Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Yahoo! Search Index Update

Yahoo has announced the first Yahoo Search update of 2008. Sharad Verma from Yahoo Search said that Yahoo has been rolling out updates to their crawling, indexing and ranking algorithms over the past couple days. Yahoo tells the update will be done soon, but you may notice "some ranking changes and page shuffling in the index."


Best Practices For Webmasters

Best practices for many webmaster issues.

Site Verification Files and Meta Tags
Yes, you should keep your verification file or meta tag live to maintain your status as a verified owner.

Site Verification Best Practices
If you have multiple people working on your site with Webmaster Tools, it's a good idea to have each person verify the site with his or her own account, rather than using a shared login. That way, as people come and go, you can control the access appropriately by adding or removing verification files or meta tags for each account.
You may want to keep a list of these verification codes and which owner they are connected to, so you can easily control access later. If you lose track, you can always use the "Manage site verification" option in Webmaster Tools, which allows you to force all site owners to reverify their accounts.

What's the difference between using subdomains and subdirectories?
When it comes to Google, there aren't major differences between the two, so when you're making that decision, do what works for you and your visitors.

Underscores vs. Dashes
In general, we break words on punctuation, so if you use punctuation as separators, you're providing Google a useful signal for parsing your URLs. Currently, dashes in URLs are consistently treated as separators while underscores are not.

Keywords in URLs
It's always a good idea to be descriptive across your site, with titles, ALT attributes, and yes, even URLs, as they can be useful signals for users and search engines.

Moving to a new IP address
We got a question about changing a site's IP address, and provided a few steps you can take as a webmaster to make sure things go smoothly. Here's what you can do:
Change the TTL (Time To Live) value of your DNS configuration to something short, like five minutes (300 seconds). This will tell web browsers to re-check the IP address for your site every five minutes.
Copy your content to the new hosting environment, and make sure it is live on the new IP address.
Change your DNS settings so your hostname points to the new IP address.
Check your logs to see when Googlebot starts crawling your site on the new IP address.

A few webmasters were concerned that proxy services are being indexed with copies of their content. While it's often possible to find duplicate copies of your content in our results if you look hard enough, the original source is most likely going to be ranked higher than a proxy copy.

If your question isn't covered here, you can find even more questions and answers in Sitemaps Help Group.

Search Engine Optimisation - Tushar

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sitemap FAQs

FAQs about Sitemaps

Q: I submitted a Sitemap, but my URLs haven't been [crawled/indexed] yet. Isn't that what a Sitemap is for?
A: Submitting a Sitemap helps you make sure Google knows about the URLs on your site. It is not, however, a guarantee that those URLs will be crawled or indexed.

Q: If it doesn't get me automatically crawled and indexed, what does a Sitemap do?
A: Sitemaps give information to Google to help us better understand your site.

Q: Will a Sitemap help me rank better?
A: A Sitemap does not affect the actual ranking of your pages.

Q: If I set all of my pages to have priority 1.0, will that make them rank higher (or get crawled faster) than someone else's pages that have priority 0.8?
A: No.

Q: Is there any point in submitting a Sitemap if all the metadata (, , etc.) is the same for each URL, or if I'm not sure it's accurate?
A: If the value of a particular tag is the same for 100% of the URLs in your Sitemap, you don't need to include that tag in your Sitemap.

Q: I've heard about people who submitted a Sitemap and got penalized shortly afterward. Can a Sitemap hurt you?
A: Google does not penalize you for submitting a Sitemap.

Q: Where can I put my Sitemap? Does it have to be at the root of my site?
A: Google recently enabled Sitemap cross-submissions, which means that you can put your Sitemap just about anywhere as long as you have the following sites verified in your Webmaster Tools account.

Q: Can I just submit the site map that my webmaster made of my site? I don't get this whole XML thing.
A: There's a difference between a (usually HTML) site map built to help humans navigate around your site, and an XML Sitemap built for search engines.

Q: Which Sitemap format is the best?
A: Google recommend the XML Sitemap protocol as defined by

Q: If I have multiple URLs that point to the same content, can I use my Sitemap to indicate my preferred URL for that content?
A: Yes.

Q: Does the placement of a URL within a Sitemap file matter? Will the URLs at the beginning of the file get better treatment than the URLs near the end?
A: No, and no.

Q: If my site has multiple sections (e.g. a blog, a forum, and a photo gallery), should I submit one Sitemap for the site, or multiple Sitemaps (one for each section)?
A: You may submit as few or as many Sitemaps as you like (up to these limits).

If your question isn't covered here, you can find even more questions and answers in Sitemaps Help Group.

Affordable SEO - Tushar.