I had a site that ranked top 3 for one keyword term and top 6 for another.
At the beginning of October both terms dropped radically from the search results.
I had recently changed the .htaccess file to stop redirecting 404 back to the home page.
This resulted in the following:
- Some old links to non SEO optimised pages being reported as crawl errors in google webmaster toolkit.
- Old pages which have been renamed over the last year being crawled by googlebot because of the redirect back to the homepage
Also I noticed that the pages containing the keywords were not included in the internal links in google webmaster toolkit anymore.
I have added 301 redirects for the crawl errors and the 301 redirects for the updated file names and I am awaiting for google webmaster toolkit to clear the crawl errors and for googlebot to start crawling the correct pages, but I am worried that there is more of a problem for the keywords ranking than the pages errors.
Is there any way of determining if the site has been punished for certain the keywords?