Google Lets Me Live – Barely

In a previous post I related how Google whacked the indexing of about half my pages, following the switch to “mobile first” crawling of my site. And even after the big initial drop, my count of indexed pages was continuing to go down. It looked like the end.

But Google stopped short of wiping me out. The lowest my count went was 102; after that it started slowly moving up again, a couple pages at a time. It’s now 110.

As always, there’s no obvious way to know what this means. Or even if it means anything at all, other than the random and possibly erroneous behavior of site-crawling code. But Google Search Console/Coverage at least shows me the URLs which are indexed, and a long list of some that aren’t. That distribution of URLs seems to have gotten sorted out a bit.

Under Valid/Submitted and Indexed are a grand total of 2 (!) URLs for my gallery subdomain. Under Valid/Indexed, not submitted in sitemap are 108 URLs for posts in my blog. So my sitemaps are apparently being ignored for unknown reasons.

Under Excluded/Crawl Anomaly are a lot of obsolete URLs from my previous version of the site (the story of what I’ve been trying to accomplish with the site in blog posts starting here). It looks like the new ‘mobile first’ crawler is finally cleaning that up. And maybe the original indexing hit from ‘mobile first’ wasn’t as bad as I thought, because some of the indexed URLs were invalid.

Under Excluded/Discovered – currently not indexed are over 600 URLs for actual photos in my ‘gallery’. Google looked at them and said “no thanks”.

Here’s what I conclude from all this:

  • The ‘mobile first’ crawler looked at my site fresh, and threw out some obsolete URLs. Good.
  • Google is indexing my blog posts, mostly, eventually. Good.
  • My XML site maps aren’t doing anything, even though I manually submitted them to Google. The ones for this blog comes from the Yoast SEO plugin but seem not to be getting used. Bad.
  • Google doesn’t like my photos, meaning my original plan to get them indexed – by means of a subdomain on a blog – didn’t work. Apparently Google just doesn’t see photos as valuable “content” even if they have keywords, titles and descriptions. Bad.

So, mixed results at this point. I’m giving up on the individual photos for now. But I really want to know why the sitemaps don’t work after all that hoop-jumping – especially since the Yoast plugin is supposed to be handling it.

If any photographers out there have managed to get gallery pages indexed – or, like me, have failed – please leave comments. I still feel like there has to be a way.

UPDATE: a breakthrough.

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