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Rankings lost after "/" fix for supplementals
Reports of sites affected by changes to "/"

 10:21 pm on Oct 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm hearing of reports of some sites that have invoked the change from "/index.htm" "/default.htm" etc to "/" to remove duplicate pages, losing the positions that they previously held.

It's been 6-8 weeks since we completed those changes and results have not returned.

Has anyone experienced this?

Has anyone made these fixes and had their results restored?



 11:13 pm on Oct 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Did you immediately lose positions after the change was made. If not, how long did it take?

Is the entire domain penalized? i.e. do you now only rank for your site name?


 12:30 am on Oct 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Post the code you used please you may have sent your server in a loop.

Are you on Apache or the crap one (MSN)

[edited by: Pirates at 12:32 am (utc) on Oct. 9, 2006]


 12:45 am on Oct 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Apache ... I'll get the code over shortly ....what sort of things would you anticipate would be the problem.

[edited by: Whitey at 12:49 am (utc) on Oct. 9, 2006]


 12:48 am on Oct 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Site wide removal of index.htm on Sept 26 (2,500 page site) - google traffic dropped by 50% on Sept 30. Traffic from Google is now 8%. Should I put back the index.htm links?


 12:57 am on Oct 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Is the entire domain penalized? i.e. do you now only rank for your site name?

On one site, it is mostly indexed, we only rank for our "unique" site name. All other results are filtered towards the bottom of the results, where under normal circumstances we would be at the top, based on content, title tag [ unique ], IBL's and meta description [ unique]/

stevexyz- No - i think we should hold and wait for more inputs and experiences to come in. You may have triggered something, but may have taken a necessary first step.

Some people also think they have fixed their sites, but they appear not to have identified all of the issues described in g1smd's posts [webmasterworld.com...]

It's possible there are other things that need doing on those sites , plus we don't yet understand the restoration process, ie are filters applied , is there a delay process

Once the algorithms are changed, it's my guess other elements can be effected in the equation. What you are all describing are small sites [ compared to ours ] where the weighting ratio appears to be an issue, which is why it's your actions that have tripped the filter.

- This is just a hunch. We need more input.

[edited by: Whitey at 1:01 am (utc) on Oct. 9, 2006]


 1:08 am on Oct 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

may I suggest another theory? It's just google doing its tricks, and what you did may have been a coincidence. I have said before but a site of mine keeps coming and going every 2-3 months with absolutely no changes on links, page numbers or structure. It's either on top, or at #50 or so.


 1:17 am on Oct 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

I rekon your sending apache into a loop. You seem worried about posting code. Are you using "THE REQUEST" ?


 1:33 am on Oct 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

No probs - we will have the code up in the next 24hrs - sorry our developer/hosts are not available today, they are based in PST.

My SEO doesn't think we're in a loop or else he thinks we would have noticed it.

What do you mean "THE REQUEST"


 1:36 am on Oct 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Walkman - It could be, what you say - it's always in the back of our minds we just need time.

But there is something deliberate and unusual when our results are being "filtered" on very weak and unique terms. I also think we are not "established" like you, we are "restoring" ourselves and I'm not sure how Google treats this process - but thanks for the inputs, they may prove to be correct.


 2:25 am on Oct 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

OK got to put this somewhere, Code originated from webmasterworld:To protect homepage and folders from hijack..............

This example works on index.html used on homepage and subfolders. No apache loop.
RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /.*index\.html\ HTTP/
RewriteRule ^(.*)index\.html$ $1 [R=permanent,L]

[edited by: tedster at 2:55 am (utc) on Oct. 9, 2006]


 3:23 am on Oct 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

I agree on the SEO thingy...it's not as clear as my Accountant or Lawyer says so.


 3:35 am on Oct 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hey, it's not all that complex. Open a browser, go the url that ends in index.htm and see whether the server loops or sends back content. That's pretty much all the hard data you need.

Be even more thorough if you want to, and monitor the server headers with Firefox plus the Live HTTP Headers extension. It is either working right or it isn't. In this case, opinion doesn't enter into it.


 4:13 am on Oct 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Look in your logs at what Googlebot is requesting and the resulting status codes. Pay special to when it requests any version of your home page, and how many bytes were sent in response.

I tend to think that it's temporary. (Maybe you redirected the version of your homepage that Google thinks is the primary.) But as long as Googlebot is seeing what it should, then everything should get sorted out eventually.


 8:14 am on Oct 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

man i changed all internal linking from index.html to / and i'm driven since now really good.

Google is displaying the index.html and the / Version on the Serps on the same btw. better position then ever.

I changed that internal linking on about 8 000 Pages.

I don't used any Rewrite Rule or other stuff - i changed only the Linking Structure.



 10:03 am on Oct 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

>> RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /.*index\.html\ HTTP/ <<
>> RewriteRule ^(.*)index\.html$ $1 [R=permanent,L] <<

That code will work but is not optimum. If you also have a 301 redirect from non-www to www then for domain.com/index.html you will have created a redirection chain. You will get to the correct place in two steps instead of one:

domain.com/index.html --> www.domain.com/index.html --> www.domain.com/
domain.com/index.html --> domain.com/ --> www.domain.com/

Which order the chain occurs, depends on whether your code does the check for index pages or for non-www URLs first.

A redirection chain is not a good idea. You have a URL that issues a 301 redirect pointing to another URL which issues yet another 301 redirect. This needs to be avoided.

To correct this issue, the check for index pages should also force the domain to the www version in the rewrite, and the index check (which is domain insensitive) should occur before any check for non-www URLs:

RewriteEngine on

RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /.*index\.html?\ HTTP/ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)index.html?$ http://www.example.com/$1 [R=301,L]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^example\.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.example.com/$1 [R=301,L]

First, this forces all index pages, both index.html and index.htm to / for both non-www and www, and forces them all to be on www. The redirect woks for index pages both in the root and in any folders, and the redirect preserves the folder name in the redirect.

Secondly, for all pages that are on non-www the other redirect forces the domain to be www. This second directive is never used by index pages as the first directive will have already converted all of them.

See also: [webmasterworld.com...]


 5:02 pm on Oct 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

I did this if its of any use - thought this would be better than taking away my index.htm altogether.

First, 301 redirect so pages served only as www.example.com/

Second, all internal links changed to full URL http://www.example.com/

Third, changed default homepage file served by the server from index.htm to home.htm AND emptied index.htm of all text and code, and then just added a HTML link to http://www.example.com/ This was done to ensure that Google suddenly does not find that page vanished. This just makes it empty, and whatever links etc are coming to index.htm from other sites, allow their PR to go to http://www.example.com/ I know it really is not needed (in a technical sense, 301 redirect is supposed to handle that). Did this also to ensure that in case I have still left a few internal links to index.htm unchanged by mistake.

After a couple of months, removed index.htm altogether.

Faced no problem at all.

Of course, with our without this, sites can go up and down, lose rankings and gain them back for quite a few other reasons g1smd has mentioned elsewhere.

[edited by: tedster at 6:04 pm (utc) on Oct. 9, 2006]
[edit reason] use example.com [/edit]


 5:08 pm on Oct 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Once you have a 301 redirect in place, you can never see content at that URL again. The server sends the redirect code to the browser instead of the content inside any file supposedly at that location. Internal links would also pass through the redirect.

Using Xenu LinkSleuth you can very easily see any internal links pointing to the wrong URL, as they will be listed in the "URLs which Redirect" section of the report.


 12:10 am on Oct 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

I did just what Reilly did - nothing fancy just changed my linking structure as far as this fix goes("/index.html" to "/")...It was however, one of many things I did so I am not sure how much effect this one item played in my site's recovery.

I also use sitemaps, so on those pages where I made the fix I changed the priority to a higher number in hopes that they would get crawled more quickly. I think it worked because the last crawl of these inner pages was in January and I made the fix the third or fourth week of August. The pages were crawled within three weeks and my site was back in on Sept 15 or 16. After the pages were crawled I adjusted the priorty of those pages back down. The crawl could have also been coincidence!

As I said though, I made so many improvements I'm not sure of the weight of this particular factor...

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