Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Secondly, some helpful Questions and Answers
Our website has been around for many years and we are switching over to a content management system coded in JSP, but with extensions ending in .do as opposed to what we currently have, .asp.
We have hundreds of pages dynamically code-driven from our database in .asp and I'm worried that when we switch over to the .do extension we will lose placement in the search engines. We will be redirecting the .asp pages to the appropriate .do page but will it affect our long-term rankings of those .asp pages that live throughout the SE's if we 301-redirect? I'm just not sure how well the search engines pick up the .do extension. Are there steps to ensure better success through this transition?
The .do extension shouldn't be a problem, as the search engines index any and all extensions just fine. But the changing of all the site URLs from .asp to .do will definitely cause you some temporary pain in the search engines, even with the 301-redirects. Unfortunately, it can often take a few months for the search engines to remove all your old URLs and index the new ones. And even once they do, your new URLs may or may not be given the same "trusted" weight as the old ones, simply by the fact that they are new.
You're doing all you can do by putting up the 301-permanent redirects, but do expect some loss of traffic during the transition and possibly for a few months following it. It might help to add a Google Sitemap when you go live with the new site, but make sure the site is squeaky-clean of search engine spam if you do this.
I'd recommend not making the changes during your busy season, if you have one (and if you can avoid it). Good luck!
++Optimizing Flash Sites++
Thanks for all your valuable information. I am working for a Flash site that is brand-new. How can that be indexed and come up in the SERPs? Please give some information about that which will be valuable for my site.
You're in luck! Normally I tell people to create an HTML version of their site for those without Flash as well as for the search engines. However, High Rankings Forum moderator Jonathan Hochman has come up with a nifty
workaround for optimizing Flash sites. You can learn more here:
Hope this helps!
++Search Engines Indexing Dynamic Sites++
I don't understand how search engines list dynamic sites. For example, this site has a whole bunch of products. Every single product page calls up the same url: www.example.com/products.php.
Will every single page be crawled and eventually listed?
Each individual page has a unique <title> tag.
Thanks for all your help over the years, Jill.
If every product page is the same URL, then no, that's not a crawler-friendly design, and the engines won't be able to crawl and index the site correctly. However, if there are additional query strings appended to the end of that URL, e.g., www.example.com/products.php?product=blackhat,
then there shouldn't be any problem with those URLs being indexed by the search engines.
Dynamic sites can definitely be crawled and indexed if created with the search engines in mind. Make sure that every page has a unique URL and that every page has a way to click to it via the navigation of your site rather than a search box or pulldown menus.
Those are the basic things you need to think about, but there are additional ones. You may want to visit the Dynamically Generated Site Issues section of the forum for more info:
I've been receiving your newsletter for several months now and find the information invaluable. I'm a one-woman show for our website with no formal website development training. We're a small, family-owned business with very little money for expert assistance so everything is learn-as-I-go and School of Hard Knocks. Your newsletter has been my most important reference.
I recently met with a company that provides SEO as one of their services and I was told point-blank that our site is written with the "wrong code," and therefore the search engines can't read it. I use FrontPage and have nothing more fancy than text, tables, pictures, and some links to other industry sites. Should I be suspicious?
So far I've managed some pretty good search rankings with the major search engines on many of our keywords -- I don't think we're doing that badly.
Since your pages are getting indexed by the search engines just fine, and you're getting pretty good rankings, the whole thing definitely sounds fishy to me. Obviously, without seeing your site or having more information, I can't really say what they're talking about. If all they said was that it was written with the "wrong code," you should get clarification as to what exactly is wrong about it. If they didn't say any more than that, and won't provide you with any specifics, then I'd chalk them up as SEO Quacks <http://www.highrankings.com/advisor/seo-quacks/> and simply move on. Your current rankings speak for themselves!
++Now You See It, Now You Don't++
I recently SEO-ed my site. Yahoo started re-indexing my website: they already showed 37 of the new links (internal URLs) within my site. This morning I had another look at these links within Yahoo and got an unpleasant surprise: they showed the links from the previous version of my site. I'm wondering if you have an explanation of why this happened.
Best wishes from the Netherlands.
This is nothing to worry about. The search engines are always switching between databases and you probably just saw an old version. Anytime you do new things to your site, things won't be stable for a couple of months. I usually recommend not even checking things for a good 4-6 weeks after you make changes. That way you can be pleasantly surprised at the results, as opposed to worrying that you did something wrong.
It's very difficult to actually do something wrong, because there really is no right or wrong with this stuff as long as you're not setting out to purposely trick the engines.
++Links in New Window++
I am continually frustrated with websites that provide a link, but when I click on it, it takes me OFF their site and onto another. As a marketer, I am confused why companies would push me off their site and I can't figure out why. My question is..."Does a link that takes me off a site get the same weight in the search engines as one that opens a new window?"
The search engines don't know nor care if a link opens in the same window or a different one. It's strictly a usability issue, not a search engine one.