About a year ago, I decided to add an autorefresh to pages that contain feeds so that content would always stay fresh. I set it to autofresh every 3 minutes. I could have been done this via ajax, but my ajax kung fu wasn’t good enough then (or now). I went with the easiest method, which is a simple meta tag addition to those pages. I got the idea from Drudge Report.
It was fine for about a year until the week of the Panda Update 2.2, when all pages with the autorefresh would give the Googlebot errors and not get indexed.
I only discovered it by accident while Googling info about Panda. It’s not related, but because I was losing traffic, I was wondering if pages were being indexed. You can find out by searching Google for “site:www.yoursite.com,” click on “show search tools” at the bottom of the left sidebar, and then “Past hour.” That will show the number pages from your site that’s indexed in the past hour. For my site, it was just my blog and the main channels. None of the featured headlines and teasers from the main sections were indexed.
That affected traffic, of course, because less pages on Google means less search referrals.
I went into Webmaster Tools and started looking for crawl errors. There were lots of “not followed” errors. I learned that one of the causes for those errors are autorefresh meta tags.
As soon as I commented it out, new pages started appearing on Google’s index within minutes.
I got a slight traffic boost from this, but is still down overall because of Panda.
URLs not followed errors > Redirect error