All posts by Kathy Alice

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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My Top 5 Chrome Extensions for SEO

If you do on page SEO work on a regular basis, you need some key tools to give you information about the page you are looking at. Some, but not all, of the information you need can be obtained by viewing the HTML source, but these cool Chrome extensions make a lot easier to review key SEO on page settings such as the title, meta_robots and canonical tags as well as viewing the HTTP response headers from a page and even to diagnose a slow performing page. And if you don’t use Chrome? Not to worry, many of these are available as Firefox add ons as well.

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Excerpts in Twenty Thirteen and Other Changes

Twenty Thirteen WordPress Theme

Vibrant Orange Header from Twenty Thirteen

I’m using the latest default WordPress theme, twenty thirteen, for a membership site project that I have been working on.

For this project my needs are simple and so far twenty thirteen has delivered, albeit with some manageable issues.

Turning off comments was a simple one line code change, but implementing excerpts turned into something a little more involved, thanks to some newer underlying functionality that nevertheless complicated the task.

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Should I Create a Google+ Business Page?

Google+If you have a business, the short answer is yes. However a less clear decision is how much you should invest into a Google+ Business page. Businesses struggling with the demands of Twitter and Facebook, may not relish the idea of engaging with yet another social network. However Google+ has some clear SEO benefits that you shouldn’t ignore.

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Why am I not ranking on Bing like I am on Google?

bingMany SEOs will tell you to focus on optimizing your site for Google and that will be sufficient to rank well in other search engines such as Bing. But there are times where it’s useful to look at how your web pages are ranking in Bing, as there are times that pages rank differently in Bing than in Google.

Recently I took a look at a case of a site that was ranking in position #1 for a search term on Bing – but was not even on the first page in Google. The question from my client (who consistently had the number one spot on Google but ranked third or fifth on Bing) was “why is this site beating me out?” I did a comparison of the two pages to see if I could figure out the answer.

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Is Double Opt-in Worth It?

Is Double Opt-in worth it?

Is Double Opt-in worth it?

I’ve given serious thought to abandoning my web mail account. Because I’ve had it for a long time, I have an address that is exceptionally easy to remember which is convenient, but this ease comes at a price. More and more my email address is routinely used as a “fake” email by other people. Although I do have a way to filter these “spam” emails it’s a chore to periodically go and unsubscribe from all these lists that I never signed up for. When I am less cranky about it, I tell myself that it’s an interesting peek into what people do online.

I’ve received invitations to a BBQ party in Wisconsin, a trail of notifications of Christmas shopping purchases in Florida, an admonishment to close the gate from a UK suburb association, numerous car insurance quotes, invoices, periodic pleas from a gaming site to please please come back, and even a notification from a tax software company that the IRS rejected my return.

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Build Rich and Awesome Search Snippets

Three years is an awfully long time ago in the internet age. Let’s take a trip in the Internet way back machine to see what SEO used to be. That’s when we used to think of SEO of as a two pronged discipline, namely on-page optimization and off page optimization. Off page optimization, or linkbuilding has been replaced by inbound marketing as I just wrote recently. On page optimization is still very valid, but it’s boundaries have gotten rather fuzzy.

It used to be all about keywords, keywords, keywords. Keywords in your title tag, keywords in your header tags, keyword density. Keywords are still really important, but so is engagement and user behavior as signals the search engine algorithms pay attention to. It’s not just about getting the traffic, it’s winning the hearts and minds of the user once they are on your site.

You want to take that optimization and conversion mindset and apply it to the little welcome mat that Google builds for your page when it ranks for a search query. Known as a snippet, this is the listing that appears in Google’s search results pages, called SERPs for short.

Rich Video Snippet

Rich Video Search Snippet from

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SEO Friendly WordPress Category Pages

friendly search engine botWordPress is a great CMS and sitebuilder, but one area it can fall a little short is its interstitial pages that are designed to help you navigate a site’s posts via category, author or even date. WordPress automatically generates archive pages for each of these grouping mechanisms, but from the SEO perspective these pages fall a little short in providing unique content that the search engines love.

Search engines such as Google want to see pages that have content that can’t be found anywhere else on the site (or in fact elsewhere on the internet). But WordPress’s default archive pages just show a list of posts for that given category (or author). If the blogger has used the “more” tag, then the post’s content is shown on the archive page up to the tag, otherwise the post is shown in it’s entirety. Either way there is no new content on the page that isn’t already on on the individual post pages. Today we are going to look at ways to modify your WordPress category page to be more SEO friendly.

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5 Ways to Work Around Not Provided Keywords

UPDATE: January 13, 2014. On December 31, 2013 Google updated GWMT search query data to be “less rounded”. If you visit GWMT you’ll see a line marking where the change took place.

UPDATE: September 30, 2013. Last week we found out that Google is extending SSL protection to users that are not signed in. This means that for ALL organic search traffic that Google sends to your site, the keywords will be removed and replaced with “not provided”. At this point in time, Bing is continuing to provide webmaster keywords in the referrer string.

Starting in October 2011, keywords used in secure searches are now hidden from webmasters by Google. This means that in Google Analytics (or in any other analytics tool), keywords from these searches show up as not provided. A secure search could mean the user is logged into a Google account, is using Firefox 14 or is just explicitly using secure search. A lot has been written about this controversial move, which was done ostensibly to protect privacy but did not extend to Adwords.

not provided in Google Analytics

More than 60% of the keywords used to find my site are hidden from me

Although Google initially stated that the change would affect 10% of queries, there are many sites where the percentage is much higher. In WebEnso’s case, keywords for 62% of searches fall under not provided, and the percentage is still climbing. 62% is a huge percentage. This means that more than two out of three keywords used to find my site is hidden from me. So what to do?

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