I encountered a client who often searches for his name to see how well his site is ranking. He even clicks on the results and visits his own site. He may not know that this behavior is detrimental to his ranking on two accounts. His bounce rate is high, because after he visits his site’s page he goes back right away, which is the definition of bouncing in the area of analytics. The higher a site’s bounce rate is the more likely that Google will think that it is a low quality website.
If he wouldn’t click on the link at Google leading to his site that would still be bad on the long term for his ranking. What does it tell to Google if his site has a lot of impressions i.e. the it often shows up in Google searches, AND the most of the time people don’t click on his links? It tells, the same thing: this site is not something people would want to visit, hence Google may rank it lower and lower.
Searching for one’s own name is referred to as “egosurfing“. I wonder what proportions of people do it on a regular basis? I think, in this case, it became a kind of an obsession. For any kind of addiction there seems to be an “… Anonymous” group, but I didn’t find one for this newfangled one anywhere. Thus I recommend the formation of an “Egosurfers Anonymous” organization for people who keep searching for their names. I wonder though how its meetings would go, how the members would be able to handle to remain anonymous. That is part of their problem. Or should I say “ours”? I admit to egosurfing about once a month.
Today I was working on a WordPress site with 100+ pages (and no posts). Part of my job was to make sure there are no broken links in the site. So I loaded up my good old trusted Broken Link Checker plugin. When it started to pop up the “broken links” I noticed that almost all of them came back with “Connection Failed” error, while the links were not even broken. I know that we have some server issues, which may prevent some automated processes finding the very same server the site is running on. I suspect this was the case here too. So I turned to an internal tool we developed and was running on a different server. That timed out, because WordPress sites have so much more links (to check), than custom, non-cms-based sites.
Finally I decided to use a dedicated tool. I have been working on PCs for the last 12 years, so I was quite familiar with the excellent Xenu’s Link Sleuth. Unfortunately it is a Windows only tool, or as the author put it, “No, I won’t make a Java, MacOS, Linux, Knoppix, Ubuntu, Beos, Palm, C64, SAP, AmigaOS, Blackberry, Symbian, iPhone or Android version. Don’t even ask!“ However I quickly found a very similar tool for the Mac I was working in: Integrity. It did everything I wanted and seemed to be even faster then Xenu. Although the speed depends on the machines CPU and on the size of the project too. I am very happy with this finding.
Soon I found another issue with this site. When we moved it from the development server to the production server the switch of internal URLs wasn’t perfect. about 10-15% of them were changed from http://proof.domain.com to http://domain.com, instead of my preferred http://www.domain.com. I could have played with the .htaccess file to fix this, but for other reasons this was not an option. I also could have written a little SQL command, but instead we utilized a plugin called Search & Replace, which was designed for this kind of tasks.
Ever since I started to check at Google’s Webmaster Tools (and more recently in Google Analytics) how my sites are performing at Google itself (meaning where they show up for what keywords for how many searches) I was fascinated with the numbers. But it seemed illogical that in the cumulative data they showed the average of averages. E.g. if for a certain keyword my site showed up in three positions, the system averaged them and then took these individual averages and averaged them into a single number. From now on, based on Google’s announcement though they will take the best/first position of each query and average that. As a result of the above I expect a slight jump in the “Average Position” metrics of the Top Queries sheet. I think the proper, logical label for this should then should be “average of highest positions”, but I realize that would be too long to put on top of a column in a table.
Three Infographics related posts grabbed my attention from today’s interweb flow. Based on the title of Erin Everhart article “Infographics: Why They Fail For Link Building” I thought she would cast some doubt why they may not be the best for linkbuilding purposes specifically. Instead she spent most of the article explaining what’s wrong with Infographics in general. Then she added the adage “that social media is a tool and not a strategy”. Even if I agree with most of her points, I still think the article’s title was poorly worded.
Later in the day I stumbled upon two fresh and useful infographics. One of them, titled “Infographic: How Much Does SEO Cost?“ was done by SEOMoz, and posted on January 3, but I only learned about it from Search Engine Land’s post today. As I am slowly creating my own SEO business it, being the summary of a survey with 500 SEO professionals, was a useful piece in figuring out where I would fit in the market.
The other, “The Small Business Social Media Cheat Sheet, didn’t give me any new information, but it was still well-collected sheet of basic information on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Digg and to my surprise Tumblr. I was surprised to see Tumblr on that sheet, because in my mind it was a channel for more of a personal communication, than for businesses. I have never seen a business tumblr site, but I guess there is no reason why it couldn’t be one. The main obstacle for widespread effect is that each Tumblr site is a separate mini site, unlike Twitter/Facebook/Google+/YouTube and Digg, where there is a coherent, single interface for millions of users and businesses. The Tumblr dashboard has that to a limited extent, but the whole of the millions of public mini-sites don’t.
, search engline land
Today I had to research how to use WordPress’ Menu system as the basis for a sitemap page. In the past I used the ”HTML Page Sitemap” plugin to turn the site’s pages and their hierarchies into a sitemap page. Today however I had to find a solution for a site that uses the hierarchies of the menus, but not the parent/child and ordering system of the pages themselves.
Let me cut to the end and share the best solution I found. The WP Realtime Sitemap plugin does exactly what I wanted and much more. The key to make it work for the above scenario is to do the following on the plugin’s setting page (after installation and activation):
- Under the “Display Settings” header only the “Show Menu” option should be ON
- Under the “Order Settings” header the 1st order should be “Menu”
I need to mention two more links as they were part of my research.
- Last April Jean Galea wrote the “The Ultimate Guide to WordPress 3 Menus.” The “Building a Sitemap” section of the doc gives instruction exactly what the heading suggests. He gave credit for the original developer of the idea, including the shortcode: CosmosLabs.
- I also found a code snippet from last May on Snipplr.com for the same purpose. I didn’t test it, but it looks functional.