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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)

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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?

1:40 pm on Apr 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I see new penalties mostly on sunday. Can anybody confirm that?
4:35 pm on Apr 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I can confirm it is "not" isolated to dynamic pages. None of my pages are dynamic. 1560 > 460 in 2 weeks and going down fast. Traffic down by 90%.
5:43 pm on Apr 5, 2004 (gmt 0)



I see new penalties mostly on sunday. Can anybody confirm that?

That explained my non-existence traffic this Sunday,lol.

Seriously, hope that was a bug or this thread will never end.

6:16 pm on Apr 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Ive not been banned, google told me? Regards to filtered out by the algo, i dont know as i have added a clients website to my server and this has no title and discription showing on google, so the only thing i can think of is my IP address?
Basically the only way i can think of to move on is start a new company and bin the 5 years worth of websites and start from scratch with a new server.
8:56 pm on Apr 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Now this is really wierd - a page I took down months ago, and was dropped by the index some time ago, is showing up in the list of pages this morning (dubbed with a "supplemental results" tag) ....... what is going on. I think Google is broken.
8:49 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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"Now this is really wierd - a page I took down months ago, and was dropped by the index some time ago, is showing up in the list of pages this morning (dubbed with a "supplemental results" tag) ....... what is going on. I think Google is broken. "

Like I have said before, I think Google is archiving large sites maybe with a poor linking structure or maybe low PR (or a combination of the two!) to the supplemental index.

Obviously non-auto generated content could also be affected, but I believe its a measure put in place to stop web masters from filling the index full of auto generated rubbish.

I could of course be completely wrong...

9:19 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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> Obviously non-auto generated content could also be affected, but I believe its a measure put in place to stop web masters from filling the index full of auto generated rubbish.

That looks like a possible scenario from where I sit too...

9:27 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Not really looking like that from where I am sitting.

I think there are three different factors involved in this No title/no snippet problem.

1. Penalty - (as experienced by certain sites that link to their own serps), this one is possibly manually applied by the sites being removed from the crawl.

2. Penalty - where pages are just full of Affiliate Links - probably algo applied.

3. Change in crawl depth meaning that large sites are having problems having every page indexed - these sites need to increase backlinks but there is probably not a penalty.

I think I had a site with factor 3 and I have increased backlinks and pages are now showing.

9:38 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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"3. Change in crawl depth meaning that large sites are having problems having every page indexed - these sites need to increase backlinks but there is probably not a penalty. "

That is basically the same symptom as I described and I agree with you. Not enough backlinks / Page Rank is not high enough.

Smaller sites with a moderate PR and good link structure generally have a decent level PR throughout the entire site. These are unaffected...

4:06 am on Apr 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I think what has happened is Google is relying almost totaly on backlinks. This means new sites don't have a chance. Seemms that SEO is now out with Google
4:13 am on Apr 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Just caught my logs - googlebot doing a very deep crawl, hundreds of pages - boy do I have my fingers crossed.
2:44 pm on Apr 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Is anyone having any luck having their titles/descriptions restored?

My problem started a little over a month ago when my 10,000 page site started to show symptoms of pages without titles/descriptions.

Since then things have become progessively worse with my google indexed pages now below 4,000 and the majority of these pages are minus titles/descriptions.

Knowing that a lot of people are in the same boat as me, I have been waiting patiently for a 'Google fix'
but now I'm getting nervous as my site is sinking into Google oblivion.

2:48 pm on Apr 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sem4u is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Just about all of my titles and descriptions are coming up now.
3:16 pm on Apr 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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



My site got just about all its titles and descriptions back over the last three weeks. It also regained its PR5 on the home page but this has not transferred back onto the internal pages meaning that I am still getting no traffic.
5:32 am on Apr 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I am down to 278 pages now, from 1560 - and FYI most of my pages are PR 6 - 4. The loss has hit everything from straight content to mixed with affiliate links, to mostly affiliate pages. There is no generality. I am being heavily crawled at the moment by Googlebot/Test - it is hitting all the pages that have lost the title and description. I am almost feeling like some sort of "guinea pig" in an experiment. My traffic is now down by 96% and my income nonexistent. I have tried everything I can think of, dropping backlinks, increasing backlinks, changing content, dropping affiliate links, and I have even changed webhosts. I have exhausted all avenues I can think of.
8:25 am on Apr 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

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



Abigail you have my sympathy. I have been suffering from this since the end of January. Like you I tried just about everything to get back. During the last three weeks my site came back but with PR5 only on the index page and I still get no traffic. I am now patiently waiting for this to be transferred to the internal pages but I have no indication of when this will happen.

The only advice I can offer is to contact Google. I did this 13 times over a six week period and eventually what I describe above happened. I laid it on the line explaining that the problem was killing my business. I got several replies asking me to "be patient" and telling me that my request had been passed to their engineering department, etc.

Because they will not comment on specific problems, (even if they take any action), I cannot say for sure that this helped but my gut feeling is that it did. When I say "helped" I must emphasise that the net effect of what has happened is that I am no further forward traffic wise and I have lost three months of business as a result. But I now at least have some hope.

Incidentally I am a consultant who works from home and I have several links into my site from reference sites in my industry. The traffic from these has kept me afloat. This has taught me a very valuable lesson about who my friends really are.

11:15 am on Apr 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Bearing in mind the "Sandbox" effect of a possible 90 day quarantine for "new links" as opposed to "new sites", it seems highly probable that if you just increase backlinks and wait patiently, you'll come back.

You need to give it time though which if your income is hurting, is obviously not a very helpful suggestion but is what we're suffering ourselves just now.

2:40 pm on Apr 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Thanks, your comments are appreciated. I will post if anything changes.
7:26 am on Apr 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Yesterday evening i saw that my biggest site (niche directory built over 3 years) has many many url-only listings for old established categories that have been listed ok forever.

So far, only one thing makes me a bit nervous: i have many double listings due to Case-InsensitivitY.htm / case-insensitivity.htm. In the past google has been clever enough to merge such double listings. Don't know if it lost its cleverness in favor of a penalty obession.

However, i've read most of this thread and so far i didn't find a possible hardware / software cluster issue mentioned. After reading Matt Well's Interview [webmasterworld.com] i've learned that big search enignes with server clusteres and distributed indizes use something called title records that hold the title and the cache copy of each url.

Could it be possible that the url-only listings appear because the title records for them are not available - due to server error, server update, hardware expansion or simply partially index update of the index? I've read somewhere on the WebmasterWorld ocean that google is expanding the hardware cluster. Or could it be possible that the crawler simply works faster than the indexer and therefor the title record indexing is a bit behind?

2:30 pm on Apr 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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And so if this was true wouldn't all sites that are updated frequently, ie. those with higher PR - be bitten somewhat by the same bug? I am seeing many smaller sites afflicked, now as well. The serps must surely be shrinking. The most interesting thing I noticed yesterday is that Yahoo seems to be following in the same footsteps - my pages indexed totalled, with titles and desc, over there is down to the exact same number - can't figure that one out!
11:07 pm on Apr 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I got hit early March when I noticed a gradual decline in traffic on one of my sites.
My once #1 spots were taken up by mostly spammy sites, titles and descriptions disappeared,sales went down around 50k and depression quickly settled in.

A couple of days ago Google did a very deep crawl and today surprise surprise, my titles and descriptions have been restored, not all, about 350 pages so far, but that's a start Go Google:)

BTW because I got so despondant with google I didn't update the site.

7:42 pm on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



In Google's webmaster guide - )I think this may be new)

[google.com ]

4. There's no description of my site.

The Google index contains two types of pages--fully indexed and partially indexed pages. Your page is currently partially indexed, which means that although we know about your site, our robots have not read all the content on your page(s) in past crawls. This does not adversely affect your PageRank or your inclusion in our index. It does mean that we don't 'know' what to call your page, so it gets listed with the URL as the title and no description.

We appreciate the frustration this causes webmasters who work hard to make their sites accessible to users. We are working to increase the number of fully indexed pages in our search results to alleviate this problem.

9:42 pm on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

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We had a site that was getting great traffic outside of the "new into Google" phase and then about Austin, only URLs showed. This was approx end of January.

We've now had all the pages on the 500 page site crawled but no boost to traffic yet.

J

10:14 pm on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

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"We are working to increase the number of fully indexed pages in our search results to alleviate this problem."

WOW!

Public admission that they are working on an index capacity problem!

10:48 pm on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Really big news. Explains a lot of things including their silence on the issue.
11:25 pm on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Hate to burst your bubble, but this is nothing new. In fact for many large sites with over 50,000 pages nearly 50% are sometimes particially indexed
11:33 pm on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

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You knew that Google had an index capacity problem?

Or, like all of us, knew that there were symptoms of problems but were in denial that there was index overflow?!

11:45 pm on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Lets say its the last day of a deepcrawl, googlebot comes along and fetches 1000 of your pages, and finds links to 10,000 more. Your PR isn't high enough for google to come fetch those other pages, and your allotment for indexing has run out. When the index is updated you will have 1000 pages indexed, and 10,000 pages partically indexed. There really is no mystery here...
11:47 pm on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

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markus007 is right. That blurb has been up there for years according to Archive.org.
6:46 am on Apr 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Maybe there not commenting because it's a financial thing.

What if this isn't a storage issue as much as a transfer issue. What if their margins have got so low that they need to limit the expense on bandwidth transfer?!

Wouldn't this also compliment their close coming IPO? It could be for the extra money required to keep Google on top!

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