So you’ve bought a domain and hosting, how long does it take for your new site to get indexed by Google? Well it could take minutes or it can take days. To give your site the best chance try to follow these points.

– Verify with Google Webmaster Tools
– Create a XML sitemap
– Submit the XML sitemap to the Google Webmaster Tools accounts
– Link to the XML sitemap from the robots.txt
– Submit the site to google http://www.google.com/addurl/?continue=/addurl
– Submit your RSS feed to Google Blog search http://blogsearch.google.com/ping
– Subscribe to your RSS feed from a Google Reader out.

and the most important

– Get external links, so here’s links to a new football shirt website that I’ve made.

Posted in SEO.

In business not everyone gets along, generally in SEO were a friendly bunch but I’ve been in the middle of arguments between clients and ex-web designers. The disagreements are usually about payments, missed deadlines or lost contracts.

stewie_evil

I’ve seen on three occasions web developers get their own back by making little changes to stop sites ranking in Google.

  • 301 re-direct just for the search engines to a porn site
  • Added the noindex nofollow tag to all pages in the site
  • On Google Webmaster Tools setting the preferred domain to without the www’s, when there is no site there.
  • So what can you learn, give all third parties a temporary FTP access to the site, when they finish work delete the account. Check after work your htaccess file and for any Google Webmaster Tools verifications (either a html file or a meta tag in the home page).

    The only way to avoid any problem is not to be a dick and annoy web masters or SEO’s!

    Posted in SEO.

    Well the new year has seemed to bring plenty of SEO predictions so I thought I’d list some from a UK point of view.

    1. More and more business will be looking to invest in SEO, as we know business who invest in marketing during a recession generally come out of the period stronger compared than those that make cuts, but…

    2. Business looking to invest in SEO will go for the cheaper option, it will mean quite a few getting their fingers burnt as you get what you pay for. The companies that know what they are doing will pay for a quality service.

    3. Google will continue to try and personalise trends and keywords tools to help UK business target local search.

    4. Companies in the UK will start to take notice of the opportunities that advertising on social networks. Sites like facebook, MySpace and Bebo allow you to precisely target your key demographic.

    picture-12

    5. More UK companies will look into ‘company blogging’ rather than general content generation. Similar to ‘company blogging’ some UK companies will start to use and publish information on twitter.

    6. Due to the increase of personalised search hopefully SME will understand that SEO isn’t all down to achieving ranking on one key phrase.

    7. Dedicate mobile sites will cease as the UK starts to move over to newer generation of phones which can handle full browsers, as a result….

    8. More UK companies will be trying to ensure their website work on not only all browser but on mobile browsers, iPhone, Blackbury, Nokia I95 etc etc.

    9. Firefox usage in the in UK will continue to grow with IE reducing, also Chrome will start to increase to around 5-10 % share.

    10. Companies will start to shift old style link building to paying for links on other blogs, either paying bloggers or going onto content networks.

    So there are the ten, if there are any UK predictions please add them in below in a comment!

    Think Visibility is a mini seo conference taking place next March in Leeds. It’s only ¬£30 to attend and there is a limit to only 100 tickets which makes it sound like a great day.

    The topics covered are SEO, PPC, Blogging, Accessibility and Usability. There are some well know speakers too Dave Naylor, Tim Nash, Tom Critchlow and Kieron Donoghue to name a few.

    Around 45 tickets have been bought already so if you want to go grab a ticket from http://www.thinkvisibility.com/

    Posted in SEO.

    A few tv and radio adverts are now asking listeners to search for a phrase or product name. The latest is the Nokia mobile phone that comes with free music downloads, your asked to search for ‘comes with music’.

    If you are going to take this approach you have to be pretty confident that you can rank for the key phrase, if you don’t your going to be losing out on a heck of load of traffic. Nokia have managed to rank at number 1 for the phrase but at the moment the URL is an IP address http://62.61.85.218 with a flash site, with a chunky no script which looks legitimate. Must be a error from Nokia?

    nokia comes with music

    Posted in SEO.

    The X Factor is huge in the UK, on average it pulls in around 10 million viewers every Saturday night for its 18 week run on ITV. Some of the 10 million viewers each week go on to make the odd related search on Google. Using Google insight you can gain a rough idea of the popularity of each contestant.

    At this late stage into the competition (semi-finals next saturday) there are four contestants left in the competition. Diana Vickers, Alexandra Burke, Eoghan Quigg and the band JLS. If you stick those four into Insight, select UK and the past 90 days you get a little graph with four lines for each term search for.

    Blue = Diana Vickers
    Red = Alexandra Burke
    Yellow = Eoghan Quigg
    Green = JLS

    A few point to take into consideration, numbers are bound to increase as the competition comes to a close as the hype builds. Numbers will also increase as the number of contestants decreases, less people in the competition less people to search for.

    From that graph it’s clear to see that Diana Vickers has been well in the lead since the searches picked up in September, JLS are on the rise in the last month, Eoghan Quigg has been pretty steady and there’s only been a slight increase in searches for Alexandra Burke in the last week or so.

    What is interesting if you add “xfactor” to the start of each contestants name you get JLS in front of Diane Vickers.

    Playing around with key phrases also showed that you can get traffic trends on an almost daily basis. By adding a 5th key phrase “xfactor Diana Vickers” the traffic levels show each Saturday when traffic peaks, lulls during the week and then increases again when the show airs on the Saturday.

    So from those stats it looks like the Diana Vickers is the front runner to win. But what do I know, I’m just an SEO my other half thinks it will be Alexandra Burke.

    The lesson behind the story, use Google Insight for checking out key phrases, play about to find traffic levels, compare to other key phrases but sometime you need to need use off line key phrase research to pick the best key phrases for your site.

    Posted in SEO.

    In my last post I pointed out a problem with the Cineworld site, I’ve had a response today

    Thank you for contacting Cineworld.

    We have recently changed our website and as with all things new, we are
    still tweaking it to make it perfect for our users. We truly appreciate
    your comments and these will be forwarded to our Web Team for their
    consideration.

    Many thanks again.

    Kind regards,

    Natika Morrison
    Customer Services

    So a good reply and lets hope that the web developers get to work on the fixes!

    Posted in SEO.

    Cineworld have 74 cinemas around the UK. They are doing pretty well considering the company was only formed in 1996. Their site recently had a bit of a re-vamp but the developers didn’t bother with any re-directs from the old URL’s to the new URL’s. It means my bookmark to my local cinema doesn’t work and they must be losing a big chunk of traffic.

    So I thought I’d should sent them an e-mail.

    Dear Sir / Madam

    I go to the Cineworld Didsbury cinema about three to four times a month. Before the visit I check times by going to the Didsbury cinema page on your site.

    Last week I checked cinema times to see a film but when clicking my bookmark the page returned a 404 error. (A 404 error means the page isn’t there). It was at this point I noticed the site has been redesigned and after a quick check released that the inner page URL’s had also changed. For example

    The old Didsbury cinema page URL was :

    http://www.cineworld.co.uk/reservation/ChoixResa.jgi?REGION=4&CINEMA=84

    The new Didsbury cinema page URL is now:

    http://www.cineworld.co.uk/cinemas/18

    I know a little about websites and Internet marketing, so I’ll give a little bit of free advice. Add 301 re-directs from the old URL’s to the new ones. This way when clicking on my bookmark I’ll get automatically re-directed to the new URL. Best of all the search engines will also get re-directed. Your site must be loosing a lot of traffic indeed which can have the knock on in less people visiting the cinema.

    The re-directs can be done by adding rules to your htaccess file. It’s pretty simple, any problems do e-mail back.

    Kind Regards

    Lets see if we get a reply.

    Posted in SEO.

    I noticed today a slight change in Google handling 302 re-directs. I’ve seen in the past site still rank even if there was a re-direct from the domain to an inner page or folder. For example.

    www.domain.com -> 302 -> www.domain.com/inner

    What would happen is Google would still rank the www.domain.com in the listings, not the inner page www.domain.com/inner. But today the home page dropped out of the rankings, even out of the index. As no page rank is passed to the inner page www.domain.com/inner and internal links pointed to the root of the site the inner page wasn’t stronger enought to rank.

    The lesson here, you should never have a 302 re-directs, always re-direct with 301. To check if you re-directs are done correctly use a http server header checker.

    Tesco are the biggest retailer in the UK, their profits exceed ¬£2 billion a year, and they employ a decent SEO company. But even then they will make some SEO mistakes, here’s an example of one.

    So it’s coming up to Christmas and buying presents is now done online (Saturday’s are for football), an easy present is a Christmas cookbook one such book out this year is “Nigella Christmas: Food, Family, Friends, Festivities”.

    When searching for the book title you find Tesco’s site at number 11, which means they are having to spend a little on PPC at the number 2 spot.

    Now thats ok, but as we know there is a major difference in a 1st and 2nd page ranking in terms of traffic. As we know there are hundred of factors that effect the rankings but Tesco have a problem with duplication as there are 4 pages for “Nigella Christmas: Food, Family, Friends, Festivities”.

    – http://www.tesco.com/books/product.aspx?R=9780701183226

    – https://secure.tesco.com/books/product.aspx?R=9780701183226&bci=480|Health%20%26%20Lifestyle&in_merch=1&in_merch_title=&in_merch_name=

    – http://www.tesco.com/books/product.aspx?R=9780701183226&bci=5176|S_Id

    – https://secure.tesco.com/books/product.aspx?R=9780701183226&bci=4294726353|Chatto%20%26%20Windus*16|Special%20Offers

    If you go to the four pages you’ll see that the duplication is caused by the product appearing in 4 different sections Books Home Page, Health & Lifestyle, Product List and Chatto & Windus > Special Offers.

    Other ecommerce systems will fix this problem by making sure that if a product belongs to multiple categories it will only ever have one URL.

    So why is it bad to have 4 version of one page on your site?

    Your splitting you page rank which is inherited from existing pages in your site. You should funnel it all to one page. In this case it comes from the product being linked to from numerous pages

    If you are going to get inbound links to help you rank, you want them all to point to one page. By having 4 you give people a choice which means you can’t control where the inbound links come to.

    Potential to lose sales as users might be confused to which product to buy, are there different version, hard back or softback, ones cheaper? Make it easy for users to decide by only giving them one choice.

    By having four pages it means the content (description & review) is duplicated 3 times, once original three copies. Duplicating content places less emphasise and trust on the original page.

    So it might seem like a little problem but think about how many books are on Tesco’s site which might . So having a fix for would really help the site as it will reduce the amount of time the Google bot wastes on caching the duplicates. So how would you go about fixing this problem?

    As mentions need to change the linking architecture so if a product appears in more than one category it only has one URL.

    301 re-direct the three duplicates to the one permanent URL.

    It’s a big job to sort out and it’s hard to quantify what the results of the fix would be, maybe Tesco’s webmaster’s and SEO company have looked into the problem and concluded that a fix would have no fix? We’ll never know!

    Posted in SEO.