Google Deindexing – Slimstat Plugin?

I have been building a website that’s been doing quite nicely for some search terms (surprisingly well, actually) that is about a year old, has had no “Black Hat” SEO tactics applied to it, but does have very high quality well researched articles, many of which are over 1,000 words in length.

A couple of weeks ago though, I noticed that it was dropping in Google’s SERP’s like a rock thrown into the ocean, until finally, the entire site appeared to be completely deindexed. I quickly set up a profile and registered the site with Google Webmaster Tools, and as I suspected, Google reported that zero pages had been indexed. It was a rather astonishing situation that a site that  had been doing so well and was getting great feedback from visitors, would suddenly disappear from Google’s search.

There were no “warning” letters in the GWMT account, no security issues, and at first, nothing that I could see for being any reason to have it deindexed completely. Except, I then noticed that Google was reporting an inordinately high number – over 400 (there are about a total of 415 pages on the site) of “Soft 404” errors! Just about every page was listed.

I then requested from within GWMT’s to “Fetch as Google” with the “Render” option selected. When I could see what Google rendered, I finally was able to nail down the reason – a plugin that I had installed called “Slimstat” seemed to be generating an error when the Google Bot visited, but not when I or other human visitors visited!
The error message that Google Bot received was:

Fatal Error: Unsupported operand types in /home/…wp-slimstat.php on line 728

I was using both the latest version of WordPress and Slimstat at the time. I did not have a chance to do much research into the error message, but I immediately deactivated the Slimstat plugin and then requested Google Bot to refetch the site. This time, I could see that the error message was gone and the full site appeared.

It took about five days, but my previous rankings are gradually returning. They are not all back yet, but it’s nice to see some traffic again from Google (traffic from Yahoo has actually increased in the past month).

So, if your site appears to have been deindexed by Google (when even doing an exact phrase search with quotes shows nothing in the SERP’s), it may not be for the reasons you first suspect. I had to admit I was wondering if perhaps someone had attempted to sabotage my site, perhaps by sending a ton of crappy links to it. But that was not the case. One of the first things to check is to see how Google is actually seeing your site, and then fix that asap if you see something wrong!

Let me know if I can help you.

Domain Names For Sale

Don’t you just hate it when you have an agreement with someone and in good faith, you stick to that agreement then discover the other has blatantly infringed the agreement?

That has happened to me recently with regard to domain names. It’s nice that I have the agreement in writing and is signed along with other supporting documentation, so I do have options.

In the meantime, I have decided to put up for sale, some domain names that I have held for a long time and have had different ideas about, but haven’t gotten around to doing. They are available at Afternic – some are priced, but if you want to make a reasonable offer, I’m welcome to suggestions.

The domain names are:


If any of these grab your fancy, head over to AfterNic and take a look. Again, I’m open to reasonable offers, even on those I have set a minimum price.

I have others that I am not quite ready to release yet, but I’ll update this if I do make them available for sale.


Orangeville – Third World Telephone Service

rotary phoneI have to admit I don’t know all the details of how such a thing could happen, but twice now in the past two weeks, parts of Orangeville have been without both land line telephone and internet service.

The first recent occasion was on November 26th, 2014. I had awoken early at 5:30AM to get some work done on a client’s email server when I discovered I had no internet. My own network was fine, so I decided to call my service provider, Wightman Telecom. But alas, my office telephone had no dial tone! I couldn’t make any outgoing calls, nor receive incoming ones.

I managed to get through using my cell phone and was advised that Wightman was aware of the situation and were looking into it. A little while later, I learned that the problem was because of a circuit on the Roger’s Communications network which parts of are shared.

This particular circuit carries both internet and telephone traffic. The fact that different providers will share lines and equipment is not a surprise – even Bell Telephone shares parts of their infrastructure to others (whether there is a fee involved, I have no idea).

What was surprising to me though was that a critical service like land line telephone was so easily affected for a period of at least several hours. At first, I thought it was probably an isolated event, however once again, on December 12th at about 12:30AM, noticing my internet was down, discovered that I again had no telephone service.

A quick call to Wightman was made and I learned that they had identified a Rogers circuit (once again) responsible for no telephone and internet traffic. Work was being done to investigate further to find out the problem and have it corrected. At 3:00AM, I was advised that the estimated time of service restoration was 6AM.

In fairness, the service was restored at about 3:30AM (at least to me; I don’t know about other customers), but I was also told that it was caused by Rogers doing maintenance work. They apparently had selected the night time to do this work when it was less busy.

There are some issues with this though, assuming this account is correct:

1. Why did not Rogers advise anyone that was sharing that circuit of planned maintenance, in advance?

2. How on earth can Rogers account for taking out landline phone service, even if it was in the middle of the night? Surely they should have planned ahead so that somehow, phone service would not be affected.

While cell phones appear to be ubiquitous, not everyone has a cell phone. Indeed many elderly people -those who might be prone to a medical emergency in the middle of the night, do not own cell phones. Someone in distress who then attempts to call for help on their land line telephone would likely become even more distressed at discovering they could not make a phone call. What are they going to do?

I’ve lived with telephone service for all of my life, and I cannot ever remember, even as a child, being without telephone service for hours upon hours when we still used old rotary dial phones. Technology is great, but it’s pretty useless when there is an emergency and maintenance work has not been well thought out, which could possibly seriously affect somoene’s very life.

Come on Rogers, you can do much better than this, in this day and age, surely!

Google Search Engine Rankings Bouncing Around

The last week or see has seen a ton of weirdness going on with Google. I’ve been seeing a lot of stragness in the Google SERP’s on many many searches, and it looks like Google rolled out a “Penguin” update, and then did something else..  but they seem kind of messed up right now.

Another quick observation which I have to look more into is that I’m seeing a lot more traffic on a significant number of sites that is originating with Bing and Yahoo. I know that something has been in the works as far as an agreement between Firefox and Yahoo but am not sure if that is in effect yet, where Yahoo is to become the default search engine for new installations of the Firefox browser.

I won’t have time to delve into this for the next couple of days too much, but for now, it’s an interesting observation that has my attention.

What have you been noticing?

Fermenting With David

scoby kombucha

Our SCOBY arrived in the mail today.

David is pretty awesome – and we enjoy a wide range of activities. It’s wonderful that his interests are so varied – he does enjoy his computer games like Minecraft (he even has his own server), loves building with Lego, and will read for hours and hours at a time.

But he also really enjoys baking bread with me, and recently we discovered the art of “food fermentation.” Earlier today, thanks to the kindness of a stranger, a “SCOBY” – the “mother” of Kombucha, arrived in the mail. I’ve never had kombucha, but have heard of it’s health benefits (although most are not scientifically proven although the idea of adding more probiotics to our diet is appealing) as well as apparently the ability to create flavoured carbonated beverages with it.

So it was fun to prepare the tea mixture that the scoby went into and David was right there by my side, helping with it all. He gets a kick out of our food “experiments.”

This evening, we’re going to try fermenting garlic cloves in honey. I came across this in a Facebook group that I recently discovered and people there are raving about this, both it’s flavour when it’s completed, as well as claims about how it cures a cough almost immediately and keeps the cold and flu bugs away. Regardless, David and I both love garlic – cooked with most of our dishes, home made garlic bread, and we’ve even done fermented garlic like this.

David especially loves the fermented garlic which had added oregano in the salt brine. The scent of it fermenting is also enjoyable to us, but quite possibly not to everyone! 🙂

So now I’m looking for ideas for how to flavour kombucha. If you’re reading this and have make this beverage, would love to know what you do with it!

On the weekend, we have plans to do quite a bit of bread baking, with a number of loaves going into the freezer for later.