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Sudden drop - but maybe Google WMT bug

 9:54 pm on Oct 23, 2008 (gmt 0)


One of our clients had a sudden drop on a high trafic keyword in France since 8 october

After a deep analyse, we are sur that is not due to the site structure or content (no spam).

On Google webmaster tools, several important backlinks that where going to the root now go to an inside page and are so on 404.

eq : www..com is linking to my client site www.example.net but google has changed the backlink to
www.example.net/index.html since 8 october so they are now in 404.

this could explain the sudden drop in Google as the root has no real backlinks...

Anyone already experience such a "bug" ?

[edited by: tedster at 10:20 pm (utc) on Oct. 23, 2008]
[edit reason] switch to example.com and .net [/edit]



 10:35 pm on Oct 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

Lose credit for backlinks and lose ranking - that sounds like what's going on.

I see three options -

  1. use a 301 redirect that points index.html to the domain root
  2. serve unique content at index.html and include navigation into the rest of the site
  3. contact the webmasters of the sites with the bad links and ask them fix

With only a few backlinks you can't afford to be casual about any of them.


 7:00 am on Oct 24, 2008 (gmt 0)


That's exactly what i thought.
But i think it's surely a bug of Google. Google has changed most of its inside backlinks.

I will send a repport for my client throw its reinclusion repport.



 7:40 am on Oct 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

Have you checked the linking page to see what the href value is in their link?


 1:30 pm on Oct 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

Yes of course.

They link to the root for years and suddenly Google change it to
/index.html (a page which never exists).

I noticed that on the 404 pages origin in WMT


[edited by: antoineFR at 2:13 pm (utc) on Oct. 24, 2008]


 6:19 pm on Oct 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

So Google is showing the link points to index.html even though the other website really links to the domain root, even now? That would be quite bizarre!


 9:24 pm on Oct 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

yes that's it.

Strange, isn't it ?

i had a 301 from /index.html to the root.
Will tell you later if it helped


 8:36 am on Oct 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

on WMT the 404 "linked from" from my clients are now :
"Our system is currently busy. Please try again in a few minutes." (for two days).


 10:06 am on Oct 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have had similar problems and received similar error messages: there was a post from a Google employee in the Google groups about a week ago saying there were problems with WMT which would be cleared up in a couple of days - but there are some major problems still occurring, as Antoine implies.


 10:36 am on Oct 30, 2008 (gmt 0)


Did you get sudden drop for some keywords also (at the same time) ?


 9:07 am on Oct 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

yes; there are certainly some issues with the index page reporting in Google. Unfortunately I'm not clear quite what is going on, since the index page has now been excluded from the google index! All the other pages remain indexed.


 11:52 am on Oct 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

"They link to the root for years and suddenly Google change it to
/index.html (a page which never exists)."
Same happened to one of my sites, but traffic is still the same.

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