25 thoughts on “Refining Strategy Questions

  1. OK not sure what part of the board to post this.

    With google taking the world by storm. I am surprised that google doesn’t strongly favor people who use their services. Things like google checkout, google product search, and google base. All in beta right now. Right now all of those are in beta. Or do they favor? Google checkout…hmmm will it replace paypal? What’s next, google bay?

  2. The people who run Google’s organic search are pretty protective of their product, so I doubt Google will do you any SEO favors just for using a product like Checkout. Product search is a little different of course; they’ll “favor you” if you submit a product feed, since they don’t crawl to find products.

    I think every we see Google doing makes good sense if you think of their business as selling advertising. Anything that gets users logged in and engaged in a personalized experience helps with that, and Checkout does just that.

  3. When you have built your website’s structure, based on the excellent advice provided by Dan, what other refining actions are available besides internal linking and content enhancement, especially if the structure of your website is not that flexible ?

  4. Nikos, there is quite a bit mentioned in Refining Strategies of the SEO Fast Start book (besides internal linking and content enhancement). Refer back to Chapter 8: Step 6.

    You could refine your keyword strategy if your tracking results show room for improvement, refine external link building and article submissions, etc.


  5. Hi Dan,

    This is just general question. Was not sure where to ask? Just curious to know why the page rank for http://www.seofaststart.com is ZERO. have you not tried to get links to this website. I am sure lots of websites must be linking to this website.


  6. Maninder,

    The reason why the Google Toolbar isn’t showing any PR for any of our pages? The score that’s shown on the toolbar is months old – they calculate the scores very infrequentyly, and push the data to the toolbar even later.

    It wasn’t until about a month ago that we even let spiders crawl the site. So I don’t really expect to see any PR displayed on the toolbar until next year. I also don’t care, because this has nothing to do with bringing in traffic and new members. :D

    BTW, the Google Toolbar’s PageRank display (the green bar with 1-10) isn’t the “real” PageRank score. The real score is a very large number by comparison. The use a logarithmic scale or something similar to create that 1-10 scale. So even at a site’s home page, it’s just an approximate value. When you go deeper into the site, it’s even less useful, because they seem to just subtract 1 for each level of the site.

  7. After I’ve done the revision to a client’s site earlier this month (http://www.seefred.com) I’m now starting to watch for any changes made to the index.

    One thing I have noticed that is very very odd is that we used to have a problem with SIDs in google’s index and someone wrote an htaccess to fix it. It seemed to take after about 3 months. But now a few weeks after this major upgrade I’m starting to see these SID URLs in the index. This is pretty frustrating and confusing because I completely removed any kind of reference to an SID url in the new revision. We’ve implemented a new shopping cart where we don’t even need them. So now I really have no idea why Google’s SERPs are referencing SIDs. Even for pages that last month showed no SID, but now after the revision show an SID.

    For example, this was a page that was in the main index and the URL was:

    Now, after the revision google shows:

    With the .htaccess rewrite and the new revision I can’t comprehend why this would even be happening. I have about 100 URLs that are showing these now.

    In the past, my link structure within the site would look like this “MY_URL/page=badairsponge.htm”, it was a token to carry over SIDs through the URL for the cart to keep track of orders. I’ve removed all intances of the “MY_URL” token now.

    Any ideas?

    Paul Ferree

  8. I made the final change and upload to the index file on July 31st.

    Now I’m working on the individual product pages of the site. But the overall structure of the internal links changed drastically on the 31st because of the update.

    Here is the snippet of code from my .htaccess file that addresses the problem.

    # Skip the next two rewriterules if NOT a spider
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT}!(msnbot|slurp|googlebot) [NC]
    RewriteRule .* – [S=2]

    # case: leading and trailing parameters
    RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} ^(.+)&SID=[0-9a-z]+&(.+)$ [NC]
    RewriteRule (.*) $1?%1&%2 [R=301,L]

    # case: leading-only, trailing-only or no additional parameters
    RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} ^(.+)&SID=[0-9a-z]+$|^SID=[0-9a-z]+&?(.*)$ [NC]
    RewriteRule (.*) $1?%1 [R=301,L]

    (I didn’t write this by the way, it was done for us…unfortunately from a guy (it’s tempting to name names) who ended up being a scam in the end, but this seemed to work)

    It worked before in fixing all those SID URLs but all of the sudden they’re back. And URLs that didn’t have an SID # in the URL a month ago, now do.

    Through google sitemaps I’ve looked at google’s understanding of my internal links breakdown, specifically trying to find out why this may be happening, but it appears to be older information mixed with new. I know Google hasn’t seen the full scope of the changes yet, so that may be a problem in just giving it time to work out. There are pages in Google’s cache that were seen last in July and therefore haven’t been updated to reflect the changes.


  9. I’ve mentioned on another post that I was No.1 for a popular keyword term for 3 years. Then one day, it slowly dropped down to Page 5.

    I have done alot of reading around here and made the decision to re-write my content on the page, and move the keyword term towards the end of the title tag.

    Not long later Google picks up this change, and wow, I’m back to page 1. I’m not sure if it’s luck, or this change, and wondered if anyone had any thoughts on this?

  10. Quick question:

    I have a product that is no longer available: http://www.seefred.com/cgi-bin/shop.pl/page=flaskcigarholder.htm

    When I remove the page from the site the shopping cart produces an error page returning a status code of 200.

    I want it to return a 404 error and go to a custom 404 page.

    Is there a way to force a URL to return a 404 error similar to doing a 301 redirect?

    Currently, I’m 301ing all these discontinued items to an out of stock page…but I’m starting to think that’s not such a good idea. (for example: http://www.seefred.com/cgi-bin/shop.pl/page=peachhousepeachtea.htm)

    So what is the best way to handle this? I want to return a 404 but the way the cart is designed it won’t do it automatically.


  11. Hi Dan
    I’m working on a website and blog that have been live for 6 months. Both are indexed by Yahoo and MSN, but not by Google.
    The site was live under beta.boulevardr.com for several months before it moved to http://www.boulevardr.com. The blog moved from boulevardr.wordpress.com to blog.boulevardr.com. I did a 301 redirect for the website and deleted all posts from the old blog with a link to the new blog(wordpress allows only 302 redirects).
    I checked the robots.txt and .htaccess files. Everything looks ok. There are a few natural links to both, the website and the blog.
    I submitted a sitemap through Google webmaster tools and installed Google analytics.
    Is there a way to find out why Google is not indexing the site? Is there a checklist for what to look for when facing this kind of indexing problem?

    Thanks a lot.

  12. Thomas, you’ve got a lot of redirection going on. I would suggest simplifying it, then doing a reinclusion request through Webmaster Tools.

    I prefer not to use chains of redirects (URL->301->URL->301->URL) if possible.
    The search engines’ behavior with a single 301 redirect is predictable. Their behavior with multiple redirects is not.

    Therefore, I would suggest changing the redirect for betabouldevardr.com to point directly to the landing page that http://www.bouldvardr.com redirects to.

    I prefer not to use “wildcard” redirects if possible. They can lead to some funky stuff happening, like beta.boulevardr.com/robots.txt redirecting (301) to http://www.boulevardr.com/robots.txt. This is probably not specifically harmful, but I prefer not to do funky stuff with robots.txt.

    Link building could be improved too. Do you have a Yahoo Directory listing for the site yet?

  13. Hi Dan
    Thanks so much for your time and expert advise. I’ll change the redirect and get a Yahoo Directory listing, and launch a proper link building campaign.

    The site is using ZoneEdit.com, a 3rd party software, to manage all the redirects, which seems to implement a mod_rewrite and redirect ALL files to the new location. Is it advisable to get rid of ZoneEdit and just use an .htaccess file?


  14. Dan,

    I applied as much of your SEO book as I was capable ( 1/2 ? ) In spite of your assurances that it would probably be enough…guess what? I can’t get http://lacyquarterhorses.com into the top 1000 on any search engine under my search term “horses for sale” and am currently going from # 96 to # 140+ under “quarter horses for sale”, I’m very discouraged with my results and don’t know what to do. Sorry I don’t have better news.
    I apologize if I’m using the wrong address to appeal for your help, but I couldn’t seem to find a more appropriate contact link.

    Your electronically challenged friend,
    Kristi Lacy

  15. Hi Dan

    An interesting, but disturbing thing came up with the page rank of my site http://www.boulevardr.com:
    The home page has a PR of 2, and some of the 2nd tier pages have PR 3 and PR 4 !?!
    I’m not worried about PR as such, but my question is:

    All links I’ve been building point to http://www.boulevardr.com, but this page redirects to a landing page, using 301. Is this a problem? Can this cause the PR discrepancy? Would it be advisable to mod_rewrite the landing page to just the domain name?

    Thanks for being a constant inspiration.


  16. I think it’s pretty well explained in the book, but…

    Write them as long as you like, but don’t expect more than 10 words to get indexed.

    Write them as long as you like, but don’t expect to see more than about 65 characters displayed on SERPs.

  17. Dan,
    Gone from #96 under “Quarter Horses For Sale” to # 214 in less than 3 months. Why didn’t the applications that I made using your book, sustain my progress or support the position I achieved for a more substantial period of time? I’m still trying to figure out how to use more of the tools in your book. Any suggestions, or am I expecting too much?


  18. Dan, Your right. My Home page http://www.lacyquarterhorses.com is the page I’m trying to get ranked. I did use all the keywords for that search term in my copy but not that search term exactly. My major focus was to get ranked under 1.)”Horses for sale” & 2.)”Quarter Horse” (according to Trellian 56,488 searches & 10,682 searches respectively) , but managed to briefly get to # 98 under “Quarter Horses for sale” (according to Trellian 2,369 searches) My ranking for 1.) never in the top 1,000, & 2.) currently # 333. Are 1.) & 2.) not optimized either? Kristi

  19. Dan,

    P.S. Thank you so much for taking a look at my site! I’m still working to understand and learn how to use your program. I know I am not worthy and your generosity is greatly appreciated.


  20. Dan,
    I have been informed that MS Publisher 2003 doesn’t handle placing html nofollow on links. I used as few links as possible from the pages that I’m trying to get ranked, and used multiple links back from those few links to the target pages. Is that a worthwhile strategy?

    Thanks, Kristi
    P.S. No response to previous query?

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