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How may front pages did you lose?

Google kicks clean html front pages



1:08 am on Nov 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I lost 2 top ranking front pages
All other pages on the sites still getting a few hits
both still top ranked by msn
urls = keyword1 - keyword2 - keyword3 - keyword4

Anyone else with losses please post like to get an idea of simliarities


8:46 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I am paralyzed in acting because I lost my top index page for my top kw1 kw2 kw3 search phrase- but nothing else.

These new SERPs have one relevant competitor, who has always been there, and 9 BS results, some that used to be there and some that are new.

The thing is, my other two sites didn't move at all, and my main site still has #2 and #4 for internal pages. Plus, on kw1 kw2 the index page is #4?

So, I am totally confused. I am more relevant for the three keyword phrase for which I disappeared than the more general 2 keyword phrase (same first two words!) where my index page survived.

I haven't done anything black hat as far as I know- and if I had, how come my other two sites were fine, and my main site is fine under certain keywords but not others?

Based on these results- I have absolutely no idea what if anything I can change to recover my main site index page for my main keywords without messing up the surviving results for my other sites/internal pages?

I don't see how anyone can look at what has happened and say there hasn't been at least some unitended results in whatever google changed. Everyone makes mistakes- why some people here act as though mistakes can only be the fault of webmasters is beyond me.

Certainly there are webmasters making mistakes, but with this many people reporting nonsensical results, I think google has clearly got some more work to do in getting their results to be as relevant as possible- or even just as relevant ass they used ot be.


8:46 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Pre-Florida index page rank for 2-word KW phrase: 4-10
Current rank: Somewhere after 100. Didn't keep going.

allinanchor- Rank #40

Yes, KW phrase in Title

Interior page rankings have dropped, but not drastically. Some may have risen; getting too burned out to care at the moment.

Tropical Island

9:30 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tropical_island is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Pre florida: rank 1st term - #2
Post Florida - who knows.
All in anchor: #2
Term in title.

Pre Florida: rank 2nd term #8
Post Florida - who knows.
Allinanchor: #5
Term in title.

In both cases post Florida sites now ranked generally have the search term in their titles.

In both cases if we add -ffufu we show up as #2 and #8


9:39 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have lost one index page but one moved up 4 spots to #5.

Strange things though about the index vs www.index

For the site that the index page is missing

[word-word-word.com...] has pagerank 5 and 393 backlinks
[word-word-word.com...] ALSO has pagerank 5 and 393 backlinks

Compare this to the site which moved up

[word-word.com...] has a page rank 5 with 255 back links.
[word-word.com...] has a page rank 4 and only 7 backlinks.

The site that is gone shows the same PR and backlinks. The site that has not been affected has different PR and backlinks. For both of these sites, about 150 of the backlinks are internal for what it's worth.

About redirects as GG suggests...if you do a redirect then your backlinks and PR do not get "redirected" too do they? This seems like a whole other can of fish!


10:16 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

AthlonInside wrote:

For those who has index page missing, can you please do this simple test for me?

1. Do a search for

allinanchor:keywords phase that you have missing index page

For me, the results look alot like my SERP before Florida. All 10 kw, I came up in the top 5.

Post Florida- I only have position with 5 of those kw, and it's below 30 on all of them.



10:17 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Pre-florida position#22
Post-florida Not listed.

Allinanchor:#103 (for a deep page -pr3) our index.page (pr6) is indented under it.


10:39 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

>For those who has index page missing, can you please do this simple test for me?

I did this and I come up #2 just like pre-florida.
Post-florida Not listed.

What is the significance of this?

I also did the -ufufuf thing and I come up at #12.

Again, I do not know what this means or why it is significant. I read all 8 million posts on florida 1-4 and I still don't get it.

I understand what these 2 tags do, I just do not know why it matters. Can anyone explain?


10:51 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Pre-florida position: #6
Post-florida: Not listed.
Allinanchor: #6

I've read thru this thread and I really don't understand everything I'm reading. What I do understand is that my web site was adhering to the recommended standards set forth by Googles Design and Content Guidelines.

It appears that the following item from those guidelines is longer relevant? "Make sure that your TITLE and ALT tags are descriptive and accurate" What I "think" I understand from reading this thread is that my TITLE has cause my index to completely disappear because I followed the recommended procedures?

Google, it's been said already, but it's worth repeating. This is hurting the mom & pops (I'm one who has seen sales plummet since last Friday) and it's helping the spammer, bloggers, and non-relevant web site.


11:02 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


I lost a few sites recently - none of their back links are showing. How do i find out if they have been penalised?

(They still have PR but it is falling away becuase the backlinks are not being counted)


12:23 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Well, I have also lost my index page for all 3 sites I run. All were ranked very highly for my main keywords, now are nowhere to be found (i.e. not in the top 500 at least). Traffic is down significantly.

All sites are true information sites, no SEO type tricks. Basically just what Google themselves says to use, and the good info I found here in the thread on how to make a site successful in 26 steps.

Even more depressing, looking at my main keywords, my sites and some other competitors that all ran good information sites are all missing, yet the Google results are filled with basically spam. The majority of the top 20-30 that I just looked at are all search engine results pages - i.e. Google's results are links to pages that have yet more search engine results (is there a proper term for these types of pages?). Very frustrating since those pages are completely worthless to the average web surfer, not to mention probably confusing (why am I given yet more search results from some ugly, no-name search engine, when I though I was using Google to find relevant content?).

Like many of you, I am a small-time webmaster, working a day job, and trying to make some extra money, while having fun writing about topics I enjoy. I thought I was providing my visitors with valuable content - all pages are completely unique, hand-written, and a result of my passion for the topics I write about. Not surprisingly, I get a lot of great feedback from my visitors on how helpful the sites are. Apparently, Google now thinks my sites are worthless and not worthy of inclusion. Very frustrating...


1:39 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I lost 2 index pages. After reading about the 301 redirect I think I may have had it done incorrectly.

On both websites I had product.com, products.com (plural of the domain), www.product.com all resolving to www.products.com.

I believe that these are the only 2 websites that we manage that had both the singular and plural for the domain. All other index pages weren't harmed.

For one domain the search results are fine (they are just missing our site which has been the industry leader and #1 for years) - so we will fix the 301, and try to do better with the site

The other domain which was #3 has been replaced with some rather comical results (nothing that a person doing that search would find of any use)- which aren't so funny as I pay the additional adwords $$ now


2:13 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hello - I am new to this forum, but I, too, have sites that within the past week have dropped from page one on Google to being virtually non-existant, but ONLY for certain keyword phrases...

In digging around today, I found that if you enter your keywords, a space, then -googlegoo into Google's search, you get unfiltered results.

To illustrate, use your own site's keywords. Search with those. Then do the same search with

my keywords -googlegoo

For those here who have lost their ranking, give this a try. My guess is that your site will magically reappear.

Now for the million dollar question... why? Like most of you, my sites were well optimized, but conformed with Googles guidelines. They were not spam - but were e-commerce sites. Anybody have any theories as to what is going on?


2:28 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Dotme, you are correct, I ran searches for keyword1 keyword2 -anywordyoudonothave and then the page showed up in the serps! As I understand it, that is saying to not show results for the search for the anywordyoudonothave. What do you make of this!



2:51 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member powdork is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Anybody have any theories as to what is going on?
Google has started using a technology called broad match, which brings up pages with a broad range of relevance. In addition they seem to have placed a penalty on exact matches.
This is why pages are still ranking well(or better) for phrases of somewhat limited relevancy and they are gone for phrases which would have returned them in the past. To spice it up, the exact match penalty does not seem to be applied to all search queries and appears to show up more for commercially phrased searches.
Barely matching results with a penalty for exact matches sure seems like a strange way to run a search engine.
I would hazard a guess that the redirect thing is mostly smokescreen. After all, if I had a redirect problem, why would my page show up here.
but not here


2:54 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have a travel destination site in which the city name is composed of three names like "Great City Beach." I presume there is no such city. Searchers looking for information on topics such as hotels, motels, condos, dining, shopping, etc., have to use a minimum of 4 keywords in a keyword phrase to find what they are looking for. For example, Great City Beach hotels. Because most searchers are looking for information on lodging, I optimized my index page for the keyword phrase: Great City Beach hotels, motels and condos. I used these words in the title, description, headers, body text and anchor text. Before Florida, my site appeared near the top of the SERPS for searches conducted on the city name and any one of the topic names. Now my index page cannot be found in the SERPS for any single topic name such as hotel. However if a search is done in which the search term includes the three-part city name plus all three topic names, my site comes at or near the top.

I think the solution for me will be to reoptimize the index page for just the city name. The problem with doing this is that I will be optimizing my index page for a much broader term. I do have individual pages optimized for each of the topics such as hotels,but their PR is lower than that of the index pages.

I wonder if anyone else has experienced this kind of problem


3:36 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Interesting, I tried what Dotme mentioned, a search like:

my three keywords -googlegoo

for a set of keywords I previously, and for months, have ranked #1 on. However, even using this negative filter, my site was no where to be found. Instead, most of the results were the typical amazon, dealtime, and then other pages filled with search results.

Even odder, another site, that links to my site using the anchor text 'my three keywords', actually did rank in the top 40 or so on the above search, based on this one anchor tag alone. Those three keywords are not located anywhere on that page...

I guess it is time to go on vacation, and hope things improve over the holiday weekend. I am sure the search spammers are loving this update now. I can say as fact, that for the search terms I monitor for my sites, Google's new top 50-100 results are all much worse from the average web surfers point of view who is looking for real, usable information.


3:42 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

"In addition they seem to have placed a penalty on exact matches."

This makes no sense - I understand the idea behind broadmatch for AdWords - but why regular search results? If I am looking for something specific, I should be able to find it, not have my results returned back to me with a very broad, and now irrelevant result set.


3:59 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The following article below mentioned that trackbacks were overunning google's effectivness to display relevent results.


In the artcle in mentions that by adding -mt-tb.cgi cleans up the results from searches, but does not mention why. I decided to use this extension on the keywords where I had been dropped and amazingly the results looked normal, but not identical to what was posted early last week for the same keyword. Being curious I wanted to know exactly what -mt-tb.cgi was so I searched for it, first with the hyphen in front, no particluar results, then without and found it was code generated by a backtrack from a weblog software. I then went backwards to find out whose software it was.

To make sure this wasn't fluke I tried other filters of random letters and it doesn't create the same effect on the results. Do others have the same experience?


4:03 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member powdork is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Do others have the same experience?
Lots, in fact these additions made up a large part of the now defunct update thread part iv.
My favorite is 'keyword -florida'

Let me change that
keyword1 keyword2 -florida

It doesn't work for the three word phrase so I tried
keyword3 keyword1 keyword2 -florida -massacre
aahhh, I moved up to first this month.;)


5:39 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

ehehe turns out

keyword1 keyword2 -cheezy

or any -funnykeyword you can make will return pre-florida results (or at least bring your site back to life in some cases).

So, just let all your customers know:


After typing exacly what you are looking for, follow it by a space, a dash, and whatever you had for lunch, yeah thats right, -burger, -hotdog, etc.

Perhaps we can convince enough people to make a difference!
or not...;b


6:10 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi everybody,

I think from this update it is already possible to make some conclusions:

1. Google trying to merge singular and plural keywords. Google started this approximately one month and a half ago and probably will finally finish it in a couple of days.
Today first time I was able to see for approximately half an hour for some searches that Google highlighted singular and plural keyword (keyphrase) simultaneously. For example: if you doing search for “check widgets”, Google will show your on highlighted results not only “check widgets” (like before and may be for nearest couple of days), but it will highlighted: “checking widgets”, “checking widget”, “check widget” and possible variations with ending “-ed”, “-ing”. It means that all highlighted variations of above mentioned keywords (keyphrases) becoming one keyword (keyphrase).

Let say you have been optimizing your home page (or any other page) for three/four different variations of keyphrases, let say again for example for: “checking widgets”, “checking widget”, “check widget” and “check widgets” and accordingly optimized anchor text, keyword density on the page and title for each of this combination and was doing fine before but now disappeared. What’s happened?

One of the reasons is you’ve became a spammer in Google eyes, right, spammer, because your keyword density on the page, in the incoming links and in the title increased in one moment in three/four times.

2. Not all possible plural and singular (nominal, etc) keywords have been merged in this update. They expect that it will be a mess for a quite some time and trying to fix it. I believe they still working on the different type of words which can be merged and off course making mistakes and brining some scary results. I think one of the explanations that some people do not see as any changes in some areas, because some keyphrases wasn’t merged as yet and some can’t be merged and will not ever be merged. It means no big changes when you will do the search on these types of keywords, but in some areas these changes would come.
Argument that none of the well known sites have been penalized for excessive using of company name in anchor text, I think can be explained. Brand names like Amazon, Yahoo, MSN, CNN does not have plural and variation with “-ing” or “-ed” and they can’t be merged and penalized.

3. Drastic changes in this update were made in English language only. One of the reason (most probably only one) - it’s not easy to merge correctly keywords at least in English, but it will reach sooner or later other languages also.

4. Directory and so-called authority sites was given boost for the beginning of the update, because Google was expected some mess with keywords merge and preferred to bring up directories, because they, some how, can be relevant for any search, but I think they would slowly go down.

5. Specific keyword (keyphrase) penalty for over optimization has been increased (it was introduced earlier in the well known shocking updates), most probably based on the adwords revenue. Before, this penalty was penalizing specific URL, now they become more sensitive.

6. Disappearing of some home pages for the specific keyword searches is nothing to do with difference between www.widgets.com and widgets.com and GoogleGuy advise to put 301 redirect from one variation to another, may be a good advise, but has nothing to do with vanishing of home pages and I’m sure he knows that very well.

7. People, whose pages just lost some positions, might hope to reappear on the first page, but if your page is nowhere to be found for specific keyword (keyphrase) you need to re-optimize.

8. About sky are falling and other similar cry about irrelevant serpentine it will not make Google to reverse; we have to face new merged algorithm.

All this conclusions is my opinion only and I’m not trying to pretend that all of them are correct, but I hope you will find them interesting.

I’m a new poster here, but if it is possible I have a proposition for moderators (off course if I may). When the new update will come up, it will be wise to divide all future discussion about the update on three streams, and anybody can participate in any or all of those parts dependently on the mood, knowledge and mission of those forums, for example:

1. Update “Whatever” – for those who satisfied:

Guidelines: Please post here, if you don’t see any changes or liked all the time and everything that Google was doing, 100% positive that only content is a king and you should not be penalized if you had a good content and always follow Google rules and that SEO is waste of time, don’t want to help, but don’t want also to offend anybody who’s suffering.

2. Update “Whatever” – for those who are angry and don’t want to believe that’s happened:

Guidelines: Please post here if you completely frustrated, believe that Google’s broken and will be fixed soon, serpentine absolutely not relative, much more spam than usual (and how many times you’ve reported already without any result), have some conspiracy theory and think that the best way is to call for Google common sense, willing to share as much money you’d lost and that this absolutely not fair, thinking that it is time for everybody and you’ve switched already to AltaVista, AWB, etc and the last and only chance to get you back for Google is to cancel this update.

3. Update “Whatever” – for those who’ve seen changes and willing to discus algorithm change:

Guidelines: Please post here your examples, ideas, theories, guesses and all what can help you and other webmasters to understand algorithm changes, but try to be more specific, if you willing to help anybody who’s suffering you welcome on this part.

I think in this case it will save a lot off valuable time for all type off webmaster and each of us can choose thread to participate. Thank you for reading all this and I hope my English was good enough to be understood.


10:20 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Interesting. I did the anchorlink test on my missing index page.
Number 6 on page 1, however the result returned from my page is an older version. If I search for my site the results show the newly updated page.

I'm just going to sit tight and wait for Google to sort it out. With an IPO coming up the last thing they want is bad publicity about the value of their results.

Google feed a lot of other SEs who are going to start thinking of re-sourcing their results if things don't sort themselves out.


10:43 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Further to the plural and singular matching, I have noticed that on www-gv it is highlighting plurals when you search for a singular i.e.

keyword1 keyword2 widget

all words are highlighted in the results including the plural "widgets".

I'm not seeing this on any other datacenters right now, well not for my kw anyway.



11:14 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Welcome to WebmasterWorld Goodtry :)

That was a good post. For you and for Powdork and everyone else suggesting a SEO penalty, i still don't believe it. I think something else is having an effect like that on some sites. It's really hard to discuss without the specifics, however, and i might be wrong, but i really don't think there is such a "SEO filter".

As for singular and plural, you might also want to consider synonyms. I've seen one report of them highlighted in the update thread. This "broad matching" means that for any keyword the competition increases, and that is enough to skew the results. Directories, in turn, often do well for both singular, plural, and synonyms.

As for www and non-www there are (still) examples that Google sees these as different pages, even giving them a different toolbar PR.

I think that's about my 2 cents at the moment.



12:48 pm on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Just a thought - has anyone noticed any correlation between the keywords that you've diappeared on and the keywords you've bid on through AdWords?


1:04 pm on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

One of the most convincing theories so far:

Google is matching broader than before, so you have to compete with much more pages.

For an index page of mine that has suffered some hundred positions there are double the amount of search results for a specific phrase.

Only my English index pages have been buried.


1:31 pm on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I havent bothered moaning in here since the last mass update DOM/ESM and even then I gave up because there's no point moaning Google do what they want...however this last update I've been doing OK fell onto the second page and back to the first over the last few days etc.. but overall happy.....
Arrived at work this morning and done my standard see if I've moved up and down a little bit overnight.....

Shock Horror....I wasn't on any page in the first 100 pages...then a feeling of 'This better not be true' came over me and done a search for my URL with www and without and I am no longer in the index......

I have been in the index for 6 years the last two years geneally first page...but know my entire site all sub pages everything is gone....I still have a PR of 5 though.

What makes me laugh is that when I go to Lycos, Ask, AllTheWeb, Excite, Yahoo and others I'm in the top three results for my main phrases....

So what I'd like to ask you guys is if this has suddenly happened to you today or overnight...mines a co.uk domain...

If it hasn't then is it likely to be a penalty any idea how to get removed or even find out what it is...one other thing I will say is that a few others that were in the same topic as myself are also now no longer in the index..completely missing.

It just makes me laugh that 10 other engines can see my site as relevant and Google can't....someones got it wrong..

I dont generally optimise for any other engines and tend to do well...however becuase Google keep changing their algos they force people to re - optimise which is mad because I believed that is what Google wanted to stamp out..SEO'd sites...


1:38 pm on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

(CobraRock msg#109) The Register:
Google admitted to the Washington Post that it was working on a bug it had found which was withholding thousands of legitimate search results from its users.

...a noise filter, spam filter, blog filter...it probably ought to be switched on by default - a little risky (as with any spam filter it might block legitimate content)

Stop listening to the Register and listen to us: turn it off already; it's not ready for prime time.


2:02 pm on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Google has done "something" in this update which is causing problems for some honest relevant sites.

Are they gonna act like most men who take a wrong turning in the road and try and correct it by continuing along the wrong road in the hope that they might re-join the right road?

Or are they gonna stop, turn the car around, and get back to the last road junction they took the wrong turning at?



2:17 pm on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I keep seeing people searching for keywords, etc and finding it in different portions of Google, i.e., -va, or florida, or? . Can someone explain how you find these?

Also what tool do you use to see how all your pages are ranking. Someone mentioned their page was at position 800. Did they click thru 80 of google's results? I don't think so.

I have a Mac so can't use the google toolbar. Maybe that is where you guys are seeing all these results but if not please let us know what you are using to know where you are ranking.

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