Google, Yahoo, Bing Bury GeoCities.com, But Some Zombie Sites Are Still Alive
Although some GeoCities web sites are still online, all three major search engines have removed the domain from their search indices. As of this morning, a site:geocities.com search on Google, Yahoo, and Bing shows that geocities.com is dead and buried.
Yahoo announced earlier this year that GeoCities — a free web hosting service that it bought in 1999 — would close this past Monday, October 26. But many users were still able to access GeoCities web sites last Tuesday. That’s when Yahoo actually pulled the plug. Millions of pages and images, the “neighborhoods” they belonged to, their URLs, everything … gone. Most importantly from an SEO perspective, millions (tens of millions? hundreds?) of links are also now gone — a small but measurable portion of the web’s overall link graph.
Google seems to have been the first to zap GeoCities from its index. Andrew Shotland tweeted on Thursday about the domain being gone from Google. On Friday, a Google spokesperson explained to us why they moved so quickly to get geocities.com pages out of their search index:
“After geocities.com shut down, these pages were effectively broken and giving a poor user experience. We took action to ensure that users wouldn’t land on the broken GeoCities pages and not find the information they were looking for.”
By Friday morning — if not sooner — Yahoo had also removed geocities.com from its index. Bing followed suit over the weekend. As of this morning, GeoCities is also gone from Ask.com, and from the Google-powered AOL search engine.
Ironically, though, Yahoo hasn’t killed off all GeoCities web sites. Over the weekend, I found one GeoCities web site that’s still alive and accessible on Yahoo’s servers:
That page lives at www.geocities.com/bolerama/. Via Twitter, Range Online Media told us that www.geocities.com/bradreviews/ is also still alive, and then blogged about several other GeoCities “zombie URLs.”
I suspect these are GeoCities Plus web sites. Those users can still access their site on the geocities.com domain, they just can’t use GeoCities tools to manage the site. We’re waiting for confirmation from Yahoo about these living GeoCities sites and will update this post when we know more.
Update, Nov. 3, 2009: Yahoo has confirmed that the “Bolerama” web site shown above is, in fact, still online because it’s a GeoCities Plus account.