Bill Hartzer

Super Bowl XLIX Advertising Insight: Papa John’s Needs an SEO Firm

Today, as I was browsing the web for some Super Bowl XLIX Advertising insights to post here on my blog, I came across one of the advertisers’ websites, Papa John’s. While looking at the Alexa What’s Hot page this afternoon to see what everyone on the web is viewing right now, I noticed something interesting: the entry for Papa John’s home page includes an index.html file in the URL.

While this may not seem like a big deal, that the index.html file is showing up here, it’s actually quite disturbing to me personally. In fact, that just goes to show how sloppy the web designers of the Papa John’s website are. There is absolutely no reason that one should ever see index.html show up in a URL. It is a file that is the site’s home page, but it’s not the site’s real home page. The real home page, which is http://www.papajohns.com/ is the page that every other website typically links to: and by allowing your internal navigation to include index.html is, technically, creating a duplicate content issue on your website.

Any SEO specialist, SEO expert, or SEO firm working on a website would know that you never EVER link internally to the index.html page. That’s SEO 101, and it’s obvious to me that Papa John’s desperately needs an SEO firm or SEO company to recommend that sort of change to them. And if Papa John’s website is linking internally to the index.html file, than I wonder what other problems that this website has? I could only guess.

Yet, to make matters even worse for Papa John’s, it turns out that their real home page, which is http://www.papajohns.com/ actually has a “temporary” 302 redirect to that index.html page. That’s the most hilarious thing I’ve seen in a long time when it comes to SEO. Temporarily, their website’s home page is the index.html file. But what about permanently? Here’s the header:

Receiving Header:
HTTP/1.1·302·Moved·Temporarily(CR)(LF)
Server:·AkamaiGHost(CR)(LF)
Content-Length:·0(CR)(LF)
Location:·http://order.papajohns.com/index.html?site=WEB(CR)(LF)
Date:·Sun,·01·Feb·2015·23:13:17·GMT(CR)(LF)
Connection:·close(CR)(LF)
(CR)(LF)

The site’s real home page redirects to the index.html file. This is actually a mistake–they will never know who the actual referring website is, since referring URLs are typically stripped out in a site’s log file when a 301 or 302 redirect is involved. So, if someone linked to their site and sent a bunch of traffic, most likely because of this 302 redirect the site owners won’t know that the traffic is coming from the site that linked to it. In fact, even Google Analytics will not be reporting properly, just because of this sloppy 302 redirect by the website’s web designers or developers. The traffic will be reported as coming directly to the site, while it will be coming from a click on an ad, or a click on a link on another website.

By the way, this is actually one of the SEO tips that I have here on my website, which is about linking to your website’s real home page. And for this, I give this Super Bowl XLIX Advertising insight: Papa John’s SEO should be given an F grade.

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