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Passing Over Page Value Problem


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11 replies to this topic

#1 Andy_Seo

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 11:40 AM

Hello guys,

Put a redirect on:

CODE
http://mywebsite.com/mywebpage.php


to:

CODE
http://www.mywebsite.com/mywebpage


In May and since then the main keyword this page is themed around has dropped significantly. Looking in GWT it appears that the links from the older page are not being viewed by Google - even though the older page has be 301'ed using an absolute URL.

Whats going on!? The hosting has changed to a server that hasn't got php functionality - but surely that shouldn't be an issue (as the redirects are setup using IIS).

Any suggestions or feedback is most appreciated.

Cheers.

#2 Michael Martinez

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 12:21 PM

Did you change the links or just depend on a redirect? A redirect buys you time to update your content. It should not be viewed as a full solution to any problem.

Also, there could be a completely unrelated reason for the drop in rankings.

And how did you implement the redirect? Are you just redirecting a sub-directory and expecting all child pages to redirect appropriately? There is only a limited ability to affect a sub-directory or domain.

#3 Jill

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 12:51 PM

Are you positive it's a 301 and not a 302?

I've heard it said recently, perhaps it was SEOmoz, that they believe not all link juice is passed through 301 redirects, that perhaps as much as 10% is leaked.

No idea if that's true or not, but it actually does make a lot of sense that Google might do this.

That said, 301's need lots of time to pass their juice and you may simply need to be more patient.

#4 Randy

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 01:15 PM

In addition to the above, your not seeing those 301's in WMT is probably a result of the recent updates of the Google WMT UI. See here for the official announcement from about a month ago.

WMT is apparently not showing any links that include a redirect anymore. Not the smartest move they've ever made IMHO, but then again I don't run the tool. giggle.gif

#5 Andy_Seo

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 03:07 PM

Thanks for the comments guys - really appreciate it.

QUOTE(Michael Martinez @ Jul 6 2009, 06:21 PM) View Post
Did you change the links or just depend on a redirect? A redirect buys you time to update your content. It should not be viewed as a full solution to any problem.

Also, there could be a completely unrelated reason for the drop in rankings.

And how did you implement the redirect? Are you just redirecting a sub-directory and expecting all child pages to redirect appropriately? There is only a limited ability to affect a sub-directory or domain.


I didn't personally implement the 301 redirects but oversaw them all - I think there is less weight placed on the page as the homepage was being returned for the keyword term - which had no mention on the term. I've looked into all the redirects and they're all setup correctly and pointing to the right pages - however this one isn't coming through. A lot of the links might not be easy to change - but in answer to your question - no I have not yet tried to change the links yet. Also - its not a subdirectory/folder - it is an individual page (also a non 'www') so there are two redirects involved.

Let me know if you need anything further.

QUOTE(Jill @ Jul 6 2009, 06:51 PM) View Post
Are you positive it's a 301 and not a 302?

I've heard it said recently, perhaps it was SEOmoz, that they believe not all link juice is passed through 301 redirects, that perhaps as much as 10% is leaked.

No idea if that's true or not, but it actually does make a lot of sense that Google might do this.

That said, 301's need lots of time to pass their juice and you may simply need to be more patient.

Its definitely a 301 redirect, i've checked across the board. Interesting about the 10% leakage - following on from my last point, how would this work if there are a few redirects involved (no more than 5)? I do agree about being patient, although I always felt that way for external 301 redirect (from one domain to another) as opposed to internal 301 redirects. I do generally feel that the problem is from this older page not passing everything across (see next point for further explanation)

QUOTE(Randy @ Jul 6 2009, 07:15 PM) View Post
In addition to the above, your not seeing those 301's in WMT is probably a result of the recent updates of the Google WMT UI. See here for the official announcement from about a month ago.

WMT is apparently not showing any links that include a redirect anymore. Not the smartest move they've ever made IMHO, but then again I don't run the tool. giggle.gif

Hey Randy - yeah I know - I was working on it in the morning old style and then in the evening using the new setup. However, looking at another domain of mine - there are links pointing to the page - which is then redirecting to the homepage. So same situation but the URL is being returned showing links - whereas with the domain in question isn't.

Do you think it could be anything to do with the new server not being able to handle PHP? Or as it is a server side redirect - it doesn't matter?

Thanks for your help guys - really frustrating. :S


#6 Randy

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 02:18 AM

The search engines don't much care if it's php, asp or plain old html. Because by the time it gets to them all server side scripting has already taken place so they get plain old html with any of 'em.

As long as the 301's are set up correctly, and it sounds like you've already thoroughly verified this, there's probably not a lot you can do about it. FTR, I'm not trusting anything I see in WMT at the moment. Not the old UI and certainly not the new UI. More times than not when they start messing with stuff at such a deep level they end up really messing stuff up.

Think how Microsoft releases its new software and then spends the next year releasing updates to fix bugs in the original release. IMHO too many software companies, and that's what Google is at its core, follow this same trend of releasing stuff without first bug testing it properly. I have a feeling they've done it again with the most recent WMT updates.

#7 Michael Martinez

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 02:52 AM

If I understand you correctly, you're asking the search engines to follow two redirects. At some point they have to find links to your pages -- but the question is, are they finding links to the current page names or to the redirected page names?

You may have sacrificed value that hasn't been reconstructed or restored yet through the linking that created the value in the first place. It's generally understood that a 301-redirect is supposed to tell everyone (search engines and browsers) that the document has been permanently transferred to a new location. But there public knowledge ends and we don't really know what is going on inside the search engines.

However, search engineers have told people on numerous occasions that they should clean up their internal navigation and update their external links as much as possible when making these kinds of changes.

Perhaps it's only a random event, but it seems to me you may have stumbled into the classic "worst-case scenario" through an unfortunate series of circumstances.

At this point, were it my site, my highest priority would be to update any and all links I could get my hands on so they were no longer pointing to dead URLs.

#8 Andy_Seo

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 05:48 AM

Thanks Michael - really helpful stuff. Although I did find the following amusing:
QUOTE(Michael Martinez @ Jul 7 2009, 08:52 AM) View Post
Perhaps it's only a random event, but it seems to me you may have stumbled into the classic "worst-case scenario" through an unfortunate series of circumstances.

Welcome to my Larry David World!



#9 Andy_Seo

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 02:50 AM

So just to conclude with this - there is nothing I can do other than wait and contact the links that point to the older page?

#10 Michael Martinez

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 03:26 AM

There are all sorts of things you can try to speed up the process but none of them are guaranteed to work and you may find the work to be tedious. And some of the ideas have their detractors as well as proponents.

For example:

1) Try to get new links from other sites that point to the current URLs
2) Create sitemaps (HTML and XML) if you don't already have any (or create a couple of extra maps)
3) Publish an RSS feed and ping it to various services to see if that will help get your new pages crawled
4) Restore the old pages and use them to link to the new pages (I would not do this)
5) Identify any new URLs that are indexed already and use them to link deeper into your new site hierarchy

But when all is said and done, you'll still have to wait. Either it's going to happen based on what's been done already -- in which case the above suggestions would just be busy work -- or you'll have to do this kind of stuff eventually anyway and starting now will save you time.

If you're completely satisfied that the site is technically crawlable then maybe all it needs is some new links.

#11 Andy_Seo

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 08:27 AM

Thanks Michael - you've given some great answers and I really appreciate it.

Have you had any experience in moving servers (same country hosting) and rankings dropping because of it? I still believe the new page (which did exist before the server was moved) has lost weight based upon the links from the older page.....

#12 Michael Martinez

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 12:58 PM

QUOTE(Andy_Seo @ Jul 10 2009, 06:27 AM) View Post
Thanks Michael - you've given some great answers and I really appreciate it.

Have you had any experience in moving servers (same country hosting) and rankings dropping because of it? I still believe the new page (which did exist before the server was moved) has lost weight based upon the links from the older page.....


I've lost rankings during server moves when it took longer than expected to make the moves. Normally we populate the site on the new server first, then point the DNS at the new server, and then take down the old server.

In the past it used to take 3-5 days for people around the world to see the new server. Now it happens almost instantaneously. There should not normally be a search results drop for a server move if it's done right, in my opinion.




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