Friday, June 3, 2011

3 Common URL Problems

Three of the most common URL problems that I have seen on different websites. If your site has one or more of these problems, take a look at these solutions and get them fixed as soon as possible.

Problem #1: Non-www and www Versions of Site URLs

If your site has a non-www and www version of all your URLs, you’re going to be splitting link value for the same content between two URLs. Rather than capturing 100% of the link value on the page you want to rank in the search results, you could be doing a 50/50, 60/40, or some other kind of split between the two URLs.

The Fix

There are a couple of things you need to do to fix this:
  • Decide which URL style you want to use, www or non-www.
  • Set up a 301 redirect so that any links to your non-preferred URL style will go to the right style. This way you don’t waste link value by splitting it between two URLs.
  • Set your preferred domain in Google Webmaster Tools so your search result listings are consistent with your style preference.
  • Make sure whenever you build links to your site that you use the preferred URL style.

Problem #2: Duplicate Home Page URLs

This is a close cousin to Problem #1, but is especially bad because it’s your home page.

It is possible to have a lot of different URLs that all go to your home page content, especially if you haven’t fixed your www and non-www duplication, which can result in a lot of unnecessary duplication. For example:

    http://www.mysite.com
    http://mysite.com
    http://www.mysite.com/index.html
    http://mysite.com/index.html

These URLs will all lead to the same content. If you have links going to all four of them you will see a four-way split in link value. There are a lot of sites out there that have fixed their non-www and www problems, but I can still find multiple versions of their home page.

I’ve even come across sites with different extensions (.php, .html, .htm, etc.) that bring up the same page as well. This leads to even more duplication and potentially wasted link value.

The Fix

The fix here is very similar to the first one. Here are a few tips:
  • Set your main home page URL to be http://www.mysite.com. 301 redirect everything else to this URL since it is the most basic (If your preferred URL style is non-www, then do http://mysite.com)
  • If you have to set up different versions for tracking purposes or some other reason, set a canonical tag to show the search engines which version you want showing up in the search results.
  • Make sure when you build links to your home page that you link to the correct version.

Problem #3: Dynamic URLs

This is a fun one that a lot of not-so-SEO-friendly shopping cart programs run into. Once you start including all sorts of variables and parameters in your URLs, the opportunities for duplicate content and wasted link value are endless.

Allow me to illustrate. All of the following URLs could lead to the same content:

    http://www.mysite.com/somepage.html?param1=abc
    http://www.mysite.com/somepage.html?param1=abc&dest=goog
    http://www.mysite.com/somepage.html?param1=abc&dest=goog&camp=111
    http://www.mysite.com/somepage.html?param1=abc&dest=goog&camp=111&id=423

Now what if I start rearranging the parameters? Well, they’ll still show the same content. So, as you might imagine, this can create a lot of wasted link value.

There are other causes for the dynamic URL problem. A lot of companies use these parameter-based URLs for statistical purposes. We just want to make sure that you don’t shoot yourself in the foot from an SEO perspective.

This problem also happens with sites that give their affiliates a unique ID to use in their links. You could have 100 affiliates linking to the same page, but all of the URLs will be different because each affiliate has their own unique ID.

The Fix
  • If possible, make sure that your site is using SEO-friendly base URLs. It’s better to have a base URL that will lead to the content rather than a URL that relies on a parameter. For example: http://www.mysite.com/unique-product.html is much better than http://www.mysite.com/category.php?prod=123 where some generic category page is really the base URL.
  • Set a canonical tag that tells the search engines to use the base version of the URL. That way you can still use parameter URLs like http://www.mysite.com/unique-product.html?param1=123&param2=423 to get your data, but the search engines will consider the basic version as the official one.
  • An even better way to handle this is to capture the data on the server side and then redirect the visitor to the correct URL after you have captured your data. The visit basically goes like this: Visitor clicks on links with parameters -> Visitor goes to site, server records parameter data and 301 redirects them to the right landing page – >Visitor barely notices the switch because it happens fast.This way you can get all the data you need, make sure all of the link value goes to the right page, and your visitor still sees what they were after.

Keyword Analysis and Keyword Suggestion Tools

1. McDar Keyword Analysis Tool:

Enter URL and keyword, it will display Pagerank and Back links pages for the Top 10 websites.

Website: http://www.webuildpages.com/seo-tools/index.php

2. Keyword Density:

This tool shows you how often appears which word in content of given domain

Website: http://www.marketleap.com/publinkpop/default.htm

3. Keyword Density:

The keyword density tool is useful for helping webmasters and SEOs achieve their optimum keyword density for a set of key terms.

Website: http://www.webmaster-toolkit.com/link-popularity-checker.shtml

4. Keyword Density Checker:

Keyword Density is the percentage of occurrence of your keywords to the text in the rest of your webpage. This tool will crawl the specified URL, extract text as a search engine would, remove common stop words and Analyze the density of the keywords.

Website: http://www.dead-links.com/

5. Keyword Difficulty Tool:

The keyword difficulty tool is used to analyze the competitive landscape of a particular search term or phrase, this tool issues a percentage score and provides a detailed analysis of the top ranking sites at Google and Yahoo…

Website: http://www.webconfs.com/link-value.php

6. KwMap.net:

A Keyword Map For the Whole Internet

Website: http://www.linkvendor.com/seo-tools/linkvalue.html

7. Keyword Suggestion Tool:

This keyword suggestion tool will help you with the choosing of the right keywords for your website. You can see which keyword combinations are more popular and also get ideas for more keyword combinations..

Website: http://www.webconfs.com/reciprocal-link-checker.php

8. Website Keyword Suggestions:

This tools tries to determine the theme of your website and provides keyword suggestions along with keyword traffic estimates.

Website: http://www.seochat.com/seo-tools/site-link-analyzer/

9. Ontology Finder:

Related Keywords Lookup Tool.

Website: http://198.68.180.60/cgi-bin/link-reputation-tool.cgi

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tips For Google Local Business Place

Google has recently relabeled Google Maps Local Business Listings into Google Places. Some site owners experienced changes in their business listing rankings while some lost several important reviews for their businesses listed in Google Places.

Here's my Tips for Google Places:

  • Never let another person control your Google Places listing. If you hire a Google Places Expert, make sure he/she has no access to your Google Places account. He/She should only recommend the changes to your Google Places listing(s). The website owner should be the only one to have full access to a Google Places account.
  • Report a duplicate listing to Google. You don't want a duplicate listing to share your user reviews. User reviews are factors for top rankings of your business listings.
  • Optimize the CATEGORY types of your business listings using your target keywords. Use one target keyword or keyword variation per category and use all the allocated CATEGORY types using the "Add another category" link. A maximum of five category types are allowed as of October 2010.

Friday, April 30, 2010

SEO Tips for Your Own Profile

If you don’t have a Google Profile, my advice is to get one. If Google’s regular algorithm is any indication, profile longevity helps rank (important because only four profiles are given 1st page search result status). You can even get a vanity URL instead of the standard number string URL.

[A note about vanity URLs: you risk identifying your Gmail address to spammers as Gmail turns your e-mail prefix into your vanity URL. You can also sign up for a new Google Account using an alternate e-mail and select your own URL, which I recommend.]

Once you have your profile:

Add information. More “complete” profiles are more likely to make 1st page.

Verify your name/e-m
ail. Name verification requires a Knol account and a cell phone or credit card record (Google forgot about the small class of people like me who only use debit cards and tracfones). E-mail verification requires a closed e-mail, i.e., no Gmail or Hotmail.

Build links to your profile. I really only recommend this if you have stiff name competition.

Create a Google Profile for your business (Optional). Google Profiles are only meant for individuals, but that hasn’t stopped people from creating profiles for “Web Design” or “Cheap iPhone.” Doing so will only get you listed in Google Profile-specific search results or possibly organic rankings and not on the front page with the real names. Still, it can’t hurt.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Choosing Domain Name

So you’ve decided to get serious by promoting your business with a website?
Domain name registrations are made on a first come first served basis so before you even think about your website it’s worth registering a domain name to secure it for the future.

As well as building your brand with a good domain name, search engines tend to give weight to keywords in a domain name. This increases the importance of considering some SEO strategies when selecting a good domain to promote your business. Google values keywords within a domain name when ranking your business in search engine results.
The key in selecting a domain name is to arrive at the best medium between branding your domain and choosing for SEO alone. To help you, I’ve come up with my top 10 tips:
  • When coming up with your name, start by listing as many words that relate to your preferred domain name or to the content of your website and industry.
  • Take your chosen keyword search term for your industry and add another word, for example kpLiaisoning, FreezeTechChillers, SpiceWebs, Sync-Host, GireeshCoolingTower, TicketGoose, etc. These words have excellent SEO rankability because people must use the keyword search term when linking to your domain name. You’ve also managed to retain an element of unique branding in the process!
  • It’s a good idea to choose a name that reflects your site or business. This will make it easier for people to remember and also to find you.
  • You can check on the availability of any domain name by carrying out a WHO.IS search or by visiting a domain name registrar.
  • Avoid the use of hyphens in your domain name (or no more than one if you really have to) as they have no branding value.
  • Choose something descriptive – you want it to describe exactly what you do and relate it to the core of your business.
  • Make it something memorable.
  • Try and keep it short if possible, not too hard to spell and easy to pronounce on the phone!
  • Use a popular domain extension and one that suits your market. For example, .com for international, .co.in for India.
  • Remember to always check your spelling before completing any registration!