Too many tags? Search problems
Ah, you’re right. I need more coffee!
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?
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.
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.
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
@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.
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.
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
This issue is less about the number of categories and tags and more about the similarity between the blog post titles and the tags and/or categories used. Hence why I think redsoulnights has a similar problem even though they claim not to use too many tags (I can’t verify this because there is no link to their site).
I have noticed that the tag, category and archive pages that wordpress generates are not included the wordpress.com sitemap generated for my site. Only posts, user generated pages and pics/media are in the sitemap. So when I have deleted a post then resubmitted the updated sitemap to google webmaster tools the removed posts are removed from the Google index within a few days. But because the tag links pages etc. are found by google when the bot crawls the site and not via the sitemap, now I have removed those tags, google webmaster tools is just throwing up errors. Hopefully eventually google will realize I deleted the tags and categories on purpose and it will drop them from their index.
@mattkinsella you wouldn’t find redsoulnights (Nathan) anyway. He was an author on my blog and that blog has now been deleted. It was my blog he was refering to. We dropped the amount of tags and only used two categories but we then had absolutely zero hits from Google search. I really believe the tags ARE important for Google and without them you become invisible. I think you may have made a mistake in changing things the way you did, but time will tell.
I think the problem is not on tags and categories. I use 3-9 tags on each post and there are many posts that I put in 2-3 categories. Based on my blog stats, the traffic continues to rise. In one day there are about 7000-10000 unique visitors (according to histats.com) with pageviews in the range of 50000-70000 / day.
I can not say that category or tag causes a decrease traffic because it does not happen on my blog. But I can only say the things I do to increase traffic. And the thing that I did was the “old” tips.
1. Write and keep writing. This is to keep the google bot always see something new on my blog.
2. As long as I’m not being lazy or forgot, I always make a list of 10 recent articles on the end of each post (using shortcodes). – visitors more easily view the latest posts.
3. Always make inbound links between relevant posts.
4. Utilizing social media (facebook.com, etc) as much as possible.
Unfortunately, you’ve remove and / or change the category and tag before we knew whether it was the cause of the search problem.
(Sorry with my English)
I know I stated in the original part of this thread that I was wondering about the amount of tags but I have since explained that I think it is more about the similarity between tags and post titles. e.g. having a post title of “My Latest book reviews” and then using tags for that post “latest book reviews” and “book reviews” This seems to result in google detecting similar content and then picking the tag pages to show in search results instead of the blog post. I did this a lot even for obscure and specific post titles, I often replicated that post title in a tag.
I know tags are important, I have not done away with them all together. My Google traffic had gone so far through the floor I had nothing to lose so any mistake I have made won’t be a big deal, I can always spend time putting some tags back again if necessary.
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