Freedom Writers SEO (or lack thereof)

Two months ago for some random reason I noticed that somebody had found this blog by Googling for the Freedom Writers contest page. Shortly thereafter, the school went ahead and held it for the second time, two years after the first contest, and even more people have started searching for some combination of “ibsh freedom writers”, resulting in an anomalously large number of hits to a certain just-over-two-years-old post. (2013/03/28: relinked since WP migration)

Hmm, I still feel the exact same way about links that say “here”, although obviously I’d express myself a lot differently. Heh. (Also, that was before I decided to ditch/phase out my other Google account with 16 uncorrelated letters in its name. I don’t know why I mention this.) Back to the topic.

There was a link in that over-two-years-old post to the Freedom Writers site, which is still valid because they didn’t change the address, making my other post to give the updated link somewhat pointless. Or rather, they did, but that address 301-redirects to the new address at freedomwriters.ibsh.co.cc. (301 = HTTP Moved Permanently response code. I was bored enough to figure this out. Too many internet riddles.)

It turns out co.cc is a domain name owned by a Korean company that gives away its subdomains for free. And so it appears some club people decided to take ibsh.co.cc and use subdomains of that for other sites.

In the past, .co.cc, being free, attracted a lot of spammers and phishers. It hosted nearly five thousand phishing attacks in the second half of 2010 alone. (citation (okay, research paper writing is seriously getting to me)) Google banned all its results, but surprisingly recently, Google decided to put these results back. 

Anyway, although this means the actual FW site is indexed, it certainly doesn’t help its page ranking. It doesn’t help that “Freedom Writers” is not a very outstanding name; there’s a movie with the same name, and if you add IBSH to the search terms then the first two Google hits are Holloran’s tenth-grade blog and appear extremely relevant but would only be before the deadline to writers who wanted to submit a story. Then there are a variety of other sites that coincidentally have these words, a few hits on Facebook profiles of other people from our school that also don’t have a link, and that two-year-old post again. They need to get the school to give them some links to boost their page rank.

Anyway, Avira still says all .co.cc sites are dangerous. But Avira takes up 83 seconds of this laptop’s boot time.

Certainly, I don’t see how it makes any sense to move your site to a very slightly more relevant-looking name (but not any shorter; “weebly.com” and “ibsh.co.cc” are both exactly 10 characters long), make the original subdomain 301, continue to advertise with the original address (which probably does not have any of these negative connotations (look at my literary term usage!)) on all their flyers, and not post any links on the web.

Meanwhile, our school website stays on the first result for “ibsh”, except it’s pretty much useless for anything important (reminds me of http://xkcd.com/773/). There’s a Moodle system set up which is also pretty much useless and broken except for a bunch of links to teacher blogs hosted externally.

It’s a simple solution, seriously. Can it be that hard to get the school to give you a link when you have all the official status as a club and flyers everywhere?

What do we learn from this? Of course. I should stop obsessing over my stats page and start my homework.

(to-do: clean up labels)

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