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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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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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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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Google boss defends corporate tax dodge

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I have a bit of downtime in Berlin (great city, although the weather has been extremely wet and cold!) and wanted to post my thoughts on Matt Brittin’s comments that I read in yesterday’s Telegraph. Brittin blamed politicians rather than Google for any wrong doing, but also stated that Google isn’t immoral. What are your initial thoughts?

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Google knowledge graph evolution

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I do love Google knowledge graph. I think it is a great addition to the SERPs and of course it takes up more of the PPC space, rather than the organic, which frustrates many an SEO. As you may know from reading my blogs here and on Intelligent Positioning’s blog, I’m quite into football. So when Robin van Persie signed for Manchester United from Arsenal, I decided to take a snapshot of United’s new striker’s Google knowledge graph and track changes. I’m going to do this for a year, but here is what I’ve go so far.

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Google+ now integrated into YouTube

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Earlier on today when accessing YouTube, I was asked if I wanted to migrate to my Google+ account rather than use my old YouTube username. I have documented a few images of the change and I ask you your opinion on the integration of Google+ within all Google channels. Its not a surprise at all, but is it getting too much?

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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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