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Index Page not in Search Results anymore PR6 to PR3

     
5:54 pm on Jan 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Okay, First of all I don't sell links and I have a site that follows the rules. I have a 9 year old site that suddenly dropped from a PR6 to PR3 a week or two ago. Now today, our index page is nowhere to be found for our major keyword. Does anyone know what penalty I am dealing with here?

Thank you.
Rachel

6:42 pm on Jan 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Does your index page still show #1 in a site: search - how about for a search on your domain name (an example.com search)?
6:49 pm on Jan 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Hi Tedster. Yes, it still shows up if I do that. And all my inside pages still show up in search under their respective keywords.

Thanks for your help.
Rachel

7:11 pm on Jan 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Now today, our index page is nowhere to be found for our major keyword.

Just for good clarity so we can try and help; when you say no where to be found, do you mean positively not in the first 1,000 results? We have had experiences of the 950 "relocation" effect, and all kinds of other positions throughout 1,000 from time to time. Landing in the 900ís stings the same, but is a bit different, than outside the 1,000.

7:24 pm on Jan 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Hi Randle. Thank you for your comments. I just went through 1-1000 and we aren't listed anywhere. Although a few of our inner pages showed up. Thanks.
Rachel
11:11 pm on Jan 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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What is the URL for your index page?

domain.com/
www.domain.com/
domain.com/index.html *
www.domain.com/index.html *

(* Substitute index.htm, or index.php, or index.asp, or default.asp, or whatever, as appropriate).

11:34 pm on Jan 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I can tell you that when I do a site: search it comes up with www.domain.com/ ... is this what you meant?
Thanks.
Rachel

[edited by: tedster at 11:41 pm (utc) on Jan. 7, 2008]

5:33 pm on Jan 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I was hoping that someone could help. Anyone have any ideas?
5:35 pm on Jan 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Everytime one of my sites lost the index page, it was a duplicate content problem.
So make sure you have no dupes.
5:39 pm on Jan 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Oh, really. Okay. How long did it take to get your page back after that.

Thank you for your help. Do you know of any software that I can check my site with to find duplicate content? I have a large site.

Thank you.
Rachel

11:16 pm on Jan 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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What URL does your "home" link point to from all of your internal pages?
11:37 pm on Jan 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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>>>Do you know of any software that I can check my site with to find duplicate content?

Just go to CopyScape. They're an authoritative site in their space, been around for a few years now. In fact, I think the guy who founded it invented the niche. ;)

1:04 am on Jan 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Hi there. Thank you everyone for your help. All the pages link to the index page (index.html). Today I just edited my htaccess file to point all non-www pages to www pages as well as redirecting the index.html page to example.com/ - Hopeully this will help. Thank you everyone for your kindness. :)

Rachel

3:35 pm on Jan 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Oh, really. Okay. How long did it take to get your page back after that.

Depends on how often googlebot visits the dupe pages.
In my case after several days it was fixed.

4:00 pm on Jan 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Great News! After Plasma mentioned duplicate content, I searched Webmaster World about it and saw the non-www to www redirect instructions, and I implemented it yesterday afternoon. This morning I reappeared in the search results and now I am even higher up on the front page. Thank you VERY VERY much, Plasma and thank you everyone else who was so helpful. :)

Thanks.
Rachel

8:45 pm on Jan 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Good that you also picked up on my question and fixed it yourself... namely Google lists www.domain.com/ as the root page, and you link to www.domain.com/index.html as the root page.
9:46 pm on Jan 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Yes, good point...I think it was your post after reading his post that pushed me in the right direction. :) I'm so happy I could sing. :)
11:18 pm on Jan 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Is the canononical domain the www or the non-www now?

Just do three more checks:

1. If you ask for either domain.com/index.html or www.domain.com/index.html that each of those does a single redirect to the canonical domain, not a chain of redirects.

2. Check that index filename URLs in folders also redirect correctly, omitting the filename, but retaining the folder name in the target URL.

3. That all your internally pointing links no longer include the index file filename anywhere in the link URL (that is, your users don't pass through any redirects while normally navigating the site).

11:41 pm on Jan 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for your help.This is the redirect I did - basically:

example.com now goes to www.example.com
example.com/index.html now goes to www.example.com
www.example.com/index.html now goes to www.example.com
example.com/directory/ now goes to www.example.com/directory/
example.com/anyfile.html now goes to www.example.com/anyfile.html

I used the following to do this:

Options +Indexes
Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^example\.com
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.example.com/$1 [R=permanent,L]

RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME}!-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI}!(.*)/$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.example.com/$1/ [L,R=301]

RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^.*\/index\.html?
RewriteRule ^(.*)index\.html?$ http://www.example.com/$1 [R=301,L]

7:23 pm on Jan 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

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You can set your preferred domain to www or non-www in Google Webmaster Tools. Academic question: Is there any reason why that won't clear this problem (instead of the .htaccess) with Google indexing and ranking your site?

Disclaimer: Personally, I go for the .htaccess.

7:52 pm on Jan 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Yes, you have a chain.

If you ask for example.com/index.html it is redirected to www.example.com/index.html using your first rule, and that is then redirected to www.example.com/ using your final rule.

You need to change the order of the rules to avoid that happening.

.

While you can use GWT to signal which one you prefer to be used, that only works for Google. It does not stop visitors seeing incorrect URLs in their browser address bar which they then cut and paste and use as incoming links to your site. Only a proper redirect stops that, and that is always the preferred method.

[edited by: g1smd at 7:55 pm (utc) on Jan. 10, 2008]

7:55 pm on Jan 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Is there any reason why that won't clear this problem (instead of the .htaccess)

Yes - first of all Google does not guarantee that setting your preference in GWT will do anything ("While Google doesn't guarantee that we'll show your URLs in the form that you prefer, we will use your choice as a suggestion to improve our indexing.")

Second, setting a GWT preference may keep your non-preferred form out of the SERP, but what about the flow of link juice and PR through your entire site? From my viewpoint, the 301 redirect fixes the core problem, but the GWT preference does not.