Over the course of the past few months, I have hearing buzz from the forums and from people in the SEO industry that Google is dropping pages out of their index. How do these people know? Well, when they do a site:www.domain.com command, i.e. in my case, site:www.seroundtable.com, Google is showing less results then they have a few months ago. Personally, I do not track these things, so I am not sure. In fact, the last time I documented that number seems to be in June, when I had 7,990 results, today this domain has 14,000 results.
But that doesn't stop the fact that many many webmasters and SEOs are noticing a huge decline in the number of pages indexed by Google for their site. Or at least, the site command is returning less and less results over time for a site command. Is it a reporting thing or is it really Google dropping pages out of the index due to quality or other issues?
There is a new but largish WebmasterWorld thread with several webmasters complaining about this happening on their sites. Even moderators are noticing it and trying to reverse the results. What actions are they trying?
- The most obvious is to get more links to your inner pages
- The next thing I would do is control what Google removes by 301ing or noindexing pages that are not critical to your success
- Some are trying using the nofollow to, again, control what Google removes.
Overall, in my humble opinion, Google is getting picker about what content to show and what not to show. I believe it is a hybrid effect of both link popularity and duplicate content filter in play, in these cases.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.