For the last few days, I’ve been working on some upgrades for this site. After deciding that my site wasn’t getting enough traffic, I looked into what Google had crawled on my site and found that a lot of it was old crap that doesn’t even exist or the caches were of my index frame and not the actual page. I thought Google was smarter than this, but I guess not. So I’ve been taking some steps to allow search engines to better comb my existing content and remove non-existing pages.
To get search engines to remove old pages, you have to let them see the 404 Not Found HTTP header, which I wasn’t doing because all my pages try to go into the frameset thus returning a 200 OK. To tell search engines what pages you do want crawled regularly, you have to have a sitemap. Google’s “Webmaster Tools” system is a really useful web developer interface for their engine that allows you to do things like specify sitemaps. I submitted my already working RSS feed and then created a more complete sitemap. It only has pages that I want it to (mostly PHP pages with specific queries), so no worries about security (as a directory recursion sitemap might have). I’m hoping these steps will at least get Google to send more hits to my site.
While I was at it, I also made a simple database that will put 404 pages into a database that I can go through later and provide correct urls to. The server returns a 301 Moved Permanently header so that search engines won’t think they can still link there, but users will get to the content without any additional loading. It also allows me to tell users and search engines whether a page is gone permanently or just not there yet.
As for setbacks, the other day I was working on my TI-83 RPG and things started getting weird on the map display. Enemies had turned into exit doors and all sorts of funky business. So I go to see what’s wrong and the calc turns off. When I turned it back on, you guessed it…”RAM Cleared”. It’s a good thing I hadn’t been doing a lot of coding on it lately. I was mostly figuring out how I wanted the dice rolls to work with skills, damage, armor, attack, and defense; I had only begun to integrate the dice rolls into the main game that day. So I guess I’ll be recoding it, but this time right into the game. Luckily, I just released beta 2 a couple weeks ago.