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This used to not be a problem - we could type the referring URL in and see our site ranked where the visitor saw it... but now we rarely see it listed at all when we run the same query.
I have noticed this for the past couple of months. Then yesterday I was watching the logs in real time and noticed a referral URL from Froogle. So, I did the same thing and took the URL and paste it in (it to contained the exact search phrase). In this example I was only a couple seconds later from when the visitor did the original search. Froogle came back with 7 results and our site was not one of them.
This makes me wonder if there is something going wrong with the way our site is indexed.... perhaps only indexed on a couple of Google's datacenters?
I am really at my witts end and cannot figure this thing out! Our rankings and traffic dropped significantly in mid August - along with quite a few other people (lots of posts about it in Aug.). However, it has been over 3 months now and our rankings and traffic is still HORRIBLE! The weird thing is... our PR has jumped to a PR6 - now almost ALL of our pages are PR5 and PR6 (we have about 3,000 pages)! Along with this improvement our alexa rating has also increased.
I know most people like to say wait... things will get better - but for our rankings to drop to non-existant and not improve for over 3 months - I have run out of time. If I don't figure this out VERY quickly I will have to close the site.
It is just so sad that it has come to this point. The site was doing VERY well for 4 years - to see it drop to nothing and not pick up at all is disturbing.
ANY HELP would be GREATLY appreciated!
I just did the same thing 5 minutes before your post.
Saw a line in the log, pasted it, should see my page on the 2nd page of SERPs, but it's not there. Tried refresh a couple of times, but no luck.
I'm in the boat with people who's traffic dropped in Sept, still have PR, all pages in the index.
About a month ago I could hit refresh and see my pages come and go with different datacenters, but lately I can't get the DCs people are using to find us (very few people that is).
Like you, our site is 4 years old. A few posts of the 'dropped but still in the index' type seem to mention previously well ranking sites that are 4 or 5 years old.
Soldiering on and hoping this will pass.
I think they're fixing to update with all the shiny new urls they spidered not long ago!
It could be a fun weekend!