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Google goes crazy with my site - for 6 months after design change

8:05 pm on Jan 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I have been running a website for nearly 8 years now and last year (about 6 months ago) I decided to change the design and move a to mysql database format. Resulting in all content, all file names and the design being changed.

I expected a reaction from google and predicted it could take maybe 3-6 months for things to sort themselves out regarding rankings. During this period though there has been some crazy google activity. I have a time line:

1.Google drops my site completely in SERPS (1 month after design change)
2.Google drops my PR to 0 (6 weeks)
3.Google gives me a PR 1 and some SERPs back
4.Google does not have any links recognised as pointing to my site (2 months)
5. Google PR goes back to 0(3 months)
6. None of my site appears in the search engine even when typing the address ( 3-6 months)
7. My entire site is indexed again but the PR remains 0.
8. My site regains its original PR 4 but only has 4 pages indexed in google with another 200 or so left out (today)

I was just wondering if anybody has had such up and down behaviour from google? I have never experienced this before after a design change until the last one.

[edited by: tedster at 8:30 pm (utc) on Jan. 17, 2009]

11:16 pm on Jan 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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That is a lot more chaos than I would expect to see after six months. Did you employ 301 redirects from any of the old urls? And since you are using a mysql solution, have you looked for technical blips that might be creating duplicate problems?

The move from your point #7 to point #8 seems particularly troubling. Is that result (only 4 pages in the index) from the site: operator?

1:46 am on Jan 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I did a redesign 6 months ago too - didnt notice much of a change until 2 months ago when I turned off all javascript redirects to frames for first time visitors making it easier for spider to crawl the content.

Plus I submitted sitemaps to webmaster tools for all content going back to 2002 with dynamically generated last modified, change frequency information. Now I've seen a big increase in traffic, have 80,000 urls indexed (up 500%), and PR went from 5 to 6.

Google webmaster tools should help you find out if you have duplicate content errors, an incorrect robots.txt or a faulty 404 error page.


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