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My question is, has anyone heard of Google removing just a subdirectory from the index? Is it possible that the one directory got flagged for "over optimization" or is the whole site on the way out and we're just seeing the removal of the one directory so far?
Perhaps some of the filters that make up the "sandbox effect" could be getting applied more selectively within a domain, instead of domain-wide. I haven't seen this effect myself, but a few reports are coming in, so it seems like this may be happening. If so, it's nicer than whacking an entire domain's trust factor just for a boat load of new urls in one directory.
I note that you used the word "ban" in your title. I think it is more like a filter (if we are understanding it correctly) than a ban, and once Google gains some trust on the new pages they could start to show up.
Are you watching your server logs for googlebot requests in that directory?
1) Did Google decide that the new content was spam and permanently remove the directory? In this case, I should delete all the new content and possibly move the old content to a new directory.
2) Did Google simply raise a flag because of the number of files added, and that flag will be turned off after some waiting period? If this is the case, then I am probably best just leaving everything as it is.
3) Is Google penalizing the directory because it doesn't like the new content? If so, then perhaps I should delete the new content and just sit on the old content, hoping that Google forgives me.
It seems if you introduce many links at one time that you will get flagged for sure. It definitely is an attempt to curb spam but some legit sites are getting hit when they just try to make simple corrections to their site. Lesson number one is, "take it slow" :)
[edited by: Aforum at 5:06 pm (utc) on Sep. 10, 2006]
I made it back on July 27th, and actually have a boost in rankings now.
I'll never forget this very unpleasant lesson.
I had a sub-directory that previously ranked well totally dissapear. So in answer to your question wether a part of a website can get hit, I'd say yes, for sure
I think we should carefully differentiate something here: Does Google target, for whatever reason, a specific directory for deindexing? Or, is it that pages within a specific directory share certain characteristics that lead to their being deindexed?
My experience tells me it's the second option.
The have legitimate content, but some of the text duplicated.
I'd start with taking care of this. It probably won't make the whole problem go away, but cleaning this part up should help somewhat. After that, more investigation might help to expose the underlying problem. I don't think there's going to be a quick fix, more like a step-by-step process.
jimbeetle - all of the pages have common navigation, so all of the "safe content" (pages that are undoubtedly high-quality and previously-indexed) point to index pages for the questionable content. I'm wondering if the very fact that they are linked to the other content is causing the problem. Perhaps the best path to take is to just delete all of the new content, restore the old content to its original form, and then resubmit a new sitemap.
I run a site that has a directroy, and since my staff is limited to... me i do updates about once a month to 50k pages. i noticed that traffic has taken a hit after this last update i pushed out...
maybe triggered a filter maybe not, glad i don't depend 100% on the serps.