Need to be able to edit navigation code to point homepage to absolute URL

We have had a major issue with our homepage as a result of publishing both and html and php version of it. This was done in error not realizing the page had now defaulted to php.

We are now working with a SEO expert and he has advised we need to change the code in the navigation bar to make the link to the homepage point to the absolute URL. At the moment it says href ="./" and we need to change this to the full URL.

Can anyone help? We can view the code but don’t know how to edit it.

Probably no easy way to do that, it would depend on the theme. Not sure why you’re being told that.
Publishing both HTML and PHP versions of your home page really should not merit changing internal navigation links.
You’re web server will only serve up one of the two versions.
Most web hosting services index.html first and if not found will look for index.php.


Doug is correct, these two things are not related.
Delete the .html file if the .php is the correct one, problem solved.

As for the nav, I doubt that would make any real difference especially for your home page. What theme are you using and can you share a URL so we can have a look.


Hi Scott and Doug

Thanks for your reply.

We also thought it would be an easy fix. Unfortunately the issue has definitely caused Google some confusion. On analysing our data in GSC we can see the homepage lost its rankings dramatically on the day after this upload. It then dropped in and out for about a week while they were both out there. When I discovered the issue I deleted the php file from the server. However I did not redirect. Once I deleted it our rankings disappeared and haven’t come back for three weeks. Our homepage will not even show for a search of our business name.

The dates of these actions and the resulting almost overnight drop of the page by Google seems to point to this being the cause. We are trying to make it very, very clear to Google now which is the root domain of the site. We have done other things such as implement the canonical tag on homepage. Update sitemap. Redirect non www version to www version. So far this page is still being omitted from googles search results.

Reservations by Brandon Lee is the theme.

And the URL is

That shortened link doesn’t work

Did you also move from http to https during that?

Hello. No we didn’t move to https. Sorry about the link. I don’t know why it’s doing that.

Can you try this one and also it is NSFW

You brought this up before HTML and php versions of my site were live for about a week. Now lost all rankings
The worst google might think is you have duplicate content, that should not cause the kind of drop in SERP ranking that you’ve described.

When someone types or links to a website, they don’t usually use the full address.
A link to that site would normally be more like
As I showed you on the previous post google hadn’t even indexed the PHP version of your site.
Now you may very well be in the search engine penalty box, but I don’t think it’s because of your PHP vs HTML pages.

IMO you’re “SEO expert” doesn’t Have a clue about SEO if they think changing industry standard relative navigation links to absolute URL’s would have any impact on your SERP ranking.


I agree with Doug, no way you would get a huge drop because of that and relative URL’s are the standard. If you got a huge drop there is another reason, did you have these SEO guys before the drop? Almost sounds like you are in the penelty box.


Honestly this person is so well respected in the industry. He is a well-known name in the SEO industry. I’ve reached out to so many people in the last few weeks and done a lot of research. I attended a Google Webmaster Office Hours hangout the other day and they were also baffled as to what has been going on. So hopefully you will see why I have to try these small technical changes. He is not saying that the link to the relative URL in the navigation is the cause simply that because of what has happened to the homepage we need to make it extra clear about the canonical URL.

I don’t see how it can hurt to Change the navigation link. The only issue I have of course is I don’t seem to be able to change it.

Please don’t think I’m being awkward but in the position I am in now I have to give everything a try. Hoping someone can explain how or if I am able to make that change to the code.

I highly doubt you can in RW, you would need to contact the theme developer.
You ca modify the code on the server just to see if it makes any difference, but as soon as you publish from RW It will overwrite your change.

Using one of the framework themes you could most likely do it, I know you could with foundation as you can make HTML menus if you want.


Don’t know who you’re talking to, but just put a canonical (rel=canonical) inside the head section:
This will clear up any doubt, any well respected SEO person should be aware of this.

Usually the largest contributor to both rise and fall to SERP ranking is related to back links. Don’t know the history of how your site achieved it’s good ranking, but I would guess a lot had to due with the quality and quantity of links to your website.

If your URL lost authoritative link(s), or some of the links where found later to be of questionable sources,that would cause a rapid drop in ranking.

You’re SEO expert should be able to check that out through tools like MOZ.


@GemmaG, I wonder if this isn’t related to Google’s push to prioritize SSL over non-SSL. Perhaps they started checking both HTTPS url’s along with HTTP url’s around the time you saw your rankings drop.

When I go to your website via HTTP, your site loads. If I change HTTP to HTTPS, I get a certificate warning (varies depending on the browser). If I then tell it to ignore the warning and proceed to the site, I end up at a HostMonster login page. That page has nothing to do with your website and has none of your content on it. If GoogleBot ends up giving HTTPS priority and indexes that page and not your non-SSL page, then that may explain your drop in rankings.

It’s also possible that HostMonster made a change to the SSL setup on their servers.

Either way, having someone end up at the HTTPS version of your site and not having your content there is not good!

I would:

  1. Get an SSL certificate and get it installed ASAP. For all the trouble this is causing you, the cost for your own SSL cert is minimal.

  2. Make sure that your website content actually loads via HTTPS.

  3. Setup a redirect to send all HTTP traffic to the HTTPS url.

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