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Google Preferring Inner Page After Panda 3.9

3:45 pm on Aug 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Has anyone come across this? I've maintained top position in Google for my main keyword for over a year with my homepage. Survived early Panda and Penguin but with Panda 3.9 i've dropped a couple of places and the Google SERP listing for my site now shows an inner page of my website.

The homepage is now listed on page 6.
5:43 pm on Aug 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

From top position to page 6? That sounds like more than a couple of places. Please clarify.

Also, are you certain that this drop was due to Panda - that is, it happened on July 24? There are many posts around here about the "wrong page" ranking and it is a relatively common situation. However, the degree of drop for your home page (if I understand correctly that it really went to page 6) sounds like your home page has been hit for artificial backlinks.
8:44 am on Aug 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Sorry, let me try to explain again.

I still have my site listed on page one but with my inner page and instead of number one position it is now at number 3. So this is what i meant by dropping a couple of places.

The historic log for this key phrase in rank checker, which is done weekly shows number 1 for 16/07/2012 and then at number 3 for 23/07/2012.
9:01 am on Aug 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member

Many home pages are light on actual content. What it sounds like is that Panda is looking deeper into your site to find content which it thinks is more relevant to the search arguement.
11:45 am on Aug 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Something awry is going on. We have product pages, with sub pages on separate URL's with little content. Google is randomly throwing up those sub pages ahead of the main page which has lot's of unique content on popular products.

Not sure if it's connected, but something appears not to be settled properly in recent Panda updates, as these URL's are less relevant.
12:43 pm on Aug 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Hmm... the plot thickens. I haven't noticed this pattern with my own sites, but definitely on some searches that I've done. It's almost as if the demotion (which is page specific) is too severe so it leaves other shallow content pages higher in the SERPs. If that's the pattern, then it does sound like something is not working as intended.

I wonder if it's a tangle between Panda and Penguin.
1:08 pm on Aug 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Maybe you're right Whitey, we need to allow time for things to settle.

However, in terms of relevance, my inner page is totally relevant to the search term. My home page is not light on content either.

Tedster, there are no messages in Google WMT about unnatural links / artificial links. However, i have noticed in WMT a linking domain "updowner . com" that is sending 500+ links to my site. This domain seems to be down at the moment.

I really don't understand why my homepage, after a year and half of solid number one ranking has dropped off. My other rankings on page one for other phrases remain static, only +1 or -1 positions.

Any suggestions on what i should be doing?

Focus my SEO efforts on this inner page from now on?

Oh, and what really annoys me is that there is a site on page one for my main phrase with two listings - inner page and homepage.
7:38 pm on Aug 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

there are no messages in Google WMT about unnatural links / artificial links

Those messages were not part of Panda. If this is Panda, it is targeted at "shallow" content but how exactly is still not clear. Ideas include some combination of text analysis, user data, authority, trust, usability.

One thing seems sure - the Panda algorithm is complex and not all affected websites show the same pattern.

I think I see one of those patterns where some Pandalyzed sites seem to be hurt by a combination of scrapers and weak authority. In one case, we got the rankings back simply by asserting ownership of new articles through authorship mark-up, fat pings via pubsubhubbub and a 1 hours delay on the RSS feed. We did nothing else before the rankings return.

Point of information, Google ran the "Scraper Update" just before the first Panda - just to zero in on original authorship. Even at the time, it didn't seem to me that they had it nailed down very well.
1:34 am on Aug 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Theres a few parallels with my site (my thread below on Yahoo v google) ranking. Mine came back to life suddenly on google yesterday, having been nowhere, and now i have my pages on pages 2 onwards for our main google search term. But it definately prefers the inner pages, unlike Yahoo which ranks the index page.

For my case, most of what people will really want to know is on the inner pages, but the home page is a better intro to the site IMO. I think what Ill do is, develop the home page but also work with how it is ranking and make sure that on the inner pages that come up higher, that there is a sentence or two to orient the visitor if they should arrive there first. My site also has a menu on each page, so you can go from anywhere to anywhere.
10:11 am on Aug 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thanks for the replies guys.

It does make sense that Google is now returning my inner page in SERPs for this particularly search term because it is exactly the theme of this inner page. It's in the title, meta, h1 and content. However the homepage is actually optimised for this keyword also.

Another interesting and annoying incident is that about a month ago i noticed some Turkish search terms started to appear in my analytics reports. Upon investigation it turns out that some turkish company, who provides similar services to my website has cloned my website and left my Google analytics script in. Idiots!

Anyway i got onto them straight away and we are still fighting to get these guys to take their site down.

So i'm wondering if this has had an affect on my homepage / site. Using webconfs duplicate checker shows 9% similarity probably because the other site is in a different language but the html structure is the same. They haven't even bothered to rename files and directories. Looks like they've just used some website copying software.

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