Creating 301 redirects for any website changes is one of the fundamental SEO practices to ensure your pages stay indexed in search engines and keep their link juice. Matt Cutts has decided to start creating longer more informative videos, and his first was a great refresher on 301 redirects.
301 redirects are an integral part of almost all Emboodo’s search engine optimization projects. It was good to hear confirmation directly from Matt that we implement redirects exactly how Google wants us to. Some key takeaways:
- Unique redirects should be developed to corresponding pages (as opposed to redirecting everything to the homepage)
- Minimize the use of hops because at some point search engines will stop following them
- There is no limit on the number of 301 redirects that a site can implement (something that was very important for us while migrating a site with over 5 million pages to a new platform)
You can watch Matt’s video for yourself below, and contact us for assistance in correctly implementing 301 redirects to your site.
Yahoo Clues has been around since 2010 as a keyword tool for Search Engine Optimization. The tool gives deep demographic information about search trends for popular keywords. Yahoo recently revamped the tool, adding more capabilities and making it more useful for SEO keyword research. Below is a breakdown of how it works and why you should be using it.
You can compare detailed information of several keywords in order to determine which will best improve your sites performance. The revamped tool gives you insights throughout the world, not just the United States. For example, Hurriyet and Sabeh are 2 of the largest media companies in Turkey:
From Yahoo Clues we learn about the demographics of each keyword:
- There was a large peak in search volume for “sabeh” in March.
- Women between 25-34 are the highest percentage of people searching for “sabeh”
- Men between 35-44 are the highest percentage of people searching for “hurriyet”
Clicking on an age bracket will give you even more detailed information about how women and men in that demographic are searching:
The location factor is particularly helpful if you are trying to target a specific population. Locations can be broken down into countries, states and cities. World search trends for “sabeh” versus “hurriyet” are very different:
Creating a successful keyword map is the foundation of a successful SEO project. Enjoy exploring Yahoo Clues as part of your detailed keyword research!
Google has introduced a new tool to its labs called Google correlate, that I have been having fun using for clients.
It is great for understanding search patterns and how search changes over time, or in different states in order to improve your search engine optimization.
It basically works like Google Trends in reverse. Instead of typing in a term and the getting back data about that query, with Google correlate you enter the data and you will then get a list of search terms following similar patterns.
You can use it by exporting your own data, or entering your query into Google’s search term.
For example, the following are terms with similar patterns to “search” over time:
and this is the data comparing US states:
The death of Osama Bin Laden is a major historical milestone. As President Barak Obama asserted “The death of Bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat Al Qaeda.”
So, how are people tweeting about it?
Imagine: For months you have been planning to launch a new site. The design looks great, the content is engaging and you are excited about the update. However – the site launches, your traffic drops dramatically, and you are never able to recover from the loss.
Migration to a new site can significantly damage a sites organic traffic if not correctly managed. Search engines need to be properly instructed and redirected to the new site in order to maintain ranking and indexing and ensure the above scenario does not occur.
After successfully migrating high volume websites (ranging from 40K to 5M pages) I have learned that no matter what you do, your ranking will decrease for 20-30 days. However, implementing the following model will ensure that after a month you regain your SERP position.
If possible, keep the same URLs. If you are changing the URL, it is important to properly set up redirects so that search engines understand it is a new site and not duplicate content they are indexing. Implement 301 redirects for each URL in order to keep the links from the original site. Use a 301 redirect rather than a 302 redirect, because the redirect is permanent and if you are using Windows or Linux it is a header configuration that works for all servers. Make sure to look for hidden URL changes such as moving from .php to .cfm. Internet Officer is a good tool to check your redirects.
If you are changing the structure of your site, then you need to ensure that the meta data can either be transferred or rebuilt. This is a good time to perform a content audit, and add optimized content to be included on the new site.
Be careful not to change too much content so that search engines don’t lose trust in your site.
Don’t forget both your internal and external links. Internal links help distribute link power to important pages, indicate to search engines the important pages on your site, and help search engines understand the new structure of your site. Use a link checker such as Xenu or Yahoo Site Explorer to make sure you don’t have any broken links.
Implement a external link building campaign to the full URL of the new site so that search engines understand you have changed your site and index it a quicker rate. For example, do not link to http://www.domain.com, instead link to http://www.domain.com/index.php. Publishing an online press release is a quick way to gain some links.
Properly submit your data and verify site ownership to Webmaster Tools so that search engines are aware that new content is available and that they should begin crawling it. Sitemaps are the easiest and quickest way for search engines to discover your new site, so make sure to take advantage of them.
Remove all of your old sitemaps, and then create and submit a sitemap listing based on your new URLs and site structure. Make sure to ping search engines and check your crawler rate. Any changes to off-limits content should be updated in your robots.txt. In your robots.txt you can also block sections or paths that existed in the old site but not in the new one.
Don’t change your WhoIs information or search engines will think your website has changed owners, and it may effect your ranking.
If possible, migrate your site in stages – first the site and then the redesign. If your website is seasonal, migrating during off-season is recommended. This will also reduce the possibility of a server performance crisis.
Completing the actual migration does not mean that your work is completed. Use the following methods to identify potential problems and fix them:
- Closely monitor your site on search engines, web analytics and your server logs.
- Use statistic tools to check and compare pre and post launch traffic.
- Monitor crawl errors such as 404 pages for signs that something went wrong, and that you are missing traffic because an old page is not properly linking to a new one.
- Keep both the old and the new site verified in Webmaster Tools.
- Watch search engines to ensure the new pages are properly being indexed.
- In order to prevent any confusion, maintain control of your old site domain for a minimum of 180 days.
This article covers the basics of what is involved to ensure safe SEO migration of your site. If implementing these elements yourself seem overwhelming or confusing, contact Emboodo for a free consultation of how we can help ensure your site migration is a smooth and safe transition.