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Homepage not showing up in Google SERPs

 7:35 pm on Aug 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hello our site's homepage for some reason is not showing up in g 1000 serps, even for simple KW's. Site ranked on the first page for highly competitive KW's. The site is getting index an its the first result on G site:example.com Its been out of the serps for about 2 weeks now. Also site is 3yr's old, so that could maybe rule out sandbox issue? Other pages on the site are showing up in the serps, but not the home page. Having done research I still cant figure out what is going on.

Im thinking it could maybe be canonical issue, so im going to do a redirect. I really dont think this could be it, cause why would it take this long for G to do something about it. Either way, i will do the redirect to rule it out.

Also nothing out of the ordinary in gwmt. Sitemap index with success, crawl stats good, no errors.
So with that said, Any ideas on why the homepage is not in the g serps?

Thank you in advance.

[edited by: tedster at 10:41 pm (utc) on Sep 17, 2010]
[edit reason] sitename replaced by example.com - member request [/edit]



 11:03 pm on Aug 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hello steve789, and welcome to the forums

You are 301 redirecting the domain root to /index.html - but you still link to the domain root from every page. That's a potential bit of craziness that I would suggest you fix. Just make the URL for your home page the bare domain root, with no file path. Are there other canonical issues that you suspect?

Unfortunately, I think you may have a penalty situation here - or at least some kind of "devaluation" even if it's not a true penalty. Since it's only been this way for 2 weeks, it may be a data glitch at Google (that sometimes happens with the domain root). But if it continues much longer, I'd start digging for ways you may have violated Google's Webmaster Guidelines [google.com]. Also, review our Hot Topics area [webmasterworld.com], which is always pinned to the top of this forum's index page. Some solid references in there for ideas.


 11:17 pm on Aug 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Not to sure if it is a penalty. Site seems to rank for its name with the .com and does not appear on -50 or -60. I would agree with Tedster on the site 301ing over to index.php. that would be the first thing to look into.


 12:28 am on Aug 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

I just took about 20 minutes or so and checked out your 2,000 inbound back link profile -- it's not pretty.

Whoever is doing your blog comment spamming is going overboard with the one-liners in blogs totally unrelated to your industry. I've seen it under many different names.

My guess is that the Goog is getting wise to those link building practices and now you may be paying the price.


 3:37 am on Aug 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

I also looked at your back links. Tens to hundreds of spam links dropped on sites totally unrelated to your niche.

Related industry links were very very few, another strong signal.

The back links list reads like a proxy server log on a large network - it should read like your business bookmarks list!

Robert Charlton

 5:51 am on Aug 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

our site's homepage for some reason is not showing up in g 1000 serps, even for simple KW's.

I decided to see if your home page is indexed by searching for an exact phrase in quotes. I searched for...

"a variety of used JDM Honda Engines"

...and a bunch of pages came up. Just by looking at the snippets, I noticed that a lot of these pages seemed to have some of the exact same content that your home page does (or vice versa). I think Google showed 10 results before they stopped showing any more.

I clicked the "repeat the search with the omitted results included" link asking Google to display the rest. With the dupe filter removed, Google shows 296 matches. I could have also added &filter=0 to the end of the query string, to remove the dupe filter (this is what Google does), or I could have used CopyScape. You get a slightly different kind of result with CopyScape, and since I was in Google I stayed with Google.

What I'm seeing on your home page is a pattern I've been seeing repeatedly for the past several months, though with increasing frequency now as I'm exploring it more... and that is that your page is built of scraped fragments. I've been seeing this in niche industry sites, and I'm thinking that it's either a sign that a page has been scraped a lot... or, more likely, I'm guessing that whoever built your content copied from scraped sources. This is something I'm just beginning to explore.

Perhaps you can help us by telling us how the content for your home page was created. My guess is that you outsourced it.

Some pages I've seen that show this pattern have good inbound links or some degree or original content in addition and they just drop in rankings because of the dupes, but they don't disappear.


 6:01 am on Aug 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

Steve789, I think you got more input than you bargained for - but it's honest and straight. The members have certainly given you a lot to fix - I hope it doesn't seem too harsh.

We don't normally allow members to post their own domains here for analysis. But for this thread we are running an experiment to see what happens if we do allow it. If the heat gets too hot, just let me know and I'll lock the thread.

< OK - the experiment is done and at the OP's request the domain name is now changed to example.com >

[edited by: tedster at 10:44 pm (utc) on Sep 17, 2010]

Robert Charlton

 6:51 am on Aug 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

Steve - Just to add a bit more to what I said... noting this comment of yours about the age of your site...

Also site is 3yr's old, so that could maybe rule out sadbox issue?

This may mean that you've been scraped, but your inbound links and various algo-related site factors aren't strong enough to overcome the pages that have duped you... or it may mean that your page was built from scraped content, but until now, for whatever reasons, that content hasn't been competitive enough to hurt you.

I think Google is now giving more consideration to longer text strings than it had been, and this is affecting how it sees duplication. When did your home page rankings disappear?

Too late at night for a detailed discussion, but I did want to add this thought.


 6:50 pm on Aug 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hello everyone, An thank you for all your info on this, alot of stuff to take in here. Also (tedster) We are having our webmaster fix the redirect. This was something we notice too. Regarding (devaluation) I did read something about that google has a clarify bug, and sites dropping out the serps. I beleive i read it on google forum. Also the site ranked very well for competitive KW's for about 6 months or so.

(Robert Charlton)
I would think that google would of lowered the serp rank the minute they seen the scraped fragments, Maybe? Why would g wait so long to take action?

Most likly a big part of the ongoing situation? Also I notice that yahoo reported almost 4k links some time ago, now it show 2k. So im thinking google may have devalued and got rid of them.

We posted on this forum to get try an get accurate input on the situation. The more info i get will alow me to get closer on figureing out what is going on/ closer to fixing it. An i thank everyone for their honest opinion. So it's not harsh,

Home page ranking has been like this for 2 weeks now. Also i was unaware of not being able to post the domain, I just wanted to get the most accurate info as possible. Thank you for letting it pass, for now. I definatly have some work to do, an a sence of direction.


 2:05 am on Aug 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

I see a simpler situation here. The sentences on many pages are not terribly unique, e.g. "Distributor with plug wires". They can be found on many car sites. Searching for that exact phrase, I get about 1550 results in G, although your site is on page 1.


 4:25 pm on Aug 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

(just an aside)

I vote for allowing people to post their domain names. I think the insight would be great, although I do understand that one might take offense at another's critiques and it might result in a flame war.


 6:12 pm on Aug 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks Planet13. There are other (rather major) concerns, too. Some of them I'd rather not post about publicly because I don't want to create any self-fulfilling prophecies. But I agree that there is a lot of value involved in talking about specific domains and pages. This is especially so since links on WebmasterWorld go through a redirect script.

In the meantime, our Supporters area does have a dedicated "Open Google SEO" forum [webmasterworld.com] [-subscription required] where site specific details are freely allowed.


I often wonder how many reports of Google trouble we see here that come from a webmaster who has taken bad advice and doesn't realize that THAT is the problem - not whatever their opening post was suggesting. In this case, it seems like steve789 may have been in exactly that situation and would never have known it without this thread.

[edited by: tedster at 8:19 pm (utc) on Aug 20, 2010]


 6:59 pm on Aug 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

I often wonder how many reports of Google trouble we see here that come from a webmaster who has taken bad advice and doesn't realize that THAT is the problem

I suspect that's true, and I too would be in favor of being able to post domains, despite whatever potential problems. Too often these discussions get bogged down with "well, I can't really tell you what to do without knowing specifics" and the member with the problem probably doesn't know what the problem is or they wouldn't be asking, so they may not know about what specifics to give. If they post the domain, there are plenty of people here who are likely to spot the problem within minutes.

Regarding the original issue, I bet it's a canonical problem. I have had similar problems with canonicalization, and it sounds like a classic case.

If the problem were the backlink profile, why would the penalty apply just to the index, not to internal pages as well? Same deal with scraped content. Of course those things are bad and should be fixed, but I bet if you get the canonicalization of the index straight, it'll work itself out. Just make sure that all internal links, redirects, and canonical URL links are pointing straight at one version of the domain root.


 8:24 pm on Aug 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

steve789: I did read something about that google has a clarify bug, and sites dropping out the serps. I beleive i read it on google forum.

Sounds juicy - and I can't find it through search. Can you or anyone else share a link?


 11:13 pm on Aug 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am having the same problem, but not likely caused by the same thing.
From reading through the feedback it looks like google has caught onto your shawdy link building tecniques and put you in the dog house. Anyways for my sites I will open a new thread. I just joined though and seem to be getting an error.

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