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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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Google news search box modification

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I’m always on the lookout in how Google changes the way it displays its data to users. On my lunch break, I noticed that the Google News search results box has changed for certain keyword terms. The older variation still exists, but only for specific terms. Read on to see my examples.

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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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The return of exact match domains in Google UK SERPs

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Take The Kardashians for example. No matter how much you despise something or know how damaging it can be to the bigger picture, they always come back, to your annoyance. Well, in the SEO community (in the financial sector in particular), we’ve seen an ugly friend rear their ugly head once again – the EMD. Although, not to be confused with a digital sexually transmitted disease, the EMD is an acronym for ‘Exact Match Domains’ – so websites that rank well, simply by having the name of the keyword within the domain itself.

We also have a PMD (a not so serious one), which is ‘Partial Match Domains’, who have also come juggernanuting back into the fold. Here, I am to explore the return of the EMD in the UK within different sectors and offer some possible insight into why this may have happened.

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Payday loans: Whats happening in Google UK

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I was reading a story on the excellent SE Roundtable, which discussed about Google being evil. I was scrolling through the comments and say a mention of the payday loans issue that Sky News covered as a top story back in January and thought I’d clear up a bit of the confusion regarding the point of the original poster.

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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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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 returning more UK specific results?

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I will be expanding on this subject a little more, but wanted to post this chart to inform you of some changes I noticed in Google over the weekend.

www.facebook.com has been replaced by gb-en.facebook.com within the UK SERPs, which appears to be a Google change, rather than a Facebook inspired one.

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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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