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January 2013 – Last spring Google posted about Responsive Web Design on their official webmaster central blog and though the flavor of their article was fairly mild, they made it very clear that their “commitment to accessibility” includes a very important message to web designers – “Mark up one set of content, making it viewable on any device.”

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I’m sure by now everyone has seen that Google allows you to set up authorship credit for the content that you create.  Credit is given by a picture of the author along with a link to the author’s Google Plus page as well as a link that allows you to read more posts by the author.

SEO Moves - Author Credit in SERP Example

Setting this up for a blog with only one author that is posting content is pretty straight forward and there is a lot of good information available on how to do it.  The problem comes when you have a website or blog that has multiple or more than one authors posting content.  Unfortunately the steps that would allow this to work in a single author instance do not work when there are multiple authors and you would end up with the wrong author receiving credit for the content.

After a fair amount of searching I was still not satisfied with any of the answers I had found on how to create the authorship credit when there is more than one author.  A lot of the posts that I found contained old and outdated information or steps that are honestly not necessary to this process.  Finally after piecing together a bunch of information, I was able to find a solution to my problem that was surprisingly even easier than I had expected! In these next couple sections I will cover how to configure the author credit for both of these scenarios (single author or multiple authors) in WordPress.

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Google Logo - SEO MovesIf you work in the field of SEO, you probably understand that Google controls everything. We constantly bend to its will and try to outthink it at every turn. Just as space travel is unpredictable because we haven’t yet experienced much of it, SEO is also a largely new frontier and we seldom know what to expect from our environment. Our environment, of course, is Google. But what if Google didn’t exist? Where would we look for sites? How would we get links? Your brain is probably boiling over with great ideas right now, and that’s the point of this whole thing—if we eliminate Google from the equation entirely, those paths that we come up with are almost completely organic.

Google is extremely popular with both the general public and with SEO professionals, but it often locks us inside of a box. At some point we’re not exploring the web on our own, and instead we are relying on an algorithm and some web spiders to explore for us. We can break out of this box and choose our own destination in a natural, organic way. Considering the question “what if Google didn’t exist?” is a great way to answer the question “where can I get more links?”

What If?

Playing “what if?” is a fun, but sometimes dangerous, game. It’s easy to get stuck down in the mire of negativity and use “what if?” to fuel your own pessimistic fire. If you use it correctly, however, “what if?” can be a great catalyst for ideas and innovation. For example, think about the popular post apocalypse genre of fiction, where a shovel might become the protagonist’s best weapon, best tool and best friend. Similarly, in a world without Google, a message board buried somewhere inside of a mediocre site with low domain authority might become an excellent research tool. After all, if all of these people are willing to brave an underwhelming site just to talk to each other and share about a topic, that means they’re passionate about it. Passion leads to great info, great leads on new sites and useful links. Google does exist, of course, but thinking outside of that box produces some interesting results.

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I wonder what algorithm update Google used to determine the users intent for this search result? Oh wait, they have not searched yet, I wonder if this provides a great user experience?

Terms Of Service for Photos on Social Media

As the Internet focuses on Social Media, photographs become increasingly important. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ posts share better with great photographs. Unlike video or text, photographs are immediate, beautiful and engaging. Unfortunately there are ownership issues surrounding photographs on social media that every photographer, marketing manager or business should be aware of.

The issues related to copyrights are clearly listed in the Terms of Service agreements on every social media site. Buried in these lengthy, complex agreements are terms that are designed to protect the social media site. Each agreement is a little different and they are updated and changed periodically.

On most Social Media sites when materials with intellectual property rights like photographs are posted the poster is granting a non-exclusive sub-license of the photograph to the social media site. The sub-license is free and it allows other users of the site and the social media site itself to turn around and then use or license the photo for free or for profit. The photographer (or owner of the exclusive license) retains ownership of the photograph but only in a non-excusive capacity once it is posted.

 

Why do these sub-licenses matter?

From a professional photographer’s perspective by posting a photo on a social media site they are basically removing the ability to ever sell the exclusive right to the photograph down the road. Should the photographer’s work ever become valuable both the social media site and any other entity that has acquired the photograph through the site can use it as they see fit for profit without owing royalties to the photographer. In the case of Google+ this license if forever, called an “irrevocable” license.

Here is the TOS for Google+

“By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.

You agree that this license includes a right for Google to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Google has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services.

You understand that Google, in performing the required technical steps to provide the Services to our users, may (a) transmit or distribute your Content over various public networks and in various media; and (b) make such changes to your Content as are necessary to conform and adapt that Content to the technical requirements of connecting networks, devices, services or media. You agree that this license shall permit Google to take these actions.”

Google+’s user agreement is the most extensive of all the social media sites in that it is irrevocable. The forever nature of the license means that under no circumstances can the poster of the photographer ever recover exclusive rights to the photograph.

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News reports like this one from globalpost and businessinsider have been popping up over the last couple days reporting that Google Chrome has become the worlds most used web browser as reported by StatCounter.  Immediately when I heard this I thought that there was no way this could be true so I went to check my own Google Analytics Data…

Google Analytics Browser Data on Car Rentals over the past 30 days:

Google Analytics Browser Data on Housewares for the last 30 days:

Google Analytics Browser Data on Housewares Over the Last 30 Days

As you can see, chrome is not even close to catching up to internet explorer in any of these verticals.  To make sure I wasn’t going crazy I ran some reports on Travel in Germany, The Middle East and Spain.

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08
May
2012

SEO by the Sea and Me

SEO ExpertI wanted to publicly thank Bill Slawski from SEO by the Sea I recently hooked up with Bill in a Google Hang out which was hosted by and old mate of mine Dejan from DejanSEO. After listening to him talk about various SEO related topics, I knew I wanted to hear more. I fired off an email offering to take him out to lunch and he responded promptly (maybe he was just hungry?), we sorted out a day and time for me to come down to meet with him.

It was a pleasure to chat with an industry veteran and share some war stories. I am looking forward to learning from and working with Bill in the future. If you have the opportunity to listen to Bill speak, listen very carefully and take notes :-).

 

 

 

All this discussion about “Negaitve SEO” reminded me about a blog post that I wrote in 2008 on the same topic:

“Jun 28, 2008

I have been reading and studying the term negative search engine optimization (SEO). I find it quite funny how people at Google in particular (Matt Cutts) says Google Bombing or negative SEO is difficult or nearly impossible without high jacking someone’s website. This is totally wrong, but then again he is the same guy saying you need links to get your site to rank, but don’t buy them… (If I hear that loaded answer one more time!).

Google is very smart. What they do is rely on a human being’s general perception that if something is deemed wrong or is generally unacceptable, that most will avoid it. They have been pounding down everyone’s throat that paid links are bad, if you buy links your a bad person or evil webmaster. They talk about penalties and banning websites. In the past penalties were very rare, but recently I have seen several link buyers penalized.

As soon as I see a client penalized, I see the clear path to negative SEO. Each and every time I see or hear about a website penalized for off site SEO work, I create a log of what transpired and what the effects were. Does Google think SEO’s or people involved in search engine optimization are dumb? Well we are not. I have a list of places where links are penalized, I have a list of the types and quantities of links that have been penalized, I know how long it takes and how to avoid it or how to cause it.

I am not talking about buying links for Viagra for a number one ranked website for the search term homes. But you know if the site that ranked #1for homes, ranked between 4-6 for home sales, sell homes, buy homes etc., and that these are the keywords that a top quality website can be penalized for, then you simply build just a few too many really good links. Do not be obvious, do 100% legit SEO (buying links is OK in my book) work for the target site, just do a little too much, a little to quick, and guess what they will be given a -30 or a -45, for several of the over optimized keywords. They will not be penalized for their primary keyword which would require a 100% hand removal from Google or a Hand Penalty from Google, but it is not difficult to get them hammered for their 2nd tier search words.

Needless to say, I can present Google with multiple instances of proof that this is a fact, and I can certainly repeat the results if required.

Google is crossing its fingers that the general SEO community will frown on the part of negative SEO, because of the bad Karma, but in reality what is the difference between getting your site to rank higher (therefore lowering your competitors site) or simply lowering your competitors site so your site ranks higher?

Google is really beginning to upset me with these link threats, and link penalties. If they continue this barrage on SEO companies, everyone will just do very low profile SEO for their client’s sites, and over optimize 3-4 of their competitor’s websites. When multiple SEO companies adopt this theory, Google is really screwed. They will lose nearly all control, and be left unable to properly address which sites should be rewarded and which should be penalized.

For now Google is OK, because of the bad Karma factors and the “it’s wrong to do this”, but it will only take Google penalizing 2-3 top clients before SEO companies will all decided it is so much easier, and more profitable to negative SEO their competitors.

I will say that it is NOT hard, it is NOT difficult. If a group of top SEO and link builders got together, they could probably get nearly any site penalized.”

Just heading to bed and noticed that out of the blue, many exact match domains have slipped in search. I noticed a number of exact match domains names have slipped somewhere from 5-40 positions in search. It was really long over due that Google fixed this issue. Exact match had gotten so far out of hand that domain names like www.health-insurance-quotes.us were ranking well.

Glad to see Google has discovered a way to tweak this, although I am not a fan of some of the recent changes Google has made, they really did need to make some serious changes.

Google has been releasing changes to it’s algorithm rapid fire, I think they updated it about 3-4 times in the past 60 days. I think they may take a breather soon, and possibly even turn back some of their changes. I think they have moved with a VERY heavy hand on some of their link updates, and have really scared everyone online.

Everyone now is worried about “over optimization” I have had nearly every client of ours contacting us about this, so needless to say it is on everyone’s mind (including mine).

If it’s your first time hearing about rich snippets you may want to read up at microformats.org first. In general though, rich snippets allow webmasters to influence the display of their website’s listings in search engines.

Like this:

Two Rows of Reviews ExampleRich snippets have been around since 2009, but up until recently only a few websites could actually benefit from them. Previously, Google required webmasters to submit rich snippet request forms through its webmaster tools before anything would display differently in search results. Recently though Google has removed the manual approval process for hReview and other rich snippet code. This opens up many new exciting opportunities for both webmasters and SEO professionals.

hReview is arguably the most important rich snippet because it can pull reviews from your website and display them as stars under your search listings. Richard Baxter from SEO Gadget noticed a 5% CTR increase to his website after implementing hReview and obtaining stars in search results. 5% is an attractive number considering it takes all of five minutes to install the code.

To get the code for your website you can try the hReview Creator tool at microformats.org or simply use a template (I didn’t have much luck with the hReview Creator tool personally). Here is an example code template I drew up for my company, Evolve Creative Group.

<div class=”hreview”>

<span>

<span>Evolve Creative Group </span>

</span>

Reviewed by <span class=”reviewer”>Susie Smith </span> on

<span>

Jan 31<span class=”value-title” title=”2012-01-31″></span>

</span>.

<span>Thank you for being a great partner and delivering a world-class website.</span>

<span>After an extensive web agency search, we selected Evolve Creative Group and couldn’t have been happier with our choice. Todd Bertsch and his team demonstrated a passion and commitment to our project from the very first phone call.</span>

Rating:

<span class=”rating”>5.0</span>

</div>

This code can be placed anywhere within the body section of your source code. Make sure to use Google’s rich snippet testing tool to ensure that everything is set-up correctly.

Review stars will undoubtedly make your website more prominent in search results, but you need to be careful with how you use them or you risk getting your website penalized (unlikely) or having the snippet disappear altogether. Google’s guidelines for the hReview rich snippet state:

  • The main topic of the page needs to be about a specific product or service. For example, using review markup on a page containing multiple products is not supported.
  • Review of adult-related products or services are not supported.
  • If the markup contains a single review, the reviewer’s name needs to be a valid name (person or Organization). For example, “50% off until Saturday” is not a valid name for a reviewer.

Google also has a rich snippet spam report form that states, “a rich snippet promoting a travel package as an event or displaying fabricated reviews would be considered spam.”

Google’s first guideline is the most confusing for many because it’s open to so much interpretation. My company could argue that our homepage is about a specific service (web design), but would Google see it the same way? Denmonlaw.com from the example above has simply moved a review from their testimonial page onto their homepage and incorporated hReview.

Denmon Review

Assuming the review is legitimate I don’t see any issues with this practice. Only time will tell the future of this new open-ended system, but for now, we should all be taking advantage of this incredible opportunity while it’s still available. What do you think about moving a few testimonials to the homepage to benefit from hReview?