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Googlebot surfs more like Firefox than IE

I mentioned in an earlier post that my asp.net website was showing up in Google with some very weird URL’s. I could not figure out why this was happening. I was using online spider simulators and could not figure out how Google was getting these weird URL’s. With some help from some people at www.webmasterworld.com I found out it had something to do with cookies. So I went to my site with Firefox and turned off cookies and there was the weird url. I did the same thing in IE and it did not.

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I mentioned yesterday that I found a flaw in IIS. It turns out it is a flaw in .NET framework. This flaw allows you to create as many URL’s as you want on somebodies website. All you have to do is link to them or submit a bunch of different URL’s to a zillion directories all linking to the same page. You can do even more damage if the site is using relative URL’s because this trick will change the base URL for that page. I have already seen sites listed in Google this way.

The trick is that you can put (X(aBc-123_ID$=1234)). This is not just some random thing. There are rules. The X has to a capital letter and can only be one letter. The 2nd part can be just about anything. You can’t use star, ampersand, or pound sign. This means you can use equal sign, period, underscore, dash, exclamation point, or comas. Percent sign can only be used when used with URL encoding like %20.

http://www.microsoft.com/en/us/(X(aBc-123_ID$=1234))/default.aspx

I can not find a way to turn this off. I don’t know enough about .NET to know how to catch it with programming. I am in the process now of finding out. I will post when I find a fix. One quick fix is to turn off .NET. If you are using classic asp there is no reason to have this installed.

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IIS Flaw Causes Google duplicate content

I have a new site that our company is working on. I noticed that in google all of a sudden we have all of our pages listed in Google with very weird things added to our URLs.

http://www.mysite.com/(A(XobqNFPtxwEkAAAAMzk3ZTU
4NzQtZGFjZS00OGUxLWExYzYtZDBiYjc1Mzg1N2YwP7fq1em0HKYJ5
vYMP8lm4NCf3241))/subdirectory/Default.aspx

I found out that this works on any IIS server. Even on www.microsoft.com. I have no idea what this is. I do know it is a bad thing for SEO and any site hosted on IIS needs to address this. This goes back to what I say about site architecture. Your site needs to have a URL policy set up and enforced. Nobody can go to any page unless that URL is already known to the site owner. This means no page can be access from 2 or more differnt urls. The site owner needs to redirect any rogue URL to the correct one and 404 anything you can’t predict. What this does is create duplicate content that the search engines do not like and can even hurt a sites rankings.

[click to continue…]

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Search Engine Friendly URL’s and security

I was telling a buddy about SEO the other day. We got to search engine friendly URL’s and he pointed out that what I was saying could be considered a security feature. When you have the question mark, period, ampersand, and equal sign in your URL you are giving people information about your system. Hackers can try to exploit your system if they know the syntax. It won’t stop them but it might stop the stupid ones. Kind of like an alarm does not stop a good thief. I always recommend removing those symbols for SEO reasons. This just gives me another reason to convince somebody to switch to search engine friendly URL’s.

[tags]search engine friendly url, search engine, google, seo[/tags]

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If you want to find your back links you can go to www.yahoo.com and type in linkdomain:www.mysite.com. If somebody has put your link all of their pages or just several pages you can remove that from your linkdomain: search. What I will do is linkdomain:www.mysite.com -site:mysite.com -site:othersite1.com -site:othersite2.com Keep adding domains until you get rid of all the extra junk. I found I had to add -site:yahoo.com because my Yahoo directory link was put in quite a few different yahoo directories.

This also works the other way to only show links from one site or links that contain other words like type in “directory” to find all sites that link to you and have the word “directory” on them. You can play around with the other advanced searches like intitle: inurl:. I like to try linkdomain:www.mysite.com inurl:”edu” to see if I have in .edu links.

[tags]yahoo, linkdomain, backlinks, back links[/tags]

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New site that shows your search engine rank

I was looking at a clients logs today and saw a referrer from a site named www.rankmon.com. I went there and it showed keywords that I rank for and where I rank on Google, Yahoo, and MSN. I then realized “hey I just got referrer spammed”. Oh well at least this time it was something interesting. It seems the site spiders the internet reading keyword meta tags and then scrapes the search engines and gives a ranking report. I really like this. The site does not have an about page or anything that mentions who they are or how it is done or how you can work with them.

[tags]seo, google, yahoo, msn, live.com, ranking report[/tags]

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Google Holiday Updates

This weekend I noticed an update at Google. I watch a lot of SERPS and they all jumped around this weekend. Since July 4th was on a Wednesday I think this weekend counts as a holiday update. I have watched Google for over 4 years and they have changed a lot over time. Back in the old days they would have there once a month update. Then they went to what they call a rolling update. Google does make changes all the time but one thing I have noticed is that they make changes on weekends. They seem to be consistent about making changes on holidays. There was one back on memorial weekend. Here are a few that Barry over at www.serountable.com has kept a record of.

www.seroundtable.com/archives/012469.html

www.seroundtable.com/archives/013672.html

www.seroundtable.com/archives/013293.html

www.seroundtable.com/archives/006384.html

www.seroundtable.com/archives/012394.html

[tags]google, update, google update, serountable, barry schwartz, july 4th update[/tags]

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Remove timestamps from phpbb

I am currently setting up a forum for a client. The client wanted me to take out post timestamps because he did not want people to track when he made posts. It was also for other users so nobody got in trouble for making forum posts at work. I could not find much on the web on how to do this so here is what I did. There may be more files that need this done. These were all I could find.

#
#—–[ OPEN ]——————————————
#
index.php
viewtopic.php
search.php
viewforum.php

#
#—–[ FIND ]——————————————
#
$post_date = create_date(

#
#—–[ AFTER, ADD ]——————————————
#
$post_date = substr($post_date,0,11);

#
#—–[ SAVE/CLOSE ALL FILES ]———————
#
# EoM

[tags]phpbb, phpbb2, phpbb timestamp, phpbb[/tags]

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Search Engine Friendly URL’s explained

I had a post the other day about how to make search engine friendly URL’s using coldFusion. I had a comment that asked “Is it still necessary to remove the “?” and other symbols from CF code so search engines can read them?” Instead of answering with a comment I thought I would create a post about it. The simple answer is no. Google and the other top search engines have figured out how to do deal with dynamic URL’s. There are many sites that rank well using them. Having a “?” or “&” in your URL is not considered a negative or a positive by the search engine algos. What they do have a problem with is session ID’s. Do not use those. [click to continue…]

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UPDATE: I don’t want anybody to think that I am saying it is wrong to have a client link to your site. My only point is that it should be done with permission and that when people are looking to hire an SEO they should not consider an SEO good just because they rank for SEO terms. I am mostly talking about local SEO terms.

One thing I have noticed is that a lot of SEO’s and web designers put a link on all their clients’ sites to themselves. They then turn around and try to claim to be good at SEO because they rank locally for seo or web design. That is not SEO. Most of the time it is not even ethical because they do not tell their clients what they are doing. They also then turn around and send a link to their clients to help them rank. I’m not saying that putting links on your client’s site is wrong I’m just saying it does not make you good at SEO. Some of the people that rank for top SEO terms suck at SEO. It is not hard to rank for a term in your own industry specially if you do a lot public speaking and write a book. It is hard is to get a client in a different area than you are and get them to rank for a hard non-local 2 word phrase. When choosing an SEO do not be impressed by the fact that they rank for SEO terms. Check their back links and see if they have a ton of links just from clients.

[tags]seo, backlinks, search engine optimization, search, search engine, web design, back links, local search, website, web site [/tags]

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