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301 Redirects

Monday, October 30, 2006 by Payday Advance UK

301 redirects play a major role in search engine optimization. They enter into the equation in many different situations, but the 2 most common situations are:

1. All sites should redirect all URLs associated with their domain which do not start with "www" (i.e. "http://yourdomain.com") to the same pages on your their domain that start with "www" (i.e. "http://www.yourdomain.com"). This is referred to as a canonical redirect. The reason this is important is that search engines are not smart enough to tell if the non-www version of your domain is really a different site, or not, than the www version of your domain. And, if other people link to your site, you can't can't control whether or not they link to your site with a www or not.
2.

You decide to move the content on one or more pages of your site to a new URL. Sometimes you may do this simply because you are improving the site architecture, or you may do it because you are moving to a new domain.

In either of these situations, you should use a 301 redirect. Other redirects are dangerous to use. Both the 302 redirect and the meta-refresh technique for performing redirects are potentially harmful to your site's ranking in the search engines. The 301 redirect is seen as a "permanent move" of the content, and the links to the page, to a new location and the search engine acts accordingly. The 302 redirect and meta refresh are seen as "temporary moves" of the content.

Specifically, when a search engine sees a temporary redirect, the search engine continues to assume that the redirecting URL is the owner of the content. This means that all link credit associated with the redirecting page is associated with the redirecting page, and not the new page. In addition, you may get flagged as being a potential spammer, because in the past, spammers used temporary redirects to other people's sites as a way of stealing traffic from them.

When a search engine sees a permanent (301) redirect, it assumes that all credit for links to the redirecting page actually belong to the new page. This helps search engines transition to indexing the new page very quickly, and does not bear the potential stigma of association with past spammer tactics.

So now that you know that you need to do a 301 redirect when you move content, or to move non-www URLs to www URLs, what is the proper technique? It depends on your OS. Here is how it breaks down:

* Unix and Linux users should use .htaccess files. This is a simple server level technique for handling redirects. You can use "mod rewrite" rules as a powerful method for redirecting many URLs from one location to another. Click here to learn more about mod rewrite. For example, you can redirect all non-www traffic to all www URLs, with the following Mod Rewrite script:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} yourdomain\.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.yourdomain\.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*) http://www.yourdomain\.com/$1 [L,R=301]
*
Windows users should use IIS Redirects if at all possible. This is also a server level redirect that is transparent to search engine crawlers. The procedure you should follow is:
o Go to Internet Services Manager and right click on the file or folder you wish to redirect
o Click on the radio button titled "A redirection to a URL"
o Click on the check boxes titled "the exact URL entered above" and "a permanent redirection for this resource"
o Click on "apply"

If you do not have access to your server, or if your host will not take care of this for you, you need to relay on a PHP script (requires that your old page and your new page both be coded in PHP). Here is some sample code for PHP:

Use 301 redirects whenever you are moving content on a permanent basis, in order to preserve your search engine rankings to the best degree possible. For most webmasters, 302 redirects and meta-refreshes should never be used.

One exception to this is if you are unable to setup a 301 redirect (perhaps you can't get access to your .htaccess file because it's on a shared server), you can use a metarefresh set to 0. It appears that search engines are now treating this the same as a 301. But make sure its set to 0. Here is the proper code:

Note that search engines behave differently when processing search engine redirects. All of them will handle the physical redirection of traffic as expected. What becomes more complicated is when you have a page below your home page that has direct external incoming links. If you make drastic changes, such as moving to a new domain, or renaming all the URLs on your site, make sure you redirect all pages from the old URLs to the equivalent new URL. For example, redirect:

http://www.yourolddomain.com/article-317

to

http://www.yournewdomain.com/article-317

Google handles complex redirect situations as this very efficiently and will update its index very smoothly and quickly, and pass on all link credit from the old page to the new page. In our experience, Yahoo can take 6 to 8 months to correctly pass on all link credit for links to the old URL(s) to the new URL(s).

For that reason, you should only move URLs, or domains, when you really need to. Its important to not rely on these techniques unless you have to. But if you do, the 301 redirect is the tool of choice.

by Eric Enge

About the Author
Eric Enge is the President of Stone Temple Consulting.

Why that site with 50 backlinks beats your site with 1000 backlinks.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006 by Payday Advance UK

All I ever hear is numbers numbers numbers.So and So has this many links, we need this many links, how many links can you get us, buy 100’s of links cheap, get your link on 100 pages, ahhhhhhh. The numbers game died a few years ago. There’s another line of thinking out there that you might not know about….Read.

10 Link Building Tips for Web 2.0

Thursday, October 12, 2006 by Payday Advance UK

I expect most of you have heard of Web 2.0. If you haven't, Wikipedia defines it as "a second-generation of Internet-based services that let people collaborate and share information online in previously unavailable ways."

Now, we all know that the Internet is about sharing information, so what's new? And how does Web 2.0 affect your online business?

Web 2.0 is all about the rise of consumer-driven content--social networking sites (My Space and Facebook), Folksomonies (Flickr and Del.icio.us), and Wikis (Wikipedia).

What makes Web 2.0 interesting from an online marketing point of view is that it offers (among other things) more link building opportunities for website owners. And we all know how important links are in the search engine optimization game. If you've forgotten, here's an article on the importance of link building that will refresh your memory.

10 Link Building Techniques for Web 2.0

1. Make your site, and your content worth linking to. This may seem like obvious but you'd be amazed how many times I get link requests from sites that are a total mess. Not just design-wise but poorly thought-out or lacking in relevant, useful content. If you want to attract links from good quality sites make sure your site is of equal quality. Think bricks and mortar: you wouldn't want your upscale retail fashion studio to be associated with a flea market.

2. Write and syndicate industry relevant articles. Oh, the power of a great article. Did you know that article sites like Goarticles, isnare and Ideamarketers.com's pages often rank high in the search engine results? Well, they do. And what's more they can send targeted traffic your way.

Keep on the look-out for news in your industry then write an article on the subject. How-to articles like this on are particularly popular with readers and they're easy to write. You can also submit your articles to social book-marking sites like Digg, Del.icio.us or Technorati. If your article gets elevated to the number one spot on Digg, hundreds of bloggers looking for content will see your site and may link to it.

3. Get the press on your side. Public relations is not only a great way to spread the word about your company news but it can also attract links to your site. Either hire a public relations consultant or write your own press releases and submit them to hundreds of journalists, bloggers and media outlets via PRWeb or PRNewswire. A recent press release we submitted for a client resulted in several links to their site, and an increase in sales.

4. Start your own blog. Yes, you do need one. Whatever it is you sell or whatever service you provide, there are people out there who are interested in what you have to say. Post useful information regularly; make your execution flawless and your grammar and punctuation spot on. You'll be surprised how easy it is to get people to engage in discussions and link back to your site.

5. Create your own directory. Although this is an old method of attracting links, it still works today. Build a directory of sites that relate but don't directly compete with yours. Not only does a directory provide your visitors with useful information, it also builds incoming links.

6. Submit your site to directories. Yahoo, DMOZ and other directories are still worth submitting to. Some directories allow free submissions others require a one-time or yearly fee. Whether they require payment or not, satisfy yourself about the quality of the directory before you submit. Remember: incoming links of low-quality may reflect badly on you.

7. Sponsor or donate to a dot org. When search engines think "authority" websites, chances are they're thinking of charitable organizations. So, a link or two from a few .org domains will help. Consider making a donation to charities or providing products or services free to charities that are relevant to your industry. Many non-profits link to businesses that help them in some way. You'll gain quality links, attract free publicity (you can even write and submit a press release about your charitable tendencies), and best of all, you'll feel good.

8. Network locally. Join your local chamber of commerce and the Better Business Bureau - you'll receive a high-quality link back when they list your company on their sites. Submit to city and government resource sites and develop business relationships with non-competing companies locally - you'll profit online and off.

9. Be Sociable. Many large companies are setting up pages on MySpace, Squidoo and other social networking sites. You can too. Use these sites to create "buzz" and position yourself as an expert in your field, not to aggressively advertise your products or services.

10. Pay-per-click Consider using paid search advertising on Google, Yahoo or MSN to sell your products, build brand awareness, and create a few links from relevant content sites. Of course, the main objective is to sell, but, even if you don't sell much using this channel, people who come to your site through your ads, may like it so much they'll link to you.
by Julia Hyde

Ten Ways To Take Advantage of Web 2.0

Thursday, October 05, 2006 by Payday Advance UK

  1. Encourage Social Contributions With Individual Benefit. This is one of the key ingredients for creating good social software and should really common sense when you think about it, yet it is neglected far too often. The social bookmarking service, del.icio.us, however does this perhaps better than anyone else. The idea is that most people will not spend the time to contribute content or enrichment to a web site unless they are getting something out of it. With social bookmarking, it's the fact that your bookmarks are uniquely valuable to you personally, regardless of whether they are socially shared. Never mind the fact that they can provide you even more value through sharing with others via affinity services and other add-ons. The core concept here is to provide personal motivation to the individual to contribute information or get involved in other types of participation that continually improves the entire service for everyone else.
  2. Make Content Editable Whenever Possible. The read/write Web is about making users co-creators of content on a massive scale. Armed with foreknowledge of the effectiveness of the Wisdom of Crowds, you can take advantage of the fact that none of us is as smart as all of us. Wiki sites turn this editable dial all the way to the right for example, and let every page be editable by anyone who is allowed. Far too many sites don't take advantage of the fact that you can give people an ownership stake, and get them immersed in working on improving what you offer, all just by letting them have the ability to change an appropriate level of content. The better wiki software keeps a copy of all versions so that no permanent damage can ever be done and that all information contributed is ultimately shareable. Note that there are still some barriers to fully exploiting this, including preventing mischievious users from causing havoc. But there are ways to limit and control this now emerging as I've written about before.
  3. Encourage Unintended Uses. Too much software assumes beforehand how it will be used. Poor design decisions often severely limit how what you've built can be mashed-up and remixed by others, thus limiting your overall value to the community, commercial or otherwise. Start from the beginning with the assumption that others will find your service or information valuable. Then don't preclude them from using it in their own service because of limiting design decisions, particularly by making things complex. This means identifying and using remix-friendly techniques and technologies. Using REST and XML over HTTP instead of SOAP or WS-*. Using simple XML formats, even microformats, instead of complex schemas and XSD validation. Make your Ajax functionality includable in other sites like Google Maps does. Build simple, atomic, stateless services with straightforward interfaces instead of complex, conversational, or stateful services with byzantine interfaces. Document how your services work and please, please make the pieces and documentation easy to find. And if you must charge for your Web services, be reasonable.
  4. Provide Continuous, Interactive User Experiences. Applications with lots of page loads are so five years ago. People are increasingly busy in their personal and professional lives and they can't spend the 5 or 10 minutes of personal time that page loading can suck up, especially if they use your application daily or weekly. Never mind the frustration that static forms-based software triggers. No autocomplete? Please, we don't have the time. Never mind that native software is also really fast in comparison with simple Web pages. Fortunately, techniques like Ajax, Flash, and Lazslo can do so much better now with the Rich Internet Application (RIA) model. You can deliver an entire application within a single web page and with the latest techniques, it doesn't even break the browser experience with bookmarks or the back button. Of course, you do not have to provide an Ajax user interface to be Web 2.0 compliant, but for many types of applications, it's practically mandatory nowadays.
  5. Make Your Sure Your Site Offers Its Content as Feeds and/or Web services. This might seem obvious to some but you'd be surprised. The Web is increasingly becoming about pure data instead of web pages in HTML. Not sure about this? Think about the Google home page. There is virtually no presentation and the primary service it provides is simple lists of search results, or pure data. Not presentation. You don't go to Google for the looks. Yet Google search is probably the most widespread application in use today (I use it dozens, and often hundreds, of times a day.) Not only that, but just about everything will be an RSS feed in the near future. You may not know what RSS or a feed is yet but chances are you are using them all the time already, though probably through another Web site which is using RSS underneath. Furthermore, users on the Web, particularly the early adopters and influential users, are using browsers less and less, and information aggregators like RSS feed readers more and more. Advice: Make sure your web site offers its content up as feeds or Web services. If you don't offer, you will be an island unto yourself that people have no choice but to route around in favor of those that do.
  6. Let Users Establish and Build On Their Reputations. All great communities are built by groups of people that generally respect each other. As I've written before, this can be as simple as associating a user's actions with their user ID or can be a full blown reputation tracking system like eBay, and there are numerous other approaches. This implies that other users are aware of each other and their actions are visible and transparent. The old adage of don't do anything you wouldn't want the whole world to know about comes into play here. People act more responsible and are far more personally invested in any actions they take if their reputations are on the line. Let your users establish and build on their reputations as they interact with your service. Achieving a good balance between privacy and reputations can often be difficult but the results will be worth it.
  7. Allow Low-Friction Enrichment of Your Information. While the read/write Write has major advantages, the fact is the majority of your users won't have time to responsibly edit or improve your content. So while making content editable is nice, there are other ways of continuously improving it. This is via low-barrier enrichment mechanisms like tagging, ranking, rating, and even comments. Enrichment doesn't alter the original data and it adds useful and informative metadata which is attached to individual chunks of information. Digg is a classic example of this in that news items on Digg can't be edited by anyone, even the submitters, but everyone can "digg" can item, creating a richly annotated content database that identifies the most relevant and interesting submissions.
  8. Give Users the Right To Remix. It doesn't matter if you give people the ability to remix your information and services if your license agreement doesn't let them do it legally. I tried to add Google News to Suprglu and I was stopped because SuprGlu did not have a license to remix from all the underlying content sources. This was a major frustration and essentially prevented me from using their terrific service on a regular basis. And it didn't make me think too highly of Google either. If people are beating a path to your door to remix your service, figure out how to do it. Or they will just go somewhere else. Suggestion: Learn the ins and outs of the Creative Commons license.
  9. Reuse Other Services Aggressively One of the classic problems developers have is the need to reinvent the wheel, never mind that wheels in terms of software are situational things that are hard to reuse in general. Fortunately, the barrier to reuse is rapidly going down with advent of loosely coupled Web services like RSS. But the lightweight programming models of Web 2.0 also lowers the cost of re-implementing functionality so it might be a wash. But recreating information and content is still extremely hard, and so it pays big dividends to reuse the databases of the Google Maps, Craigslists, and EVDBs of the world. In fact, with Web 2.0, most content and functionality will eventually just be wired together instead of created from scratch and that's why capable mash-up skills are going to be an ever hotter employment commodity.
  10. Build Small Pieces, Loosely Joined. Monolothic software is dead. If it was ever alive. This means don't build giant Ajax apps in a single Web page. This means don't build large swiss-army knife services that try to do everything. It means to build functionality one feature at a time, to do one thing well, and move on and create the next new service, or Ajax widget, or web page. Let your content and functionality grow organically. Make it easy to fix thing. Get rid of the ones that don't work, or improve them, all without affecting everything else. Learn how to develop chunks that can be reassembled, rearranged, and extended naturally. You'll find your deliver improvement more quickly and others will reuse your pieces with ease.

Craigslist for power users

Tuesday, October 03, 2006 by Payday Advance UK

Craigslist is one of the best sites on the web for one very simple reason: it's extremely useful. However, there is more than you can do with Craigslist than that Plain Jane interface would lead you to believe. Keep reading for this week's feature on how to become a Craigslist power user. More...