Friday, 27 June 2008

Relaxed Domain Names

I have read a number of different articles about the benefits and drawbacks surrounding sub-domains, and the impact these have on SEO. Overall, there seems to be a very even split between those who recommend this practice and those choosing to focus their efforts on other activities.

ICANN LogoImage via Wikipedia

This much debated topic is looking to take a life of its own with this week's announcement by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) to relax top-level-domains (TLD's).

The approved recommendation looks into creating domains formed as sub-domains and discarding extension altogether (

Take a page in a typical UK based domain for example, and assuming this follows the standard, this would be:

This will become:

Having been involved in setting up sub-domains before I really don't know how beneficial this approach would prove for small/medium websites as this essentially mean having to split a site up into smaller parts.

On a positive note, this approach means that keywords can be used closer to the start of the URL, so it's not all bad news.

I'd be keen to hear your comments on how you see this affecting the SEO world.

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Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Bridging the Analytics Gap

Google Analytics have recently introduced a handy little "benchmarking" feature which let's you compare your site against your industry's overall performance.

Image representing Google Analytics as depicte...Image via CrunchBase

So you decide to launch a site, you are confident that over the next 6 months you'll increase the traffic by 50%, and then double it within a year. But is that good enough? How can you really tell? What if everyone else is achieving 4 or 5 times that? Will you survive in a market where your competitors are going at 100mph?

This information is now readily available as part of Google Analytics service, and for free! - I use an enterprise level analytics tool, the cost of which would probably be enough to help solve the financial crisis of a small country by the way, not yet offering this level of information (though I'm sure they will).

In true Google style, Analytics is now effortlessly taking full advantage of the gap between "site-centric" and "market-centric" solutions.

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Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Google Ads through Yahoo!?

I was surprised to see Yahoo! getting into bed with Google and setting up a deal which sees the big G's ads cropping up within Yahoo's results.

Image representing Yahoo! as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase

Initially this is only set to run across the pond, but it makes me think this could be the beginning of the end for Yahoo!

Let's face it... when you get in to a situation where you're ready to let your biggest competitor have a presence in your site, how far must you be from hanging your gloves up? Microsoft's u-turn on the original deal must have left Yahoo! even more vulnerable than initially thought.

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The Only Way is Up...

Ok, so I'm showing my age a bit, but what can I say... I'm in a good mood and Yazz's classic hit seems more than appropriate for the occasion.

Moving up IsfallsglaciärImage by Aleksi Aaltonen via Flickr

My site seems to be in Goggle's good books once again, and traffic is slowly (but very surely) heading in the right direction.

The main page has made it back into the first page, and is steadily crawling it's way up to the number one slot for the brand's name, where it rightfully belongs.

I can once again focus my attention on some of the activities, which had up to this point, understandably been relegated to the lower tiers.

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Monday, 23 June 2008

Fragile Google Rankings

Over the past few weeks I've been experiencing a drop on traffic on one of my websites, and today finally I found the fix. It just goes to show how easily Google can turn their back on you if their bot is not being looked after.

GLASGOW, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 12: (FILE PHOT...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

So what happened? I hear you ask... Well, it all started with some changes which had been scheduled for release at the beginning of the month meant the site had to come down whilst maintenance work was being carried out.

As the laws of Murphy came into play, the site was payed a visit by Google's trusted Bot, and hey presto, the website was no more than a holding page in Google's eyes.

Confident that Google would be sending its most trusted agent back to the site in a matter of days, I decided to play the SEO waiting game once again (not uncommon in the SEO world).

A week went by and still no sign of getting indexed, which made me wonder if something had gone wrong with the release... could the changes had caused the drop? could the updated or deleted files have been so critical to Google that it simply decided not to come back at all?

Not having direct access to the website files, at this point I decided to have a chat with the project manager to air my concerns and left reasured that none of the files updated as part of that release would have had an impact on Google.

Another two weeks had passed, and all I could do was scratch my head and hope that Google would soon come back to take pitty on the traffic being sent through them (lowest volumes since records begun). Not even updating the sitemap file did the trick.

So what was the problem? I hear you shout... Well, somehow we ended up with a corrupt Robots.txt file, which even though available in the root of the site, was inacessible to Google (and all other search engine bots).

Recreating and uploading this file once again has done the trick... Google is once again seen as a friend rather than an enemy.

I'd be interested in hearing your stories.

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