SEO

(or more stuff you don’t want to know about) but maybe should that has to do with running a website that sells stuff.

That’s a mouthfull as far as titles go.

In the proverbial nutshell: I disappeared in the mystic G. engine for my major phrase for about two weeks and couldn’t for the life of me figure out why.  For those of you who aren’t in business, this means that people who were looking in a general way for b&w photos and such couldn’t find me any more in G. or that I had dropped from the first page to page three or four.

This, is disaster.  A calamity.  The difference between eating and not-eating.  Some of us are completely dependent on the G. god (god with a small g) for our daily bread.  And it wasn’t as if I had done anything wrong – but say a year ago I had changed my domain from davebeckerman to beckermanphoto.  And at that time had also started up with a new host.

What is called a 301 redirect (that tells the almighty G. that davebeckerman has been moved to a new domain name) and that they should list that new one instead.  See how it works?

Now – this redirect business, which is really a signpost that says look over here instead, was not set correctly with the old host.  It’s written in another strange place, a file called .htaccess in one of the odd languages of all time that I don’t even think has a name; and I didn’t write the 301 signpost but it was written for me by the old guys at the previous host and you know what – they made a mess of it.  Didn’t do it right at all.  And you know what else – for almost a year – that badly formed 301 signpost had no effect at all and I lived with my current site appearing on the first page of G.

And then, one day, after my old host had been down one too many times, I found a new provider and moved to them.  It was an exact mirror image of my old site.  And again, everything was fine.  Mistakes in the .htaccess and all. 

And so, one day – as I was learning more and more about this .htaccess file and what the language ought to look like, I noticed that the 301 signpost was written wrong, and that there were all sorts of things in the .htaccess file that shouldn’t even be there.  And so I fixed it and cleaned it up and made the file the way it was supposed to be with a perfectly formed 301 redirect, and whatever other things were needed.

It was then, three days later, that I dropped out of G. altogether.  Well, not altogether, but I was no longer on the first G. page for my main phrase, but I was there for some other things I had never been there for before.

Long story short – did I say this was what happened in a nutshell, that is always a clue that the post will have to be long-winded.  For about two weeks I bounced around all over the place.  Up and down and for some days I would be gone and just tossed every which way by the big G. guys.

And then, one day, I noticed that I was appearing in two places for the same phrase, with two different domain names showing.  And one of them was on the first page.  (If you search at the time of this writing for New York Photography you may see what I mean.)

And then… well, both sites began showing up for other phrases as well.  And my traffic, rather than going down as it had been – started to shoot up again.  Further than it had been to begin with.  You see, I’m trying to tell G. that the old site has moved to the new site and the new site should be the only one to display, but the G. force isn’t reading that properly yet.

Anyway – these are the mysteries that you need to deal with as a small-time business owner.  As I may have mentioned, I’ve begun to do some advertising and if you see it – P-L-E-A-S-E don’t click on it as it will cost me an arm and maybe a leg if you do since I pay G by the clicks.

And that – my friends – is the story of S -E -O for today, and possibly for tomorrow.

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Dave

My name is Dave Beckerman. I am a photographer and programmer working in New York City.