For more site map design hints, see usability guru Jakob Nielson’s website at
By the way, your site map isn’t the same as your Google Sitemap. As you learned
in Chapter 4, “How The Search Engines Work Right Now,” Google Sitemaps is a serv-
ice designed to allow webmasters to submit URLs and additional page information
directly to the Google index. See Chapter 10 for ideas on how to get started with
Wednesday: Clean Up Ugly Listings
During your site visibility assessments, you probably found at least one listing in the
search results that made you cringe. A broken URL from your domain available to the
searching public? An out-of-date press release announcing the hire of a long-gone CEO?
Today you’ll take steps to clean up some of these brand-busting uglies.
Here are some of the more common problems we’ve observed and how to deal
with them. You probably won’t face all of these problems, but we expect you’ll see at
The search engines don’t want broken links in their results any more
than you do. They will eventually figure out that a page doesn’t exist and remove it
from their indices. But why let a perfectly good search engine ranking go to waste?
Try one of the following approaches:
• Since the URL is already indexed and may already have some good rankings,
inbound links, or bookmarked traffic, consider creating a new page and sav-
ing it at the missing URL. However, do this only if it makes sense to create a
new page with similar content—it would be awkward if your cabinet hard-
ware products were listed at a page called “floral-arrangements.html.”
• Talk to your IT people about setting up an automatic redirection, called a
, that carries traffic on this page to another page of your choos-
ing. But don’t make the common mistake of pointing the redirect to your
home page! Choose the page on your site that best matches the one that has
gone missing. And read up on techniques in Chapter 9, “Month Three: It’s a
Way of Life,” for preventing this kind of
(insider lingo for the grad-
ual increase in the number of broken links on the Web) in the future.
• Sometimes, broken links linger in the search results because your server fails
to mention that the page is missing. That’s right; it’s possible for a server to
return a “Page Found” message even if a page is missing! It’s a riddle
wrapped in a conundrum, but luckily it’s an easy fix for your IT folks.
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