Writing for Search Engines limits you to a certain character count, so we wondered if was better to use the Ampersand versus the word ” and “? Part of the reason is the ampersand gets converted to HTML entities and is listed as ” amp& “ which equals 6 characters. Using “and” would be ” and “ which only equals 5 characters. Will using Ampersand versus the word “and” use less characters in our search results?
Our research lead us many different articles with different ways to look at. There were a lot of old information that lead us nowhere. We realized we could use our website’s data to figure this out. What we found out is it is better to use “&” versus “and“. The HTML entities doesn’t play a part in the character count.
After finishing a new WordPress site we watched Google to see where the site was going to rank, but didn’t get the results we were looking for. We had the Yoast SEO plug-in installed and followed their recommendations in setting it up. The site was showing up on page 4 yet Google highlighted several matching words. More than the listing ranked higher.
We were confused as to why the other sites were ranking higher considering our site had more relevant links. If we add “va” for Virginia to our search the site was number 1 in Google.
The site was a Property in our Google Webmastertools / Search Console, and the Sitemap was in there. We saw a suggestion from someone else who said to add the sitemap in a line in your Robots.txt file. We did this through the Yoast plug-in in the back end of the site. We added the following line.
While in the Search Console we realized the Property was set up for HTTP. When we tried to do a URL Inspection we got an error that the property domain didn’t match. We went back and added the property again and we we saw the following image we realized we had trouble setting up the site with Google’s new domain verification and selected the old method of “URL Prefix“.
We added our domain to the “Domain” section and Google automatically updated our original property to be set up under the new “Domain” method. When we inspected the URL everything worked perfectly. Now to finish inspecting and requesting a URL crawl for the other pages.
The link below was a reminder to me that there were issues when were setting up this site in Google Search Console.
When launching our new website we tried to keep the URLs of the web pages the same as they were in the past. This didn’t quite work out like planned. The old site was using an underscore for dividing words in the URL, and the new one was using dashes. This caused indexed pages to produce a 404 page not found error. We decided to use redirects until the new pages got indexed.
The process is pretty straight forward.
Go to Components >> Redirects
Click on “New”
Enter the “Expired URL”. Our example “managed_it_services.html”
Enter the “New URL”. Our example “services/it-support-services.html”
We went back to Google Analytics. In the Search Console >> Landing Pages section. We clicked on the icon to launch the page.
This however took us to our 404 page we have set up in the site. It seemed like the redirect didn’t work. When we got back to the Redirects section in Joomla was saw the “Redirects” plugin wasn’t enabled.
Once we enabled this the redirects happened right-a-way. The best part of enabling the URL Redirects plugin is it allowed us to record the URLs that someone went to. We could then create a redirect for that URL that we may not have listed otherwise.