In this article I will discuss page redirection techniques, what works and what to avoid.
In this article I will discuss page redirection techniques, what works and what to avoid.
What is page redirection and why would you want to use it?
Let’s say you rename a page on your website, for whatever reason. Perhaps you decided to revamp your entire naming convention, perhaps you decided to restructure your site and need to move pages into different folders, or you just realized that you are missing valuable keywords.
Let’s elaborate a bit on the keywords issue, since it is part of your search engine ranking success.
Let’s say the page in question is about customized USB drives and you named it page1.htm. Then you read some SEO (Search Engine Optimization) articles and you found out that some search engines use words in the actual file name as search keywords. Next time you do a Google search, take a look at the results, most will have words in the actual file name (in the URL section) bolded, denoting a keyword match. Your USB drives page will definitely benefit if named something like custom_usb_drives.htm instead.
Now that you renamed your page, you just created a symphony of issues for yourself, for your users and for your position in search engine results.
You will have to point every link on your site to the new page name. If your site is small, it should not be a big deal, but if your site is large, you will inevitably make mistakes, mainly forgetting a link or two. This will result in visitors getting the dreaded “404 page not found” error when clicking on your links, robots (also know as crawlers or spiders) avoiding you, etc. Also, if you are heavily relying on visitors from search engines, then again, people will get a “404 page not found error”.
Let’s use the previous example, for a long time your page1.htm was indexed by major search engines. If someone types “custom usb drives” in a search engine box, your page shows up on the first search results screen. That is fantastic, only if someone clicks on the link, they will be pointed to page1.htm, not to custom_usb_drives.htm, because the first page is the one in the search engine’s index. It will take time, sometimes months, before the search engines update their indexes with your new page name.
Lost Page Rank (PR) issues:
Google developed a proprietary algorithm that assigns a Page Rank (PR) to every page on the web. PR is a number from 1 to 10 (10 being the ideal) and is intended to be a representation of how useful and popular a given page is. PR is influenced by many factors, one of the crucial ones being Link Popularity. Link Popularity is a representation of how many “quality” or “relevant” sites link to your page. Without getting into too much detail, it is increasingly difficult and time consuming to achieve a high PR for your pages, especially if you don’t have a really unique website with exceptional and highly sought after content. If you are merely operating a commercial site, in a competitive market (such as selling custom branded USB drives, as in our example), then it takes a lot of time and hard work to build a good page PR.
When you rename a page and discard the old page, you also discard the PR of the page. Your renamed page will be seen as a totally new page, with 0 PR.
What is the solution?
I will start by enumerating some of the methods used by the non-initiated.
Not recommended solution 1: Duplicate content.
First thing that probably comes in you mind is: well, why can’t you just duplicate the page and let nature take its course. In other words, you will have two identical pages, one named page1.htm and one custom_usb_drives.htm. This gives you time to update all links and the search engines will eventually index the new page.
This solution is not viable because search engines will penalize you quite badly, ‘thinking’ that you are trying to scam them by using the ‘duplicate content’ technique.
Not recommended solution 2: Custom error message.
You could create a custom error page. However, you will lose rankings on the next search engine update as the file will appear to be non-existent. As discussed above, it could be some time before the page with the new name will be indexed and will appear in people’s searches. Also, your web site visitors will be frustrated by the fact that they now have to dig through your site to find the desired information.
Not recommended solution 3: An HTML Meta redirect.
You could implement a so called Meta refresh in a blank or customized page that has the name of the old page (in our example, page1.htm) that points to the new page. The redirect can be instant, or delayed by a predetermine amount of time. The delayed redirect has the advantage that you can place an extra message, such as “please be aware that the page you are looking for changed location….. etc., etc…. you will be redirected automatically to the new location”
In the past, this was probably the most used technique.
Without getting into the mechanics of the Meta redirect, which is basically a META tag statement you ad to your HEADER section, know that there are also Java Script techniques that achieve similar results.
What is bad about this is that this is a technique often used by spammers to trick search engines and it should be avoided, unless the page is in a section of your site that isn’t indexed (also known as spidered or crawled). Search engine spammers create a page that is optimized for certain keywords and phrases – it usually has no real content. The page is then picked up by some search engines, but when a visitor clicks on the search engine entry, they are redirected to another site, often unrelated. Most search engines have filters to detect this. Using this form of search engine deception will see a site eventually banned or penalized by major players such as Google.
The recommended redirect strategy – 301 Redirect
A 301 redirect is the most efficient, visitor friendly, robot (spider, crawler) friendly and search engine friendly solution around for web sites that are hosted on servers running Apache. If you are not sure, check with your hosting provider.
A 301 redirect is just a set of commands you type into your .htaccess file.
When a visitor (whether human or robotic) requests a web page via any means, your web server checks for a .htaccess file. The .htaccess file contains specific instructions for certain requests, including security, redirection issues and how to handle certain errors.
The code “301″ is interpreted as “moved permanently”. After the code, the URL of the missing or renamed page is noted, followed by a space, then followed by the new location or file name.
First of all, you’ll need to find the .htaccess file in the root directory of where all your web pages are stored. If there is no .htaccess file there, you can create one with Notepad or a similar application. Make sure when you name the file that you remember to put the “.” at the beginning of the file name. This file has no tail extension.
Some hosting providers offer redirect services through their “control panels”, so you don’t have to perform low level changes on the .htaccess file itself. Instead, they provide a user friendly interface for this. Check with your hosting provider to see what the optimal way to perform a 301 redirect is in your case. I will continue the article with the barebones solution.
If there is a .htaccess file already in existence with lines of code present, be very careful not to change any existing line unless you are familiar with the functions of the file.
Scroll down past all the existing code, leave a line space, th
en create a new line that follows this example:
redirect 301 /folder/page1.htm http://www.you.com/folder/custom_usb_drives.htm
It’s as easy as that. Save the file, upload it back into your web and test it out by typing in the old address to the page you’ve changed. You should be instantly and seamlessly transported to the new location.
Notes: Be sure not to add “http://www” to the first part of the statement – just put the path from the top level of your site to the page. Also ensure that you leave a single space between these elements:
redirect 301 (the instruction that the page has moved)
/folder/page1.htm (the original folder path and file name)
http://www.you.com/folder/custom_usb_drives.htm (new path and file name)
The same format applies not only to renamed files, but also to files moved to a different location.
The 301 redirect is the safest way to preserve your rankings. On the next indexing (crawling, spidering), the search engine robot will obey the rule indicated in your .htaccess file and index the new page name every time a link or its internal database tries to access the old page. In the next update (again, this could take months), the old file name and path will be dropped and replaced with the new one. Sometimes you may see alternating old/new file names during the transition period, along with some possible fluctuations in rankings as things settle. Don’t panic, this is normal.
What if your site is hosted on a Microsoft IIS server instead?
If you have access to the server, do this: In internet services manager, right click on the file or folder you wish to redirect. Select the radio titled “a redirection to a URL”. Enter the redirection page, check “The exact url entered above” and the “A permanent redirection for this resource”. Click “Apply”.
If you do not have access to the server, ask your host to point you into the right direction.
In conclusion, the best and the most transparent way (to both human and robotic users) to rename and move files on your web site, while preserving your search engine ranks is the 301 redirect.
Online advertising will continue to grow at a blistering pace, in Canada growing over the immediate future into a $3.4 billion US industry. The public is moving online at home, at work, on their mobile phones, in order to access multi-media content and information.
Online advertising is experiencing unparalleled growth in Canada, passing a 33% growth to $1.3 billion US last year. It’s projected that by 2012, web-based advertising is expected to remain “Canada’s fastest growing segment” growing by an additional 21%.
The fastest projected movers will be keyword searches, classified advertising online, and online video advertising.
You might have heard of SEO on the net, or in an email or from a business partner. Often, you hear that SEO and SEM are about getting your site in the top 10 in major search engines for a set of keywords.
SEO is partly about that, but getting your site at the top of the SERPs is the means to a goal and not an objective in itself. SEO is about getting qualified traffic to your website and converting as much of it as possible into sales.
Some SEOs only offer top rankings, this is their sales pitch. They qualify achieving that as wild success. However, your site can rank #1 for targeted keywords and fail to make a single sale. This can be a a result of poor communication with your audience or technical and usability website errors. Therefore, an accurate measurement of whether the SEO campaign was a success or a failure is necessary.
It’s best to stick to a SEO that has a good understanding of what success means and can actually measure it for you. However, it’s useful to know some things yourself to give you a chance to determine whether your investment was profitable or not.
Correlating Rankings with Traffic
The first thing to do is to correlate rankings with traffic. Monitor the positions your site holds in search engines for keywords and the corresponding traffic. Compare traffic on a week to week basis. On some keywords your web site might drop and lose traffic but it may gain positions for other keywords and compensate as a result. It’s normal in a search engine optimization campaign to have fluctuations.
Your site can target and rank on a variety of keywords in various search engines. Your traffic will be made up of several streams from various sources. Some of the keywords will be “money keywords”, meaning keywords that people use when they’re ready to make a purchase or make an inquiry.
Another type of keywords are “information keywords”. Each of these are used by people just looking for information on a certain product or service but are not ready or informed enough to make a purchase or an inquiry. More often than not this traffic helps promote your site through viral marketing (mouth to mouth marketing) but will not bring any immediate revenue.
Another type of keywords are “incidental keywords”. These are keywords that are hardly relevant to your content, off topic or mentioned as a comparison term etc. Some of these keywords bring useless traffic. Most users will probably leave as soon as they get to your site because they realize that what they are looking for is not there. Some of these keywords, however, are an excellent chance to widen the set of keywords to target. These keywords will be used by the SEO to attract more targeted traffic.
The next step in your success assessment is to analyze traffic. This should be broken down into sources of traffic: by search engines, by keywords and by third party sites. Success at this stage means an increase in quality traffic. Targeted traffic are visitors who arrive at your website and find what they are looking for, be it information on products or making a purchase or inquiry.
You should not guide yourself purely by numbers as that might include traffic from irrelevant keywords or sources. For example clicks from ad networks may bring in a lot of traffic but if your site doesn’t provide what they are looking for, then the traffic is useless.
Traffic That Converts
In this phase you’re only interested in the traffic that converts, e.g. turns into customers or potential customers. Your SEO should be able to give you a monitoring program that allows to see how many visitors have made a purchase or an inquiry or and which keywords they’ve used to get to your site.
You’re not interested in analyzing every visitor that made a purchase but you, as well as your SEO, should know what your most profitable keywords are. The most profitable keywords bring in the best ROI and this is, after all, the best measuring tool of any SEO campaign. Judging by how ROI rises or drops you can tell if the SEO are doing their job properly or not.
To summarize, targeted traffic and ROI are the two things to analyze in your success measurement process. If targeted traffic rises, then you’ve got a successful site. Targeted traffic is made up of users that recommend your site to their friends and of users that actually make a sale. Increasing ROI means turning more visitors into customers. If your ROI drops or is not very good, then it means that your site isn’t performing as well as it could and your SEO has failed in their task to bring you extra leads and revenue
There are several steps to follow to ensure top rankings in search engines. Sites that follow these simple steps will likely see their traffic and search engine rankings soar through the roof. The better optimized your site is for the search engines, the better results you can expect.
1. Implement Title Tags and Meta Tags
Title tags are an important aspect of search engine optimization as they are the way to convey your marketing skills to your target audience. The wording should flow smoothly while containing important keywords. This is where the search engines and your target audience get a feel for what your Web site is about.
You want to stress all the viral information in this limited area of space. This is your area for free advertising, so take full advantage of this. Insert information like company name and your targeted keywords that you have chosen for this page. Every page on your site should have unique title tags and meta tags.
2. Offer Quality Content
Your content is very useful for the search engines in determining whether or not your Web site is relevant to your topic. You want quality, keyword rich content. You do not want to stuff your keywords, but place them sporadically throughout you site.
Keyword stuffing is a black hat technique that will get you permanently banned from the search engines. Make sure that your content flows smoothly and rolls off the tongue easily. Remember, humans — not search engines — have the ultimate decision to purchase your product or service. Write your content first for your audience and then add keywords where it makes sense to.
3. Acquire Quality Links
Links are a valuable tool for gaining top search engine rankings. Links (backlinks) are viewed as a vote from one site to another, so the more links to your site, the more popular the search engines think your site is. Higher-quality links from authority Web sites are weighed more heavily when ranking your site. So, acquire links from reputable Web sites that are popular.
You want to get links that are related to your line of work to increase rankings. Make sure all your links are related in one way or another to your Web site. If not, then your site will be penalized in the rankings, which is the opposite of what we are trying to achieve.
4. Strive for Quality Backlinks
Recently, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) began to crack down on link farm sites (sites where you buy links) by penalizing them in the search engine rankings. Avoid link farms or buying links from non-authority sites, as they will only do more harm than good.
Remember, it’s not the quantity of links you have, but the quality of those links you do have. Make sure your links appear natural, not like they have been paid for. You must have something of quality to offer others so they will link to your site and increase your search engine rankings.
5. Have a Keyword Relevant Domain Name
Before purchasing a domain name, you should look for a URL that has relevant keywords to your company. Ensure that your domain name has some relevancy to your Web site.
Your sub domains should not be long and full of strange characters and symbols. This will only confuse the search engines and your human visitors. The simple domain that has your keyword specific to your page is great for the search engines and human readers.
6. Use HTML
Search engine spiders have a hard time reading coding other than HTML (hypertext markup language). To avoid any confusion for the spider, have your Web site written in HTML — not Flash. If you are a large, well-known company, this does not play as big a role, but if you’re a small company trying to make a name for yourself, ensure that your programmer is using HTML.
7. Make Site Navigation Easy
You want a Web site that is easy to navigate through. The more confusing and broken links to your site, the less likely it is that the spider will fully crawl and index all your pages.
You want to submit a xml sitemap for Google so it can find and index all the pages in your Web site. Sitemaps are a necessity for Web sites getting all your pages indexed and included in the search engines.
8. Use Fresh, New Content
Search engines do not want old, outdated content on their search results, so you must make sure to add new content to your site on a consistent basis. Both humans and spiders like to see new content on your Web site. Make sure to update your content to make sure it is up to date and relevant.
You can make simple grammatical changes to your site or add pages — anything counts as new content. If you stop adding new content to your Web site, your rankings will start to slip and fall way below your desired results. If you see your rankings start to slip, make sure you add new content to your site.
9. Add a Blog to Your Site
A blog is a great tool for keeping visitors up to date to with your site. Blogs help promote your site and give your visitors another way to locate your Web site. Blogs and blog posts get indexed in the search engines quite quickly as well.
If you start a blog about the industry you are in, you can quickly build up your rankings. Blogs are especially useful for adding fresh content to your site. Blog posts are seen as new content, so post in your blog at least once a week to keep your content new. Blog postings do not have to be relevant to your Web site, but it does help to keep the content somewhat relevant to build up and authority blog.
10. Make Your Web Site for Humans – Not Spiders
This is probably one of the biggest mistakes committed by newcomers to Internet marketing. They write and organize their Web site for the search engines to achieve high rankings, yet the traffic that comes in does not make a purchase.
You want to have a Web site that is easy to read and comprehend — not a site that is made for the spiders to read. Ultimately, your site is viewed by humans who hold the purchasing power. Ensure that your Web site is easy to read and does not have any misspellings.
Webmasters who are interested in building high traffic to their site and maintaining a successful site, should pay particular attention to Search Engine Optimization techniques which can help them improve the search engine rankings. All search engines employ some type of algorithm that brings up the resulting links when a user searches for something. No, all search engines don’t use the same algorithm. But that’s not what this discussion is all about. I’m sure all of you are interested in getting your website/blog listed in the topmost search results. listed below are 5 simple tweaks that can greatly influence your ranking in the search results.
1. Keyword Optimization
The use of relevant keywords in your site is one of the most common and also one of the simplest ways to optimize search engine ranking. It will increase your ranking if you use commonly searched words like for example: If you have a gardening site, you might want to use the word “Home gardening” or maybe even “House-keeping” more in your posts. As a result, when people actually type those phrases in the search box, your website is shown earlier because of the use of it in your web page is higher than the rest.
TIP : Don’t ever overdo it.
2. Get Link Love
Many search engines (almost all) rank your site on basis of the number of back links that lead to your site. Now basically you could do link-exchange, but search engines will rank you even higher if you get one-way links. It’s simple: The more back links one has, higher up in the search results you climb.
TIP: Try and get as many as One-way links as you can.
3. Use Image Tags to your Advantage
Site owners should also be aware that any pictures used on their site can be used to improve search engine rankings with some search engines. This aspect of search engine optimization is often overlooked because many believe the pictures are not viewed by search engines. While this is true the search engines do crawl the code of the blog in addition to the content on the blog. This means the search engine will view the information provided in the image tags. Take advantage of this by using the image tags to provide relevant keywords which can bolster search engine rankings. However, care should be taken to ensure the keywords used in these tags also accurately describe the image because visitors will often see the text included in these tags when they scroll over pictures on your site.
TIP: Make sure that the tag is relevant to the picture.
4. Site maps are Necessary
All websites need site maps. Why? Well, every site map has links to all the pages in a website and it helps search engine spiders gain even more easier access to your content. And it’s obvious that if more content is tracked by the spiders, the more results appear.
TIP: Well, K.I.S.S, keep it simple silly.
5. Search Engine Friendly URL’s
Using Search Engine friendly URL’s like http://www.freshtraffic.ca/search-engine-optimisation/ will be more effective than the long ones. Why? Well long URLs are most likely to be considered as spam by search engines and users. Keep it brief. Don’t be under the impression that longer URLs will impress your visitors. Users generally despise those kind of addresses. It’s not tough to make the change, and frankly the faster you shift to Search Engine friendly URL’s the better.
Are you ready? There are no magic tricks or quick answers. I know this may sound crazy, but when you create your website pages you have to keep one very important thing in mind, the end user. KISS, keep it simple stupid will allow you too page rank in the top 5 search on any niche or keyword you are using.
Even when Google changes their algorithms you won’t be worried. These SEO techniques are not really fantastic, they just work. You will need to stick with the basics, these have worked for years, they work now and it is what the search engines want I feel there are two types of SEO people, 1. the first is simply setting up your website so the search engines will serve you when a potential customer types in your keyword, 2. the second is Search Engine Octopus.
This person constantly sits and tweaks their pages , not thinking about the end user. You don’t want to be the second SEO. We all want to be on the #1 page and listed with all the major search engines. Keywords are the bread and butter to your online success, but gathering a large number of keywords and then dumping them into your site will not work.
Relevant keywords and relevant content on your keyword is the key to success. Don’t build your pages using only your main keyword, search engines will also determine other relevant keywords, use variation keywords.
A reality check, use every possible keyword, one month that keyword may only have 300 searches, but the previous month it may have had over 1500. Here is another basic SEO technique often overlooked, site structure. We all do it including myself, create a couple of pages ftp them and then hope the search engines pick them up. Maybe later on you will add a couple of pages and hope for the best this is generic and wrong!
Want to see how a site should be properly structured?. Head over to Ebay. The key here is to concentrate on categories and not the menus on our site, use your keywords and create a skeleton structure of your website so that your keywords flow consistently. Another important part of getting listed in the search engines is the Title tag, get this wrong and you will lose a lot of traffic.
Remember the first two or three words should have your keyword in it, I also wouldn’t go over a maximum of 9 words. Try and create a catchy and inviting title, something that will appeal to the surfer, so you can get the click. Elaborate and make the title catchy, provide a solution for your customer to ensure the click.
I believe 99% of all webmasters shoot for the top ten keywords, certainly understandable to get a lot of traffic. But consider this, why not concentrate on the bottom of the list and work your way up, here you will want to try and focus on the targeted keywords for your industry. What you want to do is understand your main keyword and think logically.
Yes .it may have less people searching for them but at least they will be more accurate and highly targeted. Remember each page you create for your website will have it’s own value, so each page is keyword targeted. If your particular market has 50 keywords then by all means create 50 pages. Linking between sites is an crazy task, most webmasters will spend weeks searching for links and a lot of webmasters are very choosey with whom they exchange links with.
If you set up your site properly and it is established, you can let them come begging to you for links, the key here is to properly structure your site.
Online marketing is fast becoming everyone’s cup of tea. It’s a common myth that one can easily earn high profits working from home. Not everyone who enters into business on the Internet succeeds. Just building a website isn’t enough to make money online. There are a lot of online business tactics you need to know and follow.
Online Business is Crucial
For any online business to flourish, link popularity is a major factor to consider. So what is link popularity? Most Internet users come to know about a particular site through search engines. Based on various algorithms, search engines give a ranking to the sites indexed. The better the ranking, the more popular your site is.
The keywords in your website play a crucial role in determining the ranking of your website. The more common your keyword is, the more you come down in the ranking list. Does this mean that websites with common keywords never flourish in business?
By applying certain strategies, your website can achieve a very good ranking even with common keywords. But remember, link popularity or web promotion is something that cannot be achieved overnight.
One way of achieving link popularity is by linking to different sites. Link sharing is a major feature of online business. It is through the links placed on web pages that people come to know of other sites. People, when surfing through a particular site, often click on the links on that page to gain additional information.
When your link is placed on another site, it is more likely that the visitors of that site will also visit your site. This increases the number of hits on your site. But keep in mind, this doesn’t mean that linking with all the sites you come across can add popularity to your site.
Search engines give a lot of weight to the links. While the links from quality websites can give you good sales and traffic, a bad link can spoil your whole business. The quality of the sites you link to matters the most. To take advantage of people who work to build their link popularity, some sites are made just to link to different pages. These websites are nothing but long lists of links. Don’t ever think of linking to such a site as this will do more harm to your link popularity than good.
I keep on getting asked by newbies so here goes
Search Engine Optimization is broken down into two segments. Aspects of onsite changes to make your site more spider friendly and Offsite keyword text backlinking.
From an on site SEO perspective, consistency and placement of your keywords are important. Spider read a page top to bottom left to right. Therefore your major keywords should be consistent from your Meta tags all the way down to your footer page. Consistency in Syntax as well a prominence. Interlinking your site with keyword text links not only helps navigation of your site but it improves your keyword density.
There is much discussion in regard to the keyword density as to what is considered a non spam factor. Each page should have about 350-500 words per page with a keyword density of no more than 7-10%. Keyword density is also considered in your graphic alt text as well as hyperlinks.
Generally speaking, if your keyword looks stuffed, it is.
Basic On site SEO Factors:
Title Tag ( with Keyword)
Meta Description ( Consistent with Title Tag)
Meta Keywords ( Consistent with Title tag and Description)
H1 Tags ( with Keyword)
Graphic Alt Text ( with Keyword)
Keyword Density in body text
Keyword in Menu Links
Footer Page with Keyword Text Links
Off site linking is generally though of as the most effective way to raise in the search engine rankings. However if your on site SEO is not complete you are battling an up hill battle.
When planning your off site linking strategy you need to keep in mind that reciprocal links are considered devalued through the latest round of algorithm updates. Textual Keyword Rich links from various C-block IP address are the best links possible.
There are many ways to receive quality links.
Some of the top linking strategies to receive quality links come from the following venues:
SEO Friendly directories
Growing your links in a consistent manor is also relevant. Creating 1000’s of links in a short period of time could set up red flags. You will receive many links via RSS Feeds from the sources described above and be successful in your linking campaign.
Getting Search Engine rankings can take time depending on your keywords, but consistency and effort both on site and off site will bring you the desired results.
You hear it all the time on the net from some very good sources, but is Googles PR (Page Ranking) all that is made of it?
The reason I ask myself this question is, I know sites that have been at the top of Google, Yahoo, MSN search engines for the last 5 years and these sites only have a Google PR2 ranking, yet are on the first page for keywords and phrases that have over 40 million listed pages.
The content is good and relevant, the keywords are meaningful with the correct density and none have high ranking PR pages back linking pages to them, so what is the secret?
By the way, one of these sites gets over 5 million hits per year worldwide.
While it is a never ending job for seo experts trying to work out the Algorithms of the search engines, it just may be that if you write a good website, with good content that is releveant, with correct titles and descriptions, you just may get the spot you require.
Answers on a post card please