Monday, August 13, 2007

Problems with multiple domains

There are a lot of websites and companies that buy up multiple domains in order to try and corner the market and weed out the competition. While at Classmates.com I found a long list of domains that the company owned, some of which were parked, and others were resolving to the same DNS as the www.classmates.com domain. The problem with the multiple domains pointing to the same DNS for SEO is that the search engines view this as an exact match down to the same directory and filename, as well as the content on the page. The result in the end is that one or more of the domains could be banned or even penalized for being the same.

I ran into the same issue with the professional womens organization - the original domain was www.pwoo.org which was later changed to wwww.professionalwomenonline.com. The www.pwoo.org domain was used when I was quoted in articles and marketing publications, so I wanted those who came from there to still arrive to the same site even though the domain changed. With the two domains pointing ot the same site, I struggled with ranking issues due to links, and duplicate content. So I removed the www.pwoo.org domian from the Google index so that it won't obtain rankings anymore. The www. professionalwomenonline.com domain is now getting great rankings and the users who type in www.pwoo.org can still see the same site.

How did I resolve the issue?
Google has a great addition to their webmaster tools in which you can remove files, directories, and even whole domains. By removing one of the domains from the index, the other can be left to obtain rankings without resulting in being blacklisted. The only problem is that you have to have the pages 404 (page does not exist) in order for the domain to be removed.

Back up your files on a computer or separate server and remove them all (just temporarily)
Go to your Google webmaster tools and select the site you wish to choose (if you don't have a site setup in the Google webmaster tools I would advise creating an xml sitemap and setting up an account today)
From your webmaster tools site dashboard select the "URL Removals" for your website
Click the "New Removal request"
In this case you want to select " Remove your site from appearing in Google search results."
Confirm by clicking the " Yes, I want to remove this entire site."
The site is then added fore removal.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Supplemental goes mainstream

Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Supplemental goes mainstream

You know I have been an advocate of natural search landing pages. With Google's technology n supplemental results aligned with natural search optimization and marketing for usability a user that searches say Annville Institute, Annville, Kentucky (KY) on Google will see:
Annville Institute, Annville, Kentucky (KY)
Ever find yourself wondering what happened to so-and-so from Annville Institute in Annville, KY? Perhaps you’re trying to get in touch with one of your best ...

In the search results - which then takes the user to a page that is more relevant to what they are looking for than the standard www.classmates.com homepage.

This also helps projects like the buyyouadrink.org profiles so that users can share what information they want when Googlers search their name in order to find out more about them through their own personal profile pages.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

In-House SEO isn't Just Optimizing...

Having been an in-house SEO for a few years I have come to the realization that optimizing a company's website from within the company itself isn't all about knowing the technology and algorithms of search engine optimization. I must say that I am glad I understand how a bot indexes a site, how targeting the right keywords on specific pages at the correct densities, and how a dynamic website can encourage rankings through initiatives that target specific traffic and generate conversions. But what I am most thankful for is the ability to communicate and work with other individuals within the company. While my main responsibilities may be to not only increase traffic to the website but increase the conversions that come from the site through natural and paid search marketing, my success stems from the success of others. If I notice a page or section of the site that includes a large amount of content that could be great fodder for the search engines that isn't getting indexed I target the issue, and collaborate with those responsible for correcting it. If the content within those pages could be written to include the website's main key terms then I work with the copywriters or those responsible for those pages in order to get the terms within the content and in the correct densities so that they rank properly and aren't confusing to the users that read the content. The Search Marketing industry has not only grown over the past several years, but is changing in such a way that it takes more than just analyzing a site and telling a webmaster to make some simple corrections. Nowadays you have to coordinate with several different departments from IT to the copywriters, the user interface designers, the database developers, the analytics departments and so on in order to get the work you need done so that you can be successful in your job as a search marketer.

My advice to the consulting companies out there is simply this: 

If you can get inside the walls of the company you are trying to help, then by all means take that opportunity and run with it. Ask for introductions with as many people that are involved with the website you are working on as much as possible and develop strong working relationships with those individuals. They will not only help you understand the site you are optimizing better, but they can help leverage the work you need completed in order to drive the optimization. And by all means - don't ever stop communicating with those individuals. There is always something more you can do, and clients tend to start shopping elsewhere when they feel the work isn't being done for the money they are spending.


To the SEO consultants that are looking to make the transition in-house my advice is this: 

in the first month you are there, make sure your analytics are in place and you can grab a footprint of where the site is before doing any work. Also use that time to build relationships with the individuals that can help you in your success (i.e. the copywriters, developers, designers, product managers, and so on). Once you have successfully grabbed the data you need to show how natural search is driving traffic and conversions and you have developed the relationships you need in order to be successful then start optimizing and keep those lines of communication open as you continue to optimize the site. These are exciting times for us search marketers and for those of us that are crazy passionate about what we do there are bright futures in this technology. Just remember to be a successful optimizer you not only need to know design, development, analytics, etc. But you also need to know how to work well and rely upon others.