The Search Light Newsletter
The Search Light Newsletter
  Guiding your site to the top of the search engines... | 24 October 2005 - Vol 5 Issue #8  

In this issue...

Setting Up a 301 Redirect With Redirect Script Software

FAQ1: How Can I Get My Site Recognized by Search Engines as Australian?

FAQ2: How do I find out how many of my pages are listed in Ask and Lycos?

FAQ 3: Should we include misspelled keywords in our tags?

FAQ 4: Will my site ever be back in Google?

Send Kalena Your Search Engine Question!



Setting Up a 301 Redirect With Redirect Script Software

 
[This article is a follow up to last month's article Turn Harmful 404 Error Pages Into Helpful 301 Redirects.]
 
By Tony Simpson

You can use a software redirect script to set up redirects the easy way. I use Master 404-Terminator on my website and others.
 
The Master 404 redirect script is simple to install on a web server, provides password protected access and a control panel in which you set up and maintain all your redirects.
 
The software handles not only 301 redirects, but also 307 and 410 status codes as well as the "403 Forbidden" code. The latter can be sent to browsers and search engine robots to pretend the file requested exists but requires a password or other permission for access.
 
The software detects and records all 404 error 's before they're allowed to present a page not found to a visitors browser or a search engine.
 
By logging in to the control panel you can view all captured 404 error 's and see exactly what URL was being requested and not found.
 
You then simply type in the new URL you want any future request to go to. Any new 404 error for which you have not yet specified a redirect is sent to a default page you specify. This could be a custom 404 page or to your home page.
 
Make redirects permanent with a 301 redirect (moved permanently) , temporary with a 307 redirect or send a 302 code ( Found ), a 403 ( Forbidden ) or a 410 ( File Gone ).
 
The redirect script accepts "wild card statements" which means you can redirect entire directories with one entry.
 
For example if you decided to use server side includes on your web site you would have to change the file extension on every webpage to .shtml. You can use this redirect script simply to redirect every request for the former *.html page to the same page name but now as .shtml, it's that quick and easy and it's search engine friendly.
 
The redirect script is search engine friendly which means you'll not be penalized for using a 301 redirect. It's the one search engines prefer.
 
If you redirect using other forms of redirect like the meta tag redirect or java script redirect, search engines become suspicious that you're using cloaking techniques and those can get your website banned.
 
This redirect script can also replace a file instead of redirecting to a new one. This is ideal when you want to replace missing images or other files. How often have you been to a website to find that images are missing, leaving that tell tale hole with X marks the spot.
 
With this redirect script you can see at a glance all the requests that have been made for images which can't be found.
 
It means you can monitor and correct problems on your site that could otherwise go unnoticed for months.
 
Don't wait for your visitors to tell you an image is missing or worse still an entire page, with this redirect script you can keep your website 404 error free.
 
Take charge of broken links from other people's web sites by automatically redirecting them to the correct pages and you site visitors will never know you did it.
 
No temporary pages presented to visitors like you see on most websites. They say something like 'please wait while we redirect you to the new page' or 'If this page does not redirect in 10 seconds please click here.'
 
With this redirect script the transfer is instant, no temporary flash pages, the visitor gets presented exactly with the page you intended.

You have complete control over every 404 error and can see at a glance how many times the same missing file was requested. The redirect script also records every individual IP address that tried to access each missing file.
 
A fringe benefit of this redirect script is that it also enables you to easily monitor potential hacker activity on your website.
 
Hackers or people up to no good will type URL requests for particular files, script names or directories to see if they exist on your site. They'll also try to issue commands to your scripts to hijack site functions for their own use, or test weaknesses in your site security.
 
On one of my sites this redirect script detected over 27 attempts in one month to access a commonly used free mailing script used by many websites. The particular mailing script has security vulnerabilities that enable it to be hijacked and used by a hacker to send bulk mailings.
 
This means a hacker could be using your mailing script to send SPAM mail in bulk and that can get you banned by your host. In my case it was not a problem because I don't use the free mailing script all the hackers were looking for.
 
If a hacker is probing your site every request they make, with what they typed as well as how often they tried is logged against their IP address. All this hacker activity shows up when you log in to your redirect script control panel.
 
If someone using the same IP address becomes a problem it is possible by using other means to block that IP address from accessing your site.
 
The redirect script also maintains a non MySQL database of all the redirects you setup which is stored and available for editing or viewing at anytime from your control panel.
 
To sum up here's a list of the benefits of using the Master 404 redirect script:
 
*Stops visitors leaving your site because of 404 error pages.
 
*Visitors are unaware of a redirect, no transition pages and no delays.
 
*Search Engine friendly with the use of a 301 redirect.
 
*Maintain your Search Engine Ranking on pages you need to rename.
 
*Control redirect 's or commands sent to visitors browser or search engine.
 
*Easily discover and correct missing file problems on your entire website.
 
*Replace and rename files without causing broken links.
 
*Reduce security breaches on your website by detecting hacker activity.
 
*Use IP address records to ban trouble makers from your website.
 
*Maintain records of your website redirects in one central location.
 
*Redirect script guaranteed to work, problems fixed or you get a refund.
 
*Pre-install tester checks host can run the redirect script before you buy.
 
*Simple to install with your own easy to use Control Panel.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ <> Copyright 2005 by Tony Simpson. Tony advises on the use of automation in website design, promotion and optimization via his site Web Page Add Ons. <> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 



 
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   Greetings Readers!

Don't you love it when you find new software that saves you time and money promoting your business? Last month I found a ripper: 2ndSite. It's an online invoicing, employee timesheet, help desk and file sharing product bundled in one. And it's free!
 
It even plugs into QuickBooks, PayPal and 2Checkout so now when I need to bill a client, I simply refer to the client's accrued campaign hours in the staff timesheets, create an invoice in 2ndSite for billable hours and press send.
 
The client is automatically sent an email and given a link to login, view and pay the invoice on the spot via the method that best suits them. If they don't pay, they are sent email reminders at time intervals you choose. If they do pay, you get a notification and the payment is recorded within the system.
 
Clients can login anytime to review their account balance, lodge a support ticket or upload a document for our review. Our staff can prepare invoices, share files, enter hours in their timesheets, access client information, prepare and review client reports and access the support ticket area. The whole system is customized in your choice of colors and branded with your own logo.
 
I've been using 2ndSite for over a month and it's saved me countless hours of work. It's fully functional and free if you have 10 clients or less, but even the professional version we use is less than USD10 per month. I know a lot of subscribers to this newsletter are small businesses trying to save time and money too, so do yourself a favor, check it out!
 
Meanwhile, this month's feature article by Tony Simpson is a continuation of last month's tutorial about creating 301 redirects. This month, Tony reviews the software he uses to convert 404 Errors into traffic-saving 301 redirects.

Enjoy this issue and remember to visit the Search Engine Advice Column daily to check out my answers to frequently asked questions about search engines or submit one of your own.
 
Till next time - wishing you high rankings...

  • FAQ1: How Can I Get My Site Recognized by Search Engines as Australian?
  •    Dear Kalena...
     
    I have launched a website for my father's Australian-based architectural business but am having a few problems getting it listed with search engines as an 'Australian' site.
     
    Although the site is a .COM (not .com.au), the site is listed under Australia in DMOZ, and the word Australia is mentioned quite frequently throughout the META and home page.
     
    Any tips on getting the site recognised as being Australian without a .COM.AU domain name? (e.g. on google.com.au or ninemsn.com.au)
     
    Many thanks
    Ian
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Dear Ian
     
    Search engines use a few different methods to determine country of origin, including:
     
    1) IP address the site resides on (physical location of host servers)
     
    2) Domain extension
     
    The physical location of the server that stores your site can have an impact on how search engines treat your site. Even if your site is hosted by an Australian firm, if they use server space located in another country, that is usually the country search engines will associate with your site. Check with your host about server location if this is an issue for you.
     
    Also, use of a .com domain can automatically put your site at a disadvantage if a searcher selects "sites from Australia" as their default search option in Google.com.au, because Google naturally gives preference to sites with a .com.au domain extension for regional searches.
     
    Some Australian-based search engines won't even include sites that don't have a .com.au domain extension, so you might want to consider purchasing the regional domain for submission to such engines and have the regional domain point to the IP address of your main site via domain parking.
     
    Kalena

  • FAQ2: How do I find out how many of my pages are listed in Ask and Lycos?
  •    Dear Kalena...
     
    Now this is a very dull question. I have the 'code', whatever we call it (site:websitesname.com -jumbled text), for finding out how many of my websites pages are listed with the likes of: Google, Yahoo, but when it comes to Ask, Lycos, this doesn't work any more, can you help?
     
    David
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Dear David
     
    Not a dull question at all! To find out how many of your pages are listed at Ask.com, you simply go to their advanced search link and enter your site URL into both the "find" field and the "domain or site" field, then click "ask".
     
    To do the same for Lycos, go to their advanced search link and enter your site URL into their "URL/Site only include" field. (Actually, this is meant to work but I just tried it and it doesn't seem to be working for ANY domain. Seems Lycos may have a few bugs at present?).
     
    To check your site's link popularity (other sites linking to yours), you can use a free tool like Marketleap's Link Popularity Check. It will tell you your site's link popularity on the following search engines:
     
    * Google / AOL
    * HotBot
    * MSN
    * Yahoo / Fast / AltaVista
    * DMOZ
    * Excite / Magellan
    * IWon
    * Lycos
    * Wisenut
     
    Kalena

  • FAQ 3: Should we include misspelled keywords in our tags?
  •    Dear Kalena...
     
    Could you answer a question for me - should we include misspelled variations in our list of keywords? And if so, should these be the last items in the tag?
     
    Lucy
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Dear Lucy
     
    Regarding misspellings, that's a tricky issue. You can of course include them in your META Tags so that visitors don't see them, but for search engines to consider your site relevant for those misspellings, they really need to see them in your visible page content as well.
     
    Some webmasters get around this by deliberately and consistently using a misspelling on one page and using the correct spelling on all other pages so it is less noticeable. What I do is design a landing page incorporating the misspelling and use my pay per click campaign to target it, blocking it from being indexed by regular search engines. That way, only persons searching on the misspelt keyword are encouraged to view the page where it features and other visitors never see it.
     
    Of course this means you pay per visitor, but usually only a few cents as misspellings are rarely popular with advertisers and you face little competition.
     
    Kalena

  • FAQ 4: Will my site ever be back in Google?
  •    Dear Kalena...
     
    My site has been blocked by Google now for more than a month, do I have any chance of coming back?
     
    Thanks
    Rohit
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Dear Rohit
     
    I took a look at your site and you're not blocked or banned in Google. For starters, your site has a healthy PageRank estimate of 6 out of 10 (not its true PageRank, but an indicator). Sites that have been banned by Google generally have a zero PageRank.
     
    Also, Google cached your site as recently as yesterday and it can easily be found if you perform a URL search. In fact, if you perform a site search using "site:www.yoursite.com", you'll see that Google has stored over 500 pages of your site in their database.
     
    What makes you think your site is blocked? Have a read of this post and stop panicking.
     
    Kalena

  • Send Kalena Your Search Engine Question!
  •   Gobsmacked by Google? Mad at MSN? Got a burning question about search engines in general?
     
    Email me your question and it might feature in my Search Engine Advice Column or the next issue of The Search Light.
     
    I regret I can't give personal replies, but anonymous submissions are welcome.


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