HTML and php versions of my site were live for about a week. Now lost all rankings

We didn’t realize that our homepage had defaulted to php and so we had a html and php version live for about a week before we realised. As soon as we noticed we deleted the php file and in Google Webmaster Tools fetched as Google and requested reindexing. The site came back within half an hour. Only to disappear again a few days later. Resubmitted again. This time it took 2 days to come back. It stayed for 4 days and has now been gone for almost a week.

The home page is indexed in Google but will not appear in SERPS for our business name or our most important keyword.

Can this be a penalty? The homepage is top in Bing for our search term but will also not appear in Bing when you search for our business name. Could it be something technical that we are missing? We’ve had an SEO company helping us this week and there doesn’t seem to be any issues with the page. It was ranking in number 2 position before.

The site is NSFW

Can anyone help? This will have a devestating impact on us. I haven’t been able to sleep properly for the last week! If anyone has any advice it would be much appreciated.

Just reading your other post… If your page has changed to PHP, it’s likely because something on the page requires it (such as a form, for example). So it may just return the next time you publish from rapidweaver… Your better off to delete the html if something on your page requires PHP.

I don’t know about all the search stuff though. Maybe double check that ‘indexing’ of your page wasn’t accidentally turned off in Rapidweaver. And I guess check that you don’t have warnings in your Search Console/Webmaster Tools. But ‘search’ isn’t my thing

As an aside, I understand your concern based on what you’re experiencing but I have never heard of php vs html being connected in any way for search…

Thanks for the reply. There was nothing on the page that needed php except an SEO plug in I think which we removed. We have republished a few times since then in html but we can’t seem to get out of whatever damage we did by having both sites available.

From everything I’ve read (and in the last week that’s a lot!) there shouldn’t really be any impact on SEO of changing from html to php but I think the fact that there was two for so long has caused us problems.

Having both PHP and HTML (index) files should not impact your SERP ranking. Most hosting companies will serve index.html, and if not found, they will look for index.php.
Search engine crawlers don’t go out and look for pages that are not referenced, so chances are since the index.html page was never removed they wouldn’t know about the PHP version.
You probably had something else affect your ranking, just happened in the same time frame.

Thanks for the reply. At this stage we have exhausted every other possibility for it. We have had an SEO company look in detail at the site and our link profile and they can’t find anything of concern. There were some minor fixes like adding a H1 tag, making sure there was a redirect for the non www verusion of the site but nothing that they think could have caused such a dramatic overnight drop. We literally went from page 1 position 2 to page 13 on one keyword and in the omitted results for another. It’s so frustrating not being able to get to the answer.

Google does not appear to know about the PHP version. A quick way to get a little more info on what Google has in its cache.
Go to
Try typing the following for your site(with info:):

It returns:

Sorry, no information is available for the URL

Try it with HTML version:

Google finds it and gives information (view cache, etc.)

Try it without any file:

It finds your index.html fine.
Your redirect looks ok (301), so something else has changed, or Google has changed. Trying to stay on top of the free part of SERP is a tough thing. There is nothing free about it, Search engines change what and how they rank all the time.

It certainly is hard. Looks like a penalty for something else then as otherwise I don’t think the drop would be so significant. From 2nd place to page 13 and not appearing for the business name is pretty bad! Hopefully we will get to the bottom of it and it will be a short-lived glitch.

Just a thought. Have you checked under ‘Manual Actions’ in Google Search Console? If there’s something about the page that Google doesn’t like it can show up here - and not be obviously flagged elsewhere.


I would agree with Rob @robbeattie that Google search console (if you have it setup) could give you some clue. Your SEO company should have already checked that out.
Most likely a good bit of your ranking had come from back links to your site, perhaps you lost some heavy (lots of authority) link(s). Was the SEO company working for you when you’re site went to the top, or did you engage them after the drop?

Hi Robb

Yes there is nothing in the manual action folder. But definitely we are looking at a penalty of some kind.

I have just found another duplicate URL on a site that checks for duplicate.

Does anyone know how a URL like this comes to be created and how to get rid of it?{margin:true})/2:el.outerWidth({margin:true})/2)

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