Google; love ’em or leave them. Leave them and become obsolete sooner. That’s a lesson many bloggers learn early in their online content life. If you’re hoping people will find some of your articles, it’s best not to irk them… at least that’s what most people believe.
Can you index which one is me?
A couple of months ago I went through the exhausting process of working through the Google algorithm via their search console “page indexing” category. Google and I have kind of a bad relationship when it comes to this blog; I’ll come back to that in a minute or two (depending how fast you read lol). In this case I’d been receiving monthly email saying my articles weren’t indexing. It wasn’t just this blog I own that had that issue, but it had a high volume of articles it wasn’t indexing compared to the others.
If you’re interested in why Google and I had a bad breakup many years ago, I briefly tell the story in this article, I’ve Lost Over 500 Articles; Why?, which I wrote 2 posts ago. The down and dirty of it is that Google got mad, de-indexed me, and it took a while to get back in their good graces. Even after they let me back in, they didn’t start indexing my articles unless I put in the specific title… even then, not all of my articles showed up; I thought that was excessive!
So I decided it was time to work on the problem. I took a few days this summer working on it, ran a test, and Google said it was working well. I checked some of the latest articles at the time, thought all was well, and moved on with life.
Until a week ago when I got another email from Google, saying many of my articles weren’t indexed. How many you might ask; well, it’s easier to tell you how many have been indexed; 357 articles… ouch! I have over 1,300 articles still on this blog, and they’ve only indexed 357 of them?!?!? :-O
First, let me get this out of the way. The article I mentioned above about the 500 articles has been indexed; it shows up at #1 via search; whew! An article I wrote in September titled Everyone’s Got An Opinion shows up at #5; not bad for a title that many people use on a daily basis.
But all those other articles… hmmph! I had to do some research.
First, there’s a category called “crawled – currently not indexed”. I had 65 articles listed there, and a tab I could push asking them to “validate fix”… which didn’t make sense as all of those articles are from between 2021 and 2022. Still, I clicked on it, and I’m sure I’ll hear at some time what the results show.
There was another category titled “Discovered – currently not indexed”… 863! When I went through some of those titles, I realized they were all older articles, with one of the “latest” of the bunch from 2014. As I looked through some of those articles, I realized that they weren’t top of the line. One of those was a quick hitter of less than 300 words; ugh! It was from 2012, and got lots of comments… but in today’s world it’s out of touch and not all that professional.
I had to think about it for a bit until I realized there wasn’t any reason to be mad. I’d mentioned in the 500 article post about how many I’ve gotten rid of, so I probably have a long way to go. Instead, I wanted to know about those 65 articles that were indexed but not showing. One of those talked about repurposing content, which I wrote in 2018; it’s a good article that I recommend you check out if you have older content that you want to refresh for today’s world. At least Google knew they had it, so I can only hope the validation process finds it again and this time indexes it.
What can you do if you decide you want to do “something”, anything, with older posts that don’t show up on search engines? There’s really only 4 things you can do:
1. Rewrite the article with more purposeful content. Doing that makes the article more valuable to readers, and it might gain some traction if you republish it as if it’s new.
2. Leave the article as something you want to link to in later articles. That’s something I’ve done often. Sometimes a short article can be valuable if it explains one specific thing and you move on from there. Internal linking is always valuable to blog posts, and if enough people decide to check it out, who knows how Google will interpret it?
3. Remove the article and move on with life. The 500 articles I got rid of didn’t have a chance to be worthwhile for anyone. I didn’t want to spend the time doing them again, so they had to do, and I didn’t look back.
4. Leave it there for personal reasons. Maybe clean them up some, but if they mean something to you leave them alone; maybe link to them on occasion because the topics might mean something to someone else. I recently talked about keeping the articles I wrote about Michael Jackson back in 2009. I also kept one about diabetes, my favorite classical pieces, and my top 10 fictional characters… because I’m a big kid! See, I just linked to them, and even if no one checks them out, they’ve served a purpose. 🙂
That’s all I’ve got for the moment. If those 65 articles don’t show up on search within the next few weeks, I might write about it again; I don’t mind fussing every once in a while!
I’m Just Sharing