On Site Moves and Search

Even the smallest site move can have big ramifications for search referral traffic. The greatest challenge to producing a successful site move is to create a holistic game plan. Information technology, marketing, Web development, corporate communications, paid and natural search players are all specialists on the roster of an average digital team.

While organic search expertise will have a key role in developing the playbook, ultimately it is the execution of the game plan by technology players that determines the outcome of any type of site move. By complementing noteworthy content upgrades with public relations or social outreach, and inflating paid performance plans for the duration of the site move, we arrive at an optimal outcome for everyone on the digital team.

Read the entire article at Search Engine Watch:
On Site Moves and Search

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Gone to the Dark Side of SEO?

Content creation budget got you down? Build in new economic efficiencies by using the exact same content across as many domains as your budget can spawn. Invest in machine-generated content instead of having to listen to those troublesome user reviews. Make “Spamglish” the official language of your website. Since you don’t have to worry about looking at what keywords Google allows to send traffic to your Frankensite, feel free to target irrelevant keywords on as many pages as possible.

Read the entire article at Search Engine Watch:
Halloween Inspired SEO Tricks to Keep Spiders at Bay

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10 Guidelines to Producing Search Engine Optimal URLs

  1. Describe the Content: An obvious URL is a great URL. If a user can look at the address bar or a pasted link in a Tweet or blog post, and make an accurate guess about the content of the page before ever reaching it, then the URL is likely optimal. These URLs get pasted, shared, emailed, written down, and indexed by the search engines. Online marketing success starts with presenting users with descriptive URLs.
  2. Keep URLs Short: The shorter the URL, the easier to copy and paste into a document, read over the phone, write on a business card, or use in a hundred other online marketing initiatives, all of which contribute to better usability and consistent branding by keeping URLs short and to the point.
  3. Static URLs are Best: Some of the major search engines treat static URLs differently than dynamic URLs. Humans and bots dislike a URL when the primary components are “?,” “&,” and “=”. Dynamic URLs can often be the ultimate barrier to successful positioning in the major search engines.
  4. Keywords Never Hurt: If you know that you’re going to be targeting a lot of competitive keyword phrases on your website for search traffic, you’ll want every advantage you can get. Keywords are certainly one element of that strategy. Even dynamically created pages through a rigorous CMS can create the option of including keywords in the URL.
  5. Subdomains Aren’t the Answer: Never use multiple subdomains (e.g., category.www.frequency-search.com); doing so adds unnecessary complex layers to what will likely be lengthy URLs. Secondly, consider that subdomains have the potential to be treated separately from the primary domain when it comes to passing link and trust value. In most cases where just a few subdomains are used and there’s good interlinking – subdomain-based site architecture won’t hurt. For example, forums.frequency-search.com is completely in line with best practices. Just remember that the limited benefits derived from flooding the SERPs with different subdomains are minimal when compared to the potential loss of link juice and domain trust.
  6. Fewer Folders Are Better: A URL should contain no unnecessary folders or paths (or words or characters for that matter). The equation is simple — the more folders in the URL, the further away from the root domain and the further away from the root domain, the less important the page. Always strive to eliminate superfluous folders and/or paths in URLs. Relevant directory names are helpful for both search engines and human users since they provide an idea about the content of the URL. It’s a best practice to use keywords in the URL structure in the form of directory names and subdirectories to optimize your website.
  7. Hyphens Separate Best: When creating URLs with multiple words in the format of a phrase, hyphens are best to separate the terms (e.g. /sure-safe/field-dressing-glove/); followed (in order) by, underscores ( _ ), plus signs (+) and nothing ( spaces ).
  8. Be Consistent with Naming Conventions: If your site uses a single format throughout its architecture, don’t consider making one section unique. Stick to your URL guidelines once established, so users (and developers) will have a clear idea of how content is organized into folders and pages. This can apply globally as well for sites that share platforms, brands, etc.
  9. Don’t be Case Sensitive: Since URLs can accept both uppercase and lowercase characters, don’t ever allow any uppercase letters in your site structure. If you have upper case URL constructs in play now, 301 (permanently redirect them) to all-lowercase versions to help avoid confusion and content duplication. If you have a lot of type-in traffic, you might even consider a 301 rule that sends any incorrect capitalization permutation to its rightful home.
  10. Don’t Append Extraneous Data: There’s no point to having a URL exist in which removing characters generates the same content. You can be virtually assured that people on the web will figure it out, link to the content in different fashions, confuse themselves, their readers and the search engines (with duplicate content issues), and then wonder why their link building initiatives aren’t working. If you have to append URLs, then you better know how to normalize URLs by way of Google and Bing webmaster tools.

Did I miss anything?

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Online Retail SEO Q & A

[Q] How can retailers best deal not only with the early 2010 Panda update (and how are they dealing with this so far?), but also the more recent “fresh” update?

[A] Obviously continent differentiation is essential for affiliates – there needs to be a unique measure of a value-add for users. It’s not enough to simply take a feed from a retailer and roll in into your navigation and front-end services. Some affiliates are rethinking how they use reviews, social media and other UGC, others are localizing to go with the lay of the land, so to speak.

I don’t think the freshness factors of Google’s more recent algo update really affects this facet of the ever evolving Panda algorithms. Where the algo update might help out online retailers is for annual events if white sales, black Friday sales and such are treated as regularly recurring events, like conferences and TV series, presidential elections and such are said to be treated with the algo update. Time will tell if this does help ensure only this year’s or the freshest content is indeed available to searchers. What’s really interesting about this is that I’ve always recommending doing some link harvesting for annual events. In order words, when possible, take last year’s event and 301 it to this years. If you have to recap some of the details from last year, send the content to a new URL and don’t promote it. This algo change could render this not process of link harvesting unnecessary, but you still could use the canonical tag to have the same affect in Google at least if the algo update does not perform as anticipated or expected.

Retailers need to avoid falling into a useless content trap to avoid having their results dampened by Panda updates. And let’s be clear about this, Panda is an not an penalty maker, although it may feel like it if your site has been affected by it. Content created by internal site search refinements and programmatic creation of internal site search results pages have created Panda problems for a few online retailers. Canonical tags for preferred content and meta robots exclusions for low quality content can help to get a retailer out of Panda snares, but it takes time to alleviate the issues and regain the domain trust and site authority from  Google.

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[Search Engine Watch] 3 Quick & Easy Holiday SEO Projects

Don’t let a code freeze put your SEO initiatives on ice this year. Make the most of this holiday sales season by implementing a few last-minute optimization tactics that can scale across the enterprise and make your search engine marketing campaigns shine.

Since there are essentially three pillars of successful search engine optimization – technical tactics, content optimization, and link building – take a look at three strategies you might be able to add into your SEO projects yet this year: Microdata, Freebies & Harvesting Links.

[Read] 3 Holiday SEO Projects by PJ Fusco

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