For the most part I’m a DIY type of person, I put together this website without much trouble, thanks to the user-friendliness of WordPress. I was ambitious and installed the Yoast SEO plugin to try some DIY SEO. After reading up on SEO I thought it couldn’t hurt to give it a try.
DIY SEO, Attempt 1
After installing and using the Yoast SEO plugin my traffic dropped off. I took a look to see what was going on. I searched Google and found my posts had been indexed by their tags or as archives, not by post or page titles like they used to be. My search result title would be “Butterfly” or some other random tag rather than the post title or page name. So confusing! Maybe my page views were down because the post and page titles were missing and only vague tags or archives showed up.
When searching for “Butterfly Wing Tutorial” my page showed up but the title was strange, just my archive was indexed, not my actual page title. Picture below:
Below is what I put in the Yoast SEO form below my post, hoping my page would show up like the plugin preview:
I contacted support and they told me to take a look at the Titles and Metas section. Then select Post Types and Taxonomies and choose noindex. They attached the screenshot below to help:
So I changed the Meta Robots for Posts to no index (like the picture above showed). I also changed archives and tags to no index.
And then my website disappeared. Horror!
Trying to Fix My SEO Fail
I panicked, looked over the changes and changed Posts back to index. It was the only thing I could think to do… Some pages returned, but still with strange titles. When I followed up with support I found out I misunderstood their directions. The graphic they sent me was just an example of how to change the Meta Robots to noindex. It wasn’t actually “Posts” I was supposed to noindex to fix the problem.
Fortunately I purchased the Yoast SEO premium version which comes with tech support. I found the tech support was very helpful; I felt really bad for annoying them. In hindsight I should have sought out an SEO expert and not tried to attempt DIY SEO.
I resubmitted my sitemap, now I wait and hope the random “tag” and “archive” pages will disappear from Google.
Tech support reminded me that there’s over 200 factors that Google considers when choosing your page rank. Maybe my website isn’t relevant. Maybe adding SEO caused it to be indexed and ranked (or ignored) by Google as it should be.
My new goals for this year: provide relevant content and tutorials and seek an SEO expert before I try any other DIY SEO experiments!