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Page for popular title not showing up for the primary keyword

 12:24 am on Aug 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

I added a page for an extremely popular title well over two weeks ago. When I enter the title name + my domain name + keyword I don't see any listing. However, when I remove the keyword and replace it (or not) with any other word on that page, it turns up.

What is going on?

I added several other pages for other titles at the same time and they'r e all ranking where I would expect them for this keyword.



 12:59 am on Aug 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

There were one or two similar observations here for the same thing. Not easy to say what's going on - it could be a data bug at Google, or it could even be a coding error on the particular page. A search like [title name + my domain name + keyword] is very specific, and sometimes they do fail, even though the page comes up in a more common query.

Does your domain name appear in the actual text of the page?


 1:50 am on Aug 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

Yes, it might be a coding problem. I had a look and found the title tag wedged between the meta description and meta generator tags. The keyword only appears in the title. I guess that might do it? Otherwise, the head tag looks pretty messy. Will redo in a proper editor.

It might explain my observation four days ago that none of the other names in the page title were showing up in a search. Although, they are today - just not the keyword.

I may have harmed my ranking for this page by being so careless.

And no - my domain name does not appear in the page text anywhere.

Thankyou for the solution


 6:07 pm on Oct 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

Can you tell me if the order of the title and meta tags is important?

The page above did appear to recover almost immediately after I cleaned up the code. It was sitting nicely at the bottom of page 1 of the serps for a while. Then it started to yo-yo in out of the top 5, sometimes being replaced by the Homepage. It has now disappeared again and about another 10 of my pages have been similarly affected. They don't return any results for queries or phrases that are in the title tag when previously they were all at #1. They don't show up as supplemental pages either.

They have the following in common:

1. The pages are either for rarer and obscure titles for which there is not a lot of interest and I wouldn't normally see many queries. Or they are for very competitive newer titles and the pages have only recently been uploaded in the last few weeks.
2. They are not listed in GWT as having any internal or external links. Not true! - they all have both - some only 1 or 2 external links. Others have a few which I have no trouble locating in Google.
3. The title and meta tags were edited in Frontpage. The coding looks like this:
<meta name="keywords"...
<meta name="Description"...

More often, I manually edit the tags in Notepad and everything is a bit neater.

I've been experimenting (just a little) with the title attribute lately - adding new keywords and phrases in a way in which, perhaps, Google may find uncustomary for my site.

Could the coding be the cause or perhaps Google has just changed it's algo tonight?


 6:23 pm on Oct 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

The order should have no effect, though some people say it might. If it does at all I'd say the effect would be so small as to be virtually unnoticeable.

I've been experimenting (just a little) with the title attribute lately - adding new keywords and phrases in a way in which, perhaps, Google may find uncustomary for my site.

You mean the <title> element? There have been a few reports and a couple of discussions where people have observed that changing page titles has had some adverse effects. Sounds like the conventional wisdom at the moment is that if it ain't bad, don't mess with it.


 6:53 pm on Oct 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

I haven't actually changed any page titles on the site. With new galleries that I've added recently, I've been changing the convention in which I normally do the page titles - targeting extra keywords and phrases and making them different on every page when previously I'd have 10 to 20 pages all with duplicate titles - and I'd only go in and optimize the first one so that the gallery could be found on the search engines. I may have gone too far targeting too many different phrases.


 3:46 am on Nov 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think I've nailed this!

I went and checked all the backlinks and found that all (except for one) of the linking pages had greyed-out toolbars.

The one page that wasn't greyed-out was for an extremely popular title on which there were another 80 or so links just like mine.


 4:33 am on Nov 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

OK, I'm with you. Now the question becomes: why did Google turn toolbar PR to gray on those pages?

"Graybar Disease" is something we're seeing more and more of, and the details are not all clear to me. In some cases I've seen, it is clear that the pages are rather peripheral. They're often little more than link lists. So no matter how much PR the original formula would send to them, it makes some sense to have them "set aside" in some way so they don't end up in the SERPs.

But that's not always the situation I see. so yes, there seems to be a new set of criteria (evolved from the Sitelinks algo, maybe) to devalue certain pages. That much is clear, but what are all the ways a url gets chosen for this honor?


 5:31 am on Nov 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

but what are all the ways a url gets chosen for this honor?

Perhaps user interest is a factor. Many of these urls are from the one big site and what they have in common is that they are for not well-known, old, forgotten or obscure titles for which there is little interest or people don't bother clicking because they think it is unlikely they'll find what they're looking for. On some of these urls, I'm the only link.

I have other pages also for less common titles which have kept their ranking but these are all aged.

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