Archive for the 'seo' Category


Will Google murder your niche next?

The trend has become obvious.

  1. Web site owners create niche
  2. Web site owners start making a profit from niche
  3. Google introduces fledgling product in niche
  4. Google destroys the competition by manipulating it’s algorithm or page layout

How much of your traffic comes from Google?  Pop quiz – 99%, 98% or 99.9%?  Yeah, thought so.

Are you next… to be sidelined with:

  • Price comparison (Google Shopping)
  • Video site (YouTube)
  • Business reviews (Google place pages)
  • …your site here…!

Just imagine… as I do – what if your site is the next to succumb to Google’s next endeavor – to be shoved below the fold because they’ve promoted their own product at the top of every single relevant search.  I know for one my best performing sites could be destroyed by Google because they are FED by Google.

For more info and a very interesting read go to James Hussey’s blog here:



Does setting a geographic target on Google Webmaster Tools kill all traffic outside the US? Answer…

Short answer is “absolutely not” (to my disappointment!).

I have a site that is designed for the US and makes income from affiliate links through a service which is directly targeted to US users.  The main problem I have with international traffic is that it often results in a sale quickly followed by a refund since the service typically would not have value for US users.  The refunds hit by Clickbank quality metrics as an affiliate (and also hurt the vendor’s metrics).

About 1% of my traffic came from Canada and I didn’t really want to lose that since the Canadian traffic is still potentially relevant and doesn’t result in as high a refund rate as other countries.

I started the experiment 1 month ago and the results are as follows:

Canadian traffic has actually increased 10% – which is probably due to indexing effects not the geographic targeting change.

Other international traffic has stayed about the same.  It’s much smaller than US traffic as it was before.

So in conclusion setting a US geographic target has *NOT* removed Canadian traffic nor any other country from the incoming traffic.

So unfortunately I’m still stuck with refunds from non-US traffic.


Want faster indexing?

Got a new site and want to get it indexed fast?  Daft question, eh?

The best way I have found is to use a sitemap and tell Google about it with Google Webmaster Tools.  In my experience it can take about 2 weeks for Google to re-index a fairly small site with low PR (0-3).  Submitting an updated sitemap accelerates the indexing or re-indexing process and you can see updated results within 24 hours in some cases.  Larger sites will take longer but still submitting the sitemap makes a significant difference in speed.

I have found that typically the other search engines are less important based on Google Analytics results.  For example on my content sites I typically find 80-85% of the search traffic is from Google.  Bing also supports sitemaps from it’s webmaster tools.  We can always hope Bing will become relevant for traffic!!  But let’s face it Google got to the prime position because they had significantly better technology and usefulness than anybody else.

Do get the site working first with good titles, etc and verify the sitemap URLs.  If you accelerate the indexing with the sitemap but it’s full of mistakes you’re now indexed with all the mistakes.  Mistakes such as missing titles, descriptions or duplicate titles can reduce your page ranking so you wasted that first shot of getting in the index.

Google has an excellent tutorial geared at aiming your site and page construction for good search engine positioning.  It’s actually a pretty comprehensive SEO reference.  Google SEO tutorial.


AOF SEO Site Verifier plugin 1.3.2 released

AOF SEO Site Verifier plugin version 1.3.2 is releasedAOF SEO Site Verifier WordPress plugin allows you to quickly and easily verify your WordPress blog with Google, Yahoo and MSN Webmaster tools.

Download version 1.3.2 of AOF SEO Site Verifier here: AOF Site Verifier version 1.3.2

AOF SEO Site Verifier documentation and installation instructions are here.

Version 1.3.2 is fixed to accept the new Google Webmaster Tools meta tag (google-site-verification instead of verify-v1).


AOF SEO Site Verifier plugin 1.3.1 released

AOF SEO Site Verifier plugin version 1.3.1 is released 

AOF SEO Site Verifier WordPress plugin allows you to quickly and easily verify your WordPress blog with Google, Yahoo and MSN Webmaster tools.

Download version 1.3 of AOF SEO Site Verifier here: AOF SEO Site Verifier plugin version 1.3.1

AOF SEO Site Verifier documentation and installation instructions are here.

Version 1.3.1 now emits lower-case meta tags to be xhtml compliant.


Top 50 generic spam comments

I have a couple of simple content sites served by WordPress blogs.  Due to the nature of the content (if you get my drift) I wasn’t expecting a lot of lively discussion so I didn’t activate Akismet.  However just for grins I left comments open with comment moderation on.  As you may expect, thousands of spam “comments” have been left by people and bots (almost exclusively bots) with varii junk phrases and sentences.  However I found the odd gem which, on a real blog, could have been mistaken for a real comment made by a real person.

So here are the best of thousands which stood apart from the obvious auto-generated word junk, looked like, smelled like and almost walked like real comments or are beguiling enough with fake praise to be mistaken for a real live person reading and caring about your most recent drivel.

  1. Amazine site  Thanks, webmaster.
  2. Attitude is the way you mentally look at the world around you. It is how you view your environment and your future. It is the focus you develop toward life itself….
  3. Beautifull design  Thanks, webmaster.
  4. Cool blog  Thanks, webmaster.
  5. Didn’t realise there was this type of information out there…
  6. disagree…
  7. Do you know if there are any other pages similar to this one?…
  8. Excellent post…..
  9. Found it very useful….
  10. Good post. I am looking into these issues on my blog….
  11. great article…i’ll comeback next Wednesday to read some more…adios
  12. Great job with the info. How did you find it? Please let me know….
  13. Great post, very informative. Have learned a lot from your site….
  14. great…
  15. Have enjoyed your site very much and benefited from the information. Thank You….
  16. Hello, write me back if you get a chance….
  17. Hi – just wanted to say good design and blog -…
  18. hi!, nice job, i’m sure you are interesting in the 2008 website awards, please contact me for details, i think this is kind of websites we are looking for…
  19. I am very impressed with your site. The quality of the design and content makes it a real winner! Thanks again for a great site and a great resource on the net….
  20. I appreciate your effort and the quality of the information you provide. I certainly will folow these recommendations!…
  21. I can not agree with you in 100% regarding some thoughts, but you got good point of view…
  22. I couldn’t understand some parts of this article, but I guess I just need to check some more resources regarding this, because it sounds interesting….
  23. I didn’t agree with you first, but last paragraph makes sense for me…
  24. I discovered your site on bookmarking site…I like it and gave it a fave for you, I’ll be checking  back regularly…
  25. I don’t mean to be too in your face, but I’m not sure I agree with this. Anyhow, thanks for sharing and I think I’ll come to this blog more often….
  26. I found your post comments while searching Google. Very relevant especially as this is not an issue which a lot of peaople are conversant with….
  27. I have seen some crappy posts but this one really impresses me. Good work….
  28. I must have somehow missed it! Guess I should do some other research before coming to a conclusion….
  29. I never thought I will agree with this opinion, but you know… I agree partially now…
  30. I saw something about that on TV last night….
  31. I usually agree with your article content, but in this case I am sorry to say that I do not share your views….
  32. Interesting – because that is the same thing I found out last Thursday….
  33. Interestingly, this was on CNN last week….
  34. I’ve learned so much from this blog.  Hopefully others can find value in my site as well….
  35. Let me know if anyone is still working on this site please….
  36. Many blogs have stopped using trackbacks because dealing with spam became too burdensome.A Trackback is one of three types of Linkbacks,…
  37. Nice site  Thanks, webmaster.
  38. Nice Site. Keep up the good work….
  39. not bad……
  40. Thanks for this post!…
  41. That got me thinking……
  42. The most comprehensive info I have found on this subject on the net. Will be back soon to follow up….
  43. The most thorough and informative information I have found. Enjoyed it immensely….
  44. This article sounds well, but how everything is related together?…
  45. This is a great site, I’ll give a fave on…I’ll be checking back later…
  46. Thought provoking post. Very interesting items and have enjoyed immensely. Please visit my site also….
  47. Very informative. Keep them coming….
  48. Well spoken. I have to research more on this as it is really vital info….
  49. wondered if I made a big mistake…
  50. Your blog is interesting!  Keep up the good work!

Domain names with trademarks… ya really want to do that?

Can you use a brand name or trademark inside your domain name such as or or could Google or eBay shut you down?

It’s best to avoid using trademarks in a domain name – that’s the purpose of trademarks – to protect the use of the name. There are valid uses but even having a valid use can land you with a lawsuit. It’s up to you whether you whether you want to risk it.

Example: Perfume Bay eventually lost their lawsuit (sued by eBay) and are renaming their business to BeautyEncounter. Perfume Bay made a name for themselves via this escapade (unfortunately under their old name) and were featured in Inc magazine, Entrepeneur magazine and numerous online blogs and news stories.

You can read the whole story at MakeNoScents where the owners of PerfumeBay finally (in 2007) decided to start blogging the lawsuit initiated by eBay in 2004.
The blog is at

Apparently eBay sued AutoBay, RentBay and even CoinBay.

If you choose a domain which is designed to confuse or mislead because of a trademark in the name, at the very least expect some attention from the trademark owner. At least be prepared to fight or give in when the lawsuit arrives! And if you use or mis-use a trademark which is actively pursued by it’s owner (eg eBay, Apple, iTunes, Google, etc) then anticipate the letter sooner rather than later!

Assuming you’ve spent time and money SEOing a decent engine position for your site, you’ll kick yourself if you have to throw it away.

[phpbay]domain affiliate[/phpbay]


AOF SEO Site Verifier plugin version 1.3 released

AOF SEO Site Verifier plugin version 1.3 is released

AOF SEO Site Verifier WordPress plugin allows you to quickly and easily verify your WordPress blog with Google, Yahoo and MSN Webmaster tools.

Download version 1.3 of AOF SEO Site Verifier here: AOF SEO Site Verify version 1.3

AOF SEO Site Verifier documentation and installation instructions are here.

Version 1.3 auto-detects WordPress version and uses the appropriate functions to auto-detect the front page. Version 1.1 did not detect the front page on some blogs where the front page was set manually.


AOF SEO Site Verifier plugin version 1.1 is released

AOF SEO Site Verifier WordPress plugin allows you to quickly and easily verify your WordPress blog with Google, Yahoo and MSN Webmaster tools.

Download version 1.1 of AOF SEO Site Verifier here: AOF SEO Site Verify version 1.1

AOF SEO Site Verifier documentation and installation instructions are here.


Don’t kill your search rankings! www. prefix

One of the quickest ways to kill your search ranking (page rank) with Google is to have duplicate content posted at two domains.  For example, exactly the same pages posted at and  Unfortunately Google treats subdomains as separate domains – so if and have the same content they are treated by Google as duplicate content on two domains.  Goodbye pagerank and goodbye search visitors.  And Google does not normally treat www. as a special subdomain.  Sbottom of searcho again, content at and appear to Google as separate domains and hence can create the duplicate content rank killer.

The problem is easy to fix but fix it before it’s a problem!!  You can wait weeks for Google to re-index to the point where your search ranking returns.  On a cash earning site which relies on search visitors that’s instant death and there is nothing you can do but wait.

0) Decide!

No matter which tools you use, the single most important thing to do first is to decide whether you want “www.” or not.  Then don’t change it.  Trust me, it hurts.

1) Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster tools allow you to select whether or appears in it’s index.  Again, never ever change this once it’s set – this can cause Google to double index as it re-indexes your site, hence creating the duplicate content problem!

2) 301 redirects

There are numerous tools and scripts (including WordPress plugins) which you can use to perform a 301 redirect from the prefix you don’t want to the prefix you do want.  Doing this ensures that Google knows which is the permanent page and therefore which one to include in it’s index.

3) Use your host

Both 1&1 and dreamhost allow you to set the 301 redirect automatically.  Dreamhost’s redirect control panel options are mind-numbingly easy to use:add-www

In summary, pick one and stay with it.  As you grow incoming links, you also want them coming in to the correct prefix.  So pick early, fix the problem before it happens and enjoy the income without that horrible sinking feeling that you screwed your pagerank.