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Putting Some Fizz Into Bubble Brothers – Beware Of Corporate Blogspot Blogs

Posted in: Consultancy,Search Engine Optimisation by Richard Hearne on March 9, 2007
Internet Marketing Ireland

Blogging really is coming of age. Everyday folk are publishing their thoughts online, enjoying it, and in some cases making some serious money. And business is not to be left out. The corporate blog is a fascinating, and potentially valuable, asset for any company or organisation that has an online presence or property.


  1. Introduction
  2. The Blogspot (Blogger) Conundrum
  3. Back to the Bubble Brothers
  4. Corporate Site Not Getting The Link Love
  5. My Advice for Julian
  6. Redirecting Blogspot with a 301 Redirect
  7. Further Suggestions
  8. Downsides
  9. Conclusion

Saturday fortnight ago I managed to catch the tail-end of the Irish Blog Awards. I was late (very) and managed to meet too few of the people who I’ve spoken with through on-line words only.

And I’m very aware of my offer of free consulting time to those that responded to my offer. I have to apologise for not progressing this further as yet – I have new clients coming on board and they had priority I’m afraid.

Last Friday I did start checking a few sites to see what I was up against. And all I can say is damn Blogspot. It never dawned on me that so many people would be on hosted platforms.

I was going to publish the list here of the sites that took me up on my offer. I haven’t because you would(n’t?) be surprised by the some of the visitors to my blog who might instantly register your domain name and hold it to ransom.

My number #1 piece of advice to any Blogspot blogs seeking SEO advice is to secure your own domain. Number #2 is to move off Blogspot.

The very first thing I saw when I looked at your blog was that it sits on…. you guessed it…. Blogspot.

Bubble Brother's Blog

I’m assuming that this is a corporate blog created with the goal of drawing attention to the company. To this end you’ve had great success. But you made one huge mistake from the get-go.

A link: query on Google shows over 300 links to the blog. I would imagine you can comfortably multiply that by 10 for a still deflated link count. And the links are coming from absolutely fantastic on-theme pages and sites from food and drink fanatics. Gold dust. True gold dust. And A PR5 blog as a result (not that I care too much about PR).

But they all point at Blogspot. And the link love all goes to Blogspot. Linking back to Bubble Brothers corporate site (PR4) from Blogspot has limited value.

First and foremost move the blog under the main domain. My preference would be to stick it in a subdirectory, e.g.


but unfortunately this might not be possible. More on this shortly.

I am working on a number of e-commerce sites and consider a high quality niche-focused on-site blog the ultimate search engine trap. The blog, if optimised well will act as a honey pot for the search engines – text-rich blog posts are going to be favoured by the SEs over thin product pages any day of the week.

And with a specialised product like wine I think the blog is a great way to build authority. Not just for Search Engines, but also for wine buyers. This authority may well flow down into the on-line sales channel.

Bubble Brothers Corporate Site

Next piece of advice is technical in nature. Move your hosting onto Irish IP space. From what I can see www.bubblebrothers.com is sitting on UK IP space. If your primary target market is Ireland change this ASAP. If it’s the UK stay where you are.

Now comes the really tricky part.

I spent about 5 hours trying to find info on setting up a proper 301 redirect from a Blogspot blog to an external domain. Technically it’s half possible. I even set up some test sites to check this out, with half success.

Before I go any further, a short explanation. A 301 is a header code that the server sends to the client (usually your browser) that says ‘that page has moved permanently to HERE’ and sends the client to the new page. It’s all automatic and invisible to the end user. When a search engine sees this response from the server it tries to change its records so that any links or trust that the original page has get transferred to the new page. This is vital.

Now the fly. Setting up a 301 is trivial. Normally. But Blogpsot is a hosted service and they don’t give you access rights required to create a 301. You can set up a META refresh which transfers your visitors to the new page, but search engines frown on those.

When I searched for a solution to this I found countless sites and pages with discussion but no answers. The first info I found was on Andy Beard’s blog:

It is fairly well documented that if you move a website, you should use 301 redirects to retain your old link equity.
This isn’t possible with blogspot hosted blogs, and it was thought that meta refresh might transfer visitors, but not link equity.

But when I looked at the headers coming from Andy’s old Blogspot blog it was returning a proper 301. So I started to dig further.

Blogpsot apparently allows bloggers to switch over to personal domains (via Amit Agarwal):

A big news for Bloggers who are on blogspot.com and want to make a move to a personal web domain like abc.com instead of abc.blogspot.com. You can now migrate your blogspot blog to any personal domain without worrying about Google Juice [incoming links, rankings in organic results, etc]

Even the Blogspot Group over on Google (owners of Blogspot) was totally ambiguous about this problem.

So i decided to give this a bash. I tested the following:

richardhearne.blogspot.com -> redcardinal.ie SUCCESS
richardhearne.blogspot.com -> www.redcardinal.ie FAILED
richardhearne.blogspot.com -> blog.redcardinal.ie FAILED
richardhearne.blogspot.com -> redcardinal.ie/blog FAILED
richardhearne.blogspot.com -> another-ie-i-own.ie SUCCESS
richardhearne.blogspot.com -> www.another-ie-i-own.ie SUCCESS
richardhearne.blogspot.com -> blog.another-ie-i-own.ie SUCCESS
richardhearne.blogspot.com -> another-ie-i-own.ie/blog FAILED
richardhearne.blogspot.com -> domain.com SUCCESS
richardhearne.blogspot.com -> another-domain.com FAILURE

Crap shot comes to mind. Second thing that comes to mind is what the hell is up with all those ugly error messages? (When it comes to Google products my advice is to avoid hem unless it’s a product line that they make money out of.)

I’m not quite sure what Blogspot are checking. I thought it might be related to the response headers and content. But changing the redirects on domain.com didn’t result in the same responses I got trying to redirect to redcardinal.ie.

  1. First off go and register your domain if you haven’t already done so.
  2. Try to migrate your current content from Blogspot to your own hosted environment. I use WordPress and I’ve managed to do very well in the search engines. Take care how you proceed with the migration though – pay heed to some of the content and comments on Amit Agarwal’s post.
  3. Log in to your Blogspot account and go to Settings->Publishing->Custom Domain. Enter your URL, click Save and pray.

I’m sorry I cant give more detailed advice. I searched and searched but couldn’t come up with any definitive method to migrate and retain link and domain juice.

It appears that you cannot redirect to sub-directories. I’m not sure why, but this is a big problem if you host a main site and wish to create a bolt-on blog. Publishing to a sub-domain is an option, but this isn’t always optimal.

If you are setting up a corporate blog my advice is to place it on your corporate domain. Blogs are far more linkable than corporate sites, and all ships float on a rising tide. I ‘m pretty sure that the Bubble Brothers corporate site can improve it’s organic rankings considerably if it benefits from some of the links pointing at their Blogspot blog.

And even if it’s not possible to redirect the link love from Blogspot to a new site, I think that Julian should move the blog and approach the sites that are linking and ask them to update the link URL. Many will be happy to do so.

I could look at the current Bubble Brothers blog but I think that moving lock-stock-and-barrel over to the corporate domain is probably far more valuable advice than trying to optimise the current blog. Please also note that I have not checked the main corporate site at all.

Julian, if you have any questions about the above please send me a mail or give me a call and I’ll try to help you out.

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  1. I am waiting for WordPress 2.2 to appear because then hopefully there will be a new blogspot importer. I don’t think the current one is new blogger compatible.

    They don’t have to move off blogger immediately though – it has always been possible to host Blogger blogs on your own domain.
    Then all they would have to do is use the new 301 redirect. I have no idea why that is buggy.
    I have left the meta redirects in place, those actually transferred link equity before the 301 was possible.

    Comment by Andy Beard — March 9, 2007 @ 6:52 pm

  2. Hi Andy

    It’s really quite odd about the META redirect. All established wisdom is that Google wont use a META refresh as a conduit for link love.

    It’s certainly worth testing though.

    Best rgds

    Comment by Richard Hearne — March 9, 2007 @ 7:00 pm

  3. I do agree, and I would have expected a few more people to maybe have noted how significant a discovery it was.

    Overnight I saw andybeard.eu replace my blogspot blog for key search terms – actually replace

    Sometimes it is currently quite worrying, because I actually get listings for certain terms from both the blogspot listing and andybeard.eu

    For what it is worth, Google also don’t know I am running A WordPress blog, it is a redirected blogspot, so if any bonus does still occur, it is worthwhile.

    Comment by Andy Beard — March 9, 2007 @ 7:23 pm

  4. This is great research Richard and Andy! Funny was just talking to someone that had made the mistake of a blogspot blog the other day – this will come in very handy!


    Comment by Thomas Holmes — March 9, 2007 @ 10:14 pm

  5. I don’t look on it as a mistake any more, I look on it as a deliberate strategy. I still need to create a few blogspot redirects for existing WordPress blogs ;)

    Comment by Andy Beard — March 9, 2007 @ 10:23 pm

  6. All this will take me a while to digest, but I get the general feeling that all’s not lost. Thank you all – Richard especially. I’d quite like to get the Bubble Brothers main site hugely improved too, and will probably post a request about this in the next few weeks. If anyone wants to swap expertise for wine, you heard it here first.

    Comment by Julian — March 13, 2007 @ 6:06 pm

  7. [...] If you do decide to take the jump then many of the comments I made on the Bubble Brothers post should also be useful. [...]

    Pingback by Helping The Blogspot Bloggers - A Tough Test To SEO Blogspot | Search Engine Optimisation Ireland .:. Red Cardinal — March 18, 2007 @ 4:08 pm

  8. Hello Richard, commenters,

    As you’ll see, we took the plunge. There’s still work to do, like setting up a redirect from the Blogspot blog, and writing to people asking them to update links, and more, but the actual transfer from Blogger to our own-hosted WordPress.org wasn’t too painful according to the man at this end who made it happen. All suggestions welcome still, of course.

    Comment by Julian — June 30, 2007 @ 4:32 pm

  9. [...] refresh tag, and if you host your blog on a subdirectory, you’re apparently  screwed. See Moving a Corporate Blog from Blogspot To WordPress for a detailed example of the procedure, and (not having done it myself…) I recommend [...]

    Pingback by How to Move From Blogger to Wordpress in 7 Easy Steps | ZoneDate Internet Dating Blog — November 15, 2007 @ 7:57 am

  10. —-Snip——-
    It appears that you cannot redirect to sub-directories. I’m not sure why, but this is a big problem if you host a main site and wish to create a bolt-on blog. Publishing to a sub-domain is an option, but this isn’t always optimal.

    I’m interested in this question. What are the SEO implications of subdirectories and/or sub domains? …and what about a blog that is embedded within a cms like Joomla? Is it better to be stand alone?

    Comment by Dave Spathaky — September 17, 2008 @ 11:51 am

  11. Hi Dave

    Subdirs Vs subdoms is quite a technical thing – in general Google will tell you that they treat them almost identically, but the devil is generally in the detail. It really boils down to what you want to do – if your site doesn’t have good authority I’d say go with sub-dirs.

    If the blog is just published within Joomla on your own site then you dont have an issue – they both appear on your own domain. Hope that makes sense? If your blog is highly related to your website then I’d always publish under the same domain where possible.

    Thanks for dropping by

    Comment by webmaster — September 18, 2008 @ 4:10 pm

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