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My site was doing very well in the SERPs. For over 2 years it had been on the first page for a competitive term (1.2 million listings). Then during the first week in January my site disappeared and traffic tanked for no obvious reason.
When searching for "site:www.mydomain.com" I noticed that my index page often wasn't listed or it appeared on about page 3 or 4 of the results after all my supplimental pages.
A search for "allinurl:mysite.com" often didn't show my index page at all but instead showed somebody else's domain (located in Turkey). When I clicked on this link, my site came up. When I clicked on the cached version of the site, it showed a very old cache of the page. This same site also showed up after all my results when doing a "site:www.mydomain.com"
Using a header checker tool on the site's URL I was able to see it was using a 302 link to my site.
Last night after reading some posts by crobb305 and others I went to Google.com and clicked on "About Google." Then I clicked on "Webmaster Info." Then I clicked on "I need my site information removed." Then I clicked on "remove individual pages." Where I found instructions on how to remove the page.
(Here's the exact page where I ended up. If mod needs to remove then snip away:) [google.com...]
I then clicked on the "urgent" link.
1. I signed up for an account with Google and replied back to them from an email they sent me;
2. I added the "noindex" meta tag according to their instructions and uploaded it to my site;
3. Using the instructions to remove a single page from the Google index, I added the hijacker's URL that was pointing to my site. (copy and paste from the result found on "allinurl" search)
This didn't work the first time because I had to remove a space from the url to get it to work.
4. I got a message back saying that the request would be taken care of within 24 hours. The URL that I entered showed on the uppper right hand part of the screen saying "removal of (hijacker's url)pending."
5. I then removed the "noindex" meta tag from my page and re-uploaded it to my site.
This morning the google account still shows the url removal as "pending" but when I do "site:" and "allinurl" searches the offending URL is gone and my index URL is back.
Conclusions and Speculations:
At some point last September, Google cached the hijack page's url pointing to my site. In January, Google penalized my site for duplicate content because it found both URL's and compared them. Mine got penalized because it was the only page that really existed. The hijacker's page didn't get penalized because it only existed as a re-direct to my site.
Because my index page was now penalized, it dropped almost completely from the SERPs. (Some of my suppliement pages showed up for obscure searches) but none of my money terms.
Because I haven't been able to get a response from the hijacker's webmaster, the 302 is still in place but it is buried deep in his site and the last Google cache of the page was sometime in September. Therefore with some luck Google won't re-index it any time soon.
Will my site return to the SERPs? I don't know. Any thoughts?
If they go ahead and remove a page from someone else's domain from their index because you ask them to, that just doesn't sound right.
That's not how it works.
In essence, all the URL removal tool does is tell Googlebot to visit a URL sooner that it normally would. The actual removal is only accomplished if the webmaster has put that URL into robots.txt, or added
, or the URL returns 404 Not Found.
<meta name="robots" value="noindex">
I can submit your URL all day long, but it won't be removed unless you've specified (via robots.txt, meta tag, etc.) that it shouldn't be indexed.
Are we in agreement that G is too stupid to realize what it has indexed and who is asking it to take a page out of that index?
That's the root of the 302 problem. Google is incorrectly crediting the content of the hijacked page to the hijacker's URL. Since the webmaster of the hijacked site (e.g. Idaho, crobb305, myself) still controls the content, we've been able to take advantage of the bug to remove the hijacking URL.
The same logic that allows the hijack also enables the removal of the hijacker.
Should I now take down the noindex for googlebot, or wait for another visit from this bot?
If you got a message in the console that the removals are "pending," then it's time to remove the noindex tag. Take it out soon, before Gbot visits the page directly rather than through the redirect. If the tag is still there when Gbot goes directly to the page via your own URL, you will lose that listing in the SERPS.
I'm curious how Google lets someone who does not own an offending domain remove it from their index?
With all due respect, this is not that complicated. If a url REDIRECTS to YOUR page, then in a sense, you own the control of that url from a Google-URL-Removal-Tool point of view. Google will look at YOUR metarobots tag before removing the url, as it should (since your page is the destination page of the redirect url).
If a url is redirecting to my page (homepage, etc) and I don't want it to, I simply set my metarobots to "noindex", submit that unwanted redirect through the google url removal tool, and POOF, it's gone. Simple as that.
As I stated earlier, whether or not the Google algorithm notices/recognizes the url's disappearance is a different story. It is quite possible that the urls are removed only from the visible serps.
Simply use mod_rewrite to redirect anything coming from the site that has 302'd you to a page that basically says that site is stealing other peoples rankings using a known google exploit, and submit the page to googles addurl.
Unfortunately, there's no way to determine that a specific page request came through a redirect.
boredguru has posted a few valiant attempts involving tracking databases and on-the-fly URL rewriting, but the ones that *might* work are pretty cumbersome to implement and would require creating a lot of duplicate content on your own site. I'd hardly consider that preferable to zapping hijackers with the removal tool.
A question really aimed at those using the Google Removal Tool then.. what else did you try that *didn't* work? I get the impression that mileage may vary with some of these techniques.
As of now, allinurl: lists the offending site ahead of mine with my title and my description, my site is URL ONLY beneath it.
The old 302 url NOW points to the site owners template page. When ever I click on the cache it shows that template page but Google still hasn't changed the title and description to match it.
What should I do?
Submitting the redirect URL has also been suggested over the last couple of days - that is one of the few positive reasons to submit a URL to Google in my opinon.
I have three other internal pages being hijacked by another site, and I don't think the removal tool will work in this instance.
The link found during the allinurl search looks like this:
but click it and you go here:
mouse over [ed.namechangedtoprotectheguilty.com]
I tried both urls in the removal tool, and both came up with this message:
We could not detect any meta tags on that page. Please verify that the URL and page are correct.
When I clicked the first link, my blocker stopped a popup, and I can't seem to get it to appear. I'm assuming it's an ad - almost like an interstitial - between the first link and the hijacked page of my site.
[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 7:50 pm (utc) on Mar. 18, 2005]
[edit reason] fix side scroll [/edit]