Improving Google ranking

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shumisha
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Improving Google ranking

Post by shumisha » Tue Sep 13, 2005 9:08 am

Hi there,

I created a site a few month back. It appeared almost instantly in Google index, and showed on first page for several key words we wanted. Everything went well for about 2 months, then site sort of disapeared from Google index. 6 weeks later, it is still so (see it at http://www.holiform.com). Mambo is 4.5.2.3, with 404_SEF. As of today, only 2-3 pages are in the index, and old ones that is. After reading posts through several forums, I came up with the following changes, and I would like to have comments/suggestions as to what else could be done :
1 - Created, submitted and verified a Google Sitemap
2 - The only 'fault' I found I may have done was duplicate contents. It seems that using mambo, it is almost always the case if using SEF and a 'classic' installation. So I did what follows :

a - Added $Itemid = 'XX'; in latestnews.php to have always the same URL for the same news items, whatever page it shows from
b - Changed .htaccess so that mysite.com is permanently redirected (301 redirect) to http://www.mysite.com
c - Changed .htaccess so that http://www.mysite.com/home/ is permanently redirected to http://www.mysite.com (http://www.mysite.com/home/ being the first item in my main menu)
d - Changed includes/pathway.php so that the link to 'home' displayed in the pathway ('Home > News > News #1' for example) is http://www.mysite.com/ instead of http://www.mysite.com/index.php

Question now is :

- is there anything else I could do ?
- What should I do with respect to Google ? let hit do his job and wait, or resubmit a site map ?

Thanks for any advice
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johnyfav
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Re: Improving Google ranking

Post by johnyfav » Tue Sep 13, 2005 11:51 am

I got to be honest that sounds spot on to me.

It's exactly what I was going to do now.

Things I have noticed is that it can take 2-3 weeks for your sitemap to be 'deep crawled'.

My site (not with 404sef) has only really just been deep crawled. It is 6 months old. I dont rank well for my main keywords. I do rank well for 'product' articles though.

You have decent page rank so there is no problem there either.

Have you looked in to the sandbox?

Maybe that has something to do for it?

How are you doing on MSN/Y!?

Can I ask you a few questions? Which .htaccess file did you access? the one in the root of your mambo install?

Also - Maybe the mod would considser something like this a sticky? SEO for Joomla? There's a couple of other things I have done that I could add?

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jt3
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Re: Improving Google ranking

Post by jt3 » Tue Sep 13, 2005 12:14 pm

It seems to me that there are actually two separate issues here:

1. Making sure Google can crawl the joomla/mambo site correctly.

I personally like the 404-sef component, and it sounds like you have it at up correctly.

2. Optimizing the site for high search engine placement.

This is an area of a wide range of opinions!  Here are a few things for you to consider:
  • How did you choose your keywords /phrases ?
  • what were their KEI's?
  • How effectively are your keywords being used in the text on your pages?
Let me know if I can assist in any way.

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Re: Improving Google ranking

Post by shumisha » Tue Sep 13, 2005 12:25 pm

Hi Johnifav !

Try to answer in same order :

1 - Sitemap was submitted on sept. 2, so it's been 10 days. I see no change so far, but I realise it must be too soon. I also noticed that GoogleBot is far by the bot that crawls my site most.
2 - You are right in noting that I have a decent page rank. I sort of forgot it! The funny thing is that my main page is PR4, but if you look it up (enter http://www.holiform.com in Google search box), it does not know it ? there is 0 results !
3 - I would like to look in the sandbox, but how do you do that ?
I believe the reason for kicking me out is duplicate content, because I did have some duplicate content if you look at my first post (holiform.com and http://www.holiform.com for example, even though one would think Google to be smart enough to differentiate that from real duplicate content ?
4 - I am doing very fine on MSN (first page on main key words) and poorly on Y! I believe Yahoo does not crawl my site very much. I submited the site, but I do not have many backlinks
5 - I have only one .htacces, at the root of the mambo install, which happens to be also the root folder of the domain

Looking forward to hearing from you
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Re: Improving Google ranking

Post by shumisha » Tue Sep 13, 2005 12:39 pm

@jt3 : thanks for your answer and offer for help.

You posted while I was answering to johnyfav. I do agree with your analisys. On 1/, I think Google can access the site fairly well.
With respect to 2/ I know the relation between my content and the keywords I am looking for is not so good yet, and I will work on this.
However, what's happening currently is that the site do not show up at all ! For example, If I search for the 3 words of the content's title of the main page ('bienvenue chez holiform', marked as in HTML, holiform being in the page and also in the description META and the keywords META), this yields 0 results (actually it lists 1 result, a directory site in the USA listing our site!).

You see what I mean when I say there is someting else ?
To add to the sate of confusion I am in, in preparation to this reply, I just checked again doing site:www.holiform.com, and the main page just showed up again. It has been cached on sept. 10. Then 2 minutes later I try again, and it does not show again.

So maybe the index is being updated and better not touch anything for a little while ?

Regards
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johnyfav
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Re: Improving Google ranking

Post by johnyfav » Tue Sep 13, 2005 12:42 pm

Give the sitemap time. Do you add content all the time? If so submit it everyday?

The other pages will eventually get Page rank. What you have to remember is that toolbar page rank (the green bar on the google toolbar) and ACTUAL page rank are very different. Actual page rank is updated all the time. What you see on the toolbar is not.

The sandbox is a theory. When google first looks at a site it gives you a boost in rankings because your site is new. Then it gives you a penalty so that your site does not rank for sometime. Then you come out of the sandbox and as long as your site is not doing anything wrong will start to rank well.

Also JT3 has a point. I do not believe that out of the box joomla/mambo install is perfect for SEO. Make sure you include your keyword for that page in -

H1 Tag
H2 Tag
H3 Tag
or
or
the alt tag of an image.

The other thing to change is the way the tag works. I go for "Page Title - Sitename" I think mambo/joomla does it the other way round?

Also don't write pages for search engines. Write them for people with the above in mind.

Hope this helps.

Added! Seeing your site and then not seeing your site is the datacenters updating. Give it a couple of days and it'll level out!

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Re: Improving Google ranking

Post by shumisha » Tue Sep 13, 2005 12:50 pm

@johnyfav : I understand what you are saying, and try to do it as much as I can. This will imply some content rewording, and I am willing to do it. However, I first would like to see things working as 'expected', if there is such a thing.

If you look again at the example given above, looking for 'Bienvenue chez Holiform' just follow every basic rules that jt3 and yourself laid out about , title and keywords. I would expect to rank pretty high on this, whatever the competition on these keywords (which I think is nil!). At least the page should show up, even if it is on page 20 or 30 of Google results.

So maybe I just have to wait some more till everything settles...

One question : what were the one or tow other things you mentioned in your first reply ??
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Re: Improving Google ranking

Post by johnyfav » Tue Sep 13, 2005 1:34 pm

Urm - I just did a little bit more digging.

If you search for :

site:www.holiform.com

On google you have quite a lot of results that are "Supplemental Result" and/or don't have the correct title.

My experience is that google has crawled the pages without the title and is waiting to put the in it's index.

My best advice would be to sit tight for a few days and make sure that googlebot is visiting regularly. Also try to get a couple more links back to your site. Hope this helps!

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Re: Improving Google ranking

Post by shumisha » Tue Sep 13, 2005 1:38 pm

Thanks for the digging. Could you clarify what you mean by 'google has crawled the pages without the title' ? how can he collect the page content and not the title ?

or maybe you can direct me to some sort of tutorial about Google ?

Regards
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Re: Improving Google ranking

Post by johnyfav » Tue Sep 13, 2005 1:42 pm

Actually a little digging finds that only your admin sections have no title and EVERYTHING else is Supplemental Result. I would say that google is in the process of updating your site.

shumisha
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Re: Improving Google ranking

Post by shumisha » Tue Sep 13, 2005 2:09 pm

Let's wait then, thanks for your help!
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Re: Improving Google ranking

Post by johnyfav » Tue Sep 13, 2005 2:12 pm

What wouldn't hurt is going to find a load of directories and getting some links back -

Look here http://www.best-web-directories.com

That isn't my site or anything, just found it a while back.

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Re: Improving Google ranking

Post by shumisha » Tue Sep 13, 2005 2:17 pm

Thanks, will do.
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Re: Improving Google ranking

Post by johnyfav » Tue Sep 13, 2005 9:16 pm

Sorry to bring this back up but I'm really struggling with the mod rewrite thing,

Could you post the code that you use to -

b - Changed .htaccess so that mysite.com is permanently redirected (301 redirect) to http://www.mysite.com
c - Changed .htaccess so that http://www.mysite.com/home/ is permanently redirected to http://www.mysite.com (http://www.mysite.com/home/ being the first item in my main menu)

Many Thanks

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Re: Improving Google ranking

Post by shumisha » Wed Sep 14, 2005 7:08 am

Hi johnifav,

Here is what I am using; part is collected from posts on http://www.webmasterworld.com (quite useful site), part I came up with.

# Rule for duplicate content removal : http://www.mysite.com vs mysite.com

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^mysite\.com [NC]
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.mysite.com/$1 [R=301,L,NC]

# Rule for duplicate content removal : http://www.mysite.com/home/ link to http://www.mysite.com

RewriteRule ^home/$ http://www.mysite.com/ [R=301,L,NC]

[NC] is there to make it case insensitive
[R=301] makes it a permanent redirection
[L] makes a rule the last one to be used
^ marks the beginning of a string
$ marks the end of a string
as . is special character, you must escape it using \ when you have to use it in a string : mysite\.com
In the first Rewriterule, . means any character, * means any number of said character, so .* means any string
Putting it in between parenthesis (.*) makes that string a variable, re-used later in the rule as $1 (there could be more variables, named $2, $3,... in sequence)

I have seen also a variation of the first part similar to :

# Rule for duplicate content removal : http://www.mysite.com vs mysite.com

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.mysite\.com [NC]
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.mysite.com/$1 [R=301,L,NC]

The difference is : in the first version, only mysite.com is 301-redirected to http://www.mysite.com;
In the second version, any subdomain is 301-redirected to http://www.mysite.com (like : whatever.mysite.com or thisIsATyyypo.mysite.com), except if the subdomain actually exists. However, I have not tested this version at all.
As in other programming language, the ! looks negates the value of the subsequent statement.

Hope it will also work for you,

Regards
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Re: Improving Google ranking

Post by johnyfav » Wed Sep 14, 2005 7:57 am

Give that man a medal!!!!!

shumisha
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Re: Improving Google ranking

Post by shumisha » Wed Sep 14, 2005 8:12 am

Thanks,

My favourite ones are chocolate medals. Dunno if you can email that though.
In any case, please try it first with your host before going into any such expense!
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Re: Improving Google ranking

Post by erikh » Tue Oct 11, 2005 5:30 pm

I hope I'm not too late to this discussion but I'd really like to know how to implament this change?

d - Changed includes/pathway.php so that the link to 'home' displayed in the pathway ('Home > News > News #1' for example) is http://www.mysite.com/ instead of http://www.mysite.com/index.php

I've made those other changes and wanted to thank you guys for the code!

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Re: Improving Google ranking

Post by shumisha » Tue Oct 11, 2005 7:32 pm

@erikh, as per your recent message, here is what I changed in includes/pathway.php, on line 263 (Mambo 4.5.2.3)

if ( eregi( 'option', $optionstring ) && trim( $path  ) ) {

/* Shumisha 2005-09-12 : home links to  http://www.mysite.com/ rather than http://www.mysite.com/index.php for SEO */
/* Old code : */
/* $home = ''. $home .''; */
                /* New code : */
$home = ''. $home .'';
/* Shumisha 2005-09-12 : end of change */
}

That's it !
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Re: Improving Google ranking

Post by erikh » Tue Oct 11, 2005 7:51 pm

Hey thanks again. My coding skills aren't all that deep, that info really helped!


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