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Messed UP SEO - tags, categories on wordpress website
Serendipity



 
Msg#: 4587222 posted 6:29 pm on Jun 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hi,

I have been trying to overcome a really bad plugin after effect. I have been using <no specifics as per forum charter> since before panda update and have had success with it. However, little did I know about SEO during that time. It was after the panda update and a whole lot of googling that I came to know about bad was the effect of */search/.... on SEO.

Anyway, I am trying to over come that. Traffic has been hit badly. First thing I did was to get rid of that plugin. After almost 2 months of doing so, I have started getting a plethora of errors in google webmaster (and rightly so).

Can users here suggest how long will it take for Google to completely de-index all those urls generated by <snip> plugin? Also, the main url doesn't even appear in first 10 pages :(

Any help will be appreciated. I have a wordpress based website.

Thanks in advance :)

[edited by: goodroi at 6:56 pm (utc) on Jun 24, 2013]
[edit reason] Welcome to WebmastWorld now please go read the rules [/edit]

 

aakk9999

WebmasterWorld Administrator 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4587222 posted 7:52 pm on Jun 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Can users here suggest how long will it take for Google to completely de-index all those urls generated by <snip> plugin? Also, the main url doesn't even appear in first 10 pages

I think we need more information here. Are you saying that the plugin has generated many URLs? If so, were these URLs creating a duplicate content on your site or thin pages on your site?

Now that you got rid of plugin, what is happening when these URLs are requested? Are they returning:
a) 404 Not found
b) 410 Gone
c) Redirecting 301 (or 302?) somewhere, if so, where?
d) Still returning the page (200 OK), only this page is now not interlinked from within your site
e) If they are returning 200 OK, are they using meta robots noindex directive?

I have started getting a plethora of errors in google webmaster (and rightly so).

What kind of errors are you getting in WMT?

Also, when you say "plethora of errors", how many? Hundreds? Thousands? How many URLs did this plugin create?

Serendipity



 
Msg#: 4587222 posted 8:05 pm on Jun 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

The plugin's page states: "Increase the number of pages indexed by adding a special link to search results"

The requested urls are getting 404 not found error (as shown in Google Webmaster). The number of these errors are decreasing though.

Also, to combat this I have installed a plugin which tries to locate any posts with similar words and redirects to that post before it generates the 404 error.

chalkywhite



 
Msg#: 4587222 posted 8:11 pm on Jun 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

I would 301 to the home page. Im pretty sure I was hit by Panda because of wordpress attachment pages. Check for those also and nake sure you 301 them to the page the image is used on.

Serendipity



 
Msg#: 4587222 posted 8:12 pm on Jun 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Sorry, forgot to mention about the errors. They were in lakhs initially but have now come down to thousands.

Serendipity



 
Msg#: 4587222 posted 8:14 pm on Jun 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

@chalkywhite I am no expert in SEO but isn't it better to redirect user to most relevant post on website than just homepage?

chalkywhite



 
Msg#: 4587222 posted 8:28 pm on Jun 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Yep 100% but im guessing you have hundreds if not more of these urls? lengthy task that! as aakk9999 said if you are not fussed on link juice then 410 then

aakk9999

WebmasterWorld Administrator 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4587222 posted 8:33 pm on Jun 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

I would 301 to the home page.

This is not a good idea - Google treats this as a soft 404.
You could redirect to a relevant page, but if there are no external links, I would have either leave them 404, or better, return 410 gone - they will drop out of index sooner.

From Google:
"Returning a code other than 404 or 410 for a non-existent page (or redirecting users to another page, such as the homepage, instead of returning a 404) can be problematic." [support.google.com...]

Serendipity



 
Msg#: 4587222 posted 8:40 pm on Jun 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

@chalkywhite I am not doing it manually. The plugin automates this depending on page requested. It looks for best possible (matchable) post and redirects user to that page.

@aakk9999 The pages which cannot be redirect do return 404 error. I am not sure how do I make them return 410 gone in wordpress setup.

Also, I am not sure but I am guessing it is because of these lakhs of urls that the main article doesn't virtually appear in top 10 pages.

Anyway to combat this issue?

aakk9999

WebmasterWorld Administrator 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4587222 posted 8:53 pm on Jun 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

I am not doing it manually. The plugin automates this depending on page requested. It looks for best possible (matchable) post and redirects user to that page.


Does this mean that as your blog changes (new pages added, existing pages updated), the new plugin can decide to do permanent redirect to a different post as the "best match" changed? I am not sure this is the best idea because this may leave your 301 redirect in the constant state of flux - for some time redirecting to one page, then starting to redirect to another, and so on.

With regards to returning 410, if URLs created with the original plugin (which created many URLs) have a common pattern that is unique and not found in your "good" URLs, then returning 410 can be just a few lines of code in .htaccess file.

In this case you could create a custom 410 page that would (for example) have links to your best or most popular posts in order to keep the visitor if he arrived via URL that now returns 410.

But I would question how many visitors you could get via these "bad" URLs because in order for visitors to arrive to these URLs previously created, then they have to be either:
a) indexed AND ranking for something in SERPs
b) bookmarked
c) linked from external site
d) visitor type in URL directly

I am not sure how likely is any of these.

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4587222 posted 1:14 am on Jun 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hi Serendipity - Welcome to WebmasterWorld.

The requested urls are getting 404 not found error (as shown in Google Webmaster). The number of these errors are decreasing though.

The 404s are expected behavior when you've dropped pages, and the fact that they're decreasing suggests that little by little they were going away. That's a good thing. 410s would be better, but it sounds like you don't know how to set them up on your server.

Also, to combat this I have installed a plugin which tries to locate any posts with similar words and redirects to that post before it generates the 404 error.

Bad idea. Get rid of it. Auto-generated tag pages are inherently Panda-unfriendly. Attempts to salvage them are only going to make this a bigger mess.

What is your worry about the 404s... particularly since you anticipated that they would happen?

Serendipity



 
Msg#: 4587222 posted 6:44 am on Jun 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

@aakk9999 Yes, you figured it out correctly. The plugin does indeed search for most relevant page so the redirection changes based on updates to website.

The urls are created with "/search/" being used in permalink. Examples:
...../search/5230-mazelock/page/3
...../search/zedge5233-com/page/2
The thing is I am not sure about dealing with this situation. I have been doing a lot of searching, wandering forums to find out the best way out to recover from this mess.

All the urls are indexed and traffic is coming from google itself. Again the problem is not the traffic but the fact that the original post isn't getting listed anywhere in top 10 pages. Moreover these bad links are also creating duplicate pages which to my knowledge isn't good.

@Robert Charlton Hey! The community has been very helpful till now. Already a warm welcome :)

Correct, I don't know how to set them up and thus depending on a plugin to do a similar job. Though the number of dropped pages is decreasing but the original posts aren't still appearing in top 10 pages.

No, the pages aren't auto generated, it's just that when a certain page is set to return 404 error, the plugin redirects to a similar page but then again, the redirect isn't permanent and might change when website is updated with new article.

I knew 404 error will appear but I also expected the original urls to gain their position back in Google search engine rankings. They are all but lost.

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