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Google Busts Some Myths About Dynamic URLs

Posted on: 3/26/2009 11:29:59 AM under Web Design » Cool Tools 
 

The common myth out there is that if you want to search engine optimize (SEO) your website, you have to somehow get rid of dynamic URLs (like …/product.asp ?mid=3&ItemID=342) to a static URL (like …/purplewidget.asp).

Well, Google has officially come out to say that is no longer the case. In fact, Google says that trying to create a static link from a dynamic URL can actually hurt your SEO efforts. According to Google: “If you transform your dynamic URL to make it look static you should be aware that we might not be able to interpret the information correctly in all cases.”

The two specific myths they expose are “spiders can’t crawl dynamic URLs” (they can) and “spiders can crawl dynamic URLs with less than 3 parameters” (spiders can crawl an unlimited number of parameters, Google says).

To learn more about why dynamic URLs are A-OK, read this post on the Google Webmaster Central Blog:
http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2008/09/dynamic-urls-vs-static-urls.html

 

 

 
 

Animoto-mate Your Website Images!

Posted on: 3/16/2009 4:54:46 PM under Web Design » Cool Tools 
 

Here's a cool tool that you can use to animate images on your website. Animoto allows you to upload your own photos and images, choose a music soundtrack (or upload your own), and enter your own text. Animoto takes all those elements and combines them into a video that you can display or embed on your website!

The video above took about 10 minutes to create. But now that we have the hang of it, we could probably assemble it in less than a minute (not including the time it takes for Animoto to render your video, which could be several minutes).

Prices range from free for 30-second videos (with the Animoto logo) to $249 per year, unlimited business videos.

Check it out and create your own free video at www.animoto.com!

The DMXReady Team

 
 

New Link Reference Tag Points the Way for Google

Posted on: 2/19/2009 12:16:44 PM under Web Design » Tips 
 
Many websites have pages that contain very similar content. This is for various reasons, including:
  • Multiple landing pages
  • Affiliate pages
  • SEO pages
  • Similar content pages with different designs
...and so on. Unfortunately, the downside is that using multiple pages with similar content can raise several issues including the violation of duplicate content rules that could get your pages de-listed, to the "wrong" pages getting returned in search results.

Last week, Google announced a new canonical link tag to help you declare which page it should consider to be the canonical or "main" reference page for that information. Simply put, it helps you tell Google which page of information you would prefer the Google spiders index. (Note: MSN and Yahoo! have both adopted this link tag as well.)

How It Works
Suppose you were selling widgets on your website. You might have a "main" page on your website for your famous Purple Widget at:

http://www.yourdomain.com/product.asp?item=famous-purple-widget

However, you also have an affiliate link page and a Google AdWords landing page, both with duplicate content, at:

http://www.yourdomain.com/product.asp?item=famous-purple-widget&trackingid=1234
http://www.yourdomain.com/product.asp?item=famous-purple-widget&trackingid=4321

Rather than have Google guess which page it should return, you can designate your main page by adding the following link reference inside the HEAD section of your duplicate content pages:

<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.yourdomain.com/product.asp?item=famous-purple-widget" />

Done! Now Google will know which page you prefer to have indexed.

Note: Google reads this link reference as a hint, not a directive, though Google says that it is a hint they "honor very strongly."

For more information on this link tag and its implications, get it from Google directly:

http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2009/02/specify-your-canonical.html

Happy Designing!

The DMXReady Team
 
 

Use sIFR for Your Titles

Posted on: 2/5/2009 11:57:07 AM under Web Design » Tips 
 
sIFR for Sharper Headlines!We have all cursed the "standard" web fonts -- why do we have to keep using Arial, Times New Roman, and Verdana when there are thousands of possibilities out there?

Well, now you can with a new technology called Scalable Inman Flash Replacement (sIFR). This technique uses JavaScript, Flash, and CSS to create text from any font.

Although the effect is cool, there are some downsides to the technique. For one, it involves many steps including generating the .swf file, creating the JavaScript files, creating the CSS, including it in your web page, etc. It is not complicated though, and the average website designer should be able to pick up on it quite quickly.

Another downside is that because it is Flash-based and uses JavaScript, it is possible that some browsers won't display it if the visitors have these disabled. But that number is getting fewer and fewer all the time. Those who can't see it will get the standard fonts anyway and will never realize what they are missing.

Lastly, the technique is also a resource hog. You can use it sparingly; for example, with headers and not worry too much about download times. But most people recommend that you stick to the system fonts with body text, or your server will slow right down.

Now for the gray area. We have heard from several sources that sIFR is perfectly fine for SEO because the "text" is still there and readable by search engines -- it's simply converted into Flash. But there has been some concern that Google may see this, or may in the future see this, as a form of hiding the text. We have found nothing from Matt Cutts, generally the source on Google, that confirms or denies this. However most, including sIFR guru Mike Davidson, say that they have not seen any penalization.

This is not a perfect solution, and there will likely be better ways to do this in the future. But for now it is an easy way to spruce up your titles AND keep your header text intact.

There is tons of information on the Internet about sIFR, but you can find out more including a sIFR Generator (saves you from using Flash) here.

Happy sIFR-ing!

The DMXReady Team
 
 

Protect Yourself from Hackers

Posted on: 1/21/2009 7:58:41 AM under DMXReady » Product Tips 
 
If you build websites long enough, especially database-driven websites, chances are you will be hacked one day. It's not just small businesses either. Banks, utilities, even military websites can be safe. Nothing is 100% guaranteed to keep a hacker out.

Luckily, the majority of hackers are in it just for fun and don't do any real damage. But that's just like a burglar coming into your home and not stealing anything -- it is still not a nice feeling.

Last week, some DMXReady customers were the focus of an apparently worldwide attack. A "public service" hacker decided to let us know about a vulnerability by hacking into the Admin pages (we would have preferred an email, btw...)

The DMXReady Team was on it immediately of course and we have already released a patch for it. Check your Order History on the DMXReady site to download and upgrade patches for your applications.

But this does bring up an interesting issue. It seems that sites that had server-side security and off-root databases were not attacked -- at least not successfully. DMXReady has always recommended that you take advantage of server-side security and move your databases to a separate secure folder on your server, especially if you are dealing with extra-sensitive material.

You can read more about it in our latest Online Knowledgebase article:
http://dmxready.helpserve.com/index.php?_m=news&_a=viewnews&newsid=12

The DMXReady Team

 
 
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