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I'll offer my symptoms as well and put them in chronological order since it appears I have patterns similar to many, but a few smaller differences.
Before June27 everything had been running smooth for a very long time. No significant changes in SERPS had ever occurred. The only "weird" thing I ever saw was about eight or nine months ago when during a PR update my homepage went to PR 0, yet all of my internal pages retained their PR of 3-5. The next PR update "fixed" this and my homepage went back to PR 5 as it had been before.
Otherwise all indexing was normal. Page title in the blue link, multiple lines of snippet text from the page in the black description, etc. Using the "site:" command showed normal results, homepage listed first followed by other pages in some semblance of order. I've never previously, nor currently, have any problems with "supplemental" pages.
June 27 during the evening I lost 95% of my traffic from Google and disappeared in the SERPS.
After June 27 traffic is still way down. Yesterday I saw a tiny increase in SERPS but no increase in traffic. Today I'm down a tiny bit in SERPS from yesterday.
Looking at the "site:" command there are two huge differences. First is that my homepage is missing out of about 700 pages. It isn't listed at all. The second big difference is that most of the pages are listed with the meta-description as the black description text rather than snippets of the text previously used. Pages are still cached.
If I search Google for a specific phrase in quotes that only appears on my website, the page is returned in the search results, however again the description text is just what is in the meta-description and no snippet from the page itself.
June 29 - Googlebot went on a deep crawl of my site, crawling pretty much all of the 700 pages in the site. The crawled pages are not yet showing in the cache.
[edited by: engine at 4:13 pm (utc) on June 30, 2006]
Google's supplemental database is corrupt. It screws things up all the time for some percentage of sites. There isn't much to do besides what has been suggested here for years now. if you haven't taken the steps to protect your domain, you have just been courting trouble. And even if you have, if you had not initiated the various fixes prior to 2004, Google will still reach back that far to pull out junk that will cause a page to be lost.
There have probably been more than 500 threads on this. Google screwed up again. There is some evidence they are screwing up less, but there is no evidence they are about to stop screwing up. If we learn from the past, most but not all sites/pages effected this time will probably be fixed next time or maybe the time after that.
Google has too much power in its hands.
I detect people that arrived via Google, and to them only, I promote either Yahoo or MSN search at the top. I can promive an SSI (server side include) to detect referrals from Google, is anyone wants - just sticky me for the script. It doesn't show it to crawlers.... only people that came from Google.
As for why I think they're permanent; well by that I mean that the "quality control tests" were probably passed before putting the results live - so we have no reason to believe that anything will be rolled back or changed before the next natural update. As we know, these massive updates are few and far between these days, so for all intent purposes the changes may be considered permanent, at least to me.
Just quick view - among new arivals:
1) 10-yearold site with 1/100 of info that top folks in the niche have and that hasn't been updated in 2 years - actually top 2 listings?
2) supplemental result site that sells virtual product that is basically unrelated to niche
3) 2 listings from Wikipedia that have VERY LITTLE to do with subject
4) listing from another "know all, little info" site, also beyond uninformative.
5) some forum post with the KW in it? on first page? dogh...
6) 5-10 really, really small niche sites, one of them twice, once on first page, once on second
7) Jokes section of some site that mentions KW and has part of KW in URL
8) a company that closed shop in 2004 (they still have a website that hasn't been updated in 2 years)
9) some 10 edu sites that have a class or mention KW on topic
10) 2 government sites - border-line unrelated
...I can go on...
What happened to Google? After 5-6 years of solid results (personal note - we haven't been on top of SERPs most of these, so not biased here) - now THIS GARBAGE?
I'd prefer that Google creates a serious and professional way to communicate with webmasters. Right now I feel like an idiot waiting for Matt Cutts to finish his (well deserved) vacations, and hoping that he gives us light in his personal blog.
ChicoLoco, I don't want to change people's search habits.
Noted, but the only reason they have power is because so many people search there! Most webmasters have a vested interest in diversifying where their visitors come from... think "hedging".
But that aside: Has anyone mentioned that if this is a duplicate content filter problem, then perhaps scraper sites are to blame? That was noted as a potential issue in several other large updates, but I haven't seen it mentioned this time.
The site and KW I mentioned 2 posts up. From analyzing sites that showed up in top-50:
1) edu sites - it is beyond my belief that anyone looking info on edu site (education, classes, etc.) will be typing just that KW - I am 99% convinced they will be using different combo - i.e. these are UNRELATED RESULTS (about 10)
2) ditto for government sites - also UNRELATED RESULTS (2)
3) G$$gle might've not known that the 2 sites that have stopped being updated in 2004 are actually outdated - so year...partially UNRELATED results.
4) out of about 10 new small sites, I'd say 5 are like that - imagine you are looking for "chinatown in new york", and you get sites from china that mention new york (just examples, not actual keywords). Yeah...completely UNRELATED.
That, plus supplemental site, plus 2 sites mentioned twice - I'd say we have 50% of the sites that are COMPLETELY UNRELATED to KW. And that is KW with 100+ million results we are talking about (but not very commercial). I don't know how about ya all, but I call it a GIANT SCREW-UP.
Mmmmm? Still rank high on Yahoo, MSN still has not given us back our index page from a few months ago. Still get good traffic from MSN on 3 + keyword searches. But something is happening with our index page?
We use mod_rewrite to rewrite dynamic URLs with a lot of parameters to static URLs and are sending a 302 in between.
We tried fixing by doing drastic changes like removing sitemaps, links, duplicate contents, nothing work. We ALWAYS get hit by this drop. So in the end, decided not to stress myself over it. Just ignore it and let it come and go.
I get a kick when someone posts, “you shouldn’t depend on search engines for traffic”. I think those type of people are usually the kind that clap when no one else in the house feels the moment. I realize that bright lights on the internet exist, but I feel that type of poster is “perpetually” living large in there own minds.
I realize that Google must protect itself from spam. I realize I don’t have a full understanding of the scale of the problems that Google must deal with. I do however understand the problems I face. Google, needs to understand that this thing we call the “Internet” isn’t a beta.
The problem is, we can not regulate the Internet. In a perfect world, we can be publishers, and Google can take advantage of that fact. Instead, we are unapologetically webmasters who by definition must publish to a lithe and dexterous standard, and I’m not suggesting that will ever change.
That said, in this one to many relationship between us and Google … our power is inert, and Google could do better.
For someone whose sites haven't dropped throughout recent updates, I empathise with webmasters who put in months and years of hard work to create professional websites, only to see them washed downstream because of an update or algo change.
You obviously have absolutely no understanding of the way that a change in the Google algo's can affect people, and their websites.
You may well laugh, but when you get hit one day, don't come on here complaining, because very few will empathise with you.