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Most Content Pages Outrank Home Page

Discussion in 'Search Engine Optimization' started by larryweiss, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. #1
    I have a site which has been in the Google top ten from 2004 until the penguin update. Since then it has fallen tremendously.

    Significantly, the home page, which was always the the top ranked page, now is outranked by most of the other pages.

    Similarly, I have a totally unrelated site which is doing fair, It's home page has fallen from the highest ranked (in the site), to very far down below many of its sub-pages.

    Any ideas what happened? Why would a home page do so poorly, especially after doing so well for so may years?
    larryweiss, Feb 16, 2013 IP
  2. dcristo

    dcristo Prominent Member

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    #2
    I've seen this a lot. Previously it was easy ranking the home page of a site, since it was considered the most important page. But I think because of over optimization a lot of home page rankings have taken a hit.
    dcristo, Feb 16, 2013 IP
  3. ryan_uk

    ryan_uk Prominent Member

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    #3

    Without being able to review your site and backlinks it's hard to say.

    Are you 100% certain it is the Penguin update?

    Without knowing anything, only general advice is possible:

    1. Review your on-site SEO - look for any thin content pages, "SEO" tricks (such as keyword stuffing, hidden text, an excess of keyword meta tags - don't even use, haven't worked for years), badly written content, poor use of anchor text for internal links. For your on-page, read this and then correct any problems.
    2. Review your backlinks in relation to the Google Webmaster Guidelines and common sense - are they spammy (web 2.0s, spun content backlinks, etc), are they are what Google considers link schemes (keyword rich forum signature links is one example they give, but also reciprocal links, blog comments, etc, could be). Is there a pattern of excessive anchor text usage? Any paid links? Etc. All things to deal with, too. (Remove, disavow, etc.)
    Good luck, mate!
    ryan_uk, Feb 16, 2013 IP
  4. Emma Pollard

    Emma Pollard Active Member

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    #4
    The home page is probably the least likely page on a site to be updated with fresh content, this could well be the cause of the problem. Google now ranks pages with a more human approach and therefore wont rank paages which are outdated, tired and boring. Im not saying this is the case but it is worth giving it some thought.
    Hope this helps x
    Emma Pollard, Feb 16, 2013 IP
  5. dcristo

    dcristo Prominent Member

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    #5

    According to Google, different searches have different freshness needs. The content freshness update only impacted around 6 - 10% of searches. I remember when it was rolled it, it really wasn't a big update and it's doubtful it's the issue here.
    dcristo, Feb 16, 2013 IP
  6. ryan_uk

    ryan_uk Prominent Member

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    #6
    There have been various improvements to query freshness updates.

    The relevancy of that depends upon your keywords though.

    For example, "hymns for church" would not really be subject to QF, but "xbox games" (or keywords for a current news topic) would, as it's the kind of search you always want fresh content for.

    Another problem you could encounter (and about a year ago, a lot of people panicked that their site's home page had been de-indexed, but it hadn't) is that your home page is subject to parameters, so it's not ranking well due to them causing duplicate content. You might have indexed:

    http://www.example.com/
    http://www.example.com/?aff=123
    http://www.example.com/?aff=1234
    http://www.example.com/?aff=12345
    http://www.example.com/?sort=asc
    http://www.example.com/?sort=desc

    And so on, but they are all the same page. If you use the canonical tag, you'll eliminate the duplicate while links with parameters can still be used.

    But it's just a lot of guesses without being able to see anything real.
    ryan_uk, Feb 16, 2013 IP
  7. dcristo

    dcristo Prominent Member

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    #7
    Yeah I think with each revision they were trying to do a better job of determining which keywords should be influenced by the content freshness algo. But really this has nothing to do with an issue that's associated with home page rankings.
    dcristo, Feb 16, 2013 IP
  8. noodlemanc

    noodlemanc Greenhorn

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    #8
    It's probably because the sub-pages are more content rich - If they contain articles, for example.
    noodlemanc, Feb 17, 2013 IP