Can your site get a Bing Penalty?

Bing Logo

Do Bing Penalties Really Exist?

By stripping away most of your organic traffic, a Google penalty can make or break your website. A Bing penalty is not as dire – but it could still have an impact on your bottom line. I recently was successful in restoring Bing and Yahoo #1 rankings to a site that had dropped off the first page for their head term. Here’s what I did and what you might try if you are in the same situation.

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Does User Experience Matter for SEO?

bad user experience with a donut

Don’t do this to your users !!

I have lost count of how many times a business owner has said to me: I’m good with my SEO, I got my keywords added to my site and I am done.

Well it’s a little more involved in that.

For example, did you know that the user experience of your site may be harming its SEO performance? When you step back and look at the bigger picture, it makes sense. Google has repeatedly said that its top goal is to deliver a great search experience to you, the searcher. If you are clicking through the search engine results pages and getting crappy sites and consequently leaving right away – don’t you think Google notices if enough people are behaving this way?

User Experience and how it matters for SEO was the topic of a recent interview I did for Ann Hession’s radio show: Turning Problems into Profits

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Is Affiliate Disclosure Required in an Email?

Confused on Affiliate Disclosure in Email?

Confused about Affiliate Disclosure in Email Marketing? So am I.

After the beta launch of my SEO for Business Owners course, I’ve been planning to do a more expanded version next year (with a better title). One component of that planning is looking for partners that can help promote the course to reach a broader audience.

If you are not familiar with this business model, here’s how it works.

  1. You find someone that has a business complementary to yours and has (preferably) a big list
  2. They email their list promoting a freebie that you offer such as a free report or free webinar
  3. You then sell your product to your newly acquired prospects
  4. You pay your partner a commission for each person that he/she sent you that bought your product

Of course this is just a high level overview, but that should be enough information for you to get the gist of it. So the question is, do you have to disclosure the fact that you are a partner (or a affiliate) in the email you send to your list?

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Local SEO 101

When I created citations for a business six months ago, I wrote this 101 style blog post while it was still fresh in my mind. Since I now offer a local SEO video module as part of my SEO for Business Owners Course, I’ve returned to it and added even more details. You’ll learn how the local seo ecosystem works and all the basics you’ll need in getting started in local SEO.

local SEO

Get Started with local SEO for Web Visibility

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Google Analytics Setup

In order to know whether you are improving the performance of your website, you need a way to measure your progress. This is where Google Analytics comes in.

Step 1: Create a Google Account

You will need a Google account. It’s easiest to create a gmail account, although it is still possible to create a non gmail account as a Google account.

Step 2: Create an Account for your Website in Google Analytics

Once you have created your Google account, navigate to Google Analytics and click on “Admin”. Enter the name of the account, website and website URL (see below). NOTE: As of April 2014, all new GA accounts use Universal Analytics.
Google Analytics Setup
Click on the “Get Tracking Id” button. Note: Depending on which approach you take, you may need both the UA code and the tracking code shown on the next screen.

Step 3: Install the Google Analytics tag onto your website

The way that Google Analytics works is that when a visitor comes to one of your web pages, a piece of code that has been installed into your website fires and sends the tracking information to your Google Analytics account. So you need to install the GA tracking code into your website in this step. Fortunately there are plugins that make this easy for you.

We’ll use a popular one called “Google Analyticator”. Google Analyticator makes the installation fairly easy and even adds a dashboard into your WordPress admin. This plugin is available in the WordPress repository, so to install just click on “Add New” and type in “Google Analyticator” to find it. Once installed, navigate to the plugin page and click on “Settings” for the plugin.

There are two ways you can use Google Analyticator:

  • Authenticate the plugin with Google: You give the plugin permission to access your Google account. If you want the dashboard you must authenticate.
  • Just use the plugin for tracking: Skip the authentication and go directly to the Settings screen. You will need the UA Tracking id if you skip the authentication.

Most of the settings I leave as is – except the ones I note in the screenshot below:
Google Analyticator Settings

Advanced

If you have many plugins and are concerned about performance, you may want to skip using a plugin and install the code directly into your theme. This is an advanced approach that requires you be able to edit your functions.php file on your server.

In the functions.php file you want to add both an action and the function “add_googleanalytics” as in the below:

function add_googleanalytics() { ?<
Insert the code you copied from GA here.
It should begin and end with <script> tags

<?php }
add_action('wp_head', 'add_googleanalytics');

Google Webmasters Tools Setup

Google Analytics helps you track your website’s traffic. Google Webmasters Tools is the channel Google uses to communicate to you any problem its crawlers might find on your site. You should set both up.

Fortunately once you have Analytics setup, it’s easy to also setup Google Webmasters Tools as it will just verify based on the Analytics code you just installed in your website.

  1. While logged into your Google Account (the same one you are using for Google Analytics), go to Google Webmaster Tools
  2. Click on the red “Add a Site” button (located at the upper right)
  3. In the popup, type in the URL of your website and click on Continue.
  4. Then click on the Verify prompt to complete the setup

Social Blogging at it’s Finest

It’s that time of year again, the #blogsofaugust Google+ challenge!

If you ever wanted to break out of your current blogging rut, try your hand at social blogging on Google+. For a month, make Google+ your primary blogging platform and see what happens. Here’s why I’m taking up the challenge:

  • WebEnso is a blog dedicated to WordPress, SEO and other online marketing topics, I write long form articles that try to fully explore the topic, I often write more than a thousand words per post. With Google+ I can write about anything I want and explore short form blogging. Since I recently digitized my photos, I’m planning to post several this month.
  • You get to meet cool new people.
  • Google+ is better for engagement than any other form of publishing. So if you ever wanted to try your hand at writing and get feedback on whether it resonates, Google+ is a great place to try. I get more engagement on Google+ than I do on Facebook, Twitter and on my blogs.

I’m still planning a few things for WebEnso, a tools resource page and some design adjustments (check out the Google+ badge to the right!). But for this month, most of my writing will be on Google+

If you are interested in joining the fun but aren’t sure where to start read this eweek article from Mike Elgan. On page 2 he says: “Blog about three things: What you experience, what you think and what you make.” That is precisely what I intend to do.

What you need to know about Canada’s new anti spam law

Canada Anti Spam Law Canada rolled out a new anti spam law (the CASL) in late June of 2014. The majority of the provisions of the new law are already in effect (as of July 1st), however there is a transitional period to seek “explicit consent” from people you already have a business relationship with, more on that in a moment.

You might be thinking, I don’t live in Canada, so who cares? Well if you run a business that might have Canadian customers, you have to care. If you have gathered email addresses for a list, it’s quite likely that some of your subscribers are Canadian. And while some of them might have a .ca email address, plenty more will have used a free email service such as gmail or hotmail, so you really can’t tell who are the Canadians on your list.

So you might as well assume that you need to comply with CASL, which is more restrictive than the US CAN-SPAM Federal Act.

I’ve spent some time reading through the law text and various articles, and here’s what I’ve learned. Now I’m not an expert, on any law, Canadian or otherwise, but this post should serve as a starting point. If you want to learn more, I would suggest reading Michael Geist’s articles that can be found on the Toronto Star, since he IS an expert on Canadian Internet Law.

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When your Child Theme CSS changes don’t work

WordPress coding can be frustrating

Why don’t my child theme CSS changes work?

You’ve got your new WordPress theme and love it but you want to tweak it to make it yours. Unless it is a premium theme that supports customizations in the WordPress admin, you need to create a child theme to make the modifications. Why use a child theme? Yes, it can be easier to just hack the theme’s files directly, but if you ever update your theme, all your changes will be overwritten and lost. Which sucks, so use a child theme.

I’ve created many child themes. It’s usually a quick and easy process that takes just a few minutes, especially if you are comfortable with the task of creating a directory on your server.

However recently I ran into issues modifying the CSS of a child theme using the Responsive theme as the parent that took me a long time to resolve. I spent hours looking through posts and the WordPress forums and found no answer, so if you are having the same problem with your child theme read on..

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5 Awesome Things About Google Webmaster Tools

5 Awesome GWMT Tools

My Favorite GWMT Features

Most website owners I meet know about Google Analytics and have set it up (or some other Analytics package) on their website, but not everyone also sets up Google Webmaster Tools (often referred to as GWMT). This is a shame because they are missing out on an important conduit of information from Google about their website. In fact, I’ll go so far and say you are blind if you don’t have GWMT set up for your website.

While Analytics is all about your traffic, GWMT focuses on how your site is crawled and indexed. GWMT is also the place where Google notifies you of any penalties and when malware is detected on your site.

  
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Duplicate Content on Dynamic Websites

This post originally appeared in 2012. I’ve updated it to include more approaches on handling duplicate and similar content. May 8, 2014

A while back, I wrote about how Bing had duplicate content in its index even with the use of some tools that should have removed it. Here I cover the topic of duplicate content on dynamic websites. As you probably know, duplicate content is a common technical SEO problem, and it is frightening easy to get it on dynamic websites.

Duplicate Content isn't Cute

Duplicate Content isn’t Cute

First some definitions

  • Dynamic Websites are websites that are generated in all or in part at the time of access. This is often done by assembling information retrieved from a database. WordPress is an example of a dynamic website. All the content is stored in a database and it is presented as needed in multiple forms.
  • Duplicate Content here refers to duplicate content within a site (not duplicate content across domains). In this case, duplicate content is when more than one page has the same content. Or, put another way, there are multiple URLs that lead to the same page. SEOs also classify pages with very similar content as duplicate content, I touch on this briefly below, but it really deserves a separate post.

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