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Four Years At #1, Gone Overnight 11/20
customdy

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 1:18 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi, we have been at #1 in Google for our top Keywords for the last 4 years, last night I checked google still #1, this morning we are #46 and it is not our index page that would comes up.
When I do a site:www.example.com our index still comes up and the PR is still 4.

Any suggestions on what to do?
Thanks Dave

 

tedster

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



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 5:57 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

Do you keep a changelog for your site? While ithe disappearance may not be directly related to any action you took recently, reviewing recent actions you did take is a good place to start looking. Don't just think about content changes and inbound links - although these are important - but also changes to server configurations, and new features like a custom 404 page (which may not be returning a true 404 response).

Here's a thread that's worth a read:
Sudden Drops in Rank - a checklist [webmasterworld.com]

jakegotmail

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 6:09 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

imo give it a couple weeks to see if they pop back to their original spots. sometimes its a bad result. google does make mistakes on occasions.

helpnow

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 6:32 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

This happened to us at the beginning of this year. Authority site, #1 all over the place for years, thousands of pages, etc. BOOM! Decent rankings gone in a couple days.

It took me about 3 months to finally discover what happened.

SO let me save you the time, hopefully:

Duplicate Content.

I am willing to bet, and I think I will win, that you have a duplicate content problem somewhere at your site.

When it happened to me, I ignored the possibility, did cursory checks, and always decided I didn't have this problem.

But then I discovered I did!

It took me months to find it, some time to fix it, and in the end, all is well again, but man, the end rsult is that 2006 was a bad year for us.

So, please, make sure you do not have a duplicate content problem. check:

- #1 suspect: many different variations of your URLs actually pointing to the same page. I bet this is yoru problem! FIX IT NOW! You will find your rankings come back in 2-6 weeks. i.e. mysite/param1#*$!/param2yyy vs. mysite/param2yyy/param1#*$! - different urls, but goign to the same page, you will get massacred at google.

- www.mysite.com vs. mysite.com, called "canonical" - it will kill you, but it wasn't my problem

Do not leave any stone unturned at your site. I bet this is your problem. Do not quickly assume it is NOT your problem. I did that, and it cost me 6 weeks of lost revenue - I stupidly sat cheerily on duplicate content issues at my site until I finally admitted to myself I am not perfect, and maybe I did have such a problem, and I should look again, and lo and behold, there it was.

I truly hope I just saved you some time and grief.

helpnow

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 6:33 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

P.S. Through all our trials and tribulations with dup content, our PR (3s, 4s, 5s and 6s) remained stable. A drop in PR is not going to occur if you have dup content, i.e. don't assume that your PR being the same means you don't have this problem.

tedster

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



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 6:42 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

There certainly are many ways to create duplicate urls, and that can create big trouble over time. We've got a really good discussion on the many duplicate url issues here:
Duplicate Content - get it right or perish [webmasterworld.com]

customdy

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 6:44 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the input, we are going to sit tight to see how things settle out. Thanks Dave

webdude

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 6:44 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

last night I checked google still #1, this morning we are #46 and it is not our index page that would comes up.

With the rolling updates, I have found similar situations that eventually straighten out in a day or 2. I think it might all be in the timing. A well established site that typically garners #1 for particular phrases can tank as data refreshes. I would only worry if it stays at its present postiton for more then a week. Then you got problems...

monkeythumpa

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 6:50 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

I dropped significantly on 10/20 and told Google not to spider my external duplicate content. On 11/14 I was back, and higher than before. I have taken the #1 spot for "widget history" away from Wikipedia, something I thought was impossible. I am going to do the unthinkable, I am going to revert my change to see if it was just a minor algo change or if it was my change that lead to the drop.

activeco

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 7:21 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

- #1 suspect: many different variations of your URLs actually pointing to the same page. I bet this is yoru problem! FIX IT NOW! You will find your rankings come back in 2-6 weeks. i.e. mysite/param1#*$!/param2yyy vs. mysite/param2yyy/param1#*$! - different urls, but goign to the same page, you will get massacred at google.

I hope it's not true.
My understanding is that in such a case Google picks up one page as the original one and ignores the rest, so basically there shouldn't be a problem with it, if all the similar pages belong to the same site.

I could only imagine a glitch in the Google's algo where the mere presence of a duplicate page, regardless of original being on the same site, downgrades the whole site in general, but I am very doubtful about it.

leo11877

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 7:30 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

HelpNow,
Please help me understand the following about Dup content.

I have links which point to same page where the Anchor text may change. for eg
<a href="pageA.html">WidgetA</a>
<a href="pageA.html">WidgetALongName</a>

Will this count as dup content? Did u have to clean somthing like this?

Also what if I have
<a href="/products/widgetA.html">My Product</a>
<a href="/index.html?id=abcd">My Product</a>
<a href="/products/widgetA.html">My Product LongName</a>
<a href="/index.html?id=abcd">My Product LongName</a>

All pointing to the same page. Would this hurt? I guess it would.

Also, isnt www.xyz.com and xyz.com be fixed as same from google webmaster tools site?

Please let me know. Thanks
Leo.

randle

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 7:43 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

A well established site that typically garners #1 for particular phrases can tank as data refreshes.

We are seeing this quite a bit, long time high ranking sites suddenly vanishing on some data centers. Very scary to say the least but after 4 or 5 days everything seems to come back to normal. Best way we have found to identify this is to search for the same site using another key word, the second or third most popular. If you find the site in its usual good ranking position for these secondary terms, most likely its one of these data pushes, refreshes or whatever it is.

(still cannot understand why, or even how, a site is temporarily removed from a data center, just for a particular key word)

Philosopher

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 7:46 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

leo11877

In your first example, the pages are the same. It is simply the anchor text or link text that is different. That is fine.

In your second example, you list 4 different URLs pointing to the exact same page. That IS a problem. You only want 1 URL pointing to the page. Multiple URLs pointing to the exact same thing confuse the hell out of Google and often lead to the duplicate content issues.

In your third example you have the www and non-www versions. In a perfect world, these shouldn't cause problems, but they do. The webmaster tools site let's you tell G which one you want used so this is a definite step forward, but you still should also work to solve the issue on your end (redirect non-www to www or visa versa).

[edited by: Philosopher at 7:47 pm (utc) on Nov. 20, 2006]

John

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 7:59 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

This mydomain.com and www.mydomain.com needs more scrutiny.

I recently launched a new site where mydomain.com simply did not exist anywhere, never had ever but Google CREATED it within days. If this is a problem for Google why should it have created this very problem?

Anyone have an logically support answer I would love to hear it.

Philosopher

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 8:09 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

Google didn't create the problem.

It's been discussed many times, but the simple fact is that www.mydomain.com and mydomain.com are technically different sites even though in most circumstances, they both point to the same place.

As for why Google would pick up a version you aren't using...

1) Outside links pointing to the wrong version
2) Internal links using the incorrect version
3) Site owner, or anyone else with toolbar installed typing in the wrong version when visiting (I do that all the time and google DOES pick up URLs visited via the toolbar and index them).
lots more.

Once G has both versions the trouble begins.

leo11877

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 8:37 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

When I am typing site:mysite.com and site:www.mysite.com the results are the same and they are all pointing to www.mysite.com. does this mean I am not affected by this?

also, does having the mysite.com not work at the IIS level or server level fix this problem?

Thanks
Leo

activeco

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 8:39 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

Once G has both versions the trouble begins.

Well, not after a few years being on the top spots. It must be something else.
As I said, in case of duplicates, Google picks one as the original or canonical as they call it, so you shouldn't be bad about it. Your page is still there and the other duplicates get "the penalty".
Only if you, in some way, play with the url's having valuable links (doing 301 to www or www to /, while having the opposite links, ...or badly changing dns settings or...) you could make the damage to your site regarding cononization or the duplicate issue.
At least, that is what Google says.
However, I allow some imperfection in Google's algorithm regarding this, as a lot people seemingly solved their problem by eliminating duplicates completely.

ericfwebmaster

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 8:47 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

Our homepage has ranked 1 for about 10 of our industry terms for over 7 months but every now and then our homepage just disappears for one of the terms. I find the first internal page results are still where they are usually are but no homepage. The other nine terms are fine. Usually the next day the site is back to number one. This has happened on more than one term at least once every 4 to 6 weeks and it could happen more often since I dont have an automated rank checker nor do I check it mor than a couple of time per week. I always just assume its just some very minor indexing glitch/problem. A ghost in the system.

idolw

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 9:06 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have links which point to same page where the Anchor text may change. for eg
<a href="pageA.html">WidgetA</a>
<a href="pageA.html">WidgetALongName</a>

Will this count as dup content? Did u have to clean somthing like this?

no, not at all unless you do not overuse it IMO.

g1smd

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 9:14 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

>> I hope it's not true. <<

But it is true.

The same content at multiple different URLs - even if the URL differs by just one character - is duplicate content.

nippi

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 9:23 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have links which point to same page where the Anchor text may change. for eg
<a href="pageA.html">WidgetA</a>
<a href="pageA.html">WidgetALongName</a>
Will this count as dup content? Did u have to clean somthing like this?

I think its dangerous and confuses google as to what the page really is about. Your anchor should be the best description of the page, not one of many

I never risk it, especially with the two anchors on the one page.

activeco

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 9:23 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

The same content at multiple different URLs - even if the URL differs by just one character - is duplicate content.

I didn't question that.
The point is that ONE of the URLs is still the canonical one, properly indexed and not filtered.
So, one shouldn't bother about duplicates as they are where they belong to.

The question is whether the simple occurence of duplicate pages on the site, cause the filtering of the canonical one too, as some posts imply.

g1smd

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 9:58 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

Ah, but the point is that Google chooses which one to list (and it might not be the one that you wanted to list), and then filters the rest (usually drops most copies into Supplemental).

Additionally, as the PageRank and both the internal and external linking changes, you will find that they revise the choice from time to time.

That is how you get a site half listed as www and half listed as non-www, and with 90% of the URLs tagged as Supplemental ... and with a little bit of thought it need never have happened that way at all.

Philosopher

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 10:17 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

yes, the www/non-www IS an issue and has been for some time. You can do search for "canonical" problems and see boatloads of instances where this has caused problems.

As g1smd stated, even if it doesn't happen to cause a dup. content issue, there are LOTS other problems it can and does cause.

activeco

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 10:17 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

Ah, but the point is that Google chooses which one to list (and it might not be the one that you wanted to list), and then filters the rest (usually drops most copies into Supplemental).

Right, but that is a different animal, altough extremely important.
Lets say someone has most if not all valuable links pointed to www.domain.tld/various.html's and suddenly due to some unpredictable linking or other cause, SE picks domain.tld/ (non-www) as the canonical root url.
The chance is huge that ALL the previously well ranked pages will go supplemental just because of the SINGLE wrong canonical url one level above.
So yes, one should be very aware of WHICH URL's are canonical on his/her site in case of duplicate pages.

However, this still does not answer the question about the possible bad influence of duplicate URL's towards the canonical one and the site in general.

mirrornl

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 10:33 pm on Nov 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

no nippi no, thats not a problem

customdy

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 12:12 am on Nov 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

We don't have any duplicate content so I don't think that is a problem. Here is the strange thing, from home we get the very poor results in the serps, but if we log into our office remotely (VPN) and google the same term we are at #1, obviously this ISP is connecting to a different Google data center.

helpnow

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 12:17 am on Nov 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

<a href="pageA.html">WidgetA</a>
<a href="pageA.html">WidgetALongName</a>

** This is _NOT_ duplicate content. No worries!

helpnow

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 12:20 am on Nov 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

<a href="/products/widgetA.html">My Product</a>
<a href="/index.html?id=abcd">My Product</a>
<a href="/products/widgetA.html">My Product LongName</a>
<a href="/index.html?id=abcd">My Product LongName</a>

NOT duplicate content!

++++++

It WOULD be duplicate content if you had this:

<a href="/index.html?id2=yyzz&ad=abcd">My Product LongName</a>
<a href="/index.html?id=abcd&id2=yyzz">My Product LongName</a>

(Notwithstanding a concurrent discussion about whether or not google will see everythign after the '&'.)

The point is, if at your site, you have a page that can be accessed via DIFFERENT URLs, then you have a problem. Becuase each of those URLs will be considered DIFFERENT pages by google, but when google goes to look at them it will see they are the same DUPLICATE content pages, and that is where the problems start.

customdy

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3162396 posted 12:22 am on Nov 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

Another interesting fact, on the "good" datacenter results, were we are #1; if I compare this to the "bad" data center results, the serps are idential EXCEPT we are removed if you compare at the top 15 sites.

Also, in the "good" data center, we are the only result on the top 30 that has an indexed result:
www.example.com
www.example.com/red_widgets.htm

What do you think?

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