Take the 2-minute tour ×
WordPress Development Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for WordPress developers and administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm sorry if what I am about to write is long-winded. I only wish to be clear.

I am an academic in the scientific community. I maintain a web site for my research, teaching, and other professional activities. Until recently, the content for this site was hosted in a directory on my university department's own server. The address is of the typical form (universityname).edu/~(myusername)

I decided that I wanted to use WordPress in order to host and manage my page. So I set up a WordPress.com blog and then replaced the index.html file in (universityname).edu/~(myusername) with a new one consisting of a single frame, containing the WordPress.com blog. Now when a user visits (universityname).edu/~(myusername), he or she sees the blog instead. This has been pretty nice because, even when the user clicks on links between pages or posts in the blog, the only thing showing up in the address bar of the browser is www.(universityname).edu/~(myusername), because the blog is constrained to a frame.

However, the effect of this change on the search side of things has not been so kind to me. Before, when someone searched for my name in Google, the first result was always (universityname).edu/~(myusername). This is the most desirable outcome, for professional reasons. (Having my academic URL come up first suggests that I am an accredited professional, and not just some crank with a blog!)

But now, Google seems to have canonicalized my web presence under the blog's WordPress.com address. It has completely forgotten about my academic URL and considers the WordPress.com address to be the best address representing me on the web.

Unfortunately, WordPress.com doesn't support the canonical tag, so I can't tell the blog to advertise itself as my academic URL in the header. (It doesn't seem to help at all that I have used the WordPress.com dashboard to turn on no-indexing of the blog.)

One obvious solution would be to use the departmental server to host my content again, and use a local installation of the WordPress platform. For reasons beyond my control, the platform will not be deployed on the departmental server at this time.

Another solution would be to use shared hosting with WordPress.org support, because the WordPress.org platform does support the canonical tag (albeit via a plug-in). But this seems to usually require purchasing a domain name and other fees, and there is no guarantee that Google will listen to the canonical tag (it might use whatever domain name I end up with instead).

Is there a way I can more cleverly integrate the WordPress.com blog into a page hosted on my department's server? Is there some PHP code I can write to retrieve the blog's contents in a way that Google won't treat as a link / "perceive" the blog?

Please note: I am a PHP novice at best. I just feel there should be a simpler solution to all this, within the constraints of what I have described above.

Thanks!

share|improve this question

migrated from webmasters.stackexchange.com Oct 18 '13 at 22:50

This question came from our site for pro webmasters.

    
What kind of control do you have at your University's server and ~namespace? - if it supports PHP, why cannot you install Wordpress by yourself? –  Carlos Eugenio Thompson Pinzón Oct 18 '13 at 22:19
    
I have full control over the directory ~namespace, but no other control. I certainly don't have any kind of root / su / admin access. Can I install Wordpress to my ~namespace directory without superuser access? If so, should I install it directly into ~namespace or into a subfolder, such as ~namespace/wordpress ? Thanks! –  user5395 Oct 18 '13 at 23:57

1 Answer 1

If your university webspace supports PHP and MySQL, you should be able to install WordPress at /~(myusername) (or at /~(myusername)/blog, if you don’t want to create your whole site with WP but use it for a blog, only). Typically you don’t need root access for that. But in any case, you should probably ask your webmaster if it’s allowed to install and use it there.


This has been pretty nice because, even when the user clicks on links between pages or posts in the blog, the only thing showing up in the address bar of the browser is www.(universityname).edu/~(myusername), because the blog is constrained to a frame.

This is a bad user experience, because users can’t link to specific pages anymore (by copy&pasting the URL from the browser’s address bar).

Also, as you have noticed, that way the WordPress.com URLs get indexed, because your own page only contains of an iframe, which is "nothing" in the eyes of search engines. But you don’t have control over WordPress.com – the service might shut down for whatever reasons and then all your URLs linked all over the Web are gone.

Unfortunately, WordPress.com doesn't support the canonical tag, so I can't tell the blog to advertise itself as my academic URL in the header.

That would not help. canonical must only be used for duplicate or superset pages. However, your page (universityname).edu/~(myusername) is not the same as the blog at WordPress.com. If you use iframe with an external site, no search engine considers this external site to be part of the page the iframe is used on. Otherwise everyone could embed some nice pages via iframe and would get ranked for their content, too.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.