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Homepages (on several sites) not ranking, internal pages are

 7:12 pm on Mar 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have been making some sites for people lately, but have noticed that the homepages are not ranking at all. Not even for the company name. However, the internal pages are ranking. So when I search for the company name, instead of the homepage being #1, the about us page comes up at around #11.
Any ideas? They are all using the same template of page layout and code. There is no no-index tags anywhere, or redirects.



 8:49 pm on Mar 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

I've seen this recently with a blog that showed the entire contents of posts on the home page. In that case Google seemed to find that the homepage was just duplicate content, and chose the permalinks as the URLs it wanted to show.

We switched the homepage to show just snippets of posts and put some unique content on the homepage in the header and sidebars and the homepage started showing up in search again.

Robert Charlton

 8:51 pm on Mar 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

whatson - Several thoughts...

Since these are templated and I assume represent roughly the same design philosophy, I'd look at factors that occur across all of your pages/sites....

a) It might be that html text containing company name does not occur on the homepage... or that there's insufficient text. I've seen this happen more than I would expect.

b) It might be improper canonicalization... particularly of the index.html variety... ie...


...is a canonicalization issue that would split inbound link juice particularly to the home page.

c) Possibly too many exact match anchor text links pointing to the homepage, causing Google to give the page an algorithmic penalty.

Additional questions that might help us identify the problem...

- Are all of the pages roughly the same age?
- Inbound linking... was it done independently for each site, or do the sites share a common pattern... possibly even common inbound link sources?
- Do the sites interlink?
- Are the sites in the same market area?

You've got to look at the situation closely enough to give us more information (without getting into specific search terms or market areas).

A related thread worth checking....

Why Do Some Homepages Get Buried?
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4410350.htm [webmasterworld.com]

I also suggest site search, as this is a problem that's been going on for years.


 9:00 pm on Mar 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

How old are these sites? I had the same situation with two or three sites I launched last year, and after about six weeks (without my doing anything special) Google finally just sorted it out properly.


 9:49 pm on Mar 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

The oldest site is now about 4 months. I initially thought it would eventually sort itself out, but it still hasn't.

The pages are all very different, and the homepage does contain the company name in title, h1 and paragraphs.

The templates are only for the header, nav and footer.

What's even stranger, is this issue only seems to occur on some sites I produce.


 12:16 am on Mar 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

We've run into the same issue since getting hit with penguin last year, 2 3 year old sites, 1 1 year old site, and 1 new site. all on the same server, same whois, similar link building.

Andy Langton

 12:29 am on Mar 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Based on your description, I'd say you are seeing Google's raised spam thresholds. I would assume they do this in response to the short shelf life of your common or garden spam site.

Google seems to apply particular filters to homepages (given their inherently stronger ranking strength and thus ability to target more competitive keywords).

But you should be looking at days or weeks tops, not months. So, you're perceived as borderline. The fact that some make it through and others don't means that IMO you need to raise that borderline pretty quickly :)

If you launch with keywords above certain degrees of competition in your titles, and/or tick all of the SEO boxes you're also placing yourself in a higher degree of scrutiny. Disappointingly, I've found the quick fix with Google is to throw links at the problem - or be prepared to wait it out.


 5:52 am on Mar 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

True, the homepages do not have any links pointing to them.


 10:53 pm on Mar 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

True, the homepages do not have any links pointing to them.

This might be part of the problem. A typical site with a natural backlink profile gets many more home page links than it does deep links.

The fact that you have links and none are home page links would raise a red flag if I were a search engine... making me question whether your backlink profile is natural or manufactured, especially if the links you have pointing to inner pages are keyword rich.


 6:17 am on Mar 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

Having the same issues here:

2 sites both homepages on page 20-40 with the site:
Both sites impacted by Panda
Homepage has most links on both sites
1 site is still ranking for homepage terms, the other isn't
Anchor text for targeted homepage terms is less than 2% of overall anchor text

The only thing I have tried is that both homepages have over 100 internal links pointing to other pages. So I can either try & add more content or remove the links to see if that impacts the penalty.

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