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Heads up: Google is picking up Findwhat links

and using them instead of the "real" URL

     
4:55 am on Sep 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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One of my pages was consistently in Google's top ten for its main target phrase for over two years, but a few days ago it vanished from the SERPs.

I just discovered that instead of indexing

mysite.com/mypage.html

Google has picked up mysite.com/mypage.html?findwhat and is using that URL instead ... and not ranking it at all well. The real URL, which has several dozen incoming links, is nowhere to be found.

I've written a few times that it's wise to keep variant URLs out of circulation if you can, but I must admit that it has caught me by surprise that Google would pick up variant links from behind a PPC engine's tracking codes and treat them soooo badly!

For folks who have complained about their index pages disappearing from the SERPs, this might be something to check in case it's contributing to the problem.

Now I'm off to make some changes at FindWhat, among others ... bleah!

8:17 pm on Sept 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Buck,

Is this the link you are using in your FindWhat campaign "mysite.com/mypage.html?findwhat" or is it automatically generated by FindWhat when you enter your link "mysite.com"?

8:25 pm on Sept 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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9:46 pm on Sept 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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The url I mentioned was the one I entered into my FindWhat listing. The?findwhat bit was there because I added it, over two years ago.

The actual link in the FindWhat results is http*://us01.xmlsearch.findwhat.com/bin/findwhat.dll?clickthrough&y=0&x=9EtpmcU2VWebmasterWorldkZ3e... katgtKYYjR1hRI3qX4G4PYw5HxtcunYG8JDIeuv3eP1pw ... [plus several dozen more characters]. [I see in the preview that the board software is putting "Webmaster World" in the midst of all that!]

I've seen many cases where SEs pick up link text from a page showing PPC results, without "seeing" the link itself. It never penetrated my feeble brain that one day Google might somehow see behind FindWhat's who-spilled-the-alphabet-soup redirects, so I ought to worry about variant URLs in that context as well as in plain-text links. It's been at least a year since I set up any new tracking links, but I wasn't smart enough to go in and "un-track" the URLs in my existing PPC accounts. (I did some, but not all.)

On another line of thought, I checked several SEs to see if maybe someone had used the variant URL in a link in case Google had picked it up that way, but didn't find anything. I can't rule that out, though.

7:24 am on Sept 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Hi buckworks! Someone at Google checked it out a little bit. Looks like your site was unreachable at least four different times when we tried to crawl it, including around 9/19/03. In the absence of getting the page from you, I'm not surprised that a findwhat affiliate link filled in for your normal link.

Looks like the site is reachable now, but you may want to have words with your ISP about their uptime and reliability. :)

Hope that helps,
GoogleGuy

 

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