SEO


SEO Leads to Trolls ?

Another one of those ideas that struck me (that I am sure most folks already knew), but the Internet Troll Brigades out there (specifically the Foreign Actors and belligerent cusses) are simply using SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tricks to insight their brand of silliness.

Think about the basics of SEO:

Reputation

No one will listen if you just come on and say, “Buy my new widget”, you need to build up your credibility out there.

  • You need to build up a good reputation (reddit->karma, Facebook/Twitter->followers, etc.,) so you start by doing the standard tricks:
    • Comment on web sites, posts. That was one of the cornerstones of SEO
    • Post lots of content or information so people get to know who you are and want to follow you
    • If you have a web site Advertise like mad, to get your name out there.
    • Help build up Karma of other folks (in this case other nasty Trolls) by pumping up their ideas and concepts (remember they are using multiple identities to do this).

Advertise

If you are creating a new site, you want to Advertise on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or anywhere you can, to get your name out there. Same is true for Trolls, they simply create phony web sites, and then advertise their malaise news.

The concept of #Fakenews is real, it is just ironic that Trolls adopted it as one of their action attacks on real news. Advertising on Facebook and other players makes it easy to put eyes on misinformation.

Money is the easiest way to build up your SEO, but it is also easy for Trolls too.

Influence

Once you have a reputation it is your influence and credibility that will drive customers to your site. You want your name to become synonymous with the product or area you are in. In my case I try to be mentioned when Canadian Personal Finance is mentioned.

In the Troll’s case they want to cause people to take their opinions as being “good” (or “bad” depending on how they want to manipulate you).

Other Troll Tricks

Trolls also have their own arsenal of tricks:

  • They want you to think everyone on-line that disagrees with you is a Troll. If you are assuming this is the case, they have won.
  • They have deep pockets if they are foreign government based, so they can buy a lot of advertising, unfortunately.
  • Trolls typically have AI based tools to create comments on thematic premises as well. That is a lot more than most SEO folks have (wish I had that). The AI can now create relatively grammatically correct commentary, so are you sure you are arguing with a human? They are leveraging chatbot technologies.

Interesting Links


8 Simple Ways to Clean Up & Optimize Your WordPress Site

Gentle Reader: Normally you know my opinion of Guest Posts and my complete loathing, however, I am making an exception here, as this is a quite useful set of points from COREY JANSEN Marketing Manager, Executive SEO Inc.. Have a read, some good points made here.

Is your once super-fast, super-optimized WordPress site running much slower than usual? Is this effecting your search engine rankings? Maybe it’s time for a clean-up.

But, before you proceed any further, take note that some of the tips mentioned below go in for some deep cleaning. So, you should do a backup before operating any change. You never know when something might go wrong, and you don’t want to risk losing all your precious work.

Get your gloves and start scrubbing!

1.      Clean up the Resized Images that Are Unused

Removing these images is a very good way of obtaining some extra space on the disk. You should know that this measure isn’t necessary unless your site has been online for quite a while or is too image heavy. It this is your case then you should use the “DNUI Delete not used image” plugin to perform a scan of the database and search for pictures that aren’t correlated with posts. After selecting the “Show only image not used” option from the Options tab, the pictures that are being used in your posts won’t show.

2.      Optimization of Tables

The great news is that you can optimize tables without using any plugins. All you need to do is go to phpMyAdmin, select your database, click on Check all, then on Optimize table. You can perform this task even if you have multiple pages.

3.      Get Rid of Spam Comments

It is very likely to get hit by these kind of “bugs”, especially if your site is popular. So, if you wish to get rid of the spam comments from your database, there is a very manageable approach to doing this. Go to the Spam tab from Comments and restore the comments wrongly marked as spam. After that, it is just a matter of deleting the spammy comments by pressing the Empty Spam button.

It is recommended to perform this clean-up every week if your site is prone to having this spam problem.

4.      Removing Old Posts

Surely you have a bunch of posts dating years back that are simply a bit outdated for these times. Change #-of-days with the time and days where you need your posts to start being removed. Also, you would also need to change # with the site ID that you are putting up for cleaning.

5.      Undesirable Plugins and Old Themes

After the frenzy of experimenting with all sorts of plugins, you will find yourself covered in unnecessary plugins that affect the speed of the page loading and your site’s overall performance. The solution is to go to Plugins and carefully analyze which plugins are useful and which aren’t.

Also, old unused themes can relieve the site’s loading time as well, if removed. You can do that from the overlay Theme Details, found by clicking on the theme.

Regarding themes, if it happens that your theme breaks during an event, it is best to have Twenty Fifteen kept in your themes since WordPress will automatically apply it to your site.

6.      HTML

If you are an experienced user, then you might consider using one of the two plugins that clean HTML.

  • HTML cleanup finds the entire HTML from the backend that you want to remove from your posts.
  • Clean HTML will give you a button on the visual editor that enables a very clean and easy removal of the unwanted HTML.

You shouldn’t be lazy about this, though, and manually go through all of these changes since errors can occur and some HTML that you want may be seen as undesirable.

7.      Deleting Broken Links

Both web users and Google’s algorithm are very likely to be a bit annoyed of seeing broken links on your site. So, it goes without saying that you need to take care of them. You can use W3.org to test your links and see if any of them is faulty.

Another option is to try the Broken Link Checker plugin.

8.      Getting Rid of Old Post Revisions

If you wish to gain space on your database, then you can safely use the RVG Optimize Database plugin to erase them. After doing that, the plugin also helps you with optimization of the database and stats that show you the amount of data that has been saved and the actions performed.


Photo by Stuart Miles. Published on 11 March 2013 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Think about Titles

Yes indeed, I shot myself in the foot a little with a Not Well Thought Title on one of my posts (a little too controversial so I have been banned by them). Was it foolish on my part? I will put it down to being a lesson learned on my part, because I think I have enough Social Media coverage these days, not being part of Thruzt isn’t really going to keep me awake at nights (although I may need to start a list of social media sites that have banned me).

I have had some reasonable success with titles that have created big numbers, I Blame the Refs got a huge pop the day after the NFL game where the referees blew the call at the end of the game, and my post about What Does the 4th of July Mean goes crazy every year around the 4th of July.

The new theme seems to have helped a great deal with Google rankings popping up for many of my older posts, and I do seem to be getting a 100-150 page view push every day from old posts (which helps a bit).

I will continue to try to think up more catchy titles for my post, especially with my sarcastic top 10 lists that continue to appear willy nilly as well.


Once You Have 2000 Posts…

The first thing you need to do is go back and do an inventory of what the heck you have written and that in itself is turning into a daunting task for THE Canadian Personal Finance Site, that is for sure.  I am astounded by how much I have written about 6  years and even more astounded by how crappy some of these posts are.

What started this was I installed a plug in that looks for broken links and I have many hundred of those, so I figured it was high time I went back through my archives to see what was back there.

So my cleaning up has started to include:

  • Cleaning up and/or wiping out all broken links (that is going to take a very long time at the end of it all).
  • This causes me to look at  many posts, which helps with the other tasks I have started to take on.
  • Finding the few weird posts I did near the beginning of my blogging career where I went to sites to get stock content. What a load of cods wallop that stuff is, and they have all theses crappy links back to things, so those are being deleted with great impunity.
    • This includes some weird posts that I did early on for ReviewMe and a few others, what I was thinking then I don’t know, but holy cow, what a load of crap.
  • I also look at some of my older posts, which were really just slapped together and not of very high quality, I am making a list of those, to see whether I may just delete them, or simply rewrite them, or reuse the thematic premise, not sure, I will see. I don’t really want to delete these, since they are great examples to look at and try to NOT emulate.
  • It is important to remove as many photos on my site that I do not have publishing rights to. I don’t publish that many photos, so there aren’t many, but having a photo that I don’t have the right to use, is just a headache looking for somewhere to hit. I’ll delete them, although many times, I linked to them, so the link is already dead.
  • Many of my posts have left over meta data and tags from when it was hosted by Google on Blogspot, so it never hurts to clean those out as well. The problem with that is that sometimes, my auto-publish Twitter plug-in pumps them into my Twitter feed, you need to watch for that one. I wonder what Google does with this info when it wanders through my feed? Never hurts to clean up bogus data.
  • This also gives me the opportunity to use the All in One SEO plug-in to tweak things for some posts as well. Always a good idea, to try that stuff out, it is there, you may as well use it.
  • Finally it allows me to clean up some nasty tricks I may have included in my younger age, before I got smacked down by Google (yes, even old folks try to get ahead).

I may think of a few more things to clean up, but for now, that is my basic list of things to get done, and any new ideas that might pop in my head.


Guest Posts: Please Stop the Madness 13

How many requests do I receive for folks who wish to add their content to THE Canadian Personal Finance Place ? This week over ten, and most weeks at least 5 of them, asking if they can write a Guest Post. All of them are from folks who I do not read nor do I know of them. If I ran a corner store, and someone who I did not know walked in and said, “I’d like to run your store today, can I?“, I would give the same answer I give most Guest Post requests, NO!

I realize that most of the How to Create Hype About Your Site newsletters say this is one of the best ways to get traffic to your site (I hope you didn’t pay money to get that advice), help your page ranking and solve world hunger, however, speaking as the person at the other end of the TSUNAMI of e-mails on Guest Post, please cease and desist the Cold Call e-mails.

The few guest post requests I have agreed to over the past year, were actually a referral from other bloggers who I know and trust, who asked me as a favour to help out a new set of bloggers. The Post about the Side Effects of Credit Card Balance Build Up, fit with my point of view and did not heinous inundate the reader with links to sites and weird graphics with hidden crap in them. Yes, I am fully cognizant of the dirty tricks a lot of these alleged “guest writers” pull if you let their content onto your site, and that is the other reason I don’t usually allow guest posts.

I have discussed this with other bloggers (and believe me, I am not in the minority on my opinions of the Guest Post game), and some of them now will simply reply to all Guest Post requests with a form e-mail saying that they charge for guest posts, and they still reserve the right to refuse any content that they feel is inappropriate to their site (the charges range from $20 to over $100). I like this idea, but I am always afraid that someone might take me up on the offer too.

No Guest Posts! Please.
No Guest Posts! Please.

Advice on Guest Posts

Let me give some free advice on how to get your guest post accepted by a site (no this does not mean you should use these on me and no I am not guaranteeing these will work, after all this is free advice):

  • Do not send e-mails to bloggers you do not know, most will simply send you to the SPAM box and ignore you.  You need to have some kind of relationship with the blogger before you approach them about a guest post.
  • Do not send content as part of your initial contact. I have people sending me crap as part of their pleading e-mail asking if they can guest post. I delete those even quicker, until I say I want to see what you can write, don’t send anything.
  • Get to know the blogger, it is Networking that works the best. If I know of you, or know someone who will vouch for you, I am much more inclined to think about your guest post offer.  How to get to know someone? Include a link to their content in your blog, and leave comments (that are not simply, “Hi I really like your content”, I delete those comments quickly too) on their site. Ask them questions in the comments, show you are reading their site and are interested in what they write.  Once you can fake genuine interest, you are more likely to get a favorable response.
  • Write good content for a while, you might just get noticed that way.
  • Maybe enter a contest about writing on some of the sites like Blogengage or something like that. On Blogengage you can show what you can do, and maybe win some money?
  • Figure out what the site you want to Guest Post thinks. As an example sending me an offer of writing a post about how great Pay Day Loan places are is really not going to fly (and  you will get a rude response from me).
  • Think of Guest Posts like a Job Hunt, cold calling does not work at all (or incredibly rarely), you need to build up your network of contacts so people know of you, and will think of you in a good light (not with a “who the heck is this” point of view).

If I have sent you a rude “get lost” e-mail when you have sent me a guest post request, I apologize, for a while I really got miffed at this whole thing. If I have not replied to you, take the hint, you need to build up some credibility with me before I will answer you.

It has taken me many years to build up the megre readership, I don’t need a weird guest post to alienate the few readers I have, thus I shy away from them.


Book Review: SEO Search Engine Optimization Bible

SEO Bible by Jerri L. Ledford

(ISBN: 978-0-470-17500-2) As usual I have not purchased this book, I have, however, borrowed it from the Ottawa Public Library.

This is an excellent book for those who are beginners in the “Mug’s Game” of Search Engine Optimization.(SEO) It explains what the basic concepts of SEO are, and why they are important if you are trying to make money on the web.

The book starts sensibly talking about how you need a plan for how you are going to use SEO on your site (know what you want to achieve so you know whether you have succeeded or not). A good point made is that if you are going to do this, you should use Google Analytics to collect data (again, you need data to know whether you are succeeding or not).

The book then dives into different SEO techniques like the use of META tags on your site to get Search Engine Robots to find your site and be able to classify it, correctly. If you do a “View Page Source” on this page you’ll see which meta tags I have set up for this site too. The key to SEO is the use of Keywords, and the rest of the book outlines well how to get Search Engines to associate Keywords with your web site, and how to get your rank for that Keyword up the list (appearing on Page 10 on Google isn’t your goal).

Very good learning points about Keyword densities (don’t use them too little OR too much), and what techniques you should be using in a Pay Per Click (PPC) environment as well. Their explanation of PPC is useful for “newbies” as well, I learned 1 or 2 things I didn’t know as well. I skipped the section on Advertising keywords, since I was not very interested in that section (yet), but it seems quite detailed on tactics in that area as well.

Content is king, is my credo and the book outlines the importance of not simply putting out a bunch of retread information or some hack-kneed old information, you need to be interesting and fresh to attract and KEEP readers (don’t just do book reviews, as an example, unless your site is a book review site).

The books sections on Links and Robots is again very illustrative and important to understand if you want to play the SEO game. This site for example has very incoming links and whereas my financial site have hundreds of links in which helps it keep it’s popularity. How to deal with Robots is also quite important and the explanations in the book are very helpful. The author’s warnings about SEO SPAM should be heeded, unless you want to be a Black Hat SEO person (i.e. a bad guy).

Analysis of the data after you have implemented your plan is your final goal and deciding whether you have succeeded (and how you might change your plan to create more success), concludes the books content.

Rating:

I always feel that if I get three new ideas from any content it is of value, and I view this book as a useful resource and a good read. I will not be buying it, as I have already noted from it what I want to use, but I would recommend this book if you are starting out in the SEO game.

Good read!