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Ever Seen Google Not Index Homepage Content?

 8:30 am on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

We recently re-designed or website. During the redesign we lost a lot of homepage traffic for longtail searches, and overall low homepage secondary terms (it ranks 3rd for it's KID (previously 2). Meanwhile, our internal pages are doing just fine.

I tried doing some troubleshooting and noticed when I cut and copied a few sentences that are on our homepage and googled those sentences our website did not show up at all, although I did notice a few sites that had duplicated our entire site, spammy looking things though.

After that I went and had a coder who knows proper SEO and he went over the site for almost an hour and couldn't find any problems. We checked GWT and everything for potential problems.

I would like to add that the original coder put our homepage content on 4 published test pages and they got indexed. I have robots.txt them out a few weeks ago.

Anyways the homepage rankings are just really poor after this webdesign and just curious if anyone has ever experienced this sort of thing with bad homepage rankings and not being able to google parts of their homepage.



 2:59 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Poor rankings for a homepage is a bit unusual. Having a homepage disappear after a redesign is unfortunately not unusual to me.

Here are some of my favorite ways I have seen websites kill themselves:
Blocking googlebot using robots.txt to save bandwidth
Adding noindex meta tag to pages
Changing from text html to 100% flash
Moving all content to an iframe
Adding megabytes of data to a page so it times out
Using Google Webmaster Central to delete pages
Creating a spider trap with circular 301 redirects


 6:26 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have exactly the same problem Timetraveler.

Six-year-old site which has been copied and used as a model for similar businesses worldwide.

After making minor content and URL changes - very minor - my homepage vanished from Google a few days ago. It's still AWOL.

If I paste swathes of my homepage text into Google, there are numerous verbatim matches. Now, as I wrote this content many years ago and it's very, very specific in terms of the language used, I'm surprised to see that Google is apparently favouring the plagiarists.

In fact, I'm not surprised. I'm ANGRY. Angry that Google is so unwilling to engage in any dialogue about why a penalty has been imposed, what should be done to lift the penalty and - most importantly of all - that Google can't be bothered to spend 0.0000001% of their quarterly revenue on implementing a simple automated email feature which informs webmasters that a filter has led to all or part of their site being excluded from the index.


 9:11 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Using "example" in place of your real domain name, what is the URL of your root home page.


 9:19 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

That sucks Jack, it must be something different than what we experienced as while we are still #3 for our KID target term, we might as well be de-indexed. Can you find your homepage url when you google it?

g1smd - the url would be www.examplewidgets.com

Also, just to add: the homepage is cached and the content can be seen that way, just not when you copy and paste the content into google.


 9:38 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Last year at Pubcon, Matt Cutts was saying that exact domain match was going to be less important. And just last week Barry Schwartz covered John Mu reinforcing that point ( [seroundtable.com...] ) I am not saying that is what is happening here but you should keep it in the back of your mind.


 9:53 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

The root URL should end with a trailing slash.

You at least confirmed that it is not the common example.com/index.html or .php error.


 9:56 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Just to be sure, it's not a duplicate content issue...

Is the index page indexed?

eg www.examplewidgets.com/ and www.examplewidgets.com/index.php have the same content but perhaps index.php is indexed while www.examplewidgets.com/ is not?

Any funky redirects (javascript or .htaccess-wise)?

How were your internal links to the home page structured before the change and how were they structured afterwords? Did the number of links to the home page change? Anchor text change?

If you search for the literal text in quotes of your old home page...do you find that to be indexed?

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