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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot CatsEyeDesigns's Avatar
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    search engines indexing sitepoint contests?

    I was told by several people once that search engines do NOT spider sitepoint contests because the contests are in a members-only area. That's good because as a rule of thumb, most clients probably would not want a sitepoint contest to show up when someone seaches for their business name.

    Well, from my experience google (at least... possibly others as well) is currently indexing most if not all contests that are supposed to be off limits to spiders.

    Assuming you guys agree with me, is there any way to put a stop to that?

  2. #2
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    "Choose your words more carefully when posting contests" would be my first suggestion to those worried about search engines .

  3. #3
    Free your mind Toly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CatsEyeDesigns
    I was told by several people once that search engines do NOT spider sitepoint contests because the contests are in a members-only area.
    That is not correct. To start a thread or post in a thread you need to be a member of the forums, but you don't have to be a member to view the content of any thread, which means that threads are public and available for anyone to see, including search engines.

    There was already a thread about someone having the same issue:

    http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php?t=180782

    Sarah suggested to simply edit the thread and remove the company's name, so you may want to consider doing the same.
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  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy dc dalton's Avatar
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    OH I have to agree with Vin BIG TIME here ... man oh man I would NEVER post a clients name in a contest or a post here unless they knew I was posting or I didnt care that it was indexed..

    But if you have contracted with a client and then come here for the design work (which is fine I do it too) and they DONT know you are contracting it out like that you gotta be REAL careful! ..... its called CYA!

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard Rick's Avatar
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    Like Toly said - the contests forum is viewable to anyone who views the site, so it is naturally going to be indexed by the search engines along with anything else posted on the forums. Its just a case of being as careful as you would be anywhere else on the forums, or online for that matter.
    Rick

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    SitePoint Zealot CatsEyeDesigns's Avatar
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    I agree with "choose your words wisely". But I can't make everyone choose their words wisely and it seems like a hassle to ask them to and explain why. I just thought I'd see if this was working the way it's supposed to and if not, if there might be an easy solution to "fix" it.

  7. #7
    Design Addict helix7's Avatar
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    Does the brackets trick work? Like if you put the company name like [Company Name] it doesn't get spidered? Saw a contest holder do that once...

    Anyway, if a contest holder is worried about their image and what people would think about the company if they stumbled upon the contest thread, they should probably just spend the extra money and hire a contract/freelance designer.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Zealot CatsEyeDesigns's Avatar
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    If you can think of any contests where they used brackets, I'd like to see so I could check to see if any search engines didn't index it. However, I suspect that wouldn't work.

    And as for spending the extra money to hire a freelance designer, sometimes it has nothing to do with money. Sometimes people hold a contest because they don't really know what they want. Sometimes it's held by a freelance designer who hasn't been able to satisfy a picky client. Sometimes it's held just for fun. The point is that the contests are great for all parties involved but most clients probably wouldn't want a sitepoint competition outranking them in SERP's for their own business name which can and often does happen when the contest is for a new business.

    And for those of us that occaisonally start contests for a picky client that we were unable to satisfy in a reasonable amount of time, I would think it's fairly common not to want the client to find their way to sitepoint contests. I'm not doing anything wrong by starting a contest, but if the client finds it, not only does that undermine my credibility as "the expert", but it also connects the "consumer" with the "supplier" which isn't good from a business perspective. I'd bet that has caused many people to avoid starting contests that otherwise might have.

    Just my 2 cents.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy someonewhois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CatsEyeDesigns
    I agree with "choose your words wisely". But I can't make everyone choose their words wisely and it seems like a hassle to ask them to and explain why. I just thought I'd see if this was working the way it's supposed to and if not, if there might be an easy solution to "fix" it.
    Are you talking about the people who reply to your threads? That is a bit of a problem. Ask kindly in the post, and then maybe report the replies to the mods (nice report button to the left of the post) and nicely ask them if they could snip it out.

    Quote Originally Posted by CatsEyeDesigns
    If you can think of any contests where they used brackets, I'd like to see so I could check to see if any search engines didn't index it. However, I suspect that wouldn't work.
    It won't do anything differently.

  10. #10
    Business Growth *******s, Inc
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    I actually thought you guys wanted to start a competition where people will compete to get indexed in Google first, or have the most serps within the next XX days.

    That actually would be a nice competition. Though it requires lots of work from both the competitors and the admins.

  11. #11
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CatsEyeDesigns
    If you can think of any contests where they used brackets, I'd like to see so I could check to see if any search engines didn't index it. However, I suspect that wouldn't work.

    And as for spending the extra money to hire a freelance designer, sometimes it has nothing to do with money. Sometimes people hold a contest because they don't really know what they want. Sometimes it's held by a freelance designer who hasn't been able to satisfy a picky client. Sometimes it's held just for fun. The point is that the contests are great for all parties involved but most clients probably wouldn't want a sitepoint competition outranking them in SERP's for their own business name which can and often does happen when the contest is for a new business.
    A hallmark of professionalism is being able to admit when you can't do the job and proposing other means to the desired end goal. I think honesty and communication are missing even in your optimistic examples above if the client doesn't know about the contest being held on their behalf.

    Quote Originally Posted by CatsEyeDesigns
    And for those of us that occaisonally start contests for a picky client that we were unable to satisfy in a reasonable amount of time, I would think it's fairly common not to want the client to find their way to sitepoint contests. I'm not doing anything wrong by starting a contest, but if the client finds it, not only does that undermine my credibility as "the expert", but it also connects the "consumer" with the "supplier" which isn't good from a business perspective. I'd bet that has caused many people to avoid starting contests that otherwise might have.
    If you don't hide anything it can't come back to bite you later. It's something that should be taught in more business schools .

    I can see where you're coming from, but honestly it's not Sitepoint's place to monitor how its contests are indexed in search engines, or to protect its members' business models (which, if the client defects to another designer by mere viewing of their name is probably on shaky ground to begin with). I would think that most people who post contests here would get approval from the client before holding such a public event on their behalf, or at least take measures to protect the company's name from showing up on SP's pages and subsequently in Google's index. If we had to police the contest forums for that sort of thing our staff would probably triple. I don't see a good solution to this other than "contest holders need to choose their words wisely".

  12. #12
    SitePoint Zealot CatsEyeDesigns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vgarcia
    A hallmark of professionalism is being able to admit when you can't do the job and proposing other means to the desired end goal.
    In this situation, I disagree. My variation of that would be that a hallmark of a professionalism is getting the job done to the client's satisfaction for the previously agreed upon price.

    Quote Originally Posted by vgarcia
    I think honesty and communication are missing even in your optimistic examples above if the client doesn't know about the contest being held on their behalf.
    Once again, I have to disagree. All clients sign a contract before any work is done and that contract says clearly that anything of a non-private nature can be contracted out solely at our discretion if we believe it's necessary to complete the project to the client's satisfaction.


    Quote Originally Posted by vgarcia
    If you don't hide anything it can't come back to bite you later.
    Businesses hide all sorts of things. I think that's called a "trade secret". Just like my favorite steak house won't tell me how they make my steak, my clients don't need to meet the people that I pay to design their logo, website, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by vgarcia
    I can see where you're coming from, but honestly it's not Sitepoint's place to monitor how its contests are indexed in search engines, or to protect its members' business models (which, if the client defects to another designer by mere viewing of their name is probably on shaky ground to begin with).
    I couldn't agree more. Sitepoint owe's me nothing when it comes to keeping posts out of search engine results. I asked because I was under the impression that sitepoint did not intend to allow search engine spiders into the contest area. My mistake.


    Quote Originally Posted by vgarcia
    I would think that most people who post contests here would get approval from the client before holding such a public event on their behalf, or at least take measures to protect the company's name from showing up on SP's pages and subsequently in Google's index.
    Maybe, but I'd assume that a fair number of contest holders start contests without informing their clients. Yes, it's a public forum, but would you consider the fact that a logo was being designed a private thing? To me, the single biggest problem with sitepoint contests showing up in SERP's is that many (most?) contests are started for new businesses and Sitepoint can, and often does outrank the new business' website for that business name. Just like a search engine friendly portfolio can outrank a client's website for the client's busienss name.

    I haven't started any contests on behalf of clients since I found one of our contests in google several months ago. If I do run any contests again for clients, I would be VERY careful to ensure that the client's identifying information was never used other than in an image to keep it out of SERP's.

    Ok... that's enough rambling for now.

  13. #13
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Don't get me wrong CatsEyeDesigns, I do see why/how this can be such a big issue, especially if you weren't expecting it to happen. It's just that in my thoughts on the matter over the past few days, I can't really come up with a good technical solution to the problem that doesn't involve making the forums unfriendly to search engines (thus decreasing traffic, etc.). It just seems to be more of a social or business issue than anything technology can solve.

  14. #14
    blonde.... Sarah's Avatar
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    Hi Guys, I have spoken to Tom at length on this and we feel that its not really SP place to protect your images. I know when I run contests I have told me clients in fact some choose specifically to run a contest so it works both ways. But then its like any thread in SP if you mention a company nam ethat can get picked up and there is your problem, therefore the contest forum is no different any other section of SP and if we stopped spiders for that section then why not for all then no one would be able to find anything.

    I guess I agree with Vinnie on this one saying I don't have an issue with it, and you maybe just nede to think things over before you write your next contest, espeically as people will have their image filenames your company name - which can do as much damage.

    As yes other designers have been caught out using the contest area before but they were not upfront to the client and got found out - its a real shame but we cannot go editing all posts just for that reason.

    PLus so many people me included get such inspiration from that area of the forum tieing it down would ruin that. what is the point in looking at a contest wher ethe scope and stuff has been removed after its finished.
    Regular user


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