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Are Your Links Working For You?

    seo links sitemaps yoast

    Backlinks. Inbound links. Broken links. Indexed links. SEO thrives or dies on links.

    I’ve been across all of those lately, spending an inordinate amount of time to discover what would have taken a WebMaster a fraction of the time to achieve.

    Firstly I had major issues trying to get Yoast SEO to generate a sitemap which Google WebMaster would recognise. Hours of searching, trial and error led me to try another plugin. Still an issue. Then another plugin. Still an issue. So, I gave up with plugin-land and went old-school.

    If you search online you can generate a nifty little Sitemap Generator which will get you underway. I used this site and in seconds generated an effective sitemap. It was just a matter then of downloading it and re-uploading to the root directory of my website via FTP. Sure, it’s not going to update so I still have to solve the main issue but for now at least Google will crawl my site better.

    One of the issues I had was the pesky “index.php” butting itself into my URL as in domainname.tld/index.php/anyfile. After searching and trying a range of hacks including playing carefully with my htaccess file, I finally realised (*facepalm*) that the permalink structure of WordPress was itself generating the issue. I had set this site up back in 2003 and never bothered to change the permalink structure from what was touted at the time as best practice ie “month/year/postname“. All the preset options were prefixed by index.php. So now I have changed it to Custom and simply have domainname.tld/postname … with no pesky index.php intervening. Fingers crossed the online collaboraters were right in saying that WordPress will automatically correct the link changes.

    Finally, I realised that even though I had cleaned up my Google Webmaster errors, I may have created a few more after all this farnarcling around.

    Instead of looking for yet another plugin to bloat my install I searched for a solution online. I picked Broken Link Checker tool and am in the process of verifying the broken links they’ve come up with so I can fix them before Google marks them as errors.

    A productive but frustrating 24 hours all-in-all. Playing techo is like being a detective, hunting down the culprit and then trying to arrest them. I think I’ve locked these up until the Judge sets them free.

    Tips of the day:

    • ALWAYS do a database backup before making changes to anything on your website, just in case.
    • Always download a copy of any files you change before you edit them, just in case.
    • And always undo what you did if you realise it didn’t work.