joined:Mar 8, 2006
Iíve been building an authority site for the past several years and yesterday I noticed a handful of prominent pages were no longer indexed (including the site's homepage). Normally I would assume this was a side-effect of the recent algorithm update and figured I would give it a few days to work things out.
Today, I decided to check again and discovered that more pages were de-indexed overnight. So, I did one last check an hour ago and yup, pages are continuing to be de-indexed Ė including pages which I manually verified were indexed (and ranked) a few hours earlier.
The way I'm checking the index status is by searching Google for "site:url" and "info:url" and neither have any results.
Iím trying to understand what exactly could be causing this mass de-indexing, and any help would be greatly appreciated. Here are some details about the site:
- The site is an authority site about animals
- Our priority with the site is rich content and user experience
- We don't have the site fully monetized. None of the pages have more than 3 ads.
- All content is unique and high quality written by writers we hired in-person (no outsourced writers)
- The page load time is about 600ms on fast internet connections (Google's crawler states the average is 198ms)
- We don't use any 3rd party plugins. Everything is written in PHP and vanilla JS
- We have not switched to https yet, though we are planning on doing this in May
- The site is responsive (i.e. does not have a separate version for Mobile/Desktop)
- There are no forums, chat rooms, or public discussions on the site
- All links pointing to the domain were done at the choice of our visitors. Our SEO strategy has been if we have the best content people will link to it, so we haven't built any links to our site.
- We have Webmaster Tools, Sitemaps, and everything else setup correctly
- We are not using any blackhat techniques.
- Webmaster Tools states that 16,000 pages are currently indexed
- Yesterday doing a "site:url" search only showed 15,500 pages are indexed
- Just now doing a "site:url" search shows that 14,500 pages are indexed
- The pages which are de-indexed have been indexed in Google for anywhere from 1 month to 4+ years
I've been an internet marketer for 15 years and a full stack developer for 5 years and I am currently stumped. There is no pattern for which pages are being de-indexed (e.g. not a specific category of pages are being de-indexed, rather it seems random). The site follows all the recommendations in Google's Webmaster Guidelines and does not have any warnings in Webmaster Tools.
The only thing I can think is the site is being re-evaluated by some algorithm update and will continue to behave unexpectedly until the update is complete? However, whenever this has happened with sites in the past, the pages remained indexed. Generally from my experience, whenever a site's homepage is de-indexed it means something with the site has severely violated Google's policies and the site is no longer indexed, so as you can imagine I want to make sure this is not the case.
I don't want to publicly display the URL of the website, but I will share the domain with anyone via PM if evaluating the site will be beneficial. Of course, any help would be greatly appreciated (and will help me sleep this evening), so if you have any questions I will try to answer promptly.