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Google's 302 Redirect Problem

     
4:17 pm on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

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

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(Continuing from Google's response to 302 Hijacking [webmasterworld.com] and 302 Redirects continues to be an issue [webmasterworld.com])

Sometimes, an HTTP status 302 redirect or an HTML META refresh causes Google to replace the redirect's destination URL with the redirect URL. The word "hijack" is commonly used to describe this problem, but redirects and refreshes are often implemented for click counting, and in some cases lead to a webmaster "hijacking" his or her own URLs.

Normally in these cases, a search for cache:[destination URL] in Google shows "This is G o o g l e's cache of [redirect URL]" and oftentimes site:[destination domain] lists the redirect URL as one of the pages in the domain.

Also link:[redirect URL] will show links to the destination URL, but this can happen for reasons other than "hijacking".

Searching Google for the destination URL will show the title and description from the destination URL, but the title will normally link to the redirect URL.

There has been much discussion on the topic, as can be seen from the links below.

How to Remove Hijacker Page Using Google Removal Tool [webmasterworld.com]
Google's response to 302 Hijacking [webmasterworld.com]
302 Redirects continues to be an issue [webmasterworld.com]
Hijackers & 302 Redirects [webmasterworld.com]
Solutions to 302 Hijacking [webmasterworld.com]
302 Redirects to/from Alexa? [webmasterworld.com]
The Redirect Problem - What Have You Tried? [webmasterworld.com]
I've been hijacked, what to do now? [webmasterworld.com]
The meta refresh bug and the URL removal tool [webmasterworld.com]
Dealing with hijacked sites [webmasterworld.com]
Are these two "bugs" related? [webmasterworld.com]
site:www.example.com Brings Up Other Domains [webmasterworld.com]
Incorrect URLs and Mirror URLs [webmasterworld.com]
302's - Page Jacking Revisited [webmasterworld.com]
Dupe content checker - 302's - Page Jacking - Meta Refreshes [webmasterworld.com]
Can site with a meta refresh hurt our ranking? [webmasterworld.com]
Google's response to: Redirected URL [webmasterworld.com]
Is there a new filter? [webmasterworld.com]
What about those redirects, copies and mirrors? [webmasterworld.com]
PR 7 - 0 and Address Nightmare [webmasterworld.com]
Meta Refresh leads to ... Replacement of the target URL! [webmasterworld.com]
302 redirects showing ultimate domain [webmasterworld.com]
Strange result in allinurl [webmasterworld.com]
Domain name mixup [webmasterworld.com]
Using redirects [webmasterworld.com]
redesigns, redirects, & google -- oh my [webmasterworld.com]
Not sure but I think it is Page Jacking [webmasterworld.com]
Duplicate content - a google bug? [webmasterworld.com]
How to nuke your opposition on Google? [webmasterworld.com] (January 2002 - when Google's treatment of redirects and META refreshes were worse than they are now)

Hijacked website [webmasterworld.com]
Serious help needed: Is there a rewrite solution to 302 hijackings? [webmasterworld.com]
How do you stop meta refresh hijackers? [webmasterworld.com]
Page hijacking: Beta can't handle simple redirects [webmasterworld.com] (MSN)

302 Hijacking solution [webmasterworld.com] (Supporters' Forum)
Location: versus hijacking [webmasterworld.com] (Supporters' Forum)
A way to end PageJacking? [webmasterworld.com] (Supporters' Forum)
Just got google-jacked [webmasterworld.com] (Supporters' Forum)
Our company Lisiting is being redirected [webmasterworld.com]

This thread is for further discussion of problems due to Google's 'canonicalisation' of URLs, when faced with HTTP redirects and HTML META refreshes. Note that each new idea for Google or webmasters to solve or help with this problem should be posted once to the Google 302 Redirect Ideas [webmasterworld.com] thread.

<Extra links added from the excellent post by Claus [webmasterworld.com]. Extra link added thanks to crobb305.>

[edited by: ciml at 11:45 am (utc) on Mar. 28, 2005]

6:06 pm on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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GoogleGuy, in situations where the cache shows a different domain than the correct one, do you consider this to be the result of hijacking?

Dayo_UK

6:50 pm on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hi Googleguy

Glad you are still active in this thread - as your main posting times are after your work people in UK, Europe tend to miss out on some of your more insightfull answers :)

I have some sites which have dropped out of the serps and they have PR0 on the non-www while high PRs on the www - I have redirected all the non-www to the www.

The sites are not getting crawled very well though and I have some www home pages go to url only listings. I have seen you mention that if Google pick the wrong canoical url it can lead to crawling problems. (ages ago I think in Florida or Dom or Esmeralda threads)

I have put the 301 redirect in place from the non-www to the www - should this resolve the problem or should I send a re-inclusion request and advise others who have similar situations to send re-inclusion request aswell?

Dont want to swamp your engineers if it is just a case of patience.

7:10 pm on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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GG could you please clarify how to get through with messages about canonical issues. Thanks!

I tried to send via Google Support with "canonical page" in subject line and just got the automatic reply here:

-----
Thank you for your note. This is an automated reply to your inquiry about your site's inclusion in the Google search results.

When webmasters write to us that their site has fallen out of our search results ...
----

7:55 pm on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I have been having the same problems with split PR and no titles or descriptions on most pages. (no rankings)

(I have done the 301 to the www version 3 weeks ago)

I sent the reinclusion request as GG says and got the same response as above

-----
Thank you for your note. This is an automated reply to your inquiry about your site's inclusion in the Google search results.

When webmasters write to us that their site has fallen out of our search results ...
----

did anybody else try this and get a different response?

8:24 pm on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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GoogleGuy, thanks for your advice.

I had some hijacker's redirects removed a couple of weeks ago. The links and the caches now display a standard error page, without any reference to my site. Can you tell me why they still show up in an inurl:mysite.com search?

8:34 pm on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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I think the answer is simply that Google hasn't fixed the underlying problem, they haven't cleaned the site and page data actually in the database itself; instead they have simply elected to remove the obvious wrong entries from the list of results that they show to the public at the time the results are generated. In other words, perhaps they've just painted over the cracks.
8:54 pm on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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The only way I can see to get beyond this is to have a randomly generated paragraph at the bottom of each page to avoid the duplicate spam penalty. Kind of tacky way to have the site look though.

For those wondering how long it takes to get back after the dupe penalty is gone my site came back a couple of weeks after I added content to the home page. I had a total of about 45 days out of the search. May not be the same in all cases though.

And oddly enough the 302 redirect url does show up in an inurl command even though doesn't have my domain anywhere in the url.

I'm out of the woods for now but would like to have a way to be sure it doesn't happen again.

10:13 pm on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Dayo_UK, I would go ahead and send a reinclusion request. joeduck/TheET--that's an early response from a computer just to let you know that we got the message. Then that goes into a support queue which someone will check to see if a site had spam penalties and whether it's clean now.

Vec_One, my hunch is that we just haven't recrawled those urls to see that they're a 404 yet. I'd give them a few days to drop out (assuming that trying to fetch the page now gives a true 404 error). g1smd, we have changed our heuristics for 302 redirects, so this isn't just a superficial change. Kirby/Emmett, I'd love to hear details about the sites you mention. If you could submit the sites in question to google.com/support with canonicalpage in the title and include "Kirby" or "Emmett" so that I can recognize it, I'd like to ask someone to check those two cases out.

10:31 pm on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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"we have changed our heuristics for 302 redirects"

Thanks, GG that's what I wanted to read.

10:42 pm on Apr 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>> remove the obvious wrong entries from the list of results

Imho, that would be a very sound first move, as it immediately removes the worst kind of deceptive redirects (scams, phishing, drive-by-installs, etc.) If they can't pretend to be something else, they won't get anywhere.

However, for most webmasters those "extreme sites" are probably the least worry. In stead it's their own sites that are at stake. Also, a lot of webmasters that do not read WebmasterWorld have been harmed by this as well. These people have no idea what hit them and they wouldn't know what a reinclusion request was if they saw one. Also, they would think it was odd to ask for reinclusion when they've never asked for removal in the first place. Imho, if i told this to my clients they would simply think i had gone crazy.

Even if good new filters/rules have been implemented i don't think we will see a lot of effect on sites that are already hit until an update is done in which those links/URL's are treated significantly differently than they used to be. Perhaps it will weed itself out in the rolling updates, but that will take a long time in which people will continue to experiment with all kinds of stuff, so i've got a feeling that a full update is the best option.

Of course i could be very wrong about this, but i do agree that those links should never have been classified as pages in the first place, so if the root of the problem persists (only hidden this time) it is very likely that the problem will persist as well.

Added:

Just read msg #150. Doesn't really change my opinions above, but i should add that i wrote this post before i saw it.

Anyway, the most interesting question to me is: Are sites starting to return? Has anyone seen their sites come back already?

This 467 message thread spans 47 pages: 467
 

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