robert Charlton's input. If mods want to move it into the first post, that's fine too:

Do You Have Hundreds of Domains on the Same IP?
Some of the items in this list have to do with degree. "The IP question" is one of those. Is having a bunch of sites on a single IP bad? No. But what if all those sites are on the same topic? What if they are all interlinked? Point being, if a major SE smells a spammy network, then 340 interlinked sites on a single C block are a strong bit of evidence that something spammy this way comes.

There's another piece too, having to do with static versus virtual IP's. Some believe, as I do from experience, that SE's handle static IP's better than virtual IP's. However, you *will* hear arguements to the contrary. My personal bottom line: It's all a matter of risk/reward. How much is that static IP worth to you?

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 10:01 pm on May 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

caveman - I don't think it has to be hundreds. I think I'm seeing collateral damage on much smaller groupings of sites, definitely related, but scarcely interlinked and not really going after the same terms. I'm guessing they'd even pass manual inspection... just not fragmentation bombing. Also, as I've mentioned elsewhere on the forums, consecutive class Cs seem to suffice... they don't have to be in the same block.

I've heard by word of mouth that the same whois data may have triggered some drops on other sites, but my guess is that, on those particular sites, there may have been other factors that prompted the inspection.

caveman

WebmasterWorld Senior Member caveman us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 10:50 pm on May 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

I agree actually. I started with "a bunch" rather than "hundreds" but was trying to make a point. All of the items in the checklist really just represent starting points. There's way more to learn about each one that could be posted here. But what I'm also trying to be careful about is avoiding statements that can't be proved or aren't true all by themselves.

In the case of IP's for example, I don't believe that just having 10 sites on an IP or in the same C block, even if they are all linked, neccessarily gets you booted. In fact, I know it doesn't. We run a network, try hard to play by the rules, and so far, so good. ;-)

IP-related site problems, in my view at least, are often intertwined with other potential issues. For example, as I said, I know you can have a network of 10 sites, and link them. But what if there's a lot of common text across all 10 sites, or a single template across all 10, or the content is too similar, etc. So much is co-dependent, at least WRT a site dropping suddenly from the SERP's.

In the case of IP's (site ownership, really), any of these could be red flags to a SE:
• too many on a C block (I can't define "too many")
• too many on a virtual IP
• too many with the same WHOIS info
• having a site on a C block where a major spammer has been identified
• etc., etc., etc.

It all boils down to this: If an SE sees a pattern that leads to a conclusion that someone is trying to artifically inflate PR or otherwise 'game the system,' then that someone *may* be in trouble. Going back to the premise of the first post, when the issue is that a Webmaster has just awaken to find a site missing, what does s/he begin to consider? Certainly, IP and ownership data are among the things that should be on that list.

Doing the detective work to identify the problem with a high degree of confidence is another matter. And so is evaluating the changes one makes to address problems, and drawing conclusions about the effects of those changes.

renee

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 7:05 pm on May 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

>In the case of IP's (site ownership, really), any of these could be red flags to a SE:
• too many on a C block (I can't define "too many")
• too many on a virtual IP
• too many with the same WHOIS info
• having a site on a C block where a major spammer has been identified

this is pure speculation. there is no evidence whatsoever that these are true.

bigjohnt

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 6:32 pm on May 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

realdude -
look at the top of this page. theres a link (#2 of 7, between control panel and glossary?)that says site seach. click on it.

markanthony

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 11:38 pm on May 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks all for all of the helpful information. I have bookmarked this thread for future reference.

I am just starting the optimization process for one of my sites and am grateful to have this immense information source to draw upon.

AjiNIMC

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 11:23 am on May 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

truly a great post for all, the things "must do" are imp but more imp are "should not do".

wanna_learn

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 6:33 am on May 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>> Could you be suffering from a duplicate content penalty?
Some practices or occurances that can cause problems in this regard include:
• Use of a single, site-wide template

Can somebody verify it?

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 6:43 am on May 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Use of a single, site-wide template

The majority of sites I've seen use site-wide templates... usually one for the home page one for the rest. WebmasterWorld uses a basic template for all its forum posts. So, I'm not sure what you mean by "template," but I'm guessing it must be something different than the kind of template I'm thinking about.

Marcia

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 6:44 am on May 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>this is pure speculation.

No, I'm afraid it certainly is not pure speculation. But that's irrelevant to us who are singing along here, since it's a "check-list."

>>there is no evidence whatsoever that these are true.

There most certainly is evidence that it *can* be true, beyond a shadow of a doubt!

Any and all things that are and have been mentioned in research and academic documents as having bearing on the particular algorithm being discussed, unless they're proprietary and/or patented, can most certainly apply to and be used by any and all search engines in their scoring.

There is a big difference between nay-saying and doubt-mongering, and sincere investigation into possibilities. A world of difference!

caveman

WebmasterWorld Senior Member caveman us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 1:35 pm on Jun 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks Marcia :)

Well, it seems that the site-wide templates point has generated a reaction.

Obviously, most sites need to operate with templates. Not only do templates make site creation and maintenance easier, they typically enhance the user experience.

Generally speaking, the issue with templates has to do with churning out too many pages without adding much real value to a site. I could be mistaken, but I believe that this problem has accelerated over the past six months, possibly as a response to Florida and subsequent updates. And I don't think the problem is confined to larger sites...some smaller ones are feeling it too.

As Marcia and others have noted elsewhere in WW, the major SE's have been pretty clear about their feelings that duplicate content and pagemill sites have gotten out of control.

Unfortunately, what may also be happening is that some very legitimate sites are being caught in the nets.

<Come to think of it, pretty soon Brett is going to have to start banning all these new "What happened to my site..." threads, just to avoid a duplicate content penalty. Geez, ya can't win for losin'! ;) >

Marcia

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 2:48 pm on Jun 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>most sites need to operate with templates

Yes they sure do. But they don't necessarily need to be linking back to the homepage from the top heading graphic with the main keyword phrase in the alt attribute, plus that same keyword phrase in the alt attribute of a graphic or anchor text in a side navigation column, plus that same keyword phrase as the anchor text of bottom navigation - all linking back to the homepage.

I've seen several sites having some problems with the top heading graphic done that way. In some cases that alt text plus the same text on top sitewide are *all* that shows in the description snippets for all pages on the site.

Conclusive? No. Worth looking into if there's a problem? Yes. That's what check-lists are for.

Bigmac

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 10:46 am on Jun 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Was trying to post exact same thing this morning.

I'm having the exact same problem with a site.
Only the URL shows up in Google search. Nothing else although its fine on other search engines.

If in doubt, you know were to turn!

BeeDeeDubbleU link to a previous discussion was helpful.

Marcia

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4584 posted 6:37 am on Jun 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google specific discussions are over in that Forum as usual, but here's a current discussion started today that may prove interesting on the issue of sites going URL only and the initial cases cited may have a connection with template driven pages on the site

[webmasterworld.com...]

This 83 message thread spans 3 pages: < < 83 ( 1 [2] 3 > >
Global Options:
 top home search open messages active posts  
 

Home / Forums Index / Marketing and Biz Dev / General Search Engine Marketing Issues
rss feed

All trademarks and copyrights held by respective owners. Member comments are owned by the poster.
Home ¦ Free Tools ¦ Terms of Service ¦ Privacy Policy ¦ Report Problem ¦ About ¦ Library ¦ Newsletter
WebmasterWorld is a Developer Shed Community owned by Jim Boykin.
© Webmaster World 1996-2014 all rights reserved