Going Down On Search Bots (Don’t Blow It)

April 3rd, 2013 by Ryan Smith

Is it time for routine site maintenance, a quick-but-not-instantaneous CMS upgrade, or yet another ridiculous, intricate, time-consuming corporate rebranding sent down from the company’s bedrobed and anointed yet predictably-benighted marketeering ring?

Maybe your latest blog post hit such a deep nerve on social media that the traffic spike choked your server off just a little too long and it’s hanging limp in the closet like David Carradine?

Or perhaps some teenagers got the best of your web server and you’ve been told to shut down your defaced site as your last official act before being escorted out of the building due to incompetence?

Or did your database just hit the dirt like a roped steer? Tape drive backups, you say? Hey bub, 1998 called… it wants its disaster recovery plan back.

There are a number of reasons you may wish to close the doors on your site, even temporarily. Unfortunately like so many technical SEO practices, it takes almost precisely zero effort to do it badly, resulting in destroying your hard-earned rankings, amputating your veteran footprint in the search index, and murdering your organic traffic execution-style without the exculpatory benefits of plastic sheeting and a small boat on standby.
Read the rest of this entry »

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Webmastering on Caffeine – PubCon South 2010

July 23rd, 2010 by Ryan Smith

This year’s PubCon South in Dallas certainly proved to be worth the trip.  Surprisingly, I was the only one I knew who bothered to rent a car.  Note to would-be conference attendees: if you can get a good rate, rent a car. You’ll make stupendous industry contacts in addition to some fine conference buddies.

Since the conference, I’ve been totally wrapped up in a new job, preparing for and working the incredible SMX Advanced Seattle, executing a move, and preparing for the firstborn, who finally arrived healthy and adorable just a few short weeks ago.

Alas, I’ve had no time to blog, but as promised, and better late than never, here’s my slide deck from the HTML, CSS & Hosting panel in Dallas.  The news isn’t so news-worthy anymore, but the various tools discussed in this deck can help optimize your website performance by improving page speed, script execution time and database efficiency, making this deck a worthy once-through for any webmaster.

I won’t be able to make it to PubCon Vegas this year (I tell myself there’s always next year…) but I’ll see you in October at SMX East in New York City.

Got any other great tools to share for improving site performance?  Drop a comment!


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

See yall in Dallas

March 30th, 2010 by Ryan Smith

I’m confirmed for the HTML, CSS and Hosting panel at WebmasterWorld PubCon South in Dallas on April 13-15, where I’ll be in excellent company discussing a variety of technical issues relevant to professional webmasters.

I’m looking forward especially to the Q&A to follow our presentations, as this level of technical discussion is under-served at PubCon and this broad topic will inevitably inspire a wide-ranging conversation with fellow web geeks.

There’s still time to save a hundred bucks off the door price at PubCon, and there’s probably still group-rate rooms at the DoubleTree too (call in to get it), so come on down (over? up?) to Dallas and join in the conversation with approachable experts of every kind.

See you there!


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

How to Parse the Google Results Page using Regular Expressions Even if You’re a Total PHP n00b

October 15th, 2009 by Ryan Smith

 Google Scraping

There comes a time in the course of every SEO’s life where they find themselves wishing to scrape their own search rankings data rather than use one of the fine commercial tools available for the task.  Fortunately for me, not every SEO is also a hacker, so I do a lot of work with professional online marketing consultants in need of a web programmer who speaks fluent SEO to turn their geeky daydreams into working apps.  But what if you can’t afford me?

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Everyday Apache .htaccess Configuration Magic

June 15th, 2009 by Ryan Smith

Here’s a PDF of my presentation for TechMaine’s Web Designers User Group on common Apache .htaccess tricks ranging from password-protecting directories and WordPress permalinks to how to do 301 redirects for a variety of situations and useful PHP runtime configuration directives you can do from .htaccess.

Tags: , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Semantic Markup: How to feed Google Rich Snippets & Yahoo SearchMonkey with RDFa and Microformats

May 13th, 2009 by Ryan Smith

The game sure is changing.  Though it often feels like a captor-hostage situation, and for some accompanied by a kind of Stockholm Syndrome, Google and its nearly pathetic (if precedent) runners-up in the search market have opened up new ways of tweaking your site’s presentation in their search results.  It used to be that all you could customize was the title and the description snippet, simply by writing a smart title tag and an even more enticing meta description tag, but that was it.

If you haven’t heard of Yahoo’s Searchmonkey project, well now you never will because the great behemoth of underpaid, overworked and perpetually-pampered Python programmers of Mountain View have done roughly the same thing Yahoo started a year ago , just for 80% more users than Yahoo’s ever going to have.  They call it Rich Snippets.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tracking multiple pages with the same URL in Google Analytics

October 14th, 2008 by Ryan Smith

What Jar of All-Black M&Ms Candies courtesy djwudi @ http://flickr.com/photos/djwudi/ do you do when you’re trying to put Google Analytics on a dumb-ass checkout process which uses the same identical URL like /stupidcommerce.cgi for every step?

Naturally any web analytics package is going to see every step every user performs as views of the same page and count them all together as the same page, which is basically as ridiculous and impossible as attempting to determine the ratio of red M&M’s to green M&Ms in a jar full of black M&M’s (see diagram at left).

Though far from obvious to most, fortunately Google Analytics is flexible enough to let you solve this dumb problem and add some color back to your candy jar, but not before wading knee-deep through the help file to decipher the steps required. Until now…

Read the rest of this entry »


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

“No manual intervention” says a Google Fellow of Quality

July 9th, 2008 by Ryan Smith

Amit Singhal, a Google Fellow in charge of their Search Quality Group, just posted a killer entry on the official Google Blog describing their IR philosophy. The first thing that jumps out at the casual SEO reading this is emphasized in bold below:

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sitemap URL Redirecting

January 18th, 2008 by Ryan Smith

I recently encountered an issue where a client with a web server cluster was having difficulty keeping every node’s copy of their sitemap up-to-date, and wanted to know if all the search engines’ sitemap bots would follow a 301 redirect on the sitemap itself to a master server with a different domain than the site for which the sitemap is authored.

I doubted that we could trust that redirects on sitemaps would necessarily be followed by every service which supports them. I asked Google’s Matt Cutts about it, and he offered the following suggestions:

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button