Things you should know about Search Engine Optimisation, but possibly don't
I've been working in Search Engine Optimisation for a few years now, and it just amazing how many things people take for granted, when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation. If you ever think, you do not need Search to do Optimise your site on a regular basis, and you know everything there is to know about search engine optimisation, then you are making a big mistake. You need to read up as often as possible about how other people tackle this process, and it might seem like a time consuming exercise, but once you get the hang of it, you will be able complete a few simple tasks before you start you day.
I will try to highlight a few aspects of Search Engine Optimisation that we found out the hard way. I will update this article as I find more of these interesting but important pitfalls.
1. Case Sensitivity in URLs
Yes, even in the world of Search Engines, you have to consider the case of your URLs. It seems like Google is the most affected by this, but for Google, the URL: http://www.example.com/foo and http://www.Example.com/FOO are totally different URLs, and thus will be indexed as separate pages.
By doing this, Google might even see one of these pages as duplicate content, and penalise your website for the duplicate content. Except for the possible duplicate content penalty, the page rank of this page will be split over two pages, which will again affect the outbound links for the page.
What can you do to fix this problem?
Well, you can't change the external links to your website, so best is to fix the problem from the web server side. Check the URLs case and if you need to "fix" the URL, do a permanent redirect (301) to the correct page.
Please note, this is not the case for domain names. The URL http://www.example.com and http://www.EXAMPLE.com are still exactly the same.
2. Unwanted duplicate content because of default documents (index.html and default.html).
Whenever you have a directory on your website, you can set default files which will be display if no file was indicated in the URL. Take again our example: http://www.example.com/. This website might use index.html as the default document whenever you access this URL. However, you might later-on create a link to the URL http://www.example.com/index.htm. Google will index both these URLs, and again you will have duplicate content on your site, and your page rank will be split over the two pages.
So what can you do?
Again you can do a quick fix by using the 301 redirect.
3. The IP address will determine on which country specific search engine you will see your website.
In seems however that if you are using a country specific domain name, e.g. .co.uk for a UK site and .us for a US site, you can host your website almost anywhere (as long as the quality of service is the same).
How to fix this?
The easiest would be to move your site back to an IP address in the country where you will have most of your customers. Else get a country specific domain name.
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