Msg#: 4682910 posted 7:08 pm on Jun 26, 2014 (gmt 0)
@lucy The site owner hired an employee of the host to set up commercial wordpress site (they obviously knew nothing about SEO -- all titles, descriptions the same, canonical issues etc.) They ignored the previous htaccess file.
I'm not clear by your comments whether I should fix htaccess with every change in file name since the site was originally designed or leave it as is.
Msg#: 4682910 posted 8:51 pm on Jun 27, 2014 (gmt 0)
Just some thoughts on this - it looks like a primer on how to drive google mad.. But to look for ways to untangle, it helps to find out what can be eliminated from the older problems.
What kind of trail do you see in a header checker if you type in a few of the original(pre-WP I & II) file names? Check some filenames for header responses along the trail of changes to get a good idea of how far back the focus should be. Try with and without www since that was also altered to be sure it is working correctly now.
It is a real pain, but you need to know what URLs are valid, what gives a 404 and what is getting redirects from where to where so some of the original issues can be pared away to see what Google considers "current". Look at any old sitemaps that might be languishing forgotten and verify that changes at step 3 (for example) didn't undo 301s that had been functional.
In the GWT account are you seeing any "Crawl Errors" or Sitemaps problems.
Thanks for your very helpful suggestions. I checked several urls in a header checker. On further analysis I discovered that the designer of WP2 copied the htaccess file from WP1 site which of course doesn't work. What a mess!