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Getting Off Inktomi's Blacklist
Posted 22 October 2003 - 09:44 AM
So life was going great, I'd paid a small fortune to Lycos InSite to have my main pages indexed by Fast and Inktomi. The regular refreshes allowed me to tweak titles, metatags, content etc. and check the results. My rankings for each page steadily improved and all was right in the world.
Then, without warning, I did something to anger the (wannabe) Gods of Inktomi. My pages dropped from being in the top 3 down to the low 100s. I knew I had done wrong! :doh:
So I began undoing my changes one at a time to identify my mistake. Trouble was, nothing made a difference. Even a search of my (somewhat unique) business name brings up other sites which link to me before it mentions my homepage. It's clear that I have been banished from Inktomiland.
So now, the question is: What should I do next? I've removed my pages from Insite and will wait for a couple of refreshes to see what happens when I put them back again. I'm not very optimistic about this though and will write to Inktomi if I things still haven't improved.
I find it quite obnoxious that they can intentionally cripple the service they charged me for because I broke some rule that they don't make public. Worse still, they don't inform paying customers when they do something wrong or offer them a chance to fix the problem. If McDonalds followed this business model, customers would get banned for life the first time they spilled a dab of ketchup on the floor!
Anyone got any suggestions?
Posted 22 October 2003 - 10:06 AM
I don't have an answer for you but seeing that misery loves company, I can tell you that we are in the same boat with one of the sites we perform SEO for. This is a long time client and way back we set up some of those pesky "optimized content" pages otherwise known as doorways, back when they were somewhat effective. I know, doorways! This was the only route the client would allow us to take at that time.
Well Inktomi must have tagged them as being to too similar to one another and therefore while a few of the pages of the site are listed, overall the site does not show very well in the Inktomi SERPs. And that with regional phrases where the site should rank very well as it does everywhere else.
What was the original reason for setting up near duplicate doorway pages? The client didn't want to alter the sub pages of site and back when we set this up, doorways could actually be effective unlike today.
Since then we have now been able to optimize the sub pages of the site and get them listed in Inktomi but the penalization remains. We have written PositionTech about this but with no results. I myself could not find any place on the Inktomi site to write about this without being some kind of enterprise search customer. So no fixes so far. Luckily they are doing very well everywhere else and their only concern is poor showing on MSN.
If anyone knows how to contact Inktomi directly in the same way one can contact Google, let us know. I don't think Inktomi will be responsive like Google would so I am not holding my breath that this will be fixed anytime soon. Seems like the only resolve will be to get another domain and use Inktomi PFI to gain visibility and in doing this to be careful not to allow the other crawlers to find this mirror domain so as not to commit domain spam.
So no answers - only related experience. This is the only problem we've ever had like this with Inktomi out of hundreds of sites we have performed SEO over the year. Good luck with it.
Posted 22 October 2003 - 10:31 AM
Our moderator, Barry Lloyd (MakeMeTop) may have some answers. He's our resident Inktomi expert, and probably the most knowledgeable on all things Inktomi, in the world (besides one or two who work for them!).
Posted 22 October 2003 - 03:57 PM
Matt, it's hard to say exactly where I went wrong. Some of my transgressions were in my pages right from the start and it looked as though they were being overlooked so I foolishly didn't bother removing any of them until after things went wrong. For example:
My homepage existed in two locations on my site (for boring historical reasons) and both were already indexed by the search engines, so I thought I'd take advantage of this by leaving one alone while tweaking the the other to see what worked. I wasn't aware of the "similar content" rule until I came across this forum while trying to fix my drop in rankings. I replaced the second home page with a permanent redirect to the first but this hasn't helped either.
My homepage was also overly stuffed with keywords, which I have since reduced. I don't think this was the problem though, as my ranking dropped for my business name which has never featured more than once or twice.
An interesting side-effect of attempting to cure my Inktomi problem has been that my Google rankings have dramatically improved. I care much more about Google than Inktomi, so I guess it isn't all bad. Still, I would like to be listed on both again!
Posted 22 October 2003 - 04:22 PM
The single-pixel image links sounds like the most obvious culprit. You may have been better served by using a <noscript> navigation as a back-up.
Ink doesn't handle permanent redirects very well, so that may be the ongoing problem for you. Google will follow the perm redirect, so G most likely doesn't see it as spam. However, as Ink may not treat the permanent redirect the same, and it may be looking at the old page that is there instead.
Posted 22 October 2003 - 04:33 PM
I hadn't considered the Yahoo changeover. Just as I thought things were getting better...
I agree that the single-pixel images could be the problem although they must have refreshed me a hundred times or so without complaining. I no longer question these things though and pulled them out entirely a few weeks ago.
I've added the duplicate page to my robots.txt for Inktomi's "slurp" hoping this will make some sort of difference. Is there a way to get Inktomi to kick a page out of its index if it's already in there though?
Posted 22 October 2003 - 05:29 PM
The site I was referring to in my example also used an external Java Script for navigation. This was not what cause Inktomi to penalize the site as I mentioned beforehand. However, it did keep spiders in general from crawling the site.
I was able to get the client to place actual html text links in the footer of the site that linked to all the main areas of the site and we then developed a site map, accessible from the home page via one of those text links that contained text links to every page of the site. This fixed the spidering problem across the board.
I can definitely tell you that the 1 pixel image link thingee will not help you and will most likely hurt you. Linking from a 1x1 pixel image is a spam technique and can come right back and bite you. I think you said you removed those? Good move if you did.
Try text links though, such as at the bottom or even within the body copy itself in feasible.
Posted 22 October 2003 - 07:55 PM
If you trip a filter and get the "MakeMeBottom" treatment your whole domain is affected. Nothing you do to correct your pages will help and any new pages, even if they are squeaky clean, will suffer the same fate.
I, too, have a client site that suffered this on INK but sail along nicely on Google. My answer? To get a new domain and write new content just for Inktomi!
If you want to appeal to the people at Inktomi I would send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org - basically admitting the faults on the site and stating that you have removed everything and that it was done in error. Ask for a re-review and promise not to do it again!
This has worked in the past and may work for you.
Posted 22 October 2003 - 08:23 PM
The possibility exists that you pages weren't penalised. They certainly weren't banned (as you can still see them), but they may just be either locatewd in the wrong country, or have the wrong country code.
see http://www.ihelpyous...&threadid=11769 to find out more.
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