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Index page is vanishing temporarily

6:25 pm on Aug 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

One of my sites, which was affected by the 'index page dropped phenomenon' (bug, penalty or whatever), is vanishing temporarily from the results (when searching for keyword1). The problem often occurs when searching the first time. When the result page is reloaded, normally the page reappears.

The problem doesn't seem to be related to a specific data centre (i.e. it can occur at all of them). The problem also arises for a search of allinanchor, allintitle and allintext of keyword1. However, it seems that other keywords or combination of keywords are not affected.

Anybody else seeing a similar behaviour?

8:49 am on Aug 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

" The guys at the plex are the ones who really know what's up. :) "


Hope so, or they could just be scratching their heads (er beards possibly - do they wear white coats, have large glasses and a fondness for English real ales?). ;O)


12:47 am on Aug 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Just did a search that should bring my site at position 3, and my index page was nowhere to be seen on 7 data centers out of 9. Refreshed and it all returns to normal.

It's not even funny anymore. GoogleGuy, any progress in understanding what is happening? Did you witness the phenomenon with any of the sites that people have sent you?

5:27 am on Aug 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Good News, my index page is back. Didn't have the refresh problem just gone. Well atleast back for now. Hope it stays.


5:53 am on Aug 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I may have one for you to look at, and i am of course very interested if anyone else has had the same problem, and it seems this thread has these poeple. My site is widgets.com i have thousands of links, but i have one very good link from one particularly good site. I tryed to find out how much traffic i was getting from this link so for 1 day i added a "?source=linkedsite" at the end of the url linking to my home page.As luck would have it spiders happened to come by on the one day i had the referrer code in the link. As of when these links started showing on -cw my domain name switched on all servers to www.widgets.com?source=linkedsite. This has happened to a few sites that i have that link to the same linkedsite. Anyway, the homepage of my site is now a PR of 0(when poiting to -cw), however my internal pages are fine. I'm still doing fine in the SERPS except of course my homepage who can no longer be found for its companies name, which it has held the top spot in for as long as i can remember. Basically as far as i can see my homepage has been ripped out of the index and replaced by its domain with a referrer code attatched.
My only idea is google has some how recognized this as to seperate URLS and and has given it some kind of duplicate content penalty or something. As the homepage now registers 0 links or at least gets a response of "did not match any documents" Seems unbelieveable but believe it. GG, sticky me please if you'd like to look. I think I along with many others are a little weiry of submitting a spam report on our own sites;) Its an industry leader site in a very competitive industry, so i dont really want to throw it around in this forum.

Well aware of referral codes coming up in the index, but replacing a homepage?

2:03 pm on Aug 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Have to agree...something definitely strangegoing on here...

Although google still has 5000+ of my pages indexed, index page has disappeared on all datacenters for primary keyphrase, although site still comes up when searching for the company name directly. All other pages seem to be unaffected (still plenty of adsense clicks ;-), and site still has PR6 rating showing on front page.

This seems to be happening every Sunday/Monday. The same thing occurred to a long-time competitor. His frontpage disappeared from the index for a week, and reappeared the following weekend.

In addition, SERPS quality seems to have taken a nosedive, with pages 2-on filled with amazon/epinions/microsoft knowledgbase links.

It appears (at least on my end) that google perfoms some kind of recaculation/reorganization of links every weekend, and quickly distributes the results to all datacenters.

Frankly, I'm surprised they continue to allow the SERPS to decline in quality as they have over the past couple of months, but am confident once they find the problem, they will return to relevancy....I just hope my site get's returned in the process ;-)

2:39 pm on Aug 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My website has 10000+ pages in the index all seemingly doing fine in the google serps, the internal pages seem to have taken a bit of a PR hit though and my home page is a blank white bar:(. Cant be found for any of the key search terms its optimized for, but i see now that it does come up for my full company name. I still am showing links(the old count on the main index but it looks like they are not being counted in the SERPS) Webfusion are you showing any links on -cw and hows your PR doing? When you search for www.widgets.com my site still comes up but its www.widgets.com?source=linkedsite. Another resmeblance i have seen to some other posters here is there was a reshuffle of directories at dmoz and the directory my site was in was renamed they didnt bother to relocate it so its no longer in the dmoz directory. I dont know how to get it back other than resubmitting it, god only knows how long that will take. Any other connections?
2:52 pm on Aug 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I just want to say quickly that i run a number of companies, luckily i have diversified, I employ alot of people, not quite up there with google, but getting there. I use proper true and trusted SEO techniques with no funny stuff. I wouldn't ever risk it nor do i think these techniques are for serious businesses, but Google Guy this is a serious problem, I've seen it coming in the data centers for some time now, and now its been let loose on the main index. I think it deserves a proper assessment. I don't take for granted that you're here and I doubt if this forum is part of your google job description, so i'm not expecting too much of you. I and I'm sure many others(everyone) are very greatfull to the input youve had here and I think this is an issue that begs for you to come through.
3:33 pm on Aug 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Actually, my backlink count increased by over 100 in the -cw index, but main page is still MIA for main keyword/phrase (still shows up when searching for comapny name, though).

Main page still shows PR6, and other pages of site still receive a good deal of traffic. Luckily, I've seen the writing on the wall and have diversified beyond this site, as well as gaining decent ranking on other engines (cmon Yahoo...swith to your own results ;-)!

I'm hoping this is just a temporary glitch...but I'm certainly not counting on it. While I've heard for months the "don't depend on google for your income" crowd, and have several #1 positions on teoma/altavista/inktomi, when an engine has positioned itself to drive 75%+ of all search traffic, what alternative is there? (other than expensive PPC campaigns).

Ah well...luckily, our affiliate program is coming along, and will be fully implemented by October 1st. From then on, I am going to focus the majority of our marketing efforts on our affiliates, and stop worrying about dropping off the radar every other week ;-)

4:50 pm on Aug 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Seems to be getting worse.

On most datacenters searching for my company name, which is unique, brings up two internal pages as #2 and #3, #1 is a profile of my company on another site. Index gone except on refresh when it is #1.

5:14 pm on Aug 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Guess i must be in a one man kyak without a paddle:o. on the updated data centers, i am seeing no links, im getting "a didnt match any documents" linking to my homepage. My hosts file is now pointing to the main index and my pr is fluxuating from 6 to 0. It doesnt look good, any suggestions? anyone? I guess all I can really do is wait it out. im sure it will all fix itself in a month or 2 at least i hope.
5:14 pm on Aug 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I agree. It seems to be getting worse.
5:34 pm on Aug 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It seems the bug has bitten my site too :(
-Index page has no PR (grey toolbar)
-Inner pages has pr of 4
-Backward links of index page shows 74 backward links.
- Index page is still in cache
-Homepage is missing from top results, where its been for almost 3 months (not even in top 50)

Hope it gets corrected soon :(

6:36 pm on Aug 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Was a bit concerned...
New site went live, BOT the next day, indexed the next and #1 for keywords, disappeared the next, and stayed in hiding for 7 days.
Reappeared at 02.00 Sunday as #1 for keywords, but still can't find URL.
No longer concerned......just mystified

Does not yet have any links, and obviously not yet in ODP.

7:00 pm on Aug 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Just to keep the thread on track (I know that's hard with the silliness about new posts being approved), we really should stick to the topic, which is the REFRESH problem.

If you guys keep putting every little other problem you have into this thread, the chances of us getting to the bottom of our little refresh problem are lessened.

Not trying to be a jerk here, I know your problems are important too, but it really is better not to cloud the issue.

5:02 pm on Aug 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

"You might also note that GoogleGuy has not posted on this issue at all (either here or elsewhere)."
Did someone call me? Hi, everybody. :) Let me give you a bit of background from my perspective. During the Esmeralda update, I tried my utmost to investigate complaints about missing index pages. I left my stickmail on. I wrote directly to people and asked for examples, etc. After trying my best to bird-dog down the complaints, I received a total of three reports where someone thought that their index page wasn't showing up where it should.

I'm totally happy to check out individual examples if people think there are problems, but I need data. :) If you fill out a spam report, let's use the keyword "indexpage"--I have the ability to scan for specific keywords in the spam reports, and then it's easy for me to debug or work with other Googlers to see if there's anything going on. Given what I know about the crawl/index at this instant, I'm just a smidge skeptical, but again--I'm happy to check out specifics to be on the safe side.

Hope that helps,

GG, it has been some time now that since some people have sent you reports.

Do you have any comment?

5:25 pm on Aug 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yes, something would definately be appreciated. :)
6:26 pm on Aug 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm totally happy to check out individual examples if people think there are problems, but I need data... <SNIP> .. it's easy for me to debug or work with other Googlers to see if there's anything going on. Given what I know about the crawl/index at this instant, I'm just a smidge skeptical, but again--I'm happy to check out specifics to be on the safe side.

Googleguy made this comment a while ago, but I just put in perspective with all the recent posts (especially those on the thread "More eBay, Amazon, Dealtime, Epinions, etc. in Results").

Now... Googleguy's comments sound downright naive, or spin-doctored, or both.

I don't mean to bash GoogleGuy personally. I just think a more honest dialogue is imperative, considering the strong feelings that are surfacing here (after all, people's traffic and livelihood are at stake!)

12:41 pm on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi all (i`m new here)
I want to re-post here a message posted by 'edayle' on the page 4 of this topic because my situation is the same as described below:

"I have one site that I manage for an instrument builder. The index page does not show up at all in the serps. When I do a search for the url it says that Google has no information. The other pages of this site rank well. Now get this though. The index page has page rank. When you do a backward link search it shows the links and get this... When I am on the index page and use the toolbar to show me a "cached example" it shows the index page with recent changes I made. But do the url search and google says "no information"."

Could somebody explain what is going on?


2:08 pm on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

This morning, I did not see my index page MIA on any of the data centers. Just a coincidence, or did they possibly fix the bug? Is that true also for other pages that suffered the same problem?
2:11 pm on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Howdy, all,

I was asked to change my handle due to confusion with the old one... Been monitoring and had maybe 10 posts in last 6 months.

I'm managing 250 URL's and have 10,000+ backlinks, good content, minimal edgy stuff on 'test' basis (heh, there ARE a bundle of engines out there).

6/28- deep freshie starts
7/7- phrases start to pop to top
7/21- Life is good
8/1- Life is better
8/9- Life is grand
8/11- 50% of indexes dissappear; still on index, however.

*Boing* *boing* *boing*

2:17 pm on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


I noticed the opposite of you, my index page seemed to have stopped disappearing for the last few days but today it's started doing it again. Damn!

I've started to wonder if it has anything to do with the fresh tags, I lost mine for a few days and that's when it seemed to be working correctly, now it's fresh tagged again it's started misbehaving. Even though it had lost the fresh tag for those few days the cached version was still being updated every day.


2:47 pm on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have this problem also -

I type a particular keyword phrase and hit search - my sites omes up number 9 - if I refresh the page I am number 2.

This happens from the tool bar or from the the Google page. I noticed this 2 days ago.

I hope this is just glitch -


3:28 pm on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

No changes here. This is getting really old.

And still not word one from GoogleGuy on the matter. That says to me that they just don't care about this.

Still wish he'd at least say so though.

3:45 pm on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Some may not think it is not related but just in case.

My Index page dissapeared again. Was listed on 2nd page for 2 days and now gone. I think there is some kind of a relationship between these Phenoms.


3:46 pm on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


You may be right. There is no fresh tag for my site right now...

I'll check whether the page starts disappearing again from the SERPs once it regains a fresh tag and will report here whether the correlation holds.

4:52 pm on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

A Quick update....

Gained over 100 backlinks in the "new" update (as of this morning).

Home (index) page still MIA for main keyword/phrase (was in top 5). Site still comes up when company name is searched for. In addition, google has over 7000 pages from site listed in their index (via marketleap), including the index page.

Multiple googlebot crawlers have been hoovering site for the last couple of days, but not one has hit the index page (deeper pages only), including freshbot. Site still maintains PR6.

My only possible explanation? The site was down for several hours last sunday due to a server hard-drive failure. Since Google appears to be re-configuring serps about once per week (at least for my genre), I think it may be possible that my site will return to the index in a week or so (I hope).

In addition, I've noticed this same phenom occurring to several of my competitors, a few of which disppeared a couple of weeks ago for about 5-6 days, then returning to index (about the same time my site's main page went AWOL). Further, I've noticed a general degradation of relevancy in my genre, with all pages beyond the first page returning relatively poor results.

5:34 pm on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

Still need to hit the refresh a lot of the time - took a month + to fix broken Google before.
6:04 pm on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

For us, it's done this refresh stuff since they 'fixed' it before...not as bad as it does now, but it's been doing it all along.
7:00 pm on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Verified. The ones with fresh tags are now disappearing completely. (just like they did last time it was broken)
7:59 pm on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

At least in my case the problem isn't related to fresh tags.

drewls, did you recently changed the content of those (disappearing) pages?

Probably the following observation isn't related to the problem, but at least it is showing that strange things are happening. When I search for a search term at yahoo.de I got the right sponsered links but the results for a completly different serach term. Moreover, I searched for german sites and I got french. Refreshing the page solved the problem. (GoogleGuy, I saved the result just for the case that this phenomenon was related to the original problem and you are interested in details.)

This 203 message thread spans 7 pages: 203

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