Google giveth, Google taketh away

Last week, suddenly my site disappeared from Google search results.

Nowadays, for a company like Aero Quartet, search engines can generate a big part of website traffic, and also be responsible for a similar chunk of the sales pie. So it’s a big loss that can even break a company if one gets too reliant on search engine traffic.

The same day, I read an article in reddit about the demise of a small software company due to sudden loss of search engine traffic.

I started to be really concerned after checking how my weekly visits from search engine had plummeted:

  • First week of March: 224
  • Third week of March: 239
  • First week of April: 14

What could I have done to deserve the wrath of *Googlebot?

I did a round-up of related internet pages, read some FAQ pages from Google, and checked again my webpages. No clue.

As far as I remembered, I had just uploaded my redesigned website by mid-march and cancelled my Adwords account a couple of weeks ago.

But wait! Isn’t this just looking for problems?
What if Google had “punished” me for cancelling my account and drown my site into search results oblivion? I’m resisting to believe it, it would be “evil”, and violate Google’s sixth corporate commandment.

It’s most likely a side effect of uploading a whole new site, and I hope that after a transitory black-out, the flow of visitors coming from Google, Yahoo and MSN will recover to March levels. If within one or two weeks, it hasn’t happened, then I switch to DefCon 3.
With a Google account, you can use the Webmaster tools and consult some statistics about how Google is indexing your website. To my surprise, only a fraction of my current pages are here, and Google still has a lot of old, now defunct pages, listed. I’ll track it in the next days.

Another theory: Googlebot doesn’t see all my pages because I’m using redirects and invalid XHTML content. What made me think this is a visit of my site through a web spider’s eyes. I’ve used Poodle Predictor and it was not able to see most of my pages content. I quickly corrected all my pages by validating them against strict XHTML rules, and using 301 Permanent redirects instead of refresh redirects.
Now let’s see what happens in the next days.

UPDATE: It took several weeks to recover, now everything is back to normal. My guess is that the website redesign caused this problem.

* Googlebot is the name of the computer or group of computers at Google that every few days visit all websites in the world to collect information.

1 Comment

sewalkerdesignJune 19th, 2008 at 4:44 am

I found SimpleMovieX via Google in early April ’08. Searched for: movie, editor, app, remove commercials, …Luv your app. 🙂