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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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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 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 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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Google knowledge graph now active in UK

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Google fully rolled out their knowledge graph in the UK today for people and events. I had noticed the knowledge graph returning, when logged in, for a few searches that I conducted – but never as prominent as in the US, which was launched back in May. I for one welcome such a feature, although I’m sure many will oppose yet another Google tool that promotes Google products and keeps you within their space. Take a look at some of the examples this morning.

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