The last couple of weeks, I have been noticing lately that I am clicking on results to sites that don't exist. I am not talking about sites that go to ad pages, domain parking, etc. I mean the kind that just timeout or act like a website isn't there at all. Google is usually pretty good at removing these so what happened?
The old title and description are there, sometimes even a business address below it. Like a search result from the past. No cache or preview of it.
Digging further, I started looking at sites I linked out to from a directory site of mine. I found some that I removed months ago. Some are places out of business. A few have been renamed and have new websites. The old ones are ranking again and even ahead of the new ones in some cases. I found one that I had linked to and removed as dead over a year ago. It is at the top of a search result for the business name and again goes to nothing.
Not a good user experience.
It's like a time capsule with some old crawl got dumped back into the mix. This also makes me think of a possibly connected problem I've seen in WMT for a while. They are listing some 404s on my site, as just being discovered/crawled and they are pages that have been long gone for up to 5 years years. Nothing linking to them at all. Magically reappearing on showing as errors. I don't know if this is connected or not but they both seem to be digging up the past.