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Our webpage used to link fine for very competitive keywords. All of the sub-pages still do. The main page however cannot be found with any query. Even if I copy big chunks of text from it there is no search result. I've seen this at another page, too.
What might be the problem here?
For example, you could offer links to the forum with an iframe so that even though your visitors get a link from every page, there's still only one link. Then you could offer links from forum pages back to your ecommerce pages in the normal way. I think that linking structure would send a message about the relative importance.
Not sure if I understand you correctly here. The internal link structure hasn't changed for years. It's not a subdirectory or anything. Not the subpages seem to be penalized, since the rank excellently, but the homepage seems to be having a knack.
Does a search for a snippet of unique text in quotes from your homepage return the homepage in results? If not, does it return other websites for your content?
Is your homepage listed in other search engines?
I would start by checking:
Code errors on the homepage
Robots.txt, and htaccess if you use it to make sure you are not preventing the Googlebot from spidering the page.
Use a header checker to ensure that the homepage returns 'status 200'- OK
Also use this to stop dmoz titles from coming up as that hurts you:
<meta name="robots" content="noodp" />
[edited by: WiseWebDude at 3:02 pm (utc) on Nov. 16, 2007]
@CainIV: Good point with the snippet. The homepage doesn't show with any snippet, though. One other page used to show with a snipped but I changed the text immediately. That's two weeks ago. That would be an easy explanation but I don't think that's it. a) our page had the text before them (they copied it) and has the higher PR. b) Like I said I already changed it some time ago and the main page is spidered each day (new cache version every two days). c) I'm seeing this phenomenon with another page where no other page shows up with a unique snippet of that page.
One of the issues that I have seen involves extensive tweaking of a keyword or pharse for a particular page. G seems to know the difefrence from one change to another and enough changes, it "locks" the word or phrase and you somewhat get sandboxed for a while.
the main page is spidered each day (new cache version every two days)
Are you saying that the main page is or is not in the Google cache?
Check for code errors using Xenu link sleuth at the index page.
Triple check that yoursite.com, yoursite.com/index.html and any other possible version all 301 redirect to one final version of the homepage, in other words ensure that the homepage is only accessible through exactly one url only. Check www vs non www versions as well.
I've noticed websites with SOLID and longstanding rankings are getting trashed by a combination of the following:
1. People linking to them copying chunks (generally around a paragraph) of text along with the link.
2. Full page or even full site copies being placed on presumably dropped and re-registered domains with pagerank/inbound links.
3. Proxy copied pages
4. Translation service pages
This has hit 3 of our sites, actually 4 now that I think of it. They're completely unrelated in terms of topic, affiliate/adsense accounts, IPs, whois, etc.
everything has been fine for ages home page ranked on top 10 (fluctuating a bit recently) but always on the top page for very competitive key phrases, then on the 21st Nov, bang not there.
sub pages rank well still.
Any ideas would be very very welcome!