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Broken site stays #1 - Once an Authority, always an Authority?

 10:30 am on Jul 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

This was not a deliberate test, but I thought I would share the results of one of my sites where something bad has failed to budge it's main keyword ranking from the SERPS.

Authority site, 6 years old. Toolbar PR, for what it's worth, has been steady at 5 for the last 4 years. Lots of inbound links with keyword anchor text pointing at the homepage. 10,000 pages.

Completely broken. For the last 4 months every single of the 10,000 pages (previously all indexed) has displayed a "failed to connect to database" type error. No page titles. As I mentioned, this was not deliberate - I've simply been too busy to fix it and it's low priority (generates little revenue).

Homepage still ranking #1 for it's main keyword (which does not feature in it's domain name - it's a branded site). Google returns about 1m results all in for that keyword. Lot's of paid Adwords ads, but it's not a big-money keyword.

The Wikipedia page, which is actually very good content-wise and a perfect landing page for anyone searching this keyword, is at #2.

Anyone landing on my site in the last 4 months would be greatly dissappointed. In google as much as me.


4 months and nothing has changed as far as google is concerned. Crawler always used to come along once a day although I haven't checked to see if that's changed.

The majority of pages are still in the index as far as an allinurl search tells me. I haven't yet examined the ones that are not in there, or been able to determine which ones are removed.

The site has lost it's sitelinks listing.

Interesting isn't it. Any questions? Anything you'd like me to take a look at specifically and report back on?



 11:29 am on Nov 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Further to the November SERPs thread, I think G did a big evaluation on trust and/or authority on 31st October. My thought is that they 'forgot' everything they knew, and rebuilt their snapshot from scratch.

<edit- as per next 2 posts, originally wrong month>

[edited by: Shaddows at 12:24 pm (utc) on Nov. 10, 2008]


 11:35 am on Nov 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think G did a big evaluation on trust and/or authority on 31st December.

Do you mean 31st October?


 11:36 am on Nov 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

31st December

Do you mean 31st October?



 11:52 am on Nov 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

It now becomes an interesting experiment to see how hard it is to get it back.

Interestingly I did this with a 6 year old .co.uk site recently that has been 301'd for the past couple of years and it came straight back in. Granted it has good new information on it however I was surprised just how fast it did.

It's ranking well in Google.co.uk (the web) but seemingly not so good in the US Google.com as yet .


 12:26 pm on Nov 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Indeed, 31 October. Now amended, sorry.


 1:24 pm on Nov 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

It might be so that google considers that a site can be taken down due to various factors

I can think of several amature webmasters who forgot to renew their hosting accounts on time and had their sites taken down for a while. Its probably quite reasonable to assume that a site may rise from the grave.


 1:44 pm on Nov 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

If the site has been ranked in top three, it means that there is becoming authority that would have more weight and already done well in reputation for search engine. The good inbound link is signficifant to achieve that. I have been ever worked for my client for high competitive keywords, the client site always in #1 in many years, even there are leak of web hosting two or three days , but it still there.

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