Going Down On Search Bots (Don’t Blow It)

April 3rd, 2013 Ryan Smith Posted in Howtos No Comments »

Is it time for routine site maintenance, a quick-but-not-instantaneous CMS upgrade, or yet another ridiculous, intricate, time-consuming corporate rebranding sent down from the company’s bedrobed and anointed yet predictably-benighted marketeering ring?

Maybe your latest blog post hit such a deep nerve on social media that the traffic spike choked your server off just a little too long and it’s hanging limp in the closet like David Carradine?

Or perhaps some teenagers got the best of your web server and you’ve been told to shut down your defaced site as your last official act before being escorted out of the building due to incompetence?

Or did your database just hit the dirt like a roped steer? Tape drive backups, you say? Hey bub, 1998 called… it wants its disaster recovery plan back.

There are a number of reasons you may wish to close the doors on your site, even temporarily. Unfortunately like so many technical SEO practices, it takes almost precisely zero effort to do it badly, resulting in destroying your hard-earned rankings, amputating your veteran footprint in the search index, and murdering your organic traffic execution-style without the exculpatory benefits of plastic sheeting and a small boat on standby.
Read the rest of this entry »

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

How to Parse the Google Results Page using Regular Expressions Even if You’re a Total PHP n00b

October 15th, 2009 Ryan Smith Posted in Howtos, Open Source Projects 7 Comments »

 Google Scraping

There comes a time in the course of every SEO’s life where they find themselves wishing to scrape their own search rankings data rather than use one of the fine commercial tools available for the task.  Fortunately for me, not every SEO is also a hacker, so I do a lot of work with professional online marketing consultants in need of a web programmer who speaks fluent SEO to turn their geeky daydreams into working apps.  But what if you can’t afford me?

Read the rest of this entry »

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Semantic Markup: How to feed Google Rich Snippets & Yahoo SearchMonkey with RDFa and Microformats

May 13th, 2009 Ryan Smith Posted in Howtos, Industry News No Comments »

The game sure is changing.  Though it often feels like a captor-hostage situation, and for some accompanied by a kind of Stockholm Syndrome, Google and its nearly pathetic (if precedent) runners-up in the search market have opened up new ways of tweaking your site’s presentation in their search results.  It used to be that all you could customize was the title and the description snippet, simply by writing a smart title tag and an even more enticing meta description tag, but that was it.

If you haven’t heard of Yahoo’s Searchmonkey project, well now you never will because the great behemoth of underpaid, overworked and perpetually-pampered Python programmers of Mountain View have done roughly the same thing Yahoo started a year ago , just for 80% more users than Yahoo’s ever going to have.  They call it Rich Snippets.

Read the rest of this entry »

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tracking multiple pages with the same URL in Google Analytics

October 14th, 2008 Ryan Smith Posted in Howtos 1 Comment »

What Jar of All-Black M&Ms Candies courtesy djwudi @ http://flickr.com/photos/djwudi/ do you do when you’re trying to put Google Analytics on a dumb-ass checkout process which uses the same identical URL like /stupidcommerce.cgi for every step?

Naturally any web analytics package is going to see every step every user performs as views of the same page and count them all together as the same page, which is basically as ridiculous and impossible as attempting to determine the ratio of red M&M’s to green M&Ms in a jar full of black M&M’s (see diagram at left).

Though far from obvious to most, fortunately Google Analytics is flexible enough to let you solve this dumb problem and add some color back to your candy jar, but not before wading knee-deep through the help file to decipher the steps required. Until now…

Read the rest of this entry »

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sitemap URL Redirecting

January 18th, 2008 Ryan Smith Posted in Howtos No Comments »

I recently encountered an issue where a client with a web server cluster was having difficulty keeping every node’s copy of their sitemap up-to-date, and wanted to know if all the search engines’ sitemap bots would follow a 301 redirect on the sitemap itself to a master server with a different domain than the site for which the sitemap is authored.

I doubted that we could trust that redirects on sitemaps would necessarily be followed by every service which supports them. I asked Google’s Matt Cutts about it, and he offered the following suggestions:

Read the rest of this entry »

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

How to properly 301 Redirect URL’s with Apache, IIS, PHP, ASP and ColdFusion

September 20th, 2007 Ryan Smith Posted in Howtos No Comments »

Properly translating your search-unfriendly URL’s into search-lovable ones, or just scrambling up your information architecture (or “IA”, which is essentially a site’s navigational structure, with respect to the way content is organized) into something more delicious to bots and humans alike should be a straightforward process. Many of us had to learn this process from trial-and-error (trial by fire more like it) or, if you were lucky, from popular SEO folklore.
Read the rest of this entry »

AddThis Social Bookmark Button