Monday, February 01, 2010

Blogger Magic - Custom Domain Redirects

Money is a popular artifact used in magic tricks - everybody loves looking at it, and playing with it.

The disappearing quarter - which starts out in your hand, and is found behind your ear - is intriguing. Equally as intriguing is the magician who can take two 50 cent pieces, and turn them into a dollar bill.

The two into one conversion is a neat trick - and that's part of a properly designed and properly setup custom domain.
  1. The BlogSpot URL is redirected by URL forwarding, to the domain URL. This picks up the traffic from the BlogSpot blog, and transfers it to the domain. And, it picks up the identity of the domain.
  2. The domain is redirected by "A" / "CNAME" referral, to Google (and within Google to the Blogger blog). This picks up the traffic from the domain (including the traffic forwarded from the BlogSpot URL), and transfers it to the Blogger blog. But - and here's a twist - it retains the identity of the domain with the traffic.

What we have here is traffic (BlogSpot + domain) merged together, to the domain. Blog content gets indexed by the search engines under the domain URL - and contributes to page rank, and search engine reputation, for the blog, as published to the custom domain URL.

Identity + Traffic = Search Engine Reputation, for the domain.

An alternative to "A" / "CNAME" referral, provided and recommended by some registrars, is Frame / URL Forwarding.
  1. When re published to the domain, the BlogSpot URL is redirected by URL forwarding, to the domain URL. This picks up the traffic from the BlogSpot blog, and transfers it to the domain. And, it picks up the identity of the domain.
  2. The domain is redirected by Frame or URL Forwarding to the BlogSpot URL. This picks up the traffic from the domain (including the traffic forwarded from the BlogSpot URL), and transfers it to the BlogSpot URL. Unlike the trick above, though, it picks up the BlogSpot URL as the identity.
No Identity + Traffic = No Search Engine Reputation, for the domain.
All that work - and the identity (and search engine reputation) goes back to the BlogSpot URL.

In terms of magic, this trick is a dud. Nobody sees your domain. There goes your dollar bill, in a puff of smoke.

If your registrar tries to sell you Frame or URL Forwarding, because they don't provide "CNAME" referral, or because they won't allow 4 x "A" referrals, your best choice is to find another registrar - or possibly, use a (free) third party DNS hosting service.

If you're here because you got technical advice to use URL Forwarding anyway, because it will work just as well as "4 x A" / "CNAME" referral, get better advice.

It's your domain - you want the benefits of publishing your blog to a domain URL? Publish it properly.

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3 comments:

Najmania said...

My apologies if I am not following your commenting policy. I think my question is relevant to this post... (I hope).

I use Google Analytics to track traffic to my blog. I have several other blog sites that show up as referring traffic to my blog. When I visit these blogs, they have my blog listed on a sidebar as one they follow.

But one of the blogs that shows up often as referring traffic to my blog doesn't have my blog visible on their site. I find it so curious. How is that possible?

Thanks for you time.

Ryan Jennings said...

Great post, appreciated.

Dan Bender said...

Are the records created at the registrar or host? My domains are with Godaddy...host is with the Prime Host. Not happy with host and want to move all my domains to the Blogger setup with custom domains. I have accomplished this with dannybender.com, heavysauce.com, penfieldfire.org - but uncleplum.com has given me trouble. I am at the mercy of my host and I think they just keep messing it up and making things worse! I want my domains URL to get the good rep.

Thanks for your time!

Dan