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Google Plus +1 for Websites goes Live

Today, Google is releasing +1 buttons to the whole web. As a result, you might start seeing +1 appear on sites large and small across the Internet.

Insight into Blog Spam

Everyone hates blog spam no matter if it’s comment or trackback spam but I thought I would look into it and see if there is any common elements and yes

Facebook Insights Update

Facebook rolls out a massive update to the dashboard but it seems more than a few things were left off the first release, so can we expect more?

Interview with Geno Prussakov on Affiliate Management

Geno_PrussakovJust in time heading into AM Days San Francisco that is happening on the 19th-20th March 2014, I was able to get some of Geno Prussakov‘s time for a interview about his views on affiliate management but also the upcoming AM Days San Francisco event but also AM Days London happening in May 2014.  Geno is a successful and well known affiliate marketer, a well published author and blogger but also founder of outsourced affiliate program agency AM Navigator.  If that’s not enough he is also the organiser behind Affiliate Management Days a successful global conference series focused on affiliate management.  AM Days is run annually in San Francisco, and London and is designed specifically for helping affiliate managers responsible for their companies affiliate marketing operations and strategies become more successful.

1.        What is the biggest change you saw in affiliate management in 2013?
While I could (and should) mention the pleasant tendency for advertisers to invest more time and money into the education of their affiliate program managers, it wasn’t “the biggest change” of the year, in my opinion. The biggest one was the fact that some of the top brands in the market started shifting their focus from network-based affiliate programs to in-house platforms, migrating their program support and management respectively.

First, after Google’s announcement about “retiring Google Affiliate Network effective July 31, 2013″ [source] we  noticed how a number of top brands migrated not to Commission Junction (CJ) or Rakuten LinkShare, but to solutions that bring program the management in-house. In such a manner, Threadless, ForMeToFlowers, Quidsi, OTC, AbeBooks all migrated over to ImpactRadius and are now exclusive to this platform, as far as I understand.

Then in August of 2013 in addition to their CJ-based affiliate program, Groupon announced the launch of Groupon Partner Network, which similarly to eBay “Partner Network” really meant an in-house-based affiliate program for Groupon. Finally, literally a day later, a similar news came from Apple. They chose to part ways with LinkShare and TradeDoubler migrating their affiliate program to Performance Horizon Group. The tendency to shift from networks either to proprietary or to SaaS solutions is clearly there.

We are, actually, going to discuss this tendency with the key affiliate networks and tracking solution providers during the “The Future Affiliate Network” panel at Affiliate Management Days San Francisco in a week.

2.        What do you think the biggest challenge is for the affiliate industry in 2014?
Just as in 2013 it isn’t going to be connected with leveraging any of the emerging trends. I believe that the industry’s biggest channel will be in justifying that the affiliate marketing guy does have a place at the table. Auditing affiliate programs on a regular basis I see advertisers falling in and out of love with affiliate marketing, and the primary reason for this is that we aren’t giving enough attention to proving the value of performance-based marketing. We aren’t focusing on showing advertisers how affiliate programs can indeed create incremental value for their businesses. Multiple affiliate programs are currently dependent on bottom-of-the-funnel affiliates, and it doesn’t have to be that way. Affiliates can be powerful introducers of new customers, and influencers of purchaser’s decisions as well. Affiliate programs can complement advertiser’s other online marketing efforts without cannibalizing any of them.

3.        What affiliate network that you think is doing great things for their merchants/advertisers?
It is hard to single out just one, as networks tend to be geographically focused (and often niche-specific too). In the U.S., for example, I would highlight ShareASale and Avantlink who aren’t only talking attribution, but also providing advertisers with practical ways/tools to analyze the clickstream and set payout rules that work for them. In the United Kingdom Affiliate Window is doing impressive things too — in tracking and research/reporting particularly.

4.        What is the biggest mistake badly run affiliate programs continue to make?
The biggest, and the costliest of all, is not giving the affiliate program the attention is deserves. From vague (or inexistent) policies to lack of compliance policing, and from minimal (or no) affiliate recruitment to lack of activation initiatives… the list could go on an on. In a nutshell, as mentioned in the video below earlier this year, “similarly to any serious marketing campaign your affiliate program must be managed.” Otherwise, it can get you into all sorts of trouble (from channel cannibalization to serious brand damage).

5.        What is one piece of advice you wished all affiliate managers would take on board?
Never assume you can stop learning. In an industry as dynamic as affiliate marketing you cannot afford to rely solely on yesterday’s knowledge, and must keep self-educating continuously. New challenges, as well as new opportunities, come up nearly weekly. Invest your time and effort in ongoing self-education!

6.        What should affiliate managers be focusing on recruitment or retention of affiliates?

When managing clients’ affiliate programs I expect AM Navigator account managers to spend no less than 80% of their time on two areas: affiliate recruitment and affiliate activation; some 50% on the former, and 30% on the latter. It is also important to emphasize that “retaining” an affiliate is, actually, fairly easy, but their retention in the program doesn’t help you a bit unless the affiliate is active with the program. We see how in unmanaged and under-managed programs the affiliate activation index (or the percentage of affiliates active in the program) ranges from 5% to 10%, while in programs where the affiliate manager is devoting time to affiliate activation the index rises up to 20% or higher. Hence, the importance of focusing on both: recruitment first, but then also activation.

7.        Affiliate Management Days have taken you around the world, what’s your favourite city for attendees?
It so happened that after some “trial and error” (with locations) we’ve arrived at what I believe to be the optimal solution: running the U.S. conference in San Francisco (this year’s show is just around the corner – March 19-20), while the European one in London (we are set to be back on May 13-14, 2014). San Francisco is, arguably, the American capital of e-commerce, while London is the place where nearly eighty percent of all things affiliate marketing are headquartered. Therefore, I cannot pick my favourite city between these two. Based on my objectives (to bring AM Days both to the U.S. and to Europe) both of these work equally great.

8.        What is the main ideas/points that you hope people get from attending AM Days?
Every AM Days conference is extremely rich in high-level content as well as laser-focused networking. When opening up the very first AM Days in 2012 I said that every attendee could expect three things from the show:

1. Practical knowledge
2. Professional networking
3. Motivation

While the affiliate marketing landscape has changed since that very first show of ours, the above three remain. Everyone who attends AM Days walks away with all of these covered.

9.        What AM Days speakers or sessions are you most looking forward to attending?
Just as the question about the “favourite city” this one puts me in a difficult position. Just as with those cities, I spent a lot of thought on every one of the speakers and sessions that one will find on the agendas of the upcoming conferences. But let me highlight 3 sessions for each of the 2014 Affiliate Management Days shows:

From the San Francisco agenda:
“Performance Secrets of Amazon’s Success” keynote by Bryan Eisenberg
* “The Future Affiliate Network” referenced above
“Data-Driven Affiliate Marketing Best Practices” keynote by Todd Crawford

From the London agenda:
“The Future of Affiliate Marketing” keynote panel with UK’s major affiliate networks
“Omni-Channel Marketing in the Affiliate Space” by Eleanor Pickering & Richard Lane
“The Birth of Multi-Attribution” by Simon Hofmeister

10.        Are you attending any SMX London sessions?
I wish! However, since I’ll be running AM Days London on exactly the same dates and hours as SMX London will be held (we are fully co-located: same venue, same expo hall, even shared lunches and reception), I am afraid, I will not be able to sneak out. Leaving my ship helmsman-less is just not my style.

11.        So where can people found you if people want to follow/engage with you online?
I am very active on TwitterLinkedIn and Google+. I also blog frequently at AMNavigator.com/blog and speak regularly around the globe. Don’t miss my books and videos too!

Affiliate Management DaysThank you Geno for your time in answering these questions.  If you want to catch Geno Prussakov speak and save ££££ on tickets for AM Days London you can use our discount code LOSTAGENCY14 and you can register and find out more here.

Twitter NFL Promoted Video Ads

AdAge covered some details about the Twitter and NFL Agreement on promoted twitter video pages in September last year but this is the first time that I have seen them until this point.  It certainly pushes Twitter into the space of being able to better commercialise brands content marketing activities and potentially steal advertising revenue away from YouTube. It could also create a whole new medium for Twitter that Facebook & Google+ can then look to borrow “steal” for their own promoted videos.

This video is promoted by McDonald's

If Twitter can make this work there are likely plenty of other sport based content marketing channels such as Australia’s AFL, English Premier League, PGA Tour and ATP World Tour that will be chomping at the bits to get in on the ability to drive more revenue from short video segments.  I think the strategy of focusing on sports is a perfect fit for Twitter and could potentially drive a lot of revenue to them and their content partners.

It’s interesting to see that they don’t have the standard Twitter Promoted message seen in the examples shown last year shown below for Verizon. I’m wondering if this is temporary message as I think the un-styled disclosure message  shown above “This video is promoted by McDonald’s” looks horrible and fairly amateurish compared against the original and standard promoted tweets.Verizon Tweet

If you click to play the video about the Twitter fan getting a prom date with a NFL Cheerleader you are run through a 8 second McDonald’s breakfast pre-roll ad.  So this certainly confirms you are consuming content that paid for by McDonald’s, the sad part is that current ads don’t appear to be using different pre-rolls based on time of day.

This means that if I’m viewing the video it could be matched to my local time zone which is Europe and since it’s 9pm run a pre-roll ad about late night menu options at McDonald’s.  I checked and it’s currently 2:34pm in Houston, Texas so it’s not even breakfast time in the US which I think would have made for a far more effective pre-roll ad.  I know McDonald’s is pushing it’s breakfast menu but some tailoring of pre-roll can go a long way.

McDonald's Ad

Compared to Instagram’s very public stumbles when it came to launching their new promoted ad programs, I was also surprised that I couldn’t see any negative Tweets back to the @NFL account about the very obvious McDonald’s promotion appearing in their news feeds. So what do you think you pre-roll ads coming to your Tweet feed?

Gordon Sands Link Removal Threats

After doing large link removal projects it’s always interesting when you read about link removal requests that go off the rails and result in both a PR disaster but the link is not removed in the first place. This time it was Gordon Sands from Bankruptcyaction.com that managed to piss off blogger The Tim when he sent him the somewhat aggressive link removal email below.

bankruptcyaction-threats

I find it’s actually interesting that Boing Boing readers have taken an interest in this and well pool old Gordon is being torn apart on social media by just average users.  This is not the usual SEO types throwing a webmaster or link builder under a bus this time around, instead it seems to be large number of smaller Twitter accounts rallying against Bankruptcyaction.com and obviously Gordon. There are somewhat angry Twitter threads attacking Gordon like @Furiouslan but it will be interesting if they continue and grow or burn out? Will this continue to go viral as per the Streisand Effect?

So where did it all go wrong?

The biggest point I would make is if you are trying to get someone to do something for you don’t use all caps, bold a threatening line item or mark the block of text in red.  These are just like waving a red flag in front of an angry bull and screaming “Screw you hippie I want you to submit to me and do what ever I demand you do and I want it done yesterday!”.

So yes as you can guess the obviously the outcome was not the response that Gordon Sands wanted it liked to hear, even if it was apparently the third email Gordon sent Tim, it’s important to always remember that any link removal request is always at the discretion of the blog owner.  So if you are trying to get a link removed ALWAYS best be as polite and accommodating as possible and most importantly be patient as most webmasters are happy to remove links if the request is reasonable but again it’s their choice.

I have copied a large chunk of the email thread Timothy Ellis posted on his blog along with some of his comments between each email, but if you click the image you can visit his blog and read the whole post in detail. But you can see that the first reply from Tim wasn’t actually that bad and his response was reasonable enough it was a comment he felt was not in fact left by a spammer but a real user that he knew. From Tim’s first response things just kinda go downhill from here as you can see…

gordon-sands-thread

So made this interesting was this initially seemed a typical penguin “link algorithm” clean up based on over optimisation, link drops and sidebar links.  But as I started to look somewhat more into their links to this part in particular most of the ones I found mostly seemed natural and organic and it did not appear to me that the request may not be as much focused on cleaning up link spam but instead something else.

You can see the offending comment that Gordon Sands is trying to get removed below, what makes it interesting is that it’s not the typically type of comment spam that you would be doing a link removal request on. The comment again is a relevant to the article and the link is appropriate to the comment so it’s not the type of link I would push for removal unless Google specifically listed it as a link they want removed due to a manual penalty.

seattlebubble

Looking at some of their other backlinks yes the website below with the sidebar link seems to have some more commercial anchor text but seems to be relevant to the other sitelinks.  So far nothing concerning stands out for me at this point that it is penguin algorithm penalty at work, but does feel like there might have been some paid links that have been built at some point over the past several years so again it might be a manual penalty Gordon is trying to resolve.

amicuscuria

Looking around more I found this article in the screenshot below with a link to the same URL that Gordon was trying to get removed from Tim’s site.  But again it doesn’t look like something penguin would typically go after because it was as natural as possible with the full URL and no money terms in the anchor text. Again the link is contextually relevant to the article so not something I would flag as a link I would push for removal.

djcoregon

Using more MajesticSEO backlink data I picked another link this type it was a forum and it was actually posted by a “super moderator” and again with no anchor text just the URL.  So unless it’s being manually flagged by Google search quality teams as paid link it seems to be natural enough and not something that should be causing them problems.

laborlawtalk

According to MajesticSEO it seems that they have started to remove some sitewide links within the last month or so which could imply they got something of a manual penalty or did they think they got hit by penguin and panicking? I’m not sure how many of these links Gordon might be trying to get removed but it seems to be something of a slash and burn which could be an over-reaction if it’s not penguin or a manual penalty they are trying to fix.

vandenbos-chapman

vbcattorneys

 

I took a look at SearchMetrics data for their domain and the date (12th Feb 2012) where they appear to get a large loss of visibility in Google seems to happen just before Panda 3.3 hit and basically the site has pretty much been panda bait since then. So it seems most of their traffic left almost 2 years ago but many they are trying to bring the site back from the dead?

search-metrics

Too highlight the point that it seems to be Panda bait and their issues don’t seem to be link based I’ve included a screenshot of the page Gordon is concern with below.  You can see there is almost no content to this particular page and this lack of content is common to several key pages within their site.

bankruptcyaction

I would say that Gordon Sands should stop picking on Tim and fighting with everyone on Twitter that has a view about what he did wrong and focus on improving his website content.  Also I would consider upgrading his website from static HTML to a more user friendly CMS like WordPress which will fix some of the technical issues that may have increased the impact of Panda on their site.

Twitter App Cards Hijacked for Spam

It seems some folks have found a way to spoof Twitter cards for their own personal benefits.  The spam Tweet shown below that I was sent tonight looked like a standard Twitter App card for Pinterest mobile app but it’s certainly not!

The link is obviously not a for Pinterest or the App store but what makes this attempt scary is that if they picked a domain that was similar enough to Pinterest then it would potentially be very successful and far harder for users to notice.

One other reason that it failed is that this is a random account but if this tactic was done from a compromised account then it’s possible more than a few people may click the link expecting to download the Pinterest app.  It should be easy enough for Twitter to shut these type of exploit down as this time the data-user-id#106837463 was identified as invalid and the data-screen-name was https://twitter.com when it maybe should have been something like https://twitter.com/Pinterest?

Twitter

The First Link link goes from the Twitter shortner to a random and unique long URL.  It seems every tweet got their own unique URL so there is automation and tracking in place so you should be careful not to click these types of links for any reasons!

redirect-1

The Second Link shows a 302 redirect to some type of php script, typically check.php is a tool that can be used to diagnose code issues such as CAPCTHA verification images not showing so you should be concerned if something a bit more advanced is running.
redirect-2

 

What to do if you receive these types of Tweets?

You should report these types of links directly to Twitter and NEVER EVER click on the link in the Tweet as your computer can easily be infected with malware! You can report spam tweets directly to tweet here using the form in the screenshot below.

spam-linkIf you know for certain that there is something suspicious about the tweet you can also flag the media by using the link shown in the screenshot below in the hope it may reduce the chance other users see and click the tweet link.  I’ve got no idea if Twitter actually makes use of this feature for identifying spam.

flag-tweet

 

USDA interactive Food Results

As part of Google’s expansion of knowledge graph and building out interactive modules to keep users within their SERPs we now have knowledge graph built around USDA data on food. Matthew Barby first noticed it earlier today and in tests I did it was consistently showing so I thought I’d explore what other search queries it would show up for and was surprised to see how many search queries it was showing up on.

It seems to work on slang terms as “Booze low in Sugar” activates the interactive knowledge graph seen below.  You can select type of food, quantity and all the nutritional facts on the right hand side will change and you don’t have to refresh the page or click through to any website to get the data you want and it seems About.com misses out on that traffic and revenue from onsite adsense banners.

booze-low

 

Also if you search for “alcohol low in sugar” and once again About.com seems to miss out on that potential traffic and again misses out on a heap of revenue they previously received.

alcohol-low

The USDA data also works for “vegetables low in iron” and this time SFGate.com misses out on that potential traffic and the user stays in Google. These types of results are painful for sites like SFGate.com that have created interesting ever-green pieces of content and have long benefited from a large share of organic traffic until now.vegies-low-iron

If you search for “vegetables low in carbs” and once again About.com seems to miss out on that potential traffic and adsense impressions and clicks.
vegies-low-carbs

If you search for “milk low in iron” and once again KidsHealth.org a health focused non-profit website run by Nemours seems to miss out on that potential traffic which is possibly not ideal long term.
milk-low-iron

If you search for “fruit low in sugar” and once again About.com seems to miss out on that potential traffic and a huge amount of valuable adsense clicks.
low-sugar

So What does this mean for website owners?

You can see from the sample heat-map test with Feng-GUI.com that a majority of the users focus is just on the Google knowledge widget and not on the organic search results. This means many industry, government and media sites like About.com will now miss out a huge amount of organic traffic.  I wonder when Google might try and start to monetise these results and without more context and details around these types of results are users really getting the complete picture and best advice?

Heat Map Test

Blog Comment Solutions

Last month I wrote up a big post on Insight into Blog Comment spam and this article carries that theme forward by looking at what are some of the top comment platforms used and how well they perform. The data set I used was only 17 respondents but they were all experienced and well known bloggers so they have both a large audience of readers and audience that spammers would be more likely to target their blog.

What is the current Blog comment platform you use?

It wasn’t a massive surprise but 65% of the respondents to my survey showed a strong preference for using the default WordPress comment system which is preferred because it obviously requires no effort to setup.

Blog comment platform used
Would you change what Blog comment platform you are using? If so what would be the alternative?

It was also interesting to find out that a 53% of respondents did not plan on changing comment platform.  But what is interesting is that 4 out of 5 current users of Disqus said they would not change their platform where for WordPress it was only 45% that would not change their platform.

What blog platform

 How do you find the current blog comment platform for dealing with spam?

Just under half (47%) of respondents found their current blog comment platform was performing above average.  Once again Disqus more than out performing with the ratings all “above average” and one “excellent”.

Dealing with Spam

How do you find the current blog comment platform for dealing with moderation?

I surprised to see that webmasters feel that a majority of the blog comment platform quite well for moderation with 58% ranking their comment platforms as above average and 35% ranking them as excellent.  I think the problem with this question is the definition of moderation is likely interpreted differently between respondents.

Dealing with comment moderation

How do you find the current blog platform for dealing with self-promotion?

It seems that while the current blog platforms are good with moderation but average for dealing with self-promotion. It seems based on the respondents that the blog comment platforms pretty much suck for dealing with self-promotion, this could also be that it’s very hard to define what is self-promotion sometimes.

Dealing with self-promotion

How do you find the current blog platform for engagement?

Both Disqus and WordPress got 2 votes for “excellent” and also 1 vote each for “below average”, but I was surprised that there was a fairly positive view for both platforms.  I had expected to see Disqus slightly higher because of the social interactions and votes but maybe with a larger data set that might shift.

Platform engagement

How do you find the currently comment platform for dealing with abuse?

Seems a majority of platforms don’t currently do well with abuse, but Disqus did seem to perform better as it received no “below average” votes unlike WordPress.  Again the definition of abuse is a bit vague as someone swearing in a comment might be abuse to some authors but not to another.  I assume that most respondents might have struggled to interpret what I meant by “abuse” and some blogs might get more abuse within comment threads, towards the blog owner or the writer of the post.

Dealing with abuse

Do you also use Akismet to reduce spam?

It seems that most people use Akismet but not everyone uses the professional or enterprise version, but those using the Free version don’t always have the most negative experience based on their responses.  I would think that blog owners should consider testing/trialing the professional version of Akismet if comments are a problem.

Do you use Akismet

 What about SEO benefits?

It seemed that Disqus comment plugin did appear to perform better for SEO.  But this question could have been easily split into several questions to drill into what SEO benefits they feel they receive as it could be improved onsite content, improved referral links, cross linking between profiles & comments and more. The problems with many other comment plugins is that you don’t own your data or the comments and are mostly not indexable/crawlable by Google.

seo-comments

Who helped contribute to this data?

Some of the bloggers & marketers that contributed to this survey that I wanted to thank was Bill Slawski, AJ Ghergich, Barry Wise, Alan K’necht, Chris Gilchrist, Kate Morris, Stephane Hamel, Branko Rihtman, Chris Burgess, Brad Geddes, Dixon Jones, Jason Mun, Tad Chef, Bill Sebald, Lyena Solomon, Jonathan Allen, & one anonymous blogger.

What are the other comment plugin options?

I see from the responses that like myself there are several bloggers that responded to the survey that are open to moving to a new comment plugin.  So I looked into several of the features/benefits of each of the primary blog comment plugins and detailed them below.

Google+ Comments Plugin for WordPress

  • Imports prior public comments made across Google+
  • Platform offers moderators limited filtering comments options
  • Easier sharing of posts on Google+
  • Offers easy interaction with Google+ audience
  • Google+ users can reply directly within Google+ comments
  • Moderators can Flag & Remove Spam Comments
  • Google+ Comments doesn’t paginate comments
  • Google+ doesn’t load all comments by default
  • Google+ comments don’t appear to contribute towards onsite content
  • It forces users to comment with their personal social media accounts
  • You balance the hassle with the hope of getting increased referral traffic from Google+

Facebook Comment Plugins

  • Facebook comments limit comments to those with a Facebook/Yahoo!/AOL or Hotmail account
  • The default comment setting is “post to Facebook” that drives self-promotion and encourages referral traffic
  • Back in 2011 TechCrunch moved to FB which dropped the number of comments but also killed off the low quality & troll comments
  • TechCrunch have also now moved to Livefyre from FB comments after 2 years
  • Facebook comments force users to comment using their personal accounts
  • After making Facebook comments you can get a flood of notifications
  • Facebook controls all your data and you have no option to backup/export or edit existing comments if required and strengthen your dependence on Facebook.
  • Facebook comments are apparently confusing to moderate

Livefyre Comments for WordPress

  • Real-time comments can be hard to moderate (spam issue)
  • Users can now link to external websites instead of their Livefyre profile (spam issue)
  • Liking a comment creates a DoFollow link back via their avatar (spam issue)
  • You don’t own the comment content it’s owned/controlled by Livefyre
  • Posters can tag other users in their comments
  • When they post a comment users can share notification to Twitter/Facebook to drive more engagement and referral traffic back to your post
  • Twitter feeds can bring in irrelevant comments into your comment stream
  • There is limited filters in place on the social conversation feature
  • Moderation of comments not a two-way street between Livefyre and WP comments database.
  • Users can follow “listen” to a conversation which can lift engagement
  • Poor moderation features and no bulk option
  • Replying to comments can be more tedious than other platforms
  • Lower engagement due to requirements to signup to Livefyre platform
  • Limitations with comment formatting and styling of comment box

Disqus Comment System for WordPress

  • The leading third party comment system for blogs
  • Mobile friendly comments and app for site owners for moderation
  • Allows for rich media to be attached with comment (photos, links, video)
  • There is free and premium versions available
  • Users can flag comments for moderation
  • Multiple registration support (Guest, OpenID, Facebook, Twitter, Google)
  • Platform supports word filtering
  • Platform supports blacklists/whitelists
  • Site can display social media reactions (Tweets)
  • Integration with Akismet
  • When importing WP comments it does not support Gravatar images associated with existing comments
  • Seems more SEO friendly as comments can count towards your overall onsite content

IntenseDebate Comments for WordPress

  • Created by owners of WordPress & Akismet
  • Offers reputation points to drive higher quality discussions
  • When they post a comment users can share notification to
  • Twitter to drive more engagement
  • Comment responses sends email notification to bring users back to the site
  • Users can flag comments for moderation
  • Supports widgets to show off comment stats
  • Multiple registration support (OpenID, Twitter, Facebook, WordPress.com)
  • Plugin APIs allow for adding Polls, YouTube videos

Which Platform won?

It’s a hard decision but it seems that Disqus might be the best solution if you are thinking of moving away from WordPress’s default comment platform based on the average ratings were far higher than respondents using WordPress default platform.  There is certainly an advantage using Disqus or WordPress default as your comment plugin if you get comments and want them to contribute towards your overall onsite content.

While Facebook seems to be the easiest solution for brands with large Facebook audiences but most blogs seem to dump them after a while and go back to their old platform and only one blogger did consider Facebook as a possible alternative to their current platform.

I’ve done several tests and found the blog will show in Google when you search for reader comment quotes with Disqus & WordPress but not for Google+, the original Google+ comment can rank but I didn’t see the blog ranking when I searched for the comment.

I think unless you are really wanting to push Google+ down the throats of your users I would say Disqus seems to be the sensible solution and seems to be the solution I would consider migration towards.

Related Images:

Apple sometimes fails at SEO and breaks

So every once in a while I find something online that a big company that annoys me, why because they should have enough development resources to fix it and they should have a financial incentive to fix it. Today I noticed that it was Apple Trailers was failing to load any CSS which ended in the terrible screenshot you can see below. My Google search was for “Her movie 2014″ and while it’s the correct movie the page showing in Google is a horrible user experience and just looks unprofessional without the style guide loading.

Her Trailer

So maybe it was just the page that was broken? Nope it appears that the CSS is failing to load across the entire site but all the on-page images seem to load so what else could I check.  I found the CSS files were loading correctly if you clicked the individual style sheet links but I also noticed that all the CSS files were on HTTP:// not the current HTTPS:// site I found in Google. This was a rookie error that a company as focused on design as Apple should be able to get this right…

Apple Trailers

Why Care about it?

Outside the fact that Apple is the world’s largest publicly traded company based on market capitalisation they are also known for their obsessed with perfection and sorry folks but these pages look like shit. The problem is that all these HTTPS versions of their site are the version that Google has decided to index and show as per the screenshot below. The problem for Apple is that Google is choosing to show the HTTPS version which is currently broken so it’s a bad experience for more than just me, it could be everyone searching in Google for trailers and then clicking to watch them on Apple.

apple-3

What other fun things are happening?

You can see that there is a warning on the HTTPS version of their site that states “this page includes other resources which are not secure.  These resources can be viewed by others while in transit, and can be modified by an attacker to change the look of the page”. So has Apple just screwed up with their HTTPS version of their site or is someone trying to do what is warned by Chrome and trying to hack Apple?

https://trailers.apple.com

How can it be fixed?

I’ve heard that Apple hates to use a 301 redirects but these are a valid option and just redirect HTTPS visitors to the correct HTTP version of their website and the problem is solved. Apple’s web developers could also look at ensuring CSS elements load correctly on the HTTPS version of their website which would fix the user experience.

Another option which might seem a simple solution is to add canonical tag that points to the HTTP:// version of their site to give Google a big hint on which is the correct site that should be showing.  As you can see below from the source code screenshot there is no canonical tag on the page but here is a link if you want to know what a canonical tag does.

no canonical