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Can a homepage change cause instant ranking issues?

5:49 pm on Oct 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Full Member from US 

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joined:Feb 24, 2011
posts: 256
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On Friday the 29th I decided to revert the content on my homepage to content I was using back in July. I just thought maybe it was better and targeted different keywords - I guess just testing waters.

That same day my traffic from Google went from 20,000 impressions to 3,000 or less.

I even got one of those notices from Google in my GWT:
The number of clicks that your site receives from Google can change from day to day for a variety of factors, including automatic algorithm updates. However, if you have recently made significant changes to the content or configuration of your site, this change may be an indication that there are problems.

Now I know there was some kind of EMD update/refresh that day too.
My luck is always that I change something major on the day Google does some kinda of update too. LOL

But I'm wondering... my exact question is: Can a homepage change, such as changing the content have IMMEDIATE repercussions on your rankings/impressions like I just experienced? Or was this probably the EMD update?

I am leaning toward the later because it would seem impossible for a homepage change to cause that quick of a result.

Thanks in advance guys. Always appreciated.
7:02 pm on Oct 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

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

joined:June 21, 2004
votes: 276

I assume your site has more than one page indexed in Google. Did you check to see what is happening to your other pages? If your other pages lost inbound traffic than your site has issues and its not just because of your homepage change. I suggest you look at referring keywords and landing pages to better understand how your site is performing.

Most websites are not crawled by Google in real time. If you are running a very popular news website then it might be the case but for most webmasters it is more likely Google is visiting their site on a daily basis (or less frequent) and then updating the index. So I would guess that your homepage did not cause your trouble. That being said, it does not mean your homepage changes are good. If possible you might want to think about undoing the changes just to simplify your search for what could be wrong with your site.
7:14 pm on Oct 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Full Member from US 

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joined:Feb 24, 2011
posts: 256
votes: 1

Thanks @goodroi :-)

I kinda figured it wasn't the homepage - but thought I would start there as far as looking for answers/clues. Looks like it was the EMD thing. The site overall took a hit now that I look.

I have over 400 pages indexed - several got hammered.

Thank you.