Wednesday, November 28, 2012

One Link SERPs Effect

As of today, Nov.26, 2012, searching Google for abstract art (no quotes) puts wwwARTbyLENA.com to the position #117 *).
I am going to test how placing just one link from a Blogger-based site can change the position. There are no other SEO actions performed on Lena's site at the moment.

Here is the "One Link":

Picture of a painting
Original art by Canadian artist Lena Karpinsky:
http://www.artbylena.com/original-art/abstract-art.html
And some "unique content" for this blog post, written in "Fast ESL Mode" :-)
Some people believe that term "abstract art" mean the same as "modern art" or "contemporary art". Therefore we see phrases like "abstract flowers". What they really want to say is "this is not a realism".
Abstraction is something that can exist only in our mind. Abstract paintings are non-objective. They are just splashes of colors, lights and shades, geometric compositions, and so on. When we look at such artwork, those color splashes are transformed into the images and feelings by our brain. And because our brain is a wonderful thing, we can see how amazing non-objective art is.

*) Checked using http://www.allorank.com/check-position, thanks AlloRank!

► Update Nov.28, 2012
AlloRank reports position #81, which looks like a great improvement, but unfortunately it is not, because during my experiment, I found that that nice tool produces highly unreliable results. I will continue watching it for a few more days, but will not make any conclusion and will look for a better rank checking tool.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

2 Great Articles on Custom Post Types in WordPress

By Justin Tadlock:
http://justintadlock.com/archives/2010/04/29/custom-post-types-in-wordpress
In WordPress 3.0, we’ll have the capability to easily create and manage content via custom post types. Not only that, but you won’t have to rely on a plugin to do this for you. It can be done via your theme’s functions.php file with a few lines of code.
By Richard Shepherd:
http://blog.teamtreehouse.com/create-your-first-wordpress-custom-post-type
...I think the great thing about WordPress is we can use it in the way we feel it should be used. There might be a different or better way, but there is no wrong way to do something (unless it doesn’t work!).
► Both articles provide a great introduction to the custom post types, with detailed PHP code examples. Custom types allow to associate additional information (fields) with a specific group of WordPress posts, and distinguish those posts from others in the admin interface. Having them, it's possible to extend WordPress to a powerful dabatase application.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thesis 2.0 multisite CSS (thesis_do=css)

Note: this is a quick patch to Thesis 2.0.1, not optimized, not approved by the Thesis authors and not tested thoroughly.

Problem:

In the WPMU environment, Thesis CSS link looks like:

...?thesis_do=css&ref=...

instead of "normal" link to a .css file

Details:

The code responsible for that resides in the lib/core/skin/box.php, in class class thesis_stylesheets_link :

'url' => !is_multisite() ? THESIS_USER_SKIN_URL . '/css.css' : site_url("?thesis_do=css&ref=". THESIS_MS_CSS_VAL . time()),

Note that the time() call at the end makes this link not cacheable.

The patch:

1. In the box.php:

public function html() {
global $wpdb;
$styles = $links = array();
$styles['layout'] = array(
'url' => THESIS_USER_SKIN_URL . '/css' . (is_multisite() ? $wpdb->blogid : '') . '.css',

2. In lib/core/skin/css.php

public function write($skin, $custom) {
global $wpdb;
$css = $this->reset() . $this->update(apply_filters('thesis_css', $skin), $custom);
$css = strip_tags($css);
if (is_multisite()) {
update_option('thesis_raw_css', $css);
wp_cache_flush();
$lid = @fopen(THESIS_USER_SKIN . '/css' . $wpdb->blogid . '.css', 'w');
@fwrite($lid, trim($css));
@fclose($lid); 
}

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Eric Enge on QDD and Content Strategy

...if you create a brand new site focused on providing advice to consumers buying homes, and you make your revenue from advertising, you must figure out how to differentiate it. 
You may want to write an article on mortgage tips, but it has been done a few times before:
https://www.google.com/search?q=intitle:%22mortgage%20tips%22
About 8,970 results
......
Potential linkers, or people on social media sites that share content related to buying homes, aren't going to share your new articles on mortgage tips ..., unless the articles say something very new, different, and compelling. You may require these articles on your site to make it complete, but don't expect to build an SEO or social media strategy around it.
What is your strategy for extreme differentiation? Don't have one yet? Now is a great day to get started!

Eric Enge, October 14, 2012
http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2216864/The-Demand-for-Extreme-Differentiation-in-Your-Content-Strategy

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Is WordPress good for building sites? A SEO Group discussion on LinkedIn


This is an excerpt from discussion on the Search Engine Land’s LinkedIn group:
http://lnkd.in/gigffm - copied almost as-is (fixed a couple of typos)
►LP: I found this article to be a good read:
http://biztwozero.com/Home/6181
► My reply
---------------
@LP: I am with you on this (PHP, etc.), and I already expressed my opinion about the quality of PHP code in WordPress and potential security risks - in other discussions (look for my recent posts).

However, do not take that specific article as a 100% truth. While correct in general, many specific details are not.

Why don't you just try for yourself? Installing WP takes literally 5 minutes, as long as you have Apache/MySQL/PHP at your disposal. MySQL can be anywhere, of course, and you can specify the remote host. Apache and PHP can be at your PC, so you can easily play with the themes, plugins and the core code - as a PHP programmer and not as a WP user. You will see everything.
The question is, however, what is your goal and what do you compare WP with? If you are building a "non-mission-critical" website, who cares that WP will throw PHP notices on every line of its lousy code? Disable all errors and sleep well :-)

If you compare to other open-source CMS/Blogging platforms - they will suffer more or less from the same "diseases".

If, however, you desperately need a solution for content editing, and you do not want to spend $ on a commercial - there are two ways, in my opinion: a) take WordPress, find a premium theme, which will provide you with all the functionality (that will cost $ instead of $$$) - and use ONLY that theme and only their plugins. Once you start mixing plugins from different vendors, one day you upgrade one, and it will bring down another, because they do not know each other, and write whatever they want, overriding the core functionality.

Or b) Because WP writes into MySQL table, you can use PHP to extract the content from there and publish it your way. That's similar to having a premium theme, but also allows you to put WP on a different server, solving thus some security problems (the WP can be installed even at your home, as I said)

There is a1) - write the Premium Theme yourself :-)

I tried the a) and a1) approaches since WP was born, and each time I ended up with version b) or with no WP at all....

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How Google uses thesaurus in search - an interesting example


Look at this a search query:
https://www.google.com/search?q=extroverted+personality+essay
(note the word "essay")

Check out the first (as of Feb.1, 2012) result. The word "paper" is bold:

Research Paper on Introvert vs. Extrovert Personalities - College ...
www.academon.com › Psychology › Behaviorism
Research Paper on Introvert vs. Extrovert Personalities - Library of College Term Papers, Research Papers, Essays and Book Reports.
  1. Google thinks that "paper" and "essay" are synonyms.
  2. Google knows that "paper" means "research paper" or "term paper" and it's not about printers and copy machines or parchment / waxed paper.
  3. Google does not highlight the plural form, "papers". It will if you search for "essays" in plural.
So far, it's all interesting observations, but here is what I have difficulty explaining:
If you look at the page itself, you will see a tons of "paper" in the content and just a couple of "essay". BUT: if you replace "essay" with "paper" in the search query, this page drops down from #1 to #4.
So, Google prefers a synonym to the exact match in this case!

What do you think? Please comment.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Google crawls Facebook Comments? Not sure...

On Jan.9 2012, Brendan Irvine-Broque posted an announcement on InsideFacebook saying that Google may have started indexing Facebook comments: http://www.insidefacebook.com/2012/01/09/how-facebook-comments-impact-google-search-rankings/

Together with Brendan and other subscribers of InsideFacebook, we made a series of experiments to check how it works. As of Jan.17, the results are negative. Nothing from our tests appeared in Google as a result of crawling the comments. The whole discussion, however, has been "leaked" through another website, which grabbed our comments from FB and pasted them as a plain HTML.

Brendan pointed out that:

  • InsideFacebook uses an older version of FB plugin
  • It may take time to Google to crawl all comments
  • There are comments from other sites that have been indexed by Google
So, this is not the end of story. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Squidoo and SEO? (Update Jan.3, 2012)

Happy New Year to everybody!


This will end my experiment with Squidoo. The results were NEGATIVE.


Please note that what I've done did NOT prove anything, except one thing: Squidoo is not a "magic wand" for SEO purposes.


Here is the summary of my observations:

  • Posting something to Squidoo does not bring it to Google, unless you place a link to it from somewhere. In other words, Google does not crawl the entire Squidoo in search for new pages ("lenses" as they call it).
  • It takes too long for Google to reindex the page. A month after I changed my experimental lens' content, it still was not in Google; a special link I placed there was ignored by Google either (obviously because Google did not index that page again).
  • Squidoo is a primitive, buggy and ugly tool built to spam search engines with junk content. It's definitely not a "Site For People", but a "Site For Search Engines". For some reason, "Mr. Panda" did not bring "Mr. Squidoo" down, so it can still work, but I decided that my time will be better spent somewhere else.
I deleted my experimental lens.

Thank you for your attention!