How to ask Google to re-crawl your site and tips on how to avoid broken link when you post

I’ve been testing my live site extensively this past month, posting, reposting and then I found my site’s Google search results come up with broken links. If you ever need to update your site with new URLs on existing resources, you want to think about the SEO implications first.

Google Search Results

Now let me point out the first link that is broken is due to beta software, the code wasn’t finalized on what URL to use to show a list of posts for a particular tag.  And that has been finalized, for example to show posts tagged with azure, www.fanray.com/posts/tagged/azure is the URL. But the second broken link is due to my update on an existing post.

How you may break your post link

By updating your post Slug

When you publish a post Fanray automatically comes up with a Slug based on your post title.  For example, my first post Welcome to Fanray yielded a slug welcome-to-fanray.  However, you can choose to manually enter this value to be anything you want. 

If you use Open Live Writer, go find the View all link.

OLW View all

Clicking on it will open Post Properties.

OLW Post Properties

All the post properties can be set here. And if you are going to set the slug manually, please follow the convention and make it an all lowercase, hyphen-separated, alphanumeric string.

By updating your post Publish Date

Furthermore, updating the post slug is not the only thing that’ll yield a new URL for the post and thus results in broken links, updating a post Publish Date may also do it. A Fanray’s blog post uses this URL template “/post/{year}/{month}/{slug}”, if you first published a post say in October 2017, then you update it by manually setting it to a date in a different month say November 2017, then that’ll result in a new URL.

What I mostly do

The best way to avoid any of these is to never change a post’s slug or publish date after you published it for a while if you don’t have to.  When you first publish your post you can do whatever, either you enter these values or you leave them blank to let the blog take care of setting them. 

I mostly only enter the Category and Keywords (tags), and sometimes Excerpt if I want a different message than the one the blog comes up with; you can set a setting to let excerpts show up instead of full posts. By default if you leave Excerpt blank, the blog will get the first 55 words from your post and use that as the excerpt.

How to ask Google to Re-crawl

Logon to Google Search Console, on the Dashboard see if you have an URL Errors.

Google Search Console Crawl Errors

Click on the Crawl Errors, you will see URL Errors listed.

URL Errors

On the left click on Fetch as Google, then input the new URL for the one that results error, and click on FETCH.

Fetch as Google

You have a quota on how many URLs you can fetch in a given period, for more info see Use Fetch as Google for websites.

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