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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.


December 8, 2011

Give back to Wayback – Donate to Internet Archives

Any webmaster/SEO will tell you that you can never have enough backups of your content. They will tell you this because they have tried to keep enough backups but ultimately even the most OCD backup plan will leave you wanting more.

When it comes to website backups the Wayback Machine has saved me many many times from wondering what a site ‘used’ to look like or ‘when’ an issue was added to the site for those ‘who done it’ moments.

Say you wanted to find out when a logo was added to a client site to make sure that the typo in the image didn’t come from your offices? If you put the URL into the Wayback Machine, and start looking through older versions of the page you can usually find the date it changed in minutes:

The service is very well laid out, straight forward, and advertisement free, yet they backup web pages, and on-line content, for the entire planet, employing over 160 people in the process!

If you don’t know about the internet archives, take a look and see what you’ve been missing out on. I know a lot of folks are amazed when I pull something out of the fire by fetching an old layout from years prior to even dealing with the client. It’s not black magic, it’s just the internet archive.

Heck even just browsing old movies in the archive is fun!

Night of the Living Dead
The Last Man On Earth
The Three Stooges

There’s plenty more on the site, and some of the videos are really interesting, and there’s support for Flash, HTML5, MPEG, and OOG.

So regardless of who you are, search engine optimization specialist, web-master, graphic designer, etc., and regardless of how you use the Wayback Machine, or other Internet Archive features, it’s a great service that runs on donations…

Yes, your donations.

Thanks! ;)

 

SEO news blog post by @ 11:45 am

Categories:Articles,html 5,Misc

 

 

December 7, 2011

Facebook Exploits Reveals Zuckerberg Private Images

A recent exploit in Facebook was discovered that allows anyone to view another to see images that are marked as private. On Monday a user of a popular bodybuilding forum placed a post entitled "I teach you how to view private Facebook photos" which involved the exploitation of security systems meant to stop users from posting explicit material on the site.

Zuckerberg with chicken

The hack involved flagging a public profile picture as "inappropriate" (typically due to nudity or pornography). The intruders were then offered the chance to report more photographs posted by the same offending user. The Facebook system would then present the would be hacker with a thumbnail gallery of other private images, which could then be enlarged by making a simple change in the browser address bar and downloaded to the hacker’s computer.

It seems that even Facebook’s privacy controls are not as safe as touted by the popular online social giant despite many ongoing attempts to revamp them. A Facebook spokesman said: "We discovered a bug in one of our reporting flows that allows people to report multiple instances of inappropriate content simultaneously". Facebook appears to have corrected the exploit very quickly but not fast enough to stop the forum poster uploading private pictures of Mark Zuckerberg as evidence that the hack was successful.

zuckerberg chicken dinner
Priscilla Chan & Beast

The 14 pictures were posted anonymously on an image sharing website under the heading "It’s time to fix those security flaws Facebook."

Included in the leaked photos were a series of candid shots involving Zuckerberg’s girlfriend, Priscilla Chan and his Hungarian sheepdog puppy, “Beast.” The private photographs also include a picture of Zuckerberg holding presumably dead chicken by its legs and another of him holding a plate of breaded chicken and chips; Zuckerberg has stated previously that he only eats meat from the animals that he kills himself.

This exploit comes at a sensitive time for the social giant. Last week Facebook admitted "a bunch of mistakes" after American regulators accused it of "unfair and deceptive" privacy practices. The Federal Trade Commission investigated a series of controversies over sharing user data with advertisers, access to user data by third party apps and changes to privacy settings that made more user data public without warning.

SEO news blog post by @ 10:44 am

Categories:Facebook

 

 

December 6, 2011

Couped up with Google Verbatim Searches

Still upset that Google changed the + functionality in searches? Haven’t tried the verbatim search option, or you have but it didn’t match what you were expecting? This is a blog post for you, the dear + lover seeking to restore your lost Google-Fu.

Lets say you were hoping to search for a place to store some chickens, you could search for chicken coop, chicken coup, chicken coupe, and probably a ton of other variants while always getting the result for “chicken coop”.

a chicken coop

Great times! Now what if you were searching for a not so famous musical group, from the deep south, with ‘Chicken Coupe’ as the only part of the name you can recall? Searching for Chicken Coupe would get you the above results and wishing you could get an exact match.

In Google Adwords the exact match is done by putting square braces [around] a word. Sadly, putting square braces around a chicken coupe still doesn’t get the result we want?

a chicken coupe

Until Google realizes they passed up a handy way to keep their tools in harmony, the result we want is still two more clicks (seriously) away.
more tools
The first step is to let Google know we mean business by clicking on ‘More search tools’.

Why this is located at the bottom left of everything?
Google is concerned about our neck and spine health?
First person with a theme or script to put these options on the first page gets an honourable mention…

EDIT: Adding ‘&tbs=li:1′ to searches seems to be a quick way to toggle verbatim?

So if you have custom search engine entries, you could add a ‘v’ short cut set to something like this (Chrome syntax):

{google:baseURL}search?q=%s&gl=us&num=50&tbs=li:1

A ‘v’ entry with the above code would look like this:

verbatim search shortcut

(Each time you type ‘v’ the browser will search for the next word using the ‘verbatim’ search option)

verbatim search
The next (and final) step:

Now that you’ve forced Google’s hand into showing you more search options..
.. you should see ‘Verbatim’ at the bottom of the list?

Click on that link and the results should change?

If all went well you should be a lot closer to the music you had in mind when you started this search.

This is also VERY handy if you use Google to spell check exotic/localized words.

Just keep an eye out for the blue ‘learn more’ bar and it will tell you when you are doing a verbatim search.

SEO news blog post by @ 10:46 am


 

 

November 28, 2011

Sale at BOTW

One of my big favorites among the directories is Best Of The Web and for today they’re running a sale at 50% off. This is the largest single discount I’ve ever seen them offer and so today is a good day to submit your site or blog to their directory.

One of the many things I like about BOTW is that you can get lifetime listings and at 50% off that listing costs less than a Yahoo! annual fee. Not to say Yahoo! isn’t worth it … just that (dare I say) it isn’t AS worth it from a dollar-in-dollar-out ROI perspective.

They don’t extend their deals and I doubt as though we’ll see 50% off anytime soon so my recommendation has to be to do it today. You’ll have to use the promo code STUFFED50 during your submissions process. You can do so at http://botw.org/. Needless to say, I’ve already submitted a number of sites. :)

SEO news blog post by @ 2:02 pm

Categories:directories

 

 

November 25, 2011

Another iFrames test

Back on November 7th Beanstalk’s Ryan Morben decided to run a test on iFrames to see how they get crawled (and to answer the question … do they?)  I had to support the test as we’d been receiving mixed signals.  A good clean test running an iFrame of our own domain containing only text.  The notion was … if a search for that unique string of text produced our page as a result then we know Google crawled it.

The result was interesting … the content got crawled but the ranking page wasn’t our blog post but rather the URL of the frame source itself.  It appears that Google treated the iFrame call as a link more than content on the page.

When we published the results I got an interesting email from Stefano: “I noticed the results of your iframe test showed that google did indeed index the unique phrase. Can you do another test where you load the phrase from a different domain ? Thanks!

My assumption to this question is “yes” based on the initial results however it’s definitely worth a test.  To that end we’re running two separate tests on this, the first we will be running here on the Beanstalk site with the following frame:

The second test location isn’t being released in this post just to make sure the process isn’t gamed.  I’d rather have slow or even no results than false positives.

Stay tuned – as soon as we have conclusive answers as to how it turns out, we’ll let you know.

And until then … enjoy the weekend !

EDIT: We will still be doing a follow-up post with more code examples, but we have results of the first test of iframe text crawling:

Service   Crawled? Indexed?
Bing   no no
Blekko   no no
DuckDuckGo   no no
Google   yes no
MajesticSEO   no no
Yahoo   no no
Yandex   yes no

Essentially this result is what we should have expected.

A search engine needs a crawler to understand the iframe syntax, and since a lot of iframe data is secure or private, there’s little motivation to go that extra mile, and it’s no surprise that the ones that do crawl the frame don’t publicly index the result since that’s just asking for privacy and other issues.

SEO news blog post by @ 4:02 pm

Categories:Code Tests

 

 

November 24, 2011

My Husband Came with Dishes pt.2

In the last installment we learned of my husband’s satellite television hobby and my 15 year long hatred of the dishes affixed to the side of my house.  Through the observation of a passing dogwalker, my perspective was changed and my husband’s dishes were validated.  The whole experience brought to light just how important it is to know the genuine perception of anyone outside your narrow field of vision, i.e. the consumer.  One might even call it a key to survival in business.

We know consumer perception is how the public sees your business, but reputation management is how you want the consumer to see your business.  Two very different, but related things.  In the simplest of terms and in the context of SEO/SEM etc, reputation management occurs through the creation of a feedback loop and constant monitoring of search results.  Data components are determined, tracked, reported and analyzed.  Toss in the algo-antics of the almighty Google and, well, let’s just say thank goodness for pale-faced techies whose idea of fun is watching other people’s breadcrumbs at ten o’clock at night.

What if my husband were the client and the dishes were his website? I would have spent 15 years quietly ranting about the ugliness of his site. I would still have taken his money of course,  but as just an SEO it would not have been part of my repertoire to change the site.  I would have relied upon spam. Then the dogwalker came by and forced every SEO to become a marketer.  In this post-Panda period let’s call it what it is: online reputation management.  Those days of quietly spamming every blog and forum in existence are as dead as disco (and thank goodness).

We know consumer perception and reputation management are related through one factor: control.  And we now know online reputation management is really about manipulating search results and public opinion, in essence controlling what information users will be given when they do a search (beit on Google, Facebook, Yelp or otherwise).  Now  those factors we control have to be attractive to search engines.  We have to decorate the dishes.  We have to make them more authoritative and unique.  In some cases it only takes a bit of paint and a modern day Rembrandt.  In other more challenging situations, a completely new house is needed before the dishes can even be seen.  Once again, and for the good of organic search results, we are left with no other choice than to listen to the dogwalker.

 

 

SEO news blog post by @ 9:20 am

Categories:Articles

 

 

November 23, 2011

My Husband Came with Dishes

My husband came with dishes, and I learned a long time ago to accept them.  These aren’t your Grandmother’s Norman Rockwell dishes depicting sugary impressions of the so-called ‘American dream’.  They aren’t even the kind of dishes I can serve a lovely red Thai curry on.  They are satellite dishes.  Large grey, ugly satellite dishes affixed to the side of my otherwise attractive home.  Right now there are only two, but there have been times when I had to painfully admit all five dishes were in fact not a cruel joke.

dishes

Being someone who was born and bred in middle-class Canada, my first concern with the dishes was not their lack of aesthetic appeal.  It was “People will think we are couch potatoes!  TV  is not THAT important to me!”.  But I love my European husband.  He comes from a place where satellite dishes are like toilets, if you don’t have one then you are very, very poor.  And besides, he needs his soccer.  So I put aside my egocentric concerns and pouted the other way while the dishes went up.  I even helped.  For what seemed like hours, I stood watching the television screen, shouting signal readings out the window while he adjusted his LNB’s (they could be miniature rocket launchers for all I know).  I am good wife, yes I am.

Then one day I was taught a lesson.  My husband was up on the roof doing some sort of mysterious repair to the chimney, when along came a gentleman walking his dog.  Upon seeing my husband on the roof, the dogwalker began asking all sorts of questions about satellite television.  And at that moment my husband was uplifted both in elevation and ego.  After 15 years of his wife quietly hating those fugly dishes, here was a complete stranger mistakenly assuming he was a professional satellite installer – because of the fugly dishes!  The gentleman didn’t think we were TV addicts.  He didn’t care if we were lazy or liked to watch Jersey Shore (we don’t).  This man simply saw a potential source of information on a fairly obscure subject. Finally, my high strung, forgiving, intelligent, patient husband was validated for his dishes.

The lesson I learned was in perspective.  Call it what you want, but clearly my experiences put a great deal of importance on the aesthetics of our home, particularly when it came to how we were perceived by the public.  So much that I lost sight of the existence of differing perspectives.  In business, understanding how consumers perceive the face of the business is a lot like using Facebook.  Once you get to know the new arrangement, it changes again.  The internal influences of consumer behavior will always be comprised of the usual elements; lifestyle, personality, personal finance, knowledge, attitudes, feelings etc.  And those characteristics shuffle around as they are affected by external factors such as, culture, sub-culture, ethnicity, class, experiences, family and the ever-ambiguous market mix.   Shifting and shuffling on both sides means the perception of the consumer ebbs and flows.

When you have an online business, your website is your face to the consumer.  People spend thousands and thousands of dollars on making their website just right for their consumers.  But assessment of your customer base cannot end there.  With the evolving state of consumer perception, needs and desires change.  Now here comes the important bit: every business owner needs a dogwalker.  You cannot always be the one quietly freaking out because ugly grey dishes are all over your home page.  Step back and trust the word of an outside perspective.  The key word there is TRUST.  Get someone fresh to assess your business, website or just the homepage.  Their external and internal influences will differ from your own, allowing them to see things you cannot. Listen to the dogwalker.

SEO news blog post by @ 9:04 am

Categories:Articles

 

 

November 22, 2011

Welcome to NewTube – HTML5 + Sneak Peek Tip

YouTube and Google have been update crazy this month. Apparently the Google engineers are doing more than growing facial hair and thinking about their tongues.

New YouTube Start Page

The image above is a sneak peek at the new YouTube start page. It wasn’t intended to be public but a single command can enable anyone to use it right now.

This command will give you the cookie you need to see the new layout:
javascript:document.cookie=”VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE=ST1Ti53r4fU”;

To enter the command in Chrome, you can paste it into the address bar and if it removes/culls the “javascript:” part, just put it back in and hit enter. Now you’ll have the cookie and going to YouTube’s homepage will show the new screen.

Optionally with other browsers you can get into the developer console and run the javascript command from there.

If that’s not enough fun for you, HTML5 features are almost completely caught-up with Flash versions of the YouTube player, and in many ways it’s better.

No tricks needed here, just head over to the YouTube HTML5 page and click on the ‘Join’ button on the bottom of the page.

Once that’s done you should notice a much different menu when you right click on videos that support the HTML5 player:

HTML5 Video Playback on YouTube

One other “TIL” was the speed test pages linked from the HTML5 page:

Performance tests on YouTube

Performance graphs on YouTube

And even a real-time streaming benchmark:

Performance graphs on YouTube

From the looks of things this could be the year that YouTube drops flash entirely, or at the very least makes it the ‘other option’ with HTML5 as the default. I’d personally love to uninstall flash and that would be one big hurdle down if YouTube switches completely. *fingers crossed*

SEO news blog post by @ 10:53 am


 

 

November 21, 2011

Boxing Yahoo Site Explorer

Today is a sad day for those of us in the SEO industry. Yahoo Site Explorer is being boxed for good and as of today will be the last day you will be able to use it. Yahoo announced on Friday 18th that they would be that they would be shutting down the service. Many in the SEO industry are regarding this as the final demise of Yahoo Search.

yahoo storage box

“With the completion of algorithmic transition to Bing, Yahoo! Search has merged Site Explorer into Bing Webmaster Tools. Webmasters should now be using the Bing Webmaster Tools to ensure that their websites continue to get high quality organic search traffic from Bing and Yahoo!. Site Explorer services will not be available from November 21, 2011.”

This follows through on a previous announcement from July 11, 2010 that they service would soon be suspended due to falling use of Yahoo and the transition of Yahoo to Bing.

“In an August 2010 blog post, we said we would continue Site Explorer with a focus on new features for webmaster community, even after the transition to Microsoft platforms is complete. We listened to your feedback, and along with the team from Bing Webmaster Center looked jointly at the roadmap for the webmaster tools. Having two webmaster portals for a single source for organic results does not add enough value. Once organic results are transitioned to Bing in all the markets, we plan to shut down Yahoo! Site Explorer and Microsoft’s Webmaster Tools will be the source for Bing and Yahoo! webmaster site and analytics data.”

Yahoo Site Explorer went live in September of 2005 and was the progeny of Tim Mayer from Yahoo. It has been a powerful mainstay of the SEO industry ever since it’s initial launch. While most of us in the industry knew this day was coming, it is still tragic news for many SEOs who have come to rely on Yahoo Site Explorer as a free, comprehensive and search engine backed competitive analysis link tool.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:00 am

Categories:Bing,Yahoo!

 

 

November 17, 2011

Understanding the Adwords auction process

As online advertising continues to be a more prominent source of revenue for both big and small businesses the importance of Google’s Adwords advertising program has also increased, emerging as the premiere method of advertising on the internet. Despite this rise in useage, many businesses still lack a thorough understanding of exactly how the Adwords process works, which is to say, they are likely spending a significant amount of advertising money on something they do not completely understand. No wonder then that many campaigns are not nearly as successful as they could and should be.

Yesterday, Wordstream released a Google Adwords specific infographic in which the Adwords auction process is explained for potential clients in an easy to follow presentation. The infographic illustrates precisely how Google determines which ads will be shown and how much money the ads will cost (click image for full printable version).


While the infographic is relatively easy to follow and understand, a simple explanation of Adwords can be defined as follows: The Adwords auction process is structured so that all bidders can win; an Adwords bidder need only pay the minimum amount required to beat out the person below them.

When you use Adwords, your ad will appear along the very top or along the right hand side of the organic Google search engine results. The rank of your ad is directly related to your traffic and your traffic is related to a number of relevant factors:

Quality Score – Rating that search engines assign to each keyword chosen by an advertiser
Click Through Rate (or CTR) – Percentage which expresses how many people are seeing your ad and then clicking it
Bid Price – the price per keyword an advertiser is willing to spend to gain a click
Ad Relevance – Relevance of the text in an ad in relation to keyword

Also in direct relation to the factors shown above is the landing page. It makes very little sense to go through the time necessary to set up an Adwords account and attain and drive traffic that ultimately takes a user through to a page that is not relevant to the ad they’ve just clicked on – you’ve wasted their time, and worse, you’ve wasted a part of your budget. The landing page is often the ‘Achilles Heel’ of many Adwords campaigns – a sensible course of action would be to have these pages built around the following criteria:

- Easy to navigate
- Load quickly
- Keyword enriched content relevant to the searched word

Landing page relevance factors heavily into Quality Score; quality score affects cost per click (CPC) as well as eligibility in the keyword auction process.

Each step of the Google Adwords auction process informs the the next step required to build and maintain a successful Adwords campaign. If you are an advertiser considering using Adwords to expand revenue, get up to speed and ensure you have a thorough understanding of how the entire process works before you spend any time or money on a campaign. Understanding the auction process is the first step towards success.

SEO news blog post by @ 3:36 pm

Categories:adwords,Articles

 

 

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