On July 18th, 2012 I received a late phone call at my home from Price’s Alarms informing me the alarm at my office was set off by broken glass… when I arrived at the scene with a police officer we quickly realized this was no false alarm. As it turns out, someone had tried to gain access to our offices by way of the bottom window on our front door.

The thief’s plans, it seems, was to remove all of the wood molding around the glass, pop it out and then grab & dash some of our precious equipment. Fortunately, he was foiled by the industrial strength adhesive used to keep our shatter-proof glass on the door. That said, as you can see in the pictures below he did a great deal of damage to our door and we want him caught – but first we need anyone who may recognize him in the video below to contact the Victoria Police Department: 250-995-7654. Read more…

Today Google announced a dramatic change in the format of search results coming to your browser in a steady roll-out across English results. The change is called Google Search Plus the World which will present users logged in to Google with search results mingled with a myriad of socially derived results from friends on Google Plus.

UPDATED January 13th: this article is being updated regularly 

Haven’t we Seen this For a While Now?

This may sound similar to what you have seen over the past while where certain results had a profile shot of a friend next to them because your friend had recently given it a social nod (liked, +1’d, etc.) but this is far more intense. The new additions are opt-out only and include any of the following content showing in results if it is relevant: images, video, and websites. In addition, these results can also include semi-private and private content such as content shared with you via a limited circle in Google Plus or directly from someone in your network; note that does not mean this is visible to anyone else on Google so don’t get freaked about privacy unless you plan on leaving your browser logged in to your Google profile.

Here is the official (and rather cool) video Google used to demonstrate the functionality all Google users will soon see: Read more…

Today Google’s Engineering Director Scott Huffman released the first of (hopefully many) monthly updates announcing the changes Google has implemented in its algorithms. Here is a run down of what was announced along with my thoughts on each and how they will/may effect the average website:

Related query results refinements:

Sometimes we fetch results for queries that are similar to the actual search you type. This change makes it less likely that these results will rank highly if the original query had a rare word that was dropped in the alternate query. For example, if you are searching for [rare red widgets], you might not be as interested in a page that only mentions “red widgets.”

What this means to you: theoretically this improvement in search quality would minimize unqualified traffic to your website if you happen to be getting some. For example, using the example above if you were selling “red widgets” but not “rare red widgets” (what the person searched for) then the traffic your site may received before this update would have had a high bounce rate or at least a nearly non-existent conversion rate. On the flip side, if you were making sales by selling users on another product while they searched for a competing product then your sales could be negatively impacted by this algorithm update.

More comprehensive indexing:

This change makes more long-tail documents available in our index, so they are more likely to rank for relevant queries.

What this means to you: this is excellent news for websites with Read more…

The foursquare logo and the foursquare save buttonToday Foursquare  announced their own social button to add to websites and it seems this is one many businesses should pay attention to. Yes, that’s right, another button to add to your site…

What is Foursquare’s new “Save” button for and how does it work?

Foursquare’s new save button is meant for websites of businesses with physical locations (such as shops, restaurants, tourist activities, etc. ) in order to allow online users to add the location to their queue of places to visit next time they are in that geographic area. The idea is quite brilliant and I predict it will have the necessary kick to move Foursquare into bigger leagues sooner than later. This positive outlook for Foursquare is greatly improved from my impression of the service (which I was an early adopter of) over the past while; which has been lackluster at best since Facebook and Google launched similar check-in services. Read more…

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Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Google is Getting a Redesign

The Google we know and love is getting a significant navigation overhaul. Introducing the new Google Toolbar which has Google’s CEO, Larry Page rather excited:

A screenshot of Larry Page discussing the latest changes to Google and the Google Toolbar on Google Plus

In short, the bulk of the navigation will now appear in a drop-down menu which will appear whenever you hover over the Google logo. The area which once Read more…

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Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Happy American Thanksgiving!!

To all of our friends, family, colleagues and clients the Staff at StepForth Web Marketing would like to wish you a phenomenal, turkeylicious Thansgiving Holidays!!

Wait for your month! says the Thanksgiving Turkey to Santa Claus

At the most recent Victoria Web Marketing Meetup we had a full house as Gil Namur, President and Creator of the popular ezine LifeasaHuman.com presented his secrets behind building his successful website. The reason Gil was chosen to speak was because our Meetup membership showed great interest on WordPress and he had a mountain of knowledge to share after creating LifeasaHuman.com on the WordPress platform using StudioPress and taking it from zero traffic to 200,000 Quantified visits per month (add 30% to get a more accurate number says his tests).

Life as a Human has over 200k unique visitors per month!

In addition, I know Gil personally and was convinced he would give a great presentation and indeed he did. To that end, you can view his presentation in all its glory below. Read more…

A friend of mine recently asked me to comment on why I felt so strongly the rel=”author” attribute would play a large role in the future of search rankings. In order to answer his question I felt I needed to take this a step further and explain how rel=”author” appears to fit into a much grander plan Google is implementing around personal profiles. Please note, what I have shared with you below is merely my opinion based on experience, analysis, and  discussions with some of my fine colleagues in the SEO community; not the least of whom is John Carcutt (my co-host on SEO 101 Radio).

First consider what we know:

  1. Google is taking into account the personal blocking data (the block site option in results) from users that have a long and trusted profile; confirmed by Matt Cutts in his September 21st Q&A (the first answer on the linked page).
  2. Right now, if you have a highly trusted profile and you have authorship markup (rel=author) on your articles/copy you will get representation in Google search results – by having your photo show up next to the article.
  3. In order for this markup to work you need to have a Google Profile and it must be correctly associated with the sites you write on and your author page on the site has to connect back (a few hoops are necessary) to your Google Profile to finalize the association.
  4. Google is integrating Plus into most (if not all) of their products – this was confirmed by Vic Gundrota on a recent Web Summit 2.0 interview with him and Sergey Brin.
  5. In order to be on Google Plus you have to have a Google Profile.
  6. Your Google Profile prompts you to connect all of your social profiles so Google knows your social fingerprint and can highlight content in search results that your friends have socially shared/liked.
  7. Links are an important part of Google’s algorithms but they are heavily gamed and likely cause the majority of spam found in Google’s results.
  8. If Google sees that others like your content then it has a better chance of appearing at the top of relevant searches.

Next, let’s connect a few dots and make some educated assumptions:
Read more…

The top web browser at this moment, otherwise known as the browser with the most market share online, is easily found using some really handy and freely available tools which I have listed starting a few lines below. That said, why bother?


What is the use of knowing what browsers are the most popular?

A collage of the 5 web browser logos with the most market share - Internet Explorer, FireFox, Chrome, Safari, Opera

Browser compatibility is usually the reason. You see every website created by a developer worth his/her salt will be cross browser compatible at the time it is launched; meaning it will look great on all of the top browsers at that time. The key point here is “it will look great at that time“; as a site gets older Internet technology does not stay the same and browsers are often upgraded which can leave once decent web sites looking lackluster or possibly broken when viewed in the latest browsers. In addition to enhancements in browsers causing problems, you could also be faced with an entirely new browser in the marketplace gaining massive traction (i.e. Google’s Chrome browser) which happens to render your website in ways you never intended.

TIP: If you are creating a business plan and trying to find out what web browser your  target market will be using then try viewing the browser data on Quantcast.com for a few websites which closely resemble your anticipated website; you may find other information in the reports helpful as well! Quantcast offers this information free but often times the data is estimated and not the most reliable – in those cases either keep looking for a site that is “Quantified” (logo on footer of page) at which point the data will be highly accurate or settle with the data you have.  There are other ways to get this data but I will leave that for another article; contact me if you wish for more details.

Read more…

A screenshot from a live video feed of Matt Cutts answer Google questionsThe head of Google’s webspam prevention team, Matt Cutts was kind enough to conduct an impromptu 45 minute live Google questions and answers video chat on YouTube in September which I decided was so chalk full of content it would make a great article; it just took me a lot longer than I had expected to get done! Anyway, I tie it up with a fun ode to a future Movember Matt.

Also you can listen to some discussion on this Q&A on the Oct 3 2011 episode of SEO 101 on WebmasterRadio.FM which I co-host with fellow SEO veteran John Carcutt; you can find the show on iTunes here.

The Prelude to the Google Q&A

Before he did the Q&A Matt wanted to cover a few points which I outline below along with direct links to the most pertinent section of the video where he explains each point; so you can hear it in his own words (and I don’t have to write them all down). After these points you will find his Q&A where my short-hand should give you the answers you need; if not you always have the video!

Pagination: Matt mentions the use of rel=next and rel=previous to aid in the improved indexation of paginated pages. This is not a light topic so he understandably does not get into great detail but watch Matt’s short explanation on pagination here.

Reconsideration Requests: Matt discusses an article by Tiffany Oberoi and Michael Wyszomierski from the Google Search Quality Team called “Reconsideration requests get more transparent“. As the title aptly describes the Google will now be much more open about whether your site has been penalized or not should you submit a reconsideration request. Here is Matt’s description of the changes to reconsideration in his own words.

Requests for Crazy Ideas: if you have “crazy ideas” for how to search which Google has not done they invite you to add your ideas on Matt’s blog where he posted a request for those ideas recently: What cool new websearch ideas should Google launch in 2012? 

 

Matt Cutts Answers Google Questions

NOTE: each of the linked titles below will take you directly to the relevant segment of the video – in case you want to hear it from Matt directly. Otherwise I have done my best to paraphrase his answers; a shorter version of the actual transcription. Read more…