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|Google Referals Down and Dropping More|
I have gotten a feeling of paranoia recently, with regard to Goog...
I run a clean site. It is a large, informational site. Sure, I have links to Amazon and such where appropriate, but I make most of my income from ads. My site is deep, with about 110K main topics covered. From each of those, there is probably 4-6 sub pages. Original content, no penalties ever. Been on the web over ten years, and generally considered an authority site I guess.
So, since March, I have seen a slow but steady bleed off of referrals from Goog. Late April there was a big hit- maybe 15 % in a week right there. I look at my logs, and I see it continuing, albeit a bit slower.... but still loosing traffic.
So I have not been sitting idly by. I have gone over my site, and refined it. I have made my meta tags much more accurate and on point. I redesigned my title tags to be more informative (took out the site name, added what I considered more pertinent info). With 110K pages, it is a little hit and miss with my CMS to get accurate tags across all my different data types, but I think I have done well in that regard.
I crawl my site, and make XML feeds of my updated pages for Goog, and give them to her. I have also added a new series of pages (on the order of 110K x 4) so there is new, fresh stuff.
Goog is taking the feeds. They show 878K pages sent, 420K in google, which is higher that it ever has been. A "site:my.site" check on Goog shows 106 results (a month ago, this was 130K, a year ago, 200K)> I have addressed most concerns in Web Master Tools (dup titles, dup meta tags), have no crawl errors. Goog shows 30K pages a day crawled, and this looks to be headed up, while my time spent to d/l a page is dropping.
It seems like I am doing everything right, and I am still bleeding traffic. I am at a loss of what to do. If someone would care to see my site, I am happy to PM it to you. ANy ideas what I can do?
I think- here- the "nuclear option is appropriate. I essentially changed mysite.com/coloring/17766-lion.html to mysite.com/colors/17766-lion.html IF there was a color field.... and create no link if there is not. So now ALL "coloring" links are 410ed... they will not be coming back ever. The animals with coloring fields now have a "colors" page... and as I add more "colors", they too will have the new page.
I also think because I am limited in not being able to 404 specific pages in my CSM, I need to do all or nothing in a link scheme. So I plan on going forward with the new scheme, so I think the 410 is appropriate.
I also read that other post about 404's causing problems. My read on that was LINKING to pages that are not there. I have removed my links... i think (HOPE!) there is a difference in that to Goog.
I never drop a page address from my hosting account for any reason. If a page needs to have the content eliminated, I create a very simple frame (with a 30px top nav and with target="_top" for the 5 or 6 primary links in that thin frame), save it with the same name as the orig page, and point the bottom frame to something relevant within my own site. That keeps the URL valid and presents to the viewer what I want them to see. Have never had a problem doing that, and does not require any redirects.
(I hasten to add however, none of these sites has thousands of pages, so not a lot of time is involved, especially since I use the same frame template whenever necessary).
>>>> I never drop a page address from my hosting account for any reason...
I would just point out that my problem is that I have too many pages in Google for the number of inbound links I have. I NEED to drop addresses. This will kill 150K pages (at least).... and hopefully save the rest of my site.
|I have gotten a feeling of paranoia recently, with regard to Goog... |
I run a clean site. It is a large, informational site. Sure, I have links to Amazon and such where appropriate, but I make most of my income from ads. My site is deep, with about 110K main topics covered.
I'd be willing to wager that spammers have made as many pages out of your content as you have, if not more. As long as that works it will continue to get worse.
>>> I'd be willing to wager that spammers have made as many pages out of your content as you have>>>
I have looked for a knock-off site. Never found one. Mainly just tried searching for special phrases from my site. Nada. I do NOT have RSS feeds, could that be a reason? Also, without getting too technical, I have other protections. You grab a certain number of pages from my site in less than a certain amount of time, and you will not be getting any more pages....
I may not have that problem licked.... but I do not think I have that problem much.
Maybe my head is in the sand though... is there a good way to find someone copying my site?
I had a question regarding content on my site. I had something that MIGHT be considered duplicate data, but really it was a different way of showing thr data.... just wanted your opinion on if this was OK or not...
Back to the animal site analogy.... I have two types of pages. The directory sort of pages (that have sub-directories or animals on it) and the detailed Animal pages. My site's natural hierarchy goes something like:
Mammal >> Species >>>
and then the list of Animals.
So I loooked, and I saw a lot of people searching for "Meat Eaters" and "Omnivores". Since all my Animal pages have this attribute, I used my search function to make these a clickable word, it returns a list of animals that match that term on a modified search page (one "tuned" to meat eater or omnivore, let's say). I did the same for the continent and country of a specific animal.
So I am using my same data, but presenting it in a new way. The ultimate animal pages are still the same.... but I now have "Omnivore" pages and "Africa" pages to augment the natural "Mammal >> Species >>>" hierarchy.
I am NOT doing this to fool goog, I am doing it because I saw a need from my users, a behavior from my users, and I am trying to fill that. But with my duplicate content problem with google... or my too many pages in google diluting my Link Juice, these links were the first to go.
What do you think? Did I remove these too quickly, and should I reinstate them, or are they duplicate and good to be gone?
Sorry- another question.
Someone made a note that my CMS should NOT just forward any page requested.... I should be able to lock out certain pages (like those with no information on them!)
I have been working on that, and actually added a small bit of perl to my CMS to check for certain fields and return an error if those pages do not exist. My problem is that my CMS is a little to smart for me- it returns an error page... but that page is a 200!
Will Goog recognize that is my sites sitewide error page and discount it, or am I gonna have to find a way to force a 404?
No, that won't work. Will further complicate the situation. You need to return the 404 status code. After that you can still have some content on that page explaining what the error was. jdMorgan explains it in this thread here [webmasterworld.com]. Basically, you need to precede any output of your script with
|My problem is that my CMS is a little to smart for me- it returns an error page... but that page is a 200! |
print ("Status: 404 Not Found\n");. Find the line that executes
print ("Content-Type: text/htm\n\n"); and make sure that the line that contains the 404 status executes before it.
|So I am using my same data, but presenting it in a new way. The ultimate animal pages are still the same.... but I now have "Omnivore" pages and "Africa" pages to augment the natural "Mammal >> Species >>>" hierarchy. |
I am a little confused here:
Are they different URLs but (more or less) the same content?
Or is it the same URL and just a different navigation path to get there. Is the final page the same page / URL, but instead of going Mammal > Species > Lion is it a different path like Carnivore > Africa > Lion?
This sounds like "faceted navigation" - a different sorting or filtering of short page summaries that are tagged with the same keyword. Depending on your specific site this could be a good thing, or it could be a big problem. Important key to keep in mind, Google does not want to index search results.
1script: Thanks for the advice. I had already read Jims post, but no matter what I did, I could NOT get it to return a 404. Somehow my system catched the 404 call and replaces that with an "Error on our site" page (which is a 200). I will keep working on that to get it righgt.
Planet 13: They are completely different navigational paths.... The main (normal!) site has a typical hierarchy with a crumb path like:
"Mammal >> Species >>>"
"Avian >> Species >>>"
The Species page will have a list of all the animals in that species... "Mammal" and "Species" are like "Category" pages... the Animal pages are like Detail pages.
Now lets say you go to the Lion page... and on that you see that it is a meat eater. Meat eater is Linked, so you click it, and you get a new page (developed from my search system, but reworked to look like an alternate Category page) that lists all the animals that are meat eaters. Similarly, if you click on the "Africa" link from the Lion page, you are returned a Category Listing of all the animals (Avian, mammal, reptile, etc) that live in Africa. In other words, the same Animal detail pages presented and sorted in a different way.
The results on these pages have the APPEARENT crumb trail of SITE >>> AFRICA and then the list of animals that fit that criteria....
I think Tedster has it right when he calls it "faceted navigation"...
|I think Tedster has it right when he calls it "faceted navigation"... |
yes, but on those new pages (Africa, for instance) is the content significantly different?
On Africa, would it just have links to the Lion (and other animal pages)?
Or would the content of the Africa page be similar / the same to another page?
That is the part I am not clear on.
as long as the content is unique, I think it is perfectly fine to have that faceted navigation... In fact, I think it is great to have it that way.
is there something else that can be causing your drop in rankings? I am in the same boat and trying to figure out why...
>>> On Africa, would it just have links to the Lion (and other animal pages)?
That is it- just a re-sort of the same Animal detail pages. Just a different way to sort the data. The PRESENTATION is totally different, but the pages linked to are the same. I think it is a useful alternate view- a LOT of people search that way, and that is why I have the alternate view.... but I am afraid it is just more links sucking my Link Juice.
Well, I have worked my CMS and added a check on the existence of fields before producing the sub pages (as suggested on page one on this thread). I have removed the 410 rewrites, and made the Colors => Coloring updates as a 301. Coloring will return a 404 if there is no "Color" field at all, and a new page if it does exist! Thanks for that advice- I think this is a lot better to keep my current good pages active in Google!
Planet13- I would just look for similar pages... or very closly similar pages... and get rid of them. I was lazy about that... and that did not seem to used to matter. Now it is not a race to have as many pages as possible.... it is also filling those pages with non-copied content- even if it is copied from yourself!
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