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Planned downtime? Setup a 503 service unavailable status code

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Apologies for the extremely delayed posting of this, however – I’ve just started my new job at Starcom MediaVest and have been pretty busy with new projects. Earlier in the month a number of .gov websites were taken offline due to the US shutdown, whilst a week later WH Smith were forced to do the same due to a porn e-book scandal. So, what should you do when your website is down for either scheduled or unscheduled maintenance?

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Can the canonical tag pass social strength?

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Do you ever get an opportunity to guest blog for a great publication, but they do not use a rel=”author” setup? Well, I was lucky enough to be asked to guest blog on The Metro lasts season as I have a few football blogs (which no doubt, I have mentioned before!). The Metro have incorporated a blogger strategy so that all clubs in the Premier League have a resource to discuss important issues.

I’m going to run a test to see whether or not I can pass across social strength using the canonical tag on a blog that does use the rel=”author” setup. Read on to see the test!

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302 vs. 301 redirect: Why you need to use a 301

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So whats is in a redirect? Does it matter if it is a 302 redirect or a 301 redirect? Yes! Very much so. A 301 redirect informs Google that you are permanently moving a page to this new destination whereas a 302 redirect lets Google know this is only temporary. There is a time for a 302 and a time for a 301. If you are migrating a website across to a new one, say a .com to a .co.uk, you must use a 301 redirect.

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Canonical tag used for pagination – is it right?

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Apologies for the lack of posting, although I have a decent excuse as I broke my arm playing football two weeks ago! One handed typing does take its toll! I should have posted this earlier, but I did a blog for Intelligent Positioning on “Who is winning the early Christmas race?” and I noticed that Firebox had ignored the pagination rules and placed a canonical tag from all archived page to an “all” page. I’ll explain the methodology a little more and then you can have your say on whether this works or not.

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Partial match domains reappearing in Google UK?

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It wasn’t too long ago that we ran a test to see how Google reduced the amount of EMDs (exact match domains) and PMDs over the past three years. We concluded that this was a change that occurred over twelve months, rather than overnight and Google had been actively trying to reduce the strength assigned to EMDs and PMDs within the SERPs.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve noticed in one sector, the inclusion of a number of PMDs that really should not be on page one.
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Euro 2012 tops 2012 searches in Google

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It seems a long time ago that Britain was gripped with summer sporting fever. Bradley Wiggins became the first Brit to win the Tour de France in July, the amazing Olympics experience with the likes of Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis and Ellie Simmonds doing the nation proud, but according to Google, it was ‘Euro 2012’ that received the most searches this year.

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Google EMD update and PMD decline over time

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When Matt Cutts or the Google Webmaster team release information on an algorithm change, social networks, forums and comments boxes are all at a flutter with disgruntled webmasters claiming the big G is out to get them. It’s nothing personal, Google has its own agenda and I’m sure Mr Cutts hasn’t got a big dart board with your face on it. One thing I do when I receive a piece of information like this (the algorithm change not that Mr Cutts has my face on a dartboard) is check out the data myself, rather than taking Google’s word for it.
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EMD Update: EMD test website hit

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There have been a vast amount of changes to Google’s algorithm in the past month and a half and one of the key changes was the target EMD (exact match domains) within the SERPs. I totally 100% agree that if the website isn’t relevant to the search term and is filled with useless content and ads, then it should be dropped. I have a testing website (EMD) that was hit on September 28th 2012 and I have a couple of of theories as to why.

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Google News now has a META keyword tag

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Any SEO worth his or her salt knows how useless the META keyword tag is. It has been for years. Having said that, Google released the news yesterday that they will now support a META keywords tag for Google News. The obvious benefit is that you can have some additional freedom in creating headlines, although it is obviously still advised that you mention important keywords with the title, <h1>, caption (if you have one) and opening paragraph.

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Google News submission & follow up

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Google News. I should have done it a long time ago with my football blog but you know how is is. Writing the content, maintaining the forum, uploading statistics – it all takes time. Having updated the skin of the blog last summer (general downtime in football blogging unless you want to write pointless transfer rumour stories!), I felt it was time for me to get my blog into Google News.

Here is how I did it and the results the website has gained since it was accepted.

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