Blogging is like an online cocktail party where you meet people, ask and answer questions, chat and discuss what is important to you and your site.

Some of our clients query whether Blogging is a valuable source of advertising and the answer is, absolutely. What does it do? It provides valuable inbound links and gets your site branded. Read more…

The Google Places LogoDo you have a suggestion for Google on how to improve Google Places (once called Google Local Business Center)? If you do, then Google is asking for your suggestions and I suggest we all take advantage of this rare opportunity.

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Monday, April 26th, 2010

Yahoo is Broken?

Over at Yahoo they seem to be running into some technical difficulties. Regardless of the search phrase used, organic results are not appearing and the error message “We had temporary problems searching for web pages. Search again for <phrase> or type a new query above.

Regardless of the search phrase I tried, I continued to receive this error.

Interestingly enough, sponsored links continued to appear. Anyone else having these same issues this morning? There is not word out yet as far as what is causing this issue or how widespread it is.

The PubSubHubbub (PuSH) logo by Google If you have a blog or a website with a RSS (real simple syndication) feed and you haven’t heard of the new PuSH protocol then I have a treat for you. A little while back, Google announced a new open source protocol quirkily called PubSubHubbub, or PuSH for short. In Google’s own words PuSH is “a simple, open, server-to-server web-hook-based pubsub (publish/subscribe) protocol as an extension to Atom and RSS.”

And now, without further adieu, here it is in English:
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Well it’s official. Google is now incorporating site load speed into its ranking algorithm according to a Webmaster Central Blog post earlier this morning.

There has been chatter about this addition being in the works for some time, and if you ask me, its one that will significantly help to improve the overall quality of search results and end user experience. Read more…

Yesterday Google announced in the Webmaster Central blog the added expansion for images within XML Sitemaps.

By expanding your XML Sitemap to include images in the new format, this will allow Google to easily learn which images you consider important. With image related queries being performed at Google every day, this extra step may help you to benefit from a bit of increased image related traffic. Read more…

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Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Happy Easter from StepForth

In order to spend time with our families, StepForth will be closed tomorrow (Friday, April 02) for the Easter Holiday.

We hope everyone has a great long weekend, and may the Easter Bunny be good to all of you :) We will be back to our normal hours again on Monday April 05.

On the 24th of March I was in Vancouver doing some pro-bono work teaching a group of charities and non-profit organizations some of the ins-and-outs of effective web site marketing. Well, a little ways into discussing how to boost Google local search engine results I was asked by a participant how her charity can be on Google Local without showing her address. I was stumped! The only way I knew how to do that was through a PO Box which I did not recommend and the out-of-the-question methods commonly used by spammers. Well, in a wonderful occurrence of synchronicity, thanks to Matt McGee’s post that day on Search Engine Land I discovered later that Google had just added that very capability to a raft of Google Local Business Center accounts; allowing business owners to hide their address (among other enhancements).
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Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Noteworthy Websites and More

There are quite a few online subscriptions I read regularly and the one I read pretty much on a daily basis is ‘The Best Article Every Day’. The articles tend to be short and informative.

For example, today there was an article entitled; ‘15 Noteworthy Websites That Changed the Internet’ by Cameron Chapman. Pretty much everyone agrees that Wikipedia, Facebook and Amazon changed how we search for, relate to, and purchase items online. But did you know Project Gutenberg has changed the way people read, as they created the first ebooks for free and Pandora, one of my favourites, allows me to create my own playlist that reflects my personal musical interest vs listening to a pre-programmed radio station that tends to play the same songs to ad nauseam. And of course we all know Google keeps changing how we interact with the internet. Read more…

When I was at SMX West 2010 in Santa Clara a couple of weeks ago, I attended a session called Technical SEO. One of the speakers was Maile Ohye (one of the best Google speakers in my opinion)  who showed a very cool comparison of the various URL structures that can be used for multi-regional sites. Maile also discussed the advantages and disadvantages of using a country code top level domain (ccTLD = .ca, .co.uk, etc.) or a global top level domain (gTLD = .com, .net, .org, etc.) for multi-region websites.

Anyway, Maile mentioned the URL structure comparison chart from her presentation would be available online soon and here it is reposted in along with other great information by John Mueller. This should be very handy as a reminder for anyone planning their multi-region web marketing. Note that I quickly whipped up a slightly easier to read & print PDF version of the table shown in the article. Read more…

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