Google Forced to Use Less Deceptive Look for Ads in Search

Google was recently forced to launch a clearer design to distinguish ads from search results to follow updated FTC guidelines put in place on June 25, 2013. The top Ads are no longer as deceptive. Ads were formerly on a light yellow background with a tiny “sponsored results” line of text.

Advertisers and Google of course are definitely concerned about lower click-thru ratios. So far our adwords campaigns have not experienced any significant drops in performance.

Fixes for WordPress SEO Sitemap Issues

WordPress SEO is a great all in one solution for managing your site. It takes care of SEO, Sitemaps, Robots.txt, and Htaccess eliminating the need for 3 separate plugins.

There happens to be a few bugs that prevent sitemaps from working properly. Google Webmaster Tools may be giving you the following error.

Your Sitemap appears to be an HTML page. Please use a supported sitemap format instead.

If Only Some of Your Sitemaps Result in a Not Found or 404 Error…

For example: http://yourdomain.com/page-sitemap.xml results in a not found error.

Fix:
Edit a page/post in admin.
In the WordPress SEO Panel, click “Advanced.”
Change “Include in Sitemap: Auto detect” to “Always Include”

We don’t recommend this for sites with a lot of pages. Hopefully Yoast figures out a solution soon.

If Your Sitemap Doesn’t Show up at All…

Try resetting your permalinks.
Go to Settings > Permalinks.
Just click “Save Changes”
Give it a try.

Spammers Wall of Shame

Anyone who manually spams our site will be forever on display here for all to see. From your common lowlife comment spammer to your desperate job seeker that spams company contact forms. “No we’re not interested in your SEO content writing.” We’ll also share their IP to ban and email address for email spammers to harvest.

Enjoy!

Dreamweaver Sucks – Learn HTML and use BBEdit

In the early days we started out designing web sites with WSIWYG software. We used Adobe GoLive. Dreamweaver (Macromedia) was the main competitor. Macromedia Flash was huge back than and we used that as well.

Designing websites with HTML tables was the norm as well as the problem. HTML tables require excessive code. Luckily CSS improvements allowed for Table-less web design. At that point we got more comfortable with coding pages by hand. SEO requires the ability to write code by hand. In fact, Doing SEO taught us how to hand code SEO.

Adobe GoLive happened to feature an excellent code editor. You just were better off ignoring the WSIWYG features. We always keep the web page we are working on open in a browser so we could see the final product. Save the file after each edit and refresh the browser to see the results. It’s a smooth workflow.

Adobe dropped GoLive shortly after acquiring Macromedia. We gave Dreamweaver a try and quickly found huge problems with the code editor.

Often you’ll want to create a hierarchy of your code elements by using tabs to keep organized make it easier to understand.

For example:

<div>
  <h1>Headline</h1>
  <p>
    Paragraph
  </p>
  <ul>
    <li>List</li>
    <li>List</li>
    <li>List</li>
  </ul>
</div>

Often times while coding you’ll need to tab a bunch of lines at once. In GoLive you would simply select all the lines and tab them over or back. This necessary feature wasn’t in Dreamweaver. Indenting selected text blocks will using the tab key will delete them. Tabbing has to be done carefully line by line.

The most annoying problem with Dreamweaver is if you press the up or down key, the cursor exhibits unpredictable behavior. Instead of going straight down or up, it mostly goes to the beginning of the next line of text. This is beyond annoying when you want to paste in a new line of code and maintain your tab formatting.

After trying to be productive with Dreamweaver for a few days, and looking thoroughly for solutions, we tried a demo of BBEdit. We deleted Dreamweaver right away and purchased BBEdit. It’s hands down the best tool for coding HTML as well as other hand coding projects.

Tip: In BBEdit keyboard preferences, make sure “Allow Tab key to indent text blocks” is checked.

Secure WordPress

Secure WordPress

If you’re the only user that needs administration access to your WordPress site, then this security method may be for you. This security method will make it so that your wp-admin can only be accessed from your cpu. It can also help prevent SQL injections that exploit wp-admin.

First you’ll need to know your IP address or range.

Then add the following code to your htaccess file.

#security
<Files wp-login.php>
order deny,allow
deny from all
allow from YOUR_IP_ADDRESS_OR_IP_RANGE
</Files>

Important: Make sure you have the ability to change your htaccess file outside of wordpress’s admin in case you lock yourself out by mistake. Examples: FTP or your host’s admin panel.

Blackhat, Whitehat and other Colorful Headwear used to describe questionable practices of some SEO companies.

Blackhat, Whitehat and other colors are often used to describe the practices which SEO companies employ.

Blackhat usually refers to employing unscrupulous techniques for SEO. One of the oldest blackhat practices is keyword stuffing. Keywords are hidden in a page’s code that is not visible to users to trick the search engines.

Some common places keyword stuffing occurs:

  • meta keyword tag (Google has ignored this tag for years)
  • text areas of forms
  • making text the same color as the background
  • using negative margins to position text far off the browser’s boundaries

Google® is wise to these shady techniques nowadays, and using them will quickly get your site removed from results. Even today unqualified SEO companies employ these “ancient” techniques, and their clients suffer the consequences.

Some Blackhat SEO companies use risky automated backlink building software. Software capable of building thousands of links in no time at all. The software seeks out and spams blogs, forums, and just about any online form that you can insert a link into. Again Google has wised up to this behavior and will flag your site quickly for removal.

Whitehat is considered to be the honest Google® approved method of getting your site to rank. At least that’s what self proclaimed whitehat companies believe.

Some methods they use:

  • Purchasing Sponsored links
  • Paying Press Release publishing sites for backlinks.
  • Getting backlinks by paying off guest bloggers.
  • Creating content and networks of Blogs, Social Media Sites, etc that interlink between each other and your site.

Sounds pretty innocent, but at the end of the day, they are trying to manipulate the search engines. These so called whitehat techniques have gotten sites penalized severely as well.

In closing, It’s all blackhat because you are attempting to manipulate the search engines. There’s just varying degrees.

What’s the option for playing by the rules? Google® claims all one simply has to do is create great content, and it will rank. That may work for super niche keywords, but it has yet to work for competitive search terms. Your best bet is to forget about hat colors, and have a healthy balance of several methods. Great content, excellent on page SEO, and quality backlinks.