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Forum Posters Get Down To Business With Google Banning

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Our WebProWorld forum members added their expertise and experiences related to Google banning. They were responding to a recent article on the possible banning of Business.com’s index page.

Original WebProWorld Post: http://www.php9.com/index.php?p=12

DanThies (Texas, USA): “Tjaart wrote:

I have a 302 redirect on a page deeper into my website, redirecting to another page on my website. Basically, if you haven’t logged on yet, I want you to logon first and redirect you to the logon page.

The resulting page is no-index and no-follow.

Do you think my whole website will be penalised / banned for this or only the resulting page, which I don’t want to be indexed anyway?

DanThies response:
Don’t worry about that. There is no penalty for using redirects, the search engines just have some little quirks in how they handle them.

One of Google’s quirks happens when they hit a sequence of 302 redirects. They can end up indexing the content of the target page (if they’re permitted to index it) under the URL that redirected to it.

Business.com using a 302 redirect from one copy of their site to another would have made for big-time Googlebot confusion, especially with as many sites probably link to *both* URLs (business.com and www.business.com) with 302 redirects.

Google still has about a gazillion Business.com pages indexed, and they still show up in all kinds of searches. Not a ban, not a penalty, but definite confusion. ;)”

DanThies (Texas, USA): “Sorry to post twice in a row, but Google’s 302 handling issue should probably be explained more clearly. I first saw this more than a year ago, but wasn’t able to diagnose it immediately.

We had a post on another forum from someone complaining that a PPC directory they were using had “hijacked” their content, and was charging them clicks for their organic SE traffic.

Here’s what was happening:

1. The directory listing pages had a redirect link – something like “www.example.com/redirect.php?site=12345″
2. The “redirect.php” script was sending a 302 redirect back pointing to a tracking URL on the poster’s site, something like “www.domain.com/track.php?source=exampledirectory.”
3. The tracking script was counting the visits and pushing out a 302 redirect pointing to their home page (www.domain.com).
4. Google was indexing the contents of www.domain.com, but seeing it as being at www.example.com/redirect.php?site=12345.

The same thing happened to me with one of my affiliates, and that’s how I was able to diagnose the problem. The affiliate was redirecting (via 302) to my affiliate tracking script, which was redirecting (via 302) to my home page.

My home page was ranked in the top 10 for “keyword research,” but Google was showing the affiliate’s redirect as the URL. I was paying the affiliate commissions on all of my organic referrals!

The solution was to use robots.txt to keep spiders from following the affiliate tracking script on my site.

My recommendation for anyone who uses tracking URLs: if you must redirect the visitor to a landing page, keep the spiders from following that second redirect by putting the tracking URL/script into robots.txt.

If you don’t redirect from the tracking URL/script, but instead just deliver the same content that’s on another URL, once again keep the spiders off of those tracking URLs to avoid delivering duplicate content.”

jawn_tech (western PA): “I edited my response and wacked it way down because it was way too long. I’ll just simply say I see a conflict of interest. If they don’t spell it out more clearly, and relevant sites disappear because of an issue that is unique to Google (as we’ve seen other SE’s have other rules about redirects), then how can they make the claim their results are relevant?

I had to write directly to Google to get a clear answer. But it seems a smarter move for them to post a page that is more clearly about this subject than pay all the human-hours to answer all the email queries like mine.

I think the case is good that they do ‘owe’ better explanations. It’s not about doing favors or making our jobs easier. It’s about doing business, and upholding the quality of relevant results.

If relevant sites disappear because of a foggy issue, then results that move forward are less relevant. Suddenly the results aren’t quite as relevant as we’d like to think. We’re talking 5 minutes to post a page on Google with better clarity. Fortunately for us, some have found links that help answer these questions.”

Nick Waind (Leeds): “Thanks for all the invaluable information that has been provided, and indeed I have fallen foul of this issue. I had a site with atleast 4 figures of inbound links and a PR of 7, the PR has now dropped to 0.

So what now? I’ve updated the redirects to the 301′s, is it now just a case of waiting for Google to come back and re-rank, or is this going to take some time?”

regmanabq (Albuquerque NM): “OK, sorry to jawn_tech for picking this particular post to freak out on, but I just can’t stand it anymore and I have to say something.

(ADDED after Jawn’s next post: Sorry again. I don’t mean this to be personal and didn’t mean to come off “on the wrong side of the bed”, just commenting on the thread and making the point that Google is absolutely right to expect people to use the right procedures when serving webpages and encouraging everyone to learn what those procedures are.)

Why is this such an issue? “permanent” and “temporary”. How can it be any simpler and more obvious? It’s all spelled out in the standards and easily looked up by anyone in seconds at the W3C. http://www.w3.org/2002/03/new-to-w3c If you need to do complicated things like redirects and URL forwarding, you should stop by and learn how to do it!

There are rules and ways to do things. People tend to assume legit people do things by the rules, while scumbags and spammers don’t (and unfortunatly, often the inexperienced and unlearned too). Cops have known this for years and make it part of their basic technique to identify “suspicious” things and people, so don’t blame Google for realizing the obvious and expecting you to know what the rules are to avoid being labeled ‘suspicious’.

If there were no rules like when to use a 301 or a 302, the internet would not work (not to mention there would only be one type of redirect). It’s as simple as that. Google is just making people abide by the rules and I think it’s great. I wish everyone did that. I’m tired of watching the spammers cheat the whole system and ruin perfectly good things like redirects and email for the rest of us. Use the official standards or get banned from the index. Sounds fair to me.

If you don’t know what the rules are or can’t figure out how to do something, you should hire a professional to handle your webmastering. Just like anything else. For example: IF you don’t know the building codes or plumbing, you shouldn’t do it yourself until you take a class or a long trip to the library to learn what you are doing so you don’t flood your house or watch it fall down around you. That’s why the pros get paid so much. Remember all that time and effort it took to learn their profession? That’s why they make the big bucks; the plumber doesn’t get paid to screw on a nut, he gets paid because he knew which nut to screw in the first place!

IF you want to design websites, THEN you should receive some training and/or become at least familiar with the basics of HTTP specifications and server configurations. HTML 101 is great for grandma’s cool picture site, but you need to go on to the 200 level at least before you open a store, call yourself “web designer” or try and get top ranking on a search engine. Doesn’t that just seem logical?

(AGAIN, not insulting Jawn, just using his example since he did admit he didn’t know anything about it and yet works full time as a designer. Good for him for the initiative! AT least he is honest about his failings and here to learn more. I also misunderstood and thought he asked for suggestions on how to learn more and expressing frustration the answers were not found here or people didn’t speak the lingy.)

JUST because the software is cheap and you can click a button and make something pretty DOES NOT mean you are a “webmaster”, that makes you a “designer”, maybe. But if you don’t know how to configure the server or do proper redirects and such, no one will ever get to see your wonderful creation because you sent them to the wrong place or SE’s refuse to index you.

I love to see people design their own websites, so please don’t get me wrong here, everyone should be able to make their website as cool or as crappy as they have the time, energy or money to make it. I love places like this and I encourage everyone to learn all they can and build their own sites, but think of it like driving. Do we really want to make driving so “welcoming” for the new folks that we don’t make them learn and abide by the laws? When the cop pulls you over for running the red light in the car you just built yourself, you can’t use the excuse “I didn’t know what a red light is because they didn’t teach that in car building 101″. I know there is a big difference between dangerous driving and a poorly configured website, but see my point? Just because you can easily build the car, doesn’t mean you know how to drive it without getting a ticket or totalling it all together.

IT is your responsibility to know and learn these things. IF you don’t speak the “lingy” perhaps that is where you should start. I know a lot of it sounds geeky, but so does the law, building codes, sport rules and every other technical field known to man. If you want to play in any field, you have to learn the jargon and the rules and procedures for how things are done. Heck, you can’t even play one single sport without knowing a bunch of rules and “lingy” before you start.

How can one do webdesign for other people and still not understand something as basic as the difference between “permanent” and “temporary” redirects or those mystical ‘server side whatevers’, yet still blame the system for not being welcoming enough?

And as we have seen in other posts, professional webmasters who do hosting for a living seem to be doing this as a matter of course. What has the world come to when this is possible? How can a previous poster get an email from her host saying “we use 302 redirects and you have to ask Google if that works”; of course it doesn’t work, it’s not right and Google won’t accept it as valid because they shouldn’t; it doesn’t conform to the basic specs for HTTP.

I also think all this is really silly just because of the particular redirects we are talking about. I mean, really, how much more clear can “permanent” and “temporary” get? Not trying to be a jerk, just hoping people take heart that this is a lot more difficult that paying $9.95 a month and buying dreamweaver or frontpage. HTML is only half the battle.

Like Google says “design good websites” to get good listings. So spend more time learning what a “good website” is and less about SEO “tricks” until you know the basics.

Thanks for letting me rant. Hope I made a good point.

(ADDED after Jawn’s next post: IF I am off the mark or offending according to the rules of this forum, please take this post off. I would expect no less. Again, no personal offense meant.”

Thanks again, ”

jawn_tech (western PA): “Thanks for retracting some of the ‘targeting’ at me which came across [at least to me] from the original post. I will commend you for posting, and everyone is welcome to disagree with anyone on this forum. I also commend you for the suggestion to anyone to check out W3.org for more information. Perhaps it was best left at that? Just a suggestion.

Now I’d like to clarify a few things. If you read further, my additional posts showed that I learned the 301 redirect by the helpful suggestions from other members in this thread. This thread is not nonsense, and to suggest that comes across a bit arrogant.

I did not say I was only at the HTML 101 level, I said they don’t teach this in HTML 101, which is where anyone could possibly be at, at least. My position on this (again) is that IMO Google could give a bit more clarity on this issue. Disagree – that’s perfectly fine. Now I’ve learned recently, a 301 redirect is as easy as making one line of code using notepad. That’s it, it’s not rocket science. But it is a mystery to someone who’s never run into that problem before. That fact that I’ve never before this point had the need to move a successful site around which affected my PR5 should count for something. There are always firsts for everyone, no matter what level you’re at.

Not knowing about 301 redirects does not make someone a dunce, nor does it make them unqualified to design web sites, personally or professionally, nor does it keep them from the right to express their frustration here, for the sake of learning and sharing opinions. Even if I was only at the ‘html 101′ level, I certainly still have the right to share my opinion about Google, web design, or any other topic on this forum. We can agree to disagree about views, and anyone is welcome to share them here.

I agree with rules, as long as people have clear direction of where to find them. Apparently, a large professional site such as Business.com missed it, as have I before and many others. Doesn’t make us spammers, or scumbags. If not knowing every bit of knowledge there is to webmastering or online marketing makes them “unlearned”, then I guess that label applies to all of us, including you. After all, why are we here?”

Note: Please give us your thoughts on the Google banning issue:
http://www.webproworld.com/viewtopic.php?t=27926

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Forum Posters Get Down To Business With Google Banning
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