Received new business checks and debit card

I finally received our new SBIM, LLC paper checks and SBIM, LLC visa debit card. Now I can update the credit card on all my recurring business expenses for the new business card. This hopefully is one of the last steps to finally make the separation between business and personal financial accounts and records.

SEO is NOT dead

This is my response to this post: http://www.sitepoint.com/seo-is-dead/ comments are moderated so my response has to be approved to show up to the public. You can see my response below:

Ok, I will be the first SEO professional to fall for this.

I would argue that SEO is not dying, rather social media is becoming more of a factor in an overall SEO strategy. It is important to not think of social media and SEO as being mutually exclusive.

SEO is the overall practice of optimizing websites to improve performance in search engines to help reach (or surpass) business goals and objectives. Social media is now just playing more of a role in search engine algorithms than it did before.

To your point on “Traditional SEO”: If you are referring to keyword stuffing, yes that has been long dead. The fact is, using clean, proper well-formed semantic markup (code) is always important as a good foundation for not only SEO, but performance, usability and good web design in general. The fundamentals of on-page SEO ensure a page is coded correctly to not inhibit search engines from finding the content on the page. These types of practices will never go away, but has become more of a standard of how to create good websites.

SEO is an evolving practice that is constantly changing and adapting to algorithm changes and new technologies. To claim SEO is dead is like saying PR was dead after email and the internet were introduced. The PR industry has adapted and evolved much like SEO will.

SEO will always play a part in an overall marketing strategy and will never die as long as people are searching for information and businesses are competing to show up first in the results.

Increase Adsense Revenue: Do not display Adsense for internal ip addresses

Issue: 

Recently on CollegeTips.com we noticed we were visiting the site a lot and inflating the number of visits/views for pages of the website. This is a problem when we make our revenue off of those ads and the SBIM team lowers the CTR’s (Click Through Rates) of the ads, leading to less revenue.

Solution:

In order to get around this we implemented some very basic PHP logic to determine when to display the Google Adsense ad. Because PHP is a server side language this logic is performed before the HTML is sent to the users browser. This allows us to still adhere to Google’s Adsense policies.

Basically, if the visitor IP is a specific IP address, then do NOT display the ad, otherwise display the ad.

PHP Code (simple example):

<?php $visitorip=$_SERVER['REMOTE_ADDR'];
      if($visitorip<>'66.10.XXX.XXX') : ?>
       <div style="margin-bottom: 10px;"> <script type="text/javascript">
        <!--
	google_ad_client = "pub-XXXXXXXXXXXXXX";
	/* 468x60, created 9/16/09 */
	google_ad_slot = "1492822712";
	google_ad_width = 468;
	google_ad_height = 60;
	//-->
	</script>
	<script type="text/javascript"
src="http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"></script>
	</div>
<?php endif; ?>

We also could use this if / then statement to include a specific file if the condition is met.

Next Steps:

Now we would want to add any IP’s of any internal stakeholder (basically anyone who touches the website and works with/for SBIM). This would include our bloggers, partners, consultants, family, offices, etc.

Notes:

Please note the increase you may receive from this could be marginal at best. These statements are under the assumption your internal team visits your website frequently and views several pages of your website on a daily basis.

Google’s new like button: the +1 button

google's plus one button screenshot

Google will be rolling out a new like button for search engine results. So now when you search for things online and you are logged in with your Google account, you can see friends and contact that have “liked” websites in your search results.

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/1s-right-recommendations-right-when-you.html

Website owners will soon be able to add these +1 buttons to their own websites just like you can currently add a Like button. Google even went on to talk about how they will use the likes to determine future search engine rankings:

“Over the coming weeks, we’ll add +1 buttons to search results and ads on Google.com. We’ll also start to look at +1’s as one of the many signals we use to determine a page’s relevance and ranking, including social signals from other services. For +1′s, as with any new ranking signal, we’ll be starting carefully and learning how those signals affect search quality over time.”

Additional articles on the +1 button:

It will be interesting to see how quickly people start to use these buttons and how much of an affect it will have on search engine rankings. I am not sure how much I will personally be +1′ing things (except for testing for clients), but it may cut down on some frustration of visiting sites that are just terrible. And with the +1 button if I go to a recommend site and it is terrible, at least I know which one of my friends to call out on liking a terrible website.

 

Check Apache Version Via SSH

Just found a quick and easy way to check the version of Apache on a server:

httpd -v

It gives the version and the date the server was built.

Helpful when you are looking to optimize a website for performance and you are working on several different apache web servers.

Site Downtime & Website Rankings in Google

So Google is now admitting to site speed and site uptime (or downtime) being a factor with rankings according to Google’s Webmaster Central Blog:

“Outages that are not clearly marked as such can negatively affect a site’s reputation. While we cannot guarantee any crawling, indexing or ranking, there are methods to deal with planned website downtime in a way that will generally not negatively affect your site’s visibility in the search results.”

The blog post includes recommendations about what HTTP result code is most appropriate to serve when your website is temporary down.

They say its better to return a 503 HTTP result code indicating the downtime is only temporary. Additionally you can use a Retry-After header to let Google know when to come back and crawl your site if you know how long the outage will last for.

The article doesn’t specifically say it will absolutely avoid a drop in rankings, but its a step in the right direction.

You can read the full blog post here: How to deal with planned site downtime

Thank You Notes & Testimonials

One of our clients does such a great job that customers consistently write in thank you notes, letters and testimonials.

We recommended they post those to the website to show potential customers how much people love their work, plus it adds fresh unique content to the website on a regular basis (which search engines love).

The client has been great keeping on top of all the thank you notes and appraisals they get and the page represents 3% of all incoming landing pages. Now 3% may not sound like a lot, but its sending potential customers to the site for keywords it previously did not rank for.

Using Google Analytics, we can check to see what keywords are driving traffic to this page, further optimize the page and see how many more customers we can get our client via this page.

Digg Digg WordPress Plugin Added

Added the Digg Digg WordPress plugin and currently testing it out. Seems to be a very popular plugin. We will test it out and report back later.

If anyone has any suggestions on other great WordPress plugins for social media, please comment below.

Site Architecture

Today I changed around some of the site architecture of SBIM to organize the relevant content into silos. This make the navigation much cleaner and pages are grouped together by topic.

I put all search and internet marketing pages under a new page I created “internet marketing” (see right nav you can see they are indented under site pages).

After I finally got the site structure I wanted I set up all the proper 301 redirects to make sure all the link equity was transferred to the new URLs.

I also reordered and re-labeled the right navigation so the 5 most recent blog posts are at the top of the left navigation and the site pages are listed below it followed by the Archives. This should help promote the blog posts to visitors who are unaware of the blog.

Phone Number Set Up

Over the weekend we were able to set up our phone system. You can now find our telephone number on our contact page. We still need to get a professional recording for the voice because right now it sounds like our operator is a speak & spell.

Justin is diligently working on some ideas for logos and a site design. John is coming to Philly on Feb 5th and we having a meeting to discuss operational items, go over financials, next steps and how we are going to build out and scale the company.