It will be a sad day tomorrow as GeoCities is closed down for good by Yahoo. Thousands of websites will disappear offline tomorrow and along with them all the links pointing to other sites. Imagine if your website had more than 50% of its incoming links coming from GeoCities. Is your Page Rank going to suffer in the coming days once those links no longer exist? Quite possibly!
It’s difficult for anyone to know whether this will have any impact on their search rankings. I’ve measured over a hundred links to one of my sites from different GeoCities sites so I’ll be keeping an eye on it and hoping those site owners move their pages elsewhere. Of course, many GeoCities sites won’t be resurrected elsewhere as they are often dead and haven’t been updated in ages so from tomorrow those links are gone. What impact all this will have on SEO and search engine rankings will play out over the coming weeks as Google and co. re-index sites and take into account the missing links.
More importantly than any inbound links though is the fact that a piece of internet history is dying. Jeremy Keith sums it up well so I suggest you read his post on the subject.
I spotted an interesting post from iCrossing via their Twitter account today. It’s about some rumours that are flying round the web on the topic of Google adding a breadcrumb trail beneath each search results on the SERPs. A grand idea and one that should help to give users an insight into the structure of your website before they even visit it (it’d be even better if each stage of the breadcrumb was clickable), however some site owners may not be so pleased.
How pleased they would be would depend on exactly how Google implemented something like this. If they can work out your site structure via the main sections, or via the page title (which would seem to be how the example on iCrossings blog shows it) then it will be a good thing for most site owners. But if they worked it out from directory structure (for example) that would cause a whole world of pain for site owners everywhere.
I think it’s most likely that this will be like Site Links (the links to main sections of a site that only appear under the ‘chosen few’ results that deserve it) and won’t be applied to all websites on the result pages. It does show the power of Google though as changes like this will always hurt somebody who has a legacy or large site and can’t afford to change it to optimise it for the new SERPs. A good reminder of why pragmatic design is so important when building a site, particularly when thinking about the structure and how that may work as your website grows over time (don’t forget your content plan)!
November 6, 2008
Sometimes even a mega-company like Google casn get beaten to the mark with a new piece of functionality that they should really be providing themselves. The reasons for this? Perhaps they overstretch themselves with their range of products and can’t focus enough to add the bells and whistles we’d all like? Or maybe they get a product to the point where it gets traction and keeps acquiring users and then leave it open for the rest of us to add the bells and whistles functional pieces?
Whatever the reason, there are occasions when great additions are made to their services which they aren’t responsible. The latest of these that I’ve come across is something called Glync which has been created by a company called Virante.
It’s a Firefox plugin which grants them access to store your data from Google Webmaster Tools to enable them to show you a graph showing the history of incoming links to your site and how that changes over time. An extremely useful tool, but in my opinion one which should be a standard feature of Googles webmaster tool set.
How long will this plugin be useful? Until Google decides to offer it themselves I’d say. That said, it is a very nice piece of functionality and the free version is most useful.