Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.145.235.72

Trivial change on text-only page - POOF! - it's gone

   
3:51 pm on Mar 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I have a couple of pretty much text-only pages that do absolutely NOTHING complicated. No frames, no tables, no scripts, no links to speak of, etc.

I just updated them - in one case adding only a line of plain text - and both have disappeared COMPLETELY from the index. Nothing I put in will bring either up.

The rest of the site, per se, is unaffected - I still get #1 on the relatively obscure keywords that are my speciality - deserved, because I've been at it for years.

But what gives? One of the pages is a school reunion page - I've had emails praising the prose from all over the world. And there's literally NOTHING in it that is even remotely related to SEO.

I'm beginning to suspect that Google's new algorithms are generating some quite incredible false positives.

5:47 pm on Mar 14, 2006 (gmt 0)



Hi Phil,

Did your site get hit for a while last year also?

There is a thought out there at the moment that Big Daddy is using an historic page rank and if you suffered a hit last year it may have reverted back to that time.

Apart from that I'm stumped.

All the Best

Col :-)

6:09 pm on Mar 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I think you'll find that both of those pages are in the index. I checked them when you posted in Google Groups with allinurl: and site: and they were both there using either command. Getting them to rank is a different issue.
6:22 pm on Mar 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



> I think you'll find that both of those pages are in the index. I checked them when you posted in Google Groups with allinurl: and site: and they were both there using either command. Getting them to rank is a different issue.

Both pages were written in December after a school reunion. Both were in the top half of the first page for the school-unique keywords yesterday afternoon, with a toolbar PageRank of 3. Now they show a zero.

There are links to both pages from outside the site - not many, and all relevant.

6:23 pm on Mar 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I just updated them - in one case adding only a line of plain text - and both have disappeared COMPLETELY from the index

I think you are making a cause/effect assumption that isn't there. Did you check to see if Google even spidered your page after you made the change? They may not even know about it, and the poofing be unrelated.

-Michael

6:31 pm on Mar 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



> I think you are making a cause/effect assumption that isn't there. Did you check to see if Google even spidered your page after you made the change? They may not even know about it, and the poofing be unrelated.

Updated just two pages. Updated the sitemap and the sitemap_index.

Google pulls my sitemap every day. Just afterwards it spidered the changed pages, as it always does.

No other pages are affected, as far as I can see. ToolBar PageRank of the home page is 4, which is enough for what I need.

If this is a co-incidence, it's an incredible one.

The only other possibility that occurs to me is that the PageRank for the whole site has regressed to a point earlier than December, it which case both pages will have none.

11:05 pm on Mar 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



We also had a co-incidence - added an item to a side menu + a bit of text in the main body on around 29 Feb- 5 March.

Most of these pages lost SERP position from top 10 as from 8th March.

Not all pages dropped on that date so I have altered one page that retained position and will see what happens.

Lost 30% of Google traffic since March 8th.

This happened last year on 27.05 ( suprising how you remember the dates ) and recovered quickly so taking a wait and see position.

Other sites we have with normally low trafic have increased trafiic of 100%+ in some cases.

Possibly its due to PR/Big Daddy or an update on the way.

1:21 am on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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



A of of people have sites that dropped on March 8th.

Check the other threads here.

11:51 am on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Agree - but page alterations could be one ( of many ) factors - hence our test page..
12:06 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



> A of of people have sites that dropped on March 8th.

Dear Lord.

This thread - as I was at pains to state as clearly as possible when I started it - is NOT about sites. My site as a whole is completely unaffected - just two changed pages.

I'm fully aware of the site issues - this is not that.

12:15 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I have found in recent years that Google does not like it if you alter a page shortly after launch ... particularly if any keywords are added or deleted. I am guessing here, but I imagine they take it as a sign that you are trying to manipulate search results.

Keywords may be those which appear in the title or in any of your meta tags. It happens to me all the time because I often find grammatical errors or sentences which just don't read properly after the page is launched ... so I change them. Often, if writing about a specific place, I may have only two or three photos when I launch the page and then add one or two a few months later after having another day out taking shots.

Unless you are worried about how those pages rank, don't worry about it. I change what I want and I forget about Google rank. I'd rather my pages read properly and make sense. Those pages still rank on other engines.

12:46 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



> I have found in recent years that Google does not like it if you alter a page shortly after launch ... particularly if any keywords are added or deleted. I am guessing here, but I imagine they take it as a sign that you are trying to manipulate search results.

> Keywords may be those which appear in the title or in any of your meta tags. It happens to me all the time because I often find grammatical errors or sentences which just don't read properly after the page is launched ... so I change them. Often, if writing about a specific place, I may have only two or three photos when I launch the page and then add one or two a few months later after having another day out taking shots.

Nope - not that. I had a two-line itinerary on line 87 and I added the name of another Scottish town. Nothing in <head></head> was changed, and nothing in anchors, <Hn></Hn> either. Just one innocuous change in open text.

Still not indexed. I cannot comprehend what Google is up to - the page is so straightforward you wouldn't believe it - it's just text. It had a regular top three position (OK - the keywords are close to unique and utterly non-competitive) and now it's nowhere. As I say, the unchanged pages on the site - even closely related ones - are unaffected.

1:21 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



One or two days is a short timescale in Google terms. Assuming that whatever you did to those pages is what caused their drop, the time to really wonder about them is two weeks later, a month later. I see strange things happening to pages less than 6 months old, and even stranger things to pages less than a month old.

I think some of those odd things can sometimes relate to where a page sits in the navigation structure. If you haven't already done so, perhaps link to them from your homepage (as an experiment) and see what happens after a week.

1:40 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I'm with Phil_Payne on this one.

Changed about 30 pages - no header changes - old pages up since 1999 in current design - most ranked top 10.

Probably a co-incidence, so taking a "wait and see" approach for 4 weeks - given all the other things that appear to be going on at the moment.

as an aside - we leave any small grammar errors as it helps us in easy identification when we go after those "nice" people who copy wholesale from our site.

<added> just those pages changed affected not whole site </added>

1:52 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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



Google does have some very-quick-to-react parts in their system.

I have a page that is spidered just after midnight (almost) every night, and which shows the new cache some 18 to 24 hours later.

As a test, I linked to a blatent spam site and the next night the cache date did not update. It did not update on any of the next three nights, and then the cache date dropped back about a week, and stayed there on that fixed date; the cache no longer updating at all.

After 2 weeks I removed the link. Three nights later the cache date updated to one from two nights ago, then the same the next night, it updated but lagged by 2 days, and then finally after a few days the cache date caught up to date and Google carried on with the daily update.

I tried the same thing again, about 6 weeks later, and got the same result. I tried it again a few months later and got the same again. So three times with the same result.

I only left the link in for about 2 weeks each time. If I had left it any longer I do believe that the page would have turned supplemental or completely dropped out of the index.

2:05 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Google does not like it if you alter a page shortly after launch

If that is true, there's no sense in it. Adjusting the topic keywords in the title, metas, h# etc so that a page ranks well for its topic is exactly what Google wants. And I don't see why doing this just after launch is any different from doing it later.

2:15 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Do you not just love what google does with fresh and up to date content.
11:03 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



If that is true, there's no sense in it. Adjusting the topic keywords in the title, metas, h# etc so that a page ranks well for its topic is exactly what Google wants. And I don't see why doing this just after launch is any different from doing it later.

So try it and see. I'm happy to be proven wrong! :)

11:11 pm on Mar 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Adjusting the topic keywords in the title, metas, h# etc so that a page ranks well for its topic is exactly what Google wants.

Not true, sorry. That's what webmasters want. I don't know if Google wants anything other than giant bags of money, but if they do care about good results, they'll be looking for "organic" pages, not ones that are obviously tweaked.

2:03 am on Mar 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



> .. but if they do care about good results, they'll be looking for "organic" pages, not ones that are obviously tweaked.

But these two pages are not tweaked at all. And the changes, as I've said, were very innocuous and deep in the body. I added the name of a Scottish town - the other words were tedious text.

2:08 am on Mar 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



But these two pages are not tweaked at all.

Understood, and it might not be the actual problem (hard to believe that that little would do it, but who knows - G has been having a bit of a nervous breakdown lately). I was speaking in the abstract about what Google wants (which is money).

10:07 am on Mar 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



... which is money

Yes, but by delivering the goods.

Launching any new web page could be said to be 'manipulating' Google in the sense that it is bound to supplant another page somewhere along the line. Making adjustments to page title, headings, etc so that they are consistent with the page topic is going to improve the relevance of the SERPS for that topic. It doesn't make sense not to flag up the relevance of the page by using the correct means: title, metas, headings - that's what they're for.

The original question was whether making ANY adjustment to a newish page could cause it to drop. I don't know - it might - but I don't see why Google would deliberately set such a mechanism in place.

10:12 am on Mar 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I never said it made sense or even that it was right, I just said that its what I have obeserved. :)
10:43 am on Mar 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Ah - but the ones we changed were old pages - not "just launched" pages. Only added a new menu item and text for a new customer service.
6:43 pm on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



As far as changes to a newly launched page are concerned, I have 2 sites which have related stories' links updated on almost every page of the site - new and old - everyday. Constant changing. Sometimes twice or thrice a day too. The pages are guaranteed to be different the next time Gbot visits. Titles and h1 or h2 are updated as and when editorial needs arise - not concerned about gbot there at all. Have never faced anything I can put down to changes to pages. Whenever I have made changes on these sites or other sites I manage, constant changes seem to invite gbot more instead.
9:28 pm on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Ah - but the ones we changed were old pages - not "just launched" pages. Only added a new menu item and text for a new customer service.

Ah - but that is not what we are discussing here. Making changes to old pages involves a different dynamic!

As far as changes to a newly launched page are concerned, I have 2 sites which have related stories' links updated on almost every page of the site - new and old - everyday. Constant changing.

Also ... a different dynamic!

I was talking about static pages which get changed shortly after launch. Not old pages which get changed once in a blue moon or pages which change daily. These are entirely different animals and Google knows that!

95% of my pages are static. Two pages get changed frequently and others a few times a year. Google knows the history of when these pages change and I am never penalized for making changes, additions or deletions.

However, when a new "static" page gets changed shortly after launch, I frequently see the page drop a few notches. If I make any other changes too soon ... it sometimes drops out of the top 100.

You don't have to buy it ... I'm just saying this has been my experience.

9:52 pm on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)



I'd say this is a coincidence, and you would have dropped regardless of your changes.
10:16 pm on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I think Phil's original question was about pages created in December - ranking well - then dropping after a slight alteration. All on a site that is well established.

I noticed that that pages we had a similar problem on are slowly climbing back up. One page I monitor has jumped from Page 25 in the SERPS to Page 9 now for the keywords it is focused on.

10:34 pm on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



... and Phil's original question was "What gives?"

I don't see this as being deliberate on Google's part, as I can't think of any reason for it. Tweaking pages is commonplace, and is done for all kinds of bona-fide reasons.

4:10 pm on Mar 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



> I think Phil's original question was about pages created in December - ranking well - then dropping after a slight alteration. All on a site that is well established.

It was. Both pages are now back in the SERPS, though slightly lower than before - #9 and #10 in place of 2 or 3.

This 32 message thread spans 2 pages: 32
 

Featured Threads

My Threads

Hot Threads This Week

Hot Threads This Month