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Post-Launch Lessons Learned

Written by Raymond Santos Estrella on Wednesday, 16 December 2015. Posted in 2015

Learn From My Fail

Spent the day cleaning up my buggy metadata implementation. I realized late last night that the method I used was only partially correct. I followed the examples from which, by the way, isn’t exactly the most well-documented site. In any case, when I used Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool, I came up with a partially validating schema for Articles. However, a more encompassing schema existed which I wasn’t ready for. Furthermore, the method I used to validate for the Article schema wasn’t the best way to go about things since it also broke HTML5 validation.

So after a whole day of working of coding, testing the structured data, coding, debugging, and testing HTML5 validation, I finally got things right! As an added bonus, I’ve even managed to eliminate some extraneous if-then-else-elseif code that was hampering both code readability and introduced some unneeded code complexity. Some of my pages were last crawled on December 13 so I may have to wait a bit until it recrawls them again and refreshes the data in Google’s Index.

Shit. I should’ve done this way, way earlier. Anyway, what’s done is done.

I just started implementing some preliminary code for the judicial section of the site. I’m starting off slower and more deliberately this time. I think I’ve learned some lessons from my previous experience building the legislative section. Now I’ve got some sample Rules of Procedure documents up and running. They also validate under the structured data testing tool and HTML5 validation. Great! :)

Lately, I’ve noticed a huge drop in search engine rankings for the site. I knew the redesign would have some effect but this is getting kind of ridiculous. I have most of my old URLs point to the new URLs via 301 redirects. The new pages even have a ridiculous amount of really good rich metadata (even if the preliminary implementation was flawed up until a few hours ago). I really don’t know what’s up with Google. I can see that Googlebot has traversed a great majority of the site structure and has included nearly all the pages I submitted and yet my search rankings have fallen precipitously sometime after I noticed seeing the new site structure being implemented across search results. I’ve implemented further 301’s not just with the previous version of the site’s URLs but also some really ancient ones that have been throwing up 404s. Hopefully, that will help out the rankings with time. Too bad the Search Console doesn’t work in real-time, I could probably figure out the effect my modifications to the site are doing, if any.

I’ve also rediscovered the Bing Webmaster Tools page. I honestly don’t really get much traffic from Bing which is why I’ve ignored it for so long. It’s a chicken-and-egg situation and I’m not entirely sure which is the chicken and which is the egg in this scenario. In any case, I’ve updated my Bing information (site ownership validation and resubmitted sitemaps) and hopefully that will also make a difference. Know of any other search engines that are any good? It seems those are pretty much the only ones of any real consequence. Yahoo! exited this business a long time ago (remember Inktomi?) along with Altavista, AOL, and pretty much any other major site.

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Raymond Santos Estrella

I guess I should really make a proper writeup here. Something witty or maybe a joke to add some levity. I’ll come back to this when I have time. If you have any suggested copy that I can insert here, drop me a line.

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