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Big sites suffering no title / no snippet in SERPS

Is google penalising big sites?



12:15 pm on Mar 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

As of around a week ago it seems that a lot of big sites, particularly some UK search sites, have lost a lot of their indexed pages in Google.

The pages haven't been totally removed, instead it seems that the pages exist in the Google SERPS but they have no title and no snippet and therefore no longer appear for any searches.

At first I thought this was some sort of penalty / filter to remove some of the controversial search sites from its index, but it seems this applies to other large sites, e.g. dmoz. I would estimate that dmoz has had around 200,000 pages "nuked".

Has anyone noticed this phenomenon on any other sites?


6:01 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I agree, I would be more worried if my PR went from a PR5 to a PR0.

Check who you are linking to etc and just hope the next crawl will bring better results :)

Aaaaargh! I have just noticed that my PR has dropped from 5 to zero today. Since my site started getting the treatment on January 31 I have always maintained my original PR5 - now this happens. Does anyone know what significance this holds?

I just don't know where to turn. In another thread a couple of weeks ago GG said that I may have had a penalty because I had a link to what they considered a "bad neighbourhood" (it used what they considered to be keyword stuffing). I immediately removed this link although I must admit that I did not see a problem with the site in question. The owner sells second user mechanical equipment and he had created a long list of equipment types at the bottom of his home page, each linking to another page on his site. I know about this equipment and if I were using Google to search for an item on his list I would have been delighted to find it this way.

Anyway, I immediately removed the link and ensured that my site was totally clean. GoogleGuy said that he would refer my problem to his engineering department and that it may take a week or so to sort out. Nothing happened until today and this was NOT what I was hoping for. It does not however make things any worse for me because I am getting NO traffic from Google anyway.

Does anyone know if there is any pattern here? Is my site likely to recover?


6:15 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

we had a site disappear for 4 months. We did not get around to changing it so left it for dead. Then 4 months later, hey presto it reappeared. No ryme or reason there.

During this time, we built another site and just got on with it, and this has been our strategy ever since.

If your site has vanished then there is a good chance that it will pop up later on. If it does treat it as a bonus.


6:34 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>>The owner sells second user mechanical equipment and he had created a long list of equipment types at the bottom of his home page, each linking to another page on his site.

Sounds like a sitemap to me. (Perhaps the format was a bit suspicous)

BallochBD, has this site had a penalty too now - I remember you saying that the site you linked to that appranetely caused you to have a penalty was still doing well in the SERPS.


6:42 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

How do you know which site you linked to was the one that caused penalty? Did they have white PR as well? Or was it something you came to the conclusion of?


7:17 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I just checked and the site in question is also now showing zero (white) PR so it looks like they caught up with it (whether or not they deserved it is another question).

I just wish they could now fix my site. According to GoogleGuy I got done for associating with this site even though my site is clean. He never actually said that it was this site but I had links to about 8 or nine sites and this was the only one that it could have been.

I contacted Google about this again this evening and they once again replied saying that they had passed my problem on to their engineers for review. Apparently they "appreciate my patience".

When I win the lottery I will start a search engine that cares :o(


7:27 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Can you sticky me the site that got you banned. I am curious what this typs of site would look like.



7:31 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Mmmm - I have built up a lot of links to my site (that may have a penalty - who knows, anyone?) over the last few days from lots of kind people who have agreed to link exchange.

But how do I know they wont get the same penalty as what has happend to BallochBD?

I dont want to go around punishing people who link to me :(


7:40 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I don't know if this is a penalty or if we are all experiencing the same thing. My site, I think may be an orphan page issue. I am cleaning this up and am going through all of my links and getting rid of anything questionable. As mentioned I have yet to find a site that I link to that is pushing the button hard or has a penalty imposed.

Chime in GG, PLEASE!


8:28 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yeah it would be great to get some clarification from Google on all these points. GG, feel free to join in at any point :)

BallochBD, could you also sticky me the site you mention that got banned, I'd be interested to take a look.


8:36 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

snip> submitted this to forum by mistake (instead of emailing) sorry! <snip

[edited by: BallochBD at 9:02 pm (utc) on Mar. 17, 2004]


8:40 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

In my browser this guy still has PR. Does not seem he is penalized.

I said he has a lot of sites linked together.


8:55 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My traffic has gone down by 30% since around wednesday of last week. I have been struggling with this one. It seems I have the same number of pages in Google as I did before, and it doesn't APPEAR that I am ranked any lower than I was before, yet traffic is just down.

Less people on the internet all of the sudden? Unlikely.

Google update? That's what I thought, but I can't SEE anything necessarily.

I'm not sure about this theory of pages being removed, yet their url remaining in Google. I don't know, I'm at a loss.


8:57 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)


Best to edit your post. Should not url drop and to be fair it is someone elses site aswell.

Moderator will edit it sooner or later anyway.

PS - I cant see any *real* problems with that site.



9:06 pm on Mar 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

DayoUK That was a mistake and I have now deleted it. I actually meant to sticky someone with it and submitted it to the forum in error - DOH!

Maybe this is an indication that we should get a different background look for email submissions for dicky digits like me <:o)


8:52 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Still no changes....

Still no comments.....

Still no correction crawl.... (I think that is what is needed!)

Still Hope?


9:23 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Still no changes ...
Still no PR ...
Still no crawl ...
Still no comment from G.


9:39 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


all my sites are now 95% crawled.


9:46 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I reckon you could have both built new sites by now



10:03 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Many UK sites are having lots of pages dropped at the moment, some sites that had 100k+ listings now have 30k or less etc, directories in particular.

However I am seeing this across the board, from academic to commercial shopping sites. Is this normal, ie you go up, then you go down. Should sites that have had thousands of pages dropped expect them to be added back in the near future?


10:07 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)


:-/ - exactly ;)

I however think that it is a problem with Google, not my site.


The directory sites that are having this problem could possibly be a penalty - however other sites are having problems too.


10:34 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I could have built a new site no problem but this is not the point. Here is my story if you have time to read it ...

I do some web design on the side for beer money but my main business is independent CMMS consultancy. In 2001 I set out out to provide independent information to people looking for software and (sometimes to my cost), I have refused to sign any agreements to promote any particular brand. I felt that there was a need for this kind of info since almost all other consultants in my business are aligned to one or more vendors and hence not independent.

This website is my company identity. I have spent more than two years trying to make it a well known international source for CMMS information. I DO have many inbound links and I am listed in DMOZ. Most of the other authority sites in my line of business link to me although Google no longer seems capable of recognising this.

I have been very successful in promoting my site and it is recognised as probably the best source of this type of independent information on the Internet. I have had visitors from 97 countries and requests from many of these. (I provide no-obligation, free articles and white papers on request.)

BTW this is not big business. I work from an office at home, I am self employed and my (meagre) income comes from the few inquiries that I manage to turn into consultancy. My website is essentially non-commercial.

If my site is not indexed soon I have a really difficult decision. Is my hard won business identity or Google more important to me? I am only in my third year at this and I will admit to having been very nave when I set out. I assumed that I would continue to be listed if I provided a good information resource for my visitors and did not commit any cardinal SEO crimes. Apparently Google thinks otherwise and their continuing refusal to tell me what I have done wrong does not help.

I know that I am not entitled to any particular position in the SERPS but surely I am entitled to be in the index? Google may claim that I am not entitled to anything if I don't pay them but it is morally wrong of them to knowingly take actions like this that can destroy perfectly legitimate small businesses.

Who knows what the future may hold but I am afraid that there are very difficult times ahead for me as a result of all this.


10:59 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Google just "dropped" a large amount of new pages on one of our other sites and has reverted back to the old results <rolls eyes>

I think Google has a very serious problem I have never seen it behave like this in all my years...


11:16 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yeah I am seeing 'clean sites' ie sites that you wouldn't regard as spammy in 100 years, eg quality ac.uk sites et al, not just commercial all dropping lots of pages. I don't think these are penalties at all, there are big drops everywhere. I have noticed pages dropping consistently over the last 5-6 days a few thousand or hundred at a time depending on the size of the site.

However semi new sites are seeing their number of indexed pages rise. I had one site go up from 5k to 11k indexed pages in the last day or so, while older sites are falling.

Maybe this is like a 'spring clean' and these dropped pages will reappear in time.


11:17 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Balloch (isn't that where Oasis played a massive open air gig?)

I have read many of your posts and I can't help feeling that you are pissing against the wind.

Get a new site together and build it up, it really doesn't take *that* long. It's happened to us before and we just get on with it. Sometimes the site comes back, sometimes not. We had a hugely successful site that has disppareared twice now, despite us doing nothing to make it re appear. Seems to be in the hands of the gods.

Your site looks fine to me, but I also think it would look nice under a different domain after you have re jigged the content. Don't be so lazy! And stop drinking all that beer!


11:36 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Bit harsh Exmoorbeast.

For some of my sites I would take that attitude, but for my main site which I have taken a while to build up a brand for I would not be so readily to take that action.

Especially as Balloch had a problem identified to him and in good faith took action to resolve this problem.


11:43 am on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

yeah, sorry, just trying to help. The site doesn't look branded at all and it appears to be quite manageable.

If that site is getting penalised then it doesn't say much for Google. It's got a lot of content andd seserves exposure.

However, and sorry for repeating myself, if you can't get results from that one, publish another.


1:26 pm on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If that site is getting penalised then it doesn't say much for Google. It's got a lot of content andd deserves exposure.

Thanks for the kind comments Dayo_UK. I have been quite successful in promoting my identity through this site so I am very reluctant to change it. As I said most of the engineering maintenance authority sites link to me so it would create a massive headache.

I also regularly get my articles published in trade magazines so some people (if not Google) think my information is sound. I have one printed in the March edition of P&WE magazine here in the UK. These articles refer people back to my website so changing it produces a problem.

I am not selling Viagra or p@nis extensions here so stability is very important. I just wish that GoogleGuy, GoogleGal or GoogleAnybody would comment on what is clearly a serious problem. (They will still be tucked up in their scratchers in California right now but maybe later?)

Light Relief follows: Exmoor beast you are correct. Oasis did two weekend gigs in the Balloch Castle country park back in August '96. This is now part of the Loch Lomond National Park. We are just a small village so we were swamped with about 50,000 drunken, spaced out teenagers (and adults) for the weekend. Anyway it was a laugh, no harm was done and the council organised a mammoth clean up on the Monday morning. I am just annoyed that I never thought about opening a burger stall.

In conclusion - to Google, will you Definitely Maybe fix this problem by applying some of your Heathen Chemistry? Some might say that I have to Roll with it for the moment. I suppose I'll just have to hope that my previous clients will Stand by me because I can't Live forever getting no inquiries. Anyway enough of me and My Big Mouth, I've probably said enough D'You Know What I Mean?. In conclusion I Don't look back in Anger so Hey Now, What's the story Morning Glory?

N.B. Apologies to those who are not familiar with the UK rock band Oasis.

(You see how much time I have on my hands since my business collapsed?)


1:27 pm on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have noticed one thing in my area. Site having the following URL structure are penalized

http ://www.exampledomain.com/urlexample.html
http ://www.exampledomain.com/anotherurlexample.html

Whereas Sites having following URL structure are not shoing any loss of SERPS

http ://www.exampledomain.com/example.html?q=urlexample
http ://www.exampledomain.com/example.html?q=anotherurlexample

I have lost about 2/3 of my site which is roughly about 70K of pages, and it is really showing an affect on the bottom line

Any feedback from Googleguy will be really helpful.


3:43 pm on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

BallochBD, don't get too worried, I think you should Stop Crying Your Heart Out because it seems to me that Whatever happens, sites like yours are precisely the kind of site that Google wants in its index, and that All Around The World people are experiencing the same problem.

It's just a Force Of Nature that we'll have to put up with. Let's just hope that Little By Little things go back to normal. :)


4:30 pm on Mar 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Domingo, that doesn't make sense, imho. All Google representatives tell that you should avoid parameters as far as possible. Many people invested a lot of time and money for mod_rewrite hacks etc and they couldn't punish that imho.
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