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Your Blog, The Search Engines, And The Main Page

Many blog owners are unclear about how their blogs are indexed by the search engines.

We occasionally see the confused query
Visitors are coming in to my blog through the Google search engine. They don't stay though, the reason being that Google doesn't take them to the post they found - and which is obviously the one relevant to their search - but to the home page of the blog. Why does this happen?

The search engines are like your readers - with your posts published on the main page, they will index the post content, from the main page.

Your blog will, initially, be indexed by the home page URL.

The individual post pages are indexed gradually - not immediately.

The content of the posts, currently displayed in main page view, will be indexed as part of the home page. As your blog gets a reputation, and people link directly to the individual posts, the individual posts will be indexed. That won't happen immediately.
  • Even when the search engines are indexing the individual posts in the blog, they will still be indexing the main page. Any new post will be indexed as part of the main page first.
  • More readers will link to your home page URL, than to each individual post. The main page will be indexed more frequently, than the individual posts.
  • Many more readers will link to your home page URL, than to each new post. The main page will be indexed much more frequently, than the new posts.
  • When a post is archived (becomes pushed off the main page, as newer posts are published), and the search engines re index the main page, the contents of that post will become visible in search engine result pages as the individual post.
  • The shorter your main page size, and the more frequently you publish new posts, the quicker your individual posts will be indexed.
  • The more readers who link to your individual posts, the quicker your individual posts will be indexed. With enough links to any individual post, that post could be indexed instead of the main page, for some searches.

Newer posts are always indexed as main page content, first.

The newer posts in your blog, then, will always be visible in search engine result pages ("SERPs") using the home page URL. Thanks to search engine caching latency, there will be some posts indexed as part of the main page, and displayed in SERP lists, that are not on the main page when your potential readers visit your blog.

The blog will have some unsatisfied visitors, who will visit the blog from a SERP list, not see the anticipated article right in front of them, and leave. This produces confusion similar to previously discussed backlink latency.

You can counter reader confusion, using properly placed Search Gadgets.

Maybe you can minimise this effect, by letting your visitors search your blog. Any search gadget that uses content from the search engines, though, will only put your dissatisfied visitors back into another SERP list that contains what just got them there.

A direct blog search, which dynamically displays content directly from the blog and looks like another main page display, may put your dissatisfied visitors in a slightly better state of mind, and make them more receptive to what you have to say.

You can counter reader confusion, using Jump Break to reduce main page content.

Alternately, you can reduce main page content, by using Jump Break. This will force the search engines to index your posts using the individual post pages, before the posts are archived.


Marf said…
A similar issue I sometimes have is when the search engine indexes and displays the month's archive instead if individual post pages.

Seeing as I make at least 1 post a day, that's at least 30 posts they'd have to sort through to find the post that was relevant to their search.

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