Are You Building Links Or Building A Business?

Comments Off on Are You Building Links Or Building A Business?
http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/sphinn_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png

I think many of us can agree that the great thing about this industry is that it’s constantly evolving and new elements are continuously being added. For example, I love the role social is playing in helping companies connect with customers and the effect it has on search (links, mentions,…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

April 17th 2014 Google, Linking

Climbing The Ladder To Guest Posting On Tier 1 Sites

Comments Off on Climbing The Ladder To Guest Posting On Tier 1 Sites
http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/sphinn_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png

Content marketing is all the rage these days and, if you are pursuing guest posts as part of your link-building strategy, it is critical to target the highest authority sites possible. You want to find the sites where your presence builds your visibility and reputation (regardless of SEO) and where…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

April 1st 2014 Linking

5 Not-So-Common Reconsideration Request Errors

Comments Off on 5 Not-So-Common Reconsideration Request Errors
http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/sphinn_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png

I’ve been struggling with a particularly difficult link cleanup project lately. On the occasion of my 100th reconsideration request (4th for this particular client), I thought it might be helpful to share five not-so-common problems that you might run into during your own link cleanup…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

January 21st 2014 Linking

Are You Setting The Right Link Building Expectations?

Comments Off on Are You Setting The Right Link Building Expectations?
http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/sphinn_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png

In the world of search and online marketing, we talk a lot about the evolving landscape, particularly when it comes to link building. Tactics that work one day can stop working with the switch of a Google button. Tactics that you think are legit can suddenly be deemed a “link scheme.”…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

October 1st 2013 Linking

Updates To Old Link Building Practices That Score Wins Today

Comments Off on Updates To Old Link Building Practices That Score Wins Today
http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/sphinn_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png

Everyone is itching for new link building ideas.  Google is getting smarter, and the game is getting harder. What worked five years ago — shoot, what worked last year — isn’t going to work today. Except, that’s not necessarily true. Sometimes, it’s not the tactic that…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

September 24th 2013 Linking

Your Guide to Local SEO 2013

Comments Off on Your Guide to Local SEO 2013
http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/sphinn_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png

by Chris Warden

The importance of local search on the future of your
business can’t be understated. Google, Yahoo, Bing and now Facebook have all
placed an emphasis on being able to find, review and recommend local
businesses. If the four biggest websites on the Internet are all pointing in
the same direction, isn’t it about time you took the idea seriously?

Not only is local search traffic more apt to buy, and buy
quickly, it’s the traffic that you’re often paying a fortune to reach when
using other marketing channels (ads, direct mail, commercials, etc.).

It’s time to get serious about local SEO, and this guide
should be just what you need to get you started. 

Local SEO – “Why is it important?”

Local SEO – “Optimization and Understanding Your Users”

Local SEO – “Rank Factors: Places Listing and Social Media”

Local SEO – “Rank Factors: Review Sites”

Local SEO – “Citations & Linking”

Local SEO – “Analytics and Tracking”

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

Local SEO – “Citations & Linking”

Comments Off on Local SEO – “Citations & Linking”
http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/sphinn_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png

by Chris Warden

Backlinks are the lifeblood of non-local SEO. Citations are the backlink of the local world. We know that citations are an important metric in local search, but just what is a citation, and how do we get them for our business?

Much like backlinks, citations carry “weight” depending on how authoritative the site is that mentions you. For example, a mention from a news source is gold in the citation world, whereas a mention from your cousin’s blog, that she updates twice a year, carries significantly less weight.

When obtaining citations, we’re looking for quality and quantity. Listings on social accounts, review sites and business directories (Yellow Pages) are all citations. Simply listing your business in as many places as possible provides you with valuable citations that help you climb the rankings. That’s an easy step that you can do in your free time while watching television. How long does it really take to list your business in every business directory you can find? To create social accounts? Not long, and it’s invaluable to the future of your business. Find the time.

Reaching out to local bloggers is another great way to get mentioned. If your city doesn’t have a directory of local bloggers, a social media and/or blogging club, or something of that nature, take your search to Twitter. Start searching for your city, and checking the profiles of the people posting about it. You’ll start to find that many of them have blogs with local intent, and those are the people you reach out to. Offer them a coupon to try your product or service. What you’re trying to do here is earn their business, and see if they write about it. What you don’t want to do is buy placement on their site. Not only is this a no-no, but it can backfire with you receiving a negative write-up for trying to “buy” a positive review.

Another option is using Google to find local blogs with a search query like:

“San Diego blog”

“San Diego blogger”

“San Diego blogger group + club + organization”

Search queries like these will lead you to more than a few local bloggers who might be more than happy to help a local business. Incentivize your offering, but don’t just ask for placement or a mention. Offer them an opportunity to try your offering and hope for the best.

Untitled.png

Additional steps: Check out Meetup and start networking with some of your peers. Meetup has events, seminars and training sessions (as well as fun activities) for groups with specific interests. Not only is this a great way to meet new people, it’s also key to driving business by allowing you to find new customers, strategic partnerships and learn as you go.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

25 Ways to Get Another Site to Link to Yours

Comments Off on 25 Ways to Get Another Site to Link to Yours
http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/sphinn_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png

This guest post was co-authored by Ken McGaffin and Susan Payton

There are many ways to get other sites to link to yours, which helps in boosting your ranking on search engines.

Here are 25 link-building methods you can use for your website.

1. Pay for a Listing

There are sites that will pay to host a link to your website, so if you’ve got the budget, this is your easiest method. This can be a great way of attracting traffic, but be careful that the site you’re advertising with follows Google’s webmaster guidelines.

Paid links fall within Google’s guidelines as long as they are designated as advertising. You should do this by:

  • Adding a rel=”nofollow” attribute to the <a> tag
  • Redirecting the links to a page that is blocked from search engines with a robots.txt file

Fail to follow Google’s advice and you may adversely affect your site’s position in their search results.

2. Join a Trade Association

Oftentimes, trade organizations link to their members’ websites, so this is a great way to get more exposure for your site. A quick search will help you find many organizations that relate to the industry you’re in. Check to see that they have a member directory with links before joining.

Join a trade association

Many trade associations now have a good online presence and as part of their benefits publish links to their member’s websites.

3. Get People Talking About Your Products

People might be talking about your products right now. Would you know if they were? It’s easy to set up a free Google Alert to find out any time someone mentions your company or links to your site. This might come in the form of a product review, blog post, social media update or question in a forum about your products.

It’s important to know who’s talking about you and respond to any questions or feedback (especially negative) immediately.

4. Join a Local Group

Just like with trade associations, local groups like Chambers of Commerce or business networking organizations will often link to their members’ sites. Find groups you want to be associated with and join.

5. Be a Great Case Study

By giving your opinion, taking surveys and connecting with the media, you can get a link to your site included in a case study or article. Let your opinions be heard, as it’s a great way to get some exposure online.
Net Imperative - Be a Great case study

Companies are always looking for good case study material. If you can help your suppliers communicate the benefits of their products, then links can follow.

You likely fit into some category, whether it be as a young entrepreneur, senior entrepreneur, work-at-home parent or ecommerce specialist. Connect with others like you, and brand yourself as a representative of that group. Look for opportunities, such as the one that YoungEntrepreneur.com offers, to submit your story for more coverage of you and your company.

7. Submit a Tip

By providing useful information on your blog or website, visitors to your site will link to these tips and share with others. Also look for media leads like Help a Reporter Out, where journalists put out requests for tips or advice from certain types of people. You might get quoted in a
newspaper, magazine or website.

Submit a tip

Submitting tips to industry journals or blogs raises your profile and brings nice links such as this one on The Woodworker’s Journal for Adam Rung.

8. Piggyback Breaking News

Pay attention to the news, and find ways to write blog posts or comment on relevant news. For example, after the news broke that the Clintons’ cat, Socks, had passed away, PetsPlace.com wrote an article on “10 Oddest Presidential Pets,” which was linked to by many other sites.

9. Become a Valuable Resource

Often, writers will compile a list of resources for an article. If you have a relationship with the writer or reporter, you might be included in that list. For instance, if you run a diner in Arizona, your restaurant might be included in a list of places to visit in an article about Arizona. At Wordtracker we set up an online marketing Academy that is packed with valuable advice – it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors a month.

10. Offer a Discount

People love saving money, and they love sharing deals with others. Many bloggers specialize in finding coupons and sales and telling their readers about them, so make sure they know about your discount. During holidays, offer special themed discounts to improve visibility and links.

11. Make a Donation

While contributing to charity is good in and of itself, it can also provide good PR opportunity, as many organizations will link to contributors’ sites, or include them in a press release. You can issue a press release yourself about your involvement with a charity.

12. Support Your Industry

Whether you donate to industry organizations, attend meetings or just host a badge on your site, you may find that they respond in kind by hosting a link to yours.

13. Be Unusual

The more unique your business, the more attention it will get. Sites like CoolBusinessIdeas.com look for innovative companies to profile, and you can search for sites where you can submit your out-of-the-ordinary company.

14. Give an Interview

People make better stories than companies, so position yourself as an expert in your industry with journalists so that they will want to interview the person behind your company. Ask them to link to your website.

15. Start Hiring

Even posting jobs or internships that you have available can get you links. Human resources and hiring sites often link to other sites, so you might get linked to by dozens of sites from a single job description.

16. Attend an Exhibition

If you set up as an exhibitor at a conference or trade show, you may have the opportunity to get your link and company listed on the event’s website. Also offer to give quotes about your experience at the show to reporters.

17. Buck a Trend

If everyone else is suffering in a down economy but your company is thriving, ride this wave to get some publicity. Reporters look for anything that’s going against the grain, and that just might be your big break.

18. Publish Videos to Your Site

Video production is cheap these days, so create how-to videos, video blogs and interviews and host them on your site. Promote them through social media and email to get others to link to them.Publish videos to your site

Yeti Coolers are stronger than ordinary coolers. And they’ve made some videos to prove it. The videos attracted links from the spearfishing community at SpearBoard.com

19. Publish Videos on YouTube

YouTube is the second largest search engine next to Google, so it makes sense that posting your videos on here would drive traffic to your site. Not every video is viral-worthy, so focus on creating videos with useful content your customers will enjoy.

20. Position Your Products as Gifts

Bloggers and writers often compile gift lists for holidays, and your products and links could make these lists. Plan three months out to contact journalists about lists they’re working on in the future. So you should be pitching your best Valentine’s gifts in November.

21. Help People Make Money

Affiliate programs serve multiple purposes: first, they get other people to sell your products for you. Second, those people get to make money. And third, you get more links to your site. Set up an affiliate program that compensates people for writing about or linking to your site and making sales.

22. Offer Healthy Products

Health is still all the rage in the media, so if you sell products that are good for people, you increase your chances of getting media coverage.

23. Partner with a Local College

Your company might be a good partner for a local university. For example, you could offer special workshops or extend your company’s services or resources to the school. In return, you might be listed on the company’s website as a supporter.

24. Ask for Help

There are sites like MarketingProfs.com or Answers.com that allow you to ask for advice or feedback. It could be as simple as asking what web designers think of your website or whether your logo expresses what you want it to. You’ll get a link that anyone visiting that page will see.

25. Get Blog Reviews

There are thousands of blogs who review products. Identify the bloggers whose audience includes your target market and ask them to review your products. Be aware that some bloggers charge for their services, and you may also be required to give away a second product to one of their readers.

Use any or all of these tips to start getting more links to your website today!

June 15th 2011 Linking, Search

Don’t Let Duplicate Pages and Bad URLs Destroy Your SEO: Kill It Dead! (Part 3 of 3)

Comments Off on Don’t Let Duplicate Pages and Bad URLs Destroy Your SEO: Kill It Dead! (Part 3 of 3)
http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/sphinn_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png

by Stoney deGeyter

Don't let duplicate pages and bad URLs destroy your SEO. Kill it dead!

This series is pulled from a presentation given at SMX East. Part I of this series covered the problems duplicate content creates. Part II covered some of the causes of duplicate content. This post covers some of the solutions that will help you fix your duplicate content problems.

Quick Recap:
Part I: Duplicate Content Causes Problems. Duh!
Part II: There is No Single Cause of Duplicate Content. Don’t collect them all!

Great! Now let’s move on.

Only You Can Prevent Duplicate Content

The Solutions: The Power is Within You.

Finally! Now we can address some of the solutions to the problems duplicate content creates.

Not all duplicate content issues are easily fixable, and some may be outside of your own control. But, those that are in your control do need to be addressed sooner rather than later. Or, you could just sit back and wait for Google to figure it all out. Don’t worry, it’s all good. Google’s got your back!

But, while you’re praying to Google for lavish blessings, I’ll be working with my clients to fix problems that are holding them back in the search results.

Search engine friendly links

Solution: Search friendly links.

In Part II, I showed you two types of links that were not very search engine friendly. The above image shows one that is. So, what’s the difference? This link doesn’t use any JavaScript and it has an “href” that points to the URL being linked to. This is mostly gibberish to those of you who don’t know HTML code, but it’s important for you to know this so you can tell your developers exactly what kind of links you need.

This is a basic HTML link. Nothing fancy. That’s not to say you can do fancy things with it, these can be embedded in CSS and some JavaScript can even be applied, but the crucial thing is that the link itself is very search engine friendly. If all your links are build like this, you will always know the search engines can spider it.

Link consistency

Solution: Link Consistency.

If you’re going to link to a page, be consistent about it. We covered how the same page can be linked in several different ways. You can implement redirects and canonical tags (which I’ll cover below), but regardless of the other solutions you put in place, be sure to be consistent in how you link to all pages in your site.

If you want to use the “www.”, then use it on every link. If you want to link to the default page without using the file name of any directory or sub-directory, then do that consistently as well. Half of the problem with duplicate content is pages being linked inconsistently throughout the site. Fix your link structure first, then work on the rest of the solutions.

Secure shopping path

Solution: Secure shopping path.

In Part II, I talked about the problems that happen when visitors move into the secure area of your site. Often times these secure areas contain links back out, but maintain the secure “https” in the URL. This creates both a secure and non-secure version of the same page. A dupe. The solution here is two-fold.

First, don’t let the search engines enter into your shopping cart area. Secure or not, keep them out! There is nothing there for them to see. Second, once visitors are in the secure area, be sure that any links back out of the check out area go to the unsecure site, not secure URLs of the same pages. It’s OK for visitors to move in and out of the secure area, but what you don’t want is them (or the search engines) accessing secure pages that aren’t meant to be.

Hard code all of your links out of your secure area to be sure they are not using the secure “https” in the URL. Problem solved.

Canonical URLs

Solution: Canonical URLs.

The canonical tag (or attribute. Whatever.) is the ultimate duplicate content band-aid solution for duplicate content. The search engines released this as a way to give them a “hint” about which page of all your duplicates is the one that is supposed to be the genuine URL.

This solution is only necessary if you can’t get your pages properly redirected, or duplicate URLs eliminated, via smart linking and content management implementation. It’s the ultimate “if I can’t do anything else” solution. And really, I wouldn’t worry about it unless you can’t implement any other type of fix.

The idea here is to put the tag in the head code of each duplicate page with the URL of the “proper” page. The search engines are supposed to treat it as if it is a redirect when assigning link and other values to the page.

Link to only to canonical page

Solution: Link only to canonical pages.

If you can’t eliminate your duplicate pages and must use the canonical tag, I would also do my best to link only to the canonical version of each page. I wouldn’t rely on the search engines to transfer all your link values from the incorrect URL to the correct one. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. But, if make sure your internal links point only to the canonical page, you’ve accounted for half the problem.

The other half will be external links, which redirects (see below) will handle. Linking to the canonical page ensures that all internal linking value will be passed to the proper page without relying on the search engines to get the “hint”. “Don’t make them [the search engines] think” is still the best play.

Redirect links

Solution: Redirect old links.

The absolute best solution to maintaining link value to the pages that are supposed to receive it is the use of the redirect. Whether you have deleted or moved old pages, or have duplicates with a single canonical page, using the 301 redirect (along with linking to the correct page) is the best solution available.

This doesn’t require any thinking on behalf of the search engine or the visitor, and you never have to worry about what URLs are being used in links to your site, because only the correct URL is being served. This is the Big Kahuna (along with linking to the correct page) of duplicate content and bad URL solutions.

If you don’t know how to implement redirects, talk to your developers. They should know the best solution for you, but be sure they implement a 301 redirect, and nothing less.

Duplicate content can be problematic, but implementing these solutions will do wonders to eliminating the problems and reducing the amount of online clutter your site may be producing. Once eliminated, your site should perform significantly better in the search engines, which is the goal we should all be shooting for.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.


Don’t Let Duplicate Pages and Bad URLs Destroy Your SEO: Kill It Dead! (Part 2 of 3)

Comments Off on Don’t Let Duplicate Pages and Bad URLs Destroy Your SEO: Kill It Dead! (Part 2 of 3)
http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/sphinn_48.png http://www.xseo.com.au/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png

by Stoney deGeyter

Don't let duplicate pages and bad URLs destroy your SEO. Kill it dead!

This series is pulled from a presentation given at SMX East. Part I of this serious covers the problems duplicate content creates. This post covers the causes of duplicate content, and Part III will look at the solutions you need to implement to fix your duplicate content problems.

Quick recap of Part I: Duplicate content causes problems. Duh!

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s take a look at the causes of duplicate content and bad URLs so we can then learn how to fix this mess and get on with better search engine rankings!

There is No Single Cause of Duplicate Content. Don’t collect them all!

The Causes: Know the Face of Your Enemy.

I started off this series discussing the problems duplicate content causes. I did that deliberately because, if it’s not understood that there is a problem, the causes and solutions really won’t be of great importance to the reader. But, now that we know a problem exists, we have to identify the cause so we can then fix them.

If you’re gonna kill off your duplicate content, you first have to know what causes it. Any problem, until it’s has been recognized and analyzed, cannot be properly corrected.

Redundant URLs

Cause: Redundant URLs.

The image above shows an example of several URLs that can all lead to the same content. In fact, these would all be considered the home page of the website. While it’s really only one page, there are four different URLs that can be used to access this page.

The search engines can pretty easily figure out that these URLs are really only one page. But still, they tell us how to “fix” the problem by giving us a canonical URL tag that we can implement just in case.

Eventually, the engines do get around to figuring this out on their own (even without the canonical tag) but not always as quickly as we would like, and not before we already start splitting link value on the site. Any site looking to get some strong improvements quickly shouldn’t wait around for the search engines to get around to figuring the site out. Be bold! Be proactive! Recognize the problem, and fix it!

Poor product categorization

Cause: Poor product categorization.

Product categorization can create a lot of duplicate content problems if not implemented correctly. With a lot of systems, every category a single product fits into creates a separate URL that each particular product can be accessed. If your product fits neatly into three categories, you now have three duplicate pages. If ten categories, 10 duplicate pages. You can see the problem here.

While I’ll save the solution for the next part in the series, product categorization can be a bit tricky. We want our products to be accessible. This isn’t shopping in a store where the product can only be in one place. The beauty of it being online is that one product can be found in multiple “isles” at the same time. The tricky part is, by doing this improperly, you may be making your products easier to find by your visitors on your site, but more difficult to find for the search engines.

Secure page issues

Cause: Secure page issues.

Most site’s don’t need to secure any of their pages, until the visitor moves into the shopping cart area. Once there, the visitors can feel safe knowing their personal information isn’t going to be accessible to prying eyes. But, once in the secure area of the site, there will often be links back out to the main site. Sometimes, these links maintain the secure “https” in the URL.

You wouldn’t think this would be a problem, right? Who cares if any of the pages, they continue to visit stay “secure” or not? The problem is that security doesn’t mean locked down. It just means your information is protected. But, regular site pages generally don’t need to be protected. Once a visitor accesses a secure page, that URL now has opportunity to find it’s way into the search engine index.

Can we say: duplicate content problem? (I knew you could.)

This opens up what can be a Pandora’s Box of secure, yet duplicate, content that makes it’s way into the engine database and begins to steal value from your non-secure pages. Not good.

Unfriendly links

Cause: Unfriendly links.

There are good links and bad links. And I’m not talking about the type of site’s being linked to. I’m talking about the code used to link to pages.

I’d tell you all about good link code, but that would spoil Part III. Gotta keep the suspense somehow! But, for now, the image above shows two kinds of bad link code you need to be aware of.

Both of these codes use JavaScript to open pages. Usually this is done when you want to open pages in a new window or a pop-up type window. The second one I consider to be a bad link, yet actually can be deciphered by the search engines. The question is, will they? Maybe, maybe not. Best not to rely on crossing your fingers and making a wish. Not unless you tossed a coin in a well, because that never fails.

The first example above simply provides no way for the search engine to know what page is supposed to be pulled, unless they dig into your JavaScript files. Again, they can, but you’re asking a lot.

Session IDs

Cause: Session IDs.

Session IDs are a mess. To give you the gist, every user is assigned an ID number that is appended to the URL of whatever page they are visiting. Yeah, you heard that right. Every user. That means that a unique URL is created for each page for every visitor that lands on your site. Got 10K visitors this month that only visited one page? You now have 10K URLs out there that could be indexed by the search engines–all duplicate.

Told you. Mess.

Session ID’s Create Duplicate Page Farms

Cause: Session ID's create duplicate page farms.

Just to give you a bit of a visual on what session IDs do, the image above depicts a single page linking to other pages on your site. It’s all well and good with the first session, because you only have a single URL for each of those pages. But, when you get into sessions 2 and 3 and 10,000, all the same pages are now duplicate pages. A 10 page site now has 100,000 URLs that the search engines are indexing, but most of which carry the same content over and over again.

Any time a URL is forced to change based on the visitor, you’re going to have a problem. Not only do you get some duplicate content problems, but you are essentially a duplicate content farm, pumping out more and more duplicate content with every visitor that comes to your site. Each visitor essentially devalues your site in the eyes of the search engine.

Now that we’ve explored both the problems that duplicate content creates (Part 1), and several different causes, we can move to Part III to discuss duplicate content solutions.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.