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Webmaster Tools - again with the anomalies

 5:58 pm on Jan 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Warning ! 40 % Rant !

http://www.yoursite.com/parked.php 404 (Not found) unavailable
Dec 22, 2010

Anyone else seeing more weirdness in WMT ?

I have no file called parked.php and if they are thinking i do they could at least tell me where they got this url ? But its UNAVAILABLE

This just after spending 20 minutes reading a google forum post asking a simple question, that wasnt clarified in the TOS. Three days, a hundred posts, no mod participation and no resolve.

Also, it seems odd that a huge american company like this would send a hundred thousand dollars to a small company, and then not only cease any coorespondence but ignore any pleas to continue to coorespond in the interest of troubleshooting ,fair trade or development?

[edited by: tedster at 6:25 pm (utc) on Jan 3, 2011]
[edit reason] turn off the automatic linking [/edit]



 10:22 pm on Jan 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

In my Webmaster Tools 404 reports, the far right column includes a link for a list of pages where the bad URL was found - the title of the column is "Linked From".


 10:31 pm on Jan 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

Sometimes they show up as unavailable for me as well.

I am not saying google isn't incompetent, but just that there could be a logical reason for this. If you read over their papers and such - they don't claim to store all this data all the time. They might decide to crawl you for one reason or another - and then delete that link from their set.


 11:20 pm on Jan 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

for 2 months now on one of my sites Google is finding a link "www.example.com/a" it is showing that the pages it found it on is on this very site.....i have fetched as Google bot ....run malware scans...and everything else you can think of and cannot find this link. i was hoping it was a bug and would go away but daily it finds this link on more pages...it is breaking my head.


 11:47 pm on Jan 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

where they got this url ? But its UNAVAILABLE

Somehow I missed this in my first reading. Yes, I do occasionally see that.

Here's my guess. I know from watching server logs that googlebot will sometimes check various URLs spontanouesly, just seeing of they exist or looking for certain types of footprints. And when googlebot does this kind of probing, sometimes those URLs may end up in the 404 report but there's no real source for the link.

I'll also hazard a guess that "parked.php" is part of some type of footprint Google hopes to identify.


 1:47 am on Jan 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the replies, you mean like testing if a server returns soft 404s ?


 2:00 am on Jan 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yes, that's one motivation for this kind of testing. Even more, suppose Google is looking at a particular kind of thing that shows up a number of times in their spidering of the web - such as a certain filename in a particular context.

That combination would be a kind of footprint that may indicate other qualities about the site. This particular file name (parked.php) could also be characteristic of something Google wants to investigate further if it appears on the site.


 4:21 am on Jan 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yes, this may be part of a fetch to detect malwares or hacks or maybe even parked domains.


 4:30 am on Jan 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Even if this is the case - you'd hope Google would keep their private probings out of the 404 report in Webmaster Tools. But this is my best guess at the moment for the kind of anomaly that walrus is asking about.


 9:12 am on Jan 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

meelosh, I am seeing the same thing - mydomain.com/a and like you there is no link like that on our site.

I have added a 301 redirect back to the homepage for this link - do you think I should have left it alone?
I try and resolve all problems shown in the Webmaster Tools account.


 11:26 am on Jan 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am more interested in the hundred thousand dollars :-)


 12:52 pm on Jan 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

smace....like you i try and resolve any WMT issues immediately..but this one i will not 301 until i know what it is and where it comes from? so at the moment i feel safer knowing that link comes up 404...who knows where the link originally comes from (and what impact it can have if it is 200)....so for now i will look into it some more as i have ignored it hoping it was a bug...i will let you know if i come across anything..cheers


 12:55 pm on Jan 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

I was just studying my WMT account a bit closer than usual and found a number of failed links, where the link is only present in another site. It is beyond my control to correct links in other people's sites. Well I could ask I suppose.


 1:08 pm on Jan 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

mark i agree with you 100% and often i will 301 an incoming 404 if i have checked it out first and it is worthwhile....but the 404's Ace and myself are talking about are being found on our own pages by google and cannot be found manually at all....so until i know why they are being found and what impact it will have if it 200's i see it safer if it comes up 404......who knows maybe it is a test from google to see if i am of the type that 301's anything? i dont know... and until i do.. 404 to me is the safest? at this point i am just glad someone else has noticed it as it was driving me crazy


 3:59 pm on Jan 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

the link is only present in another site. It is beyond my control

That can be valuable information for a webmaster. Perhaps the link was intended for a page you removed, or represents a common typo.

In those cases, as meelosh mentioned, you might well want to collect the ranking power of that backlink - webmasters sometimes call this "link reclamation." Otherwise, you can safely ignore the 404 report. It's just there as an FYI.

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