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Google likes topic pages... but articles not so much?

     
10:22 pm on Jun 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I was curious if anybody has experienced this: Google loves my "topic" pages, but is sluggish at indexing the actual articles I write.

Often topic pages are quickly indexed, while there is a lag for the actual articles listed on the topic pages. At the same time, my topic pages tend to rank highly, while individual articles do not.
10:29 am on June 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

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My first thought would be to check technical issues.
But, equally, have you considered that your topic pages are probably better linked across the site? So its not unreasonable that they crawl the article pages less, IMHO.
7:32 pm on June 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Technical issues? What do you mean?
9:51 pm on June 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Your topic pages (e.g. category pages) are linked to from every page on your site most likely, you're telling Google they are important. You're also probably showing snippets of the actual article under the title/link. It's duplicate content on your own site and so Google will index a page, but which... probably the one you say is more important(because you link to it sitewide).

Solutions
- remove/limit duplicate content
- interlink related articles together <--HIGHLY recommended

Without explaining the intricacies of "rank flow" the impact that interlinking articles has can be substantial. It has the effect of passing less "rank/trust/whatever" to category pages and stores more of it on articles. (re-read that, let it sink in)

note: if you show a snippet of your most recent articles on your index page it's likely that your index page will get indexed ahead of the article but will be MUCH lower ranked for that subject than the article itself would be. That clears up when the article is no longer appearing on your index page, it will become your best candidate for its subject and may very well become highly ranked for it, more-so than your index page could ever be.
11:09 pm on June 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Technical issues? What do you mean?

Things like accidentally blocking a folder in robots.txt, or an error in the html of the article page, making it look less compelling to the G-bot, or, something weird on your hosting so the response time of the articles is way more than that of the topic pages or, oh lots of possibilities...

But read through and consider the Sargent's comment before you worry about that :)
3:01 am on June 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Thanks, Sgt. what you said makes a lot of sense based on my site structure. My topic pages had the full text of my articles, so I guess that's why they ranked higher.

I've converted to excerpts on the topic pages now, I'm guessing the Google juice will eventually slip back to the article pages. Thanks for the advice.