Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Is Google Throwing Your Baby Out With The Bath Water?

BANS has finally hit the big time. Sadly for every great BANS site built that follows the rules of what Google wants, there are 100s that are simply web spam. Over the past few years the Google index has been inundated with crappy BANS sites. I have spent the last 30 days reviewing sites that readers have sent me to examine that have found themselves out of Google and while I still can't say what the exact trigger is, it does appear to be a footprint in certain store setups that is doing it.

Let me continue by saying again that this is conclusive in the fact that it is something in certain product store page set ups. What I can not exactly point out is what it EXACTLY is, I do have some data in test that do support it.

The good news is it is not the templates themselves in my testing. While I have not tested each and everyone, I have tested many of them, especially the older ones and it is not just related to BANS templates but also user built templates as well. What seems to be triggering a Google filter is what is being shown in the product displays. I have seen several instances of the wording "Time left:" in once indexed store pages causing the entire site to get removed. Is this conclusive to this wording? Absolutely not. If your site has or has had this wording in the product listing and is still an indexed page in Google, check and see what the date the page was cached on. I would be interested to hear if the page was cached after November 15th or not and still indexed.

Some things you can do to distance yourself would be to go through the BANS admin setup and show only the picture, price and title description of the item for sale for starters. Secondly you can edit what wording will display by editing the FrontControl.php and index.php files that come with the BANS script. The Time left: wording is on line 4044 of the frontcontrol file and 2430 of the index file. You can also poke around and change other wording as well. Simply do a search in that file for "producttext" and it should stick out like a sore thumb of the text you can change. Also on line 2061 and 1795 is the wording "View more items on eBay" if you feel the need to change that, but as of right now I am not seeing that wording as the trigger.

If your site is full of original content and recently dropped out of Google. Try making these changes and see if it comes back into the index in about 30-45 days. You have nothing to lose. The penalty filter may indeed have a time frame involved.

The biggest thing you want to accomplish, is to distance whatever setup you are using from whatever the default of it is. Amazingly it seems Layout Selection 1 is surviving this Google filter.

Let me close by saying once again my evidence points to it being in the product display of certain layouts. Not the templates, any templates. I still am finishing some testing on a few more layouts that are waiting for the Googlebot one more time. If you have sites that buck my earlier example and have been cached after November 15th, I would be interested in seeing them and more importantly what Layout Selection you are using in the setup.

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Anonymous said...

Interesting research. I just went and checked all my BANS sites. I'll be upfront and say most of them are neglected as they are from a group of ten that I put up right after buying BANS. Since then, I have been focusing on two phpBay sites and a couple non-eBay sites. I have 5 BANS sites that are showing "time left". Of those, one has been deindexed recently. The four remaining in the index all have cache dates after Nov. 15th. The deindexed one has auctions on the front page and shows the "view more items on eBay" link. The other four do not have auctions on the front page and don't show any "view more" link. Hope this helps.

soggy on December 2, 2008 at 7:04 PM said...

Shawn, what layout are you using as well. Also are all pages cached after November 15th or just a few?


Anonymous said...

The deindexed site and two of the remaining sites are using layout 4 (3 columns). The other two sites are using layout 5 (2 columns). As far as the cache date, I checked a pretty good sample of each site and I would say over half the pages have a cache date after Nov. 15th. On a couple of the sites, I would say over 75% do.


soggy on December 2, 2008 at 8:02 PM said...

Shawn, Do me a favor an implement changes on the deindexed site and watch the others closely. Of course it is your call to go ahead and change the remaining four, but I am willing to bet you lose them soon. As I mentioned in my post it may or may not be that wording, but I am confident in the fact that there is something in the product display triggering this. Really I hope to be 100% wrong but so far the data is against it. Keep me posted.


Anonymous said...

I've already removed the "time ends" text from all five sites. I've left the layouts the same. We'll see what happens.

Anonymous said...

Soggy you suggested:

Some things you can do to distance yourself would be to go through the BANS admin setup and show only the picture, price and title description of the item for sale for starters.

The problem is that if you uncheck "display bids" then you lose the BIN image. So, you sometimes end up with listings that have 2 prices listed (current bid & BIN), but no explanation for the different prices showing up.

Do you have a work around for this? If not, it is real confusing for visitors I think to see double pricing on the same item.

Anonymous said...

I made the changes suggested on 3 of my BANS sites, but wanted to let you know they need to be made in the root index.php file as well to take effect. At least that's the way it worked for me.

soggy on December 3, 2008 at 6:51 AM said...

My bad Alan, I get to typing too quick sometimes. I forgot to notate the index file changes.


Mark Hansen on December 3, 2008 at 7:24 AM said...

Good topic Dave -

I have done quite a bit of research on this myself... and I think the issue revolves around the BANS 3.0 package itself, versus previous versions.

In regard to the time-left text, I have a few sites that are BANS 2.0 & 1.3, running in the most raw format (Layout 2, no custom logos, etc) with little to no original content, completely BANS built navigation menus etc, that are still indexed in G. One has "time left" on all listings, the other has "sale ends" on all listings.

The BIGGEST Jump out at Me difference I see between them and 3.0 stores are in the 302 error codes.

BANS 3.0 stores have thousands of 302 errors (With or without cloaking on) where BANS 2.0 stores have very few (and stay indexed) and BANS 1.x stores have none!

If you want to shoot me over an email, I will send you the sites to look at.


Anonymous said...

Dave, thanks for the info...

So far, it looks like I'm safe, although I just finished making the changes you suggested to the product displays. I have two sites. They are both on the most recent version of BANS and use custom templates - one uses layout 4 and the other uses layout 5. Many of the pages were cached after November 15th, and still appear to be indexed.

I hope this info helps...

Unknown on December 3, 2008 at 9:10 AM said...


could you explain what this means and what we are supposed to do step by step?

I made the changes suggested on 3 of my BANS sites, but wanted to let you know they need to be made in the root index.php file as well to take effect. At least that's the way it worked for me.

soggy on December 3, 2008 at 9:48 AM said...

Could the 302 errors be at fault? Absolutely. As I said though my testing is not conclusive to the fact the wording "Time Ends:" is exactly the culprit. I do think it is centered around 3.0 as well.

As I said in my post this is not conclusive and more theoretical at this junction based on my sites and quite a few others of users that asked for me to look at theirs.

Could there be more variables involved? Absolutely. Could this indeed not be BANS problem? Absolutely.

For Google to hand review the multitude one by one and throw out some great sites seems very unlikely. I for one am glad thin gets thrown out as it should, but I have seen some nice looking healthy babies get thrown out with the bath water as well.


soggy on December 3, 2008 at 9:54 AM said...

Brent, What it means at this point is everything is still inconclusive as I tried to emphasize in my post. What you should be doing on ANY site, not just BANS is to make it emphatically yours anyway. Thus the more you get away from ANY cookie cutter process the healthier it is for your site. BANS, Made for Adsense, Popshops etc.

My best performing sites are those upgraded to 3.0 with a Wordpress blog attached using earlier BANS templates, however they do incorporate either Layout 1 or a modified version of 4 or 5.

Still much more to be researched on this, but one should always be striving to make a site emphatically theirs no mater what you use, Straight HTML or push button publishing.

Unknown on December 3, 2008 at 12:06 PM said...


What i was wanting was a guide to making the changes in the index.php file that Affiliate Confessions referred to in his/her comment.

soggy on December 3, 2008 at 7:23 PM said...

Brent, it really only involves backing up both those files and then opening a copy and replacing the wording as mentioned in the original post and reuploading those 2 files to your server overwriting the ones up there now. It truly is a 5 minute process.


Anonymous said...

Mark H might be onto something. I guess my laziness may have helped me in my fishing site being a 1.3 version. I hope he's right since I don't want to go to edit the files (too lazy), I'd rather just add content to my old fashioned html site with a BANs inside store :)

Anonymous said...

Great find!

I've been racking my brain on what could be causing this as well and I had just hung my hat on the fact that it was the template. Interesting to know that it might just be some weighted words instead...I'm off to do some changing.

Spark on January 19, 2009 at 2:46 AM said...

Hi there,

As i am very new on this, what i say kinda of worry me. would like to know whether if i am starting now, will i get effect by this?

If so, what's the advice or step-by-step guide to help people like us [newbies] to overcome this?

Understand that people say it's easy to do, but some of us really don understand how the html works. [Which is why BANS is build for people like us]

Would really appreciate someone can care and help us on this. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Howdy Soggy: very interesting and relevant timely topic for me.

My new google indexing bans site experience is pretty strange (to me) and I'd definitely love to hear your thoughts about this.

Yesterday (21st) and today I was working my main site (v 3 older template style w/left & right side columns) making a few little updates and changes on some titles, descriptions, added some pages, changed some ads, added twitter; fixed that quotes problem yesterday.

Earlier tonight, just a few hours ago, I did a google search of the site -- i.e. site:www.mysite.com -- and WHOA!!!

The pull down menu labels were the main descriptors appearing in the indexed description text section underneath the title page of each and every indexed link!!! -- you know it showed things like: Time: ending soonest, Time: newly listed and also would have things like the name of the item and the price.

[I neglected to view any of the cached pages -- this is important and will explain further down.]

Okay, well, Man, as you can imagine I hit the ceiling and the panic button since It was showing mostly pure crap in the descriptors!

It's been a while since I did the site index search and those results were starkly different from all other previous such site indexing checks.

So I started to uncheck the Display Sort By Menu box on some of the pages, just a few higher traffic ones on 1st and 2nd levels, but only a few.

And I started searching topics related to "when google indexes menu labels" (or things like "how to remove menu labels from google indexing") and that's when I came across your posting on this topic as it seemed close but exactly (?) quite my problem (unless I'm not understanding your post completely which is possible.)

Okay: So just now i did a re-search of the site:index again so I could check the cache dates based on your entry.

Well, guess what, now NONE of the labels/menu descriptors are appearing in the index results! It's just few hours later. HUH?

Now, in these most recent results the cache date shows January 20 on all the pages I looked at. But I only made changes yesterday (quotes config in cpanel) and other changes mainly today -- both dates were AFTER the 20th index date!

So: Do you know / can you explain why just a few hours would make that big a difference? Obviously it was re-indexed and re-cached BEFORE I made all these changes.

Is it really that likely that the newly cached index results were posted in that short window between my first site:index search and my most recent?

If so, I think it tells me there's a two day delay between google indexing my site and updating/posting the new results in their search results for my particular site (i know it varies depending on how highly they rate a site, yeah?) but two days seems not too bad, right?

BUT I don't understand why the previous index had all those labels in the description text sections but the new results don't -- coz I didn't make any changes before it was re-indexed.

Now of course i'm thinking: Oh brother, what if my newest changes cause it to show bad index results again on the next indexing?

Anyhoo: sorry to be so long and wordy, but I thought you might be interested in this related experience AND again: if you have thoughts to add about it, how to explain any of it....what I should be looking for, monitoring?

And now I definitely hafta go start checking my other Bans sites. (was way too busy w/family stuff during holidays and my sites have been totally neglected since before thanksgiving) I'm lucky I made any $$ at all; not much, but did better than nothing for sure. I am still learning and seems like all the rules, tips, and guidelines on 'what works' change every other day!

Anyways, Thanks, I'll check back for your thoughts and subscribe to your feed.

PS: Here's my wish list for a new improved BANS feature: Wouldn't it be cool to have a MASTER Bans dashboard to monitor/administrate/concentrate -- i.e. once all set up, administrate and oversee Multiple Bans sites all in one central location instead of having to go to each site one by one? There must be some way to do that although I'm sure it would be very complicated. Still....

Anonymous said...


forgot to ask: any other ideas on how to make it less likely that google would index any of the pull down menu labels without turning it off completely?

other than changing the names, how could that section of code be changed i wonder?

it seems weird they would index something inside a form [form] ......... [/form] doesn't it?

Jiten on October 9, 2010 at 2:23 PM said...

Yesterday night my 100 websites have deindex in google suddenly. Before yesterday these all sites are have lots of index pages in google.

Please any body can help me that what I'll do, So my sites are re-index in google?

Yahoo,Bing and other Search Engines are showing inedex pages but google is ZERO page index in google.

Please any body can help me?

Mail ID
jitenseo AT gmail DOT com

Please send me your kind advices on my mail


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