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Webmaster Tools Bug? My Site Shows Title of Another Site

3:03 pm on Oct 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I've been seeing a few messages around forums asking about various anomalies in Google's WMT reporting.
This caught my attention because the home page of one of my sites is currently displayed in my Google WMT account with another site's Title and Description. (The URL clicks through to my site.)
There is no evidence of hacking, nor ill intent from the other site, which seems perfectly respectable. They are, however, hosted at the same webhost as me.
The host has checked and rechecked and finds nothing wrong. I was inclined to blame them until today when I see exactly the same problem reported in the Google groups help forums: another pair of sites suffering exactly the same symptoms and again both sites hosted by the same host (though not the same host as I am using).
Is anyone else having reason to think WMT is being a bit flakey?
5:44 pm on Oct 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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There are plenty of bugs in Webmaster Tools - but it is a reporting feature and a "work in progress". As long as the errors don't show up in the live search results, you're doing OK.

The fact that WMT sometimes crosses titles on domain names that share an IP is a bit disturbing - it makes you wonder how the data is getting crossed up and if there is an effect on your rankings. Still, I have only seen this happen rarely, and when I did there usually was a DNS problem.

So I'd suggest that you not take your host's word - do some DNS checking of your own, using one of the tools that are available on the web, free or paid.

I just realized that you have another thread [webmasterworld.com] that describes the same problem with site: operator results. I'd say most definitely do your own DNS check.

6:39 pm on Oct 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Tedster,
In fact I have checked the DNS - as far as my abilities allow! I can't find anything wrong, so I'm actually switching hosts to see what effect this has on the situation.
7:49 pm on Oct 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Am I being 302 hijacked ?

I have lost my home page from Google - all the others on the site are still indexed. When I search on
allinurl:mysite I get all the symptoms of a 302 redirect from another site, which in turn appears to be subject to another 302 redirect from a third site.

The title, snippet and cache of the search result all belong to another site, though a click on the title takes me to my site, and the URL displayed is mysite. This developed about a week ago.

As I understand it, this is how Google handles the 302 after the Big Daddy Update, ie it displays the page content & URL of the site at the "end" of the temporary redirect.

Unfortunately when I use a header checker, I find no evidence of any 302 redirects. Having spent a lot of the afternoon reading the "302" redirect/hijacking threads from 2005 in WW, I'm left wondering - is this still a way someone could smash my site out of the search results, and (how) can I tell if they have hidden a 302 apart from what appears in the allinurl: or site: searches?

Any advice very gratefully received!

I also note a lot of other members are reporting loss of home pages in another thread, but that does not seem to be 302 related...
BTW my webhost are adamant it isn't a DNS problem, and from what I have seen, that appears to be true - although all three sites involved are hosted on the same company (different servers, though, and my site has a unique IP address).

[edited by: tedster at 8:06 pm (utc) on Oct. 31, 2008]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]


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