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Need help with URL and search engine ranking (11 posts)

  1. agarlan
    Member
    Posted 6 years ago #

    I am currently having a problem with my wordpress site not being found or ranked correctly on Google and some other search engines. I had, for several years a site called http://www.thegulfmusic.com which was ranked quite high on search engines when people typed in "The Gulf band" or "The Gulf boston" or a number of other search terms. Ever since I remade my site with wordpress, my rankings have plummeted and in some cases disappeared.

    I know that my site's URL has somehow changed and is now thegulfmusic.com, instead of http://www.thegulfmusic.com. Could it be this missing "www" that is causing this issue?

    I have all the necessary metatags, a good title, etc, for this to be ranked decently, as well and a lot of content and a good number of links pointing to the site. But I believe the outside links are pointing to http://WWW.thegulfmusic.com, not thegulfmusic.com. Could this be the problem?

    Thanks!

  2. VeraBass
    Member
    Posted 6 years ago #

    WWW shouldn't have anything to do with it, although you could use the no-www plugin code if you wanted to eliminate one through a simple 301 redirect. You can also specify one or the other in your Google webmaster account.

    According to xinereturns.com you have a Google page rank of 3, but only 1 page indexed on Google. Lots of indexing on other major search engines, though.

    Maybe you haven't given Google a sitemap?

    There's a great WP plugin called Google Sitemap Generator.

  3. DianeV
    Member
    Posted 6 years ago #

    > Could it be this missing "www" that is causing this issue?

    Yes.

    The problem here is that you changed the URLs to your pages (which means *all* the pages, not just the home page), so search engines generally will interpret that as "old pages gone and all new pages":

    These URLs:
    => http://site.com
    => http://site.com/page.html
    are not the same as these URLs:
    => http://www.site.com
    => http://www.site.com/page.html

    As well, it's best to ensure that your pages are accessible either with the "www" or without — but not both. That said, most search engines will figure it out eventually (but who wants to wait for something "eventually"?).

    > Ever since I remade my site

    When was that, exactly?

    If this was my site, I'd choose whether I want the "www" or not, and then redirect the one I didn't (that is, non-www to www, or vice-versa). Although I have a picky dislike for the "www" as it's entirely unnecessary, in this case — where search engines had picked up the www version and people may have bookmarked or linked to it as well — I'd opt for that.

    Lastly, actually, you don't need to give Google a sitemap (that is, a Google site map). I've been building sites for 10 years and haven't needed to do anything with search-engine-specific site maps. Generally speaking, if you need to feed URLs to a search engine nowadays, something is wrong. Or you have a very, very very very large site. In this case, a Google site map would not fix the existing problem; it might speed up picking up the "new" pages, but that's all.

  4. WPITn2shape
    Member
    Posted 6 years ago #

    Hey, ya from Boston? I just moved away - it's still in my heart though. Anyway....

    YES! www. and no www. are DIFFERENT to Google! They have different page ranks. If ALL your links go to http://www. ... and now you're not really there (although hopefully it'll redirect you to the correct place) then the links don't count.

    STUPID HUH?

    Can you fix this to re-add http://www.?

    I swear to god! Seriously!

    Hope you can get it working out. I understand the troubles with Google. You don't know trouble 'less you know crack/cocaine trouble OR Google ranking trouble! Ha ha little humour. :-D

    Hope you get it sorted soon. It might even get better quickly! Best of luck.

  5. agarlan
    Member
    Posted 6 years ago #

    Thanks for all of the replies. Here are a few responses:

    1. I made the new site (using wordpress) several months ago. At least 4 months ago, in fact.

    2. I am supposedly using a google sitemap generator, but I have seen no results.

    3. Currently, if people type http://www.thegulfmusic.com, they are directed to my website. They also get there by typing thegulfmusic.com. In my wordpress site Admin panel, my site is listed at thegulfmusic.com.

    3. How can I change my entire site back to http://www.thegulfmusic.com? Would I do this from the Site Admin section of wordpress where I type in the URL? Or would I have to do something with my directory structure? Or would I have to do something with my domain?

    I'm very confused.

    Thanks to all of you for your help so far.

  6. VeraBass
    Member
    Posted 6 years ago #

    Well, I've learned something here also, having been told always that there was no difference between keeping or dropping the redundant www.

    Meanwhile you can, as I mentioned, specifiy which one you want Google to look at in the webmasters tools of your Google account.

    You can do a 301 redirect in your htaccess (from www to none or vice versa), but I've read on these forums that WordPress doesn't always like redirects. I don't see why you couldn't reverse the addresses in Matt's no-www plugin, though. It's one very short and straightforward php file.

  7. agarlan
    Member
    Posted 6 years ago #

    Thanks for the advice. In the Google webmaster tools, I just changed under Tools > Set Preferred Domain. I set the preferred domain to http://www.thegulfmusic.com. Hopefully this will help (it was previously set to default as thegulfmusic.com).

    I am still a little bit confused, though.

    It seems like the problem with my ranking is that all of the links on the internet that point to my site point to WWW.thegulfmusic.com. However, it seems that somehow that is no longer my domain (my domain is considered thegulfmusic.com - no WWW). If this is true, then the links around the net no longer point to my site. This would explain why Google doesn't rank thegulfmusic.com very high (because all of the links throughout the web point to http://WWW.thegulfmusic.com).

    Maybe I somehow removed the www from my domain when I switched hosts (I switched hosts when I created the new website based on wordpress). Or did I somehow remove the association with the www through some kind of wordpress configuration option?

    I want Google to consider my site http://www.thegulfmusic.com. But is the problem something internal with my site? Is there something I need to do with my host or my domain name to make my site actually register with Google as http://www.thegulfmusic.com? Will changing my URL in WordPress Site Admin > Options > general make this happyen.

    Sorry if this is confusing, but I'm generally confused. Is this a problem with the domain name I own, a Google sitemap (which I have on my site, by the way), a setting in WordPress, or something I need to set in Google webmaster tools?

    Thanks again!
    Adam

  8. VeraBass
    Member
    Posted 6 years ago #

    Both versions, with and without www, exist at the same time with the same content. One is a mirror of the other. The only way to stop one being used is by permanently redirecting one to the other.

    If you've just done a change with Google then you have to wait for new crawls to see any differences. Are the urls in your Goggle sitemap written with www as well?

  9. agarlan
    Member
    Posted 6 years ago #

    Thanks, VeraBass, for continuing to respond to my posts.

    I did the change 3 days ago with google and I'm still having problems. Yes, the links in the sitemap are written with the www. What's happening now is strange - Google finds my home page, but doesn't seem to find any of the other pages in my site. In webmaster tools, it's like those other pages in the site don't exist. I'm stumped.

    How can I do a permanent redirect? Should I? Is there any downside to doing this?

    Thanks again!

  10. VeraBass
    Member
    Posted 6 years ago #

    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^yoursite\.com$ [NC]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.yoursite.com/$1 [R=301,L]

    ...is an example of creating a 301 redirect via an htaccess file.

    As I mentioned earlier, I've read that WP doesn't always get along with redirects, and it's better to do it internally. That is what is done by the no-www plugin.

    Both the above example and the plugin are usually used to do the opposite of what you want, so you would need to find and (very carefully) reverse the url references. ie. add www where it's missing and remove it where it exists.

    I'll leave the downside question for someone more knowledgeable. You can always take a re-direct back out, but whatever is cached by visitors while it's there can't be changed.

    Research and check on all other related factors, including your robots.txt file, folder and file permissions, indexing rules, etc. Some permissions and rules have default settings chosen initially by your host, and you have to learn about them and what they do in order to manage this stuff. :)
    Managing G seo is an entire other occupation. I don't go there beyond the basics which, for me, are only about knowing enough to prevent bad results. There are lots of search results to read on the subject if you're interested.

  11. benfranklin
    Member
    Posted 5 years ago #

    Can someone please post how this was actually resolved.

    Maybe agarlan, if you could post how this was resolved that'd be really helpful.

    Thanks.

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