Most bloggers will be aware that John Chow no longer ranks for his own
name on Google. John seems quite proud of the fact he got a manual
penalty for blatantly flouting the Google Webmaster Guidelines……or
Yesterday I had 15 minutes to spare so took a quick look at
johnchow.com to see if there were any other issues that might have
caused his ranking to plummet. The results were pretty shocking.
First of all he has a problem with his apache server meaning it serves
lots of pages like duplicate-content.johnchow.com and seems to be allowing
wildcard subdomains to show up the same content as his homepage.
Example twww.johnchow.com and 222.johnchow.com
Next he has the entire
wp-content directory indexed in Google.
The worst problem is that every single story is available at no less
than 4 different urls (not counting the category pages):
One story is also available at http://www.johnchow.com/?p=1508 which
is a different type of link again.
A major issue is that every single post has its comment feed indexed
meaning John has about
1100 useless pages indexed.
Another minor bit of duplicate content is the random post plugin which
doesn’t 301 to the post properly.
Why does this happen?
Clearly John didn’t intend to do all this, the blame lies squarely at
the feet of the WordPress developers for not asking for some help from
SEO consultants. Maybe if they paid some attention to the plugins
people were developing they might incorporate some of the features in
Did duplicate content kill John?
Normally if a site lost its rankings and had this many issues it would
be a pretty clear cut cause and effect situation. However when you
have also violated the Google Guidelines its not quite that simple.
In Johns case I still believe that he has received a manual penalty
but also think he needs to fix the duplicate content issues, just in