SEO – When your webpage suddenly disappears on Google SERP

Today, I noticed one of the pages in my client’s site disappeared from the Google SERP. It was on the 2nd page of Google for a specific search keyword, but it can no longer be found anywhere in the SERP at all. When I do the trick of searching for “site:{DOMAIN_URL_HERE}”, all other pages in the site would show but not this specific page.

If the whole site has disappeared from the SERP, generally the Google Webmasters – Search Console tool would leave you a message within the Console tool itself to explain why. You might have violated some rules or incurred some sort of penalty. It will also tell you if your site may have been hacked, which I hope doesn’t happen to you. I’ve heard of stories of 10 sites being hacked all at the same time and it was through the Web Masters tool that they found out about the issue.

If some of the pages show and some don’t on the SERP, then you will need to go to the “Index coverage” section on the new Google Webmasters Tool > Index Coverage > Excluded. Down the bottom, it will explain why some of those pages have been excluded. In my case, the page that was missing was marked as a “Duplicate page without canonical tag”:

Excluded pages on Google Search Console

It turned out to be that one of our content authors had copy-pasted a single sentence (about 15-20 words) that was word-for-word the same as another website. Because of this duplicate sentence, Google had marked the page “duplicate” and therefore removed from the Google SERP. Tools like Copyscape help you check if another website has the same content as you.

As content authors, we really should never copy/paste any thing unless you’re acknowledging your source (in Google speak, this means adding a canonical tag to refer back to the source). To fix it, we removed the sentence that was copy/pasted, resubmitted the page back to Google for re-indexing. The next day, our missing pages are back up on the SERP. 🙂

Lesson learnt!

 

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