Forum Topic: SERP rankings dropped

Forum: .htaccess Forum : WordPress • Posted by Jan Koch • Updated:

Hey Jeff,

I’ve noticed that after working on sites of a client his rankings in search engine results dropped, because the Googlebot get’s a 403 error when accessing some URLs.

Just want to hear your thoughts whether it could be the .htaccess (which I doubt).

Here’s the .htaccess content:

ErrorDocument 401 "Denied"
ErrorDocument 403 "Denied"
ServerSignature Off

# Disable trace and track to prevent XST attacks
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule .* -[F]

# BEGIN WordPress
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
# END WordPress

<FilesMatch "wp-login.php">
AuthType basic
AuthName "Admins only"
AuthUserFile /home/avocado/.htpasswd
require valid-user

2 Replies to “SERP rankings dropped”

Posted by Jeff Starr

Well let’s take a look at what the .htaccess is doing:

  • Custom error responses
  • Disable server signature
  • Disable trace requests
  • WordPress permalinks
  • Password protect login

Of these, the only thing that could even remotely affect SEO would be the disabling of the trace requests, and that would be the case only if googlebot measures via trace, which to my knowledge it does not.

Posted by Jan Koch •

Thank you.

That’s my takeaway as well.