BusinessSocial Media

Solving SEO Roadblocks

Inviting Spiders to Your Site

You may have pages that are missing from one or more of the search engines, which causes lower or non‐existent search engine rankings. The quotation marks force the search engine to look for an exact match, so your page should come up in the results if it’s in the index at all.

Here you’ll see how Bing sees your site. Index Explorer takes the pages of your site in Bing’s index and organizes them based on directories. Select a folder and drill down to see how many pages and folders are contained within, how many times pages in that directory have shown up in search, how many clicks they got from a Bing search page, and how many links point to it.

The number of links you should have on the user‐viewable sitemap is limited. Small sites can place every page on their sitemap, but larger sites shouldn’t. Having more than 99 links on a page just doesn’t provide a very user‐friendly experience — no user wants to wade through hundreds of links to find what he’s looking for. So just include the important pages, or split it into several sitemaps, one for each main subject category.

Avoiding 302 Hijacks

Here’s a scenario that we hope never happens to you: Your website is running smoothly and ranking well with the search engines for your keywords. One day, you find that your search engine traffic is dropping dramatically. Then you notice that your pages have disappeared from the search engine results pages.

Here’s how it works: The hijacker sets up a dummy page, often containing a scraped copy of your web page’s content and a 302 Redirect to your ranking page. The search engines see the 302 Redirect and think that the hijacker’s page is the real version that’s temporarily using your page’s URL. So, the 302 Redirect tricks the search engines into thinking that you’re ranking page is the temporary version of the hijacker’s virtual page.

The search engine therefore gives all your link equity and rankings away to the hijacker’s URL. Figure 6-2 shows how a hijacked page’s listing might appear in a SERP. Notice that the URL on the bottom line doesn’t match the company name shown in the listing; clicking this link takes the user to some other page off the company’s site.

Handling Secure Server Problems

You may have pages on your site where users provide sensitive data, such as a credit card number or other type of account information. The Internet solution for protecting sensitive information is to put those web pages on a secure server.

Secure servers can cause duplicate content problems if a site has both a secure and no secure version of a web page and hasn’t told the search engines which of the two is the preferred, or canonical, version. Two versions of the same page end up competing against each other for search engine rankings, and the search engines pick which one to show in search results.

Last word

If you currently have secure pages that don’t need to be secured, redirect them to the http:// version by using a 301 (permanent) Redirect. That way, any links going to the secure pages are automatically redirected to the right pages. The same goes for non‐secure pages that should be secured, only vice versa.

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