Archive for 2011

Google Let it Snow

Here's another Google trick: type in "let it snow" and search.  Google will start snowing, and you can even click "defrost" to start the process over.


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Google Do a Barrel Roll

Here's another little trick:  type "do a barrel roll" in google--your search command will be taken will be taken quite literally.


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Google Panda 2.5.2


I always keep an eye on the posts over at the Search Engine Roundtable. A few days back there was a post about Google Panda 2.5.2, so I checked my stats.

My fitness blog has been affected, but I'm not sure exactly how it will affect the bottom line (sales/profits).   It seems I'm getting more traffic from image searches and less from keywords--kind of like what happened with the original Panda algorithm.

But it's a little too early to tell exactly how this will affect me, and I'm sure other updates will come along.    I'll just do my best to produce quality content in an SEO friendly manner.   I'm not going to worry over stuff I can't control.




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Clean Up Facebook

I'll admit it:  I have allowed my personal facebook account to get completely out of control.  It was over 2,500 contacts.

That may not bother some, but I've decided to significantly reduce the number of friends/contacts on my personal account.  It was getting a bit ridiculous.  I'm running across some profiles that I can't even read in (not English) my contacts. 

I wish Facebook had a filter that helped with the process.  But it seems the only way to reduce your friends/contacts is by manually deleting them.

I'll mention a couple of things before I go any further:


*You can significantly reduce your wall clutter buy just blocking apps, etc.  I'm assuming you know how to do that.  You can also remove an individual's activity from appearing in your wall's feed (but I wonder why you'd even have someone on your list if you have no interest in seeing their activity). 


*Facebook fan pages are the way to go if you are some kind of public figure and want to interact with large groups of people--groups that may go over a thousand.  I'm already using this strategy.

As I've mentioned, it seems the best option is to simply manually delete friends from your personal account.  There's no quick way to do this if you want to keep your account--you can deactivate your account and start over, but that's not really an option for me.

Where do you start?  I'll give you a few that are helping me:

1. Your Wall:
You can start reducing contacts with the source of the problem: your cluttered Facebook wall.  Next time to see an update that is completely irrelevant to your life just look at the profile and see if he is a candidate for "unfriending." 

2. Networking:
Look at an unfamiliar contact then see if you have mutual "friends" (either before or after you "unfriend" the profile).  You can often find clusters of people you don't know.

3. Birthdays:
This is another way you can do a daily "cleaning."  Just check the daily birthday update.  It may be time to delete the birthday boy or girl if you have no idea who he/she is.  

It's still going to take a while.  But I think I can cut my contacts down to a manageable number within a few months if I keep working at it.

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Monitor your Twitter Account with these Services

As social media tools go, you can’t get much better than Twitter. Utilized by millions of people for uses ranging from casual to professional, Twitter users can follow and be followed by limitless tweeters sharing their tastes and proclivities. However if you’re interested in tracking the raw data surrounding your Twitter account—how many followers view your profile, who follows and unfollows you and when do they do it—you have to look outside Twitter at other services. Here are a few sites worth checking out if you want to closely monitor comprehensive statistics about your account.

Quitter
Quitter is a free service for Twitter users that tracks who has unfollowed you. Quitter will send you regular email updates about your unfollowers, including the time and date when the event occurred. The service is an indispensible tool for those concerned with their account’s popularity—if you can isolate what causes users to unfollow you, perhaps you can improve your account for the better.

TwitterCounter
TwitterCounter is a supplemental stats-tracking application for Twitter that provides super in-depth data on your Twitter account. Your account’s stats are shown in easy to understand graph format over a time table of days, weeks, months, or years. TwitterCounter will also forecast future statistics, such as how long you are estimated to reach a certain number of followers or an approximation of the followers you’ll have in so many days. You can also check the popularity of your Twitter against other accounts. TwitterCounter provides widgets you can install that keep you updated on the number of followers you have.

Twellow 
Twellow is the perfect service for people looking for liked-minded users. Twellow works as a search engine for accounts categorized by their apparent interests. Search through categories as broad as “Entertainment” or as specific as “Magicians” to find the accounts worth following for you. If you search for a user with no immediately discernable category, Twellow will match that user with a category that may capture the main theme of their account.

Hootsuite 
Hootsuite is a self-described “social media dashboard” aimed at the savvy social media user. People with multiple social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Myspace, etc.) can utilize Hootsuite as a means to access and post to these accounts from the same place. In addition to the versatility and mobility this application affords its users, Hootsuite has statistical tracking applications similar to those on TwitterCounter. You can also track trends and keywords that catch your eye so you can stay up-to-date on your favorite topics. Hootsuite allows for the ambitious social media user to network across multiple platforms and shows you your progress along the way. A must have for the adept tweeter!

About the Author: Alvina Lopez is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: alvina.lopez @gmail.com.

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Google+ Resistance is Futile?

Here's another video for Google+



I've joined Google+, and so far I like it. I do like the idea of circles--having control over who sees which posts. But there's sort of a "resistance is futile" quality to this video, don't you think?



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Spider Under Skin Facebook Scam


Looks like another Facebook scam is taking over--the spider under your skin scam.  Same song, different verse:  if you click "play" it's going to send itself to all of your contacts. 

By the way: you should know by now that anything with "OMG" on a Facebook should make you very suspicious.

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Blogger Dashboard Overhaul

Looks like blogger has done a major overhaul to the dashboard.  It's taking a little getting used to, but so far, so good.  I like the fact that you have instant access to blog stats as soon as you open your dashboard.

This is the first post I've made with the new format, and I think I'll like it.  There's a roomier feel to it.

I always wonder how many of these new features are done to compete features in WordPress.  I don't know, because I've never used WordPress very much.

So far the biggest disadvantage to the new blogger dashboard is the inability to edit html.  This also makes it difficult to import custom templates.  There's an easy way to deal with this or any other issue you don't like in the new blogger format: you can revert back to the old blogger.  This link shows you how:

How to Revert to Old Blogger in Draft Interface

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The Google+ Project: Social Networking by Google

Google has decided to jump on the social networking bandwagon with the Google+ project. Here's their video preview:

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Change Favicon in Blogger/Blogspot

Blogger has made yet another improvement.  I'm not sure exactly when it happened, but I just noticed it today.  It's easier than ever to change the favicon, the small icon that appears to the left of the url in most browsers.  The default setting is the orange blogger icon (like the one for this blog).

Changing it used to require some work and messing around with the html code.  Now all you have to do is use the button in the blogger dashboard.  Just click "design" and there's an option to change the favicon:


Just click "edit" and upload any .ico file.

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Twiends.com: Get More Twitter Followers and Facebook Likes



Would you like to get more twitter followers or "likes" to your Facebook page? 
You may want to check out TWIENDS.  Here's how the system works:  you register and connect twiends to your Twitter and Facebook accounts.  The system pulls up other Twitter/Facebook users you may want to follow (based on either interests or location).  The system basically offers incentives (called "seeds") for members to follow (Twitter) and like (Facebook). 

I can't make any guarantees about the quality of followers you'll get.  I also can't guarantee this will result in increased traffic, revenue, etc.  But it is a good way to jump-start your social network accounts.   Just CLICK HERE to check out Twiends.

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Adding Google's +1 Button to Blogger/Blogspot

Google's +1 Button is now live. Here's the official video.  I've put some additional information under the video to help you out if you're having trouble installing the code for blogger/blogspot.



You can go to the Google Webmasters Website to see instructions on inserting the code.  It looks like this:




(You'll need to copy the code from the google website--I've posted it here as a picture because I can't post the code within my blog post--blogger interprets it as code instead of text). 

I had to tweak the instructions a little.  Here's what I would recommend:

1.  Go to your blog's control panel and click "design"


2.  Now click "edit html," and "expand widget templates."  It will look like this:



 3.  Now you'll need to find code for your post header (if you want the button on the top of your post).  It should look something like this:

 4.  Now pasted both sections of the code under your header (I found this to be easier than looking for the "close body" tag).  The end result will look something like this:


5.  Now click "save template" and you're done.

You can try this first on a crash test dummy blog if you are a little nervous about messing with your blogs html code.

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Blogging and "Get Rich Quick" Programs


I encounter all kinds of "get rich quick" promises.  Sometimes they show up in my email.  Usually it involves buying some kind of software or program that will show you the "secrets" to making money online. 

I don't think there is any secret formula.  It all boils down to hard work: producing quality content, guest posting, getting your name out there by leaving comments on blogs and forums, etc.  That's the "secret." 

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Zaggmate Review (iPad)

I've finally got my hands on the nifty little iPad accessory called the Zaggmate.  Here's my review:

One of the only things I don't like about the iPad is the relative difficulty in typing.  The Zaggmate solves this problem--it is a bluetooth keyboard and protective case.  It does add a little weight to your iPad, and the miniature keyboard isn't nearly as easy to use as a full-sized one.  But it does make typing easier than using the touch board.

The Zaggmate will not turn your iPad into a laptop replacement--I still prefer my MacBook for writing long emails or creating content.  But it's a nice little accessory for iPad owners.



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Osama Bin Laden Facebook Scam


Another scam is going around Facebook.  This one promises to show you pictures of Osama Bin Laden's body. 

Don't click it--this is just another malicious application/virus that will take over your Facebook account.

The photo you see on Facebook walls is a fake (photoshopped) pictured that has been circulating around the internet. 

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Blogging Update

Seems my traffic and search engine results are all still going pretty well.

I started promoting a new program and wrote a review: Flavia Del Monte Full-Body-Licious Review. 

I am ranking fairly well when people search reviews for this program.  So far it seems the whole Panda meltdown is a thing of the past.

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Panda Recovery and Alexa

I've been chronicling the ups and downs with my fitness blog and the impact of Google's "panda" algorithm change.  In summary, I was hit really hard by the first phase of panda,  but seem to have recovered nicely with the second phase. 

I did take some steps to remove "duplicate content" (after the first phase), but I'm not really sure that made any difference (since only about 10% of my pages content was not original). 

Anyway, I saw another positive sign this week:  breaking the 100,000 rank on Alexa.  I haven't done that since September 2010, when I broke the 90,000 rank.

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Panda Recovery?

I've spent some time talking about what the Panda algorithm did to my fitness blog:  it really hurt my traffic coming from Google. 

I ended up investing some time trying to make sense of it all.  I've keep an eye on sites like the Search Engine Roundtable, but what I was reading wasn't promising--it seemed no one was really recovering from the Panda meltdown.  There was one bright side:  I took the opportunity to write a guest post over at Problogger.net (see Google Panda Update: the Lessons I Learned).  

I finally did notice some improvements a couple of days ago.   It seemed I was getting more visits for search terms (after a month of mostly just image search traffic).  It turns out there was another update on April 12th (it was officially announced on the Google Webmaster Central blog).

Here's a screenshot of my Google analytics with everything ("non-paid search engine traffic" only).


As you can see, we are not talking about massive traffic here.  But my fitness blog is not (yet) an "a-list" blog, so this improvement is quite significant for me.   Hopefully I'll continue to see improvements.

I previously mentioned removing all unoriginal content and re-posting it elsewhere.  Did that really make a difference?  I have no earthly idea.  I'm just hoping the improvement in search engine traffic is a sign of things to come. 

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KontactR: Let Readers Email You

Here's another blogger dilemma: how do you allow your readers to contact you without publicly giving away your email address (to spammers, etc)? 

I have found a very simple solution: Kontactr.   This service allows users to contact you through a form.  It is easy to use and it works.  You can post one of their widgets on your blog, or you can just have an "email me" link directly to the Kontactr form.

The sender will only know your email address if you choose to email back. 

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Marika Fruscio Facebook Scam

Looks like another malicious Facebook app is making the rounds.  I'd advise you against clicking this unless you want your facebook account infected.

I've blurred this image for the sake of modesty, but the actual picture/ad on facebook leaves less to the imagination.

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Keyword-Based Domain Names

I've been talking about Google's "Panda" update and how it has really slammed my fitness blog.  

Matt Cutts has hinted at another possible change: putting less emphasis on the domain name.  Here's the video, and you can read my comments below.



I would actually welcome this change.  I get outranked by a lot of websites just because some goob bought a domain name specifically to market a particular product.

Note: I ran across this information at the Search Engine Roundtable.

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Microsoft Office 2011 Mac Review

I bought a new Macbook Pro this past December.  I decided to go ahead and upgrade to Microsoft Office 2011, so I'll tell you what I think.  This, by the way, is not going to be a very technical review (I'm not quite geeky enough for that).

Here's the bottom line--I'm happy with this upgrade.  I found it pretty easy to adjust to the changes, and the new interface for Word and PowerPoint are nice.  I've also noticed it seems to be a little faster than the 2008 version (could be my new Macbook, but I don't think so).

I really like the new PowerPoint.  The 2008 version worked just fine, but this upgraded version is a little more consistent in terms of how syncs with LCD projectors.  One more thing I've noticed: I initially had a little trouble getting embedded videos to play in my old PowerPoint files.  But the solution was very simple--I just re-embedded the videos (which you have to do anyway) and saved the file in the newest format (.pptx).  Works like a charm. 


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Panda Algorithm Recovery?

Resistance is Futile


I wrote about Google Panda a few days ago and how it completely slammed my Fitness Blog.

After another week or two of terrible traffic I've decided to bow to the Google gods and try to give them what they want.  "Try" is the key word, because I have no idea if my strategy will actually work. 

Here's what I'm doing:

Strongandfit.net's content was roughly 10% re-posted articles.  If I understand things correctly, Google is claiming you can get back in their good graces by removing duplicate content (or transferring it to other websites, etc).  

So that's what I'll do.  I've exported my blog, imported it to a new blog, and published all unoriginal articles at the new location.  All my original content will remain intact on strongandfit.net. I can link or refer to articles on this new blog occasionally if I want to.  I can also re-post content there (if I have permission, of course) without fear of getting smacked by Google.

At least this way I'll improve my chances of ranking better in search results and I won't feel like collecting those articles was a complete waste.

I'm not holding my breath for this to work, but at least I tried.

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News@Blogger Buzz

Looks like there are some pretty cool updates coming up this year for blogger.  You can check out this post for more information: What's New With Blogger (Blogger Buzz)

I know a lot of folks swear by Wordpress, but Blogger just keeps getting better.  Some of the 2010 updates were exactly what I was hoping for.

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The Importance of Quality Content

One of the first things I ever wrote about was the importance of high quality content.  This week I've seen the benefits of quality, even as I'm seemingly having problems with Google's "Panda" algorithm

I'll explain:
I noticed some new sources of traffic as I checked my stats on Statcounter.  Turns out some people I don't even know put links to my fitness blog on forums.   That's the great thing about quality posts--you get links you didn't even ask for. 

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Google Panda and SEO Blues


I'm sure many of you are aware that Google recently changed its algorithm, naming it "Panda."  The change was designed to improve search engine results and get rid of "content farms."  Ezinearticles, for example, was affected.  My friend over at SEO Hacker has already written some good articles on it, but I'll chime in just a little. 

It seems my fitness blog was hit pretty hard--seems like my traffic from google has decreased.  A lot of different variables have to be considered, so I'm not 100% sure. 

The problem is I'm not sure exactly why.  Do I re-post content (with permission)?  Yes.  But all along google has been officially saying there's no such thing as a duplicate content penalty--thanks for changing the rules, guys (if that's indeed what they have done--it isn't clear to me).

Most of the content on my blog is original, so I'm not sure if I'm getting busted for having some re-posted articles.

I have to say I am a bit frustrated.  I echo the sentiments of Seobook.com: "Why Not Just Tell Us What You Want, Already!"


How am I responding to Google Panda:

*I'm not going to panic.  I think they will tweak this algorithm as time goes on.  Sites like Squidoo, for example, were busted before.  They actually approached google and were able to rank better after cleaning up their act.  I'm not even 100% sure if I've been affected in the first place. 

*I've followed SEO-Hacker's advice on what to do if the Panda update affected your site.  

*I'm not going to take down any re-posted articles.  Why?  Because anything that I have posted has been carefully selected to be useful to my readers.  If that causes me to get penalized, so be it--I can't base my whole blog on google algorithms.

*I will probably not re-post articles as much in the future.  That may sound contradictory after the previous point.  But my whole philosophy about SEO has been to work with google without obsessing over it. I'm not willing to go back and scramble my whole blog, but I'm willing to adjust the future content.  Is this a good compromise?  I have no idea.

*I'll also keep using other viable (more reliable) methods of getting traffic, like using forums and Adgitize.

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Free Ipad Facebook Spam


Well, looks like there's another malicious Facebook app.  This one promises a free iPad.

I'll warn everyone again: do not click this type of wall post--it seems this app takes over your profile and spams everyone in your Facebook contacts. 

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Snow and Sales

I was really looking forward to January.  January 2010 was a very profitable month for me over at my fitness blog

But this past January was disappointing.  Sales were actually lower than in previous months.  What happened?  One can never be sure, but I think I know:

This is a recent satellite picture of the United States.  So many places are cold and covered in snow, and I believe it's the reason no one is too concerned with fitness right now.  They are more concerned with staying warm. 

This may mean a better-than-normal sales in February or March.  Or it may just mean overall profits will be lower. 

This just goes to show that in blogging, as in many endeavors, there are a multitude of factors over which we have no control.  You just have to keep plugging away and producing high quality content.

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Facebook to End on March 15th?

OK, there's another funny rumor that's been floating around the internet.  It was apparently started when a website announced that Facebook Will End on March 15th. 

Just a casual viewing of the website will show it's sort of like The Onion.  It's just a spoof news website (heck, they still have the wordpress loco as their favicon (the little icon in the browser).  

Let's hand it to Weekly World News--they showed us the power of viral posts (and made me laugh).

NOTE:
If you are a first-time visitor, you may want to stop by my Fitness Blog.

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