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  1. #1
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    Do Google's Webmaster Tools Do More Harm Than Good?
    So one of my blogs continued month over month success and visits from Organic search was making 90% of my total site visits. Then I added a sitemap to Goolge Webmaster Tools and poof, within a couple of days my organic search traffic all but disappeared.

    Has anyone sent his happen to their sites and is this just coincidence or is it real. Should I delete my sitemap from Google Webmaster Tools?

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    I had half of my websites outright Banned by G almost exactly a year ago. About a dozen sites.

    These were all different types of sites, some affiliate, some informational only, some monetized w/adsense.

    The one thing they had in common was, either signed up to webmaster tools, or had adsense on them.

    needless to say, I don't use any G products anymore!

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  4. #3
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    Thanks. I thought I was losing my mind.

  5. #4
    ABW Ambassador kaizen's Avatar
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    There has to be more than having Webmaster Tools or Adsense on them tho. Makes no sense for G to drop sites for those reasons alone.

    Then again, I've never claimed that G uses logic as we know it.
    We did not change as we grew older; we just became more clearly ourselves.
    ~Lynn Hall

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  7. #5
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    I should clarify. My site still shows up but the number of pages has dropped since Sitemap inclusion. The drop occurred shortly after including a sitemap for the blog.
    The drop in indexed pages seems to have dropped the organic search visits to my site.
    It seems to be too coincidental.

  8. #6
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    Your case almost sounds like a technical glitch with the sitemap. Not like my situation. Or maybe G has to 'reset' and re-index your site because of the new sitemap?

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  10. #7
    Full Member Lanny's Avatar
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    Probably something else causing this
    I have Google's Analytics and Webmaster Tools installed on 5 web sites. I believe there is something else causing this and that it is more of a coincidence.

    Each my web sites has a sitemap.txt file submitted via Google's Webmaster Tools.

    Did you change other things recently?

    GL!
    Last edited by Lanny; March 12th, 2012 at 05:54 PM. Reason: Added that all 5 web sites have sitemap.txt files

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  12. #8
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    I agree with simcat, it must have been the sitemap submission... if the URLs (in the sitemap) differ from what G had already indexed, I'm guessing they did a reset.

    I'm almost finished a major URL rewrite that occurred by accident (upgraded a joomla component that changed my default SEF settings) - when you submit a new sitemap you're telling G where to look specifically. In my case, the old URLs disappeared, but have started to reappear with the new naming convention.

    Look closely at your sitemap vs original indexed URLs - if you have mixed case on the sitemap, but indexed URLS are all lowercase, that will cause a duplicate content issue. Just an example of how a sitemap can mess things up..

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  14. #9
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    Thanks teezone. Do you think deleting the sitemap from Webmaster Tools will clear/reset the issue or am I screwed?

  15. #10
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    You can certainly delete the sitemap from WMT - just make sure you physically delete the file as well.
    You can delete a Sitemap from your account, so that it no longer appears in Webmaster Tools. However, Google may continue to fetch your Sitemap data until you remove the Sitemap file from your webserver
    But before you start messing with WMT.. can you see if the sitemap contains different urls than what has been indexed?

  16. #11
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teezone View Post
    You can certainly delete the sitemap from WMT - just make sure you physically delete the file as well.But before you start messing with WMT.. can you see if the sitemap contains different urls than what has been indexed?
    In looking at the URLs it seems as if the URLS are the same as originally indexed.

    Thanks

  17. #12
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    Actually in taking a more detailed look, Google/Webmaster Tools is only indexing 26 pages of my sitemap. I'm doing a search and reading more about it. I'll update you when I have more info.

  18. #13
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    You can delete the sitemap, on the off-chance there is something there that caused a problem. But it might be time to look at other factors in WMT..

    1) Indexed pages - did the actual number of indexed pages drop in WMT?
    2) How is the page speed - any recent spike, for example?

    Look under Diagnostics - Crawl Stats.. how does it look?

  19. #14
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    OK, it's a blogger issue. logger uses Atom which apparantly isn't a true RSS feeds. This means that Google can only index 26 pages.

    Isn't weird that Blogger is a Google product and their own service is insufficient? Then you use their webmaster tools and upload your sitemap and they screw you over.

    I shouldn't have added the sitemap and I can only hope that I won't be screwed forever.

  20. #15
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teezone View Post
    You can delete the sitemap, on the off-chance there is something there that caused a problem. But it might be time to look at other factors in WMT..

    1) Indexed pages - did the actual number of indexed pages drop in WMT?
    2) How is the page speed - any recent spike, for example?

    Look under Diagnostics - Crawl Stats.. how does it look?
    Thanks teezone. I'll take a look at your recommendations.

  21. #16
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    Found an answer. If you are seeing tat all your blogger pages aren't being indexed (All posts) use this as your sitemap extension: atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=1&max-results=500

    I just added it and it now shows the correct number of pages indexed. I hope this will correct the issue and I may need to resubmit as I add new posts.

    teezone does this seem correct to you and do you think this will solve my issue?
    Thanks for your help.

    The following site explains more and shows you how to correct your blogger sitemap is:
    How To Submit Blogger.com Blog Sitemap To Google Webmaster Tools | Saket Jajodia

  22. #17
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    Good to hear you figured out (and fixed!) the sitemap limitation.. I'm surprised 26 posts would be the default setting, that's not very helpful.

    Your issue might be solved here, but keep us posted!

    I find G can be pretty forgiving with short-term accidents, but continue to stay on top of other potential issues. Site speed has become more important in the past 8-12 months, and you will see those stats in WMT as well.

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  24. #18
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teezone View Post

    I find G can be pretty forgiving with short-term accidents, but continue to stay on top of other potential issues. Site speed has become more important in the past 8-12 months, and you will see those stats in WMT as well.
    Thanks. I didn't really know about the site speed thing. What is an acceptable site speed. I'm assuming you're talking about page load speed?

  25. #19
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    When it comes to site speed, there are too many variables to give a proper answer - I have a text-based site that is super-fast, and a CMS with images that is much slower.

    I'm suggesting you check for spikes in your own average speed. One of my sites was recently bogged down by too many plugins (one in particular that was collecting stats) - it browsed fine, but G showed a major spike in speed, and a corresponding reduction in pages crawled.

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  27. #20
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    Thanks teezone. Your comments on this thread have been very valuable to me.
    I will post an update if I see the new sitemap has had a positive effect.

    Thanks everyone for your input.

  28. #21
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    Glad I could help!!

    I'm going through major issues myself - lost my rankings in mid-January, and once I started digging under the hood, it was pretty clear there were a number of problems - URLs, site speed, inefficient coding from plugins, etc.

  29. #22
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    Hi,
    After a week of what looked like my site had taken a turn for the worst, I resubmitted a site map to Google Webmaster Tools yesterday. Coincidentally my site's organic search traffic returned to what they were prior to 7 days ago.

    This seems to good to be true, so I will monitor my traffic and update you as I gain more info.

  30. #23
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    Great news!

    If the shorter sitemap caused the problem, it's a good reminder for us all to check/verify previous submissions.

    Now if only I could my own site back on track

  31. #24
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    I'm still a little cautious. Especially if things can change so quickly. We'll have to see what happens going forward.

    I hope you can figure out a solution for your site. It's so frustrating when things like this happens. It's a hopeless feeling at times and the Google has so much impact on our success.

  32. #25
    Member Rock Howard's Avatar
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    Bibby & Teezone you guys ROCK!!!

    I'm one of the person who was stuck with the same problem, I was having some hard time understanding the issue with Webmaster & I'm quite surprised with it's default limit.

    This thread about webmaster & sitemap contains a jewel of information.

    Bibby I'd love hear about your update with your Webmaster Tool!

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