Sunday, February 12, 2017

Signs of Life?

OK, just a quick update on the current state of The Sleaze, following Friday's downbeat assessment of the traffic situation with regard to Google.  I decided to apply some logic to the problem, taking the non-indexing of posts by Google News as my starting point.  Bearing in mind that Google is currently favouring Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which have extremely simple code, supposedly for faster loading om mobile devices, in its news index, it seemed a reasonable assumption that the current version of the Google News bot was geared to read and index pages with simpler code.  Indeed, I do already produce AMP versions of posts, which Google seemed to be indexing (although, as they are treated as being specifically for mobile devices, they aren't visibly indexed in any of Google's main indexes).  So, it seemed logical that the 'content too short' error messages could be the result of the bot mistaking the first blocks of text it came to in the page code for content, rather than, say, just meta tags or sidebar content.  Consequently, I decided to take drastic action, switching the theme over to one I knew had simpler code on its post pages, as it was designed to be fully responsive on mobile devices.

Now, I have to say that I really don't like the resulting new look of The Sleaze, (although 'd been playing around with the new theme off line for some time, with a view to using it on the live site), but it has yielded results.  Within minutes of the switch, I'd persuaded Google to index six previously rejected posts in its News Index.  By this evening, it had correctly re-indexed over a hundred pages in the News Index.  In overall traffic terms, there has been an improvement.  Nothing spectacular, but Google referrals have definitely increased since the theme switch.    Of course, this is just one day and it would be dangerous to make any assumptions on the basis of these recent stats.  However, I think that there might be grounds for cautious optimism.  (Having said that, traffic will probably crash again tomorrow, the way things have been going).  Whilst the site isn't off of life support yet, it is, at least, still breathing.

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