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Diagnosing Problems With Custom Domains - Case Study #8

Some time ago, I noted a technique being used by Blogger to combat the spread of spam blog referrals, which was creating some inconvenience for legitimate blogs using custom domains.

That inconvenience seems to continue, even today. A prettier display, but the same inconvenience.


This isn't good for your readers - nobody wants to surf to possibly malicious content - intentionally or otherwise. Nor is it good for your search engine reputation - this extra page will stop the spiders cold. Check your Google Webmaster Tools Logs if you see this one day, if you don't believe me.



Let's look at the browser logs for myblog, and mydomain.


7/14/2008 09:24:54 Trying http://myblog.blogspot.com
Redirect!
Header:
HTTP/1.0 301 Moved Permanently
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2008 16:24:56 GMT
Expires: Mon, 14 Jul 2008 16:24:56 GMT
Cache-Control: private, max-age=0
Content-Length: 3473
Content-Type: text/html
Server: GFE/1.3
Connection: Close

Redirect!
Header:
HTTP/1.0 301 Moved Permanently
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2008 16:24:58 GMT
Expires: Mon, 14 Jul 2008 16:24:57 GMT
Cache-Control: private, max-age=0
Content-Length: 3473
Content-Type: text/html
Server: GFE/1.3
Connection: Close


Neither redirect contains the new location, so the search engines won't update their records to indicate your new custom domain. That's not going to give your new URL any reputation at all.

Compare that with the log for this blog, "bloggerstatusforreal.blogspot.com".


7/14/2008 09:30:01 Trying http://bloggerstatusforreal.blogspot.com
Redirect!
Header:
HTTP/1.0 301 Moved Permanently
Location: http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2008 16:30:04 GMT
Expires: Mon, 14 Jul 2008 16:30:04 GMT
Cache-Control: private, max-age=0
Content-Length: 212
Server: GFE/1.3
Connection: Close


See the "301 Moved Permanently" here?

HTTP/1.0 301 Moved Permanently
Location: http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/


That's where the search engines pick up my new URL - "blogging.nitecruzr.net". And that's one of the benefits of having a properly operating custom domain.

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