Nonexisting pages being visited, then huge drop in ranks

For the last few days, I've been receiving visits to random pages on my site that don't exist.

For example:

my site .com/VF4YhNem/index.html



These are not pages on my site and would take any would be visitor to a 404 page not found page of my site. These pages are being visited by unique IP's by about 30 different ones a day.

Then, for the first time ever, in about 9 years, most of my SERP's that I've been tracking are no longer top 100.

Anybody have an idea of whats going on?

Also, in the meantime, is there a way to just redirect 404's to my homepage?

404s shouldnt have any effect on rankings, 404s are a normal everyday part of the web and billions are generated each day when people remove pages etc, Search engines recognise this. As for the addresses they are trying seems like random bogus acitivity, see if the ips can be trcaed for one country etc and refuse them access in you admin or better still in .htaccess. (if you dont sell to those countries that is)

I have a huge long list in my .htaccess and it pretty much killed all bogus attempts overnight on my site.


ban countries.txt