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Jump from nowhere to #1 AFTER content is all removed

     
4:02 pm on Jan 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Currently in the Google SERPs for one of my keywords the top position is taken by a site with zero content, except for a 6-word title. This site recently went bankrupt and the content that was previously online was all removed. Before the content was fully removed this site did not rank anywhere near the top for this keyword.
The site has between 13 - 25 inbound links; all but one with PR 0.
It can't just be on Keyword Density, can it? Any ideas?
5:57 pm on Jan 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Certainly not facing any duplicate content penalty. lol
6:00 pm on Jan 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The algorithm has finally been cracked... ;)
6:03 pm on Jan 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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it could simply be coincidence
6:40 pm on Jan 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It's not the first time.

It happened to me recently, I had a personal site which I decided to remove from the web and put up a page with no content. When the site had content it was #1 in Yahoo and MSN for a few low traffic tems and, of course, my name. In Google I was at #20, as there is an actor that shares my name.

Now that there is no content on the site it shot to #1 on Google too. #1 on G/Y/M and all because of a title tage and a few inbound links!

An unquoted search for my name brings up 10,000,000 results in G and Y, I'm sure they should be able to find a better page than my empty one.

6:41 pm on Jan 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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bordeaux, welcome to WebmasterWorld!

Study that one hard. There are often things to be learned by that sort of anomoly. ;-)

6:44 pm on Jan 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Could be a freshness factor resulting from a substantial change of content. My guess is that result will not stay.
8:02 pm on Jan 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Should I laugh or cry?
8:58 pm on Jan 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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What does the cached copy of the page look like?
11:12 pm on Jan 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Wow! Must be everyone else's content is really lame!
11:32 pm on Jan 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Could be a freshness factor resulting from a substantial change of content. My guess is that result will not stay.

This is probably a factor.

I'm also wondering if maybe the page originally had a penalty because it was over-SEOed (too much use of the keyword, keyword in H1 tag, outbound links to "bad neighborhoods", too many links to the same website).

1:44 pm on Jan 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hi,

We are about to try this with our website as we have nothing to lose.

We have around 3,400 links into our website with various keywords in the anchor text, since december our website tanked from page one slowly to infinity for the keywords that we were ranking highly on before the jagger disaster.
We are going to remove the keys from everywhere in the page except for the title.

What do you think?

Bek.

2:00 pm on Jan 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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This could be a godsend for people having trouble finding content. Just put up empty pages!

No more worries about duplicate content, copyright issues, none of that.

In a way its beneficial. Scrapers usually can't spell worth a damn anyhow.
What a relief for the visually impaired! -Larry

2:04 pm on Jan 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Maybe the empty page isn't empty at all, just printed with invisible ink ;-).

I'd be carefull about scraping empty pages, IBM might own the patent on empty pages or maybe pages with very little content on them.

Sorry just couldn't resist.

This message is intentionally left blank.

2:07 pm on Jan 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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On a more serious note, there could be a VERY big lesson here.

The "empty pages" rose to the top based on offsite factors, incoming links or whatever.

Unless I'm wrong, the content was weighting on the SERPS like a boat anchor.

A careful study of the original pages could be very revealing!
Was there duplicate content? Thats the first thing I would check for.
Keyword stuffing? Hidden text? There must be some evidence.
Check the wayback machine and of course the cached copy if any.

Quite possibly, there is an excellent lesson in what NOT to do. -Larry

2:09 pm on Jan 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hello Bear:

I wonder if a paper company ever tried to copyright blank pages.
I wouldn't put it past them, look what they do to innocent pretty trees. -Larry

2:13 pm on Jan 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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anybody care to share the url of this page?
2:44 pm on Jan 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Larryhatch,

I don't think that would really work, first there is nothing to copyright.

A hello right back at ya.

Sorry for drawing the attention away from caveman's correct observation. It is small things like this that provide important information.

Remember a definition can't really use the word it is defining to define itself.

Good morning oldpro.

3:02 pm on Jan 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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No content is king! I don't know about you folks, but I'm making a directory for these sites right now!
3:26 pm on Jan 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I started a page with nothing but a title and a flash animation, linked it from few sites and unfortunately i had to put it on the back burner to get some other projects on the way. Few months later I was #1 yahoo, #3 on google under a very competitive phrase. My positioning did not last for long (about a month).

[Dissatisfied? Help us improve] link on google can be helpful in this situation.

3:50 am on Jan 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Goodevening Bear...we cross paths again my good friend. I've been laying low posting for awhile. Back on topic....maybe the google god has a sense of humor after all. #1 with just a blank page. How ironic. #1, but not really there at all.
7:21 am on Jan 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Certainly not facing any duplicate content penalty. lol

Kidding? Not really :)

I figured out that if you made a few pages site with very original content and SEO'ed it well you will find your way like a rocket to top sports. Well, not because your site is the best, but because all other sites are facing a duplicate content penalty.

I think someday we would be seeing results 1-100 blank!

12:01 am on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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So, who is going to test this, in one of your good sites? Hum...
12:15 am on Jan 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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You guys missed the biggest update of all Google has integrated into the SERPS, their most effective thwart to SEOs: Randomness.
12:08 am on Jan 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Guys, we need more evidence in this. I think this is more of a coincidence.

On a side note...#1-3 ranking sites do seem to have little content....(see scrapers, etc).

1:31 pm on Jan 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Is your keyword in the title? I think keyword density + backlinks anchor text could be the key.
I have often seen frame pages (typically no content, just the title and often not even a noframes tag) rank high in google.
2:07 pm on Jan 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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What does the cached copy of the page look like?

This man is a genius, once the new page is cached expect it to go bye bye..

2:27 pm on Jan 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Just gone bankrupt? So in the news and getting a lot of new IBLs?
3:06 pm on Jan 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for all the feedback fellers
yves1- Yeah, that's what I'm thinking. Keyword is one of the 6 words in the title and appears in the link text also. But only one link on site of pr over 0...
oddsod- Position unlikely to come from notoriety. It's not such a big sector...
5:51 pm on Jan 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Sounds like an opportunity to perhaps get a bargain on a great domain name.
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