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  1. #1
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    Refresh after 40 seconds and PDF popup ebook SEO problems

    I have this PDF ebook on domain names at www.seemly.com, which has intermittently obtained good raking. The page has a PageRank of 4, and good links from domain name and business sites. At one point it reached the 2nd to 5th page for “business names” and 10th to 15th page for “domain names” (a very competitive keyword).

    The site is somewhat unusual in that it’s entirely a PDF book except for a HTML “entry” page.

    The one entry page refreshes to an affiliate link selling Yahoo web hosing after 40 seconds.

    There may be search engine optimization problems with both the refresh and the PDF.

    I designed the format a few years ago when PDF was less common and not as well searched by search engines.

    Should I increase the refresh rate to 61 seconds or longer? I know Google and others don’t like instant refreshes since it can be used to cloak pages. But there is a legitimate use for people who have been on page for 30, 60, 90 seconds??

    I could use JavaScript or some other sneakier way to redirect? But I find it difficult to believe that Google does not know of the “sneaky” ways and punish even more than a META refresh.

    I could convert everything, even the book to HTML, but I like the PDF format, and I don’t want to go with Google ad words since on web hosting, since I would not endorse many of the sites and I can likely make as much as a Yahoo affiliate.

    I could try some combination of both PDF and HTML on a page, perhaps with the book in a top frame and the “ad” Yahoo price comparison in lower frame. This might look cluttered in addition to compatibility PDF browser differences.

    Any suggestions are appreciated.

  2. #2
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    The problem isn't your meta refresh. It's that you have essentially a one page website. You lose out on all of the benefits that HTML offers you for SEO including anchor text from your internal links from other pages within your website.

    If you really are concerned about the meta refresh use a javascript refresh and put it in an external script. Then block that script or directory from the search engines using robots.txt.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the suggestion.

    That reminded me that the reason I set up the page with PDF in a pop-up window was that PDF can’t be used as an INDEX.HTM home page – so I was stuck with a pop-up or redirect to begin with. Then I decided I might as well use the INDEX.HTM page as an advertisement after a refresh.

    I suppose I could rewrite the book as 100 different HTML pages as suggested – which I have noticed that most people with “books” or long articles do, to feed users more ads – 100 times more ads in my case. However, having to click NEXT PAGE on each page may not be the best user experience.

    Another option would be to have the book in one long blog-like page that would require users to scroll. This might be a better user/reader experience than clicking on NEXT PAGE 100 times, but it would not add any HTML pages as you suggest.

    Since search engines do not publish their criteria for obvious reasons, I am still concerned about the refresh after 40 seconds. Perhaps I should get rid of the refresh and just put the advertisement in a frame on INDEX.HTM.

  4. #4
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    After search the Internet, I am beginning to think that part of my REFRESH problem may be due to that I am refreshing to a Commission Junction/Yahoo Page (after 40 seconds which I assumed people would have clicked off the main page to the ebook), which seems worse than refreshing to one’s own page.

    While I can write or copy basic JavaScript, I am a bit skeptical of my own ability to fool Google that I am not refreshing or redirecting via some hidden script.

    Also, my search engine results this page, www.seemly.com do vary much more than other pages I have worked on, making me think I am doing something wrong.

    Any suggestions are appreciated.

  5. #5
    Non-Member Icheb's Avatar
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    Do you REALLY believe someone would want to take you up on that hosting offer after you shove it in their faces with a redirect?

  6. #6
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    Yes people REALLY have taken me up on that hosting offer on a regular basis, likely because they don’t consider a redirect after 40 seconds as “shoving it in their faces.”

    But the comment is illustrative of abuses by others, such as redirects after 1 second that have lead search engines to depreciate pages using refresh or similar techniques.

    The overall problem seems to be:

    1. There is no current way to monetize PDF material directly. (Yahoo and Adobe are working on showing ads in PDF files)

    2. There is no way to have PDF as an INDEX.HTM – which requires an entry/doorway page of some sort.

    3. There is no good way, without frames or other questionable techniques, to combine PDF and HTML.

    Any suggestions are appreciated.

  7. #7
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    If anyone cares or if this information is useful to anyone this is what I ended up doing:

    I decided I liked the full-page PDF too much to change, so I left the web page design about the same.

    I changed the Refresh to 60 second, and added a robots.txt file to stop robots from looking at a “loading.htm” page which had a 0 second Meta refresh. I did not want to play around with javascript.

    It took me a few tries to get MSN to index the site properly. MSN seemed to always want to index the redirected site (even indexed the affiliate site) until I added the robots.txt file. The Meta tag in file with a no robots did not work alone on MSN.

    While my rank is increasing, it’s only about a third of the way back, but I think it just takes time.

    Any suggestions are appreciated.


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