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Pages Have Disappeared From Googles Index


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9 replies to this topic

#1 ttw

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 05:46 PM

I feel like an SEO newbie, this situation is so frustrating. A site I am responsible for has almost entirely disappeared from the Google SERPs and there have been no significant changes to it that I am aware of. When I search for long text strings on many pages nothing comes up in the SERPs. Here is what I have checked:

The robots.txt file is not blocking the directories that I want to be indexed, and the sitemap.xml file is defined correctly.

The .htaccess file is correct and is not blocking anything.

All major pages on the site are easily accessible through the main menus and through left side navigation AND through a Site Map page that is linked to from the footer on every page on the site.

There are no meta tags blocking the bots. I am using:

meta name="robots" content="index,follow"
meta name="googlebot" content="index,follow"

In WMT, Google has the correct sitemap.xml file verified and does not report any errors in it. It was most recently downloaded two days ago.

However, out of 163 URLs in the sitemap.xml file (this is not a large site) only 57 are shown as "URLs in web index". I do not understand why the indexed number is so small.

Anything else I can check?

NOTE: pages in this site that I can't find in Google I can easily find in Bing.

When I do site:www.domain.com on Bing I see "243 results". When I do that on Google I see 99.

Thanks,

Edited by qwerty, 17 January 2011 - 01:04 PM.
Removed domain name per poster's request


#2 Jill

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 06:02 PM

And your search engine traffic and conversions are down?

How about other traffic to the site?

#3 Jill

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 06:17 PM

I think the abundance of dupe titles can't be helping.

#4 Michael Martinez

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 06:44 PM

I agree that you want unique titles for your pages, especially if there seems to be a choke point in the crawl path or process. When you have fewer pages performing in the index, you want every page to count.

That said, I have encountered a huge number of complaints about Google from Webmasters in several forums. It may be that whatever you're experiencing is not your fault.

I've been telling people to "wait it out" for about a week now and that is starting to feel old but I did see some interesting changes in SERPs just today. Maybe that is an early indication of a major (happy) change for a lot of people. It's too soon to tell, though.


#5 ttw

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 09:58 AM

Hello Jill and Michael,

Thanks very much for your comments.

GA shows that, for the past 30 days compared to a year ago, traffic from Google is down 12%. I don't consider that very significant, but it is a drop.

For the approx. 73 pages in Googles index, about 5 are dupe titles from a blog on the site (which I will correct) and another 4 are from a product selection tool on the site. I can't believe that small number of dupe titles are causing other pages on the site--each with unique content and a unique title tag and easily spidered--to not be included in the SERPs.

WMT reports no problems with title tags, or anything else for that matter.



#6 Michael Martinez

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 12:46 PM

12% is a pretty significant drop in my book. Maybe it's not devastating but it certainly indicates something is afoot.

I've browsed some articles in the past few days where people argue and/or speculate that Google's integration of Places Results with Web Search results has reduced click-throughs for traditional Web listings. If that is the case, maybe it affects your site in some way and explains all or part of that 12% drop.

#7 ttw

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 01:44 PM

Michael, good point about Places results but in this particular case, my client is not selling location based services, and the keywords people use to find their site do not have a geographic component.

I still can't figure out what is going on. Many of their important pages about their products are not in the SERPs. There have been no recent changes to those pages. They have simply disappeared.

I did figure out the blog pages with the duplicate titles. Those pages are generated by WordPress, and the pages in the SERPs with the dupe titles are all blog pages that are found by following links to a WordPress "Category". WordPress does not appear to offer a way to control the title tags on those Category pages.


#8 Michael Martinez

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 02:56 PM

QUOTE(ttw @ Jan 14 2011, 10:44 AM) View Post
I did figure out the blog pages with the duplicate titles. Those pages are generated by WordPress, and the pages in the SERPs with the dupe titles are all blog pages that are found by following links to a WordPress "Category". WordPress does not appear to offer a way to control the title tags on those Category pages.


There may be some themes or plugins that let you set category page titles. I'm not fond of using "SEO friendly" themes and plugins so if the category pages are really using competitive titles, would it not make more sense to change the categories?

#9 qwerty

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 03:32 PM

I've checked about half a dozen of the site's internal pages and they all contain
CODE
<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.domain.com" />

So you appear to be telling Google to treat every page as if it were a copy of the home page that you'd like them to ignore.

Edited by qwerty, 17 January 2011 - 01:03 PM.


#10 Jill

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 04:07 PM

Well that would certainly explain it!




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