Pages Dropping Out of the Google.com Search Index

Aug 29, 2007 • 7:52 am | comments (3) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

A WebmasterWorld thread is reporting, in heavy numbers, that Google is returning fewer results for sites they have in their index.

What I mean is that if you do a site:www.domain.com command in Google, the number of results being returned is much lower than in the past.

This is not only being reported by one or two people, there are dozens of people reporting this in that thread.

WebmasterWorld administrator, Tedster, confirms:

One of my clients - 9 year old site - has dropped from 1,700 urls indexed to 1,300. They've never been that low in recent years.

However, many are reporting traffic to be at the same levels. So is this just a Google reporting issue or something else?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Comments:

Michael Martinez

08/30/2007 12:15 am

This is the third time in recent years that Google has done a major data dump. They have been de-indexing pages for about 2 weeks. Although I only have two precedents since early 2005 to compare this latest data dump to, it may take them up to 2 months to finish the process. In the meantime, a lot of innocent sites will lose search visibility in Google. People should not panic as this HAS happened before and appears to be following the same pattern.

Robbin Habermehl

08/30/2007 07:36 am

It's also a possibility that Google is just showing less indexed pages than they actually have indexed, something like the amount of backlinks regarding the link: function. Why else would the traffic remain at the same level? Google already stopped showing the supplemental pages of websites (ok, could be worked around with a hack), this could be a next step for showing data like this in Webmaster Tools.

Michael Martinez

08/31/2007 06:52 am

"It's also a possibility that Google is just showing less indexed pages than they actually have indexed, something like the amount of backlinks regarding the link: function. Why else would the traffic remain at the same level?" Since the Supplemental Pages are not allowed to rank for most queries, if the majority of dropped pages are in the Supplemental Index most sites should not see much of a dip in traffic. However, several of the people in that discussion say they have seen losses in traffic. I've seen some changes in traffic myself, including lost traffic. I've also got sites that have not really lost traffic at all. "Google already stopped showing the supplemental pages of websites (ok, could be worked around with a hack), this could be a next step for showing data like this in Webmaster Tools." Google never stopped showing Supplemental pages in <b>site:</b> query results. They just removed the "Supplemental Result" label to make it look like there is only one index.

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