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Not a single Google hit after 4 months?

     
11:28 am on Oct 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Am I doing something wrong?

I wish Google would go back to the simple days of allowing people to develop sites without having to have a lot of technical knowledge. These days, there are far too many obstacles to running a site smoothly. The unexpected errors in the search console, canonical issues, lack of smooth indexing of content, etc. Just when you think you are on a top of a problem, another issue arises. It's just a constant battle.
12:50 pm on Oct 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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What do the reports in Google Search Console say?

When you uploaded your sitemap.xml did the report verify all your documents were indexed?

Are there any issues when you run the Fetch as Googlebot tool?

Any issues when you run the robots.txt validation tool?
1:00 pm on Oct 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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How is that Google's fault?
2:02 pm on Oct 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Let me begin by saying I feel your frustration, I have had similar experiences.
Not a single Google hit after 4 months?

The unexpected errors in the search console, canonical issues...

Am I doing something wrong?

The first two quotes are entirely different issues, that may or may not be related. To be clear are you asking:

Are the errors and issues in GSC causing your site not to receive traffic from Google?
or
I there something, anything, that is being done wrong that is preventing Google from sending traffic?
2:02 pm on Oct 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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One of the sites has pages indexed and Google fetch and robot validation are fine. But not a single hit in 4 months since starting the site.

The two-month site has problems. Fetch status keeps showing REDIRECTED everytime I fetch, but robot validation is allowed. According to indexed pages, none indexed as yet though I can find the site when I search Google. And the site prompt on Google site:examplesite.com does find indexed pages.
2:59 pm on Oct 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I wish Google would go back to the simple days of allowing people to develop sites without having to have a lot of technical knowledge.

Then, just use ready-to-use CMS (Wordpress, etc...)

These days, there are far too many obstacles to running a site smoothly.

It's normal that with the time, things get more "professional". Also there are too many sites, at some point you have to achieve technical "things" to try to make a difference with the millions of the other site covering the same niche.

Not a single Google hit after 4 months?

This is not necessarily surprising for a site which is new. All depend of your niche too. This is not a sit and wait. You can't expect to deliver instant traffic magically.

Across the years, there was also more or less sandboxing effects from Google. New sites not ranking immediately as they should. And I think this is something which has been refined within today's context, you know, fake news, clickbalt, manipulations of opinions, etc...

That being said, at the GSC you can see the stats about the keywords for which your site appears, as well as the number of impressions in the Google's SERP, and especially the position within the search results. What do these stats say for your site? How many SERP impressions, and average position?

Fetch status keeps showing REDIRECTED

Sounds like an issue. I never saw this message, but I guess it means that the URL is redirecting to another one. So it's something to look at. I guess that when you visit this site, the pages are showing correctly. But verify they don't redirect somehow. Like for example when adding a session ID to the URLs (I still this, even in 2018). Check your Apache (nginx,etc...) configure, to look if there are special rewrite rules.
4:06 pm on Oct 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Are you fetching the page correctly? You don't include the www.domain.com. You just include anything after the .com/

As for not getting any hits... It depends what keywords you're targeting. If you're a new site, find long tail keywords to target with low competition and get Google to trust your website first.

Traffic will normally start to increase after 6 months from my experience.
4:47 pm on Oct 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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are you usig SSl/TLS certificate? the redirection error could be to do with that and having http redirected to https but for instance your sites map is listing urls as http. Something to look into if this sounds like it might be possible part of the problem
2:17 pm on Oct 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Some of the pages are under the following within my search console: "Duplicate, submitted URL not selected as canonical"

When I visit the site, the URLs are without the www. The URL structure is the following http://example.com/article/

Does this mean the site has more than one URL structure, meaning URLs with www in front of them are considered duplicates? Couldn't duplicates hurt the site? How do I fix this problem?

There other pages that are supposedly excluded from indexing because of REDIRECTS. Many of these are genuine pages. How did they get redirected? I have never done anything to enable redirecting to anything. All I ever do is create content and then publish them.

Still, there are other pages that have supposedly been crawled but not yet indexed. Some of these pages are months or even years old. I cannot see anything that would stop them being indexed.


[edited by: not2easy at 2:37 pm (utc) on Oct 8, 2018]
[edit reason] unlinked for readability - use example.com [/edit]

2:48 pm on Oct 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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If you have no canonical rewrite in place so that requests for http://www.example.com are shown http://www.example.com and requests for http://example.com will see http://example.com then you will see this kind of issue. These are two different sites for Google and they are duplicate sites. It is possible to add a canonical tag but if any of those canonical header tags shows the "other" version of the site it would cause problems.

If your site is hosted on an Apache server, you can read about how that's done in the Apache Forum [webmasterworld.com]
6:13 pm on Oct 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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What do you recommend I do? How much impact does this issue have on search rankings? How did two versions come about in the first place? I think something like this should never have been left to the site owner. The visitor should be automatically directed to the right version without having the page be considered a duplicate.

"It is possible to add a canonical tag but if any of those canonical header tags shows the "other" version of the site it would cause problems."

Are you saying its best to leave it as it is?

I am hosted on a typical shared server with Bluehost by the way.

Can any of the plugins cause problems?
6:24 pm on Oct 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I can probably put the canonical rewrite in place by following a good tutorial somewhere. But should I put it in?
6:44 pm on Oct 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Can any of the plugins cause problems?
OK, the word "plugins" suggests that this is a WordPress site. Is that correct? If so, are all the URLs on the site within WP? If so, then there should not be any canonical issue because WordPress sites are only shown where the Settings file says they should be shown. In other words, if you used non-www URLs when you set up WordPress, then all URLs in WP are non-www URLs and there should be no way to visit them with "www." as part of the URL.

Now, if you have pages outside of WP (since you said the URL structure is "http://example.com/article/ ") and those non-WP pages can be accessed either way, then you should have a rewrite set up in your .htaccess file to avoid serving either/or with/without 'www'.

If Google is telling you that there are REDIRECTS when you try to fetch, then something, somewhere is not set up correctly. As for plugins, only you would know if you have plugins that can alter URLs and if so, they would be following your settings.

Try to reach your site by pasting http://www.example.com/article/ (with your actual URLs) in your browser's address bar, that will tell you if you are being redirected to the settings that you have put in your Settings file. If by any chance you've got settings in ControlPanel that might be redirecting, that can cause such errors also.

Edited to add: If you want to learn how to deal with rewrites, the Library of the Apache Forum [webmasterworld.com] has thousands of examples.

7:19 am on Oct 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Thanks. Your input has helped a lot with my understanding of this. I am indeed using Wordpress.

I still don't understand why some of the pages are not found. This is especially true for pages published in the last few months, while pages that are years old are mostly indexed.
1:57 pm on Oct 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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There is still a question about why you are seeing Google reporting "REDIRECTS" and it sounds like you could have an error that creates multiple steps to the rewrites. If you look at your .htaccess file, make sure that the section for WordPress comes after any other rewrites you might have in there. That is the part that starts off with
# BEGIN WordPress
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>


If you are not certain about the order of the rules or the syntax, take your questions to the Apache [webmasterworld.com] forum for help.

4:55 pm on Oct 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The Yoast SEO plugin might have been responsible for this. It seems to me that I had several versions of a web page. This could have been due to the fact under Yoast admin, I didn't turn off the features that allow search engines to index categories, tags, etc.

That said, the same plugin does have another feature which allows a post to set canonical URL on a post by post basis from the post editor. It gives you two options.

There is a field to set the canonical URL for the post

"The canonical URL that this page should point to, leave empty to default to the permalink. Cross-domain canonical supported too."

Under Wordpress settings, permalinks: the current permalink is set with the following URL structure:

http://example.com/category/page

Should I set the canonical URL by going through each post and adding manually, or should I default it to permalink?

Now, if I set it up manually by pasting the URL for each post, would there be an issue regarding search engine rankings? A few of my pages seem to be found from the search engines without http:// or www

So, if I set up the canonical URL by adding them manually to each post, which will set it up as http://example.com/category/page what happens with the pages that are found without http:// or www?

Sorry if the above sounds incoherent.


[edited by: not2easy at 6:45 pm (utc) on Oct 9, 2018]
[edit reason] readability - use example.com [/edit]

5:04 pm on Oct 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Current permalinks is set this way http :: // site / category / page

A few of my best-ranked pages are found without both http and www (e.g. site/category/page) in the url while other well ranked pages are found with http but without www in them.
6:43 pm on Oct 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I would let the canonicals be set to default to the permalink in Yoast, unless there is a reason to alter them. If your permalink structure includes the /category/ and IF pages cannot be accessed without that /category/ you might want only pages listed in your sitemaps to prevent duplicates. WP offers several ways to sort pages and if you offer the same content in multiple sitemaps, that's not a good thing. Google generally understands how WP works, but if you submit category, tags, archives and page sitemaps there will be duplicates since the category name is part of your permalinks.

Earlier in this thread you said that your URL structure is "http://example.com/article/ " - without www which is a setting you define when you first set up the site. If you are able to visit pages with www. in the URL, there is a problem in your .htaccess file which would also cause Google to rant about Redirects. This may be the cause of your indexing issues.

Note that if you use "example.com" everyone can read your examples without requiring an edit. As far as I can tell from your examples, the result of 'default' and 'pasting in the URL' are the same, so why bother with that?
8:45 pm on Oct 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I can visit the site or a page of the site typing www in the URL but www disappears when the site or page is loaded. The page loads correctly but without www or http : //, but when I copy the URL from the URL bar and paste it the URL now does include http : // (the same as the permalink).

Of course. You are right. Leaving the URL field empty will result in the same thing because it uses the permalink setting when left empty.
9:10 pm on Oct 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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That "www disappears" is supposed to happen when things are working correctly. How it disappears can be one step (should be) or it can be a series of steps. The issue of not seeing "http:" in your browser is a feature of your browser, nothing to do with things on your site. Try other browsers or see if you can opt out of that feature, if you want to see it.
9:43 pm on Oct 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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On further inspection, I now see my home page is no longer indexed under HTTP : // but rather under https://

How did this https come into the equation? I haven't personally done anything to enable it?
12:03 am on Oct 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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You might wish to talk with your host?
3:59 am on Oct 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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^^ Big time! Make the query!
6:04 am on Oct 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I will do. But what should I say to them?

Isn't it best I add a rel canonical tag in the header? It's gotten so messy. I seem to be ranking for different URL versions for different pages of the site. I do know Google says in the search console that they will choose to index in the search whichever version they feel appropriate. Maybe all the posts (content) are indexed but without a consistent URL. So even though I have ended up with a lot of non-indexed pages, the number of indexed pages still probably amount to a total consistent with the number of pages I have published. But this then goes back to the problem of the duplicate content issue which may have an adverse impact on rankings.

Should I hire a coder to take a look at the problem?
10:10 am on Oct 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Called web host and told them to remove the SSL certificate installed on the domain.
10:24 am on Oct 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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told them to remove the SSL certificate
You may want to rethink that.

What Will Happen if I Don't Switch to HTTPS? [webmasterworld.com]

Downsides of not using HTTPS [webmasterworld.com]

Why HTTPS Matters [developers.google.com]
4:21 pm on Oct 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for those links.

Could it be that I have a lot of backlinks (links pointing to my site from external sites) disappear because of the https installation? I suddenly noticed yesterday (wasn't aware before) that the home page is now appearing in search with https.

They said it will take a day or two for the uninstallation to take effect.

What do you guys do when enabling https for your sites? Does the link juice pass to the new https URL, or would it require some sort of redirection?

I already redirected the URLs three or fours years ago when the permalinks were set to show the date in the URL. It didn't seem very search crawler friendly at the time.


Tangor: "^^ Big time! Make the query!"

Inquire about what?
4:37 pm on Oct 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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By the way, is the SSL required for all types of sites, even pure content sites, ones that do not require any input from the visitor that may require a secure connection? The only input they may do is use the comments section.
6:09 pm on Oct 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Called web host and told them to remove the SSL certificate installed on the domain.
wtf? WHY?

What you should be doing instead is move to a host who doesn't make changes behind your back without your knowledge or consent. And then get a fresh SSL certificate of your own.

Should I hire a coder to take a look at the problem?
That might not be a bad idea ... but how will you know the coder is doing things right?
8:49 pm on Oct 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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^Been doing a lot of googling about the SSL certification and it seems I might have done the wrong thing by asking them to remove the SSL. The trend seems to be more and more sites are going the SSL route. But what happens to the URL? If the HTTPS prefix replaces HTTP what happens to the backlinks pointing to the site? Will the link juice pass to the new URL? Do I need to complete a redirect instruction? I have noticed a number of sites linking in have been going down for a good two/three months now according to the search console.
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