Stupid, Stupid, Stupid! I Just Found Out Why My Sites Weren't Being Indexed by Google

20 replies
  • SEO
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I had set the privacy settings in Wordpress to "Open to visitors, but closed to search engines".

There. That little thing probably cost me $1k/month.

By default, all my wordpress blogs used to be open to everyone, search engines included. Now they're all closed to search engines by default, which, of course, makes indexing them rather impossible. Some plugin must've triggered this change in the default settings.

(If you don't understand what I'm talking about, go to 'Settings -> Privacy' in your wordpress admin panel. You'll see that there are two options. On my blogs, option 2 (closed to search engines) had been selected by default).

So while I was tearing my hair out trying to figure out why my sites have got just one page indexed in Google after more than a month and hundreds of backlinks, I overlooked this single tiny aspect that made my sites inaccessible to all spiders.

I suggest that you guys check out your Wordpress blog's privacy settings too to see if they aren't blocking spiders.
#found #google #indexed #sites #stupid
  • Profile picture of the author Jason Johns
    Hi there,

    I don't believe it's a plugin that has made this change. I think it's a change in Wordpress to the default settings! It's frustrating and I think many of us have been caught out by this.

    Thanks for reminding us all about it!

    All the best

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    • Profile picture of the author mmixon
      Learned something new and important today, (and it is still early) Thanks Sashas!
      Signature Websites, Mobile Marketing and Social Media Marketing for Business and Political Candidates.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jacer
    I have installed both the most current release and the previous release of wordpress recently. I am sure "open to all" was the default setting in both cases. Maybe you accidently changed it?
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  • Profile picture of the author Solidsnake
    I checked mine (just installed last week) and the first one is ticked.. no problem at all..

    new blogs are hard to getting indexed..
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  • Profile picture of the author turbohips
    mine was fine and didn't have block search engines by default. The first option was selected

    brit momaday leight
    Larry Leight

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  • Profile picture of the author andybeveridge
    This has happend to me only a couple of days ago. Its set that way as default.
    I am pretty sure it didn't cost me $$$$ though.

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  • Profile picture of the author Marhelper
    Yeah, I made the same dumb mistake myself a while ago. Good thing you caught it now.
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  • Profile picture of the author bettersocial
    I just did a check on all my blogs.

    Blogs that were made before the middle of September have the first option enabled (open to search engines). Blogs made after that had the second option selected by default.

    Heads up to everyone. All your marketing efforts will be of no use if the second option is selected.
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  • Profile picture of the author mfleisch
    Thanks sashas... been using mostly blogger and recently switched to WordPress. I didn't realize what the impact of not turning on this option would be!!!
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  • Profile picture of the author WareTime
    I think they do it by default so you have time to mess around with permalinks and don't have the default posts indexed before you get around to looking at those things.

    On an aside a friend of mine that runs WP has had great luck with no permalinks just the default it ships with. I'd like to think one day we'll see no more /really-long-and-boring-spammy-way-too-wordy-thing-here/ urls.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Johnson
    Yep, I can confirm that a blog I installed several days ago using fantastico was blocking search engines by default.

    I checked all of my other blogs (which I've recently updated to the current version) and they weren't blocking anything.
    Making Sense of Retail Marketing and Sales
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  • Profile picture of the author nettech
    Its quite an easy mistake to make. I used to put this setting on when I was testing my sites pre-launch. i did forget to put activate it once or twice but you do rmeember after a while. Thanks for the


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  • Profile picture of the author Crafty Blogger
    Yeah, I've noticed this problem recently too. It's really annoying, especially if the bots get to the blog before I remember to change the default settings on a new blog to allowing them to visit - it keeps the site from being indexed for an even longer period of time!
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  • Profile picture of the author lanta99
    Luckily I caught this thread before I launched my wordpress network. Anyways, do you know if this is the same setting on wordpress MU? If so, I'll be sure to watch out for that.
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  • Profile picture of the author jasonmorgan
    raises hand... guilty as well.

    I've done that before in the past as well as forget about building a sitemap, changing wordpress permalinks and some other silly things.

    I'm all about that bass.

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  • Profile picture of the author AJsVRE
    Originally Posted by sashas View Post

    Some plugin must've triggered this change in the default settings.
    There where a lot of people that had found out about this, and made posts on marketing forums and sent emails to their lists about this change. Sorry you hadn't seen it from one of those sources

    It is NOT a plugin, it is now the DEFAULT SETTING if you install wordpress through fantastico. If you install wordpress manually (ftp'ing it to your server, manually setting up a database and going to the install config page - forgive me but I forget exactly what it's called, but if you've ever installed WP manually you know what I mean) then you don't have to worry, because when you do so, on the config page the option for that setting is right there.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sleaklight
    Thanks for posting this tread. Google had been indexing my website but it was only indexing the URL's and not the descriptions. I read your post and went to check my settings and was in the same boat as you! I too feel stupid! Thanks for making this post, I appreciate it.
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  • Profile picture of the author bigcat1967
    Thanks for posting this. Wondering if this applies to other Web 2.0 properties.

    <a href="">How to Lower Your Water Bill</a>

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