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It’s Friday night and I thought I’d drop this little Online Marketing Article Roundup into the mix…

One morning this past week, like most mornings, my Inbox was busting at the seams with Online Marketing newsletters, articles, tips, guides and so on.

It’s rare that I have the time to read them, letting my Outlook Filters, Rules and Alerts do their organizing tricks. Of course, with the intention of visiting them at some point in the near future.

But last night, after I finished teaching my Kung Fu class, I opened a few of them and found some interesting reads.

21 Online Marketing Articles to Read Today

We’ve got 6 SEO Articles, 4 Google Articles, 6 Social Media Articles, 3 User Experience (UX) Articles, and 2 WordPress Articles. There may even a Bonus Article at the bottom!

SEO

Google

Google

Social Media

Social Media

User Experience

User Experience

WordPress

WordPress

Bonus

Bonus

Simple Social Icons Fontello

For the Short and Sweet instructions, Click Here. Otherwise, read on.

You’re running a WordPress site and wanted some cool "Follow Me" social icons your users could click on and get social.

So you install the Simple Social Icons plugin (especially if you’ve got a Genesis theme). The plugin is easy-to-use and cool, but…

You soon realize that there’s no options for re-ordering the icons or adding new ones, like Yelp. 🙁

You search online and find links to a few tutorials. Only…They ask you to become a paid member in order to read the tutorial!

This happened to me on a recent site re-design, so after digging around I figured it out and thought I would share. For Free.

Remember: If the plugin is updated, you will have to do this all over again. Unless the developers build in the options in a new release.

Point to remember: The "image" used to link to a site = an icon = a font (think like the font Wingdings) = a Glyph.

The Nine Simple Steps – Detailed Version

Simple Social Icons Plugin Editor

WordPress Plugin editor simple social icons

In the back-end Admin area of your WordPress site, go to Plugins - Editor. Select Simple Social Icons from the drop-down box on the top right and click "Select".

Click on simple-social-icons/simple-social-icons.php.

Open a new tab in your browser and go to www.fontello.com

Open your preferred code editing software. Mine is Dreamweaver. You could also just use Notepad or something similar for this, and use the Edit – Find functions to locate the bits that you will need to work with.

Get your preferred FTP software handy (I use FilezillaIt’s Free :)). If you rely on cPanel, for uploading files, open up a new tab and get it ready.

Write down / type up a complete list of all the sites / icons you will want. Decide what order you want the icons to be in. If you only need to add one site, then there’s no need for this.

Fontello's SERPs for Yelp

Fontello Search – Yelp

Go to the browser tab with www.fontello.com.

Type the name of the first site into the search bar. For example, yelp. The search functionality happens as you type and it will show a list of available icons for this site. In the yelp example, it pulled up two: Font Awesome and Zocial. Pick one and click it.

Look over at the red button on the right, labeled "Download webfont". You should now see it saying (1). This number will increase each time you select one, like a shopping cart.

Go back over to the search box and type in your next one. Click the one you want & Download number goes up. Continue doing this until you have all you need.

If you forget which ones you have selected, click on "Customize Names" and you can see a list. You may have noticed there are many icons available, with only a small percentage being the social website ones.

So if you see one you like (that’s not a website) and select it, make sure you come to the "Customize Names" area, click on the icon’s name after "icon-" and give it a name that you can remember.

You might have to do this anyway on some of them. For example, the name of Flickr’s icon is icon-dot-2, which will probably be hard to remember – even if the icon is actually two dots; so I’d change it to icon-Flickr, but it’s up to you.

Now, once you have all of the ones you want selected, click on "Download webfont (number of icons)".

Save the downloaded zip file somewhere you can easily access it.

Extract the contents to a similarly-accessible location. I tend to use my desktop for temporary use / immediately-available files.

Go to your code editor and open /font/fontello.svg from the folder you downloaded & extracted.

The majority of the code is comprised of <glyph> tags.

There should be one <glyph> tag for every site/icon that you selected and downloaded from fontello.com. But they might not be in the order that you want them in.

Although the order here does not affect the order on your site, it would help to put them in the proper order to make things easier on yourself.

So just take each complete tag, for example:

<glyph glyph-name="youtube" unicode="&#xe800;" d="…numbers, letters, dashes…" horiz-adv-x="857.1" />

and copy and paste them in the order that you want and then save the file but don’t close it.

We will be going back and forth between our the plugin editor in our browser and this file.

Any time you are editing code, be very careful what you select, copy, paste. Moving or deleting any parenthesis, semi-colon, etc. that you don’t need to, will potentially break your site.

Save your work.

Go over to the browser tab with the plugin editor opened to simple-social-icons/simple-social-icons.php.

Luckily, the plugin developers commented their code, so it’s very easy to find what we need to work with.

Scroll down through the page and take a look. PHP comments are usually labels saying "This is what this bit of code below will do" and looks like this:

	  /**
	  * Default widget option values.
	  */

There are three blocks of code that we will be working with, each labelled by a comment above it. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, use the browser’s built-in Edit-Find functionality.

  1. Default widget option values.
    This creates an instance of each of our icons.
  2. Social profile glyphs.
    This assigns each icon name a font number; it’s how our fontello.svg file & this file work together.
  3. Social profile choices.
    This sets up the HTML code (and individual classes for CSS) to display each icon link on the front-end of your site.

We want each of these code blocks & icons to be in the same order as we set up over in fontello.svg.

Let’s look at the first code block, "Default widget option values.".

The first 12 or so lines establish the default CSS values. I wouldn’t suggest messing with these – just use the regular Admin options or CSS to change them. You can if you want, but these values will be the norm defaults.

After that, we start getting into the names of the actual icons.

The one that is listed in my code first is 'bloglovin' => '',. But let’s say I wanted Yelp to be first on my list, as I’ve ordered them in fontello.svg. I would select that line of code and copy. Then put my cursor in front of it and hit enter (re-adjust the spacing) and paste that bit in the new line. And then I’d change the bloglovin text to yelp. Do this for the whole list.

Scroll down to the next code block, "Social profile glyphs." and do the same thing – place the lines of code in the desired order.

Next, we need to edit the values for each icon in this code block. Go back to fontello.svg (you should have been going back & forth between these two anyway, to help you with the order) and look at your first <glyph> tag. Each tag has four attributes, but we are only interested in the first two: glyph-name and unicode.


<glyph glyph-name="bloglovin" unicode="&#xe800;" d="…numbers, letters, dashes…" horiz-adv-x="857.1" />

Grab the unicode value, go back to the plugin-editor screen and paste it into the spot between the single quotes for the relevant glyph. Be sure to include the & (ampersand), # (hash mark) and ; (semi-colon), but not double or single quotes. Do this for the whole list.

Scroll down to the next code block, "Social profile choices." and place the lines of code in the desired order.

Be Careful. An entire section here looks like this:

				'bloglovin' => array(
				'label'   => __( 'Bloglovin URI', 'ssiw' ),
				'pattern' => '<li class="social-bloglovin"><a href="%s" %s>' . $this->glyphs['bloglovin'] . '</a></li>',
			),

Take note of the single quotes and especially the parenthesis + comma at the end.

Use the same process for those custom or newly-created glyphs; grab a block of relevant code, copy & paste it where it belongs in the list. Then change all the name values to be the proper ones, including the li class. There are four places in each block of code where the name should be changed.

If you want to edit the output HTML, go for it. If you’re not familiar with HTML and/or PHP, I’d just leave them alone and only move the code segments and edit the text.

Save the file.

We’re done with the hard part. 🙂 You can close your code editor program after you save your work.

Go to your FTP program or cPanel. Navigate to the plugin folder /wp-content/plugins/simple-social-icons/.

Go to the folder you downloaded and extracted. Move the file config.json into the plugin’s font folder. Yes, you want to replace the one that is currently there with the new one you downloaded.

Don’t worry about the CSS folder.

Move the font folder over to the plugin root folder on your site, replacing the old one.

Close your FTP and code editor programs.

In the Admin area of your site, go to Appearance – Widgets. Drag and Drop the Simple Social Icons widget where you want it. Check it out! There’s your new site inputs and with everything in the right order.

Go to the front end of your site and make sure to flush your browser cache. And then voila! New Simple Social Icons in the order you want, customized the way you want!

The Nine Simple Steps – Short Version

SHORT & SWEET

  1. Go to www.fontello.com
  2. Select icons, Customize the names, Download and Extract
  3. Open /font/fontello.svg in editor & reorder glyph tags
  4. Go to WordPress Admin – Plugins – Editor – Simple Social Icons – simple-social-icons.php. See 3 blocks of relevant code. Reorder & Add/Edit text values.
  5. Replace Unicode values in plugin file with those in the downloaded fontello.svg.
  6. Edit HTML & CSS classes to your liking
  7. Replace config.json in plugin’s font folder with downloaded one (it’s in the root)
  8. Replace font folder with the one you downloaded – ignore CSS folder
  9. Flush browser cache and have fun!
Pagination Duplicate Content and SEO

Pagination and Duplicate Content in SEO

Pagination creating Duplicate Content is a very real issue within SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Pagination is basically breaking up long "stuff" into shorter chunks, with a navigation system to move on to the next or previous piece.

Duplicate Content means pretty much what you’d expect it to mean, however…

Let’s look at what these things are, how they interact, what they have to do with SEO and what best practice to put into place.


Pagination

Wikipedia defines it this way:

Pagination as the process of dividing (content) into discrete pages, either electronic pages or printed pages.


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Paginated content exists all across the internet. Websites paginate in different ways. For example:

  • Long articles divided into several shorter pages
  • eCommerce sites might divide a list of products in a large category into pages
  • Forums often divide threads into URLs of a sequence

Duplicate Content

Wikipedia defines it this way:

Duplicate Content as a term used in the field of search engine optimization to describe content that appears on more than one web page. The duplicate content can be substantial parts of the content within or across domains and can be either exactly duplicate or closely similar. When multiple pages within a web site contain essentially the same content, search engines such as Google can penalise or cease displaying that site in any relevant search results.


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Interaction and SEO Effects

When you take a look at your average SERP, you’re looking at a list of (hopefully relevant) pages. That word, pages is key here. It’s what we optimize in SEO – pages.

Each page should have unique titles, descriptions, and most importantly, content.

So if you break up a long article across several pages, won’t each and every one of those pages have the exact same title, description, etc.? And that, my friends, is the rub.

What Google Says

In short, there are three things that Google says you can do in order to use Paginated Content and still whoop tail at SEO:

  1. Specify a View All page
  2. Use rel="next" and rel="prev" links
  3. Do Nothing

Specify a View All Page

Google attempts to detect the View All version of our content and, if available, its associated component pages. However, to make it more explicit, you can include rel="canonical" from your component pages to your view-all page to increase the chances that your series of pages are found.

Use rel="next" and rel="prev" links

Google’s default is to search for a View All page. However, if you’d like to override this, or if you don’t have a View All page, then using the rel="next" and rel="prev" links would be your best bet.

Let’s look at an implementation example. On the site, www.example.com, there could be an article titled abc and is broken down into three pages.

On the second page, http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=2, in the <head> section, you would put:

<link rel="prev" href="http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=1" />
<link rel="next" href="http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=3" />

Do Nothing

Um… What?

That’s right. Doing nothing is actually a viable alternative in the eyes of Google.

The reason? Paginated content is extremely common, and Google will still attempt to return the most relevant results, regardless of content’s pagination or lack thereof.

My Take

So out of these three options, what would I do?

Sorry but I’m not opting for doing nothing.

I’d honestly suggest doing both of options one and two. Create a View All page for your users; I imagine this may come in handy in other ways as well.

And also use rel="next" and rel="prev" links. This overrides the Google View All default, giving you complete control over Duplicate Content issues, but allows your creation of the View All page to help your users.

Keep in mind, however, that when using the rel="next" and rel="prev" links, they need to be complete and correct; one mis-step and Google will pop back into its default search for the View All page.

And here’s a handy little video from Google putting all this into perspective.

Google Trends

Trends

(Scroll down for the Big List.)

Trends are powerful things.

Knowing what’s hot and happening now in the world can be fun. It can also be a great source of ideas for relevant content, linkbait and SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

As Wikipedia says, "SEO Trending is a technique used by webmasters to write content based on recent events on the web to get more visibility for their websites in search engine results pages."


What are Trends?

Think about this. Trends show the general direction in which something tends to move. They show a possible future, the "buzz" of tomorrow, the next hype, an evolving topic. Or…An opportunity for the SEO-inclined to push their websites up in the search engines, get more backlinks and new traffic.

Now think about this. When there’s hype around something, people will:

  • Speak about it
  • Get curious about it
  • Search for it
  • Share it

How Trend – Spotting affects SEO

What does this mean for the SEO Consultant and/or Webmaster? The trends and the hype provide a framework for a certain amount of success. Here’s some things to do during the hype:

  • People will speak about it
    • Listen to their words (keywords)
    • Join the conversation via Twitter, Social Media, etc. (real time search)
    • Create trust by allowing discussions on your site, forum, blog, etc. (user-generated content)
    • Become an authority by getting them to speak about the relevant pages on your website (backlinks)
  • People get curious about it
    • Understand intent behind the unclear questions and give answers (intent)
    • Give away more – value-added free relevant content (incentives)
    • Use all available channels to give answers (universal search)
  • People search for it
    • Don’t underestimate the rapid increase in search volume (search volume)
    • Google’s "Query deserves freshness" factor will push keywords to the top of the SERPs (SERP Promotion)
    • Create fresh content for these queries (fresh content)
  • People share it
    • Find creative ways of using the hype for Linkbait to get new links (link bait)
    • Actively use Social Media to spread content and generate new traffic (SMOSocial Media Optimization)

Tools to Identify Trends

But how do we identify them? We know they’re happening but we usually hear about them in the now or in the past.

Aside from simply listening in the proper places, there are many paid and free tools to do just that. We spoke about Hot Content Ideas from Google and The SEO of Search Trends, but what about a bigger list of Tools?

Well here you go. I’ve compiled a fairly huge list of tools for you to go out play and learn from (in no particular order):

I’ll understand if you need to take a break after that; God knows I do!

SEO Trend It and Spin It!

Definitely not advocating the Black Hat "Spin" methodology here, but more of the original intent of the word. 🙂

Now that you have a huge toolbox to find out what people are searching for and talking about, be a little bit creative and original in your content creation. Make it interesting so that people who come to you as new traffic, come back and want more.

Local Search Engine Optimization - Local SEO

Local SEO

Local SEO – its concepts, strategies and tactics, has become increasingly important in the Search Engine Optimization game.

Just look at Yelp, Google My Business or Bing Places to get an idea of this.

The key is localized content. Content that is specific to users in specific geographies. Now isn’t that closer to the idea of providing what the users are really searching for?

For example, sign in to Google. Search for movie theater. Voila! It’s localized and specific, helpful content.

Now let’s get into a few ideas of how to optimize your pages for local search (local SEO).

Creating Localized Content for Local SEO

Here’s a few ideas to spurn your campaign.

  • Shipping rates
  • Sales tax differences
  • Warranty repair locations
  • Dealer locations
  • Different uses for different climates

Local SEO: Ideas

Once you have some localized content, you need to link locally as well. We know the importance of links in SEO, right?

  • Local Yahoo! versions
  • Local Business Directories
  • Local Bloggers’ business sites
  • Informational sites about specific localities
  • Local Business rating sites

And there’s much more.

There’s also Yext, which now bills itself as the "Digital Knowledge Management Platform".

Ever hear of Yelp? They claim to be "best way to find great local businesses". Let’s look at some other ideas.

Local SEO: Citation Listing Services

Be sure to read the Top 10 SEO Benefits of Directory Listings. It’ll definitely build your confidence in directories, as well as your Local SEO campaign.

Hopefully this will help boost your creative juices and your local SEO campaigns will flourish. Good luck!

The Links of SEO

SEO Links Relationship

SEO involves links. We know this. It’s also known that Quality over Quantity is extremely important to Search Engines (and even more important to me).

But what do Google, Yahoo and Bing consider to be quality? Not to mention the fact that sourcing links for SEO can be a painstaking process. If we are going to take the time and effort to undergo this endeavor, we need to be sure we get our ROI (Return On Investment) – the link, and not the black-list.

Let’s look at 3 Important Factors to consider when sourcing links for SEO.


The best way to ensure Google finds your site, is for your pages to be linked from lots of pages on other sites. Google’s robots jump from page to page on the Web via hyperlinks, so the more sites that link to you, the more likely it is that we’ll find you quickly.

SEO Link Sourcing: 3 Important Factors

  1. Link Authority

    What is Authority?
    Some folks like to look at the number of total back links as if the high volume equates to quality, regardless of obvious SEO implicaitons. These numbers can often be misleading, however.

    For example, blog comments and site-wide links… In fact, many of us shy away from judging anything based on numbers alone. But if you want to get some linking in there for SEO, then you must understand that both Quantiy and Quality are very important.

    A small site that is an authority within a niche is a great find indeed – more important than simply looking at how many back links it has.

    Here, it’s not about the site’s link strength, but rather it’s about the trust it has built up. And this trust…You want.

    Especially in SEO.

    Remember the phrase "Birds of a feather flock together"? Well it sometimes holds true. And most Search Engines assume it is.

    So if you want your site to be thought of along the lines of trust, integrity, and thought leadership, you need to associate your online identity with other online identities that rock those things.

  2. Link Relevance

    What is relevant? First off, Spam is not. Secondly, and most ideal, would be an entire website devoted to your niche topic; your niche keywords…It’s where you want to network and collaborate – perhaps exchange guest posts even; for SEO and for overall win-win in life. However do keep in mind that if the site is too low quality, PANDA will drop you.

    But some topics have HUGE amounts of competition. Just think about "Ringtones" or "iPads"…But, think about "Downloadable Ringtones for Macs" or "iPad usage in the Workplace"; now that is a bit more specific, a bit more relevant, and a bit easier to deal with when it comes to link sourcing for SEO.

  3. Link Accessibility

    What is Accessibility? Wikipedia defines Web Accessibility as "the inclusive practice of ensuring there are no barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites, by people with disabilities."

    However, not all clubs are built the same. Just in and get yourself a link from a university or scholarly journal. Simple huh? Yeah, but not easy; not in the least. Sourcing quality, authoritative and relative links can be a trick in and of itself. How accessible is it? That’s the last key.

Don’t participate in link schemes designed to increase your site’s ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or bad neighborhoods on the web as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.

Spam

Spam

Spam. Long gone are the days of this word simply referring to a food item; A canned meat product made mainly from ham.

Now Spam invades our privacy, offends, annoys, and seems to be almost unstoppable.

We find it in SERPs (Search Engine Results Page), we find it as torrential rain in our email inboxes, we find it in our forums, we find it as personal messages and comments in our networking sites, and we find it as comments to our blog posts.

Today we find Spam everywhere, and it finds us.

What is Spam?

Spam is flooding the Internet with many copies of the same message, in an attempt to force the message on people who would not otherwise choose to receive it.

Most spam is commercial advertising, often for dubious products, get-rich-quick schemes, or quasi-legal services.

Spam costs the sender very little to send — most of the costs are paid for by the recipient or the carriers rather than by the sender.

What is Blog Comment Spam?

Spam in blogs (also called simply blog spam or comment spam is a form of spamdexing. (Note that blogspam has another, more common meaning, namely the post of a blogger who creates no-value-added posts to submit them to other sites.)

It is done by automatically posting random comments or promoting commercial services to blogs, wikis, guestbooks, or other publicly accessible online discussion boards.

Any web application that accepts and displays hyperlinks submitted by visitors may be a target.

Read more in Wikipedia’s "Spam in Blogs" article.

How to Spot Blog Comment Spam

As the administrator, webmaster, author, etc. of your site, your comment settings should definitely be set to require your approval before being published. You personally and manually need to decide if it should go up.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have some automated help via plug-ins, etc. to auto-detect (and delete) obvious spam comments; You Should!

However, some comments in your moderation queue may look a bit convincing. Here’s some tips to help identify common Comment Spam patterns (These are just a few – some use some or none; some use all):

  • First Name Only
    Spammers are vague.
  • All single-case
    All upper or lower case.
  • Comments are on Old Posts
    Usually at least 6 months old.
  • Short message
    The pattern use to be long messages, packed with links – but the pattern has changed.
  • Grammar & Spelling
    Most are not native English speakers, so you’ll see glaring mistakes.
  • Scraped Content
    These guys will often scrape content right off your blog and re-paste it as part of their comment!
  • Nonsense
    The "comment" usually makes little to no sense whatsoever.
  • Titles
    Commonly they’ll use the title of your blog post, site, article, etc. within the comment, like "I always Spotting SPAM Comments in your Blog so thanks"
  • High-Traffic Links
    The links will be going to sites that require high traffic to make a profit. Porn, Gambling, Shoes, Jewelry, etc. are common.

Hope this helps in keeping your site Spam-Free and if you have any other tips on spotting Blog Comment Spam, shoot me a note and let me know!