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Beanstalk's Internet Marketing Blog

At Beanstalk Search Engine Optimization we know that knowledge is power. That's the reason we started this Internet marketing blog back in 2005. We know that the better informed our visitors are, the better the decisions they will make for their websites and their online businesses. We hope you enjoy your stay and find the news, tips and ideas contained within this blog useful.


April 30, 2010

Beanstalk’s Blog Now In WordPress

Well alas, it had to be done.  After years of touting the benefits of Blogger blogs and recommending client’s host their blogs there we’ve been forced to move by Google and their decision to discontinue support for FTP.  While it’s a shame to have been pushed out of blogger. Of course I’m still working out a few of the kinks BUT all-in-all it went pretty smoothly.

For those facing the same dilema – here’s roughly what it took:

  1. Install WordPress.
  2. The easy way is to convert directly from your blogger account as Dusty illustrates on his blog at http://dustyreagan.com/convert-from-blogger-to-wordpress/ BUT I wasn’t able to go that route so I …
  3. Export your Blog (if you can’t use the method in Step 2).
  4. Using WordPress’ Import function (under Tools in the left nav)  you’ll have to convert your exported data to a WordPress format (since you can’t use the Blogger import if you’ve gone past step 2.  I was relieved to find an awesome tool at http://blogger2wordpress.appspot.com/ that worked wonderfully converting all the data exactly how it should.
  5. So now you have your blog working.  It’ll look different but all the information is there.  I then had to go into the files and edit the theme to look like the Beanstalk blog is supposed to but if you don’t have your blog matching your site and you’re happy with one of the countless themes available for WordPress – you’re done.  If not – you have to then manually convert your Blogger template to a WordPress template that requires a reasonable understanding of PHP.  I say reasonable as I’m in no way a PHP developer and I was able to do it in about 30 o 40 minutes with the tweaks and the addition of a couple new features that WordPress had that weren’t available in Blogger. :)
  6. Now all that’s left is to go through your backlinks and incoming traffic points and make sure to 301 all those link and entry points so you don’t lose link strength or annoy your visitors.  And don’t forget to 301 your feeds. :)

And that’s all there is to it.  The total process including figuring out how to do it took about 1.5 to 2 hours.  I hope you have the same success or better. :)

SEO news blog post by @ 5:54 pm

Categories:Misc

 

 

36 SEO Myths That Won’t Die But Need To

A couple days ago I got my regular newsletter from Search Engine Land with an awesome article on SEO myths that just keep sticking around. If you’re an SEO you know what I’m talking about – those myths that you have to answer to every couple days and when you say it’s a myth, the client responds as if you’re an idiot because they heard it from some very knowledgeable person on a forum somewhere and that person had 37 posts so they must know a lot right?

Well Stephan Spencer, Vice President of SEO Strategies at Covario wrote a great article on 36 myths and while I do tend to disagree with some of the assertions he makes (as I’m sure he woudl disagree with some of mine) it’s a highly worthwhile read. Below you’ll find his list but to read the full scoop you’ll just have to head over to read the full story on Search Engine Watch. The URL for that is below the list but first – here’s his 36 myths:

  1. Our SEO firm is endorsed/approved by Google.
  2. Don’t use Google Analytics because Google will spy on you and use the information against you.
  3. Your PageRank score, as reported by Google’s toolbar server, is highly correlated to your Google rankings.
  4. Having an XML Sitemap will boost your Google rankings.
  5. Since the advent of personalization, there is no such thing as being ranked #1 anymore because everyone sees different results.
  6. Meta tags will boost your rankings.
  7. It’s good practice to include a meta robots tag specifying index, follow.
  8. It’s helpful if your targeted keywords are tucked away in HTML comment tags and title attributes (of IMG and A HREF tags.)
  9. Having country-specific sites creates “duplicate content” issues in Google.
  10. You can keep search engines from indexing pages linked-to with Javascript links.
  11. Googlebot doesn’t read CSS.
  12. You should end your URLs in .html.
  13. You can boost the Google rankings of your home page for a targeted term by including that term in the anchor text of internal links.
  14. It’s important for your rankings that you update your home page frequently (e.g. daily.)
  15. Trading links helps boost PageRank and rankings.
  16. Linking out (such as to Google.com) helps rankings.
  17. It’s considered “cloaking” — and is thus taboo and risky — to clean up the URLs in your links selectively and only for spiders.
  18. If you define a meta description, Google uses it in the snippet. .
  19. The bolding of words in a Google listing signifies that they were considered in the rankings determination.
  20. H1 tags are a crucial element for SEO.
  21. There are some unique ranking signals for Google Mobile Search, and they include the markup being “XHTML Mobile”.
  22. SEO is a black art.
  23. The Disallow directive in robots.txt can get pages de-indexed from Google.
  24. SEO is a one-time activity you complete and are then done with. .
  25. Automated SEO is black-hat or spammy.
  26. A site map isn’t for people.
  27. There’s no need to link to all your pages for the spiders to see them. Just list all URLs in the XML Sitemap.
  28. Google will not index pages that are only accessible by a site’s search form.
  29. Placing links in teeny-tiny size font at the bottom of your homepage is an effective tactic to raise the rankings of deep pages in your site.
  30. Using a service that promises to register your site with “hundreds of search engines” is good for your site’s rankings.
  31. Home page PageRank on a domain means something.
  32. Outsourcing link building to a far-away, hourly contractor with no knowledge of your business is a good link acquisition solution.
  33. The clickthrough rate on the SERPs matters.
  34. Keyword density is da bomb..
  35. Hyphenated domain names are best for SEO.
  36. Great Content = Great Rankings.

To read the full article (with explanations of why he believes they’re all myths) head over to http://searchengineland.com/36-seo-myths-that-wont-die-but-need-to-40076.

SEO news blog post by @ 4:11 pm

Categories:SEO Tips

 

 

April 15, 2010

An Apology & Keyword Tool

We’ve all been there, you start doing something when you have time and then – as other things creep up (let’s call them clients and staffing obligations) suddenly anything that isn’t hammering at your door tends to slip through the cracks. This blog has fallen victim to just that and for this – I am sorry. You come here for reliable and up-to-date information from the SEO realm and find a post 2 weeks old. Well that’s about to change.

Not only am I personally recommitting myself to posting more frequently (at least 3 times per week) – you’re going to see a lot more posts coming in from other Beanstalkers (or should I write … Beans talkers). But for today – you’ll have to put up with me.

So for today I’m going to discuss the newish face of Google’s keyword tool which is right now in beta. The data’s the same so what’s different. A lot if you know where to look.

My quick feedback is that I like it. I think it’s a big step forward to the lay-person and is far more intuitive. Here’s what I like:

  • I like that the trending data is shown by default. To me it’s a huge help to not just see if a phrase was highly search last month but what it’s volume has been like for the past year. This data is already available in the keyword tool but it’s displayed by default in the new version. Very helpful information. You’d be surprised at how many phrase have a 1 or 2 month spike that augments their importance. Personally – I want phrases that show steady traffic over all months.
  • I like the new “Contains” option that allows you to further filter down your results based on what keywords you want in and what you don’t ant included (words like “free” for example).
  • The Match Type has moved to the left. I’m neither here nor there about location but thought I’d let you know where it is. :)
  • If you’re looking for suggestions – they also have a category selection so you can choose similar keywords by the category or filter by category if your keywords would span multiple industries (let’s use a phrase like “windows installation” for example).
  • Google Insights link – I also like the link to Google Insights which gives the user more information on a phrase-by-phrase basis. With regional data, trend data, etc.

Now Google added the beta back in September but I’ve only recently really started digging into it as I can already pull all this data from the classic tool but it was when I was chatting with a client who was at the new version that I realized that for the layman – it’s WAY better.

So head over to the tool at https://adwords.google.com/ – at the top left client over to the beta tool and see what’s available. While you’re at it – schedule regular checks to do this every couple months … it’s just a good idea. :)

SEO news blog post by @ 12:12 pm

Categories:Uncategorized

 

 

An Apology & Keyword Tool

We’ve all been there, you start doing something when you have time and then – as other things creep up (let’s call them clients and staffing obligations) suddenly anything that isn’t hammering at your door tends to slip through the cracks. This blog has fallen victim to just that and for this – I am sorry. You come here for reliable and up-to-date information from the SEO realm and find a post 2 weeks old. Well that’s about to change.

Not only am I personally recommitting myself to posting more frequently (at least 3 times per week) – you’re going to see a lot more posts coming in from other Beanstalkers (or should I write … Beans talkers). But for today – you’ll have to put up with me.

So for today I’m going to discuss the newish face of Google’s keyword tool which is right now in beta. The data’s the same so what’s different. A lot if you know where to look.

My quick feedback is that I like it. I think it’s a big step forward to the lay-person and is far more intuitive. Here’s what I like:

  • I like that the trending data is shown by default. To me it’s a huge help to not just see if a phrase was highly search last month but what it’s volume has been like for the past year. This data is already available in the keyword tool but it’s displayed by default in the new version. Very helpful information. You’d be surprised at how many phrase have a 1 or 2 month spike that augments their importance. Personally – I want phrases that show steady traffic over all months.
  • I like the new “Contains” option that allows you to further filter down your results based on what keywords you want in and what you don’t ant included (words like “free” for example).
  • The Match Type has moved to the left. I’m neither here nor there about location but thought I’d let you know where it is. :)
  • If you’re looking for suggestions – they also have a category selection so you can choose similar keywords by the category or filter by category if your keywords would span multiple industries (let’s use a phrase like “windows installation” for example).
  • Google Insights link – I also like the link to Google Insights which gives the user more information on a phrase-by-phrase basis. With regional data, trend data, etc.

Now Google added the beta back in September but I’ve only recently really started digging into it as I can already pull all this data from the classic tool but it was when I was chatting with a client who was at the new version that I realized that for the layman – it’s WAY better.

So head over to the tool at https://adwords.google.com/ – at the top left client over to the beta tool and see what’s available. While you’re at it – schedule regular checks to do this every couple months … it’s just a good idea. :)

SEO news blog post by @ 12:12 pm

Categories:Uncategorized

 

 

April 1, 2010

Proud Of Our Awards So We’re Blogging It … Oh The Irony

Today is April 1st. Apart from Google changing their name to Topeka and my kids running off with dreams of changing teacher’s pen colors – it’s a lot like most days before except that we get the honor of again making Top SEO’s list of the best firms in a variety of categories. This month we made the grade in the following categories:

  • SEO
  • Link Building
  • Content Creation
  • SEO Training
  • PPC Management

Of course we’ve very pleased to be including in this list and proud that our dedication to our clients and ethical SEO techniques is recognized. Thanks to Top SEO’s for once again including us.

Okay – that that was the good news of the day – now the bad news. Those who use Blogger’s FTP function (including your truly) have one month to find a new solution. Google will not be supporting FTP for Blogger after May 1st.

We’ve been looking into various solutions and will let you know when we lock down the one we’ll be implementing. And one last time – I’m not impressed Google. While only the minority of us use the FTP function I’ll bet that if we only count legitimate blogs (as opposed to splogs) that percentage is much higher. But alas – our hands are tied and our blog will be pulled out of Blogger – I just haven’t figured out where it’s going to go yet.

But did I mention that we won an award? :)
(wanted to end this post on a high note)

SEO news blog post by @ 12:52 pm

Categories:Uncategorized

 

 

March 5, 2010

Google docs invitation share scare. A curious security oversight?

Recently we’ve been looking into using google docs to remove some of the headache of read only and lock file issues that are a frequent occurrence on network drive shares. While Google Docs is for the most part quite promising we ran into an interesting and somewhat frightening snag that we’ve since reported to Google. As with any service this large there are bound to be some oversights that turn up only in widespread use. I’ve been unable to find if this issue has already been posted elsewhere. So here’s what we found.
Security scenario:
A user creates a new Google docs document,
then sends an invitation to share this document with several email addresses via the share option,
the email containing a link to the shared document invitation is received via company email,
recipient clicks the link in the email within their mail client,
next typically you’re either prompted to log in to google docs and accept or reject the invitation to view the document, or if you’re already logged into your Gmail account it takes you straight to the accept or reject invitation screen.
You press accept and view the document.
Stop and think about that… the invitation was sent to a company email address, not a Gmail address. Shouldn’t that invitation be only for that email address? Or at least limited to the set of emails that were invited when the bulk invite was sent out?
Yet if I can get a hold of that link and put it in a browser you can log into say your personal Gmail account and get access to the same document. What we found in testing was that anyone who got a hold of the link could log into their Gmail account and still view the document.
With the amount of schools and businesses already migrated over to Google docs I’m surprised this hasn’t been resolved yet.
How big a deal is this? It really depends what’s in the document you’re sharing however anyone who can sniff out that link and sign up for a Gmail account can gain access to the document.
Whether by sniffing your network traffic packets , sniffing your mail server or mail relays, snooping via compromised machine or email account, email being forwarded to an insecure or unintended address, or a shady client even being able to take a quick photo of your screen while the URL is in view – so long as they can get that doc share invitation link and type it in their browser they can now access it via any Google docs or Gmail account they have access to even though the invite may have only been intended for joe@joesplace.com
Current workarounds:
Only send share invitations to other Gmail accounts. Google docs to Gmail communication should stay on internal Googles internal network and never go out on the web. Post the link only in secured locations.
Or instead of sending out share invitations send an email with a URL straight to the Google docs URL for the document. The user clicking the link will first have to log in to their Gmail/Google docs then will have to request access to that document before they can view it. This can be approved or denied at your discretion.
Possible Solutions?
If Google were to allow users to encrypt their email via PGP or some other means before sending the link could not be sniffed in plain text.
However the above does not really address the simpler underlying security issue that an invitation to share a document should (unless otherwise stated in bold red) only be usable by the address the invitation was sent to.
It may seem convenient that if someone sends a Google docs invite to your @business.com account you can click on the link and sign in with your personal Gmail since you don’t have Google docs tied to your @business address however that means that it’s convenient for anyone else to do so too if they can find a way to capture that link.

Yes – often these invitations are read only however imagine the bounty of company and school documents that could be quite harmful in the wrong hands – read only or not. Personal and proprietary data, exam questions, you name it. If a business has migrated to Google docs it’s all there if you can sleuth out the link.
Note: Another solution has been brought to our attention from the Google help forums:
Use Share->See who has access… Go to the Advanced permissions tab and untick both Allow editors to invite others to edit or view and Allow invitations to be forwarded , then click Save&Close.;
se Share->See who has access… and on the People with access tab make sure the general setting is Sign-in is required to view this item. Again click Save&Close.;

A quick test of these settings seems to plug the hole. However the scare remains that the default settings are quite insecure and few Google docs users are likely to be aware of the security implications of those settings.

SEO news blog post by @ 6:42 pm

Categories:Uncategorized

 

 

March 1, 2010

Just A Day For Awards !

For those of you who don’t know – we’re a Canadian company and as such, well – let’s just say that yesterday was a good day. :) For anyone out there who’s had a big brother who just seems to be better at almost everything and looks be be about to take the one thing you’re best at and even invented – well, you’ll know what I mean. :)

As the Olympics closed and I personally beamed at all the Gold Canada took home (or I guess “kept home” would be the correct way of saying it) I was surprised with some additional awards.

This morning when I walked into work and checked my emails I discovered that Beanstalk has been awards top 10 in the following categories by Top SEO’s:

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Link Building
  • Content Creation
  • SEO Training

Thanks to everyone for making the past 2 days so very awards filled. :)

SEO news blog post by @ 12:58 pm

Categories:Uncategorized

 

 

February 26, 2010

Get Great Publicity !!!

As many of you may know – I’m doing a Webinar tomorrow at 12 EST on Longtail SEO for Ecommerce sites. To keep people interested I’m giving away great prizes, may of which have been donated. The prizes include but are not limited to an Aser netbook and 2 pro memberships from SEOmoz.

If you have some great prizes to add please feel free to contact me at dave@beanstalkseo.com before 10am PST tomorrow (Saturday) and I’ll add you to the list of prizes going out. You’ll get mentioned in the webinar and get some mentions from our blog here on Monday as well as from the Webinar website.

For more information about the Webinar or to register just head to http://www.newlifeevent.com/. Prizes should appeal to geeks, business people and/or SEO’s. Free hosting for a year, electronics, etc. are great examples.

Thanks !!!

Dave

SEO news blog post by @ 1:46 pm

Categories:Uncategorized

 

 

February 25, 2010

Webinar, Privacy & Google

Well, it’s been a long time since my last blog post. I apologize for this and will be working hard to try to be more active in the social world of the web. As you know – in this industry things move pretty fast and while I definitely can’t recap the last couple weeks, I can start anew with the recent going’s on – some interesting news going forward and an update on Google. First – let’s talk about what’s going on right now:

Today on Webcology (my radio show) Jim Hedger and I discussed privacy including an Italian’s court’s assertion that Google executive are responsible for the material uploaded to YouTube (yikes), an interview with the Ontario privacy commissioner, and a lengthy discussion on what should and shouldn’t be private (and who’s responsibility is it anyways – is Facebook REALLY responsible for your privacy or should YOU take a second to think about what you’re adding to a social network (key word – social) and understand that once you add it – it’s no longer private information). It was a great show and is the first in a series of interviews and information on privacy issues and concerns.

Yahoo! & Bing are finally sitting in a tree. :) The deal has been approved and Bing will soon (hopefully by the end of 2010) be feeding Yahoo! organic results and Yahoo! paid search will power Bing paid results (they hope by Q4 of 2010 but in my humble opinion it’s more likely in Q1 of 2011). Can I hear a – FINALLY !

Acer Aspire One AO532H-2676 Intel Atom N450 1GB 160GB 10.1IN WSVGA Windows 7 Starter Netbook RedAnd for those of you who are as geeky as I am – there’s a great webinar series this weekend. 30 webinars in one weekend on a wide array of topics. it’s going to be a wild ride with tons of great info and PRIZES. With reps from the major engines and great presenters such as Shawna Fennell, Stoney deGeyter, Jennifer Laycock and many many more (including your truly on Saturday at 12PM) you just know it’s going to be great. Hope to see you there and good luck winning one of the many great prized from netbooks to $5000 design packages. So get your Twitter account loaded, step in front of your favorite browser and buckle up. To register go to http://www.newlifeevent.com/.

SEO news blog post by @ 4:42 pm

Categories:Uncategorized

 

 

Webinar, Privacy & Google

Well, it’s been a long time since my last blog post. I apologize for this and will be working hard to try to be more active in the social world of the web. As you know – in this industry things move pretty fast and while I definitely can’t recap the last couple weeks, I can start anew with the recent going’s on – some interesting news going forward and an update on Google. First – let’s talk about what’s going on right now:

Today on Webcology (my radio show) Jim Hedger and I discussed privacy including an Italian’s court’s assertion that Google executive are responsible for the material uploaded to YouTube (yikes), an interview with the Ontario privacy commissioner, and a lengthy discussion on what should and shouldn’t be private (and who’s responsibility is it anyways – is Facebook REALLY responsible for your privacy or should YOU take a second to think about what you’re adding to a social network (key word – social) and understand that once you add it – it’s no longer private information). It was a great show and is the first in a series of interviews and information on privacy issues and concerns.

Yahoo! & Bing are finally sitting in a tree. :) The deal has been approved and Bing will soon (hopefully by the end of 2010) be feeding Yahoo! organic results and Yahoo! paid search will power Bing paid results (they hope by Q4 of 2010 but in my humble opinion it’s more likely in Q1 of 2011). Can I hear a – FINALLY !

And for those of you who are as geeky as I am – there’s a great webinar series this weekend. 30 webinars in one weekend on a wide array of topics. It’s going to be a wild ride with tons of great info and PRIZES. With reps from the major engines and great presenters such as Shawna Fennell, Stoney deGeyter, Jennifer Laycock and many many more (including your truly on Saturday at 12PM) you just know it’s going to be great. Hope to see you there and good luck winning one of the many great prized from netbooks to $5000 design packages. So get your Twitter account loaded, step in front of your favorite browser and buckle up. To register go to http://www.newlifeevent.com/.

SEO news blog post by @ 4:42 pm

Categories:Uncategorized

 

 

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