10 more sites that stupidly try to ban you from linking to them
July 15, 2012 – 6:44 pm | One Comment

Even more sites that try to bank you from linking to them in the terms. Make it stop.

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NewsNow vs the Times: Right to crawl vs right to link
January 8, 2010 – 5:41 pm | 5 Comments
NewsNow vs the Times: Right to crawl vs right to link

I am sympathetic towards NewsNow over the newspapers attempts to block it linking to them. The site has been blocked from showing Times Online stories. But I think it's campaign is a little overblown:

Website no longer hacked. Phew.
December 24, 2009 – 1:06 am | 6 Comments
Website no longer hacked. Phew.

The htaccess file on my blog - and other sites on the same shared server - was hacked. I've fixed mine now.

Cross-domain rel=canonical now supported by Google
December 16, 2009 – 12:22 am | 4 Comments
Cross-domain rel=canonical now supported by Google

rel=canonical is a way to tell Google which the primary version of a URL is. It's handy if you have substantially the same content on several URLs - perhaps because you have a shopping site and allow users to sort a list of products by price or name, and this is reflected in the URL.

Adding this meta tag used to work only on the same domain.

But Google has announced today that it will support rel=canonical across domains - ie if you have the same content on more than one website, you can tell Google which is the main version you'd like it to index.

Google will give Murdoch what he wants if he renames the Sun as the Wapping News Journal
December 15, 2009 – 6:00 am | 3 Comments
Google will give Murdoch what he wants if he renames the Sun as the Wapping News Journal

If Murdoch wants to put the Sunday Times or the Sun behind a paywall but still wanted Google to index his content, he would have to join first-click free.

If he decides the Sun is really the Wapping News Journal and joins Google Scholar, then the rules would be different. He could have his content indexed without having to let anyone see it unless they paid a subscription. On top of which, Google would give his content priority if was the original source of a story.

X factor 2009 voting results show by show
December 13, 2009 – 11:35 pm | 10 Comments
X factor 2009 voting results show by show

For some off reason, ITV released the X factor results for each round in a PDF. I'm an SEO whore, so here they are in HTML ..

Pre Budget Report: Business Link wastes money on Google adverts
December 9, 2009 – 2:17 pm | 2 Comments
Pre Budget Report: Business Link wastes money on Google adverts

It's the pre-budget report today. Business Link, the government's advice service for businesses, is bidding on the term "pre budget report" in google's adverts.

Maybe we could repair the budget deficit by wasting less money driving traffic to a site that doesn't have any information on?

BBC hoodwinks bloggers with promises of links
December 8, 2009 – 6:00 am | 10 Comments
BBC hoodwinks bloggers with promises of links

Shownar is a BBC site that tracks the online buzz around the broadcaster's shows. Despite being paid for out of the licence fee, it's pulling the wool over bloggers' eyes by making out that, if you link to it, it will link back - but it's nofollowing the links.
The BBC should either make them normal links - or be much more transparent about its "you link to us and we'll link to you" statement.

Personalised search: SEO just changed forever
December 5, 2009 – 7:57 pm | 4 Comments

Google's rolling out personalised search to everyone, even if you're not signed in. It means that: The results you see aren't what everyone else sees, making SEO analysis that much harder.

And If you do a rubbish job of selling your site (either through the title in the results, or in terms of what they see when they click through) to people who commonly perform the same search, your site is going to drop out of their results. Gulp.

Paywalls: shall we try to make them more attractive than the Berlin Wall?
November 30, 2009 – 11:56 pm | 4 Comments
Paywalls: shall we try to make them more attractive than the Berlin Wall?

This roundup of what some paywalls look like when you hit them illustrates that publishers - and Johnston Press in particular - need to massively improve the way they promote the benefits of subscribing ...

Google Local SEO: new layout makes it a million times more important
November 28, 2009 – 5:59 pm | 32 Comments
Google Local SEO: new layout makes it a million times more important

Google's new layout (only on google.com, not .co.uk, so far) has increased the importance of local SEO about a million times. Check out these two screenshots of a search for "St Albans offices" - one on google.com and one on google.co.uk.

New Google sprite for new layout
November 27, 2009 – 3:53 pm | No Comment
New Google sprite for new layout

Google's got a new layout on its way (not yet visible in the UK) which means a new google sprite (the one image it uses to render all its icons). Here's the new one and the old one.

Comment spam: using Backtype to spot it
November 26, 2009 – 10:08 pm | 11 Comments
Comment spam: using Backtype to spot it

Like most bloggers, I'm plagued by comment spam - but I've found a good way to spot the spammers: Backtype. It shows you comments on blogs that link to a specific URL.

Information Commissioner: please redesign your stupid form
November 19, 2009 – 3:53 pm | No Comment
Information Commissioner: please redesign your stupid form

The Information Commissioner's Office webform is a joke - the validation is awful. Also, they seem to have confused the internet with email.

New Media Age experiments with first click free
November 16, 2009 – 11:46 pm | No Comment
New Media Age experiments with first click free

New Media Age is experimenting with first click free - which always raises a troubling question for me. How do you persuade your users that you're "confident this content ... is worth paying for" - when it transpires you give it away for free to every tom, dick or harry who arrives via Google? Just what are we paying for?

I’m a Celebrity 2009: ITV neglects its SEO
November 15, 2009 – 11:35 am | 5 Comments
I’m a Celebrity 2009: ITV neglects its SEO

Search Google for I'm a Celebrity, which starts today, and ITV's site is top - as it should be. Search Google for I'm a Celebrity 2009, however, and the ITV site is only fourth - behind Digital Spy, the Metro and Free Betting Online.

I'm a Celebrity 2009 results
I'm a Celebrity 2009 results

Even worse, the Free Betting site is an affiliate site with a massively optimised page designed to get I'm a Celebrity traffic - that links out to free sports (not TV-related) betting sites.

WordPress and smart/curly quotes: turning them off
November 15, 2009 – 1:05 am | 2 Comments
WordPress and smart/curly quotes: turning them off

Wordpress has a habit of replacing normal quote marks with "curly" or smart quotes - the ones that look different at the start of a quote than at the end. They look nice - but they tend to break copy and paste (especially when you're pasting code, such as my wordpress title / description code).

Ad sitelinks: Google adds extra links to Adwords adverts
November 8, 2009 – 11:51 pm | One Comment
Ad sitelinks: Google adds extra links to Adwords adverts

Google is allowing advertisers to include extra links in their Adwords adverts (the paid results that appear on the Google results page).

Twitter retweet: how the new RT functionality looks
November 6, 2009 – 10:26 am | 17 Comments
Twitter retweet: how the new RT functionality looks

Despite having to wait ages for lists and Google wave, I seem to have Twitter RTs early. I haven't actually seen a live one yet ... And I don't really like the sound of them as I like to comment on RTs. But maybe that's just me.

How to get a link from the BBC to your Twitter URL
October 28, 2009 – 1:50 pm | 3 Comments
How to get a link from the BBC to your Twitter URL

Want to get your Twitter page doing better in Google for a search on your name? Here's a way to get a link off the BBC to your Twitter URL.

Is Google using signals from Twitter for its rankings?
October 21, 2009 – 8:39 pm | 12 Comments
Is Google using signals from Twitter for its rankings?

Is Google using signals from Twitteras part of its ranking decisions. You could see why it want to - seeing which pages people are passing around on Twitter would help it work out which pages are relevant for 'newsy' search terms (those where there is a big surge in searches for particular keywords).
The evidence

Testing such a thing would be a nightmare - how could you set up 2 different, but similar, pages and get loads of people to tweet one and not the other? I managed to set up this test by accident - here are the results.