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There are a few factors that could be causing this:
1. We just changed our site design. The content has remained the same. The new design was constructed carefully to ensure no violations of Google's rules and to be standards compliant.
2. Many of the URLs for site pages changed. However, all the old address were replaced with a 301 - permanently moved error - and a new URL provided. This actually netted us duplicate entries on Google for about 2 weeks (with both the old and new pages showing). However, now after Google appears to have removed the 301 pages, the new pages are also disappearing - AAAAGH!
3. We removed a sitemap page, choosing instead to put links to all the product pages in the footer of the homepage.
Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
[edited by: agerhart at 3:46 pm (utc) on July 21, 2004]
[edit reason] removed URL [/edit]
joined:May 1, 2004
Not necessarily, the home page now doubles as a sitemap:
>>We removed a sitemap page, choosing instead to put links to all the product pages in the footer of the homepage.
Doesn't have to be labeled a sitemap to actually be one. Works great for this site [webmasterworld.com]
Another factor could be moving all of your links to your footer. Proximity matters and having all your links as the last thing on your page might be causing you trouble. Sometimes it's a really good idea to put your links at the bottom of a page, other times not. But I'd wait another few weeks for the 301s before doing anything radical, particularly if your pages have "disappeared" rather than just suffered a drop in the SERPs.
That is what was most shocking. Many pages literally just dropped of Google totally. As I said in my first post, first we had both the old and new pages on the results page, then just the new, and now nothing.
I will wait a while and pray the listings return. I'm just frieghtened that we may have unwittingly done something that may have blacklisted us!
[edited by: DaveAtIFG at 7:58 pm (utc) on July 24, 2004]
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...and take a look at those high ranking university pages - do you think the prof cares (or even knows) about HTML validation?
To make good validation a part of the ranking would play directly into someone's hands (that someone being *us* - SEO types!)
So let's not propogate another old Google myth.
As long as there isn't something horrible that stops a spider from crawling, everything will be fine.
It is a matter of function over form.
joined:Apr 22, 2004
I too have sites that are just a mess that rank fine. That was my only point about validation.
Welcome to Webmasterworld!
kosar: I've seen no evidence whatsoever that would suggest that Google frowns upon sitemaps. Google tends to promote things that make sites good for people to use and sitemaps are often a very useful tool that people use while browsing the web.
Googlebot thinks that your internal pages are not linked from anywhere and has rightfully kicked them off the index.
A somewhat larger font-size would help, perhaps as a mouse-over change (from the static as-presented to an ALL CAPS BOLD, maybe). A more obvious mouse-over color change would help. A change from the "¶" (pipe symbol) to a different symbol in a different color would help.
A CSS left menu might be the best solution. Circumvents the "no-js" situation, as well as the "fade-to-nonentity" grey text-links.
Many of the URLs for site pages changed. However, all the old address were replaced with a 301 - permanently moved error - and a new URL provided.
This is your mistake erk. You should have used the new content on the old url's only. Depending on 301 redirects has never been a wise decision. What now:
1)either consider that you've to reoptmize your pages and will have to wait for some time befoer they get back to where they were before.
2)Or reinstate your old url's and put the new text there.
Totally agree with Webnewton - this should be the main problem that caused your site to drop dramatically.
The new URL is (I think) better SEO (e.g.: the old URL was example.com/productname [the product name being non-descriptive], the new URL is example.com/products/radars/productname [radars being descriptive].
Karmov: Thanks for the welcome!
BTW: All this feedback is superb - thanks!
[edited by: ciml at 5:49 am (utc) on July 24, 2004]
[edit reason] Examplified [/edit]
[searchengineworld.com...] > SE Tools > Sim Spider
Type in your URL and then see if the pages indexed are the one's you'd expect.
I also notice you have no backlinks?!
[edited by: DaveAtIFG at 7:02 pm (utc) on July 24, 2004]
[edit reason] Linked URL [/edit]
Also, by back links do you mean that as I go deeper in the page hierarchy, I can also traverse back up the hierarchy (eventually all the way to the homepage)? If that is what you mean, I do have that in the footer links. Well - I start to say that - however, it does appear the last step (to the homepage) is missing! Thanks for that catch!
I'm going to see how we can deal with the site map/validation/menu in the mean-time.
Considering the stated caveat though, you should honestly be considering the USABILITY OF YOUR SITE - FIRST! Search engines etc. should come AFTER you make sure that your clients/potential customers/fly-by visitors are able to fully utilize your site.
Which was why I posted the stuff about your text-link setup. I really think as far as usability, you'd be better off to "fish" for whether the browser has js disabled and if so, move the menu-section to a text-linked one set up like the js one as much as possible. In other words, if the browser has js disabled, load "textmenu" instead of "jsmenu" in that portion of the page.
Those 301's can give people fits, even when brilliantly executed.
I would second that. 6 months on, stil waiting for Google to discover the 301!
Just relieved to see lynx viewer showed all my page links are crawlable. Sim Spider had indeed put me in a fix, for it showed none of the links were crawlabe.
Not sure which one to believe though (?)
Validation is simply not an issue - but obviously the Bot has to be able to crawl! (Doh!) But this has as much to do with vaildation as a locked bank vault has to do with being a member of the institute of locksmiths.
JS Links - the jury is *apparently* out on whether they are crawled or not - but in my experience, they are NOT crawled - use standard links.
Robots text - don't bother unless you have a purpose for it.
Send all further Google urban myths to an urban myth website. The key lies in content and semantics (and clicking on your competitors' stupid money-down-the -drain-adwords - sorry, just a joke ;-)
BTW, concur, 301 - forget it - too dangerous, stick with your temp redirect. The bloody Sun might implode before Google recognises your 301. In the meantime, your site has been de-listed and, given the timescale, you have died anyway.