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Even The Big Guys Can Get It Wrong

Posted in: Search Engine Optimisation by Richard Hearne on July 6, 2007
Internet Marketing Ireland

Oh boy, just how wrong.

I think that in virtually every review or article I’ve published on my blog about SEO I’ve mentioned a few of the things not to do. You know, the things like 10 basic steps to SEO and things to avoid in SEO.

I can sort of hear the echo when I say don’t use META refresh to redirect your root page to your homepage if the two differ Just a few days ago I mentioned this problem in my post about Search Engine spiderability.

Hello Independent.ie

The Irish Independent is one of those most venerable of Irish institutions. Just recently they launched a new website and migrated from their old home unison.ie over to the more obvious independent.ie.

So what clever dev/designer/SEO put this there?

<meta http-equiv=Content-Type content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1" />
<div style="text-align:center">
<a style="color:#E3001B " href="http://www.independent.ie/index.jsp">Independent.ie</a>

<script language=JavaScript type=text/javascript>
var trans;
trans = "nogo";

var ord=Math.random()*10000000000000000;
document.write('<script language="JavaScript" src="http://ad.doubleclick.net/adj/acc.independent.ie/_default;rurl=http://www.independent.ie/index.jsp;sz=1x1;ord=' + ord + '?" type="text/javascript"></scr' + 'ipt>');
<meta http-equiv="Refresh" content="0; url="http://www.independent.ie/index.jsp">
<a href="http://www.independent.ie/index.jsp">Please click here if you are not redirected to Independent.ie</a>
<script language=JavaScript type=text/javascript>
if (trans == "nogo"){
document.write('<meta http-equiv="Refresh" content="0; url=http://www.independent.ie/index.jsp">');

Apologies if you are the individual responsible, but that’s a really daft way to refresh the page. You really should acquaint yourself with the 301 redirect header. Thankfully Google and the other Search Engines are likely to enter the Independent site through many multiple URLs, but I doubt they’re liking that META/JS redirect too much.

Google not indexing today’s pages?

Curiously, none of the pages from the Independent crawled today by Google are cached. I certainly can’t see a NOARCHIVE in the header, and pages indexed prior to today are cached correctly.

Nothing else is obviously stopping the caching of the pages. Over at Yahoo! the pages from today are cached fine. Both Google and Yahoo! are indexing the homepage at the root in spite of that nasty META refresh. I imagine the fact that the redirect is to index.jsp may be playing into this.

I suppose it might be a ‘SERP burp’. Anybody have any thoughts?

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  1. I guess they’re in a rock and a hard place between SEO and advertising demmands! Lets face it, we’ve all worked in places where $ talks sometimes more than best practice.

    Overall though I think their SEO is impressive, under the hood they’ve a good deal of customisation going on, even down to article pages which is neat.

    Comment by Roger Black — July 6, 2007 @ 2:13 pm

  2. Hey Roger

    I think you hit the nail on the head – advertising Vs SEO. But I think there is a place for a happy medium by ensuring that there is a framework in place to ensure that both functions can achieve their stated goals by working together.

    Nice to have someone from my old hunting ground commenting :grin:

    Thanks for dropping by, best rgds

    Comment by Richard Hearne — July 6, 2007 @ 3:22 pm

  3. [...] rips apart the Independent’s website and discovers some silly JS [...]

    Pingback by the bogosphere snapshot on July 6th 2007 at Holy Shmoly! — July 6, 2007 @ 5:56 pm

  4. I’m trying to improve a flash detection script on one of my clients sites.

    Upon detecting that a user doesn’t have flash using javacscipt, I want to redirect them to a non-flash page.

    However if a user doesn’t have javascript I would need to redirect them using the http-equiv=”Refresh” inside tags.

    Now would that cause problems for search engine spiders? What is the best way to provide flash detection without compromising SEO?


    Comment by Olly — July 20, 2007 @ 2:28 pm

  5. Olly

    Perhaps it would be better to serve your HTML version by default and redirect flash enabled browsers to your flash area? I dont know any stats, but I reckon users without JS are likely to be without Flash also?

    I avoid flash like the plague. You could ask this over on the Google Webmaster Help group where I’m sure someone will give you a better answer than I can.

    Best rgds

    Comment by Richard Hearne — July 21, 2007 @ 5:22 pm

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