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A Case Study In Changing URL Structure

In one of the SMX videos available in the member's area of Search Engine Land, several panelists noted that a shorter URL is more likely to be clicked in the SERPs than a longer one. That is, if you have a URL like it is less likely to get clicked than the following one, which is the same but without the dates: As I researched this, I noticed that Search Engine Land does not use dates in its URLs, nor does Google spam expert Matt Cutts, nor does Aaron Wall. Since I have been usi [...]

New York Times To Restore Links To IHT Stories In Coming Weeks

Over the weekend, the New York Times was once again ridiculed for how links to its former International Herald Tribune web site were not redirecting readers to new locations for IHT stories. The situation, which was first noticed at the end of March, seemed another example of a newspaper that didn't get the online world. Well, it's being fixed now. The whole thing had me scratching my head in puzzlement. As I explained to IHT journalist Thomas Crampton, who led this weekend's outrage with his Reporter to NY Times Publisher: You Erased My Career post, the New York Times has one of th [...]

Do Links From Expired Domains Count With Google?

From time-to-time, issues about how domain names can impact Google rankings come up. Is it true that if you buy a name, all the "link equity" that name has gained is lost? Below, a look at this and some related questions. Several years ago, Google sparked some concerns when it said that buying an established domain name meant that links to that domain before the purchase were effectively lost. In other words, say someone bought a domain today that was registered in 2003 and which had built up hundreds of links over the years. All those links were effectively slapped with an invisible [...]

The DiggBar Compromise: Show Framebar Only To Logged In Digg Users

Digg is promising a significant change to how its DiggBar framebar operates, one that should solve SEO concerns about how link credit is passed on but won't entirely remove misgivings about the framing of content. With the new implementation scheduled for next week, only those who are logged into Digg will see the DiggBar. So if you click on a DiggBar URL from Twitter, you won't see the DiggBar unless you've already been to Digg and have a logged in status. Just having a Digg cookie won't be enough, Digg cofounder Kevin Rose told me when we talked about the new implementation yesterd [...]

The Growth Of Framebars & Kevin Rose On The DiggBar

The DiggBar has been out for about a week now. Since then, there continues to be concerns over twin issues of whether it robs sites of link love and frames their contents in a way that's unfair to publishers. I had a good conversation with Digg cofounder Kevin Rose today about these issues and how Digg is actively looking at ways to solve worries over the tool. For those unfamiliar with the DiggBar, it allows people to create a short URL that's useful in services like Twitter. Anyone clicking on a shortened URL made through Digg gets to a page with a DiggBar at the top. For example, [...]

URL Shorteners: Which Shortening Service Should You Use?

URL shortening services are experiencing a renaissance in the age of Twitter. When every character counts, these services reduce long URLs to tiny forms. But which is the best to use, when so many are offered and new ones seem to appear each day? Below, issues to consider and a breakdown of popular services, including recommendations and services to avoid (the new DiggBar being one of these). The URL Shortener Mega Chart NOTE (March 2011): I'm hoping to update this article in the near future. Much of the basics are still valid. But you should also see Google URL Shortener Opened To T [...]

How Many 301s Are Too Many?

Google's Matt Cutts talks about multiple domains and 301 redirects in one of the recent videos uploaded to the Google Webmaster Central YouTube channel. The question essentially asks if Google views the redirecting of many domains toward one domain as a sign of suspicious activity. Matt's answer is that there are many companies -- Google included -- that own a lot of domains and have valid reasons to point them at the main domain. The additional domains might be typos or misspellings, or extra domains that are related to a company's brand. But he also says that 301s can be abused as a s [...]

Google’s Advice On Using The New Canonical Tag

A month ago, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft announced they will be supporting a new canonical tag that allows you to tell search engines that page X is a duplicate page to page Z. In a way, it is a 301 redirect, without the physical redirect. The tag is incredibly powerful, as are 301 redirects and using this tag should be done with caution and slowly. Matt Cutts posted a new video explaining how one should go about using this tag, being that it is so new. Here is the video: [...]

Google’s Matt Cutts Talks About Redirected Links & Nofollowed Links

Matt Cutts of Google has posted two short videos on the topic of links. One video answers how Google handles links that are 301 redirected and the other video answers how Google handles nofollowed links from authority sources. Here is Matt's video on 301 redirects where the question asked is does anchor text carry through all 301 redirects: His answer, if you don't want to watch it is. Typically yes, but Google deserves the right to pick which they pass. If all your links are through 301 redirects, then that looks suspicious. Matt's second video on nofollowed links answers two [...]

How Open Redirects Can Hurt Your Site’s Trust

Google has a detailed blog post named Open redirect URLs: Is your site being abused? The post goes through the issues with having "open" redirects on your site. Open redirects can lead to spammers abusing your site and ultimately hurting your rankings in Google or other search engines. The post goes through the various methods spammers can abuse your redirects, ways you can check if your site is vulnerable and ways to patch your redirects so they cannot be abused by spammers. This is a must read topic for webmasters who run any heavy dynamic site. [...]

Obama Is “Failure” At Google & “Miserable Failure” At Yahoo

I told you so. Or I told anyone who cared. I even tried to reach the Obama administration in four or five different ways. Do a search on Yahoo right now for miserable failure, and you'll find President Barack Obama's page ranking either in the top spot or the second spot. Given a redirect that Obama's web team has put into place, he should solidify into that number one spot over time. Eventually, Microsoft's Live Search should reflect that, as well. And over at Google, Obama will likely gain a top page listing for a search on failure. I know. There are bigger issues Obama has to [...]

Google Webmaster Tools Now Provide Source Data For Broken Links

Ever since Google Webmaster Tools started reporting on broken links to a site, webmasters have been asking for the sources of those links. Today, Google has delivered. From Webmaster Tools you can now see the page that each broken link is coming from. This information should be of great help for webmasters in ensuring the visitors find their sites and that their links are properly credited. The value of the 404 error report Why does Google report broken links in the first place? As Googlebot crawls the web, it stores a list of all the links it finds. It then uses that list for a couple o [...]

Redirects: Good, Bad & Conditional

Whenever you make changes to a web site, one of the most important considerations should be how to use "redirects" to alert the search engine to your changes to avoid having a negative impact on your search rankings. Whether you're moving pages around, switching CMS platforms, or just wanting to avoid duplicate content and PageRank dilution, you'll want to employ redirects so as not to squander any link juice (PageRank) that your site has acquired. There are multiple ways of redirecting, and it's important you get it right if you want the SEO benefit without risk of falling outside search engi [...]

An Embarrassment Of Dead Link Riches

Sometimes link building is more difficult and painful than a root canal, and sometimes it's so easy it happens in spite of us. It can be especially frustrating when you are trying to build links for a site that is perfectly deserving of the links you are requesting, yet your link requests are not answered or even acknowledged. I'm two months into a link building project for a biotech firm's web site that is totally link worthy. It's a top ten site content-wise. I've done the competitive research, I've found the logical target sites, and the company itself is so well known that if I dropp [...]

URL Rewriting & Custom Error Pages In ASP.NET 2.0

Recently I've been working on several ASP.NET 2.0 sites and had to research the best ways to set up URL rewriting, permanent redirects, and custom error pages. ASP.NET 2.0 is a popular platform for building corporate websites.  Among my clients, this solution seems to be very popular with medium to large corporations who have an Information Technology department to run their website. The World Wide Web uses a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to connect user programs (browsers) with web servers. Each HTTP request from a browser causes the server to return a response. That response i [...]

Don’t Abuse Users’ Search Experience With 301 Redirects

Linkbait, link juice, PageRank, paid links—all of these terms are commonly associated with one of the fundamental building blocks of successful search engine optimization (SEO): link development. One of the problems with link development gurus is their obsession with 301 redirects. Heck, I have even heard search engine software engineers tout 301 redirects as the magic solution to maintaining high quality link development. The problem with this 301-redirect obsession is that the focus is on search engine positioning, not the user. Many SEO firms only focus on gaining top positions [...]

Yahoo Site Explorer Adds Dynamic URL Rewriting Tool

The Yahoo Search Blog announced a new Site Explorer feature that enables webmasters to inform Yahoo about dynamic URLs that might be creating duplicate content issues or crawl barriers. The new feature is named "Dynamic URL Rewriting," and it allows webmasters to view potential duplicate content issues and have Yahoo rewrite those URLs at the index level. Yahoo allows you to define which URL is the primary, and the remaining URLs will be dynamically rewritten to that primary URL. One of the most discussed advanced topics in SEO is duplicate content. Duplicate content can often be generate [...]

How Proxy Hacking Can Hurt Your Rankings & What To Do About It

Google Proxy Hacking: How A Third Party Can Remove Your Site From Google SERPs by Dan Thies gives us a detailed look at the serious dangers of proxy hacking. Dan's detailed article shows the history on how he discovered the issue. He then goes into why the hacking currently works in Google. Dan is eager to encourage the search engines to do something about the issue. But Dan has provided details on how to help protect yourself with the help of some friends. [...]

The Coke Vs. Pepsi Challenge: Who Redirects Better?

Both Coca-Cola and Pepsico have seen fit to set up redirects on their homepage URLs—a very common practice among commercial websites. Classically, search optimization experts have advised clients that if their sites perform redirects on pages, they should use only server-side redirection, and it should ideally be a 301 redirect in order to ensure that the search engine can index and rank the destination page properly. However, Google is now handling some non-server-side redirects better than search engines once did—should people worry about 301-ing as much? Using these two big-bran [...]

Moving Your Site? How Quickly Do Search Engines Catch Your 301 Redirect

Most webmasters dread moving a site from one domain to a new domain and would do whatever they can to avoid it. However, sometimes you cannot avoid making the move. In these cases, what are the various strategies you can use to reduce the SEO concerns with making this move? Aaron Wall posted a case study on a recent site move. He documented the traffic to the site, before, during and after the big move. He also documented how long Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft picked up the site on the new domain. Overall, Aaron explains that in this case, Google and Yahoo were both fairly quick in picki [...]

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