Dr. Paula E, Burch wrote:
> Google's lost a number of my best entry pages, starting around the end
> of June. The result is a loss of about 50% of my web traffic. Can you
> help me figure out why?
> Here's a graph from SiteMeter showing the decline in my visits and page
> views to the entire site: <http://tinyurl.com/748uh> My site gets a lot
> of seasonal traffic, and July is normally my busiest month.
> I'll use my "How to Tie Dye" page as an example
> (<http://www.pburch.net/dyeing/howtotiedye.shtml>). This page has
> simply dropped out of the Google index altogether, though it used to be
> one of the top hits for its topic. It is not simply that the page has
> declined in ranking: it is not there at all!
> My PageRank is still okay, so the problem is apparently not a loss of
> pagerank. [evidence: entering
> <www.pburch.net/dyeing/howtotiedye.shtml> at
> <http://www.top25web.com/pagerank.php> yields a pagerank of 4;
> <http://referer.org/host.php?loc=www.pburch.net> shows a pagerank of 5
> for this page (second in the list)]
> Lots of sites still link to this page and other pages on the site.
> Marketleap.com's Link Popularity Check says that there are 64 pages
> linking to my site in Google, 2,553 in MSN, and 1,150 in
> Yahoo/FAST/Altavista. Additional evidence: referer.org's list of links
> at foot of page (or see <http://tinyurl.com/abgdg>); Google search of
> "+http://www.pburch.net/dyeing/howtotiedye.shtml" yields 41 pages, some
> of which contain active links to the page; a google link query to this
> page (these always leave out a lot!) shows 69 links, many within the
> site (see google link query <http://tinyurl.com/exaaw>).
> I have never engaged in any deceptive practices, so I can't see why I'd
> be penalized, unless Google does not like Referer.org. That showed
> links from some robot-made pages, useless assemblages of many links.
> I've just added these to the sites blocked for referer.org so they
> won't be listed on my pages, in case that's a problem. Could it be that
> Google hates referrer.org? I added those links in June, so the timing
> is right to blame them. On the other hand. Google still has my "How to
> Batik" page in their index, and it too has referer.org links at the
> I thought Google might have chanced to spider my pages when my ISP
> happened to be down, but my ISP, http://webmasters.com, claims they had
> 100.0% uptime during the month of June, and 99.95% uptime so far for
> July. My robots.txt file is unchanged. My 'How to Batik' page was last
> crawled on July 18, according to the 'downloaded' timestamp on Google's
> cached copy, and it links directly to my example "How to Tie Dye" page.
> I noticed the problem on return from vacation July 19 and immediately
> resubmitted missing pages to Google, as well as pages that link to it,
> but to no avail, so far. Normally Google should have rediscovered the
> page by now anyway, since it's apparently been several weeks since the
> pages were lost. A search for "site:www.pburch.net" at Google was
> yielding 800+ pages in June, 543 yesterday, 443 this morning.
> "site:www.pburch.net how to tie dye" clearly shows that the page is
> simply not in the Google index. Same with many other pages on the site,
> of course. This is the page that was the number one hit for "how to tie
> dye" for much of the last year, and was never below number two or three
> on the list from doing that search. All you can see now is my much more
> specialized page, "How can I tie-dye a peace sign?".
> I add an average of one new page per day to to the questions & answers
> weblog on my site, and Google used to pick them up within a week or
> two of my submitting them. Now they don't even have my entries from
> early June, let alone any recently submitted ones! I also submitted a
> sitemap to Google Sitemaps last week; no effect so far.
> Google ads, which I added just two days ago, work fine. Google can see
> the page in order to properly select what ads to show. It just no
> longer directs traffic to it, as it always did until the end of last
> So why is Google's index losing pages that have a decent page rank and
> that have nothing wrong with them? Is there something wrong at Google,
> or is it something on my end, which I should correct?
> I'd be very grateful if you can tell me what is going wrong here....
You wrote quite a long message and since I read it entirely, I will make a
few comments. Please do not expect an equally-lengthy reply though. I am
sure that others in this group will have more pennies to throw at the
Disappearance of pages is rather odd. You can see the history of Google
cache using the following tool:
Put in your URL and do some analysis with the output numbers. I could do so
myself, but you know your site's development (in terms of number of pages)
better than I do.
Some things I could think, which you also vaguely described, resembled a woe
that I had back in February this year. My hosts had a schedule downtime for
several hours and, as a result, Google almost dropped me completely off the
SERP's for a month. I lost half of the total amount of traffic. Downtime is
worth considering as a possible explanation although some symptoms that you
listed are different. Bear in mind that Google change their algorithms
Referrer.org inclusion simply does not sit well. It sounds like the same
scheme which was combatted back in the days of "Florida" when link farms
were targetted. Referrer.org seems like an easy target for Google to spot
and penalise domains for. Remember that there are few shortcuts to good
ranks because once they exist, they get eradicated.
Lastly, do not submit pages to Google. Google knows your site exists so you
are only wasting your time by re-submitting. If it was of any use, people
would script something to exploit it. This must be the reason for that
CAPTCHA they recently added.
All the best,
Roy S. Schestowitz