I’ve been taking some time to both make my site more visible on Google and improving the user– that’s you!–experience. First up, was a stop to webmaster tools. I decided to tackle all the 404s. A site that’s been as long as this one, that’s more than a decade, is bound to collect a few.. hundred. Okay, almost a thousand. Putzing around in the crawl errors revealed just how out of date Google’s index is. It knew of a whopping 11 pages. Until that point, I’d just been using my feed as a sitemap, but it obviously wasn’t doing the trick.
That led me on the search for a WP sitemap plugin, and I found one. It submitted just under 1700 pages to Google, which is a far cry from the 11 that Google knew of. It took Google about two days to index all those pages. My other sites, all of which have fewer pages, took less time. Immediately after the indexing finishing, Google began displaying sitelinks, which are the sub-pages that appear when you search for any specific website. Now, my sitelinks aren’t quite right. They include a bunch of subdomains that, to Google ,are part of the site, but aren’t to me.
My next step, then, was to go back to webmaster tools and demote specific sitelinks. According to Google, this doesn’t guarantee they’ll disappear, and this can take an unknown ammount of time. However, the search engine will take my demotions into consideration when determing which pages belong in the sitelinks.
Finally, I’ll be editing the meta data for my main sections. I’m not hoping so much as to raise their ranks but to help Google recognize the value of those pages and use them as sitelinks, because there’s no other way to add sitelinks. For this end, I’ll be making use of All in One SEO Pack, which I already had installed.
Wish me luck.