SEO, Canonical links, and sitemap
I made the leap of faith and moved to SM from another platform which had very bad code and was more client based. I do not do client work as I love scenic, landscape, wildlife photography and SM really looked like a better fit.
As many know, right now google is doing some changes and has flipped back to wanting Alt tags on images and is recommending a comprehensive sitemap so it knows how you want your site indexed. Fact is right now if you see a URL that is not indexed you cannot submit it through the google Search Console as they have that feature turned off.
I had the opportunity to actually speak to an SEO expert working with SM and told him I wanted a comprehensive sitemap as all my links indexed from the previous host are no longer valid and due to the fact i cannot manually submit non indexed URL's until google turns that feature on it is killing me to get re-indexed to SM.
I was more than slightly surprised when he told me that he really does not worry about sitemaps as Google will discover links and to focus on internal links paying attention to Canonical links. I guess my surprise is that in the google documentation they clearly states "highly recommend a comprehensive sitemap. As far as Canonical links, hmmm, if you go to edit the caption text for images there is no way to insert a link with a button so I guess you would have to type in the html code for a link and hope it is compatible? I guess the other way is to start creating individual pages and put links to images within them? As far as the Alt Tags, I was told it is in discussion to add.
I am using the SM style as I like the way it presents the thumbnails on the left and a bigger image on the right but the way that style is setup there is not way to insert a text block anywhere in a manner that looks professional and not a hack thus it is awful hard to add more relative content.
I am really looking for a way to make this move to SM work but all I have successfully done is move to a index on google full of 404 pages, only 12 pages indexed on SM. With virtually the same format and number of images uploaded on my previous host where I showed 223 coverage in google Search console, that has dropped to 63 now on SM and all but 12 of those are 404 pages. Feels like I totally shot myself in the foot and might as well just give up as this is horrific.
Does anyone have a solution as to how to make SM work for me or have I wasted a month plus of time? I'm really having2nd thoughts about my move at this point.