April 2007


Looks like the secrets out, Google is set to roll out an interesting addition to Google documents & spreadsheets…Google Presentations.

It appears that Google purchased Tonic Systems based in San Francisco and Melbourne, Australia sometime back.  I wish I could link to this site, however everything relating to this site has a 301 going here?  You can however read about this news on Google’s official Blog site.

Will this have an impact on PowerPoint from Microsoft?  It’s doubtful, in fact read what the folks over at SearchEngineLand had to say about this last night, and listen to what Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt said as well.

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What is Google doing now?  2 Things:

 First,  have any of you noticed this change to Google’s sponsored ad background color?  It seems that Google has settled on this soothing yellow/pale color.  As we all know, Google is always testing something and I have been noticing the background color changing the past few weeks from it’s normal blue.

I must admit, I do like this color a bit better.  Obviously they are doing this (my perspective) for a number of reasons such as less dilution or separation to the eye between sponsored and organic listings.

 

 

Second, just read an excerpt from Google’s blog regarding the actual search box, this could really impact CTR:

we’ve modified what counts as a click in this box to be consistent with what counts as a click for the ads on the right hand side. Instead of clicking anywhere in the box, users now need to click on the link in the top line of an ad in order to be taken to an advertiser’s site. Together, these changes help decrease the likelihood that a user will unintentionally click on an ad, while making our highest quality ads more visible.

I would love to hear your feedback about these two new features of Google sponsored ads, for a change give me your perspective….

 

Want to see your website traffic and rankings go to the TOILET??  Of course not….

So then….How do you maintain rankings after you Redesign your website?

After doing some research on this concern, I recommend you do the following:

Website redirects:

  • You must try to keep as many existing URLS, the site structure, page file names, including categories, as much as possible.  If you cannot, I highly suggest, in fact demand you do the following 301 redirects:
  1. Any pages with special status (i.e., Customer Support etc..) that make them important to our business….301
  2. Your top entry pages…301
  3. Your top most popular pages…301

Internal Links:

  • After you redesign, and before it goes live, you should have your IT department (or your brother) run a link validator to be sure all internal links have been updated properly, and there are no broken links.

File Not Found Page:

  • If you unfortunately have broken links, visitors will land on a “file not found” page more than usual after a redesign.  You need to make sure this custom page explains the situation, such as “To Serve Our Customers Better, We Have Redesigned Our Website”.  You DO NOT want it to say “404” Error, or “the URL you typed is incorrect”.  If you do not do this, customers and search engines will lose confidence in your site.

Site map:

Back up old site:

  • If you change your directory structure,  you will need to back-up the whole site first, make our changes, and then completely delete the old directories. If you leave pages behind in the new site, this will hurt our rankings.  To the search engines it looks like our site is all busted up. Basically pages like this are called orphan or “Doorway” pages, and are considered “BlackHat”. Google especially hates this and could penalize or ban your site.

Timing:

  • Do everything at once. Please don’t take the old site down and put the new one up a couple days later and then setup the redirects, cmon, think about it. Switch within minutes, if you don’t it’s  going to confuse the bots.

Conclusion:

  • From what I have researched,  if you follow the above suggestions (My Perspective)  you can salvage most of your rankings,  in fact, some sites I have read about have had no drop at all because they re-designed with clean code, implemented new technology, made all links readable etc..

BUT…………………………………………………:)

Expect to see a drop in visits, traffic, yadda yadda for 1-3 months until the search engines begin to find and rank the new urls.  You cannot do anying about this. The good news is if you redesign with new technology, make sure pages are W3C compliant; then you should see better organic traffic, conversion ratio and ranking. 

If you change the entire directory structure  (I do not suggest, but up to you) everyone including the owner, sales, webmaster, pretty much anyone and everyone who has ties to your website should fully understand that it will take time to get back to normal even implementing the above. 

Remember that Google and the other search engines  likes stable and aged pages.

This is how you can prevent your rankings from going down the toilet!!