In “Spurned by Google, ignored by all”, WordPressMU guru, Donncha O’Caoimh reported that his Google PageRank and traffic has dropped appreciatively.
I don’t know if it’s connected but on Monday I noticed that my Google sitemap contained an error. [One] URL wasn’t encoded properly and threw the error. It was easily fixed but traffic hasn’t increased yet.If you use the Google Sitemap WordPress Plugin and Ultimate Tag Warrior you may also be using the plugin [Google Sitemap UTW Tag WordPress Plugin] that adds your site’s tags onto the sitemap. I installed it last weekend here and on my photoblog and didn’t notice this known issue, “Your tag name must not contain an ampersand ‘&’ – if it does, please rename tag without an ampersand – Reported by Jilly”. It’s easily fixed with a urlencode() but I disabled the plugin until traffic gets back to normal.
Would a broken sitemap cause traffic to drop so alarmingly or is it something else?