Loren’s post and Matt Cutts comment about sites being de-listed from Google because of down-time and alsoÂ some discussions about problems with site moves from one domain to another and launches of big sites with a lot of pages plus the comments and recommendations from Search Engine representatives like Vanessa Fox from the Google Webmaster Central Team did not make me very happy.
So I was thinking and then thinking a bit more and I think that I have a very realistic solution to offer, which would be a win situation for all involved parties. This is no joke, so please continue to read.
It’s certainly worthwhile to think about and consider. Any feedback and comments are highly appreciated.
Recommendation 1.Â (smaller one)
ThisÂ recommendation is for sites that are temporarily down for maintenance. We are talking about down-times measured in hours, may be days, not months.Â
Since Webmaster Central is now becoming more important and provides Webmasters more and more control, how about an option where the webmaster can indicate that the site undergoes maintenance and then again that the site is up again. The mechanism could be similar to the ping that is used to tell Google that an updated Site map is available.
Especially larger sites would benefit from it that get hit by spiders constantly, due to the number of pages and relevance.
Issue 2. and 3.
… While we are talking about maintenance.
I was engaged in two discussions about site moves to a new domain or the break up of content from one site to multiple sites or sub domains. I was going through that exercise myself last year and during the summer and some of the effects are still visible today.
See here the discussions:
ReveNews Post and Discussion and SEOMoz Article
This one is not just for Google, but also Yahoo! and MS Live (and Ask.com once part of it)
(for Google primarily)Â
Provide a form where webmasters can indicate the move from Domain A to Domain B or Split of Domain A to Domain B -Â Z.
The one for all SE that participate in the Sitemaps.orgÂ projectÂ Â
May be also an indicator in the Site map. Since all SE work on it, all SE could adapt it at the same time. Like:Â
Â Â <url>
Â Â Â Â Â <loc>http://www.old.com/d/pg.html</loc>
Â Â Â Â Â <newloc>http://www.new.com/d2/pg.html</newlink>Â
Â Â Â Â Â <datemoved>YYYY-MM-DDTHH:MM:SS</datemoved>
Note the two new elements “newloc” and “datemoved”.
Additional Benefits and Features
I added the date that you know if its old new or not (saves you resources). It could also be used for moves of content within the same domain. If you get the feed, you will know that the old page needs to get out of the index and the new page NOT into the supplemental index as a duplicate.
It also prevents that sites go completely into supplemental “hell” after you moved them to a new domain. Current Suggestions The suggestion to launch a big site with only a few thousand pages is “funny” at the most.
That’s technical talk and not marketer talk.
If you offer the biggest selection of widgets on the planet, you should go live with it from the start and not launch with only a few thousand of the hundred of thousands or worse, millions, and advertise that you will have the biggest selection of widgets on the planet.
“When” will depend on how quickly Google will allow us to add content without knocking the site out of the main index or all indexes altogether.
Good user experience right? Spectators will gather to witness this remarkable event how the site will slowly emerge x thousand items at the time, every new “batch” being greeted with applause and hallelujah. Sounds funny, doesn’t it?
Okay, you will be fine, if you have a big media buzz going and several reputable sites link to you (without a nofollow, so a Wikipedia entry is doing you no good (which would be a remarkable thing to achieve all by itself and worth another buzz)). Wikipedia is not a news site and new things have a hard time to proof their notability).
I think I made my points clear. Here are in short why Google, Yahoo! and MS Live should consider this recommendation.
- You (the Search Engines) have the platform today
- You have theÂ communication channel (in beta)
- The modification (extension) would be relatively minor
- It would be a standard for Search EnginesÂ from the start
The benefits would be great for ALL involved parties: Webmasters, Search Engines, Users and Exec’s won’t have to have nightmares and wake up in sweat during the night dreaming about their new business taking a dive because of exclusion from the search engines because they make content and functionality that was worked on for months or years all available to the public and crawlers over night.
Any thoughts, suggestions, comments or recommendations?
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