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How Can A Non-Existent Site Rank?

     
4:34 pm on Aug 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I was just checking the SERPs for a specific niche trade 3 keyword term and I was shocked to find one of my defunct sites at #8!

Defunct as in I completely removed it and never renewed the name since it was on a .eu and with Brexit Brussels decalred that the UK would no longer be able to use .eu names.

I did this about 2 years ago therefore how the heck is this ranking at all, absolutely nothing whatsoever is there?

Interestingly the little green upside down cache triangle is not visible.
9:00 pm on Aug 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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RedBar, thinking out loud, and what follows involves some speculation...

Was it a plain vanilla English language type search query?... or was it a search for an expired URL or domain?

What happens if you click through on the serp?... and have you done so with a header checker?

One more thought comes to mind..... Are you seeing anything that suggests that Google might be using an old dataset. Old datasets used to appear during some updates when Google is recalbrating something deep enough that they need to compare old and new results. Might possibly suggest also that they're re-running an algo or part of an algo that involved recursion, or replacing an old way of evaluating things with a new one, and that they had to roll things back to check.

This might simply be a trial of a more efficient way of computation, or it might be an actual change in how things are weighted. Google, as I understand it, is constantly making such changes.

9:35 pm on Aug 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Was it a plain vanilla English language type search query?


Yes, it was a keyword 1/2/3 industry product name search, there are lots of widget companies selling this product, it's not an uncommon item.

What happens if you click through on the serp?


Absolutely nothing and then "This site canít be reached"

and have you done so with a header checker?


It's blank!

It's weird in that I can only get this result using google.com/ncr, without ncr it doesn't appear. I'll check it again in a couple of days to see if it's still there.
9:46 pm on Aug 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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RedBar, thanks for clear answers. You've shot down most of the old examples I've seen, which are on ordinary Google.

ncr

WTF is "ncr"? Last I checked, the biggy in the field was National Cash Register.

Personal aside... I've developed an aversion for acronyms that is growing so large it's hard to describe. In this case, might instead be something I don't know about, which is highly possible.

What is it?

9:51 pm on Aug 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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find one of my defunct sites at #8!

Your SEO skill sucks, if you are outranked by your own defunct site ... (joking :))

By the way, backlinks to this site are still playing a role in its ranking, and Google has not yet purged the site itself from its DB.
11:00 am on Aug 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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WTF is "ncr"?


No country redirect ... It's what I have to do when using Google.com through country settings to ostensibly deliver US results as opposed to Google.com or .co.uk in the UK delivering me both UK and US results.

For the USA it seems to work pretty well.

Your SEO skill sucks, if you are outranked by your own defunct site


Hahaha ... Did I write outranked? Nope:-)
12:34 pm on Aug 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Do you still own the domain? Could be someone scraped wayback and is only serving requests for Googlebot/G IP ranges. Do a DNS lookup and see if it returns an A record.
1:10 pm on Aug 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Funny you should ask that.

I let it expire and no one else registered it but after seeing this result and not knowing precisely what's happening with the UK, Brexit, deal or no deal, I re-registered it again the other day, pointed it to my root .co.uk domain and now it's disappeared altogether with my main .com site at #1, however it's still perplexing as to how/why this was happening.
1:47 pm on Aug 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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