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This 95 message thread spans 4 pages: < < 95 ( 1 2 [3] 4 > >     
Site disappears - always seems connected to Sitemap

 7:59 pm on Feb 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

I found it!

After months of up and down with Google, I saw it with my own eyes!

Three hours ago Google downloaded my sitemap.

Three hours ago I went into oblivion, and disappeared.

Google Sitemap controls report my sitemap is OK with only one error for January 23, which I corrected the same day.

According to all of my notes, every major drop has resulted right after Google accessed my sitemap, and today, I saw it with my own eyes.

My most serious drop-off with Google, that lasted almost two months, came immediately after I had designated domain within the sitemap control panel.

Maybe this drop won't last as long, or maybe longer. But I am convinced that sitemap retrieval by Google is implementing the beginning of the fall.

I also know that I have a solid site, no spam and no black hat techniques. Google is losing out bigtime on authority sites, as the roller coaster continues, and good webmasters go away.

One other thing...my page ranks reported in my sitemap control panel have never recovered from the first major fall, and show that most of my site has not been ranked.
In fact, 98% of my site shows google page rankings, and has for over three years.

I still think something is broken at google.

[edited by: tedster at 8:10 pm (utc) on Feb. 1, 2007]
[edit reason] create separate thread [/edit]



 12:25 am on Mar 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hmmm....Used to have this problem with Yahoo! Everytime I submitted an updated sitemap, poof! I go missing, so I'd have to say that it could be a possibility why I'm in and out for my main keyword with Google.

I'm MIA right now, so I guess I have to wait till my site pops up again (should be at #8) then if it goes MIA again, to check whether sitemaps was downloaded by Goog. Maybe 2 to 3 cycles of this would prove that it's not a co-incidence. If indeed it's NOT, then bye-bye, sitemap....


 2:08 am on Mar 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

Buckner, loved that googleholic post. I want to secure the reprint rights before the Google MFA boys appear on the horizon. :)


 3:01 am on Mar 24, 2007 (gmt 0)


From the looks of my Google numbers, or should I say lack of them, they have shut down the Google mule train. I am left with the shakes and the cravings, with no hope of ever getting that nirvana first high where everything in the webmaster world was vivid, ordered and fun.

Oh, they send a few visitors here and there to my site, but the hits are so weak, they barely soothe my nerves.

Good news, though...this month I focused on the Yahoo train. While their hits do not seem to give me that pleasurable rush, they are consistent and trustworthy, and have brought me to a place almost half as equal to the Google good ol' days. Not bad for one month's effort!

Even the most addicted can break the habit and choose a lesser drug if they take it one day at a time, and hang out with friends that have been down that road too!

Hello, Friends! :)


 12:41 pm on Mar 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's been more than 48 hours and we're still hurting. Our major two-word phrase that we've been in the top 3 for the past 5 years has been gone this whole time. It's not a major traffic driver but it's an indication that something is wrong. We haven't changed anything.

FWIW, Googlebot has been hitting our site at the rate of 25k pages/day the past few days.


 6:12 pm on Mar 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

I check my google sitemaps regularly every few days (2-3) just to make sure no errors were found and today I log in to check and 7 of my sitemaps are showing errors .. "404 not found" to be exact!

So of course I check our server and the files are there and have not changed since July of last year!

Why would google show them to be 404 after 9 months of finding them.

I also noticed that yesterday and today we have lost traffic.

Anyone else seen this type of phenomenon?

[edited by: tedster at 8:17 pm (utc) on Mar. 24, 2007]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]


 7:49 pm on Mar 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

Just to add to this, I did double check for any sitemap code errors and missing files and they were fine.

I did not reupload any files as they were already there.

I did "resubmit" them in sitemaps tool, they have been downloaded by google and no errors were found.

This really concerns me that we have lost traffic potentially due to some google internal error and no fault of our own.


 10:31 pm on Mar 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

Most websites are apparently really on the same server so is there a chnace that the resellers or Hostopia have erred in some configuration?

Reason i was wonsdering is that I notice that G is on same ip range as my site, the url that diagnostics mistakenly reported as an address on my server is on the same range. If my firewall thinks its still at Google when it visits sites (like mine) in the same range, perhaps Googlebot experiences the same technical difficulty. Chance my firewalls not working right but i would hazard a guess that ifa few of you checked the activity logs in McAfee or Sygate you would notice what i mean, just thought it might be a symptom of a larger problem than just G,but one that involved changes in Hostopia and/or one of their resellers.


 3:30 am on Mar 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

this isn't the case with us. And we are on our own server and have been for a few years now.


 4:17 am on Mar 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

My site dropped from 13th to 66th without any changes being made...

Whats happening?

Should we guys stop using google search?


 6:26 am on Mar 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Forgive me. i cant help myself, i must present another theory.......ready for it........
Maybe Google took a hit with brutal virus, could'nt afford to let the media here about, so to protect stock and reputation it sends the impression that it is doing weekly updates. This acts as a smokescreen while they are frantically trying to recover.


 4:12 pm on Mar 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

can you imaging what would happen to their stock prices if that were true... wowsers.


 7:20 pm on Mar 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

Here's another interesting addition to the sitemap saga. Even though I deleted the sitemap from my Webmaster Tools account Google has continued to access the files on my server. (I didn't delete the sitemap files from my server.) I think that's very odd.


 7:40 pm on Mar 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

Nothing odd there Drew_Black.
They have your url's in their db and will continue to spider them until the pages disappear or you forbid it.


 7:41 pm on Mar 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

Bewenched, hehe, i half exoected a bit of ridicule for that post, seeing as most are convinced its dupe content, canonical, and or phrase based indexing. Whats kinda funny too, is that our subscribed Bell sattelite channels keep interupting movies by the almost screen wide popup that says, you are not subscribed to this channel while at the same time the time of start for the program in the guide chnages by 30 minutes , meanwhile youve been watching the show for half an hour and the popup doesnt go away.
Point is , maybe sattelite hacking is up and coming in the news and that G or Bell for example are succeptible to sattelite infestation which infests there ground computers.
Just a thought...these are the days.


 8:27 pm on Mar 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's something that we've all wondered over the last year. It's not hard to imagine that another search firm wouldn't want to shake googles results to drive users to other engines. There's just too much money to be made for them not to have tried to either hack into or implant a virus. Industrial espionage does happen.


 9:18 pm on Mar 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

Industrial espionage does happen.

Yeah, and they are a golden trophy for advanced hackers as well as
the competition. Still no PIP yet and the worst month in 3 years, very disouraging as after a year of having to work almost full time i was ready to really develop the site. If it was'nt for the absolutely stunning amount of suffering taking place in this world i'd be getting pretty bummed out.


 12:19 am on Mar 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

I had a friend in college that sucessfully hacked into microsoft (about 15 years ago), left his resume on their server then called them. They hired him on the spot!


We're still suffering from last spring as well. We have come back, but only about 50% of what we were doing last year. I'm really very very close to removing analytics and sitemaps. We were doing better when they had to figuire out our site by themselves.

I have deleted a couple of maps to some specific categories of products to see if there is an impact. Time will tell.. if I seem them ranking well again then I'll remove them all.


 3:12 am on Mar 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yeah, i am close to removing the sitemap and analytics but i do have some spamminess left over from starting out with the site i have to change. I used to use frames but keeping up with frame and nonframe version was to much, so i got away from the frames but had similar titles in the frame non-frames versions that were doing good in the serps so i left em when i should have changed the name on one back then.
KInda like widgets-over-here.html and over-here-widgets.html with different aspect of the topic.
I'd seen so many respected sites doing it on a large scale and riding top of the serps i never bothered changing it, also because G,Y and MSN always ranked them both well too and aside from the one page nothing else could be dupe.
It is funny that after all this timne it is shortly after adding the sitemap and analytics that the bottom falls out of the traffic.


 2:14 pm on Mar 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well, I have seen a bit of normalization, hopefully it will last, i ahvnt been on/off like some of you, jsut off fopr a month so i half anticipate another plummet soon.
I would almost assume by the lack of new threads or posts about this that many others have seen some better performance too. If you havn't seen any improvement yet, be careful what you tweak or edit and good luck.


 3:34 pm on Mar 29, 2007 (gmt 0)


We have had exactly the same thing.

Do you have any sitewide links in your footer at all to other domains?
If so try removing these, we are doing at the moment and will see.



 2:23 am on Apr 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Just wanted to update, that I just pulled the plug on sitemaps. Deleted all but one. it only has a few of our major pages in it. Deleted them from webmaster tools as well as our server.

I'm going to wait a week and watch. I'll keep everyone posted if I see any dramatic changes.

I should note that our site is completely white hat... always has been. We have suffered ever since implementing sitemaps in early 2005. I'm done with it.


update. Just wanted to add that within 30 minutes of deleting the sitemaps, traffic quadrupled on our site. (havent determined the source yet)

[edited by: Bewenched at 2:51 am (utc) on April 9, 2007]


 5:03 am on Apr 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

within 30 minutes of deleting the sitemaps, traffic quadrupled on our site

That's Googlebot desperately searching for missing sitemaps. :)


 12:21 pm on Apr 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Maybe so ... well .. they can hunt all the want .. after 2.5 years of problems they are now gone.


 1:10 pm on Apr 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

A tech reporter should do an article on this.

Has a rep from Google addressed this issue? Ever?

One can only imagine the number of folks who are affected by this.

Personally I never used sitemaps. It just makes a site more ugly.

I wish they were like robots.txt, never appearing visibly on site.


P.S. I read so many posts in this thread and never saw an answer to why sitemaps are supposedly so great. Tacky geeky cr@p?!


 7:05 pm on Apr 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

I waited until 4/4 to see if things would improve without a sitemap. They didn't. In the mean time I automated the generation of my sitemaps so they always have the freshest pages in the files when Googlebot rolls around. It looks like my sitemap files are getting fetched once every eight hours now. No change in traffic yet.


 8:39 pm on Apr 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

I waited until 4/4 to see if things would improve without a sitemap. They didn't. In the mean time I automated the generation of my sitemaps so they always have the freshest pages in the files when Googlebot rolls around. It looks like my sitemap files are getting fetched once every eight hours now. No change in traffic yet.

How long did you leave it off?

My sitemaps were always auto genereated and error checked.... Mine was also fetched every few hours ...


 11:56 pm on Apr 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

I left it off from 3/24 until the afternoon of 4/4. (Google Organic traffic stayed relatively flat during this period.) Previously I would run a script manually to generate the sitemap files. I'd run it every few days or maybe daily if I remembered. At one point I forgot to run the script for a few weeks so when I finally got around to it there were a couple thousand new URLs. (less than 1% of the total submitted though.) That's when Google organic referrals really tanked and I started freaking out more than the usual amount.

I thought that maybe I was triggering some type of "too many new pages" mechanism so I switched to automated generation. Now google sees new URLs every single time it fetches the sitemap. I have no idea if this will matter or not. I'm just trying to avoid the mystery drops in Google traffic that appeared to be related to Sitemap updates.

Since I started the automated updates traffic from google is still down overall but it hasn't dropped further. There also haven't been strange spikes and drops that coincided with to sitemap updates.

Only time will tell.


 12:05 am on Apr 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

Ok if true closer association with google leads to a kick in the teeth how best to close association with Google? Where does google show us ability of closing of webmaster accounts?


 1:09 am on Apr 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

I didn't close my webmaster account, I still want to see what "errors" it finds however my only sitemap has our homepage in it. The rest they can find themselves.

I'd been running sitemaps since November 2005 and have suffered because of it. Their tool would show errors when there were no errors. Broken sitemaps when they hadn't been changed in years. After that problem we saw a very VERY sharp decrease in traffic and it was not cause by us at all. This is very scary.

I eliminated all but one url (our homepage) in webmaster tools, I removed analytics (they need no more information about our site). We've been doing ecommerce on the net for over 10 years, very white hat and have had nothing but grief since sitemaps became involved.

We saw no other option but to cut the cord and stop hoping that things will simply get better.. they didn't. The only thing left to try was this drastic measure which will remain for a minimum of 6 months for a true picture of the impact.


 1:17 am on Apr 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thats cool, but I just want to know if there is a way to close a google account?


 1:35 am on Apr 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

As far as I know there is no way of closing an account. If you close the web master account then you'll close your adsense account. They are all linked, aren't they?
As for SiteMaps, they are just crap. Like I have said before, why should we use them? To help Google find our pages? To help Google not to have to spider our sites? I don't see any reason whatsoever to use them. Does Amazon.com have to use a sitemap so google can find all their pages? Hell no! That sitemap would be HUGE! Gb's HUGE!
It's just some sneaky way for google to either do something OR NOT to do something. What it is they'll never tell us. All they say that we help ourselves so Google can fine our pages. Hell, if we need a sitemap, then there is something wrong with our site navigation!
Right now, the problems is not with site maps. One of my sites once again dipped into oblivion for no apparent reason. The only thing that I have done since last time is to add some new content. Nothing major so I don't have a clue what they are doing.
Seems like they f**ked up again and all we can do is to wait and see if it comes back or not. Last time in January it took 2 weeks before they found out that they had screwed up so traffic came back, but before than it was months before they changed their stupid algo.
With the dip not only traffic sucks but also adsense. For some reason the click-through rate dips, PPC is LOW and eCPM is even worse. So when it rains, it pours......

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