In an attempt to drive me mad, Google has been posting adsense ads for both Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and for Pedometers to my site. This juxtaposition of doughy temptation and a capitalistic encouragement of my weight loss attempts is the height of evil! Google knows that it can appeal to either side of my nature, and either way my willpower goes, still profit (or maybe they just want me to walk to Krispy Kreme).
I was a little hesitant to install the Disqus comment system, but I took the plunge to see how I liked it and I find many of the features so helpful and superior to WordPress‘s native comment system that I’ve decided to make the switch permanent. The Disqus dashboard, the universal login for all other sites using Disqus, and the ability to reply and delete comments by responding to the notification e-mail are all major reasons that I’ve decided to stick with the switch. There were two concerns that I had that almost had me hit the uninstall:
1.SEO- I’m not an expert in SEO but I have explored the basics and have seen the value that comments on a post can add to your search ranking, so I was concerned about losing that traffic source. In looking into the subject this issue was one that many bloggers had expressed and is one that Disqus is taking seriously. For WordPress users, the Disqus plugin uses their API and there doesn’t seem to be a problem. I did a little experiment to make sure that the Disqus comments are being indexed correctly, and while I can’t say they have the same value as a WordPress comments, what I see is good enough for me:
WordPress comment w/ #1 rank from my post helping people having trouble opening files with an .efw extension:
Obviously not heavily searched terms, but it’s what I could quickly pull from my existing comments, I encourage you to try the same thing for yourself. You’ll also note that there is no duplicate content from Disqus showing in the searches.
2. Not Hosting Comments – The problems with not hosting your own comments were made clear this past week as a database error at Disqus made all comments unavailable for a short time. Hopefully this point will be moot in a month or so as Disqus implements the export to WordPress feature that’s in the works. If Disqus goes down, you’ll still have all the data. It will be a huge reduction in risk and should help sway those bloggers who aren’t quite sure about making the change.
If SEO, or search engine optimization, is of interest to you then you probably saw the recent Google blog post Introduction to Google Search Quality, if you didn’t then take a look – one of the most interesting parts of the announcement was this paragraph that breaks down some of the tools that Google uses to rank search results:
The most famous part of our ranking algorithm is PageRank, an algorithm developed by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who founded Google. PageRank is still in use today, but it is now a part of a much larger system. Other parts include language models (the ability to handle phrases, synonyms, diacritics, spelling mistakes, and so on), query models (it’s not just the language, it’s how people use it today), time models (some queries are best answered with a 30-minutes old page, and some are better answered with a page that stood the test of time), and personalized models (not all people want the same thing).
As a searcher this just means that Google is trying it’s best to get you the best results it can. As a new blogger this means that you should really spend your time writing quality content and think about SEO later because until your site and posts get some age and respectability, you’re just not going to get great ranking. For the more established bloggers and SEO experts this sounds like Google gently trying to sway people away from schemes with a firm statement that Google is interested in the best content for the query, and if you can deliver then you’ll get the best rank.
I don’t think that anything ground breaking was revealed in this post no matter how much coverage it’s been getting, but I did notice one link into the article that peaked my interest, and that was someone who worked on the search team posting on their personal blog. Who better to get ideas about SEO from than someone who works on the team? And even if they aren’t telling any secrets on their own blogs, then maybe their site source will shed a little light on the subject. This particular search team member’s blog was a little used and fairly barebones install of WordPress that offered no insights, so I went looking to the only other source I could think of, Matt Cutts.
Matt works for Google and is well known for his SEO expertise and antispam work. He specialized on white label sites. I expected a search on Google SEO to put Matt at the top of the list and figured that if you looked at Matt’s blog and his source you could probably get some great tips (I’ll leave this as an exercise to the reader) One surprising thing popped up on those results – at the time I ran the search Matt is listed after a Google help page on the subject and by a site titled Google Ranking Factors – SEO Checklist. A page that lists many of the top confirmed SEO tips and tricks along with the rumors that seems to have some backing. Any site that outranks Matt Cutts on a Google SEO search is certainly doing something right so take a look and I’m sure you’ll learn something useful!
Virgle Pioneer – “Earth has issues, and it’s time humanity got started on a Plan B. So, starting in 2014, Virgin founder Richard Branson and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin will be leading hundreds of users on one of the grandest adventures in human history: Project Virgle, the first permanent human colony on Mars.” (be sure to apply!)
Google Wake Up Kit – “The “wake up” notification uses several progressively more annoying alerts to wake you up. First it will send an SMS message to your phone. If that fails, more coercive means will be used. The kit includes an industrial-sized bucket and is designed to be connected to your water main for automatic filling. In addition, a bed-flipping device is included for forceful removal from your sleeping quarters.”
GMail Custom Time – Set the time on your e-mails to anytime (min of April 1 2004 when GMail launched) Only 10 custom time changes a year so use them wisely!
Woot: For April Fools Day, Woot has Woot-Off featuring the same product over and over and over! Click the pictures from the posts to see the power pack on vacation!