sub-domain-zombie-hunting.minLast week I wrote an article for The SEM Post on the hazards of zombie sub-domains and how your very own site could be affected without you being the wiser. I also used an example of which is the 177th most trafficked website in the USA yet it is suffering from zombie sub-domains; it can truly happen to anyone.

What follows is the introduction and a link to the full article here:

Google dislikes spending precious resources indexing web content on your site that is of no consequence to itself or its users. Inconsequential web content can be present in the form of duplicated pages and irrelevant or repetitive and/or thin text. Even worse, it is a waste of Google’s crawl budget on your site and such content will delay the indexing of legitimate content. In this case, however, the offense is greater than usual because we are dealing with unlimited duplicate versions of a website triggered by improperly installed DNS wildcards; I none to fondly call them zombie sub-domains.

DNS wildcards are used in a variety of ways but in this case I am focusing on the desirable redirect from a non-existent or miss-typed sub-domain to the appropriate URL (e.g. the root of the TLD).

Please continue reading my article “Why Google Dislikes Zombie Sub-Domains” at its official home on The SEM Post.

A few years ago Google publicly announced that site speed was now a factor in their ranking algorithm. Many had suspected this to be true for years, but back in 2010 Matt cuts made the official announcement.

A fast loading site does not help you so much as a very slow site can actually hurt you. Exactly how fast your site needs to load before you start risking organic rankings and conversion losses is debatable, but generally, if you can get your average load times to less than 2 seconds you should not have much to worry about. If your site takes longer than 10 seconds to load not only is this going to negatively impact your conversions, your rankings may suffer slightly as well.

An infographic produced a few years ago by KISSmetrics, based on studies from and showed that 47% of consumers expect a page to load in 2 seconds or less and a 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. If that isn’t enough reason to speed up your site, I’m not sure what is! So where do we start to solve this problem? Read more…

Online christmas shoppingAs an online retailer, you’re already ahead of the game for holiday sales. Last year, the Chase Holiday Pulse tracked early holiday sales from October 29th through November 15th and found that e-commerce sales volume was up 12.3 percent over the previous year, while brick-and-mortar sales were only up 1.0 percent. Consumers are obviously interested in doing at least some of their holiday shopping online, which is good news for your business. Make sure you take advantage of the holiday season by utilizing current digital trends.

Reduce Your Prices

While sales volume is increasing online, shoppers are also looking for better prices. The Chase Holiday Pulse discovered that the average online purchase amount went down 10.1 percent during the 2012 holiday season, compared to the year before, the second decline in a row. If you give online promotions, you might get more customers.

Choose Your Timing Wisely

There are fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year for shoppers to buy gifts. The Adobe Digital Index suggests this could cause a $1.5 billion loss in potential online retail sales. The Index notes that to be successful this year, encourage customers not to wait for Black Friday and beyond, but to offer good deals before and let customers know the deals won’t get better later. Large brick-and-mortar retailers are already doing this, Read more…

The Vine logoThe clock is ticking, and you have 6.5 seconds to make an impression. That’s the premise behind Vine, Twitter’s micro-video app that’s sweeping across social media platforms. While the majority of Vine videos are for entertainment purposes, businesses have caught on to the trend. reports that 87 percent of marketers in the U.S. use video for content marketing, so adopting Vine is a natural transition for many companies. But how are businesses supposed to make a point in such a short time span? Major businesses are getting creative and building their brands through these short clips.

Marketers have high-definition cameras, hughesnet plans and advanced analytics at their disposal, but these simple videos are leveling the playing field. Whether you’re trying to introduce a product or humanize your brand, consider these templates as you build Vine into your social media strategy.

Make an Impression

In a 6.5-second video, the worst thing you can be is boring. A Vine video doesn’t need a call to action or even specific information about your business. If it leaves viewers impressed, you just earned a small dose of brand loyalty. Samsung has a multi-million dollar advertising budget, but it isn’t too big to post this frivolous, creative video Read more…

Google’s Matt Cutts often has a few bits and pieces of useful information for all website owners out there. The following are two topics he has recently covered that site owners will likely find of interest.

Cross Linking Domains

For anyone out there with multiple websites, the question often arises regarding how to cross link these sites together – not only for usability purposes but to also keep Google happy. At the end of the day, Matt goes on to recommend being very weary of linking 20 domains together unless you have a very good reason to do so (such as different versions of the site for each country served.). Read more…

UPDATE October 30th, 2014: Hello everyone. I have great news. As of a while back this tutorial is no longer necessary because Bing smartened up and now allows us Canucks to add our business and administrate the listing at The process is very straight forward but if you do have questions please post them in the comments. If I see enough demand I will rewrite this into a tutorial for the Bing Places setup.

Also, if you represent a small business and have any interest in receiving answers to web marketing questions you might find worthwhile looking at. You can ask UNLIMITED web marketing questions of myself and my veteran team of web marketers for the price of a fancy coffee per month. Why us? I have been web marketing successfully since 1997, my Senior SEO has 12 years of experience and we are both 100% white hat (that means ethical) web marketers; we will not give you advice that could hurt your business. For more info check out and please pass the word to other small business owners who could use a helping hand navigating the world of web marketing. This is a mind-blowing steal considering what most consulting costs in this industry.

Cheers, Ross Dunn

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——- Here is the original article on the old method of Bing setup for Canadians ——-

Rejoice fellow Canadians! After years of crying foul and bugging Bing engineers at search engine conferences I can finally say that Canadian business owners can submit their business to Bing Canada for free instead of relying on YellowPages listings; which were an unreliable solution at best. What follows is a little more detail on the subject and a full walkthrough of the submission process and end result. Also, if you wish to see just how much anger and frustration the previous system created please see my article “Bing’s Local Listing Center Lacks Forethought” posted in 2009: yes 4 years ago, so you can count me frustrated (politely put) with them as well.

What Made Bing Get its Sh*t Together?

Sadly it seems we have no need to thank Bing engineers (or my significant prodding) for this advance in Canuck accessibility because it was Nokia who bridged the chasm. Nokia increased its already significant maps partnership with Microsoft to allow their Nokia Maps system to update Bing’s Canadian Local data. This all started, it seems, back in January 2012 but I can’t find any indication this bromance between the two companies included Canadian business submissions that early in the game. Anyway, if you go to Bing and try to submit your business you will now be redirected to Nokia Prime Place where you can  follow their submission and address verification process which I have outlined in detail further along in this post. Read more…

Monday, January 14th, 2013

How to Be a Great Blogger

To many business owners blogging is a task they either cannot be bothered with or do not know how to work into their schedules. As an entrepreneur myself I completely understand most concerns about maintaining a blog because I have, at one time, been in the same position. After all, we are already so busy with keeping our clients happy and running our businesses that another task seems impossible to comprehend; never mind a task which many business owners are not convinced will help the bottom line.

All of that said, blogging has a good track record for increasing the bottom line when it is done for the right reasons and with dedication. In the following clip, Gil Namur, President of the popular ezine explains the motivation you require to be a great blogger:

How to be a Great Blogger from StepForth on Vimeo.

Some Basic Blogging Tips

  1. If possible (and it is not always) pick a topic to write about for which you are passionate so your enthusiasm comes across in your writing.
  2. Offer something of value and remember the chief goal of your content is to help others – NOT to market to them.
  3. Proof read your content and if possible I highly recommend having someone else with a fresh pair of eyes proof read it as well.

How to Find Blog Post Ideas

I find the best story ideas come from seeing popular or trending questions or discussions in my industry. With those angles in mind, here are a few resources and tips for hunting down questions and the latest trending news/topics: Read more…

There are a lot of different methods out there for driving down your costs of advertising on Facebook and to increase the efficiency of your page and your overall marketing campaign. From beginner guides to expert expositions, there’s information out there for all stripes. For the marketer on Facebook already privy to ad formats and how the system works, you can skip the rookie camp and look for something with more meat on the bones.

For instance, you can skip over the tips dealing with how to draw people to your page and instead focus on how to get more of those visitors to actually engage with your brand.

If you’re looking to increase your sales, it’s all about increasing your engagement. The tips listed below should help you to post more engaging material. Read more…

Last week I wrote an article called “The Ideal Startup Social Media Strategy for Non-Profits.” This evolved as a result of a phone call I had with a small non-profit called Urunji Child Care Trust. They were looking for the ultimate plan to implement through social media to raise awareness of their initiatives and ultimately raise funds. I decided to create a plan for them by following these steps:

  • Research similar organizations that have been highly successful using social media
  • Choose which platforms you are going to utilize
  • Communicate your non-profit’s objective through the platform (s)
  • Connect with the people that share your mission
  • Create a campaign to raise funds

Research similar organizations that have been highly successful using social media. After a little digging, the non-profits I decided to research were African Promise, A Glimmer of Hope and Ripple Africa. All three have a very strong presence in social and are performing tactics Urunji could benefit from if they followed some of the same practices. (Please note: for the purpose of this article I’ve focused on one social platform per organization).




Choose which platforms you are going to utilize. Urunji currently has a Facebook and Twitter account although they are not very active to date. I recommend they begin Read more…

Back in 2012, while working on a non-profit project called Elephants Never Forget Ashley Melsted decided to add a PayPal donation option to the Facebook page. Unfortunately, it was not so simple so she decided to create a tutorial that helped many charities & non-profits create yet another avenue to raise funds.

It is now 2014 and over time a lot had changed and the efficacy of the tutorial faded. As a result, I, decided it was high time to update it. What follows is a 99.9% new format tutorial of the donation tab & button creation process. I hope it helps you raise more funds than ever before – Ross Dunn


You need to have your PayPal button code ready before you begin; here is a link to the PayPal page for setting up such a button. The following is what it should look like, but with the zeros I highlighted replaced by an alphanumeric code unique to your button:


Once you have the code save it in a text file but keep it open.

Next, copy and paste the following RED sample code into a text file and customize it with your organization’s information.Then, copy the PayPal Donate Button Code you saved previously and paste it over the bold red content “PayPal Code Goes Here”.

Now that you have the code finalized, save it to your computer somewhere (your desktop is the safest bet to find it later if you need to) but keep it open so you can copy it all and paste it into Facebook when the time comes in the tutorial below.

<center>Donations to Elephants Never Forget will help us complete the film.</center> 
<center>We are an independent production and need your support.  </center> 
<center>For more info  please contact </center>

And now that the preparations are complete, please follow the tutorial below:

1) Start by adding “Static iframe tab” to your page:static-iframe-tab-logo

  • Type “static iframe tab” into the search bar
  • Select the “Static Iframe Tab” app
  • On the resulting page click the green button “Install Page Tab” (screenshot)
  • Select the page that you’d like to add this app to


Read more…