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.

A few days without a post as I spent the weekend in the lovely Birmingham, it rained. Since the last post Google has released Search Wiki, it’s being doing the round on labs and it’s now been rolled out onto Google accounts.

The simple explanation is you can now move rankings up and down, add comments to rankings and this data can be used to present ‘better’ results to you and other Googlers logged into Google accounts.

Now ‘better’ is placed in bold there due to the face that most people have started to spam the hell out of it. The best exampled form Dave N. It looks like SEO’s will big up their own clients and dismiss competition. This has already confused one client who removed all the competition from the top serp’s in his industry and then wonder why there was no increase in traffic as he was now number 1.

In terms of does this change anything in your standard SEO, not much it just places more preference on having a user friendly site and having a good service. As the saying goes if you offer a good service not many people will recommend you, have a bad service or product then 10 people will let friends, colleagues know etc. Doesn’t have to be be 10 but that sounds like a good number…

So really Search Wiki seems to be more to do with reputation management that SEO, that is providing Google doesn’t unleash the product onto the main search??

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.

The fourth link to be added to my Blog roll is the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog. It’s the official blog from the team at Google. It’s the best way to get 100% accurate information about the tools, changes and additions to Google’s search engines.

The blog should be subscribed to by SEO of all levels, novice to advance. Post average out at 6-10 per month but when the posts come they will of high quality and generally very useful. Most posts will be regarding releases of new tools to the Webmaster Tools, changes to the guidelines or to clear up an issue discussed in the online community.

So head over to googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com, either sign up via e-mail or better still subscribe by RSS in your Google Reader.

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.

This week Google released a starters guide to SEO, it’s a great read if your new to SEO and also great for experienced SEO’s to back up the work they have been doing.

It reiterates most of the advice Google have given out via various sources but bringing it all together in one document certainly helps.

I’ve found the guide useful already with a client who refused to to add any fresh content to their site. The client insisted that adding new pages to their site would have no effect on their rankings and we were only insisting that client added content as it gave us time to find out the ‘real’ problem with the site.

It wasn’t until the client read the guide (page 12 & 13 about content) they decided to add some new pages of content to the site. Sometimes clients won’t take notice of the advise you give them, they will sometimes need an “official” point of view to take a suggestion in.

It’s good to see Google acknowledging the desire of webmasters and SEO’s looking to make improvements to their sites. It also give business who are looking to hire an SEO company some material to test SEO”s to see if they really know what they are doing.

The guide can be found over at this blog post.

Posted in SEO.

When taking on a new client one of the first things your going to check over is that the client’s site isn’t breaking any Google guidelines. I’ve seen the past a client sign up, you do your initial links to some directories that attracts Google and the site gets banned. It’s best to check over sites for spam before you do anything. Get the site cleaned up and then start the link building.

One check that people often miss is alt text. Alt text is simply the text you give to an image.


Red Jumper

Google will read the alt text, so some dodgy SEO’s will place key words in the alt text.


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The general rule is the alt text needs to describe the picture, accurately.

So how can you check for alt spam text. Normally you scan through the source code and try to see large clubs of blue text. This is only helps when the alt text is lengthly and will stand out to the naken eye. But alt text doesn’t have to be lengthly to cause your site to be banned.

For example every alt text in a page could be “loans”, it won’t stand out in the source code but it’s still breaking the guidelines. So how to check for such alt text? Use web developer tool bar.

Once you have the toolbar installed go to the page you want to check and click “Images” –> “Display Alt Images”.

web developer toolbar

This then overlays the alt texts on the page in yellow. For example this BBC page.

example of alt text

Then you can get a better understanding if any of the alt text are breaking the search engine guidelines. The areas I generally find alt spam are:

  • Headers
  • Navigation / Menu that are made up of images
  • Tables that have images to make boarders
  • Footers

IMBroadcast is a new user generated content video site just for the Internet Marketing industry. There’s plenty of videos out there about SEO, PPC and Blogging but no real central resource for the videos. IMBroadcast aims to bring them all together in one site.

The site has the standard fetures you would expect in generated content video site commenting, groups, tagging, channels, voting, user profiles etc. At the moment it seems that you have to host your video on YouTube and then add it to the database. I’m guessing the ability to upload your videos will come.

There’s a wide range of content on the site from tutorials, conferances, weekly round ups and the odd rant. It doesn’t seem that any prominate channels have developed yet, but they’re seems to plenty of video views with The Girly Girl’s SEO Conference Guide ranking at number one with 1,434 views.

So head over to www.imbroadcast.com, get an account and check out some of the videos.

Posted in SEO.

Commenting on blogs can help your search rankings in two ways. Directly it creates links back to your site. As we know the more links you have the better, the stronger your site becomes. Some links may have effect on your search engines some links won’t, the ones that are nofollowed.

Indirectly commenting on other blogs can help people find your site and then inturn earn links. For example I found Joost de Valk’s website by a comment he made on another site. I now link to Joost’s website in my blog links.

The more visabilty you create on the internet the more people will start to link to you, that is if your content is good once their arrive at your site. So start commenting on blogs in your industry now, comment regardless of if the link is going to pass page rank or not and use anchor text that reflects your site best.

Posted in SEO.

If your struggling to find good ideas for articles and blogs, or want to attract some more traffic then the keyword wuestions from Wordtracker Labs looks like a cracking tool.

Searching with keywords the tool returns that keywords in popular questions. For example SEO returns.

Question – Times asked
what does seo stand for – 15
what is seo – 10
how do i become a certified seo – 6
how to set up seo – 4
how important is domain to seo – 4
how does links to bookmark pages affect seo – 3
how to do seo myself – 2
how to write seo articles – 2
how to remove seo for firefox – 2
how to seo – 2
external seo work what is – 2
seo how – 2

No doubt that several SEO’s will be writing blogs based around these questions – e.g. Dave N. The data seems to all come from America so there’s nothing to do with football clubs, towns and city’s in the UK. The time asked number comes from the last 140 days from partner search engines based in the US.

So if you need to write some good content for clients have a search and I’m sure you’ll come up with some great articles.