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« links for 2007-01-15 | Main | A profile of Barack Obama »

January 16, 2007

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This is really a shame by Google.
It's my no.1 best DX info page on the internet.
So it should return to there where it belongs!

Johan Meezen
Netherlands
Member: BDXC JMn-2648

Hi, I'm the product manager for Google Webmaster Central. We're always on the lookout for issues like this, and I know it can be frustrating when things like this happen. I'm not sure what e-mail address that you and Mika used to contact Google, but two good ways of contacting us are by posting in our discussion forum (linked from webmaster central) -- we monitor that forum for issues like this and post replies when we can be of help,and by filing a reinclusion request in webmaster tools. In this case, since the site seems to be missing entirely, I would suggest that Mika file a reinclusion request so that we can review the site and see what might be happening.

I will take a look as well to see where the issue might be here.

Thank you for reacting to the issue. Filing a reinclusion request is not that simple. The reinclusion form in the webmaster tools requires you to:
1) confess having violated against Google guidelines,
2) promise not to do it again, and
3) explain what you have done to cause your own expulsion and what steps you have taken to remedy the situation.

What if you don't know why the site was banned in the first place? I haven't used any SEO services, or tried to deliberately improve the ranking of the site. It is difficult to fix something that you don't know is broken. Also it is difficult to avoid committing the same sin again, if you don't know what the sin is.

The encoding for the site has remained practically the same since 2002, but perhaps the rules of good behavior have changed, because the website is now suddenly being penalized.

I have received a couple of suggestions on how to make the website more likeable in the eyes of Google, and I have implemented them, but I still have no idea what the reason for expulsion was. The website is extensive, containing thousands of files of unique content, and it would be helpful to get Google's comment about what exactly is the problem.

Let's imagine the worse. Google want to be closer (participations) to xing network and kill a name close to xing website www.xing.com/

The site is now back in Google when searching for dxing. However, only 58 pages or so are indexed, of which only the first 6 or so are considered unique. Still, one would like to know how such a thing is possoble, especially as this not the only example of such an occurence.

Indeed, DXing.info is once again listed, but only a small part of its content can be found in the Google index. And what sounds weird, search results vary wildly from day to day. Yesterday 40+ pages were indexed, right now less than 30 (out of hundreds), and these were at least for the most part different pages compared to yesterday. For example the front page (http://www.dxing.info), a report about the U.S. radio propaganda operation in Iraq (http://www.dxing.info/profiles/clandestine_information_iraq.dx) and an introduction to myself (http://www.dxing.info/about/dxers/mtm.dx) were found yesterday, but no longer today. I checked this both through the webmaster tools and using the regular search. Does anyone know what is going on?

As for the changes made, most recently, on Jan. 17th, I uploaded a blank robots.txt file, and edited the .htaccess page by removing reference to use a custom 404 page as well as redirecting all queries without www to pages with www. I don't know if this had any effect, but in any case, these files had remained unchanged since 2002. I did not file a reinclusion request for reasons explained in my previous comment.

DXing.info doesn't rank as high as earlier in search results, which makes me wonder if the site is still under some penalty, but at least I haven't been informed about such, and it doesn't show in the indexing summary of the Google webmaster tools.

And pagerank 6 is of course gone, wonder if it will ever return.

As far as the Google Directory http://directory.google.com/Top/Recreation/Radio/Shortwave_and_DX_Listening/DX_Listening/ is concerned, DXing.info has also risen from the dead, but under a wrong (pre-2002) name. I emailed about this several times around 2002-2004, but have since lost hope of getting mistakes in the Directory corrected.

There are some interesting points in the Google Webmaster Guidelines that in my opinion could be used as a cause or pretext to delist or downgrade just about any website, such as avoiding links to "bad neighborhoods" on the web. When you have user-generated content like a discussion forum, should you delete most or all of the links that ever get posted, just to be sure that you're not inadvertently voting for the bad guys with your links? I already weed about a dozen fake users per day. Should I delete some valuable link collections because I can't police the hundreds of other websites that would be relevant to my users?

While there are millions of websites, and I realize that Google can't respond personally to all the requests it gets, it still bothers me that I'm not getting a personal response to explain exactly what, in the eyes of Google, was (or is?) wrong with the site.

With added power comes added responsibility, and it should include communicating with websites that can be virtually killed by Google. At least Google has all the money it needs to multiply webmaster help resources.

Thank you Vanessa for looking into this; thank you Mika for the details. Vanessa: So many people are relying on Google to find information (or to be found), which is a testimony of Google's excellence, but I believe that it would be good to hear an explanation of how this happened - how a website can just disappear from the Google index.

DXing.Info is a great & helpfull site, It should not ever be blocked.

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