Putting An End To Supplemental Hell Because Of Site Moves, Site Restructure Or Big Site Launch

SMS Text

Loren’s post and Matt Cutts comment about sites being de-listed from Google because of down-time and also some discussions about problems with site moves from one domain to another and launches of big sites with a lot of pages plus the comments and recommendations from Search Engine representatives like Vanessa Fox from the Google Webmaster Central Team did not make me very happy.

So I was thinking and then thinking a bit more and I think that I have a very realistic solution to offer, which would be a win situation for all involved parties. This is no joke, so please continue to read.

It’s certainly worthwhile to think about and consider. Any feedback and comments are highly appreciated.

Recommendation 1. (smaller one)

This recommendation is for sites that are temporarily down for maintenance. We are talking about down-times measured in hours, may be days, not months. 

Since Webmaster Central is now becoming more important and provides Webmasters more and more control, how about an option where the webmaster can indicate that the site undergoes maintenance and then again that the site is up again. The mechanism could be similar to the ping that is used to tell Google that an updated Site map is available.

Especially larger sites would benefit from it that get hit by spiders constantly, due to the number of pages and relevance.

Issue 2. and 3.

… While we are talking about maintenance.

I was engaged in two discussions about site moves to a new domain or the break up of content from one site to multiple sites or sub domains. I was going through that exercise myself last year and during the summer and some of the effects are still visible today.

See here the discussions:

ReveNews Post and Discussion and SEOMoz Article

Recommendation 2

This one is not just for Google, but also Yahoo! and MS Live (and Ask.com once part of it)

Part one

(for Google primarily) 

Provide a form where webmasters can indicate the move from Domain A to Domain B or Split of Domain A to Domain B - Z.

Part two.

The one for all SE that participate in the Sitemaps.org project  

May be also an indicator in the Site map. Since all SE work on it, all SE could adapt it at the same time. Like: 

<urlset …>      



Note the two new elements “newloc” and “datemoved”.

Additional Benefits and Features

I added the date that you know if its old new or not (saves you resources). It could also be used for moves of content within the same domain. If you get the feed, you will know that the old page needs to get out of the index and the new page NOT into the supplemental index as a duplicate.

It also prevents that sites go completely into supplemental “hell” after you moved them to a new domain. Current Suggestions The suggestion to launch a big site with only a few thousand pages is “funny” at the most.

That’s technical talk and not marketer talk.

If you offer the biggest selection of widgets on the planet, you should go live with it from the start and not launch with only a few thousand of the hundred of thousands or worse, millions, and advertise that you will have the biggest selection of widgets on the planet.

“When” will depend on how quickly Google will allow us to add content without knocking the site out of the main index or all indexes altogether.

Good user experience right? Spectators will gather to witness this remarkable event how the site will slowly emerge x thousand items at the time, every new “batch” being greeted with applause and hallelujah. Sounds funny, doesn’t it?

Okay, you will be fine, if you have a big media buzz going and several reputable sites link to you (without a nofollow, so a Wikipedia entry is doing you no good (which would be a remarkable thing to achieve all by itself and worth another buzz)). Wikipedia is not a news site and new things have a hard time to proof their notability).

I think I made my points clear. Here are in short why Google, Yahoo! and MS Live should consider this recommendation.

  • You (the Search Engines) have the platform today
  • You have the communication channel (in beta)
  • The modification (extension) would be relatively minor
  • It would be a standard for Search Engines from the start

The benefits would be great for ALL involved parties: Webmasters, Search Engines, Users and Exec’s won’t have to have nightmares and wake up in sweat during the night dreaming about their new business taking a dive because of exclusion from the search engines because they make content and functionality that was worked on for months or years all available to the public and crawlers over night.

Any thoughts, suggestions, comments or recommendations?

Carsten Cumbrowski
is an Affiliate Marketer with extensive experience in interfaces and affiliate datafeeds. See Datafeeds 101 article at Cumbrowski.com.


Carsten Cumbrowski has years of experience in Affiliate Marketing and knows both sides of the business as the Affiliate and Affiliate Manager. Carsten has over 10 years experience in Web Development and 20 years in programming and computers in general. He has a personal Internet Marketing Resources site at Cumbrowski.com.To learn more about Carsten, check out the "About Page" at his web site. For additional contact options see this page.
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  • http://jetemployment.com Matt Keegan

    I have a site that I have wanted to move from one domain to another one but I am terrified of the penalties that would occur if I made the move. If Google were to accept your suggestions, then I’d move. Otherwise I am staying put.

  • http://www.cumbrowski.com/CarstenC/ CarstenCumbrowski

    Regarding launches of complete new sites with a lot of pages. You can take care of the issue today already.

    Tell people to upload a full site map to Google on the day of the launch or at least the option to specify how much pages the site contains (estimate).

    Webmasters that go through the registration process are no black hats.

    People would also not mind to provide business contact and emergency technical contact information if that is being used for good things that benefits them, such as providing advanced warning about major site changes, additions and launches.

    Google can then in return also contact a webmaster, if they see problems. Some of it can be automated (e.g. notifications about crawl issues), others by a human (questions regarding the hardware capabilities of the new launched site for example).

    You don’t want to kill the new site, but the owner also does not want that you nag just the homepage for several weeks without even to attempt a deep crawl).