Welcome to another in my series of SEO Tips. The last few weeks have been pretty geeky, covering META Tags and other mysterious things. Today is an easy one; Link to your Home page correctly.
I know – that’s TOO EASY to even count as a tip, right? Ha! Guess again bucko!
We have to remember that even though Google and the other engines TRY to be more human in their analysis of our Web sites, they are still just stupid computers. And stupid computers don’t understand that even though we might use many different ways to link to our sites, they all point to the same thing. For example, even though it’s clear to us humans that “www.domain.com”, “domain.com”, “domain.com/index.html” and “www.domain.com/index.html” all point to the same place on a Web site, to the engines these appear to be four different places. Because they think these are different places, they split authority and page rank across them, that’s bad and will lower your placement in search results. Half of this problem is easily fixed using a 301 redirect to do what’s known as “canonicalization”. Essentially you tell your web server to send to traffic to either the www or non-www version of the domain, but not both. We’ll cover how to do this in future post.
Fixing the links with file names is up to you. You should avoid linking to “/index.html” or .php, or .asp or whatever your system uses as its default page. Instead, you should link to either “/” or use the full domain name (without the file name). There are pros & cons to each (of course); using just the slash “/” will usually load faster since the visitors’ Web browser does not have to do a complete URL lookup again. However, if your site gets scraped (stolen and reposted elsewhere) and you have the full URL in your links, the visitors to the scraped site will likely end up back on your site quickly. Within your own site this should be fairly simple to fix, just be consistent in whatever method you choose.
Correcting incoming or “back-links” could be a bit more of a challenge. You should at least make an attempt to seek out those that link to your site and verify they link in the best possible way. Finding sites that link to you will be covered in another SEO Tip.
OK, now you have another thing to go check on your site. Have fun and we’ll see you next time.