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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]
Do you know of something? If so what information are you hiding?
Or just because it's beginning of July and no changes where done yet so "Maybe we shall see more stable serps next August."
To me this is not an answer, why do some sites have an increase in traffic, increase in pages indexed, while our site is having the very same supp result ever since April 26th?
Is Google ignoring us?
It's a shame that innocent sites get hit like this.. I would understand if there was a pattern, an explanation of some sort.. but nothing. Innocent sites get punished as every sort of spam sites keeps getting bumped to the top.
August? Doubt it.. zero evidence to suggest things will get better. And why should they if Google doesn't care.. or so it seems.
What time period is this over? A day? An hour?
Since June 27th my (google referred) traffic had begun to drop. At the close of Sunday midnight (US time) My average traffic flow had been reduced by aprox 70%.
Also, when you say they are returning, do you mean in the results or based on the referrers in your analyzer software?
Yes, I meant to say that the results show that google is now once again sending me traffic on pre June 27 keyword searches. I know this based on information I obtained from my traffic analyser.
My index page and some of the other pages that had dropped off the Google index have now been re-instated allbeit with different site info in some cases. I haven't madly checked this yet across data centre ip's (I'll give it more time before re-visiting this) I have checked it by using Google.com
It looks to me like the changes are continuing.
220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168 for example are different from 22.214.171.124. Last night this was not the case.
On 126.96.36.199 and 147 the site that has been at #1 on and off (except immediately post Florida) for 4 years is dropped completely from the SERPs.
It seems to me that there has to be something very wrong with an algo that drops completely a perfectly good page which was manually inspected by Google during Florida and which I thought they saw as a model of good in that niche. Having manually inspected it it was restored to #1 post Florida.
Spam is not an arms race it is guerillas (or even terrorists) attacking a masive army using suicide tactics. The guy from Google who thinks that its an arms race is absolutely wrong. Spammers don't care if they get taken out with an algo they will just regroup and attack the new algo. Meanwhile those of us with proper real world businesses suffer, or spend loads more with Adwords. Unfortunately I'm going to have to do the latter.
Suppose your homepage not being at the top when you do site:www.domain.com is not a bug. Suppose it's a feature.
Let me explain. If our sites are caught in a penalty of some description which reduces our pages' importance, then would it be reasonable to assume that the penalty is not applied to supplementals, which don't rank anyway? So could our homepages appearing after a list of supplementals be an artefact of a penalty?
I've recently in talks with another webmaster about the 27J penalty, and we found out that our penalized sites have one thing in common. We both have links to our subdomains or directories from other subdomains or directories of the same site, but about completely different thematic.
Can it be that google has implemented some kind of 'intelligence' to determine if a link is thematic relevant? i.e. if you link from a page about widgets to a page about stegdiw, the page where the link comes from gets penalized?
Please, tell me I'm wrong.
I've doing a series of site:www.mysite.com/directory1/, site:www.mysite.com/directory2/ ... searches and I've found that all the directories are ok but one.
For this directory the "site: command" result is completely weird. Also, I've noticed that this is the only directory where Google has an entry for www.mysite.com/directory/ and www.mysite.com/directory/index.asp (both the same page). So there is a canonical problem here.
I've 301'd to a new page, so www.mysite.com/directory and www.mysite.com/directory/index.asp both redirect to www.mysite.com/directory/newindex.asp. Also I've changed all the links from index.asp to the root of the directory. Now it's time to wait and see.
Anyone with the same problem?
I've been hit 3 times now with this problem of drops and return when the site command returns to normal the home page in pole position.
return 1 time with no changes on the site. (27 december 2005)
drop the 27th march 06.
return the 15th of june after a 301 redirect on another domain extension after the googlebot crawl.
finally drop again the 27th of june.
for me it's just a technical problem of google there's no logical things in that.
Disregard page rank, age and content and focus on keyword frequency and urls that match the search terms and see what visitors like best.
Google has been giving less emphasis lately to page rank and they may be questioning the sandbox theory too.
I'm actually seeing an under construction site with Under Construction in the title, no links, no size and just 2 phrases on the page in the top 3 for a major one word search term. But, it's url does match the search term exactly. An exact url match is also the only search term high rankings I still have myself, by the way. And that doesn't include the page titles only that which comes before the .com
At first I thought it was a glitch but it's been almost a week now since things got messed up, an experiment is the only thing that makes sense to me - unless that is all the algorithm engineers left town for a 4th of July vacation together and haven't gotten back yet.
Regarding various theories above:
-- We have three sites that dropped out simultaneously on 6/27/06.
-- They've been on-line since 1998, 1998, and 2001.
-- PR5, PR5, and PR4. No artificial PR inflation.
-- Only 5 advertising-based inbound links total ever rented, and removed when Google/Cutts made it clear they didn't like this promotion method (since they weren't marked with rel="nofollow" attribute). Link source sites were relevant to theme.
-- Pure white hat, always.
-- Two sites nearly all unique content, and one site 60-70% unique content (good content, we purchased site on 1/1/06 and are working to rewrite).
-- Never any sp@mmy old-time SEO tactics, like hidden text, keyword stuffing, high keyword density, etc.
-- Constantly add at least 3 new unique articles per week.
-- All site content tightly-themed.
-- Some relevant visitor-useful internal cross-linking.
-- Canonical non-www/www .htaccess/Mod_Rewrite in place about six months. Google SERPs looked good.
-- Clean .htaccess file, redirecting all known 404s to proper locations.
-- Clean, small, accurate, validated robots.txt files on all domains.
-- Hundreds of relevant "real/quality" inbound links from sites in the theme/topic gathered over the years; only a handful of reciprocal links.
-- Proper tiered organization by topic and good PR flow.
-- No broken links, internal or external.
-- No dead end pages.
-- Non-sp@mmy visitor-useful Title tags and Meta Name Description tags. No Meta Name Keywords tags (seems to us they rarely/never help, but *can* hurt.)
-- None of the sites cross-link with any others, and no external site-wide links.
-- All external links carefully checked for multiple quality factors.
-- No subdomains whatsoever.
-- Sites page counts are 750, 800, and 1700; all added naturally over many years.
-- One relevant affiliate link on most of the pages of one domain, one relevant affiliate link on one half of the pages on one domain, and only a handful of relevant affiliate links (mostly, amazon.com book links) on one domain.
-- Hosted on our dedicated web server, owned by our 5 year old hosting company. All domains are quality. These three appear to be the only domains--of about 105 domains--that went down to June 27th, 2006 ("A Date Which Will Live in Infamy").
-- The three domains represented an average 12-15K unique visitors per day, with thousands of solid rankings.
-- I see no logic in Google applying a filter or penalty that:
a.) Removed the index/default/home page from the site: command;
b.) In the site: command SERPs replaced all text snippets under the tile with the Meta Name Description;
c.) Jumbled the site: command SERPs results so there is no page priority;
d.) Left all of the Google Site Maps analytical data on the site intact;
e.) Did not use the Google Site Maps interface to notify "real/good" of the problem so they can correct and enter a re-inclusion request.
These sites have been nurtured over the years to be 100% in alignment with Google's Webmaster Guidelines. We trusted that doing so would firewall us from just this kind of drop out. We're currently running at 10% of traffic.
I've been building sites and engaging in conservative SEO/SEM since 1995. Sure, I sometimes still make stupid mistakes and will always have a lot to learn, but I can see NO reason any of these three would do anything but be fully crawled, fully indexed, receive good rankings on our targeted medium and long tail searches, and receive solid traffic.
Google intentionally penalizing/filtering/banning these three sites at the same time and giving priority to sites that are currently occupying our previous ranking spots...I don't think so...
No, two in relatively non-competitive personal growth, self-help, new age, spirituality, astrology themes.
The other in competitive alternative/complementary health theme, but our strategy has always been to avoid the top tier search terms and focus on mid-long tail search, so we do (did...) pretty well traffic-wise.
I don't use php is this a bad sign?
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[edited by: tedster at 7:33 am (utc) on July 5, 2006]