Seo and webdesign: registering a domain and choosing a domain name

The hierarchical domain name system, organized...
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Some of my seo works I did in the last months have proven every time that one’s presence on the internet does not start with his/her web page, the optimization of the site and all the content inside it. It starts with the name of one’s domain and it’s intended purpose. This article is about some tips about the importance of registering a domain and choosing the best name for it.

Register the domain as soon as possible.

Even if you don’t have the money and/or the time to get a web page you must register the domain as soon as possible. Now, if you can, or somebody else may register of himself/herself. You don’t need to have some hotshots specialist in marketing or web designing along to tell you what to do… just choose the best name and register. You don’t want to get the-domain-name-nobody-wants.com or some leftovers that may be what you want or not. Reserving the domain is the fastest part to create a business or a trademark over the internet.

Keep the name short

Some domain names can reach 67 characters but usually it’s difficult to memorize them and not all have enough patience to write all of them into their browser. So, keep the domain name as short as possible and have in mind that the people have to make a strong connection between the domain name and what it represents (what you want to sell or to promote on it).

If the name of the domain is your own trademark (your name, the name of something you belong or the name of your business) it is usually more important then the shortest and the best description of your activity. You should keep it.

Domain-name dot what?

It’s not uncommon to register more domains with similar names or domain names that complete the original name with auxiliary keywords. Some registrars even offer bonuses when you register more than one domain names and encourage the buyers to register the same name with different suffixes. For a long time the .com suffix was the first extension the most people try (access) when searches for a site and for some it will remain the most important. But, lately, a lot other suffixes (.net, .org, .tv, .eu, different countries TLDs, even the .xxx suffix for porn) became more and more wanted.

If you want company-name.com and company-name.org or company-name.net are not taken (for examples) you should register them also. They are not expensive, somewhere about 10 euros for an entire year/domain and they can be parked (redirected) on the original domain. The target is very important: you don’t need a China domain name if you your products are targeted to some small islands in the Mediterranean sea. But for just a few bucks you can cover all the possibilitiesall the targets you want. Some people even register the misspellings of their desired domain name just for that.

Anyway, try to find a domain name that has only one possible spelling and it’s very easy to type and it must be easy to remember. Most people are hard spellers and/or just lazy… choose your domain in such way for them to find you very quickly.

Commercial appeal (more or less)

One way to register a domain name is the commercial perspective: it’s just like a marketing campaign. If you want to sell/promote something then choose the best words to describe the product(s) and the shortest description. The internet is your billboard and you want to put your brand in everybody’s browsers and to sell lots and lots of products. And, of course, to get lots and lots of visitors (traffic).

More, if one or more keywords does not have commercial intent it does not mean you don’t want to optimize for them. The keywords in the name depend of the searches the users and if the not-so-commercial keywords gets you a lot of traffic it’s more than ok to include it in the domain name.

Avoid trademarked names

First of all, we have all heard about guys that thought ahead and bought some multi-million-euros-domains-names (companies names or product names, even movies titles). In the beginning the companies that released that names spent a lot of money to buy the domains from that smart guys, but lately the tendencies are to send the layers first to protect theirtrademarked brand. Usually they already spent lots and lots of money just to create and to develop that brands and it’s a lot easier to put to work the lawyers they already hired for various aspects of their businesses.

Type-In Traffic

Is when somebody access your site by simply typing the domain name in the URL bar in their browser and adding the suffix (usually .com, but not only that) at the end. If your domain name matches exactly with the keywords typed in the browser there is a chance to get some traffic from that.

Avoid the numeral substitution and slang

You can always add numerals into a domain name, but avoid substituting commons words with numeral (for example 4 instead for and 2 instead to) because it can create confusion and it’s hard to remember. From the same reason don’t use slang (for example u instead you). Also watch out for the numeral 0 because it is often mistaken for the letter O and viceversa.

Make your domain unique

The more unique domains (as design as domain name) are easier to remember. Search the all possible names for your domain and stick with the most unique one – it will stick and you can benefit from that for years (you can use for this the non-commercial keywords but important in the searches).

Hyphenates inside the domain names

The common sense and the habits say that the hyphenates should not be used inside the domain names: the people are not used with them in the URLs and the can easy misspell and can and up to nowhere or, worse, to the competitor’s site. More, when you tell somebody about a site about web design, software code and seo do you tell the to put hyphens like this (http://www.webdesign-software-code-seo.com/ ) or not? The most people don’t say it.

There are also some advantages to the hyphens inside the domain name: the search engines can distinguish your keywords better and thus return your site more close to the first results in search results and the non-hyphenated form may no longer be available.

Personally I prefer to put the hyphens in the name because I want to mark the keywords as clear as possibles. The humans can be educated to take them in consideration, it would be an improvement for most of them.

Plurals, “the” and “my” domain names

Very often the domain name registrar suggests alternate forms of the name you typed, especially when the domain you want is already taken. For example, if you wanted onlinestore.com the suggestions can look like this: theonlinestore.com. myonlinestore.com, onlinestores.com (and maybe some more) if they were not already taken as well.

If you really want some for of the chosen domain name than take it (or them if you want), but always remember to promote the full name of your domain (with the affix). You also must take in consideration that the plural can create confusion because a lot of people will forget to put the final s in the name.

Search for dropped domains

The dropped domains are these domains that have been changed from registered status to unregistered status. This usually happens because the registration renewal fee was not paid (the company went out of business or somebody just forget to pay). Anyway, in this case anybody can register the domain for himself/herself and to get an already know domain for the same price of a new one.

Domain auction

Believe it or not, there are auction for the internet domain names. It is a different method to get a domain for some price (it depends of the results of the auction). The problem is that you may also get the reputation of the domain, and that be bad or good.

The article is here.

SEO and Webdesign: the URLs and internal linking for a site

 

There are a few things about the internal linking for a site after talking about the friendly URLs. The first is about canonical URLs. Canonical essentially means standard or authoritative, so a canonical URL for search engine marketing purposes is the URL you want people to see. Canonicalization is the process of picking the best URL when there are several choices and it usually refers to home pages. For example, most people would consider these the same urls:

  • www.webdesign-software-code-seo.com

  • webdesign-software-code-seo.com/

  • www.webdesign-software-code-seo.com/index.html

  • webdesign-software-code-seo.com/home.asp

They look very similar, but technically all of these urls are different. A web server could return completely different content for all the urls above. When Google “canonicalizes” a URL it tries to pick the URL that seems like the best representative from that set. Depending on how your web site was programmed or how your tracking URLs are setup for marketing campaign, there may be more than one URL for a particular web page.

The problem most search engine marketers run into deals with domains when they are not setup properly. In these cases the domain URL without the www prefix (e.g. webdesign-software-code-seo) and the domain URL with the www prefix (e.g. www.webdesign-software-code-seo.com) are considered individual web pages. Since both pages may be indexed by the search engines you could get hit for duplicate content and at the very least you would be splitting your link popularity.

The easiest way to protect your site is to redirect all forms of URL your domain to one standard URL – a canonical URL. For example to force the use of www.webdesign-software-code-seo.com instead webdesign-software-code-seo.com or http://webdesign-software-code-seo.com you must have this lines in the .htaccess file (this is Apache specific, if you use IIS the lines should be the same using ISAPI filter).

RewriteEngine On

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^webdesign-software-code-seo.com$ [NC]

RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.webdesign-software-code-seo.com/$1 [R=301,L]

This response to the problem is resolved on the server side, just before the script is accessed. One other way to consider the problem is for the web designer to define inside the page a variable that, in our case, is http://www.webdesign-software-code-seo.com and to use is to construct all the URLs inside the page.

 

The previous part of this article says about one way to create duplicate URLs. Another way to obtain such URLs is to when they are generated dynamically and there are flaws in the script. For example, when you generate the URLs from only the title and you put the same (or very similar) titles to your articles you can get the same URLs. I am thinking the words separators (hyphens and underscores, but this is another subject and I will write about it later).

There are websites (like the ones create with the wordpress blogging scripts) that can generate multiple URLs for the same article. Some examples are the following ones:

Although it makes sense to enforce unique URLs for all your web pages inside any site as Google imposes a penalty on suspected duplicate content, it’s not always possible to do so. Google have been introduced a way to specify the unique URL (the canonical URL) of any web page by using a meta link tag. Setting this tag is simple: you first decide which URL you wish to use, and then add this link tag to the <head> section of your HTML page something like the next example.

<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.webdesign-software-code-seo.com/my-blog-post-number1" />

Google claims that this would not be treated as a directive, but a hint that would be honored strongly. Additional URL properties, like PageRank, would be transferred as well.

 

The next important thing are the bad URLs, I mean the URLs on the sites that can not be found, clicked, visited or submitted to social media. It may be a technical problem (server is down, the internet access with problems, etc.) but it also may be a design/maintenance problem: indexed links may disappear from time to time (temporary or for ever).

The technical problems can be solved (and the most of them are solved in time), but the other problem depends entirely by you. When you are designing a page make sure that the URLs in the site does not have flaws and all them are working ok before putting the site online. It’s no fun for a human to have a list of articles on the page and a lot of content in that articles and when he/she tries to access them find a 404 error page because the URL was not created all right, especially when from other part of the site the article can be accessed ok. The search engines acts in the similar ways: if there are bad URLS (404 error pages) the will not index it.

When an article is deleted (from some reasons, depending of the owner of the site), there are 2 ways to react to that from the designer’s point of view: the URL will completely disappear (and the search engines will not find an already indexed URL) or the URL will remain the same and the content will be replace with a message similar with “this article has been erased”. From the search engines neither way is perfect, but URLs appearing and disappearing periodic with no message is not something good.

From the seo point of view, bad URLs are also the one that contains special characters (spaces, apostrophes and other characters like %e2%80%93), but that can be corrected by generating or redirecting to friendly URLs.

 

The internal link structure of a website works in the same way that external links does: in order to build a quality internal link structure a site has to add links on it’s sub-pages and these links need to contain the keyword or search term that is being targeted. There is no limit on how many links from internal sub-pages can be created… there can be 10 pages or 10 billion pages. When the search bot sees these links all pointing to a specific page (no duplicate URLs and no bad URLs) it is going to read the provided anchor text in those links. It will then assume that the page being linked to is important for the anchored keywords.

Deep link building is a good way to separate great websites from the mediocre ones: linking to sub-pages of a website is one of the best ways to grow long tail search traffic. It also is a great way to built up the site authority.

The first step when building deep links is to define the target (or the targets) of the site and them keep them focused all the time. For example, this site is dedicated to web design, software code and seo and you will not find here anything other than that. Usually the web sites are custom to their owner needs, and they have only a few targets (a limited number of subjects for the content and keywords). The bloggers can write about they want, but even they have to customize the subject and the contents of their articles accordingly to what people is searching.

The second step in the process requires the identification of sub-pages that can be used to gain more search traffic and can help boost top level keyword rankings. Top level keywords are very competitive and they usually require substantial link building campaigns to move up in the rankings. A great way to boost the authority of pages that are targeting these competitive search terms is to increase the internal authority of those pages. One way to do this is by adding a contextual link to the sub-page that links to the competitive top level page. Adding deep links that point at these pages will boost their authority. The authority of you site will increase together with the the authority of the pages inside your site.

In one sentence, make the important pages on your site as visible as possible (inside the site and on other pages). For the first part the web designer is the person that can help you (a smart one, with seo knowledge, can even give you some suggestions) and for the second one you should aks the persons that do marketing (or seo marketing) to do this job.

 

The source is here.

SEO and Webdesign: SEO friendly URLs

In the very beginning of this article I must tell you that an URL comes from Uniform Resource Locator (the initials) that is a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) that specifies where an identified resource is available and the mechanism for retrieving it. URI is a string of characters used to identify a resource or a name on the internet. Such identification enables interaction with the representations of the resource over a network using specific protocols.

It is said that in popular usage and in many technical documents and verbal discussions the URL is often incorrectly used as a synonym for URI. I’ve also met a lot of people that are using the term and they don’t know what’s coming from.

The way you create the URLs inside you page is one of the most important methods to improve the search engine optimization. Friendly URLs means they should be readable by the humans, but this counts for the search engines as well.

There are two things that are important: the first one is the human point of view. How many of you will access an URL that looks like http://www.webdesign-software-code-seo.com/8548-954page.html and how many will access http://www.webdesign-software-code-seo.com/freelancers-wanted/ or http://www.webdesign-software-code-seo.com/freelancer-jobs/? The tendencies are overwhelming for the second type of URLs because they contains words that have meaning for us and that gives clues about what the page contains.

That’s why it is better to use words in the URLs even for the search engines (the second point of view), especially if they are keywords (I mean the words that are the most relevant inside the content and the subject of the article, that the users may search on the internet). The best way to make a friendly URL is to create it based on the title of your article (and the date if this helps to identify faster the URL you are searching on a big site) and the underline the keywords using the heading tags. The search engines see the all this elements and it helps to index the page easier and to improve it’s ranking.

The friendly URLs are always static URLs. There are a lot of sites that generate URLs like this: http://www.some-site.com/index.php?category=456&subcategory=12&article=44574 and that’s called dynamic URL. When spaces, apostrophes and other special characters (like %e2%80%93) appears in this dynamic URLs it’s even worse: when you try to put such link on the Facebook or StumbleUpon (or any social network) there are a lot of chances that the URL will appear broken.

From the search engines point of view the static URL will be indexed much easier than the dynamic form, and there is no confusion and no missing parts from what could be important inside the URL.

Also, one of the most important things is to keep it as shorter and as descriptive as you can (clean and simple). The shorter the URL is the more successful it will be, as for web rankings and for the visitors’ use (this includes people copying the URL for link purposes). Also the twitter URL posting (for sharing information as well for backlinking) have became a habit in the last few years and a longer URL can not be posted there. More, if a URL string is long the weight and relevance of each word inside is diluted. If your URLs are keyword-rich, including too many other words or phrases means that the importance of the keyword is lost amidst all the other words.

For example consider the following URLs:

www.readmybooks.com/horror-science-fiction-temporal-travel-book.htm
www.readmybooks.com/store/books/science-fiction/horror-temporal-travel/book6888767.htm

The first URL is succinct, has the relevant keywords and no surplus syntax to dilute the importance of these words, and is easy for somebody to read, copy, and paste. The second URL is more complicated and the relevance of the keywords are reduced.

URLs can be constructed using upper and lowercase or a mixture of both, and the servers make the difference between them. Mixing uppercase and lowercase (even when following standard grammar rules such as using a capital letter for a name) can make your site structure unnecessarily complicated. You also run the risk of losing visitors who forget to use the required capital letter through the URL and then can’t access the page. The most common way to post the URLs across the internet is to post them lowercase. If you are redeveloping your URLs and come across pages using uppercase you should create a permanent 301 redirect to a lowercase version to avoid confusion.

There are a few tools and methods used for the URL rewriting in order to have the friendly URLs, one of the most common is using the .htaccess file (this is the special file that sets up the deal for you, it can contain all sorts of directives for the Apache server. If you’re not using an Apache-based server, you’ll have to read your server’s manual on how to do it) put in the root directory of the site. It works perfectly with the Apache server and php (for example), so it works fine with all the php-based systems. I will give some examples how to work with .htaccess and the other tools later.

Finally, it is very important when developing and maintaining a site is that you must keep the same structure of the URL. Do not change the rules to generate the URLs after the site is online, especially if they are created dynamically for the entire site. Once one URL is online it must be the same as long as possible (until the site drops dead or the internet ends). The search engines do not like the sites whose URLs changes from one month to another (for example), so try to change (even correct when necessary) them as little as possible. Also try to keep the URLs the same on the entire site, not depending by it’s sections, this will make future development much easier as there will be a standard convention to follow… if your URL structure is globally used the visitors will also find it much easier to understand how the information is organized and stored and they will find what they are searching faster.

 

 

The source is here.