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Non-Existent Page Appearing in Analytics

[ Edited ]
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi!

 

Recently, I noticed a "phantom" landing page appearing in my Analytics reports.

 

The page is Index.php (with a capital i) which is a non-existent page on my site. It is not index.php (with a lower case i).

 

The weird thing is, quite a few people are somehow finding this non-existent page. As a result, my bounce rate is way up.

 

capitali.jpg

 

The appearance of this phantom page coincided with a sudden and substantial drop in traffic so it may or may not be connected with this traffic loss.

 

My question is, has anyone else experience this? Is it spammers? Can I get rid of it?

 

I've set up a 301 redirect but it only seems to work part of the time.

 

This may or may not be related to my earlier post about a sudden drop in traffic (https://www.en.advertisercommunity.com/t5/Google-Analytics-Reports/Sudden-Drop-in-Traffic/m-p/117450...)

 

ANY help at all would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thank you!

Andrea

 

EDITED to add:

 

I could understand if index.php (with a lower case i) was being accessed but this capital I index.php page is so strange.

It is getting more visits than our main homepage, as you can see here:

strangeindex.jpg

And when I click on it from Analytics, I get a 404.

funnyindex.jpg



This is shooting our bounce rate up and I can't figure out where the heck it's coming from.

Two days ago, I created a 301 redirect from Index.php to index.php (maybe that was the wrong thing to do?) in an effort to try to not lose so many people. And when I type kinderart.com/Index.php in directly, it does forward to our homepage. But when I click on the link from GA, I still get the 404 as above.

It's so incredibly frustrating. The file only appeared on July 13, 2017 - which is 7 days after the WP site was launched. Coincidently (or not?) our traffic dropped dramatically on the 14th.

 

1 Expert replyverified_user

Sudden Drop in Traffic

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi!

My site has been online for 20 years (yikes!) and we have been with Google AdSense since 2004. We've been using Analytics for as long as it's been available.

I recently relaunched my site (it is now responsive) and was thrilled to see our numbers not only stay steady, but rise. The new site went online on the evening of July 6, 2017. I made sure I had all my 301 redirects in place so the transition would be seamless and our pages would still appear on search. Everything was going along fine until July 14, 2017 when I started to see a significant drop in traffic.

 

drop3.jpg

 

 

Because I've been at this a while, I know this is not a cyclical drop.

 

It is very visible when I look at the landing pages -- specifically the number of visits to my homepage. I've including the data from last year at the same time to show that it is not normal for the site to see a reduction like this. In fact, for the past two days, traffic to the homepage is almost non existent. You can see the comparison to last year at the same time.

 

 

 

drop2.jpg

 

The site is still found on search with all the usual keywords and the new pages have been crawled and indexed. I've downloaded the tag checker to make sure the Analytics code is still active, which it is. I've checked in Webmaster Tools to see if the site is still being indexed and it is. I can't imagine where the loss is coming from.

 

Can anyone help me? Pretty please?

 

Thank you in advance,

Andrea

Sudden Drop in Traffic

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi Andrea :-)

Are you able to provide the url of the website?

Thanks :-)

Bronwyn Vourtis, Google Analytics Top Contributor
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Sudden Drop in Traffic

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Sorry - yes. Should have included that! Smiley Happy

 

https://KinderArt.com

Non-Existent Page Appearing in Analytics

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Andrea - What software are you running in the root folder of your host?  This looks like it is pulling the main page of a website.  If this is the case, you won't want to exclude it.  Almost all website programs have index.php which the server looks at as the main page.  This would include CMS, Forums, etc.

Non-Existent Page Appearing in Analytics

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi!

 

Thanks for your reply Smiley Happy

 

It's a Wordpress site. I know index.php is a legitimate page. The weird thing is, this page that is showing up is using a capital I in the file name Index.php and it was going to a 404 page.

 

I have since created a redirect from Index.php to index.php so anyone coming to the Index.php page won't see a 404.

Re: Non-Existent Page Appearing in Analytics

Top Contributor
# 7
Top Contributor

Hi Andrea.. as you mention, your site is built using WordPress.

In the GA View Settings page.. is there anything entered as the default page
If there is, it should be removed and left blank
art01.jpg

 

Also in the WordPress Admin
In WP Admin > Settings > General what is the Site Address (URL) that is listed

Bronwyn Vourtis, Google Analytics Top Contributor
Was my response helpful? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer.’ Learn how here

Non-Existent Page Appearing in Analytics

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 8
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Yes, it is blank.

Non-Existent Page Appearing in Analytics

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 9
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I've just discovered that for each day the phantom Index.php (capital i), not lower case landing page appears, so do a number of Source/Medium pages.

 

Instead of google, bing, pinterest, etc, I am seeing numbers:

 

11351

11620

11731

 

And so on.

 

These numbers did not appear in GA until the Index.php landing page appeared.

 

Has anyone else experienced this?

 

Andrea

Non-Existent Page Appearing in Analytics

Top Contributor
# 10
Top Contributor

Hi :-)

 

You've already ascertained that the drop in data does not seem to be specific to google analytics as there is also a drop that is noticeable via the server logs.

Sometimes non existent pages can start showing up in reports when there is spam data.

it can also result from incorrectly configured plugins that affect how page slugs are written

and so on.

 

At the very least there should be a new View created and an include hostname filter applied.

 

Usually with wordpress, index.php automatically redirects to the Site Address (URL)

As per my earlier post.. 

In the WordPress Admin
In WP Admin > Settings > General

what is the Site Address (URL) that is listed?

 

 

 

Was the site using wordpress prior to the redesign?
Has there been any major change regarding the website url structure since the redesign?

Bronwyn Vourtis, Google Analytics Top Contributor
Was my response helpful? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer.’ Learn how here