Fixing 404 File Not Found frustrations (SEM 101)

You’ve seen it. So have I. Nearly every person who has actively browsed the Web for more than 15 minutes has seen it. I’m talking about the dreaded 404 File Not Found error. When it occurs, users simply abandon their search on that site and go elsewhere. That’s a potential lost sale, subscription, or download opportunity (aka conversion) for the affected site! It has been estimated that up to 10% of traffic to large websites on...
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Prevent a bot from getting “lost in space” (SEM 101)

We recently published a non-SEM 101 blog post on controlling the crawl rate of MSNBot, the Bing web crawler (aka robot, or simply just bot). That got me thinking about robots. Naturally, that led to The Robot on Lost in Space. Will Robinson, the show’s precocious youngster who was a whiz at 1960s-style, clunky electronics (even though the show was supposedly set in 1997!), was best friends with The Robot. They looked out for each other and...
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Uncovering web-based treasure with Sitemaps (SEM 101)

Have you ever noticed how pirate treasure maps are like Sitemaps? While your website may not contain a treasure of gold and silver (unless it’s a metals commodities trading site!), if you have good content, that is certainly treasure to someone who is looking for it. Unfortunately, it’s buried on your website and no one knows what’s there except you! But since you want to share your site’s treasure with others, you need to...
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Get detailed site analysis to solve problems (SEM 101)

Last week I discussed common site errors that can inhibit the search engine crawler (aka bot). I pointed out common areas of concern and recommended a few tools to help diagnose such issues on your site’s pages. This week, I wanted to introduce a new tool for your collection that will be of great service to you in checking and maintaining your site. The tool, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Toolkit from the Microsoft Internet Information...
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Common errors that can tank a site (SEM 101)

Imagine being a content developer for a website. You write a bunch of clever and informative articles, which should deliver a good dose of new visitors and ranking potential to the site. You submit them to the IT department for publishing online, and wait for good things to happen. But instead, it all falls flat. A look at your web analytics tools reveals that the number of site visitors has not increased over the time your new material was...
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Images and Flash and script, oh my! (SEM 101)

The old adage that was once attributed to a Chinese proverb tells us, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” But John McCarthy, a noted mathematician and computer science pioneer, stated conversely, “As the Chinese say, 1001 words is worth more than a picture.” Perhaps McCarthy was also a pioneer of search engine optimization (SEO)! The use of interesting and relevant images and animations on a website can certainly elevate...
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Heads up on tag optimization (SEM 101)

Much of what constitutes a well-architected webpage is never displayed in the page itself. The contents of the <body> tag are what you see in a browser. But a webpage consists of two major elements, the <body> tag only being one. The content of the <head> tag (and for that matter, the document type declaration (DTD), which precedes the <head> tag in the page’s code, is just as important for search engine optimization ...
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Architecting content for SEO (SEM 101)

It wasn’t that long ago that I discussed in this blog how to create good content that will get your site noticed, by both end users and search engines. But to be clear, just writing some slick text is not the whole story. The previous blog articles in the Site Architecture and SEO series (files/pages and link/URLs) made reference to doing what you can to help the search engine web crawler (also known as a robot or, more simply, a bot) crawl...
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Making links work for you (SEM 101)

Links can be the lifeblood of a good website, as we discussed in Part 1 and Part 2 of Links: the good, the bad, and the ugly. But how well you manage them on your site from a site architecture perspective can be the difference between your website being starved for oxygen (aka search engine referral traffic) versus healthy and thriving. That’s why we do search engine optimization (SEO). This article is part 2 of the recent Site Architecture...
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Site architecture and SEO – file/page issues (SEM 101)

Search engine optimization (SEO) has three fundamental pillars upon which successful optimization campaigns are run. Like a three-legged stool, take one away, and the whole thing fails to work. The SEO pillars include: content (which we initially discussed in Are you content with your content?), links (which we covered in Links: the good, the bad, and the ugly, Part 1 and Part 2), and last but not least, site architecture. You can have great...
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