James Royal-Lawson


Geotargetting country-neutral top-level domains

If you have a country-specific domain, such as (for the UK) or .se (for Sweden) then Google automatically presumes that your site is targeted to that region. It’s not something you can change yourself.

If you have a country-neutral TLD (such as .com or .org) then Google doesn’t automatically presume any particular targeted country. If you have a geographically neutral domain name but a site that is specifically targeting a certain country then you need to make sure Google knows that. Failing to do so will mean that your .com site appears lower down in search results. This can be particularly noticable for non-english language sites in countries where Google search is available in your language.

You can geo-target your domain using Google Webmaster Tools.

Taking care of RSS readers

DN, a national newspaper here in Sweden, have just launched their new site. They have managed to make quite a notable mistake, but one which is not uncommon. All of their existing RSS feeds have changed location. This in itself is not a mistake. Their mistake lies in not redirecting the old feed locations to the new ones. This would be a bad enough mistake for any URI, but RSS readers visit your site via your RSS feed – breaking the RSS feed cuts the link between your site and your reader.

Screenshot of a DN 404 pageThe launch of DN’s website was announced to me via a “feed not responding” message in my news aggregator, Netvibes. I had to visit the site and manually find new feeds for all the old ones I had saved. Some people may not bother.

You need to take care of your readers, no matter how they come into contact with your content.

…a website manager is a generalist rather than a specialist. Think of yourself as a family doctor rather than a brain surgeon.

from Website Owner’s Manual by Paul Boag
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