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Too many tags? Search problems

  1. I have a feeling I am doing something wrong with tags (maybe too many) and I know I can't be the only one with this problem so I am hoping someone can help.

    My posts used to show up in google search very well but now only my tags show up e.g. if I search in google for "how to be lucky in life" my post with that subject line (http://mattkinsella.com/2011/12/27/how-to-be-lucky-in-life/) used to be number 1 or 2 in google search but now only the tag shows up (http://mattkinsella.com/tag/how-to-be-lucky-in-life/) somewhere on the first page. This is the same for every other post I have created since day 1 and every post I create now.

    I know this is partly google related and I possibly shouldn't ask here but I have contacted google and they say there is nothing massively wrong, just with the way the site is setup. Because I am using a standard wordpress template (twentyten) and just using it in a standard way I think many other wordpress.com users must have this issue. I am sure there must be a simple solution, it might not be related to tags at all which is why I don't want to start making massive changes to tags or anything else until someone can point me in the right direction. Any advice would be great.

    The blog I need help with is mattkinsella.com.

  2. The rule of thumb when assigning categories and/or tags is keep them relevant and know that less is more. See here > Topics > Missing posts That said, these days search engines pay more attention to your keywords in your content than they do to your keywords in Tags/Categories and Matt Cutts of Google confirms this > http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/2012/03/01/revisiting-keywords-and-tags/

  3. Thanks for you reply, that's useful info. I am still not totally sure if tags is the problem though because I don't believe I have used more than 10 (inc categories) and even if 1 or 2 posts did reach that limit I don't see why all of my posts have gone from search results and only tags showing.

    After reading through the links you sent and watching the video from Matt Cutts I am now going to remove a lot of the tags from my posts and see if that helps. From the info in the links it won't hurt much so I will give it a go.

    In the missing posts link it mentions being flagged as mature content, I guess there is a possibility my blog has been wrongly marked as such. I don't know why but it's possible.

    Because I am not doing anything unusual with standard templates I am surprised a lot more people are not having this problem.

  4. asbadgerseesit
    Member

    Google do seem to bring up mostly post URL's that are tags or categories all the time. Nearly every visit we have had has been for a post tag URL and not the actual post URL Google has always been a mystery. As timethief says Google now rely more on keywords in a post, but i have to say, even so, they are still bringing up the post tags for people searching those key words, rather than the original post URL. Every friend i know on WP has the same thing happening on their blogs. Perhaps other people have this too, they just haven't realised it. I only know because i have Statcounter. For what it's worth, we added a post with just one tag, to see what would happen, and it has never had any views at all, even though it was a long written post.

  5. Before April this year I got a lot of traffic directly to posts and pages then it went overnight to only tags and categories. This has cut my traffic to 20% of what it was and I find it strange other wordpress.com users are not talking or caring about this. Could it be that wordpress.com is not google friendly any more and I should look for another platform to move my content to?

  6. asbadgerseesit
    Member

    Same for us. We have blogged for 8 years with different blogs on WP, and recently the way people reach us has changed, as in the being refered by tag or category, and our visits have dropped too. Even if people find us through images, they come through on a tag or category, which is very odd. Google constantly make changes and their most recent change wiped out long running sites completely. I don't think it's WP to be honest, because Google pay a lot of attention to WP blogs, it's just the way Google are now idexing things. If you moved elsewhere how could you be sure it wouldn't be the same? Because it seems it's the way Google are now running things. And Google does what it does and no-one gets any say in the matter.

  7. If I search for topics that my blog posts (not tags) used to show up for then I see other peoples blog posts and pages come up in the google results. So google is still showing results for blog posts and pages, not just tags and categories, even wordpress blog posts are there, however they seem to be self hosted wordpress blogs so maybe that is the issue; Maybe wordpress.com blogs have been hit in the google algo update earlier this year? Maybe google is only showing posts for self hosted wordpress blogs?

    Hate to keep saying it but I still can't believe more people haven't been making more noise about this, it's been 4 months since the google update that seems to have affected this, there must be many other wordpress.com users that have seen a serious drop off in search traffic. There must be a solution even if it is to go to a hosted wordpress blog. Is WordPress.com keeping this suppressed because they know it is now a serious negative against using wordpress.com vs .org hosted??

  8. Most people do not analyze their stats that closely.

    Going to an independentlly hosted blog will DECREASE your search engine status.

    I've been here six years and there's no question Google did something to increase the juice of local tag pages and decrease the juice of individual posts, but I see the same effect on my independently-hosted blogs as well.

  9. What, you wouldn't notice 100+ visitors every day from google search suddenly goes down to 20 or less every day? I wouldn't say that's analyzing my stats very closely. It's an obvious drop off, no analyzing required. Are you seriously saying I am the only one out of thousands of regular users that would notice that?

    Before April if I searched for certain phrases my post would be at number 3 and my tag or category link would show up half way down the first page somewhere. Now the post is on page 146 of results but tags are still half way down first page. That is not a bit of extra juice for tags and categories but posts are now a bit further down. That is a an obvious toilet flush on ALL posts, past, present and future but tags are still where they were.

  10. Well, you can try moving, but mark my words.

  11. I don't want to do anything hasty. That's why I want to find the real root issue and have a decent solution, whatever that might be. I don't want to move my content unless I really have to because other than this problem I am happy with wordpress.com.

    This morning I drastically reduced the number of tags I used. I removed 3 or 4 categories to simplify that a bit too.

    I also made sure I removed all tags that were the same or very similar as the blog title in case google was picking 1 of the 2 and choosing the tag over the blog post itself. After looking through everything there is a good chance this is the culprit but it might take a while for my changes to reflect in the search results. It would be great to find out from other wordpress.com users if they have had similar problems and whether they found any partial or full solutions.

  12. Wait, I've had an idea.

    Have you confirmed whether or not your posts are showing in the Reader? There are hundreds of people complaining that they are not, and staff are trying to narrow down why; it seems to have something to do with their feeds. I gave up on the Reader long ago, so I am not terribly familiar with it, but if there's a problem with your feed, that WILL have an effect.

  13. Just wanted to clarify: I also made sure I removed all tags that were the same or very similar as the blog POST title.

  14. My posts seem to be in the reader. Could you also verify that for me?

  15. asbadgerseesit
    Member

    @mattkinsella you should be aware that the tags you have now removed will produce 404 errors for those posts that were indexed by those tags, and Google index posts by tags and categories, but they also connect posts to other posts. One post can be indexed many times over, and by removing tags you have broken a chain.

  16. @redsoulnights Yes I know and I know it's not good but I have resubmitted the updated sitemap and hopefully once google reindexes things will be better. Currently I am getting so little traffic from google because of this issue described earlier that it's worth trying anything. I think I probably did have too many tags in some cases and a few of my categories were similar to my tags and post titles so in the long term I am happier this has been tidied up.

  17. asbadgerseesit
    Member

    Well we had the same issue as you, as you know, and we use very few tags, and as i said, one post with only one tag never had any views, we're not even sure it was ever indexed. We decided it doesn't matter how people reach us, just as long as they do! If they come to us through a tag rather than the original URL the only difference is that WP show it as a Home/Archive hit, and without Statcounter we wouldn't know what had actually been viewed. Perhaps WordPress should change things to coincide with what Google does, and actually show what tags or category posts are clicked on.

  18. @redsoulnights It does seem a mystery. Just done some more research and I have a friend that has a wordpress.com site. Noticed his posts are still performing well in google search along with the tags. His site is nearly the same age as mine although he doesn't post much. I noticed one of his posts that is performing well is in category "uncategorized" and only has 3 tags, none of which are the same as the blog title. Other than that I can't see why his posts would be ok in google and mine not. I am hoping that will be the reason and the work I have done today will rectify it.... eventually. But going by what you are saying then it can't be that otherwise why are you having the same issue?

    This is still a mystery because it is not a problem affecting everyone but is clearly affecting quite a few and it is not at all obvious why.

    I wish someone could shed some light on it because google are adamant that it's a site structure issue and as I am using a standard template and doing standard stuff with no add ons, not even a different font! It MUST be an issue within wordpress.com or some strange quirk of how I am using, a widget, tags, categories etc. Either way I would hope someone could point me in the right direction.

  19. Well, you do have a static page as your landing page. A friend of mine switched from having a blog landing page to a static page and dropped from in the top 1000 blogs on Earth to somewhere around 350,000 for that reason alone. Also, as far as I can tell your header has no link to the blog page either. You MUST have a link to it, otherwise Google will think all you have are static pages. And no, the widget doesn't count, those are Nofollow links.

  20. It was a static landing page for at least a year before problem started, if I had changed it just before or not long before then I could see that as an issue. However I won't dismiss it, I'll look into it.

    On your other point I think you will find the link on the header that says MATT'S BLOG is a link to my blog? Are you not seeing that?

  21. Ah, you're right. I need more coffee!

  22. It will take some time, maybe a couple of months to find out if my dramatic reduction and changes in tags and categories has worked due to the fact I will have to wait for Google to re index every page, post, tag, category and link on my site/blog and then decide where or if anything will show up in search results.

    I will keep you posted but it would be good if anyone else had any thoughts on this. Anyone?

  23. Just wanted to update and clarify what I have done to try and solve this and am waiting to see if it has worked or not:

    1) I removed or renamed all tags and categories that had the same or similar name as a blog post (I commonly tagged blog posts with similar or the same title as the blog post and this is often seen as duplicate titles and possibly content by google).

    2) I cleaned up the tags and categories generally and deleted a lot that were over used and unnecessary. My posts are now in 1 (or a few are in 2) category and have maximum 3 tags. These tags are now commonly one or two word tags like "work" "Inspiration" "education" "charity work" rather than some of the longer tags I used to have.

    3) I changed the name and the title of any media/pics I used in blog posts that had the same or similar names as the blog posts. This could be quite common to help you identify which posts you used pics or media in but again this can be seen as duplicate titles and content by google so I think they had to be changed. I had to do this in each blog post because unlike the tags and categories which I edited or deleted from the dashboard when I changed the media/pic files it did not change the titles under each post.

    This has been quite a laborious process but I am hoping it will work. It will take at least another few weeks for my site to be re-indexed, re-crawled etc. I will post back here with results because I think if I am right then the mistakes I made could be quite common for wordpress.com users and they should be made aware.

  24. Still Google hasn't recrawled so waiting to find out if what I have done has worked. I have been doing a little more research though and this problem could be with the automatically generated sitemaps that wordpress.com creates.

    I am no expert and I don't particularly want to be (that's why I use wordpress.com) but it seems that if a tag, category or media title is similar to a blog post or page title, google will choose those over the blog posts or pages. This should rarely be the case and I don't know why they would do that but that's how their automatic engine seems to pick apart wordpress sites since their last update. The only way to address this is through the sitemap to set how google prioritizes similar content. In my opinion blog posts and pages should take priority in most cases over archives, tags, categories, media titles etc.

    Because of the basic way sitemaps are generated by wordpress.com we seem to be at a serious disadvantage to those that can create and edit their own sitemaps since the last Google algo update.

    I know changing the sitemap setup could have implications and as I have said I am not an expert on this but I think the wordpress.com team should look at this.

  25. Matt, I am having the same issue like you are.

    Before this issue (I realized this issue on Aug 20th), whenever I post a new article, it will show up on google 1st page in about 30 mins at most.

    However right now, the post title will not show up anymore unless I am searching the entire title with quotation marks.

    Now it will either show up in the tag exactly like you are having or show the title of my blog homepage and the article title becomes the description.

    My traffic has dropped about 50% now.

    I am suspecting it was due to a maybe blackhat SEO...but not completely sure

  26. @ilovejdmtoy Are you using a lot of tags and/or categories and are those tags and categories the same or similar to your blog post titles? From the feedback I have had from Google I am not being penalized for anything (like blackhat SEO) it is just the Google algo picking out what it thinks is the most relevant stuff. In this case it's (wrongly) choosing tag pages instead of posts. Did you read through what I have done to attempt to rectify this? Do you think the same might apply to you?

    If I am right then this seems to affect wordpress.com blogs that have over a certain amount of posts, which is why it only happens after running the blog for a while. The blog then builds up a number of posts, tags, picture titles (and alt tags) and categories that have "similar content", which you would expect when a blog is based on a certain topic or subject. Then Google decides that it doesn't like all this similar content (this is strange to me when it is normal to have a blog targeting one subject), then Googles algo creates the mess described and experienced by you and me.

    As I have mentioned above I have tried to make a number of manual changes to my blog which is lengthy and laborious and I don't know if it will work yet. As I also mention above I think this could be easily rectified for us (the users) with a better sitemap that states posts take priority over tag pages, categories, media, archives etc. but here at wordpress.com we are relying on the wordpress.com team to generate our sitemap. at the moment that sitemap is incredibly basic and not nearly comprehensive enough. I am not an expert though and I know a different sitemap structure might affect other things so I don't know but it would be nice if the techies could at least look at it.

  27. I do use a lot of tags, but only one or two categories, so please keep me posted if your new method works.

    If that's case I will also try to reduce my tags for all the posts.

  28. @ilovejdmtoy
    The blog linked to your username is private so I don't know why you posted into this thread.

  29. @timethief

    The blog is http://ijdmtoy.com/BLOG/wordpress/

  30. That's not even a free hosted WordPress.com blog and this support forum is only for free hosted WordPress.com blogs. I guess you don't know that you are posting to the wrong support forum. The support forum for WordPress.org software is here http://wordpress.org/support/ Please read this to clear up your confusion > WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org: The Differences

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