There was an article on the BBC News website today about Brian Souter, owner of Stagecoach, it turns out his site just disappeared from Google last month with no apparent reason. He’s lobbying government to get them to sort Google out, apparently he’s talked to Google and they said it was something to do with algorithm changes.
Has Brian Upset The Wrong People?
So, we decided to take it upon ourselves to have a look at his website. First up, you’ll notice, his entire site has been indexed through a web proxy: http://www.briansouter.com.14feb-youth.com/, funnily enough these guys seem to be something to do with the Arab Spring protests in Bahrain http://www.14feb-youth.com/. Whether it is intentional or not, I don’t know. But what I do know is Brian (or someone with the same name, or pretending to be Brian) has managed to piss off a lot of people – so maybe this is some kind of backlash? I’m not sure whether this is the same Brian Souter or not, but someone with the same name has been arguing against the Libya rebels, which may have upset the wrong people.
The SEO Bit
Well for starters his whole site is duplicated and indexed by Google – so first thing is first, he needs to get that sorted – probably the canonical tag would go some way to helping this, but also something that redirects you if you aren’t on the correct hostname.
Secondly his 404 errors are returning a 200 status code – which will also be causing problems.
His link profile looks ok – all of his links appear to be legit.
There is also more duplicate contentbeing cause by him using the same snippets of text to promote himself elsewhere, also his news articles – which must get posted by his PR agency first, are also no doubt being flagged as duplicate content.
But to Brian’s credit, we can’t see anything glaringly wrong with his site to prevent him being included in Google – although he has got a terrible reputational problem if you type his name into Google.