SEO

Help: How do I announce a new website?

Sunday, March 7th, 2010 | Business, Tutorials | 3 Comments

We launch websites every month or two for clients, and make many website updates.  What are the best ways to tell the “internet” that your site is up, and ready to be checked out?  I’m going to focus on the free options, as I find anything that costs money sketchy (especially with regard to listing a site).

We can divide this into a few categories:

  • Search Engines
  • Social Networking
  • Peer Sites
  • News Aggregators

› Continue reading

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Google History: Distorts Search Results (Warning for SEO experts)

Friday, May 29th, 2009 | Business | 2 Comments

A growing sector in web development nowadays is the SEO “expert”. 

With the blossoming effects of social networks and rapidly developing online presences, many people consider themselves SEO experts because they can gain visibility for your site.

One could argue, that’s exactly what SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is, making sure your site gets visibility. 

I’m going to stay neutral on that subject, but say that SEO should generate organic traffic to your site through cooperation with modern search technologies.  Proper SEO shouldn’t be a Boom and Bust scenario, but a constantly growing user base.

With all of these new SEO experts comes a group of individuals who are NOT skilled in all the fundamentals on the internet.

Google History
One warning I wanted to throw out there, is Google distorts search results for users based on sites they have clicked on previously.  Take a look at Google History, and you’ll see what I mean.

Google History takes your previous browsing behavior and organizes it.  That information is used to tailor your search results, and I’m sure for Google to customize their search engine performance overall.

When doing SEO you frequently search for a few search terms every day, and may click on the results you like. 

SEO experts should know that the results they see may differ wildly from the rest of the world. 

All SEO experts should use “neutral” browsers without Google Toolbar installed such as Firefox or Safari (yes, it’s available on the PC too — and it works pretty well) to test the search placements of their clients. 

Additionally, if you have hired an SEO expert, be sure to cross reference their results with searches on indepedent computers.  Your SEO expert may say your site is now “top 5” when it is in fact only in the top 20.  This is because their computer is biased based on that user’s history.

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Protect Client Search Engine Placement with 301 Redirects

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008 | Business | 2 Comments

This is a big win for us web developers.  It helps maintain all the SEO work that has gone into a site, and lets us move site architecture around with minimal impact.

Many times I run across companies whose website just went from ASP/CFM/JSP/PHP/CGI/HTML/HTM to ASP/CFM/JSP/PHP/CGI/HTML/HTM.  Fill in the blank, migrating from one platform to another is a big deal.  To make matters worse, how is a search engine supposed to know NOT to link to an old file, and to redirect the same relevancy to the new file?

The magic of 301 Redirects

301 is an HTTP Status code (just like 404 and others, 403, 500, etc).

301 tells browsers and search engines that a page has been “Moved Permanently”

 

How can you do a 301 redirect?

First off, do NOT attempt redirecting unless you know specifically what to do.  Trying to implement a meta-refresh tag will hurt you more than it will help.  Search engines have become wise to the meta-refresh game that spammers have been involved with.  Do not do it.

There are 2 routes to take, server side, and code side.

 

Server Side 301 Redirects

If you’re lucky enough to be working on a server supporting .htaccess files, your life is easy.  

  1. Create a file called “.htaccess” in the root of your website
  2. Open the file in a text editor
  3. Set the contents to the following (replacing original, and new):

Redirect 301 /original/original.html http://www.yoursite.com/new/new.html

OR if you want to wildcard it:

RedirectMatch 301 (.*)\.htm$ http://yoursite.com$1.html

If your server is IIS, you can do a redirect with the following:
  1. In IIS (internet services manager), right click on the old file
  2. Select “a redirection to a URL”
  3. Enter the URL for the new page
  4. Select “The exact URL entered above” and “A permanent redirection for this resource.”
  5. Click “Apply”
Code Implementation of 301 Redirects (PHP, ASP, JSP)
Of course a 301 redirect can be implemented in the front end code for a specific file.  That can be done fairly effectively with very basic code.
Following are some examples of redirects in some popular languages:
PHP header( "HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently" );
header( "Status: 301 Moved Permanently" );
header( "Location: http://www.newsite.com/" );
exit(0);
 
ASP response.setStatus(301);
response.setHeader( "Location", "http://www.newsite.com/" );
response.setHeader( "Connection", "close" );
 
JSP response.setContentType("text/html");
response.setDateHeader("Expires", 0);
response.setHeader("Location", "http://www.newsite.com/new.php");
response.setStatus(301);
Of course if you want to get fancier, you could create a script that automatically detects the page name and derives the new page name from that string (example done in JSP):
HttpServletRequest req1=(HttpServletRequest) request;
StringBuffer ReqUrl= req1.getRequestURL();
String RequestUrl=ReqUrl.toString();String source;
String str; 

source = RequestUrl;

str = source.substring(0, source.indexOf(".jsp"));

response.setContentType("text/html");
response.setDateHeader("Expires", 0);
response.setHeader("Location", str+".php");
response.setStatus(301);

Conclusion
That’s it.  It should be easy to move pages around from one platform to another, to a new domain, or a new directory structure.
Your clients will thank you, and it will save you the work of redoing all of your SEO work down the road.

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