Blog Post Title

What goes into a blog post? Helpful, industry-specific content that: 1) gives readers a useful takeaway, and 2) shows you’re an industry expert.

Use your company’s blog posts to opine on current industry topics, humanize your company, and show how your products and services can help people.

fantasy keepers 2016

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Dammit email people, are you even trying anymore?

This is embarassing.

I’m used to getting those spam emails from “Best Delhi SEO” @gmail.com but this is so outrageously random I actually had to post it. I’m half thinking about responding to see what this is all about and maybe get a nice fun post about it.

But seriously. I want to start with how I went through this email, give you a bit of email marketing experiences gone bad.

1. The Subject Line

the first thing that stood out to me was the Subject line. Arguably the strongest part of your email, maybe behind your brand name.

WordPress chicago

Hey! not bad, I use wordpress and I live in Chicago that’s pretty relatable right? Considering they didn’t have the decency to capitalize the “C” in Chicago is already a detriment to the email. But what the hell I don’t get a lot of emails that say that so might as well click on it right? Get your grammar right people.

*Click*

mother of god

Nothing better than a:

Hi,

blah blah blah blah.

Thanks,

Sent from AOL mail

Maybe they’re thinking differently and going the Apple route and making everything simple with a white background. Wait… are they serious about that sender?

2. eurodancemixes@aol.com

Dammit eurodancemixes I understand the gravitational pull that the euro dance mix effect has on our generation, with their drugs and their lasers and smoke – but dude. I can’t take you seriously with that account name.

Especially when…

3. wordpresschicago.com

You’re trying to sell me an obviously spammy domain that’s brand is already owned by a multi-million dollar company. It has no links pointing to it (yes I checked) and provides no value to me, or anyone that has the slightest hint of what they are doing.

I wonder how many people got this email and thought to themselves, oh! I should buy that domain it’ll make me a ton of money! Which takes me to

4. kcups??

What the fu… well, I do have a Keurig. and this will definitely help with the euro dance mix I listen to while I work on building wordpresschicago.com and dominating the internet.

Rant over

Sorry people. I know this was a pointless post but seriously, don’t spam people with useless shit. I hope this guy didn’t spend any money blasting it out or at least didn’t spend time working on this email. That would be very depressing.

And get a gmail account. What is this the 90s?

Lol @ Grubhub. Their job posting asks me to "fax resume"

LOL. Oh Grubhub. Showing off their mad technology. But all in all, Grubhub is one of my more favorite companies in Chicago. I didn’t apply for this position since I like where I’m at – but they are one of the best rising companies in Chicago. Thank god for having some sort of premiere tech here in Illinois.

Just update your damn resume to a minimum of an email. heh.

Google testing filter options on search result pages

Is Google experimenting with Filter options on search result pages?

I was searching around the web for some search results for my company quill.com, and forgot to turn off my user agent when I noticed the left sidebar. It could be an older test since I didn’t even notice my results still had underlined search results.

It’s at the top of the fold and easily viewable by the users. It seems to be focused on search times, view history, and an exact natural search instead of synonym, or semantic search.

It seems like Google is testing another feature on their search results page. Here is a quick definition of each of the filter options that Google has. (The example search keyword I am using is office supplies – which is oh so exciting.)

Anytime
Anytime is what naturally occurs when you search for something.

Ex. When I search for “office supplies” all of the results come up normally.

Past Hour
Past 24 hours
Past week
Past month
Past year

These are relatively self explanatory (results I’ve clicked on the past hour, 24 hours, week etc.) so I won’t waste your time on that. The interesting part to me is that I some of them seemed unfamiliar. Using the gallery below this post, the Past 24 hours search results showed bradsdeals which I don’t remember going to? Maybe I did and don’t remember or maybe that was just a bug in the system. That was all I found interesting from this point.

The rankings seem to match the mysterious Google algorithm, it just filters out links according to the option you chose.

Maybe I should ask if they want me to implement some faceted navigation :D. moving on…

All results
All results is the normal search results that come up, filtered by the option you chose for timetables. Simple enough.

Visited Pages
These are the pages you have previously visited

Not yet visited
These are pages you haven’t clicked through to

Verbatim
Exact search. No semantic search, no synonyms. The results are exactly what you typed in.

Reset tools
Back to the original results we go!

The most interesting filter option on there.

the Not yet visited
This is a little more interesting, especially for ecommerce. I say this because if shoppers come into the through search results and begin to normalize using these filter options.

Shoppers can begin to do greater research and possible find page 2, 3, even up to page 5 rankings.

How does this happen you ask?

Well, I know when I’m shop around online I always price check all competitors, check different reviews, try to find out as much information about product quality, and pricing between several different websites. Since I’ve seen users becoming more accustomed to shopping through navigation I find it interesting if they click this Not yet visited button, it would effectively eliminate any pages they’ve already seen and start bumping up second or third pages to the front of the results.

From that perspective it seems that Google could be on the verge of their own version of filtered navigation. Hm. Interesting.

[print_gllr id=1204]
Here is a gallery of the different results I saw for the keyword “office supplies”
[slideshow gallery_id=”2″]

So in conclusion, Google looks like they are testing some filter options. They seem to give searches the ability to filter by time, visit history, or exact keyword match. The most interesting part of these filter options is if searchers become used to using the Not yet visited option. It gives people the ability to do more in-depth research on a product, it gives lower ranked websites a better chance at converting customers. So let the conversion wars begin.

humanity chooses more than an existence of mere survival

I read something on Reddit that I thought was awesome. So awesome I wanted to place it into my random thoughts category. The backdrop of the story was someone sharing an article about space and time, and being closer to exploring other galaxies – but I tl;dr’d that. It was a response to this comment that was really awesome.:

Is this really something a regular guy working hard to eek out his existence REALLY needs to know or is it just something you physics types get all tingly in your underpants about?

Imagine you woke up naked in a field, in the middle of nowhere. You have no idea where you are, or how you got there. What do you do? First, you’d probably go into survival mode; you’d look for the basic necessities to sustain life: water, food, and shelter from the elements.

Once you had everything you needed to stay alive, and you knew that, if nothing else, you could at least remain in your current location indefinitely, you might start to wonder what in the hell happened: one minute you’re bouncing around Reddit, the next you’re bare-ass in the middle of nowhere.

After you come to grips with the reality of the situation, you’d probably want to try and figure out where in the hell you are. You might try and look for clues from your environment or maybe a constellation you recognize, or perhaps you decide to do a little exploring around the immediate area, to see if there’s anything around that could give you some clue as to where in the hell you are.

Let’s say that your efforts reveal that you’re in the middle of Africa. Once you’ve figured out where you are, you only have two choices left: stay there and simply exist as long as you can, or attempt to get back to civilization; either option has it’s own risks.

If you chose to stay where you are, then that’s essentially it for you, you now know how your future will play out: you’ll remain at your current location until you either die of old age, or your area becomes unable to sustain life. Either way, the game is over for you; your entire existence becomes about survival, and you’re just running out the clock until, at some point in the future, you cease to exist.

Maybe you decide to try and leave a message for someone to find in the future, maybe you’re content to simply fade off into oblivion, either way, your fate is sealed.
Now let’s say you decided to try and get back to civilization. Since you know where you are, your logical next step is going to be to try and figure out someplace to go, and then of course, how to get there. Now you have a goal, something you’re striving towards. Life ceases to be about mere survival and becomes an epic journey to get you where you want to go.

This is the timeline of humanity. We woke up with nothing, on a little rock, in the middle of nowhere. We figured out how to survive, and we struggled to come to grips with our own reality. Then we started exploring, trying to find out just exactly where we were in the Universe. Now we’re faced with the same choice: exist, or move on.

You ask if it’s something that a “regular guy REALLY needs to know”, to me it’s the most important thing he/she needs to know: that humanity chooses more than an existence of mere survival. That humanity chooses to move forward and keep exploring and expanding. To know that, even though we might never make it, at least we’re making the effort. That we have hope.
The alternative is to simply run out the clock and wait to fade off into oblivion.
/u/Gekko_the_Great, a regular working man.

Original source

Trying to test this affiliate link.

Google's testing new SERP layout

So there’s been talk about a new interface Google is testing. It focuses on taking away the underline from their search result links and making the titles a little bit bigger. Above is an example of the new Google SERP page interface. (The left is me signed in, the right is incognito mode).

So I finally experienced it and I thought it would be helpful to list some of the changes I see:

changes

The Ad changes. This isn’t a new one but it’s still a difference. before google advertisements had a background a light beige color. Some fun facts – as Google’s ad program began to evolve the background color began to slowly become more translucent and harder to see (also depending on your OS and monitor) However after some legal actions and the law getting involved they were told to make them distinct ad’s. So their solution was more of a loophole in taking away the pretty much branded background color and making it a small “Ad” text with a prominent color. Ha.

No more underlines in Google SERPs. Well then. Cleaner display. I kinda like it. Doesn’t seem to change to much on the SEO front though. We’ll see how long it takes bing to change their fonts.

Bigger font on the title takes the highlight them on both the advertisements and natural search results. This is more interesting. It attracts the eye a little bit more and probably will require a call to action on each search result. We’ll see how this plays out

Less characters showing due to the bigger fonts on title tags. This will be interesting because most SEO’s try ot make the most out of their pages with their optimizedtags. The more interesting part about this though is

a new Google Mobile SERP display with bigger fonts Mobile devices already get the short of the stick on title tags in Google. With bigger fonts, this could descrease the length of the title tags even more than desktop. Leaving little room for a call to action or a long-tail keyword.

How does this affect Ecommerce SEO?

Ecommerce websites are very difficult to scale. So when Google changes their interface to lessen the character counts or change font sizes it could potentially throw a bunch of an SEO’s hard work out the door.

The problem with this is that there is a drop in a couple characters depending on the device you are using. This isn’t too big of a deal – but in rare, long-tail cases, this can kind of affect how your title tag looks.

A solution to this might be to remove call to actions in your title tags or better target your keywords for a little bit shorter tail key phrases. Me though? Keep things the way they are and trust that consumers can understand what our results mean and why they should click through 🙂

Conclusion

This isn’t going to affect SEO much so it doesn’t matter too much there. But it does make the page look much cleaner and more modernized. The biggest affect being the lost of a few characters on both mobile and desktop devices.

I would suggest keeping your current meta tag strategy going for now. Unless Google decides to slowly up their font to size 18 Arial. Then I would probably start using Bing. Oh please don’t let me use Bing.

Time for everyone to go secure – https?

In October of 2011 the search king Google went secure.
In 2012 – 2013 Safari, Mozilla, and Bing did the same.
In January 2014 Yahoo finally joined the club to make 99% of the worlds digital information completely secure.

Well, that’s awesome! But not for SEO’s. Secure searches mean keyword data, referral data go out the door and that leaves us in the dark with a flash light trying to find our way. With Yahoo going secure they’ve taken away our batteries and now we only have an empty tool to defend ourselves. Nevertheless we will prevail!

I work for an enterprise level ecommerce website and the news of losing data comes at a large loss. It’s hard because our SEO numbers have been on the uptrend without paying much attention to Yahoo.

So why does this matter you ask?

Well ~6% of our traffic comes from Yahoo and with the new secure search, our Yahoo referral data will become direct load (according to omniture). In short direct load is someone coming directly onto our website without coming through any type of marketing channel. So that box in your web browser, someone types in the exact domain address, that equals direct load.

This means we lose 6% of our SEO traffic to direct load by the time Yahoo goes 100% secure (which is aimed at March 2014). The problem is with high level reporting direct load is such a large number that 6% of our traffic attributed to it doesn’t look like much of a dent. When you get more granular you notice a little dip in our allocated traffic which might not look to good.

It’s ok don’t panic. I’ve got a solution.

And I found it on Danny Sullivan’s post on searchengineland.com here I knew about most of the information before getting this article but there was one quote/tweet thread I read that I found very useful.

By the way, when it comes to searches that lead to secure servers, Yahoo appears to be following standard protocol and passing along full-referrers. However, as most sites are not secure sites, most publishers won’t receive this information.

Bam. There it is. By making your website secure itself (https) Yahoo will pass referral data because it follows standard secure server protocol’s. The twitter thread that explains most of it is located here.

So there you have it. search referral data becoming direct load can be offset by making your own website secure. Might even be some good PR around it (that’s a shout out to my old manager) 🙂

If you’d like to find out more feel free to contact me, or tweet me. I’m here all day folks

Where did my Google+ picture on the search results go?

So I’ve done a terrible job of keeping up with this website. In fact I didn’t even notice my G+ picture was gone from my serp! Picture for reference:

Andrew Liwanag no Google+ Picture

Knowledge graph was still there.

Google+ URLs in search results still had me pasted on there.

What happened to my Authorship?!

is clearly in my view source and the G+ page is linked to my website. Maybe since I took a nice friendly URL it unlinked it from my account. We’ll see if that test works out

I’ll update a little later.

UPDATE: IT’S BEEN FOUND

found g+

So I figured out it happened right along the time I changed my G+ URL to “/+andrewliwanag30”. I guess the rel= didn’t transfer over and once I changed it to the root URL it fixed itself. Bam!

2013 Search Ranking Factors by Moz.com

Listing this as a resource for myself. From Moz.com

Added on stuff…

Page Contains Google+ Authorship Markup-0.03
# of Google Adsense Slots in The Page-0.03
Domain has Numbers (example123.com)-0.03
# of Hyphens in Domain Name-0.03
Total Area of Adsense Slots on Page-0.04
# of Characters in the Title-0.04
URL Contains Hyphens-0.04
Total Length of the Full Domain (www.subdomain.pld.com)-0.09
URL Length in Characters-0.10
Response Time of Page in Seconds-0.10

more added on stuff…

Domain Level Anchor Text

These features describe anchor text metrics—both partial and exact match—about the root domain hosting the page. For example, for the page www.test.com/A, these features are for anchor text links pointing to *.test.com, not just page A.

Over the past two years, we’ve seen Google crack down on over-optimized anchor text. Despite this, anchor text correlations for both partial and exact match remained quite large across our data set.

Domain Level Brand Metrics

These features describe elements of the root domain that indicate qualities of branding and brand metrics.

For this study we tracked domain name mentions in Fresh Web Explorer. The correlations for mentions are relatively high, falling between 0.17 and 0.20 for mentions of the full domain name.

Domain Level Keyword Agnostic

These features relate to the entire root domain, but don’t directly describe link or keyword-based elements. Instead, they relate to things like the length of the domain name in characters.

Although none of these factors were highly significant, we did find a negative correlation of -0.09 with the length of the domain name.

Domain Level Keyword Usage

These features cover how keywords are used in the root or subdomain name and how much impact this might have on search engine rankings.

The ranking ability of exact- and partial-match domains (EMD/PMD) has been heavily debated by SEOs recently, and it appears Google is still adjusting their ranking ability. In our data, we found EMD correlations to be relatively high at 0.16 and as high as 0.20 if the EMD is also a dot-com.

Domain Link Authority Features

These features describe link metrics about the root domain hosting the page (e.g., for the page www.test.com/A, these features are for links pointing to *.test.com, not just page A).

As in 2011, metrics that capture a diversity of link sources (C-blocks, IPs, domains) have high correlations. At the domain/subdomain level, subdomain correlations are larger than domain correlations.

Page Level Anchor Text

These features describe anchor text metrics—both partial- and exact-match—to the individual page (e.g., number of partial-match anchor text links, exact-match links).

Despite Google cracking down on over-optimized anchor text, we found high correlations with both partial and exact match anchor text to the URL, with a 0.29 correlation with the number of root domains linking to the page with partial match anchor text.

Page Level Keyword Agnostic

These elements describe non-keyword usage and non-link metrics features of individual pages such as length of the page, and load speed.

This year’s data showed an interesting negative correlation (-0.10) to page response time.

Page Level Keyword Usage

These features describe use of the keyword term/phrase in particular parts of the HTML code on the page such as the title element, H1s, alt attributes, and more.

The data measures the relationship between the keyword and the document-both with the TF-IDF score and the language model score. We found that the title tag, the body of the HTML, the meta description, and the H1 tags all had relatively high correlation.

Page Level Social Metrics

These features relate to third-party metrics from social media sources such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the ranking page.

Social signals were some of our highest correlated factors, with Google+ edging out Facebook and Twitter.

Page Link Authority Features

These features describe link metrics to the individual ranking page such as number of links and MozRank.

Page Authority is a machine learning model inside our Mozscape index that predicts ranking ability from links and, at 0.39, it is the highest correlated factor in our study.