I get a lot of questions about why site traffic might suddenly plummet.
There are a lot of great tools out there for problem-solving this issue, but one of the first tools I use is Google Search Console.
Google Search Console has gotten so much better over the years, and I really love the new version, which is still in beta. They’re constantly adding to this tool and one of the newest things we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks is a thing called ‘URL inspection’.
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A site I was working on recently experienced a sudden drop in the number of valid pages on a site. Once you see a mysterious drop like that, you’ve got to figure that something is going on. In this case, I was able to quickly figure out what was going on by using the URL inspection tool.
What we found out was that they were canonicalling the HTTPS version of the site to their HTTP version. In other words, they were telling Google to ignore the secure pages on the site, and instead, to index the non-secure ones.
Now this is basically what a canonical will do, but it’s not a hard and fast rule. Google won’t always listen. But in this case, amazingly enough, that’s exactly what they were doing.
So, the HTTP version of the site saw a steady decline in traffic and an increase in pages. This shows that Google was starting to ignore the secure version of the site. This is obviously a bad thing.
You should always just canonical, don’t go across protocols for the same domain. Just have one index.
So, my advice is, if you’ve got a problem with your site traffic, use Google Search Console as a first point of inspection.
This article was originally published on stewartmedia.com.au. Read the original article.
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