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Index page is vanishing temporarily

     
6:25 pm on Aug 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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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?

7:43 am on Aug 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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No you are not. It is widespread.

It happens at different centers at different times, but has been going on since the original problem was 'repaired'.

It may have got worse since the weekend, since the results became VERY cluttered in some areas with Amazon, eBay, PDF's, etc. That could be just perception though, as this latter problem has only just arisen.

Combined this is not good.... not good at all.

7:52 am on Aug 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Actually, just doing a few more checks, some sites now remain absent (on their index pages) even AFTER re-fresh.

I can see the 'Google is Broken' movement emerging again if this stays in place. Hopefully it's only temporary. Hardly fills your with confidence though.

8:07 am on Aug 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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My two sites which were in google now only has the index page. I am not sure if its banned or its something to do with google. Can a site with PR2 be banned..

Also one of my site which is in google is not in yahoo. Are they using different results..

Thanks
David

9:07 am on Aug 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>> may be deemed problem sites by Google, rather than a problem with Google <<

I doubt it:

a) Some of the sites affected are clean by anyone's definition

b) Vanishing and returning on a second search is hardly a calculated approach to dealing with problem sites

c) The centers affected are intermittent

d) The sites affected change from time to time

No... it's a problem with Google, and has been there since the so called 'repair' a month or so ago. It just seems to be getting worse, not better.

Note that this is a different issue to the sudden appearance of non-relevant Amazon/eBay/PDF/DOC/etc pages that seem to be appearing on some searches. This is recent (this weekend) and is more likely an algo tweak gone askew.

10:55 am on Aug 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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No... it's a problem with Google, and has been there since the so called 'repair' a month or so ago. It just seems to be getting worse, not better.

Unfortunately, I have to agree with both statements. I changed the page more than once, but the problem always reappear. Also, it seems to get worser the last days.

3:18 pm on Aug 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I too am experiencing this problem on and off over the past couple of days; even typing in my company name is no longer bringing up the index page which has been coming up every time for the past 6 months in Google whenever Iíve tried previously (asides from the problems we all experienced several months ago).

I am getting results for <my domain>/contacts.html, <my domain>/terms.html etc so these pages havenít been dropped. No hidden code, nothing dodgy.

5:45 pm on Aug 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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yup..i have one site that ranked well for a year that now only appears for a refresh....but thats for a particular keyword..other keywords its fine....so..back to the keyword thingy again!...however each time the sites are hit by the keyword bug (?) the next time around its never quite as bad as the time before...
6:53 pm on Aug 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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As a programmer, this sounds to me like a classic error - failing to initialize a variable. Very strange though that a repeat of the search would typically yield a correct result. Is that really happening or is the error purely random?

Kaled.

7:28 pm on Aug 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Is that really happening or is the error purely random?

It isn't random. The probability that the page disappears for the first search is higher compared to refreshing the results.

10:32 pm on Aug 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Yep, it's happening to one of my sites too. On the first search, the #1 result is a site that no longer exists...and then you refresh, and my site comes back to #1.
11:12 pm on Aug 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Just happened to two of my domains, one of which is in the OPD, where the index page is -poof!- gone, even for what should be no-brainer searches, like "domainname". :( It's not a huge deal to me, because I have interior pages that are stronger for most relevant search terms, but coupled with the "expired domain penalty / Google Kiss of Death" that's virtually removed the site in my profile from the Google index (last GoogleBot visit I can find was in May), and the massive influx of eBay and Amazon pages ranking high on competetive search terms, it's not looking good to me.
5:39 am on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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does the index page gone as well when allinanchor: is added before the search terms?
5:53 am on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>> may be deemed problem sites by Google, rather than a problem with Google <<
I doubt it:

a) Some of the sites affected are clean by anyone's definition

b) Vanishing and returning on a second search is hardly a calculated approach to dealing with problem sites

c) The centers affected are intermittent

d) The sites affected change from time to time

No... it's a problem with Google, and has been there since the so called 'repair' a month or so ago. It just seems to be getting worse, not better.

Note that this is a different issue to the sudden appearance of non-relevant Amazon/eBay/PDF/DOC/etc pages that seem to be appearing on some searches. This is recent (this weekend) and is more likely an algo tweak gone askew.

Napoleon: I agreed with you months ago in that famous thread of yours regarding this issue (I was a different "person" then :) )

I now see it happening again, and it is effecting the same URL's index pages.

I can only "make" it happen about once or twice an hour, very odd.

I tend to think that it is Google fixing old stuff and that tomorrow will bring a new and better day.

Your thoughts?

7:30 am on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>> Your thoughts? <<

I wish I was as confident as you were about them, but I'm not.

This particularly problem (the refresh requirement) has been there since the so called fix. It's as though the fix was badly coded or something and doesn't work properly.

Yes, it is getting worse, and quite a lot worse. More centers affected simultaneously for example.

Add to that the other problems: Amazon/eBay/PDF/etc all over the place and the backdrop is not a happy one.

It is more likely that they don't see any of these issues as a major problem. That's why some of my posts have been quite hostile... there may be an arrogance, which as posted frequently, is the first step to decline. At the very least, they are not taking these problems seriously, and seem quite content to see the quality of the results decline somewhat.

That's not good news for anyone. You might also note that GoogleGuy has not posted on this issue at all (either here or elsewhere).

8:34 am on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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does the index page gone as well when allinanchor: is added before the search terms?

Normally, only keyword allintext and allintitle are affected. However, I saw also that the index page was gone when I added allinanchor (but these events are rare).

The results are really strange. For example, I searched at yahoo some days ago and the index page appeared/disappeared with a probability of approx. 50% (refreshing the result page). When I searched today, the index page never appeared when I restricted the results to 'german pages', while there was no problem at all when searching world wide (maybe the results were chached?). Searching at Google yields the usual result: the page only appeared when refreshing the page. When switching to 'pages from germany' or 'pages in german', the same thing happend.

5:07 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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doc_z,

Yahoo show different results every time is because Yahoo fetch result from one of the datacenters of Google and process it a bit and then post it too you. Each access to the datacenter is random. So I bet your listing is showing in some datacenters and not others, so Yahoo might show and not showing your site depends on which google datacenter it access.

Try to check ALL datacenters at once and compare the results. From my experience, FI, DC and EX always have strange results while others are very stable. You may find some useful search tool by searching 'google dance'.

Good Luck.

5:17 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>>That's not good news for anyone. You might also note that GoogleGuy has not posted on this issue at all (either here or elsewhere). >>

Agreed. It's a problem they don't seem to want to acknowledge or solve. Perhaps they don't believe it exists and are attributing it to everflux, as some of the less clever people who pop into threads about it here at WW do.

If the latter is the case, I wish they'd just take a few minutes to have a good look at what is going on.

5:52 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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why everybody always consider it as an accident, bug, or error? While I always think that they are *intended* - not a bug at all.
6:10 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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"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,
GoogleGuy

6:14 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I also see this phenomenon with some of the sites i work on since at least two months. One of these sites uses a alphabetical index of various widgets.

example.com/widgets/
example.com/widgets/widgets_a.htm
example.com/widgets/widgets_b.htm ...

The index page - the one with the most backlinks (external as well as internal back links) - is nowhere, but the page widget_A.htm and widget_N.htm is #3 + #4 for widgets. Yes, i tend to believe that google tries to reduce the value of index pages and instead pushes deep pages - even if index pages are more relevant to the query.

Another phenomenon: a search for Netscape 4.78 [google.com] returns Japanese and French Netscape pages above intended english pages allthough searched at Google.com in default english language ...

Seems that the site clustering in general is somewhat confused.

GoogleGuy, with all due respect, i'd never fill a spam report mentioning my own sites. Thanks for your understanding. ;)

<added>
GoogleGuy, compare this #1's (AOL):

travel booking [google.com]
travel booking service [google.com]

I'm not in the travel buzz but the results seem to be obvious examples for the mentioned phenomenon.
</added>

<added2>
Oohps, look this: AdSense [google.com]
... or even this: AdWords [google.com]!
Or should i fill a spam report? ;)
</added2>

6:35 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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GoogleGuy:

I do see the issue that Napoleon has been soap-boxing about. It is real.

Problem is, myself and I would guess many others really do not want to send you an individual example, at least not our own.

I for one would rather not have you poking around in my keywords... ;)

6:41 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Yidaki,

Your examples are just TOO GOOD! ;)

drewls,

> you've demonstrated in the post right above that you haven't a clue about the phenomenon being discussed here.

Hehe. My posts on 'missing index page' discussion are more than your total posts in WebmasterWorld! :) no offence.

[edited by: AthlonInside at 6:42 pm (utc) on Aug. 7, 2003]

6:41 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>I for one would rather not have you poking around in my keywords... ;)

Sorry for the bumb but the above examples (AdSense [google.com] and AdWords [google.com]) are really important and perfect examples of what people reported. No need to fill a spam report, imho - at least not with our own sites.

6:44 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Yidaki,

Probably Brett will kick it and SNIP everything ... :(

6:49 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>Probably Brett will kick it and SNIP everything ... :(

ru paranoid? ;)

Nope, the examples should help GoogleGuy to figure out what's happening. At least that's why i posted them.

6:56 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Yidaki <<Sorry for the bumb but the above examples (AdSense and AdWords) are really important and perfect examples of what people reported. No need to fill a spam report, imho - at least not with our own sites.>>

And to use those examples, what's happening with my site is that say, Homer'sAdSense.com shows up at #1, even though Homer'sAdsense.com doesn't exist anymore. Then when you refresh, Adsense.com shows up at #1.

7:08 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>> Hehe. My posts on 'missing index page' discussion are more than your total posts in Webmaster World! no offence. >>

Offense? Who would take offense at such a simple-minded retort? Thanks for removing all doubt.

Googleguy: spam report sent :)

7:20 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Yahoo show different results every time is because Yahoo fetch result from one of the datacenters of Google and process it a bit and then post it too you. Each access to the datacenter is random. So I bet your listing is showing in some datacenters and not others, so Yahoo might show and not showing your site depends on which google datacenter it access.

AthlonInside, as already explained in msg#1, this problem is not related to a data centre. Each data centre is showing the same problem.

Also, the access to different data centres doesn't explain the behaviour which I saw today (see msg#23). Also, the appearance/disappearance with a probability of 50% (see msg#23) would only be explained by the access to different data centres if the data centres show different results. However, most of the time I saw the same results on the different centres, but changing (on each data centre) when reloading the page.

I'm totally happy to check out individual examples if people think there are problems, but I need data. :)

I'll fill out the spam report. I would be happy to hear any kind of response.

7:38 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Thank you GoogleGuy. :) You are my hero. :)
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