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404 Traffic - Amazing Results

...which don't make sense... your help will be appreciated!

11:20 pm on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

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joined:May 5, 2004
posts: 59
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Hi guys,

I have a website which I advertise on the big PPC engines. Today I have decided that I should try redirecting the default 404 error page to one of the offers I promote.

The results were amazing - after only a few hours, I had a few sales that came from those error pages (I know it for sure, as I am using a tracking script).

Now, because this offer got a very high number of clicks in a short time thanks to the two most common errors (robots.txt & favcon.ico), I have decided to put those two files on my webserver.

Guess what happened? Virtually no clicks to the offer page, and of course no sales at all for a few hours now..

Now, as far as I understand, those two files are being reqested by robots, and there is no chance that a robot has made a purchase... in that case, how can you explain what happened?

Thanks in advance..

3:36 pm on Sept 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member jtara is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

joined:Nov 26, 2005
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If it weren't for the slowdown once you put those files up, I'd guess that you either purchased your domain on the resale market or you have previously deleted content without adding redirects.

In either case, I'd guess there are links out there to pages you no longer have.

But... it's quite the mystery if it's coming from robots.txt or favicon hits.

Could be a complex coincidence - there are old links out there, and there was a sudden surge of interest for some reason. (News event, etc.)

Set up three different landing pages, each with their own tracking codes:


6:08 pm on Sept 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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joined:Sept 9, 2007
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If you make your default 404 error page your frontpage on your website, (or any working page which doesn't return a 404) and then uhrm "forget" about the 301 redirects and all that weirdness, the old articles which at some point existed are still indexed and ranked by google according to their cached versions...

it doesn't see that they doesn't exist anymore, because it doesn't receive the 404 error, which would make it delete the old content or reindex or update its index ...did it myself with some articles on an old website, and I got traffic from those "non-existing" articles for a year without google ever noticing anything wrong...just don't republish the old content, then google catches on through the duplicate-content method...