TheBigK - 8:04 pm on Nov 27, 2012 (gmt 0)
TMS - it feels good when someone does a detailed analysis, than just posting 'do this' 'do that'. BIG THANK YOU!
May I mention that the 404s count rose over a period of 2-3 weeks (It took us some time to figure out that it was the DISQUS plugin). What it did was create several versions of a valid URL, for example-
Correct URL: sample.com/my-happy-url/
Disqus Generated : sample.com/my-happy-url/random-number -> 404
sample.com/my-happy-url/random-number -> 404
Each good URL got about an average of 3-6 bad URLs. So I fixed it by issuing a 301 redirect for each bad URL to the correct URL.
Point to note: These URLs were all internal; so Google might have thought we've pretty bad pages. By the time we figured out the problem, the 404 count had touched 99k. It's down at about 52k now.
Point to note: Google crawl rate dropped almost in sync with the 404 errors on the site. It's not recovered yet. So, I had concluded that because Google thinks our site had large number of 'bad' URLs, let's crawl them lesser and even push them down in ranking.
Problem with wordings: I think I should have mentioned that the URLs are all *internal* URLs that resulted into 404 errors. I fixed them up in one go (through redirects) but Google's still not acknowledging that they're all gone.
Is there any ballpark figure available on how long will it take Google to really start trusting us?