by Aaron Reimann
April 15, 2022
ClockworkWP has the privilege to “inherit” sites from other developers on a regular basis. Each time we onboard a new website for a care plan, we look through the site and make sure that it is functioning as expected. I can’t believe what we found on this one.
The end client uses another company for SEO paid ads. To be completely honest, I don’t know what the arrangement is, but the client wanted us to take a look at SEO and see if we saw any red flags. We found several things that needed improvement but one was costing the client greatly.
We found that Google was indexing only half of the pages that Bing was indexing. That led us to look at the sitemap.xml. Low and behold, when I looked at the sitemap, I got this error:
The site was getting an error in the site map. This directly affected SEO, probably since the site was built, but no one else noticed this. Digging into the code, I found the WordPress child theme had an error in the functions.php file. Can you see the error?
I know that might be a little hard to read, but the previous developer had an empty line on line #26. Sure, that seems like that wouldn’t be a problem, but in WordPress, we know that an empty line can throw an error. And it sure did.
Removing line 26 fixed the problem. I also know that you don’t need to close your functions.php file (that’s actually recommended by most developers), so I also removed line 24 and 25. Now the sitemap no longer gives us an error:
If you have a site, and you’re throwing money to a company to do SEO, feel free to reach out to us. We are glad to look and make sure things look legit. There is no way to know how much revenue has been lost because a simple code error caused the site map to not be indexed correctly, but I’m sure the client will easily earn back that money they are spent for us to fix the site.
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