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Google Has Dropped Our Index Page

 12:49 am on Dec 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

We have an unusual problem with one of our websites, Google has dropped the index page from the results. Internal pages are ok and have good PR. The index page has the "grey bar" and no longer ranks for any major terms, over the last couple of months the index page has been in and out of the results Yo Yo style.. We can't see any evidence of hacking or server issues. The site is a static site on the front end with information blogs on a few subdomains, they continue to perform well and rank well. Looking at the index page it looks perfect, I can't see any logical reason for this.



 2:24 am on Dec 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Look for NoFollow tags...?


 3:08 am on Dec 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

No that's not it... Checked for that. Even stranger is that when I pull out a string of text from the home page and search it then it returns our site in the #1 position. If I search the domain name "widget-whatever.org" we get internal pages.


 3:11 am on Dec 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Is there sufficient content on the home page to rank by itself? Is it a links/nav page with stale content? Interior page success generally indicates those pages return better for specific searches.


 3:51 am on Dec 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yeah the page has enough content and it was recently refreshed. When it went into Yo - Yo mode.


 3:51 am on Dec 12, 2011 (gmt 0)



 3:58 am on Dec 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

How many pages are listed for each of these searches:

[site:example.com -inurl:www]

Replace example.com with your domain name. Note the EXACT syntax of the searches.


 6:00 am on Dec 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Site commands return all pages in a logical order for site:www.mydomain.com The -inurl search lists the subdomains 5660 results...


 9:20 am on Dec 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Okay, so the index page is indexed but not ranking the way you want it to rank...

When I read the headline: "Google has dropped our index page", I assumed that your index page got completely de-listed. Which is something I experienced recently (and was hoping to find an answer to).

But for a specific page to not rank the way you expect it to rank... that's a whole different ball game.

I can only recommend that you check what tangor suggested: Ensure the content isn't stale - or better yet, try add a little bit more relevance to the page for what it is optimized for perhaps?

Internal page content are generally more relevant than the home page's headlines and snippets.


 5:24 pm on Dec 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Donna's suggestion of an OOP (over-optimization penalty) is also worth considering. Look for over-the-top use of important keywords, especially in on-page anchor text, as well as in off-page anchor text used for internal linking.


 9:07 pm on Dec 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Dicebat: The index page is suffering from grey toolbar which means its pretty much gone for everything that matters. Tedster: OOP is certainly not coming from on page factors. "Off page anchor text used for internal linking"? I can't see how the site would have been hurt by external links, is that what your suggesting?


 9:35 pm on Dec 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Not exactly - I'm talking about links to the home page from within your own site (not the main navigation) that may be over the top in keyword repetition. It's been known to cause a problem.

With regard to a gray toolbar, that normally means "no data available", which is not the same as a white toolbar zero. The white bar can be a sign that Google thinks you are selling links from your home page for PR purposes.

When you've had PR and it goes gray on the toolbar, it makes me think that there's a data glitch at Google. Is your home page absolutely and only at the domain root?


 9:41 pm on Dec 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

What's the full URL for your index page?

Use example.com in place of the real domain name...


 10:37 pm on Dec 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

We have index.php and the root .org and both have the grey bar, there are no links at all to index.php and its not in the results. Do we create a 301 from index.php just to be on the safe side?

One other point I left out is that we get a lot of duplication of our home page by affiliates so we change the text around periodically to try and keep it unique. This has been going on for years so we've never considered it to be a major risk factor - maybe it is now?

Tedster: My thinking is leaning along the lines of "glitch" as well, this is not the first time this has happened in the last couple of months.


 3:36 pm on Dec 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have lost a home page before... had to wait for the next update until it re-appeared. Presumed it was some sort of processing error, on a single word phrase.

Was a couple of years back and not seen it happen since.

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