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If you do a site: search using Google UK's 'UK results only', the index pages of ten .com domains and three .net domains (out of 65 that I manage) are not listed.
1) All sites hosted in the UK across 4 different servers in 3 different DCs
2) No link exchanges, very little outward linking, no excessive inward linking. No inter-linking. These are not directories, MFA, affiliate. They are contact/services offered websites for UK companies and sole traders. Some are dynamic, some static. Size from under ten to under one hundred pages.
3) No canonical issues, no dupe content issues, no over-optimisation. I use the same techniques and links for all my sites. Number of affected sites has not grown since this problem was spotted. Unaffected sites re-cached this week.
4) Internal pages all listed AND RANKING for their terms.
Would other UK based webmasters like to share their experiences? Perhaps we can collectively contact Google and refer them to this thread.
On an optimistic note, the .com which had been #1 for years - and which vanished at the same time as my own site - made a dramatic return to the UK SERPs last night, with a cache date of 08/09/06.
I live in hope.
When my index page disappeared in August, it disappeared from a lot of DC's as well (15-16 of them for a couple of days). When it reappeared in the DC's it reappeared in UK searches.
This time around it disappeared only briefly from a few DC's, but still isn't appearing in searches even if I do a sitename search (which returns ALL my other 100+ pages), so either the page itself isn't UK indexed, or there is some mechanism to hide it. I think the page is no longer indexed (i.e. the filter excludes pages from the index, not from searches), but see final paragraph, which might put a spanner in that hypothesis. Why pages would be cached but not indexed (or how they might be indexed but invisible) is certainly food for thought.
The odd thing is that Google webmaster central tells me the page IS indexed, so whatever the explanation it looks as if Google's right hand doesn't know what the left is doing. This is very worrying if - like me - most of your potential new clients use Google as their only method of looking for a supplier.
I asked Matt Cutts which datacentre will match the results shown in WMC and have yet to receive an answer to that. Obviously it is only going to match one datacentre as each datacentre has slightly different information.
As an added bonus, Google decided to move me up one spot in the SERPs for my most competitive keyword.
Has anyone else reappeared from the ether today?
I now think the problem is caused by a bug in Google's search operators.
If I use Google's advanced search operators in a UK-only search on google.co.uk, I find the following:
info:www.mydomainname.com finds my index page
cache:www.mydomainname.com finds the (7 September) cached version.
site:www.mydomainname.com finds every page except the index page, and
www.mydomainname.com on its own doesn't find the index page either.
The problem is peculiar to UK-only searches, so:
1. Whatever tells Google the index page of my domain is in the UK works for some kinds of search but not others.
2. Whatever tells Google my domain is in the UK works for all pages except the index page.
This looks like some kind of field duplication. Are they transferring to a new database?
With any luck this is bothering a few big and influential UK .com sites, and Google will be getting enough grief over it to fix it fairly soon.
I had one .tv domain come back in the last few days, but two .coms are gone instead.
I've noticed something with the cache dates of some affected sites.
Site A that is now gone was last cached 9/9 when unaffected - and was never affected before. Now it's cached 26/8.
Site B had been previously affected but receovered and was cached OK 17/8, 2/9 and 8/9. Now it's gone again and the cache date is 3/8.
However I have sites that have come back and gone again where the cache date is mroe recent.
Driving me F*CKING NUTS.
If a .com (.net/etc.) site is hosted on a non-UK server moving it to a UK server might make a difference, but I don't see how it should otherwise. Also, if - as in my case - only the index page is affected, it probably isn't a question of host location.
It still looks to me like a fault in Google's (new!) geolocation algorithm. Judging by the present apparent instability they are still messing with it, and changing things at the domain end probably won't help them get it right any faster. As my own - unchanged - index page has moved in and out of view several times it would be impossible for me to deduce whether some change I might make had made any difference. Clearly something at Google is the prime cause.
This missing homepage problem is extremely annoying. I can see no reason for it whatsoever.
If anyone at Google is reading this, please get it fixed soon!
However, what impact on trafiic has this had? Not a lot I would guess. Now the two sets are lined up (web v pages from UK) not many people are going to select 'pages from the UK', and I would think this number is falling.
I remember when the only way to get UK results was to click on the 'pages from the UK' but this is no longer the case and 'pages from the web' are no longer populated, if you search in UK, by pages from US etc.
So although annoying/disconcertying (and a pain explaining to clients!) is this actually having an impact on your bottom line traffic?
I'm sure anyone would prefer to have their site at #1 using Adwords AND to have it listed just below in the organic SERPs.
Also, if my site has a London theme, has 'london' in the URL AND is hosted in the UK (physically), it should be listed when searching Google for 'pages from the UK!'
Happily my index page has been OK for a week or so, but I'm not counting my chickens yet. The UK number one is still out (which, of course is good for me in the short term, but doesn't inspire confidence).
I'm in Australia, and my .com site now doesn't show in "Pages from Australia". This has happened to me before - I even made a post here before a couple of months ago. However, it was back within a week, so hopefully this will happen again.
As a side note, a web host that I am considering moving to is having the same problem - they have a .net domain and servers in the same city as I am in, but only their sub-pages, not home page comes up in the "Pages from Australia".
I guess the only way to "ride out the storm" so to speak is to advertise while the big G sorts out this problem - for a 1 word keyword, my site comes up 5th on google.com.au, ~40th on google.com but nowhere to be seen when "Pages from Australia" is selected.
Google.co.uk (UK results only) has for over 10 weeks now been dumping non .co.uk homepages from the index. Through these pages other pages are crawled and cached and ranking. This only affects non .co.uk domains so I assume itís geo-targeting. Sites are UK hosted (Iíve been to the DC), UK optimised, UK registered and some even have UK place names in the domains. They are all small business sites targeting local markets. No advertising, no affiliate.
Many of these sites have a .co.uk also. So my question is - if we ditch the .com, .tv and .net and switch to the .co.uk as the primary with a 301 redirect will this help? Should we be avoiding non .co.uk domains if we want to be found in Google.co.uk?
Peter, the same basic index drives our .co.uk search and our .com search and our .fr search and so on, so itís less likely to be a difference of inclusion and more likely to be a difference of degree. If you want to show up in the .co.uk search and you can migrate from a .com to a .co.uk easily with a 301, it might benefit you. I would try moving one directory as a test, and if that goes well, then you could migrate the whole thing.
Once again, info: and cache: searches find it (so it is obviously indexed, last cached 28 Septemeber), while site: or plain domainname searches find other pages, but not my index page. Text searches don't find it.
What kind of conditions would allow this? According to the Firefox Show IP extension (thanks, g1smd!), all results are coming from the same DC.