Natural Search Blog

Hey Digg! Fix your domain name for better SEO traffic!

Hey, team! Are you aware that your domain names aren’t properly canonized? You may be losing out on good ranking value in Google and Yahoo because of this!

Even if you’re not part of the Digg technical team, this same sort of scenario could be affecting your site’s rankings. This aspect of SEO is pretty simple to address, so don’t ignore it and miss out on PageRank that should be yours. Read on for a simple explanation.


Putting Keywords in Your URLs

Recently Matt Cutts blogged that:

doing the query [] returns some urls like /Blog/cns!D85741BB5E0BE8AA!174.entry . In general, urls like that sometimes look like session IDs to search engines. Most bloggy sites tend to have words from the title of a post in the url; having keywords from the post title in the url also can help search engines judge the quality of a page.

He then clarified his statement above, in the comments of that post:

Tim, including the keyword in the url just gives another chance for that keyword to match the user’s query in some way. That’s the way I’d put it.

What does this mean? It means that from Google’s perspective, keywords in your URLs are a useful thing to have. It’s another “signal” and can provide ranking benefits.

How should you separate these keywords? Not with underscores, that’s for sure. Matt Cutts has previously gone on the record to say that Google does not treat underscores as word separators. Use hyphens instead. Or plus signs would be okay too.

Also, I’d avoid too many hyphens in the URL, as that can look spammy. Try to keep it to three or fewer. Unless your site is powered by WordPress, in which case Google probably makes an exception for that, given how popular it is and how many legitimate bloggers have loads of hyphens in their permalink URLs. By the way, you can trim those down using the Slug Trimmer plugin for WordPress.


.MOBI Top Level Domain Names Have Misguided Rules

Well the “Sunrise Registration” period for the new .MOBI top level domain names just started up about a week ago, and I have to say that the rules that have been imposed with .MOBI are irritating. The company that serves as the registry for it, “mobile Top Level Domain Ltd” (“mTLD”), has required that anyone who is delivering up content on a .MOBI TLD must deliver up at least the root level page in XHTML-MP format.

According to their mandatory registrant rules, you could just own the .MOBI domain for your site and not publish a site on it — just sit on it, to keep others from hosting stuff on your trademarked name. Once you publish content on the .MOBI domain, at least the root response must be in XHTML-MP flavor, and they will police these domains to insure compliance. Sites not in compliance will be warned, and if they aren’t fixed, their zone file entries will be deleted until the sites are corrected!

Now, I understand that they idealistically want to make the internet world a better place, and they’re seeking to insure consistency by imposing this standard. However, I think they’re misguided and this is a pretty bad business decision. I don’t see anything wrong in having generally thematic rules associated with TLDs, like using .EDU only for educational institutions and .MIL only for military sites. My beef is with having a registry now take on additional powers of setting a required protocol for the content on the site, policing it and checking for validity, and unplugging sites that don’t comply. (more…)

New Domain Names for Brands – Very Limited

I saw this blog by Dennis Forbes which could be interesting for any of you who are planning to create a new brand name with associated domain name: The Search For A Domain Name.

If you’ve done any whois queries in hopes of setting up a new domain name, you’ll already know the frustration of being denied the names you’d like to have most. It leads one to wonder how many common names are already snapped up. Dennis has done a bit of interesting research presented in his article on some common name permutations, and what percentages are already registered or parked until someone pays fees to the companies which have speculated by snapping them up.

I’m betting that if he took a database of common dictionary names and ran similar analysis, he’d also find 100% of those already taken by the same speculators. Interesting reading, though.

Continue reading »

Is your site unfriendly to search engine spiders like MSNBot?

Microsoft blogger Eytan Seidman on their MSN Search blog offers some very useful specifics on what makes a site crawler unfriendly, particularly to MSNBot:

An example of a page that might look “unfriendly” to a crawler is one that looks like this:….URL’s with many (definitely more than 5) query parameters have a very low chance of ever being crawled….If we need to traverse through eight pages on your site before finding leaf pages that nobody but yourself points to, MSNBot might choose not to go that far. This is why many people recommend creating a site map and we would as well.

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