Archive for May, 2011
Having incorrect or private URLs show up in a Google search result can be a pain. Trying to remove them is no party, either. Google has now made it a bit easier for Webmasters to remove URLs from the Google index.
The Webmaster Central team announced an update to the Remove URL tool yesterday.
Previously, the tool first required webmasters to block access to the page or file via robots.txt before it could be removed. That requirement has now changed. Google Webmaster tools requires site owners to verify their sites. So the Webmaster Tools team will now simply accept Remove URL requests. Kind of.
Once you use the tool to request a URL to be removed, Google will consider that request “temporary.” This means that while Google won’t display the URL in its results, GoogleBot will continue to crawl the URL for the next 90 days. During this time, you have the option to change your mind and revoke your remove URL request.
Google is testing a new look for AdWords ad that features the inclusion of domain names next to the ad headline, separated by a vertical line. Here’s what it looks like:
AdWords has seen quite a few tweaks and tests this year. Back in January, Google began lowercasing display URLs and testing related PPC ads, then followed up in February by increasing the length of AdWords headlines, reverting ad backgrounds to yellow, and then in March we reported on spaces on display URLs.
It should go without saying, but SEOs, developers and designers must work together cohesively during the site redesign process.
Too often, companies look to refresh the look of their site, and in the end, destroy their search engine presence. How? This can come from a myriad of reasons from coding errors, SEO unfriendly design practices, to even more disastrous practices (e.g., content duplication, URL rewriting without redirection, information architecture changes away from search engine friendly techniques).
Starting the redesign process with a collaborative call between the SEO team, designer, developer, and company decision maker(s) is always the best first step.
Often there are two attitudes present. Either, “We are redesigning our site and are not open to your ideas…but don’t let us do anything wrong,” or the other attitude (and my favorite), “Let’s work together to achieve a refreshed look and functionality and instill any missing SEO opportunities if possible.”
To satisfy both scenarios, your information delivery as the SEO should be to inform designers and developers of the mistakes you shouldn’t make and also to announce to all parties what SEO revisions should be made to the site along with what search engines have recently been paying attention to.
Page Load Time
A site redesign gives you the opportunity to re-code, condense externally referenced files, and achieve faster load times.
Don’t let the designer use the word “Flash” during your call(s). In an attempt to make a new site look pretty, the reliance on multimedia usage can have a negative effect on site speed. Ignoring this is bad, as Google has stated in the last year that site speed is a ranking consideration – also, slower sites annoy users.
Ensure that your development environment or beta sections of the site are excluded from search engine’s view. Relaunching your site when these elements have been indexed by the engines means your cool new site is a duplicate and you will be in a mad dash trying to redirect the development environment that was leaked. Also, make sure there are no live copies on other servers that have visibility with the search engines.
Another form of content duplication is the creation of new URLs without properly redirecting old URLs via a 301 permanent redirect. This will leave search engines wondering which page should be ranked.
It’s also worth mentioning that 301s are a must and that 302 temporary redirects should not be used. Make it commonplace in the redesign process that no one used the word delete in reference to site content. You should never delete any pages, these should be permanently redirected to the most relevant launching page.
Tweaks Traffic Estimate Algorithm
Google just announced that it had made an adjustment to the algorithm it uses to provide traffic estimates in AdWords. The change, the company says, should improve stats for estimated clicks, cost, and ad position.
While Google doesn’t share much in the way of how the algorithm has been adjusted, Dan Friedman writes on Google’s Inside AdWords blog, “One of the most common uses of traffic estimates is to evaluate potential keywords and decide whether you should add them to your account. Traffic estimates are also useful in determining if your bids and budgets are appropriate for these new keywords.”
“In order to determine if you’re setting an appropriate target bid, try entering a few different values in the Max CPC field the next time you use the Traffic Estimator,” he adds. “Look at how these different bids affect your statistics, and then decide which bid gives you the best return on investment. You can use the same process for trying out new budgets.”
The change to the algorithm is currently live, and affects AdWords accounts all over the world.