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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!

Canonical

NOT rel=canonical

Canon:
A general law, rule, principle, or criterion by which something is judged.
A member of the clergy on the staff of a cathedral, esp. a member of the chapter.
Canonical:
According to or ordered by canon law: "the canonical rites of the Roman Church".
As a Noun: The prescribed official dress of the clergy.

And what do either of these definitions have to do with SEO or even rel="Canonical", for that matter?

Nothing. Except, perhaps, for the idea of a general law, principle etc. We’ll see how in just a moment.

So when asked in a Job Interview, anything referring to the Catholic church or Catholicism is not really the correct answer; unless of course your job happens to be in that area.

So what does rel="Canonical" mean, why should you care, and how should you make the magic happen?

rel= "Canonical" – Why, What and How

Why should you care about rel="Canonical"?

Have you ever heard of duplicate content and the penalties that come along with it?

I’m sure you have. In short, Google is not a big fan of duplicate content and it could seriously hurt your rankings! Whether you have or haven’t, here’s a real-world example to give it some context:

Let’s say you’re running a site selling products (or services). And oftentimes these product pages can have exactly the same, if not similar content, but a slightly different URL. For example:


http://www.example.com/product.php?item=swedish-fish&trackingid=1234567&sort=alpha&sessionid=5678asfasdfasfd
http://www.example.com/product.php?item=swedish-fish&trackingid=1234567&sort=price&sessionid=5678asfasdfasfd

As you can see, there are two different values of variables in the URL – sort=alpha and sort=price. Regardless of how they’re sorted though, you’re still looking at the same list of swedish-fish.

And they will have the same, if not similar, content. So what do we do?

We implement the rel="canonical" attribute or tag.

You need to decide which actual page has the most complete, accurate and best content for this subject, topic or page. Once you’ve done that, you need to go to all of the other possible URL pages and put in the directive to tell Google "Hey! I know this looks alot like this other page over there, but I want you just to pay attention to this one page for the content, instead of all the possible ways you could find it."

So then, in each of the non-canonical pages, or each of the pages that tell part of the story with duplicate or similar content, we need to tell Google to go to this other page for classification, like


<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.example.com/product.php?item=swedish-fish"/>

Place this in the <head></head> section of these pages – all pointing to the one page that you’d prefer to be listed in the SERPs for that content.

Oh! And here’s a couple of extra pointers regarding rel="canonical":

  • It’s preferred to use absolute links instead of relative links, when specifying the canonical.
  • Do not try to "game" the system by using this to simply rank a page higher; you will get found out. And quickly!
  • If the preferred page does not actually exist – you’re at the whim and mercy of Google.
  • To an extend, Google can follow a chain of canonicals – but if you’re trying to game the system – see the second bullet point above.
  • Yes, you can use it to point to pages on another site…But again…Hopefully you get the point.

So you’ll either have to do this manually in the pages of your website, or if you’re using WordPress as a back-end CMS or blogging platform, there is a much easier way.

WordPress SEO by Yoast is an outstanding plug-in to say the least, with all of its wonderful functionality.

And one such piece of functionality is about rel="Canonical"!

After you’ve installed and activated the plug-in, go into your Page or Post that you need to get Canonical on, and scroll down past the content area into the box supplied by the plug-in.

Click on the "Advanced" tab, scroll down a wee-bit and there you have it: a form field labeled "Canonical URL". That’s where you would paste in the URL for the page that has the most complete and accurate content that you’d prefer Google to index and show on the SERPs for this topic’s search query.

Well folks, that’s it. Hopefully you’ve learned a little bit about rel="Canonical", why you should use it, and how to do so.

Oh and by the way, there is a way to use this for the whole www.website.com vs. website.com battle too.

Have you figured out how?

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!

Zemanta

SEO with Zemanta

"Get the most out of your blogging time." That’s what the producers of a pretty cool tool says about their blogging add-on service, Zemanta (Acquired by Outbrain in 2017).

I’ve been looking into it, and Zemanta is indeed useful. Like the WP plug-in Insights, this nifty thing gives you all sorts of media suggestions, based on what you’ve written.

In-Text Links, Photos, Tags and related articles are all within a click’s reach! You can use it via Browser extensions, bookmarklets and Server-side Plug-ins (for WordPress or Joomla, for example).


Zemanta is a tool that looks over your shoulder while you blog and gives you tips and advice, suggests related content and pictures and makes sure your posts get promoted as they deserve to be. We at Zemanta are thinking hard to help make blogging easier for you. We’re engineering better creative tools to help you get the most out of your blogging time.

Zemanta for SEO

Not only that, but you can also sign up for Zemanta as a Content Publisher. And that means more SEO for you. CEO of SEOMoz (now just Moz), Rand Fishkin, says "Zemanta is, quite possibly, the most exciting company in the link building space today. You get direct links that send traffic and provide ranking value for SEO. In an average month using Zemanta, our site received dozens of links and many corresponding boosted rankings."

Check out these 5 Steps to SEO Success using the Zemanta Recommendation Engine:

  1. Zemanta indexes your images, articles, and content via full RSS feed
  2. When relevant, Zemanta recommends your content to 1000’s of Zemanta influencers
  3. Zemanta influencers can drop your content onto their site with a simple click
  4. The average Zemanta influencer has 700 Twitter followers and 1000 Facebook friends
  5. Your content continues to be shared, consumed, and linked to

Sounds good to me. What do you think?

Outbrain Acquires Native DSP Zemanta

Wordpress Security

WordPress Security

WordPress has released an update to address close to thirty maintenance and security issues found in release 3.1.

Some of the notables:

  1. Some security hardening to media uploads
  2. Performance improvements
  3. Fixes for IIS6 support
  4. Fixes for taxonomy and PATHINFO (/index.php/) permalinks
  5. Fixes for various query and taxonomy edge cases that caused some plugin compatibility issues

I just finished an auto-upgrade and suggest you either Download WordPress 3.1.1 or do an auto-update from the Dashboard of your WordPress installation.

Only the geeks know
What half this stuff even means
Don’t worry — update