Search Made Simple (Part 1)

Search is like a box of chocolates? Are you sure?
“Life is like a box of chocolates”. I think Forrest Gump hit the nail on the head with this one. The beauty of using symbolism and metaphors to help explain complicated things like life, is that they help the everyday folk rationalise and understand things they usually wouldn’t be able to relate to.

This has inspired my new series on the Froggblog labeled “search made simple”. Can I simplify search so that even Forrest would understand? Feel free to comment on my posts and suggest analogies that would better describe the concepts I am trying to explain.

As a senior account manager here at Leapfrogg I am constantly coming up with metaphors and symbolism that I feel will help clients understand why we are making recommendations and the value that the recommendations will bring.

My first analogy this week is one that I have used since my first days in the industry to help clients understand the problems caused by changing URL’s, a problem that seems to be more prevalent with the rise of more sophisticated content management systems.

“URL’s are like telephone numbers”. If you change even 1 digit, the search engine will no longer be able to get through!

This may be oversimplified but it has the desired effect. We have worked with many clients who have changed their URL’s just a bit and then can’t understand why their rankings have dropped. The key point to address is that even the presence of a forward slash at the end of a URL can cause search engines all sorts of problems and in essence damage your campaign.

Imagine changing your telephone number and not telling anyone. Those people dialing your old number will be getting a dead line and eventually will give up calling.

To search engines URL’s are the telephone numbers of a page. If you don’t tell them the URL has changed they will simply drop that URL from their index so that they don’t keep dialing a dead line. They may find the content on the new URL, however this will be treated as a brand new page.

Like your own telephone number, only change it if you really have to. If you do change your URL’s make sure you tell the search engines that the page has moved by using a 301 redirect.

I have had the same mobile number for the last ten years. This has nothing to do with SEO, it just makes my life easier.

Image courtesey of Wikipedia

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