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Old 12-05-2004   #1
Marcia
 
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Index page missing: has Yahoo just updated?

There was a drastic drop in Yahoo traffic for a site starting Thursday, and when I just now checked, the index page is history, as is another page on the site that was a very important one. It seems to have affected some other minor interior pages, but that's a side issue.

I'm trying to figure out whether they've just updated mid-week, whether somethng "unusual" is going on with the homepage, or whether it's a penalty. I've never had a penalty, so to be honest I'm a bit stunned by the disappearance of the page and also a little paranoid now.
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Old 12-05-2004   #2
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Hi Marcia,

i'm noticing some odds things happening to some of my clients' sites i'm monitoring on Yahoo!

We completely changed the home page of one site a few weeks ago and alternatively i'm seeing the old home page as the cached copy in Yahoo! and sometimes i'm seeing the new home page. This goes on like that and honestly i can't figure out whats goin on there.
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Old 12-06-2004   #3
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Thanks for replying SR, it's a comfort to have company.

>>odds things happening

I haven't taken a whole lot of time with this yet, and was wrong about that important interior page being gone - it's still right in the same place. But the homepage is nowhere to be found. It was #1 for the prime two_word phrase that's the primary keyword phrase for the site, and surprisingly, an obscure interior page on the site is ranking #31 for the phrase.

What I'm wondering about as far as oddity is concerned: I'm pretty familiar with people having problems with Google with too high percentage of identical anchor text for pages but haven't heard of such a thing with Yahoo. I'm not saying by any means that it has any bearing, but will be trying to check it out, since the domain in question does have that two_word phrase as part of the domain name so it would occur frequently as anchor text for links, even though not deliberate.

Another thing I find that's odd and will check into further: a site that's got nothing whatsoever to do with me but that was ranking fairly decently for the same two_word keyphrase I've lost has also dropped WAY down, past where anyone will look. The issue I can see with that site is incestuous linking - an awful lot of links within the same network of sites.

I don't think what's happened with the homepage of my site is a hand-inflicted penalty, which I'd assume would nuke the whole site from the index - which hasn't happened. If that were the case I assume the whole site would be gone, which isn't the case. It looks to me like an algorithmic filtering at first glance.

Mind you, I haven't looked into it much, having just found out, but those are the first two things I'll be looking into.
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Old 12-06-2004   #4
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In the current top 10 for your kw combo do the refering urls now have H=1 or H=2/0 in them?
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Old 12-06-2004   #5
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Nick, most of them have H=0
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Old 12-06-2004   #6
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Well, if i understand that correctly, and im not 100% i do, that would mean they are NOT being hand manipulated...

If they were all =1 or =2 then i'd think yours had been marked for exclusion but as it is, that theory doesnt hold water.

If you can find the page at all, by any term (specific string..) then have a look and see what your H value is, maybe it'll shed some light but i dont think so..

Might just be "one of those things" - you know as well as i that weird stuff happens all the time right? Sometimes it gets righted quickly, sometimes not.

Sorry cant be of more help..
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Old 12-06-2004   #7
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It's actually slipping in and out now - like how Google does. You search and it's right there, you go back within a minute or two and do another search and it isn't. All H=0, not like when H=1 and H=2; I've seen other searches that have those other designations, and those are pretty well fixed for position it seems. In fact, with a few I've been looking at the first 8 or so are all sites in the Directory.
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Old 12-07-2004   #8
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There was some pretty decent flux in the last week in Y. It actually seemed a lot of urls were missing. The missing url thing seemed to cut the backlinks of a lot of sites and that made the ranks change quite a bit in a few sectors. Many came back, but some of what I have been looking at are still unaccounted for. But, this is simply from the set of serps I was looking at. Other people may have been seeing different things. Nothing I saw in the rank changes had anything to do with the H parameters.

The different results every time thing happens a lot as well. Yahoo seems to flux all day every day.
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Old 12-07-2004   #9
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chrisnrae, my personal stuff has always been very stable at Yahoo but mine this past wouldn't have had anything to do with links disappearing.

What really grabbed my eye (aside from getting paranoid) was that interior page that's really insignificant turning up at #30 the times the homepage wasn't found at all for the term. It's that page that has me wondering if there's an algo change involved - which would have to be drastic for that page to turn up. I'll still have a very, very close look at that particular page, there are only a few factors that could be involved with its appearance and it's worth taking careful note of those, imho - just in case we're in for a change of some kind.
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Old 12-08-2004   #10
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I have seen exactly the same thing Marcia, with an older high ranking index page suddenly disappearing for no visible reason.
It seems strange to me that Yahoo should list many site pages but not the domain root.

<Added> Even more interesting while my index page or root url does not appear for a site search, and my rankings and traffic from that page have dropped, if I search for a unique word that I have on that page, yahoo returns the home page.
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Old 12-10-2004   #11
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Mel
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Even more interesting while my index page or root url does not appear for a site search, and my rankings and traffic from that page have dropped, if I search for a unique word that I have on that page, yahoo returns the home page.
The index page does not appear for search for me *most* of the time, and is also missing if I look for example.com

What's interesting (and I was mistaken about the extent of the traffic difference upon second look) is that I'm getting referrals for the search terms in the site stats that show the last 300 visitors, and when I click on the link in the stats, hey - there she is! But if I go back and search, it's a goner.

I cleared cookies and did the searches and everything was normal as before - the pages were found for the search terms. There is apparently a cookie thing involved.
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Old 12-10-2004   #12
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Just to touch further on the H= thing, if you have a site that you know to be disallowed from ranking for anything, you might also notice that it has a H=3 in the url.
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Old 12-10-2004   #13
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Rob, have you checked today? See here with a search that's all got the H= we can see some have H=3 and they're mixed right in

furniture

Seems they're on to that people are looking closely at this and they've gone and mixed it all up.
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Old 12-10-2004   #14
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Well spotted, Marcia, no I hadn't noticed that at all.

A week or so ago if you searched for say hotels or flights you would see that most if not all of the 1st page results had h=1 page 2 had h=2 and so on and so forth.

I'd be inclined to agree with your 'mixed them all up' assertion as on current inspection it seems to no longer apply.

Just thinking on this, maybe they realised that it was too clearly identifiable and exposed them to all sorts of scrutiny...oh well!
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Old 12-10-2004   #15
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Yes, it does look like they pulled it from view, doesn't it?

But I'm afraid I have to strongly protest about the cookies thing with dumping otherwise relevant sites from the results. It could really degrade the user experience and penalize good sites as well as hurt Yahoo Search long term.

What if someone finds a site or two they really like and thinks is great but continues to shop around, like when they're looking for something specific? Say they decide they liked what they found when they did that other search, don't remember what the specific URLs were, and go back to the same search to find those sites again. Well, they are out of luck because those sites will not be there. What can they do but go to another search engine to see if they can find those sites again?

Searchers aren't dumb - if they didn't like sites either they won't go back or they'll hit the back button on the browser. Algo and ranking changes are normal and are one thing - hopefully updated search results add fresh new sites and increase in relevancy and value when there are updates. But playing bait and switch games on users could be costly for them in terms of creating enough user frustration so that people will go instead to search engines where they can rely on some degree of consistency.

Google was doing the same thing with rotating results quite a while back and people were screaming foul - which it was. What makes Yahoo think a bait and switch deal like this will work any better for them now?

Another thing:
Enough of this and we 're liable to start hearing from the tin foil hat crowd about cookies and the Yahoo toolbar.
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Old 12-10-2004   #16
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Another thing, we missed picking up on something mentioned over in this thread:

Strange Yahoo Rankings

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i have seen clusters of sites drop and re-appear i lost 500 urls they came back 2 days later been stable since then.... personally i think the geo targetting is been tested ..

seen site removed for the .com only to re-appear in co.uk the next day.... and i mean dissapear ...even if you type in url they are not listed ..
The site in question I'm looking at with this now has nothing to do with location, but the server it is hosted on is physically located in Canada.
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Old 12-10-2004   #17
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Yes, its one of those things where it might look good on paper.."user searches, doesn't find, goes off elsewhere,comes back searches again, therefore why show them the same when 1st time round they didn't like what was shown then.." but in reality that isn't how people behave, people are far more random and quirky and generally hate too much change ESPECIALLY IN THEIR SEARCHES!..

I think a degree of this flux stuff is done on purpose. look at a money terms in uk.yahoo search and you'll see the various ppc ads top side and bottom. They'd deny this vociferously, but the reality is that the whole thing is geared to getting those paid ads clicked, which are always relevant and of course revenue producing. I might be wrong, but Id guess that there might be a school of thought that doesn't view the general searcher as some kind of sophisticated beast and that the view is that most people will swallow pretty much whatever is stuck in front of them, provided that its kinda relevant.

Paid ads will always meet that critieria. They aint that different from the non PPC serps so most users will click them blissfully unaware of their status. Above the fold, cuts the mustard.

Just touching on that geo stuff, might be worth doing a few searches via geo spread proxies and see what comes up.
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Old 12-11-2004   #18
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Not a cookie thing on my end Marcia, I have cleared all the Yahoo cookies, but my home page still does not appear with a site search, nor are the previous #1 rankings there anymore, but I am seeing something similar to your experience where a couple of obscure interior pages are showing up for these same searches, when they never did before. Give it a week or two - it could be an index reshuffle as I am seeing more than half the pages drop out on one site, and the dropouts are both old and new pages, seemingly no rhyme or reason that I can see for them dropping out.

A few months ago I set up a small test using unique or rare words in the page title, meta description, Meta keywords and page text on the home page only of a site. Searching in Yahoo returns results for all four terms but it does not return the page itself in the site: search and the page has lost its rankings totally.
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Old 12-11-2004   #19
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Knowing Yahoo, they are probably trying to drum up SiteMatch business.
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Old 12-15-2004   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Hawley
Knowing Yahoo, they are probably trying to drum up SiteMatch business.
All of my listings that popped in to the top 5 (after not being listed at all) today (12/15) are directory listings. All of my sitematch stuff is 3 or 4 pages deep.

FYI, to see if a listing is using sitematch, right-click on the link then go to properties. Then click and drag downward on the address and you will see "sitematch" in the address some where.
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