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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Issues Emerge From My Google Webmaster Tools Account

I checked the stats of my Joomla! website lately from Google Webmaster Tools account. I was really shocked to see all the negative things showing up there: Not found(5), Duplicate meta descriptions(9), Short meta descriptions(3), and Duplicate title tags(25). And most of these issues were caused by the forum that I've set up for my Joomla! website earlier. My main concern now is to find solutions for these problems.

How to fix pages not found problems?

Usually these pages are not existing so I just ask Google to remove the urls for me. This is how I've accomplished this task.

  • Log in to my Google Webmaster Tools account, click on my website/Diagnostics/Web crawl/Not found to find out the urls.
  • Click on Tools/Remove URLs/New Remove Request.
  • Select Individual URLs: web pages, images, or other files ...
  • Click on Next>> button.
  • A new page shows up, enter the url that was listed as not found in the text field, and make sure you only keep the portion after http://www.yoursite.com/.
  • Choose Google web search results.
  • Click Add button/Submit Removal Request.
  • Repeat the above steps for other urls to be removed.
It will tell you that your url removal is pending and will take 3-5 days to finish the process. So you need to check back to see the update. Alternatively you may create a 404 pages for those not found pages.

How to fix duplicate meta descriptions and/or duplicate title tags and/or short meta descriptions?

Basically I can use Sh404sef to solve these problems. See this post here: How to Optimize Your Joomla! Website?. However, some of these problems here were generated by Fireboard, Sh404sef does not seem to be able to pick up the urls, so I can't rewrite them to be more search engine friendly. See one of the examples here: http://www.internetoutput.com/Forum/?catid=11&func=credits. I will find a solution for this, so stay tune...

Update: I use a robots.txt to fix forum problems. Read more from this article here: What Should be Included in a Robots.txt?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

How to Fix Broken Links for Your Blog/Website?

Find Broken Links From Your Blog/Website

A good webmaster will always maintain his/her blog/website in the best functioning stage. But things change over time. So does your blog/website. How do you know whether your blog/website has broken links or not? If you are a webmaster, it is your duty to find out and fix those broken links. Imaging you are visiting a blog/website, you click on a broken link, you probably get annoyed by that. If you get really frustrated with that, you probably won't come back to that site any more. So broken links are not friendly to your visitors. Certainly they are not search engine friendly either and will negatively affect your page-rank.

I know it is the fact that during my migration from an old host to a new host, my blog was down for a couple of days; I lost visitors significantly. So it is very important that you find and fix the broken links from your blog/website. If you have Google Webmaster Tools account, go to Diagnostics/Web crawl/Not found, you'll find out your broken links in seconds. Alternatively you can check out W3C Link Checker and Xenu. Both of them are Free for use.

How Can You Fix Those Broken links?

If the broken links are internal, then you just have to find your time to fix them. If your blog/website is big, it could be time-consuming for that but it is fixable. However, if the broken links are external, then you have no controls of them. What can you do then? You may consider the three choices below:

  1. Create a 404 friendly page so your visitors can find the relevant contents;
  2. Create a 301 permanent redirect so your visitors can find the similar contents;
  3. Ask the external site owners to fix the broken links for you; find their emails to let them know that their urls pointed to your blog/website are broken and need to be fixed.
If you use WordPress platform for your blog/website, then download Broken Link Checker plug-in; unzip the file, then install, configure, and run it. However you still need to manually fix those broken links.

A good webmaster should check the broken links from his/her blog/website every month. If you do so, things will be a lot easier.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

How to Change Background Color for Minima Template?

I've just changed the background color for this blog which is using Minima Stretch template. Did you like it? Changing the background color other than the page color will make your blog/website stand out. I've been thinking to implement it for a while; but if you just change the background color through HTML editor, the whole template will be changed to the color you've picked. This is not what I want. I like to just change the background color but not the page color of my content. If you are interested, then follow the steps below to customize yours:

  • Second click on Layout/Edit HTML; make sure you back up your template before you go on: Layout/Edit HTML/Backup Template
  • Third hold Ctrl and hit F at the same time to bring up a search box, then copy and paste body { to find it. After that insert the red color code as follow:
    body {
    background:#ffffff; //change #ffffff to be the color you like
    font:x-small Georgia Serif;
    font-size/* */:/**/small;
    font-size: /**/small;
    text-align: center;


  • Next find #outer-wrapper { the same way by holding Ctrl and hit F; then insert the red code as follow:
    #outer-wrapper {
    background:#ffffff; //change #ffffff to be the color you prefer
    width: 970px;
    margin:0 auto;
    font: $bodyfont;

  • Then give some margins to your template. See the red color code that I've added:
    #main-wrapper {
    width: 468px;
    margin-left: 15px;
    margin-right: 15px;
    float: left;
    overflow: hidden; /* fix for long non-text content breaking IE sidebar float */

  • Finally save your template by clicking on SAVE TEMPLATE.
Related article
How to Expand Your Minima Template?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

How to Fix Duplicate Title Tags in Your New Blogger?

Lately I checked this blog's stats in Google Webmaster Tools account and found out that one comment has duplicate title tag with its original post. This is one of the drawbacks with New Blogger. Meanwhile Blogger has no offer of how to fix the problem. Having duplicate title tag is bad because it is not search engine friendly. Search engine such as Google will penalize your blog/website for having duplicate title tag. So I've been searching an answer for it on the Internet. Here is the solution that I've found for it:

  • Click on Layout/Edit HTML. Before you attempt to make any change, make sure you download your template by clicking on Download Full Template. See the screenshot below: Layout/Edit HTML/Backup Template

  • Tick Expand Widget Templates which is on top of the HTML editor. See below: Expand Widget Template
  • Search for the following codes in your HTML editor. You can hold Ctrl and hit F at the same time to bring up a search box, then copy and paste the codes to find them:
    <span class="comment-timestamp">
    <a href="data:comment.url" title="comment permalink">
    <b:include data="comment" name="commentDeleteIcon">
  • Replace the above codes with the following codes:

    <span class='comment-timestamp'>
    <script type='text/javascript'>
    document.write("&lt;a title='comment permalink' href='");

    <script type='text/javascript'>

    <b:include data='comment' name='commentDeleteIcon'/>
  • Save your template by clicking on Save Template button which is at the bottom of your HTML editor.
The reason this method works is that it uses javascript. Search engines do not like javascript and will not crawl and execute its content. Thus comment will be treated as part of its original post.

I've just implemented this method with this New Blogger blog. I'll report back how it goes.

Update as of 12/15/2008: Good news. Today I log in to my Google Webmaster Tools account and click on Diagnostics/Content analysis, all my duplicate title tags are gone!

It says, "We didn't detect any content issues with your site. As we crawl your site, we check it to detect any potential issues with content on your pages, including duplicate, missing, or problematic title tags or meta descriptions. These issues won't prevent your site from appearing in Google search results, but paying attention to them can provide Google with more information and even help drive traffic to your site. For example, title and meta description text can appear in search results, and useful, descriptive text is more likely to be clicked on by users. More information"

So it's proven that the above method works.

Related article
Duplicate Title Tags/Meta Descriptions


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