Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Stats checking

Today I was doing more website stats checking. One 404 I had was a request where the word 'ebay' in the url had been replaced with the word 'amazon'. Very strange!

I noticed when checking the stats for one of my sites that there was a lot of 406 errors. I checked what a 406 is. What happens is that when the browser receives a request with the Accept header, but the server can't return a response of a type included in the Accept header, it will respond with a 406 Not acceptable.

I looked at a few of the requests in my logs that were generating 406 responses, and they tended to be to URLs such as wp-login.php. So I'm not going to worry about them, probably bot requests.

On one of my sites I found something very strange that unfortunately I have no way of telling why it was happening. I had a number of 404s for a certain URL to an image file. But the image file existed, and also loaded correctly when you went to the URL. I copied the URL from the 404 list in awstats, so it wasn't a case of 404ing for a URL that just looked very similar to a URL that worked. It wasn't for a new file that didn't use to exist and now does either. It was actual 404 responses for a file that did exist. How that can happen I have no idea.

Checking Bing Webmaster Tools, I noticed that for a very specific phrase, my site was coming 9th in the rankings. I thought this was very strange, surely there can't be any other sites using that same phrase? So I searched for phrase using Bing.

The first result was a Wikipedia article that I had added a photo to with the phrase. But, it was not the standard Wikipedia site. Instead, Bing had put the mobile site at number 1 in the results. This doesn't even include the phrase searched for in the opening view. You must click on the correct heading in the article to expand the section that contains the search phrase.

Result #2 was a shopping website that had pulled text from the Wikipedia article. Result #3 was a Yahoo answers thread with text pulled from the Wikipedia article.

Results #4 and #5 were both pages on the same site, again using text from the Wikipedia article.

Results #6 and #7 were both the same page on Wikimedia Commons, which contains a link to the image I had added to the Wikipedia article.

#8 only contained part of the phrase in the menu, though it was at least a relevant website.

Result #9 contained the words from the query, but not any part of the phrase. It was not very relevant to the query.

Result #10 was another page from the same website as result 8. Again, a relevant website, but not the page on that website that was actually relevant to the search term.

And so my page, arguably the most relevant to the search term, was not on the first page of results at all. While Google might not be perfect, at least their search results tend to be pretty good. Bing's results seem to be absolutely dire, no wonder not many people use it.

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