SEO: Google may treat blogs differently

A hobby site I have has around 300,000 pages indexed and good pagerank. It gets a fair amount of SEO traffic which has been growing. The rate at which Google indexes the site has been steadily climbing and is now indexing at around 2 to 3 pages per second.

I added a new page on the site that was linked to from most other pages about a week ago. The page had a query string variable called “ref”. The instant it went live, Googlebot went crazy indexing the page and considering every permutation of “ref” to be a different page, even though the page generated was identical every time. The page quickly appeared in Googles index. I solved it by telling Googlebot to ignore “ref” through Webmaster Tools and temporarily disallowed indexing using robots.txt.

A week later I added another new page. This time I used WordPress.org as a CMS and created a URL, lets call it “/suburl/” and published the new page as “/suburl/blog-entry-name.html”. Again I linked to it from every page on the site.

Googlebot took a sniff at “/suburl/” and at “/suburl/?feed=rss2″ and then a day later it grabbed “/suburl/author/authorname” but it never put the page in it’s search index and hasn’t visited since. The bot continues to crawl the rest of the site aggressively.

Back in 2009, Matt Cutts (Google search quality team) mentioned that “WordPress takes care of 80-90% of (the mechanics of) Search Engine Optimization (SEO)”.

A different interpretation is that “WordPress gives Google a machine readable platform with many heuristics that can be used to more accurately assess page quality”.

One of those heuristics is age of the blog and number of blog entries. Creating a fresh blog on a fresh domain or subdomain and publishing a handful of affiliate targeted pages is a common splog (spam blog) tactic. So it’s possible that Google saw my one-page-blog and decided the page doesn’t get put in the index until the blog has credibility.

So from now on when I have content to put online, I’m going to consider carefully whether I’m going to publish it using WordPress as a CMS with just a handful of blog entries, or if I’m going to hand-publish it (which has worked well for me so far).

Let me know if your mileage varies.

4 thoughts on “SEO: Google may treat blogs differently

  1. I have always found that it is much easier to rank a WordPress blog than it is anything else. As always though, it all comes down to how much time you are willing to put in to it. I do love it when a software like WordPress takes care of all of that though.

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