Technology

Friday Buzz: Did Google Open Up the SEO Floodgates?

By / Aug 5, 2016 (iStock/Thinkstock)

A decision by Google last week has a lot of people in the world of search engine optimization talking. Also: How to manage scope creep when dealing with an AMS installation.

Is now a good time to redirect a bunch of URLs to a new domain?

According to Google, the answer is yes. Late last month, the company’s Gary Illyes revealed that the search engine was no longer penalizing search traffic affected by common kinds of website redirections, such as 301 redirects. That’s a big deal in the world of search engine optimization, or SEO.

This led to some speculation in the journalism world this week, after ESPN’s website finally ditched its “espn.go.com” domain in favor of “espn.com.” Some suggested that Google’s change was behind the domain change; the sports network says the two things aren’t connected. Nonetheless, it led pundits like Nieman Lab’s Joshua Benton to speculate and (at the very least) to point out that the timing was pretty good.

“Mea culpa,” Benton wrote after being corrected by the cable network. “But for other publishers who might be in a similar situation, know that that SEO clarity now exists: You won’t be penalized by Google for a redirect.”

But some SEO experts aren’t convinced. Moz.com writer Cyrus Shepard noted that redirect issues in general are complicated.

“Ideally, if you 301 redirect a page to an exact copy of that page, and the only thing that changes is the URL, then in theory you may expect no traffic loss with these new guidelines,” Shepard wrote. “That said, the more moving parts you introduce, the more things start to get hairy. Don’t expect your redirects to non-relevant pages to carry much, if any, weight.”

No matter your opinion on big, hairy SEO issues, we can all agree on one thing: This 2013 Onion brief is hilarious.

Keep Down the Creep

Aptify’s post about keeping down costs when implementing an association management system is insightful in general, but particularly worth a read is the section about scope creep.

“You may have been as detailed in your requirements gathering as possible, but once you get into the implementation, those seemingly ‘little’ requests and add-ons start appearing,” notes Aptify Lead Engagement Manager Johanna Kasper.

To avoid this issue down the line, Kasper recommends putting in a good pricing model that anticipates these kinds of issues.

Check out Kasper’s post for more details.

Other Links of Note

Be mindful of your headlines: Facebook is changing its algorithm to downplay clickbait.

If reporters have questions for you—rather than the other way around—you might find yourself at a loss for words. Peter Panepento, a media relations expert, has some thoughts on how to deal with that issue on Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog.

Need some data-driven strategies for your email subject lines? Check out this Fast Company post for a few ideas.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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