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We Will Mirror No More

June 15, 2011

By David McKelvey

 

Near the end of June (the 28th or 29th), we will make changes significant in how some web addresses work on our website. Currently, when web content appears within a school website (e.g. college, graduate or law) we have been mirroring it at two web addresses on our site. For example, the following two web addresses show the same page content:

http://www.lclark.edu/college/offices/admissions/
http://college.lclark.edu/offices/admissions/

Doing this was a continuation of the setup we once had on legacy. After we make this change however, we will be ending that practice and the latter address will become the authoritative address. No worries though, if you use the former, you will automatically be sent to the latter address. In fact, if you don’t pay much attention to the web address in your url bar, you really shouldn’t notice anything when we do this change.

Why Do This? Why Do It Now?

We have contracted with a local search engine marketing/optimization (SEM/SEO) firm called Amplify Interactive to make sure that we are maximizing our content and site configuration/structure when it comes to positioning Lewis & Clark as high as possible in organic search engine listings.

We’ve been at the top of searches for “Lewis & Clark” (or “Lewis and Clark”) at Google since the redesign two years ago, so this was not really a top-of-the-site issue, but more, how do we improve in contextual searches where the searched term is not our name alone, or not our name at all.

Naturally as serious new media geeks, we do keep up on SEO best practices, but not like these guys. We can’t spend the 24/7 time that they do, so we’re happy to have their second set of eyes to check our work, and talk over some of the ways we can do even better with the content we already have.

Making this change is exactly that, one step towards better rankings. (They also recommended ditching legacy content in their proposal, but we’re already on that.) They are just getting started and have hinted that this change will be their primary recommendation so we’re making it as soon as possible.

We expect that as they get deeper into their examination over the next few months, we’ll get some more nuanced recommendations. I’ll post more as I have it.

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