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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Through Domain and Host Name Consolidation

One of the most common problems that we see among customers who want to optimize their websites for search engines is that they have multiple domain names pointing to the same content. Search engines, including Google, Yahoo and MSN love original content, so duplication hurts your website's rankings. It splits your content's Google Ranking among the duplicated pages, pushing them all further down in the search results pages than a single, unique web page would be.

www vs. no-www

Most websites are accessible both with and without the www. prefix in their address. For example, Wind Serve's page at the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce's Website is accessible at the following addresses:

http://www.blueridgemountains.com/members/ID8981

http://blueridgemountains.com/members/ID8981

Both addresses point to the exact same page with the exact same content. This is convenient for humans, who are likely to type in either address, but search engines' web crawlers could spider both pages, and split the page rank assigned to this page between the two addresses. 

Multiple Domains 

Like many businesses, Wind Serve uses one primary domain name, but has a number of domain names registered to protect is brand. We want website visitors to go to www.windserve.com, but also have www.windserve.net, along with a few other domain names pointing to our website. In order to improve our rankings with search engines, we've implemented optimizations described in the SEO Solution section below.

SEO Solution

We've taken three steps to consolidate our domains and hostnames.

  1. Use a consistent address.

    We have standardized on the http://www.windserve.com/ prefix on all links that we create to our website, be they on the website itself, or signitures in emails, forums and blogs. Fortunately, most of our website uses relative rather than absolute links, so this particular Search Engine Optimization only took a few minutes. We've also printed out this address on all business cards, and physical promotional materials. 

  2. Redirect misdirected visitors.

    We want to redirect website visitors who typed in or clicked on the wrong address to the correct one. At the same time, we want to inform search engines that the page that they're attempting to index has only moved, and not disappeared. This is important because we want to aggregate the Google Rankings of each address into the correct address. The safest way to do this is to perform what's called a 301 redirect. We added the following 4 lines to the .htaccess file located in our website's root directory. You'll need to substitute the your website's address.

    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteBase /
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www.windserve.com$ [NC]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.windserve.com/$1 [L,R=301]

    This creates a 301 redirect that tells search engines and web browsers that the web page they've requested has moved. When a person or search engines visits our Search Engine Optimization page at:

    http://windserve.com/services/search-engine-optimization-seo

    They automatically get redirected to the correct address:

    http://www.windserve.com/services/search-engine-optimization-seo

Put our experience in Search Engine Optimization and Internet Marketing to work for your website. Give us a call, or send us an email today to get started. We offer free Search Engine Optimization consultations!
 

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