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"no information is available" message on info: operator search

     
10:33 pm on Aug 7, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I need HELP! I have searched for hours on this, only to find information from 2004 & 2005.

Doing a search on my URL info:http://www.example.com on Google now gives the following message:

Sorry, no information is available for the URL www.example.com

If the URL is valid, try visiting that web page by clicking on the following link: www.example.com
Find web pages from the site www.example.com
Find web pages that contain the term "www.example.com"

My website has been online for 19 years and has over 4,500 pages indexed on Google. PR4.

Searching http://www.example.com shows my index of my .COM.AU site (not the .com) which is mapped to my .com URL.

Searching just www.example.com ( without the info: ) shows the information - index page, some sub sections etc. but not the full information about my site as appeared previously.

Anyone know why this is happening, and how I can fix it?

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 7:30 am (utc) on Aug 10, 2015]
[edit reason] Use example.com to disable auto-linking, added quote box [/edit]

10:04 am on Aug 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Hello seaex, and welcome to WebmasterWorld.

On an info:example.com search on a site which is properly canonicalized and where Google caching is not blocked, the typical serp returned is....

Example Sitename | A Site About Widgets
example.com/
Site description for Example Site here, with news and fun facts about widgets...

Google can show you the following information for this URL:

- Show Google's cache of www.example.com
- Find web pages that are similar to www.example.com
- Find web pages that link to www.example.com
- Find web pages from the site www.example.com
- Find web pages that contain the term "www.example.com"

Sites for which search engine caching has been blocked via the "noarchive" attribute in the meta robots tag are prevented from showing the Google cache, so Google must drop the "Show Google's cache" line.

In the situation you describe, as I read Google's message (my emphasis added)...
Sorry, no information is available for the URL...

This message is apparently saying something very different. My thought is that here it's not a question of permissions... it's that the data isn't being returned properly from Google's index, that Google isn't seeing your site, and that the problem really doesn't have much to do with info: operator searches... which is a reporting function. It has more to do with what data is missing (or corrupted) and why. Possibly there's also been a manual action (penalty), but that would require you look at Webmaster Tools/ Search Console, which I'm assuming that you aren't using because it seems that you're using the info: operator instead.

Here's how I interpret what Google is and isn't returning for your info: operator domain query...

If the URL is valid, try visiting that web page...
...suggests to me that your example.com pages aren't ranking....

The missing "similar" and "link" data both have to do with linking, and suggest that Google can no longer interpret links from example.com.

I'll point you towards background on what the info: operator is reporting on below, and I'm suspecting that the situation has not been well covered in search because it's probably a rare combination of problems. For now I can only guess that it's got something to do with this....
...my index of my .COM.AU site (not the .com) ...is mapped to my .com URL.

I'm not sure precisely what you intended to do by url mapping... but if you've pointed two sets of URLs to the same domain space (perhaps using CNAMES, which I'm guessing from the word "mapped"), you've created a dupe content problem of a kind that's difficult for Google to untangle.

Which of your domains did you intend your visitors to continue seeing, the .com or the .com.au?

I'm guessing from a few of the comments you've made that you wanted to return the .com domain, and chances are that you actually wanted to 301 redirect example.com.au to example.com, and perhaps to benefit from some of the .com.au's backlinks. This would also replace example.com.au by example.com. If you want both domains to show, that too creates a dupe content situation in which the domain with the highest PageRank usually, but not always, wins.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 10:35 am (utc) on Aug 10, 2015]

10:06 am on Aug 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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(continuing)

The best general background I can get for you on the info: operator is this Google help page with the a short description of what the operator is supposed to do, and that generally matches what I see in "healthy" sites:

Search operators
https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/2466433?hl=en [support.google.com]

info:
Get information about a web address, including the cached version of the page,
similar pages, and pages that link to the site.
Example: info:google.com

The info: operator is simply combining several operators into one.

The cached version of a page, eg, is also returned on the search results page via the downpointing triangle to the right of the url, but the cache: operator also still functions if your site is working properly.

Pages called "similar pages" can be returned by the standalone related: operator. These tie in with Google's backlinks, as does the standalone link: operator.

Again, I'm not precisely clear what you've done, but the above it my best set of guesses. You might learn more about your links, cache, etc from the Google Search Console (previously called "Webmaster Tools").
9:04 pm on Aug 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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fwiw...
Using an info:example.com search on my own sites brought up the expected types of information. Then I tried picking a name at random (can we stipulate that exemplifying is neither necessary nor appropriate ;)):
Sorry, no information is available for the URL amazon.com

Hmmm.
10:39 pm on Aug 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Hmmm.

lucy24 - Yes, of course OK to mention Amazon in a situation like this. Try also this query, and you may (or may not) be surprised....

info:www.amazon.com

It was very late in the AM when I posted, and this is a bizarrely complicated issue to describe simply. I swept some of it under the rug when I posted by using the phrase "properly canonicalized". (I'm thinking that Amazon is most probably in ship shape, btw, and I'm not sure what is going on). I saw some strange ones too... for a while even thought that maybe the info: operator had been deprecated. I myself have never seen it discussed before; it's kind of a Swiss Army knife of other searches and search operators. I'm sure it's very dependent on how a site is set up... and ultimately the question here really isn't about the info: operator. The info: operator is just the messenger, and we don't want to shoot it.

If you can explain the reported difference between amazon.com and www.amazon.com, please do. I hope seaex gets back to this thread and clarifies "mapped" and also clarifies whether he had really wanted a redirect.
11:55 pm on Aug 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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This problem has only been for a week or so. Previously all info was provided. I have not done any changes that would effect it. My .com.au site is pointing to my .com site. If I do info:example.com, info:http://example.com or info:www.example.com it all shows the "no information" message. Info was showing for my .com.au site when searching info: on my .com, but now that has disappeared too. My other sites, residing on the same servers and same cannonical layout, show OK.
11:58 pm on Aug 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I have been using Google Search Console and it doesnt show anything that may help, or what the problem might be. (That I can find anyway!)
12:26 am on Aug 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Example Sitename | A Site About Widgets
example.com/
Site description for Example Site here, with news and fun facts about widgets...

Google can show you the following information for this URL:

- Show Google's cache of www.example.com
- Find web pages that are similar to www.example.com
- Find web pages that link to www.example.com
- Find web pages from the site www.example.com
- Find web pages that contain the term "www.example.com"

I played around with the info: operator a bit and didn't get one result that showed the preceding type of information, but I did replicate the amazon.com / www.amazon.com no-result/result, and I also got no result for any of wikipedia.org, www.wikipedia.org, en.wikipedia.org which is interesting too I think.

Not something I think I would worry about not having results for when there are some well-ranking household-names that don't have info displayed either, but it's still an interesting "search quirk" it would be cool to know the answer to.
1:40 am on Aug 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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properly canonicalized

Heh, now that is interesting. When I tried my own sitenames earlier, I used the without-www form of both, although one is actually with-www -- 301 redirect, not <canonical> header. (The amazon-without domain also redirects to amazon-with -- 301 response code in LiveHeaders -- so I don't know what the difference is.)

Seaex, are you getting reasonable information in the "link to" section? Right now it won't admit to finding any sites that link to me, although it did dredge up a few thousand links to amazon.

Curiouser and curiouser.
2:14 am on Aug 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I am getting good information in the "link to" section, lots of links (239,358 links to my site). Google says that there are over 4,500 pages indexed too. This isn't a problem and traffic from google is good. I found out about it as an advertiser wanted to put an ad on my site (my primary source of income) and did the search and informed me of the result. They then said that my site was no good to them as the info wasn't listed in Google and it first gave the result for my .com.au site (they are in the US where the majority of my visitors are from). It's costing me money and doing my head in!
7:21 am on Aug 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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OK, back to the search box, with a little more time...

In general, on a "well-canonicalized" known good site whose canonical is "http://www.example.com "... ie, with the "www", and with...
- http://example.com returning a 301 header response
- http://www.example.com returning a 200 header response

info:example.com
...returns no title/ url/ description result, but shows what seaex has been seeing...
Sorry, no information is available for the URL example.com

If the URL is valid, try visiting that web page by clicking on the following link: example.com
Find web pages from the site example.com
Find web pages that contain the term "example.com"
Makes sense, as there are no actual pages from a 301ed domain in the serps, no active linking, etc.

info:www.example.com
...returns...
Home Page Title
www.example.com/
A description of www.example.com, roughly one or two lines.

Google can show you the following information for this URL:

Show Google's cache of www.example.com
Find web pages that are similar to www.example.com
Find web pages that link to www.example.com
Find web pages from the site www.example.com
Find web pages that contain the term "www.example.com"

The above results are essentially what we were seeing with Amazon.com. These results also to be expected.

On the other hand, if a known good site is "well-canonicalized" and canonical is "http://example.com ", ie, without the "www"...
- http://www.example.com returning a 301 header response
- http://example.com returning a 200 header response

...then, both info: operator queries...
info:www.example.com
info:example.com

...will return the full set of information on the pattern of the www.example.com response we see above. I'm not sure why the redirected www variant should be returning results. The results for the canonical, though, are to be expected.

What comes as an initial surprise, but not after I think about it for a few moments, is that when both the www and non-www variants of the domain return 200 responses... ie, if the site is not canonicalized... on a site that's otherwise performing OK, then both of the info: operator queries...

info:www.example.com
info:example.com

...will also return the full set of links on the pattern of the www.example.com response we see above. This latter is based on query for a site on which no SEO work has been done.

I have also run one info: query on a domain showing a 200 for both "www" and non-www, which query returns the "Sorry, no information is available for the URL" for both versions; but I haven't analyzed why that might be happening.
8:59 am on Aug 11, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the great replies! I am getting no info for both the "www" and the non-www, and now it isnt even showing any information for my .com.au.
2:27 am on Aug 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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...I am getting no info for both the "www" and the non-www, and now it isnt even showing any information for my .com.au.

Someone at Google probably forgot to turn it back off again after doing an "operator push" until they saw this thread ;)
4:22 pm on Aug 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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lol...thei army keeps a tab on all these forum threads....and there are some people employed for this job alone....
6:13 pm on Aug 12, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I was wondering if the "info:" issue is something analogous to finding unexpected or unwanted information in Webmaster Tools, where 19 times out of 20 the fix is to ignore the problem and wait for it to go away.
11:13 am on Aug 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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seaex, I don't know how your advertiser ever picked up on the info: operator as a traffic predictor, but you've got to find another metric for him to use. Actual traffic, of course, is your best indicator. This is why none of us has any experience with the info: operator. Up until now, I'd never seen the operator used or discussed.

Here's a PS to one section of my comments above, the section where the non-www version is the canonical... with some new emphasis added. In my necessarily small set of samples, the info: operator appears to be consistently off in evoking the site: operator with sites that have non-www canonicals. I'd written in my observation notes above...
- http://www.example.com returning a 301 header response
- http://example.com returning a 200 header response

...then, both info: operator queries...
info:www.example.com
info:example.com

...will return the full set of information on the pattern of the www.example.com response we see above. I'm not sure why the redirected www variant should be returning results

When I dug deeper to check the details of what's returned via the links for the individual operators, I'm even less sure of why the info: operator is set up as it is. I'd say that some of the info: descriptions are buggy or at least inconsistently applied... particularly so for the "Find web pages" line that launches the site: operator.

Here are a couple of rounded off examples of what I saw with the site: operator...

1) on a large site with the non-www canonical, using the line which invokes the site: operator, I saw in one case...
site:example.com
100K results

site:www.example.com
1 result

2) And on another site, similarly canonicalized...
site:example.com
30K results

site:www.example.com
0 results

The zero site: operator results here obtained by clicking the line that said...
Find web pages from the site www.example.com

If the info: operator were consistent, it should not be returning that "Find web pages... from www" line when there are no www results.

I should add that the site: operator itself is considered to be erratic, so you've got layers of bugginess. More than we ever wanted to know, etc....

My .com.au site is pointing to my .com site.

Can you be more precise re what you mean by "pointing". The term "point" can be one of the vaguest terms around to describe server setups. In my experience, I've seen it used to mean anything from a link to a redirect to setting up mirrored content. I'm still not clear about the relationship between your two sites, and what you want the relationship to accomplish, and what you want the user to see. Did you in fact want a 301 redirect? What do you have? I keep thinking from you use of the word "mapped" that you've got the same content showing on two domains, but I'm not sure of that from what you've said.

Also, is your .com site canonicalized?
3:15 pm on Aug 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I found out about it as an advertiser wanted to put an ad on my site (my primary source of income) and did the search and informed me of the result. They then said that my site was no good to them as the info wasn't listed in Google and it first gave the result for my .com.au site (they are in the US where the majority of my visitors are from).

Sounds like they either don't really want to advertise with you or want a discount, because I can't imagine someone who knows of an obscure operator saying your site isn't worth advertising on when Amazon doesn't even show results for non-www searches using it... It doesn't take a genius to figure out those results aren't important for sales or advertising dollar spend.



Obviously you can't, but it sure would be fun to reply with:

"That's fine I just ran a query with the brand new wtfsrsly: operator followed by your name and statement and the results I got were...

1.) Doesn't have the money.
2.) Just wants a discount and hopes to scare you into giving one.
3.) Doesn't have a clue what they're talking about and will be nothing but a headache.
-- See www.the-clueless-and-their-nonsense.org for more details.

So, I wouldn't feel comfortable taking your money anyway."
10:04 pm on Aug 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@Robert Charlton - Both my domain names (.com & .com.au) show the same content on both domain names - they have been for 19 years. My site is canonicalized to www.example.com

@TheMadScientist - I did that giving Amazon as an example and got back "they dont have any www's" then I sent the wikipedia example and received the message "thanks" - I think it's best to forget them and move on!

I still want to get results to show, somehow, so am working thru everything mentioned above to see if I have made some errors within the sites themselves. Lots of work, but am finding small errors and fixing them (spelling mistakes and some /'s missing) so not a complete waste of time!

Thank you all so much for your input, I really appreciate your time and effort.