Good Link or Bad Link?

Google has just released their “disavow link” tool.

If you’re going to use it, use it carefully. Test first. Err on the side of caution.

Personally, I don’t intend to use it at all. I understand why people want it but… no.

On a related note – do you have any idea how many ex-friends and ex-clients still have me looped into access to their GWT accounts? Access that I myself can’t revoke if I wanted to.  If I were an evil person, I could do some *serious* damage.

Time to check who all has access to your GWT. Do it NOW.

 

Google's Disavow Link Tool - Are You a Good Link or a Bad Link?

Managing Multiple WordPress Sites

tl;dr:  ManageWP lets you update WordPress, plugins and themes on any number of sites in one interface. You can also do a whole bunch of other stuff, and the first five sites are FREE at the Standard level. Go sign up for it now.

Last week, the WordPress 3.4.2 update was released. My normal routine is to set aside the better portion of a day to back up, then update the WordPress (and plugins), of  the ridiculous number of WordPress sites I maintain for myself, some friends and family, and a selection of clients. Oh and a few sites in various stages of development and yet more sites created just to test stuff.  All told, we’re talking a lot of sites.

WordPress Updates x Number of Sites = PITA

ManageWP

As you can imagine, keeping all these sites updated, backed up, and functional is a pain.  And of course, you have to do it. You do keep your sites up to date, right?

Even though I’d heard of tools for managing multiple WordPress sites, I never really considered putting my sites into one. Mostly because I was under the (mistaken)  impression that in order to use them, I would need to change my hosting. I don’t want to change my hosting. After horrific WordPress hosting experiences on FIVE substandard hosts, I am more than happy with Tiger Tech; they have better-than-extreme customer service, are optimized for WordPress, and can deal calmly with my weird and drastic seasonal traffic spikes (not to mention my emotional spikes). 98% of my sites and my client sites are in Tiger Tech, and I would prefer they stay there.

This year, we’ve grown so much and been so busy, it was clear that something had to change. My kick ass developer partner put his foot down, and said we really needed to streamline this operation or we’d fall behind. So at his suggestion, I told him I’d check out ManageWP, but that if it required changing hosting, it wasn’t gonna happen.

I was on the site about five minutes before I thought “Where has THIS been all my life?”

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Google Merchant Center – One Hot Mess

If you muck about in ecommerce, PPC, and product feeds, you’re probably aware of Google Merchant Center, which is the front end interface for Google Shopping (formerly called Google Products, formerly called Froogle, etc.)  The Google Shopping product allows you to send up a feed of your products, and have them displayed in various places on Google search properties. You can also tie them to your AdWords PPC account via Product Listing Ads (PLA), and display pictures of your products alongside your ads. In fact, Google has announced that all product listings would be transitioned to paid listings, and that it would be transitioning out the free listings altogether.

Now, my job is not to get into the philosophical argument of whether or not this transition is a low blow to ecommerce sites,  paid inclusion, or some other scourge; that’s already been covered, and by better and more widely read writers than I. My job is to get my clients’ products in front of everyone who may be searching for them. To that end, I spent most of this week trying to get several thousand products into the Merchant Center, and there are some serious – serious – problems with the user interface.

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Zombie Robots Are Eating My Site

December 13, 2013  I’ve posted an update about the zombie bot issue – the short version is – it went away for a year and a half, and now it’s back. Check it out.

One of my sites has been under mass attack by bots for a month now, without cease.  It’s cost me (and my developer partner) time, money, and an undue amount of stress.  It’s undermined my analytics and stats.

When Bots Attack

It Just. Keeps. Coming.

And while there are a couple things we’ve been able to do to minimize the damage, essentially there’s no way to stop it. It just. keeps. coming. And frankly, if it continues, and spreads, there could be big repercussions across the web on ad revenue and analytics.

What I Know

The attack started on February 21, 2012, around noon.  I keep an OCD-level eye on my traffic, and I noticed a big jump in direct traffic.  This is unusual, because this particular site is less than a year old, and has not had a chance to develop a lot of branding yet.  It’s pretty well situated in the search engines for its niche, but not that many people know it by name.  Anything more than twenty or thirty percent direct traffic would definitely be odd.  And then I started noticing some other strange behaviors:

  • All the traffic was reported as Internet Explorer (versions 6 through 9)
  • All the traffic was reported as Windows (XP through Win 7)
  • The traffic was coming from all over the world (and the site is focused on ONE state in the US) and from thousands of IP numbers & ISPs.
  • It was all hitting the home page and leaving immediately.  My bounce rate quickly soared to about 99%
  • There was nothing – no one thing – that I could pinpoint to block this traffic from coming in. No commonality.
  • It was executing javascript – because it showed up in Google Analytics, Statcounter & Woopra.

Strangest of all, the traffic was *slow* – drip drip drip.  Never so much to come anywhere near a DDOS, or have an effect on the server, but at any given point, there would be six to ten “visitors” on the site at a time.  While it looked very much like actual human browser traffic, it wasn’t difficult to conclude that this was something automated.

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