Saturday, March 01, 2008

Custom Domains, And SEO

I'm not a fan of Search Engine Optimization ("SEO") in general.

Too much "SEO" advice nowadays seems to consist of abusing the search engines, using dubious content in a web site. If you're interested in the needs of your readers, you should focus upon relevant content in, and traffic into, your blog or web site.

If your goal is truly focused on improving your readers experience, using a Google custom domain properly can help you integrate traffic from a Blogger blog (or blogs), with your web site traffic, by putting all traffic in the same domain.
  • Traffic to the blog(s), which previously would have gone simply through "blogspot.com", now goes into your domain.
  • Traffic into the blog, from the web site, which would formerly showed up as exit traffic, now shows up as traffic inside your domain.
  • Traffic between your blogs now shows up as traffic within the domain.
  • Your readers will see the blog and domain as one unit instead of two, bringing more repeat traffic from them, and increasing search engine value.


So I won't discuss "SEO", simply for the sake of "SEO", but I will say that integrating blog(s) and web site traffic will be a win-win situation to you, as long as you currently have relevant traffic to both, and want both strengthened. And hosting your blogs in a custom domain will let you do that.

However, publishing your blog to a custom domain is most effective when you integrate the blog, strategically, with the web site.

Along with SEO, comes the inevitable question about Page Rank.
What happens to my Page Rank, when I move my blog to a custom domain?


The answer to that is two fold.

Initially, your blog, at its new address, will have a Page Rank of Zero. No indexed links, from other web sites, to the new URL = no Page Rank.

As your readers, and the search engine spiders, point directly to the new address, your page rank will pick up. This won't happen immediately, but since your blog has intrinsic reputation - people and search engines know of its value under the old address - references to the old address will be forwarded automatically.

Your visit count from established links will remain constant, and will fuel your Page Rank recovery. With a mature blog, and lots of fixed inlinks from your readers, you'll lose Page Rank immediately (a new URL starts with no page rank) - but your inlinks, as they are updated, will bring your Page Rank back. The higher page rank of the web sites with the inlinks, the more often your blogs will be re indexed, and the faster your page rank will pick up.

Besides inlinks from your readers, you need to consider the search engines, and similar robotic services. You will have to update the URL that defines your blog, for services that use a URL to your blog. Services like AdSense, FeedBurner and other custom feeds, Google Sitemaps / Google Webmaster Tools, and the various free visitor meters won't use only DNS. They will need the new URL, updated manually by you, in their setup.

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5 comments:

About In-Depth Research said...

I'm sorry, but I have a very basic question. I'm considering using a custom domain for my blog as an adjunct to my website. If my website is www.in-depthresearch.com what would the blogger custom domain look like? www.in-depthresearch.com/blog? Any ideas? I'd rather stay with blogger if possible - rather than go to Wordpress. Blogger is just so easy.

Thank you for your help,

Jacob

Chuck said...

Jacob,

If the domain is "in-depthresearch.com", and you have a web site published to "www.in-depthresearch.com", then your best choice (MHO) would be "blog.in-depthresearch.com" as the primary URL, and "www.blog.in-depthresearch.com" as the secondary URL.

Andrew Marshall said...

SEO is important so it has to be taken into consideration. It's about getting the right balance betweem optimised pages and pages with the right content. Unfortunately some people get the balance wrong, and end up with optimised pages with poor content, which is very annoying when you're looking for some info but get these pages instead.

Chuck said...

Andrew,

SEO is important because people want to juice their domains so they will earn money, without thinking about what their readers want or need.

People think that they can SEO their blogs to success, and they can, if and only if their blogs are the only blogs in their SEO universe. If there are two blogs in the same SEO universe, they will be fighting each other, and neither will be helping their readers as they should.

I'm trying to help my readers. The SEO that I am applying makes my blog come up in search engines - not as much as I'd like, but enough so some readers can find me.

I have to settle for what I get, and maybe you should too.

subby said...

I bought my custom domain http://www.packagingoftheworld.com 2 weeks ago and it is taking baby steps to regain the pagerank (now still at 0), guess to speed up the process I might need to resubmit the sitemaps to webmaster tools? I don't know...