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"UK results only" - site: command shows index page missing

A problem in Google UK (UK results only filter) affects non .co.uk domains



8:03 am on Aug 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Except on these UK datacentres

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.


12:33 pm on Nov 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi Guys, Just checked, after being back for weeks my homepage has disappeared again from the within UK search.


7:44 pm on Nov 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

to be honest I don't know that it makes a huge difference to traffic, not many people click on pages from the UK, most just type in the query and hit enter.

I agree 100%. My site was missing for most of last week and it made no difference WHATSOEVER to my organic Google traffic.

I'm still glad that it's back in the UK index though ;)


8:39 pm on Nov 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

to be honest I don't know that it makes a huge difference to traffic, not many people click on pages from the UK, most just type in the query and hit enter.

No, not many: just the ones that specifically want to find MY kind of business IN THE UK.

OK the crude numbers are small (e.g. 15 UK-only searches yesterday, a very small fraction of the overall traffic), but I run a location-based niche service business, so most of my new business comes from location-specific searches, and my index page is the one that is optimised for new business queries.

Overall traffic scarcely changed while my site was out, but the traffic that brings business went from 10-20/day to less than 10/week.

While this has been going on I have been looking at ways to limit the damage of future episodes by optimising other pages for new business searches. However, there could always be a next time when it isn't just the index page.


3:37 pm on Nov 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'd speak too soon, just 10 days after re-appeared in the UK SERP, guess what, yes, our index page gone again just like in the August.

Wilburforce, just like you, our business is exclusive to the UK too. You got a point; maybe we should concentrate more on other pages to minimums the damage by this Google bug.


9:35 pm on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I wrote on 25/11/06 in this string...."My UK hosted dot com index page just disappeared again from the uk filtered index today for the 3rd time of asking...!"

Well what do you know - it's just come back again for the 3rd time? It's now approx 9:30 pm in the UK (and it's back) but at 9:30 am this morning in the UK it was still missing in the same DC - go figure?

PS: I just had an afterthought: like many others, I use an online SERPs tracker site which is San Fran/Calif based I believe and is presumably getting fed from either a US West Coast DC or maybe even a DC that's specially set-aside for those using their Google Web API license key? I've noticed that when I'm 'disappeared' in the UK DCs, I also get wiped-out in the tracker tool. Now if that flight of fancy is correct - in which way might those 2 events be connected? 'Disappeared' in tracker tool and 'disappeared' in UK filter results?

[edited by: tedster at 6:56 am (utc) on Dec. 20, 2007]


10:17 pm on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Appearing on Google UK, We have never had this problem with our .com websites but hang on we are hosting our websites in the US including our .co.uk sites and have remained in first place, I wonder if this actually makes any difference?


3:30 am on Dec 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

Appearing on Google UK, We have never had this problem with our .com websites but hang on we are hosting our websites in the US including our .co.uk sites and have remained in first place, I wonder if this actually makes any difference?

Thats very interesting. Of course google UK results aren't generated from dublin and are handled in the plex as are all country specific results (global listings is an illusion) But I would like to know if infact its your nameservers that are infact in the states and if the hosting uses a ip address from the UK. Its very possible to frig this , otherwise I cannot understand how a US hosted site on .com is able to list in UK. Also lets clarify the .com remains number one when you filter for uk sites only

[edited by: Pirates at 3:48 am (utc) on Dec. 2, 2006]


9:31 am on Dec 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

And now I'm disappeared again....!


10:31 am on Dec 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Our uk based .com site has also suffered from this mysterious dropping from google uk in that our homepage no longer seems to appear in the uk only results.

Site: url on google.co.uk for 'web' brings up our main url at number 1 as I'd expect, change it to 'UK only' and it has vanished.

First noticed a problem with keyword search result in mid October when a search on primary keywords would sometimes bring us up on the first page (where we'd been for quite a while, then the next day we would not appear in the top 100.
Then we'd be back, then we'd be gone etc etc. This happened for a couple of weeks.

Then at the beginning of November our main url and index.htm seemed to vanish from results altogether.

Over in google groups on the webmaster help forum under indexing & crawling there have been a number of posts with people seeing this going on since July at least.

As one person said: "...this is not about ranking it's about inclusion."

The reply on November 10th 2006 from the 'Search Evangelist for Google' was brief: "We're looking into this."
But sadly, not a peep on the subject since then.

This has hit our business hard - for the previous 4 months we'd seen
sales at double 2005 levels; from the beginning of November 06, we've
dropped back to '05 levels.
Given that we'd based our stock requirements for Christmas on the previous quarter, this bug, issue or whatever could not have raised it's head for us at a worse time.

I don't know about our overall traffic levels and people not choosing 'UK only', but unless there are other factors we are not aware of, the disappearance of our main url coinciding with a significant drop in sales seems like a very ugly coincidence to me.


11:36 pm on Dec 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have looked into this and this is definately not a problem that is specific to all uk .com domains.Only some are affected and I can also confirm its not a hosting issue as well.

So I believe its to do with onsite problems. I have a strong theory about what it might be. Currently advising a client on neccessary changes. I'll promise to keep you posted.... and if I am correct post the cure.


12:10 am on Dec 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

my fun with this continues as well

two of my sites, same UK server farm but different servers, same UK based name servers, similar UK registered IP's, both .coms. One appears for the UK as normal, the other doesn't.

very very odd.


12:38 am on Dec 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Actually its looking more and more like an onsite problem. I think instead if correct I'll mail the cure to tedster and he can avise those worthy of it and spammers can just f#*$! off.


12:54 am on Dec 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thanks hughie, that backs up what I was saying about it not beeing a hosting problem and not specific to all uk .com

I think I have an answer but posting it on forum may help people I don't want to so will intrust my solution if it works to Tedster as he hates spammers as much as I do.


9:59 am on Dec 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

When you start picking-and-choosing to whom you'll supply your soothing balm ('fix') - I'm afraid your (apparent) principled stand on (alleged) spammers loses my vote. If you've got something useful to add to the debate - let's hear it out loud.


1:05 pm on Dec 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Actually its looking more and more like an onsite problem. I think instead if correct I'll mail the cure to tedster and he can avise those worthy of it and spammers can just f#*$! off.

How do you know who is a spammer and who isn't?

I would be interested in your theory but how do I qualify if you do not know if I am a spammer or not?

My site is spending way more time out of the UK index than in it at the moment.


1:51 pm on Dec 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Im suffering the same problem with a .net. Problem is, 90% of our searches came from the 'within the uk' search due to the industry we are in. We came back for about 20 mins on sat and that was it.


5:19 pm on Dec 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have to agree, isn't this site all about sharing our experiences/findings and helping each other?



5:29 pm on Dec 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

hehe yeah, i've learnt more about spamming tactics here than anywhere else ;-)


5:38 pm on Dec 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

We have had this problem of our uk .com not appearing in the index on and off for a couple of months now.

Yesterday I got a call from a company saying they were Google and that using AdWords could boost our business. When I expressed extreme skepticism that the caller represented Google I was told that they were Yodel and were 'handling' Google AdWords accounts.

"This, along with "trustrank", is ironically a really effective way of forcing lots and lots of small businesses to use AdWords. Ironic, don't you think?"

They are referring to sitemaps on that thread, but a paranoid cynic might easily draw erroneous conclusions from sudden index inclusion problems followed by an out of the blue phone call suggesting I use AdWords...


8:44 am on Dec 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

We have noticed a couple of sites doing the reverse disappearing trick. That is, disappearing from Google UK 'pages from the web' for some, but not all, terms (home page only rankings).

But rankings are all OK on Google 'pages from the UK'.

Just wating it out here!


10:14 am on Dec 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

These days I'm checking most days to see if I'm returned from the land of the 'disappeared' (I'm not) - but today I noticed something odd...

For my main (3 word) keyphrase - my index page is 'organically' listed at No. 1 of 1.1m results (on pages from the web and nowhere in pages from the uk) but unusually today the display shows a date "4 Dec 2006" before the "Cached" (see below)

My Title Text
My Description
www.domain.com/ - 13k - 4 Dec 2006 - Cached - Similar pages

But if I click on the "Cached" it shows a different date?
This is G o o g l e's cache of [domain.com...] as retrieved on 1 Dec 2006 12:01:37 GMT. So what's the relevance of "4 Dec 2006"

It only shows that 'date' display for my index page listing and none of the other lower listings for that keyphrase have a date displayed?

I've tried a few of my keyphrases and wherever my index page appears (irrespective of my listing being No.1 or lower) - I get the 'date' display but it's only ever associated with my index page.

So I'm clearly feeling pretty special today - but why?


4:50 pm on Dec 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

My index page came back to US results after being the only page missing. (com site hosted in the US)

The only thing I changed was a page(level 2) that had the same title and description as the index page.

Don't know if that was the problem but I guess the best thing to do is to run a site: command with the location restriction and see if you have a page that has the same title,description as your index page.

P.S It took about 2 weeks for the index page to reappear


10:42 am on Dec 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

'disappeared' on 2nd December - 1 week later I'm back in uk listings. And I haven't touched a drop!


11:29 am on Dec 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Gone again! No changes at this end.

Another week and it would have reached 50:50, but "more out than in" continues!

Another couple of months of this will be ruinous.


11:32 am on Dec 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

i'm still in.

and i still believe i am right about it being a canonical issue.


11:40 am on Dec 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

we went back out again at the end of last week. we havn't changed anything. lets wait and see when we get back in.

google is doing the hokey cokey.

" you put the website in, you take the website out,
in, out, in, out, you shake it all about.
you do the google shuffle and your site is dropped
thats what it's all about."


3:44 pm on Dec 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi Guys, this thread has gone quiet. Just thought I'd let you know that my homepage has now reappeared for the "within the UK" search. No, I haven't changed anything. ;-)


4:48 pm on Dec 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hi everyone, I have the same experience with my uk hosted .com domain home page dropping in and out of "pages from the UK" but still showing in the "the web" - This has been happening to me for about 2 months now.

Nothing new or constructive to add I'm afraid, just that I can identify with the sense of frustration felt.


11:01 am on Dec 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Pirates / Tedster - if anyone has good evidence that this is an onsite problem I'd be happy to provide specifics of my affected sites via PM for any ideas.

Every non .co.uk domain I manage has now been affected at least once. Some 3 or 4 times - this is cyclical and is not going away.

I would be very surprised if it is an onsite problem. Affected sites fall into three groups :

(a) sites we develop for clients; similar optimisation technique and link profile (mostly small sites for small businesses). DMOZ plus a few other trusted directories. Nearly all have less than 50 IBLs. Aged up to 5 years. Local search terms. Many link to our developer site.
(a) sites we develop for clients that have NO SEO whatsoever; no link-building, no optimisation, and many have no link to our developer site either.
(c) our developer site which has only links from UK hosted sites (our clients) - again for local terms. No other links at all. This site was affected once but is now performing better than ever for the home page terms.

Some pages affected include location name in title and anchor text, some don't. Some are completely unoptimised with completely natural links - not even DMOZ. I optimise my sites but not aggressively. All pages get the same treatment so why would the homepage only be affected? Internal pages rank fine.

ADDED : Finally, if it is on-site problem, why would Google only care about it intermittently? That doesn't match any other filter they use to my knowledge. Once you're in the sin bin, you're there to stay until you change your content or profile and fix the problem. Sites that do not change at all are popping in and out of the index.


12:52 am on Dec 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Do you use an ROS link back to you as the developer from your client sites?
This 211 message thread spans 8 pages: 211

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