Wednesday, January 23, 2008

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

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