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Google webcrawl in WMT shows strange links

     
4:54 am on Mar 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Hi,
The google webcrawl in webmasters tools is coming back with 404's on pages that I have never heard of and which aren't in my directory.

The error is like this:
Pages that link to http://www.example.com/location/salmon/fishing/outfitter/insurance.htm?yt=&slt=16&slr=12&lpt=1

All of this is a mystery: /location/salmon/fishing/outfitter/insurance.htm?yt=&slt=16&slr=12&lpt=1

Sometimes it may change to another bogus one like:
/location/salmon/fishing/outfitter/canoe_outfitters.htm?yt=&slt=7&slr=4&lpt=1

we don't sell insurance or rent canoes so I'm not sure what this is...some kind of spam?

[edited by: tedster at 6:35 am (utc) on Mar. 5, 2009]
[edit reason] switch to example.com - it can never be owned [/edit]

7:32 pm on Mar 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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It might be someone's attempt at spamming and you're seeing the edges of it. Does your site run any scripts to generate some of your urls? If so, someone could be trying to leverage that.
8:18 pm on Mar 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Is it linking to content that was on the domain when owned by someone else in the past?

Is there a similar domain name where that content does reside and it's a typo in the link?

11:10 pm on Mar 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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We found WMT was total rubbish this afternoon. Many of the pages returned junk values.

Also, I updated a sitemap for ONE domain in WMT yesterday and today it says they were all updated at the same time and pending processing.

We've also seen some very strange results for a couple of sites we've been having google-trouble with - up, down, all over the place.

This is in the UK using UK and Web searches.

6:26 am on Mar 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I have a site that has fallen way out in the serps. One that I have not touched in a long time because I saw no reason to fool with success.
So I updated the site..created a new google account for it ..submitted a new sitemap and 15 minutes later it reported a crawl problem..couldn't find a page that has not been on the site in 5 years! Figure that!
Haven't really decide on what to do with this unexpected revelation. Imagine...5 years that page has been dead. It does resemble a page on the site now. Same kind of widget.
So does this answer your question? No..but at the same time..has those pages ever been on your site in any way? Perhaps by a previous owner of that domain name>
You might use the wayback machine to check it out.
1:29 pm on Mar 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for all your posts.

I think I have figured it out. My registration expired for a couple of days in late February and, wouldn't you know it, my site was crawled and cached the registrars page holder an advertising one. Google still has them cached. That's why only those pages cached links work.

Does anyone know how long a page stays cached?

Texasville, when I overhauled my site I had a bunch of old not found pages. The googles webmasters tool will tell you which ones it finds. I created the old pages again with just a redirect to my homepage or an equivalent new page. It's funny because those redirect pages so far are actually doing ok on the search engines so far.

7:21 pm on Mar 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Google will drop those URLs from their visible index as long as they return a 404 or 410 HTTP response code, or redirect somewhere else with a 301 redirect.

However, by looking in your server logs you will see them request those URLs for years into the future checking to see if the pages ever return or change status.