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We only found that by checking the source code of every page. So some of you might want to look at that issue. Once we removed the links google started to reindex the blog.
Guess the linkspammers are getting smarter.
(checklist) ... let's do the show right here ...
1. Most people in this thread seem to be reporting a drop in ranking, and even a severe drop.
2. Others are reporting the disappearance of just their home page.
3. Some are talking about seeing selected urls vanish from the site: operator search, but still getting Google traffic on them.
4. There a few who are talking about a complete delisting for the entire domain.
Extra: site in existence since Nov 2002; no changes whatsoever (apart from extra content) since August 2006. Site faults comprehensively cleaned up from Dec 2004 thru 2005. Site regularly shafted by Google; this is just the latest.
What I see? PR for 1-2 level pages is same or higher. PR for all site map pages (few dozens) is 5 (was 4). Visiblе PR for most 3rd level pages dropped from 2-3 to 0, and probably it's a reason for low traffic. Site is >7 years old. I can't undestand why long living pages linked from PR5 page now have PR0. Links/backlinks are OK.
I suspect it may be because I've set preferred domain in webmaster tool and/or created sitemaps. I did not any changes in site itself for long period.
1. Sudden and severe drop in all important rankings
2. Severe drop for just some keywords, others unaffected
3. Disappearance of just the home page.
4. Some urls vanish from site: operator search, but they still get traffic.
5. Complete delisting for the entire domain.
We also have these ideas on the cause(s)
A. Not related to whether site runs AdWords or AdSense (1 through 5)
B. Hidden text may be one target (check any blog/forum comments) (1,2)
C. Pages with anchor text outrank the target page (2)
D. Bug in Google (3,5)
At first I thought it possible that Title=H1 tag was causing the problem, however I have now dismissed this as we have some pages with this ranking high.
Moved on to Title=a similar description=H1 tag dismissed this as well as we have some pages with this ranking high.
Also when the SERPS do a "flip" we are back stronger than ever, when it "flips" back, as at present, we get hit again.
Also possible duplicate content on certain pages - eliminated as far as possible other than "user useful" pages.
Also considered "bad " inbound links but as we have no control over these, we don't do swaps etc, I'm sure Google knows this.
One possibility is that all these sites affected are using webmaster tools.
A bit stumped on this one.
same here really. rank remains high for some keywords, other pages totally disappeared from index. I have one page that is unique to this site only - it returns 95,000 results and my page aint one of them.
I am also noting that the results again seem to be erratic - now you are here, now you are not
One thing we noticed with our ecommerce sites this month is how google is looking at variations of words. So it could be google is making some slight adjustments with plural/past tense/present tense of keywords. We saw some movement in January serps indicating this.
tedster I think its an individual page/page group problem for us , set up some tests over the last few weeks and have not narrowed it down.
For example similar widgets in a widget sub directory , one page or more have high listing( usually not the index page which has the links to all the little widgets of this type ) all others nowhere.
Keyword by keyword - tried changing the description tag to avoid targeted keywords that are in H1 and in Title tag no conclusive results as some pages still solid others not.
If I was guessing its almost as if Google is choosing one page out of a sub-set of similar pages even though info on the page is non-similar.
Bit like a page on Porsche cars showing on the SERPS where you have a set of pages in sports cars subdirectory but it ignores all the Ferrari's.
Not sure it will help with trying to find out what's going on but it is an observation which I find very odd.
It suddenly occured to me that just perhaps the site map submission has something to do with the fluctuations .. I never had a G sitemap for this site and submitted one for the first time just a few months ago.
Anyway, I cannot bear to watch it any longer. The customer thinks I'm a boob!
As I have been reporting extensively in this forum, for no reason that I can think of (based on the excellent work by tedster - I think none of the reasons apply to us), the site dropped by 80% in traffic from Google. Of course we have done nothing since then.
As I write, I am seeing a mujor recovery. I do see that not all results are back and some rankings look different. I will see if I now rank higher for new terms only when I analyze the data later on.
It could very well be that corrupted data has now been cleaned up.
Usually when the sites come back they are the same or slightly higher than before...I've seen them stay aay for a week or two or more...and google seems to fold in the data in chunks, so I've been waiting for the threads that say their site came back....now that I see them, it tells me that at some point, my site should return as well. My fingers are crossed!
I was going to write a post about how we blame ourseleves for things we did or did not do, but as always it is "just" something Google did. I am sure that whatever they do it has a purpose. What it is I don't know but really would like to know!
At least it is not an IP ban like MSN does with sites!
They recently got a few good backlinks with "keyword keyword2" anchor text, and jumped up to #2 in serp for a keyword keyword2 search as soon as googlebot found the links. Strange thing is, they never ranked that high for that 2 word search before, and they are still stuck on page 3 or 4 for the one keyword search that they used to be page 1 for.
I believe google thinks they are over-optimized for the single keyword search and not enough good links to rank well anymore. But the new 2 word links help them rank for the 2 word search that is not over optimized.
I did find a sitemap that had gone haywire and create 150,000,000 empty pages.... that now removed and the pages 404ed, but no idea if this is what caused my ranking to recover in the last hour, to above what they were before.
I suspect that google is winding up the dial on
almost duplciate content, where the pages contain something like
Hi! You've reached the blue widgets page. We've got jack squat about blue widgets here, but great! you found US! Now,...since we've got nothing here about them, please click our adsense and have a nice day. etc etc on almost every page
I've hardly made any changes at all in the last year and all of our pages have held their page rank or increased. This is the third time in the last 3 years this has happened to us...before we had left up some duplicate content by mistake, this time I have no idea...haven't done much, only thing I can think of is many alt tags on each page are titled exactly the same, same keywords used in title tags...but that can't be the reason...I highly doubt it. Just seemed to have fallen into the same filter as many of you.
Last time something like this happened I think we were back on the serp's within 2 months. Lets see what happens this time but I'm in the camp...Google is meddling with us all.
This is the third time in the last 3 years this has happened to us
I have seen days where rankings on some of my main terms have dropped out, then reappeared later that same day. I understand the daily shuffle. But after lunch time today the phones pretty much died. When this stuff happens I usually use the google dance tool to see whats going on between datacenters, and usually during a shuffle we still rank in some datacenters. But this afternoon - nada - datacenters report very bad results. We have a 10 year old site - PR5 - 7000+ Pages. Plenty of good quality backlinks -
nothing blackhat at all.
Am I the only one seeing this today?
[edited by: tedster at 2:29 am (utc) on Jan. 18, 2007]