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    Interior pages don't rank well in Google, if at all


    I have got a persistent problem that cropped up around Feb or Mar of 2005. I apologize in advance for this post being so long, but I wanted to be a thorough as possible to hopefully get some good advice from my fellow seochat forum friends.

    Some background:

    I have an e-commerce site that has a homepage leading to category pages which lead to individual product pages.

    The homepage also leads to a site map page that breaks off into several other sub-site map pages because I have way more than 100 products and need to avoid have 2000 links on a single page.

    The homepage also leads to a bunch of purely informational pages about topics important to my industry and related to the products we sell.

    The homepage also leads to a links page as well. Actually I have two pages, one for text links to other sites and another to banner links to sites. All links are relevant to our site and are designed to help people trying to find more information about industry related stuff.

    Our homepage ranks well for us. We are in the top 10 for many important terms. We don't rank #1 for any big ones, but we are often with in the top 5. That's OK for us, we are not obsessed with the #1 spot.

    We are hosting on a windows platform, our e-commerce solution utilizes asp so change to UNIX is not an option nor does it seem logical that UNIX versus windows would be the problem.

    Any SEO we do is strictly white hat, the site is too important in the long term to try anything charcoal or black hat.

    The big problem

    Ok, so here is the problem, my interior pages stopped ranking in Google well or at all on or about Feb or Early March of 2005. After 6 months, I'm no closer to figuring out why, nothing I have tried seems to have any affect and frankly, I'm running out of ideas on what to try next.

    Things I have explored as possible causes:

    I did find some unintended internal duplicate content. I won't go into it as it takes a lot to explain it, but we eliminated them via the Google removal tool about 4 months ago. If any of those URLs are followed since then, they lead to a 404 error page. The duplicate pages are no longer found within the Google index at all. We have checked and rechecked header information to make sure we are serving a true 404 code. We also have the incorrect URLs blocked via robots.txt.
    Prior to submitting them via the removal tool, we tried just 301ing them, that didn't help either, hence we decided to bite the bullet going with the 404 route.

    Our site does use a common template for the category pages and the product pages. The template is limited to common navigation and header at the top. I thought this might be the problem but I have examined plenty of other sites and can not find anything to lead me to believe this is the cause of the problem. I have used a few page comparers I have found on the internet and compared our similarity from page to page against the similarity numbers for other sites whose individual product pages rank good when using a common template page. Our pages most often have a high percentage of difference from page to page than many of these other sites. In short it doesn't appear that we don't have enough unique content from page to page.

    We do have a redirect from non-www to www. I have not ever found any evidence of Google ever having non-www pages in it's index for our site. We put the redirect in place longer before this problem occurred.

    We have searched using unique phrases for our site and can not find any evidence of hijacking or redirects being utilized.

    We have tried utilizing H1's and H2's which we didn't use in the past. This did not help and we reverted back away from them.

    We have acquired several links pointing at specific interior pages, none of these links have caused the page to move up or appear in the serps. It's almost as if the links are not doing any good, however we have been very selective of the links, so link quality is there.

    We even e-mailed Google to ask if there was some kind of penalty in place, of course we just got the canned response and nothing magically changed.

    I'm sure there are more things we have tried, I just can't think of all of them at the moment.


    Anybody got any ideas ? If you need to see the site, PM me for the URL. I can also provide you with the url of a competitor that has similiar layout and whose interior pages rank fine.
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    Cut the story short and most people would love to answer it...
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    We had some similar issues with our site, which is about 2500 pages and has main category pages leading to detail pages. For us, the issue was with how we had coded the detail pages. Since we were using ASP, the programmer kept things simple and just had domain.com/sitedetails.asp for about 800 of our pages (using a form post to build the pages I believe - I'm not a programmer btw). Once we realized that these pages weren't being indexed in Google, we changed the site path to be unique for each of the pages and with our newfound seo knowledge, we also included keywords within the path name. This has done well for people finding our subpages in GG searches (our site is still in the sandbox btw, but the subpages aren't competitve enough terms to be boxed).

    One other possibility I saw in your post is that you are using a common header, which we had also done using ASP includes. Again, we found that Google didn't count many of our pages as indexed because of the common titles. By changing every page title to be unique (done dynamically), we quickly got GG to show that we had many more pages indexed. Since we did this dynamically, we also included keywords in each of our titles.

    Not sure if this will help your situtation, but maybe it gives you some ideas.
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    My site is 3000 pages and Google only has indexed 400 of them.

    All 3000 have PR, but only 400 indexed... WHY????

    No idea, they are .php pages with a mod rewrite to .html

    2 reasons I think this might be happening.

    A. Google has a time period sandbox now for new sites. months 1 to 6 they take 20% of the site. Months 6 to 12 they take 40% and months 12 and on they take the remaining 40%

    B. Google really really wants you to use a sitemap. (Google Says) "Sorry new website, no sitemap you don't get your whole site indexed. Use a sitemap or we will only index part of your site."

    Comments.....
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  9. rubik's cube - 34 secs
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    Originally Posted by Seobiznezzy
    My site is 3000 pages and Google only has indexed 400 of them.

    All 3000 have PR, but only 400 indexed... WHY????

    No idea, they are .php pages with a mod rewrite to .html

    2 reasons I think this might be happening.

    A. Google has a time period sandbox now for new sites. months 1 to 6 they take 20% of the site. Months 6 to 12 they take 40% and months 12 and on they take the remaining 40%

    B. Google really really wants you to use a sitemap. (Google Says) "Sorry new website, no sitemap you don't get your whole site indexed. Use a sitemap or we will only index part of your site."

    Comments.....
    Google suggests a sitemap simply so it can find all your pages.

    How else are they going index your pages if 3000 of them are lost deep within your site????
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    they pages are easy to find as a viewer could easily navigate them.

    10 links on the first page, 10 on the inner and 10 on the 3rd page in. 10 to the power of 3 is 1000 pages. only 3 levels deep.

    3 levels

    North America is to United States is to California
    North America is to Canada is to Ontario
    North America is to United States is to Utah

    Just weird why Google doesn't go deep like it used to.....

    must be a reason.
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  13. rubik's cube - 34 secs
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    Some big old juicy BL's would not go a miss
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    Originally Posted by sufyaaan
    Cut the story short and most people would love to answer it...
    The reason it's so long is to provide as much information as possible about what we have tried. If I kept it short, then you would be suggesting rather simple things like "get more backlinks", which by reading my post does seem to have helped.



    Some additional information.

    We do have unique urls for each page. Our system does not allow for each product url to be keyword rich though.

    Although the header is common to each page, I was referring to the graphical portion, not the html header tag. Each pag does have it's own unique title, meta keywords and meta description.

    The site has existed for over 5 years, it is not sandboxed.

    As I said, we do have a sitemap.

    All pages are in the index with fresh dates of approximately 10-14 days ago.
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    Google doesn't rank websites, it ranks web pages. If all of your links are pointing to your homepage, then the homepage will rank for those terms, sometimes with a relevant sub page listed indented style. If you are trying to rank individual pages then you need to get links to those pages.

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    Mvandemar

    In the original post I said:

    "We have acquired several links pointing at specific interior pages, none of these links have caused the page to move up or appear in the serps. It's almost as if the links are not doing any good, however we have been very selective of the links, so link quality is there."


    So obviously, there are quality links pointing at interior pages that we can not get to rank.
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    Ledfish... your internal page SERPs are still regulated by the competitive nature of your keywords, page relevance and linking structure; just the same as your home page.

    Just sitting here musing... (penalties aside) I would say you just don't have enough links or quality links to your internals to be competitive.

    Comments on this post

    • jason_sot agrees : its that simple....
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    Originally Posted by Seobiznezzy
    My site is 3000 pages and Google only has indexed 400 of them.
    We had a similar issue. Our site is about 2600 pages that are dynamically served, but easy to navigate to for any user 3-4 links down. Prior to the Jagger update, we had 1170 pages indexed...since the update we only have 521 pages indexed on GG. Not sure what this means.

    On another question, I had my developer look at the sitemap tool and she wasn't quite sure how to use it for showing 2600 links from mostly dynamic pages. Has anyone else dealt with this?

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