301 Redirects -- useful, or wasteful?

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SEO consultants are recommending 301 redirects to consolidate traffic among www.site.com and site.com. I am skeptical, because there is no way those can point to two different pages. What is Synthasite's position?
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Bengo

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Posted 10 years ago

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Ed-a-Torials @ Honey Bear Playhomes, Champion

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I wouldn't do it because my virus alerts went crazy and blocked the site because it is on their lists... Something bad down that road I think...

But tried it again and it does not load at all... weird

Seems like they are down anyway
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Bengo

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Those are meant as examples, as in www.example.com and example.com

or

myhome.com and www.myhome.com..

You seem to be misinterpreting the question. I should have picked a clearer example.
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Ed-a-Torials @ Honey Bear Playhomes, Champion

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yes they are the same and go to the same place

honeybearplayhomes.com

www.honeybearplayhomes.com

http://honeybearplayhomes.com

I would always submit the later myself

but when submitting to a site such as that make sure you put you synthasite address because sometimes your forward is masked or does not allow. So its always best to use your actual site address

http://honeybearplayhomes.synthasite....

yeah sorry misunderstood myself you are right
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Guido Graphics

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I'm getting the same recommendation for my site from SEO Rate tool. I can also google with www and without www , and get different results for each. I would like to know how to combine the 2 and end this confusion, before I submit to any more directories and such. Another question I have regarding this is that on many of the directory type sites I've been submitting to, they say redirected sites will not be listed. I understand that to mean that the listed site is fake, and sends you to a completely different site... will a 301 redirect disqualify me from getting a listing on those sites, or is a 301 like an internal thing that isn't detected?

Can anyone shed some light on this?
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Bengo

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I suspect it's fairly close to a non-issue -- one of those things drummed up by SEO consultants to make you think you need them. Nonetheless, I'd like some reassurance from the experts.
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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301 redirects are generally recommended when you are moving some pages on your site to a new URL, or changing domains. See: http://www.stonetemple.com/articles/3...

However, my understanding is that a 301 redirect requires you to upload an .htaccess file to the root directory of your site.

In SynthaSite you do not have access to the root directory. Any file you upload is added to a sub directory. So as far as I know this can't be done in SynthaSite.
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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Guido Graphics: It depends what sort of redirect you are using. See the article I linked to above. Here is an extract:

". . . you should use a 301 redirect. Other redirects are dangerous to use. Both the 302 redirect and the meta-refresh technique for performing redirects are potentially harmful to your site's ranking in the search engines. The 301 redirect is seen as a "permanent move" of the content, and the links to the page, to a new location and the search engine acts accordingly. The 302 redirect and meta refresh are seen as "temporary moves" of the content. "
http://www.stonetemple.com/articles/3...

With regard to the "www" prefix, there is no need to use this in your URL. Here is an extract from a Wikipedia article:

"The letters "www" are commonly found at the beginning of Web addresses because of the long-standing practice of naming Internet hosts (servers) according to the services they provide. So for example, the host name for a Web server is often "www"; for an FTP server, "ftp"; and for a USENET news server, "news" or "nntp" (after the news protocol NNTP). These host names appear as DNS subdomain names, as in "www.example.com".

This use of such prefixes is not required by any technical standard; indeed, the first Web server was at "nxoc01.cern.ch",[32] and even today many Web sites exist without a "www" prefix. The "www" prefix has no meaning in the way the main Web site is shown. The "www" prefix is simply one choice for a Web site's host name."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Wi...
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Cosmic Sensorium

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Hey - I submitted my site to http://website.grader.com/ and the following is one of the things they said I should "optimize".


Permanent Redirect Not Found

Search engines may think http://cosmicsensorium.com and http://www.cosmicsensorium.com are two different sites.You should set up a permanent redirect (technically called a "301 redirect") between these sites. Once you do that, you will get full search engine credit for your work on these sites.

For example, cosmicsensorium.com seems to have 157 inbound links whereas www.cosmicsensorium.com has 42 inbound links. By correctly configuring a permanent 301 redirect, the search rankings might improve as all inbound links are correctly counted for the website.


I thought I had set this 301 redirect with my domain registrar (godaddy.com) a few months back, but apparently it didn't take... is it because of the .htaccess issue?
thanks
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Bengo

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Some interactive sites, like some ad placement sites, have script that looks a bit shaky when it comes to accurately sending information to addresses like that, so it seems like a good idea, especially if you can address it on the GoDaddy level. Unfortunately, that's where my knowledge ends. I cannot comment on server-level settings and interactions. If I find out I'll come back and post again.

I have been trying to sort out the issue of site.synthasite.com vs site.com. SynthaSite is working on a solution but that's all I know. I'm sure the long term fix will be good, but right now I am getting hit with Webmaster Tools de-verifications and possible Google penalties as my search results plunge. They may be seeing the former site as duplicate content or something.

Of course, the SynthaSite staff might have your answer. Good luck.
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cmd ceramics

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could possibly be done using zoneedit?
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Bengo

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Don't know that one. I'll have to look into it. Lucky for me, I got some help and am all set. I'm pretty sure SynthaSite wants to make this easier for folks a little down the road.

I think redirects are offered to anyone upgrading to a domain name purchased from Synthasite. I've got to say, if you're serious about your web site, that's a good move at a fair price, considering all you get. When I find myself hearing about people paying top dollar for bandwidth, I feel like I'm from another planet. Luckily, so is SynthaSite! :D
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cmd ceramics

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ive just found out that all yahoo results all point to cmdceramics.com and not www.cmdceramics.com so this could be a serious issue or nothing at all? lol

Its my understanding that this is only a problem for those of us that bought domain names elsewhere and switched them over.

Heres another interesting thing, I ran the website grader for a couple of links in this thread that are using the free synthasite domain name and look what happened.

DMOZ Directory: Found
synthasite is listed in DMOZ.

H. Yahoo! Directory: Found
synthasite is listed in the Yahoo! Directory.

I. ZoomInfo: Found
synthasite is listed in the ZoomInfo directory.

All the domains i tried it with have the .synthasite extension and they all came back as synthasite being listed in each directory and not the full domain being listed?

This seems very weird to me, are these directories tricked into believing that these domains are listed in them when they are not???

Ive just done afew more tests with website grader on my own domain and check this one out!

If I run it on www.cmdceramics.com I get a grade of 34, with this other info:
Website grade: 34
Google PageRank: 3
Google Indexed Pages: 10
Traffic Rank: Top 22.64 %
and im only listed in dmoz.

next I ran it on cmdceramics.com and heres what I got back:
website grade: 27
Google PageRank: 3
Google Indexed Pages: 10
Traffic Rank: Top 22.64 %
only listed in DMOZ

Now for the big one, I ran it on my free synthasite domain which synthasite also still publish's to every time I update my site. Heres what happened:
website grade 41
Google PageRank: 3
Google Indexed Pages: 0
Traffic Rank: Top 0.01 %
and listed in all three directories as synthasite ?????????

Im no expert but it looks to me that keeping your .synthasite domain tricks all three directories into thinking you are listed when you are not, which considering yahoo charges $299 a year to be listed is very handy lol. Also just look at the traffic ranking difference between the three results my .synthasite domain is in the top 0.01 % of all websites? This I think explains the "extra account on my google analytics " which recieves almost four times as much traffic as my www.cmdceramics.com domain. But how can a domain thats not even listed in google be in the top 0.01% of websites for traffic?????

judgeing by these results I would definetly keep the free domain and just use that ! . It also looks like www.cmdceramics.com is NOT the same as cmdceramics.com However this is all based on one tool and is definetly not to be considered true

Sorry about the long post lol.

Im not going to add a link here because im not even sure which address to use in one lol
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cmd ceramics

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If anyone else knows of any other tool that lets you check these directory listings id be very interested in trying these out with it. So please post a link on this thread
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Bengo

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THANK YOU for this. I have been begging, I have been explaining, I have been arguing that something is wrong and affects the people like us, who bought domains before they became a registrar. My problems include all my WebMaster Tools links vanishing (check yours!), bizarre overlaps in Analytics even though I followed Google's instruction meticulously (SynthaSite just dismisses what Google said), and the complete disappearance of known valid subdomain traffic when the subs were forwarded to the domains.

For whatever reason, I am not being heard, and your amplification may make a difference. I can't even speak to Synthasite any more, I am so frustrated and angry. I think some key person just doesn't get it, not that people are being neglectful, but when they assigned someone from engineering to help me, I could tell he didn't understand the problem from the start.

There seems to be a blind spot in their knowledge. Despite the growing success of our comics, we are mulling whether to pull the plug and walk away. Having our efforts erased as fast as we produce work is extremely demoralizing. We're reconsidering print, which, frustrating as it was sometimes, was never like this.

I have to study some of your other data. My examination suggested that DMOZ is on its way out. In my category, there has been no updates for years, yet when I applied to curate it, I got an answer back saying they had way to many curators in that topic. WTF? Also, you can get in Yahoo if you are willing to wait a long time, at no charge. I just checked, and it looks like one of mine got in after two months, but I need to double check.

You might want to try Trifecta at SEOmoz. One free use per day. Keep track of what you've run.
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Bengo

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On the DMOZ stuff...

Domains work like this:

.com is a subdomain
.synthasite.com is a subdomain to .com
www.example.synthasite.com is three subdomains.
I guess www. is the top domain but I don't know.

Many testing tools do not read the third sub, only the second, so if SynthaSite is listed, all the others will be too.

This is why it is important to get out of the subdomain situation as soon as possible, but this current mess needs to be resolved before I think someone should attempt the move.

SynthaSite would really benefit from opening solid communication with Google. The Google guidance on disappearing link lists is quite clear, but HOW to remedy it is not discussed. I've been waiting days for someone to answer my post.

If you use Trifecta on a site with three, click the blog option. Before you commence the reporting.
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Bengo

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Another thing is, some users are getting a bug when they submit sitemaps to webmaster tools. It appears as an all-caps WARNING in red on a couple of pages. It's supposedly being fixed, but it just goes to add support to the idea that SynthaSite actions are affecting WebMaster Tools. I just checked and my data is still gone -- close to 10,000 links. SynthaSite has to get over the idea that keeping the sites running is priority one. Priority one is not scaring their customer silly that they have lost over a year of work. Not to mention, a bug post we could check before doing anything we have been told is "safe."
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cmd ceramics

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Hi Bengo, just seen your posts and checked my sitemaps and your right one of my sites has a warning on it. Heres what it said:

URLs not followed
When we tested a sample of URLs from your Sitemap, we found that some URLs redirect to other locations. We recommend that your Sitemap contain URLs that point to the final destination (the redirect target) instead of redirecting to another URL.

Is this the same error ?

I myself have two websites one is about 10 months old with its own domain that I bought from nameroute but when I tried to publish to it from synthasite I had big problems because I couldn't set CNAME from that domains control panel. I had to move my nameservers to zoneedit (which was free) then from there I created an A-Record which I believe changes the ip address to match synthasites. Everything is fine with one this on webmaster tools

The other site is for my brothers buisness that I only started 3 weeks ago so its only been indexed for about 2 weeks. This is the one with the error. Interestingly this domain came from bt and I just set the CNAME and everything worked fine. After I submitted the sitemap it worked at first because i checked back the next day. NOTE: A CNAME is also called an alias so this could be the problem.

This is the only thing I can think of that could cause this. word of warning though I lost my domains control panel when moving to zoneedit so you should consider this first.

As for your problem, it sounds to me like a redirect issue, how old is your site?? and when did you change your domain on it?
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Bengo

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12-14 months, depending on the site. I bought a domain for each last summer at Go Daddy (not recommended). Everything worked fine until the subdomains were rerouted last month. What seems to have happened, after talking to half the staff at Google, is the subdomain redirects were sent to www.example.com instead of example.com. I installed new accounts using www and the data came back up.

I can't support this with well tested facts, but I would recommend that anybody consider waiting to install a site map. For one thing, there is already one on your site. Second, Synthasite asserts there is a harmless bug -- that's what's giving everybody the heart attack warning messages on WT. It's supposed to be fixed soon, but why fret over a site map, which is really an insurance policy?

I hate to be a broken record, but it always seems to come down to an issue with SynthaSite and Google interacting smoothly, especially for people using domains purchased before SS was a registrar. If I was CEO, supervising a development team, a customer support team, and rapid installation growth, I might overlook the need to inventory all the key interface points that are potential trouble spots.

Now, despite these issues being raised again and again, we have defensiveness. I got a letter from an engineer they kindly assigned to help me, and he quickly distilled the problem away from the recurring issues and to something simple to fix. I caved, from fatigue. When asked to evaluated by experience, I gave my report. I got a scolding letter back from the gut, resenting my impressions of his listening skills.

Couple this with the crybabies in support who are scared of me and find my questions too hard. I was left to twist over the holidays because no one could summon the common sense to say, the people who can help you are away. Please hang on until (data). I apologized and apologized and the only ones who respond are Monique and Ruth.

I realize there are tons of customers, lots of people in need, always a learning curve -- I have started and run over six sizable companies (well, two were small). I realize that of all the logical business plans, the most likely is to acquire scads of clients and sell out to a bigger firm with ads and content and other tie-in possibilities. I realize SynthaSite is a Vulture Capital play, not a development play, and that I have to find a better home at some point. But I never saw a firm go from stellar to Yahoo levels of customer service so quickly.

I'm actually in shock over it. It's like watching a train wreck. You shout, "The drawbridge is up!" But everyone shouts back, "We checked it and there is no problem." Then one leans out and writes "Question Answered" on your t-shirt.

If you find a decent map out, please let me know.
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lisaretief

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Hi all,

We are aware of issues with some users' site maps (generated by SynthaSIte) that causes Google to show a "redirect not followed" warning. This will be fixed with our next release, and doesn't mean that your site isn't indexed. In the meantime, you're more than welcome to create your own site map (or use an online tool to do so) and submit that to Google.

Lisa
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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I am reading and paying careful attention to this thread. I am talking to the people who can do something about the issue with the sitemap error.

I am going to try to stay level headed and focus on the issue and avoid the emotive content of these posts. Not because I don't care but because I care a great deal and want to be of real help in this situation.
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Boomer, Champion

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I've been submitting my own sitemap from the beginning - no offence
to SynthaSite's generated one, but it's always worked for me. (All green ticks)

For those who would like to try my method here goes:
http://forsite.synthasite.com/tut-sit...
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cmd ceramics

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I think synthasite are right about the sitemap issue being nothing, if I check the overview for the account with the warning I get green ticks for everything including Errors for URLs in sitemaps 0 green tick.

Another thing to remember is that synthasite is still relativley new and far from the finished product as far as free online web editors go its well ahead of all the competition. I suspect synthasite has yet to even make a profit and because of this and the fact that they recently hit the 1 million users mark customer service is always going to be behind. Which is why things like domain registrar services are being added to pay for things like research, customer services and support.

My own experience of their support has ALWAYS been first class (by Monique especially) and im sure that if your problem was synthasite related you would have a very different experience when dealing with them.

My brothers website went from him "asking me to do it" to page 2 on google in less then 2 weeks so there really cant be any serious problems!
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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Hi CMD ceramics. Thank you for the supportive comment. It is true that the sitemap error does not hurt your search engine rankings or interfere with Google's ability to index your site. However, it is a bug and we take it very seriously indeed. Our aim is to reassure people without creating the impression that we are ignoring the issue, or making excuses. As stated by Lisa, this will be fixed with our next release.
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Bengo

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CMD, you are suddenly coming off a bit self-contradictory to me. Either you are troubled or you are not.

With some allowances for category, I can move almost any site that is receiving traffic in the hundreds from position X to somewhere in the top ten SERPS within a week. That's a function of SEO, not the host. I've worked very hard to become good at SEO stuff without resorting to tricks and gimmicks. Letters of appreciation from people I have helped are the proof.

I foolishly thought we were having an unnoticed conversation on a backwater thread but obviously not. It's easy to forget that everything here is for public consumption.

I don't want to demolish other people's morale with my issues, so I'll be signing off this thread, unless you need help with something from me.

I'm looking forward to the day when a product like this can be be purchased and downloaded, like DreamWeaver, and de-linked from hosting so that it is portable. Sometimes it is better to pay for services so you are not captive and your problems are backed up by potential loss of income. It also saves you bending over backwards, as part of the benefactor effect, to promote and assist the provider, since you feel kind of bad about accepting free services.

SynthaSite may still be the company of the future, and my heavy use may be responsible for my frustration level with it. What's tragic is I am bitter to stay but have found no good alternative.

When I don't know what to do, I do nothing, until the answer reveals itself, only now, instead of of loving working on my sites, I feel like I am just compounding what may have been an epic waste of time.

My wife and I were looking at the styles list last night. From a professional perspective, they are mostly rubbish, like what you would see at a site aimed for teens. I take this to mean we do not fit the user demographic, with our 650 pages of sites. We're probably expensive, and the goal is probably the average five page site. In dollar-based transactions, such things are made clear in the contract, and you don't find yourself as the freak by accident.

My wife questioned the choice of SynthaSite from the start, so I have dragged her into this against her preferences. How do I explain that I made a bad choice and set us back a year, when we can only afford two years of development time to make our project reasonably close to profitable?

These are my problems, and I'll handle them. But I didn't see them coming, and I am sad.

Over and out.
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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I am happy to say that the bug with sitemaps has now been resolved. You can update your sites and resubmit the sitemap URL to Google Webmaster.

Bengo: if you still have issues after this, please reply to the email Chris sent you with the information he requested so that we can assist you further.

We have not closed the conversation and would be sorry if you were to do so. We are committed to fixing whatever is under control with regards to the structure and availability of your websites. We hope you will also reach out to Google Webmaster and Google Analytics or visit their help forums as they would be the subject matter experts on their own service.
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cmd ceramics

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Hi Bengo, Im not ignoring your post im just trying not to get involved in something which is above me. I really hope you find a solution to your problem as I myself would be very unhappy if I lost that amount of work.

best regards,
Columb