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SharpNET Solutions, Inc.
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Local SEO provides a unique advantage which allows local companies to outrank non-local competitors. Without a local emphasis, websites will struggle to be found by consumers seeking help from companies within their own community. http://www.sharpnetsolutions.com/local-seo/
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If you think it might be time to put an SEO Strategy in place, but have no idea where to start, then here are some questions to consider before you call in the professionals. http://www.business2community.com/seo/how-to-choose-a-good-seo-agency-01312211
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Create a balance between SEO and a positive user experience with SharpNET Solutions. Read more on the importance of integrating both - http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/247683
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DMOZ Submission Help & Advice Advanced SEO Q&A

Original SharpNET SEO Question:
Our DMOZ submission has not been listed yet. Should we resubmit?

SharpNET SEO Answer:
DMOZ doesn’t provide updates unfortunately, so you can only set a reminder to periodically check if your listing is live. It is just a big black hole at times. This was once a great directory but it is very poorly managed now. It is managed by volunteers and some are responsive and most are not. Lately, most do not respond.

Articles I’ve seen recently state that only 30% of submissions are published now. Best you can do is just to keep trying with a new submission, and trying in different categories hoping that we catch someone’s attention. However if you push too much with too many submission attempts you will risk getting banned, so you have to be very careful.

Some submission tips can be found from the following links:
http://bryanhadaway.com/how-to-properly-submit-a-dmoz-listing/ 
http://mattsmarketingblog.com/seo/how-to-get-listed-in-dmoz/

Most advice out there states that you do not want to resubmit for 6 months, but honestly that is way to long to wait. I recommend 3 months between submissions, but I have seen listings go live as late as 4-5 months after making the submission.

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Canonical, Subdomains & 404 Errors Advanced SEO Q&A

Original SEO Question:
What to you know about random canonicals getting listed under a wildcard redirect... such as:
abc.domain.com -> domain.com/index.html

Where, something like Uhjgufd.domain.com is showing up on search engines. What would cause that? Is it simpler to just remove the wildcard redirect and throw a 404?

SharpNET SEO Answer:
This is probably cause by a wild-card in the DNS. So in DNS you can set, for example:

@  70.59.59.153
www  70.59.59.153
*  70.59.59.153

The @ represents the root (no WWW)
The “*” represents anything. So “bigfurrybunny.mydomain.com” would be routed to 70.59.59.153

There can be a big problem with canonicalization where a client has a wild card A-Record in their DNS, allowing for an infinite number of canonicals (subdomains). Websites can be found under these weird subdomain canonicals like asdgasfs.somewebsite.com or mobile.somewebsite.com. The wild card A record points every subdomain to the web server. This causeses 2 pretty big problems.

1) Each sub domain is crawled by Google, causing severe server loads. Imagine a 30,000 page website getting crawled 5 times.
2) It looks like a duplicate website or duplicate content to Google, diminishing overall rankings.

So… 404 and 500 errors are evil. Customers hate them, Google hates them and you do not ever want to do anything that will allow a 401 or 500. Here’s a really simple trick to eliminate all 404/500 errors.

1) Create a custom PHP page to be used as a customer error handling page. Call it something like redir.php. Assign it to load for all common server/website errors like 401 and 500. 
2) Implement a 301 redirect in redir.php pointing to the home page (index.php). 
3) Make redir.php SEO friendly
PHP script for 301 redirect
<? Header( "HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently" ); 
Header( "Location: http://www.corporateteams.com/" ); ?>

But if it does happen, adding the <link rel=”canonical” href=””> tag will help assign things properly. Then there is always the possibility of using PHP code to identify the page name and execute a 301 redirect to the real page if some odd canonical is being referenced.

Original internet marketing article at SharpNETSolutions.com.

How does Google handle local search results vs. national? Advanced SEO Q&A

Original SEO Question:
How does Google handle local search results vs. national?

SharpNET SEO Answer:
Google tries to customize search results to accommodate the person making the search. When Google feels that a search would benefit from producing local-based results, then it will throw in local data into the search results. For example, if someone in Austin searches on Google for "pizza" they will find search results for many Austin pizza restaurants. If another person living in Fort Collins makes that same search, the search results will all represent Fort Collins restaurants. A searcher does not need to specify "Fort Collins" or "Austin" in their search phrase in order to find local pizza restaurants... they get local search results automatically. Now the person in Austin and Fort Collins both search for the phrase "pizza dough recipe" then they will get similar Google search results.

For some search phrases, local search results are not automatically drummed up. With phrases like "Pools" and "Home construction", Google will decide to produce local information for some, and for others it will not. Google will feed data from Google Places as well as traditional organic rankings if it feel that a search phrase requires a local emphasis. Even if people search with a city name in their search phrase like "Austin" or "Fort Collins" there is no guarantee that this will trigger the data feed from Google Places. Ditto if a city name is not included in the search phrase. For example, if you search for the phrase "Austin pizza dough recipe" you will not get Google Places data to contribute to the search results but the organic search results will show some Austin companies. You can identify Google Places data by the presence of a Google Map and listings with a little placement pin.

So.. If you see traffic coming in for a keyword like "swimming pool builder" then it does not necessarily mean that you are ranked nationally for this search phrase. What it means is that Google knows that the searcher is in Austin, and that the swimming pool builder is also in Austin. It actually executes the search results as if the searcher typed in "Austin swimming pool builder." This is a good thing however, because if your company services only Austin, you don't want phone calls from people in Hawaii or Arkansas or Japan.

Search is a complicated matter now. Yes it seems so simple when you just plug something into Google.

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Canonical, Subdomains & 404 Errors Advanced SEO Q&A

Original SEO Question:
What to you know about random canonicals getting listed under a wildcard redirect... such as:
abc.domain.com -> domain.com/index.html

Where, something like Uhjgufd.domain.com is showing up on search engines. What would cause that? Is it simpler to just remove the wildcard redirect and throw a 404?

SharpNET SEO Answer:
This is probably cause by a wild-card in the DNS. So in DNS you can set, for example:

@  70.59.59.153
www  70.59.59.153
*  70.59.59.153

The @ represents the root (no WWW)
The “*” represents anything. So “bigfurrybunny.mydomain.com” would be routed to 70.59.59.153

There can be a big problem with canonicalization where a client has a wild card A-Record in their DNS, allowing for an infinite number of canonicals (subdomains). Websites can be found under these weird subdomain canonicals like asdgasfs.somewebsite.com or mobile.somewebsite.com. The wild card A record points every subdomain to the web server. This causeses 2 pretty big problems.

1) Each sub domain is crawled by Google, causing severe server loads. Imagine a 30,000 page website getting crawled 5 times.
2) It looks like a duplicate website or duplicate content to Google, diminishing overall rankings.

So… 404 and 500 errors are evil. Customers hate them, Google hates them and you do not ever want to do anything that will allow a 401 or 500. Here’s a really simple trick to eliminate all 404/500 errors.

1) Create a custom PHP page to be used as a customer error handling page. Call it something like redir.php. Assign it to load for all common server/website errors like 401 and 500. 
2) Implement a 301 redirect in redir.php pointing to the home page (index.php). 
3) Make redir.php SEO friendly
PHP script for 301 redirect
<? Header( "HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently" ); 
Header( "Location: http://www.corporateteams.com/" ); ?>

But if it does happen, adding the <link rel=”canonical” href=””> tag will help assign things properly. Then there is always the possibility of using PHP code to identify the page name and execute a 301 redirect to the real page if some odd canonical is being referenced.

Next Advanced SEO Q&A - eCommerce SEO & Adding Content

Post has attachment
DMOZ Submission Help & Advice Advanced SEO Q&A

Original SEO Question:
Our DMOZ submission has not been listed yet. Should we resubmit?

SharpNET SEO Answer:
DMOZ doesn’t provide updates unfortunately, so you can only set a reminder to periodically check if your listing is live. It is just a big black hole at times. This was once a great directory but it is very poorly managed now. It is managed by volunteers and some are responsive and most are not. Lately, most do not respond.

Articles I’ve seen recently state that only 30% of submissions are published now. Best you can do is just to keep trying with a new submission, and trying in different categories hoping that we catch someone’s attention. However if you push too much with too many submission attempts you will risk getting banned, so you have to be very careful.

Some submission tips can be found from the following links:

http://bryanhadaway.com/how-to-properly-submit-a-dmoz-listing/ 
http://mattsmarketingblog.com/seo/how-to-get-listed-in-dmoz/

Most advice out there states that you do not want to resubmit for 6 months, but honestly that is way to long to wait. I recommend 3 months between submissions, but I have seen listings go live as late as 4-5 months after making the submission.

Next Advanced SEO Q&A - Canonical, Subdomains & 404 Errors

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Internal Links & Passing Pagerank Advanced SEO Q&A

Original SEO Questions:
Are there general guidelines on how to add links to our website? We have links to other websites on a variety of pages and we are wondering if there are correct/incorrect ways to do this, and especially for SEO purposes. 

Also, if a company has two websites, one mainly for information and the other is attached to it via a “Shop Now” tab, would you happen to know how that can affect SEO? Would search engines lead people to both sites?

SharpNET SEO Answer:
Great questions and some of the answers are a bit complex. Websites transfer pagerank to each other through links. When a website links only to itself (navigation) then all pagerank is conserved. Each link pointing away from a website loses a portion of its pagerank to the website it is linked too. So the perfect website in regard to pagerank would be a site that all other websites link to, but it does not link back.

With that in mind, you want to minimize the number of links that point to other website. Particularly for important pages like your home page. Low pagerank pages don’t have much pagerank to transfer, so having out-bound links is not a much of an issue, but you still want to remain conservative. Google does like to see a small amount of outbound links so that they can find other important websites, but keep them to a minimum.

Often times by having a link going to another web page, they will provide a link back to your web page. As long as the pagerank between the two pages is relatively equally, then there is no harm done. However if one web page had much more pagerank that the other, the high pagerank page would be losing more than it gets back and vice versa.

Links can also have other purposes for business development which would likely be more important than a little loss in pagerank.

If you have more than one website, it would be okay to link to them from different site that you own, because where one site loses, the other gains.

When creating a hyperlink, the content around the link carries on to the page that it links too. Below are two hyperlink examples where the bolded text would be hyperlinked to another page:

1) Browse Our Selection of LED Flat Panel TVs for Sale - BUY NOW
2) Browse Our Selection of LED Flat Panel TVs for Sale
Link (1) above passes on relevance for “buy now” while link #2 passes on relevance for “LED flat panel TVs.” In regard to SEO, we really are not interested in ranking for “buy now” so Link (2) is better. This is more challenging that it seems to overcome, as everyone is accustomed to “CLICK HERE.” This can be overcome more easily of the hyperlink is a button or graphical image. With an image, you can say anything you want but through the TITLE hyperlink tag and ALT image attribute, you can add in good SEO Content like <img alt=”led flat panel tvs” …>.

For having multiple websites, Google will absolutely follow the “shop now” link from one to the other. Both sites can be ranked individually. However this is not the ideal way to do it. Google is all about the user experience. If two website share 1 overall purpose, then the user interaction, accolades, bookmarks, inbound links, etc., will be divided. For SEO it is all about standing out and being better than average. Keeping a shopping cart on the same domain as a primary website or other information content that supports the shopping cart would be a big benefit. Observation from real clients has confirmed this idea many times. A recent client at harmonyhomeshop.com originally had their business content and shopping content on different URLs. When they switched to the bigcommerce.com platform and everything resided under the same domain name, their traffic doubled almost overnight. This is a concept that is a bit tough to explain, but it boils down to having a single exceptional website vs. two lesser website. One URL has more to offer. The “show now” concept can still work if you need to separate the website out into 2 parts, however still keep them under the same root URL. For example “mywebsite.com/about-us/” and “mywebsite.com/shopnow/” with links going between these two areas freely. But try to avoid “mywebsite.com” and “shop.mywebsite.com” or “someotherwebsite.com.” A sub domain is the same as using a new domain altogether, but a folder is considered a part of the root domain.

Next Advanced SEO Q&A - DMOZ Submission Help
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