25 Sep 2015

Page Speed Tips, Hashtags on Facebook, and News: Weekly Forum Update

seochat-wmw-cre8asite-threadwatch-roundupWelcome back to another weekly SEO roundup from the Developer Shed Network! The old adage that “when it rains, it pours,” came true this week – we’ve got a ton of news and great discussion to share with you. On SEO Chat, our users have been talking about page speed and how to hide backlinks.

We’ve got news from Facebook, Google, and Bing on WebmasterWorld and Threadwatch, too. And on Cre8asiteforums, users are asking “Hashtags – HUH! What are they good for?”

Hiding Backlinks From Competitors

Sometimes we want to share with each other to learn and grow. Other times, when we’re getting down to business, we want to keep some secrets. A user on SEO Chat asked recently if it was possible to hide links from competitors.

According to them, they were being sold a service that could do such a thing. “It is possible, sort of,” says user Fathom.

“They need to own the domains providing the links or at least have FTP access or can get someone who has access to edit robots.txt…and/or .htaccess file.” But, that’s “not a 100% foolproof development.”

It’s possible to do almost anything if you push hard enough for it…you just have to ask yourself what you’ll really be accomplishing.

Optimizing page Speed for WordPress Sites

One of SEO Chat’s moderators, ThomasHarvey, has some great additions to a recent article about page speed! Some of his tips shave tenths of a second off of your load speed – which might not seem like much, but they add up!

You can defer the parsing of your JavaScript, for example, or study how your JavaScript and CSS files are combined.

“The point to remember, is that whilst it’s great to look good on paper there’s various things (lazy loading images for example) that sometimes can make a website look unprofessional and slow.”

How to Explain Why a 301/Canonical Isn’t an Ideal Solution

301s and canonical URLs are great for what they do…but they aren’t always necessary. How can you make the case to a layperson or manager that unneeded 301s need to be cleaned up? An example of what might be unnecessary:

“There’s…a canonical on every single link on the site to a different URL. So for example the category /christmas/christmas-decorations the link users would be given would be /Christmas/Christmas-Decorations with the canonical [of the former]…”

Have you ever run into a site that was slap-happy with canonicals?

In SERPs, Second Place Sites With Rich Snippets Outperform First Place Sites

A study by Blue Nile Research has everyone admiring the power of rich snippets. The question that the study asked was, “Is position 1 still the holy grail of search?”

As it turns out – no! Rich snippets provided a 26% boost to sites in second place, proving that a more attractive and accessible SERP listing will pull in more clicks. Our users have covered the study and a summary over on Threadwatch!

Rich snippets provided a 26% boost to sites in second placeClick To Tweet

Repeated Violations of Google Webmaster Guidelines Will Lead to “Further Action”

Exactly what “further action” means is still something of a mystery. But, at the very least, Google has promised that “…repeated violations may make a reconsideration process more difficult to achieve.”

Apparently some sites have been submitting reconsiderations, being forgiven, then immediately undoing the changes behind Google’s back. A kind of apology abuse – like a toxic friend. What kind of chilling effect, if any, will this have on the relationship between webmasters and Google?

Is There Any Merit to Hashtags on Facebook?

“Personally, I hate the things,” writes Cre8asiteforums user Nny777.

“…it drives me nuts seeing them on Facebook – I can’t see why you should, unless you’ve just posted exactly the same thing to Facebook as Twitter/Instagram.”

It’s true, as Nny77 says, that hashtags have a dedicated following on Twitter and Instagram.

They’re integral to how the community comes together. On Facebook… not so much. But, writes user DonnaFontenot, they are useful for grouping together posts about events or causes.

“So if 823 people tweet about my upcoming wedding, and they aren’t all using the same hashtag, then I may never be able to read them all…Hashtags are awesome for tying a group of related posts together.”

Bing to Close Link Explorer October 1, 2015

Bing to Close Link Explorer October 1, 2015Click To Tweet

This is one of Bing’s most popular tools for webmasters – so why are they retiring it? WebmasterWorld engine speculates that it could be about resources

“Bing says that its index has grown significantly since Link Explorer was introduced… It seems to me that, perhaps, Link Explorer was taking too great a resource, and that it wasn’t generating anything of value for Bing and Microsoft; only for people using it.”

If you’ll remember, Link Explorer was at one point a Yahoo tool until Bing got a hold on it. Do you know of any alternatives?

Facebook at Work Coming Soon to a Cubicle Near You

Facebook at Work is just what it sounds like – a Slack or Yammer-like product that will allow workers to come together, chat, and organize with each other.

Users on WebmasterWorld are somewhat unimpressed – but do believe that it will disrupt and cause concern for existing programs of this nature.

“Most things that Facebook does have become disruptive, so this must be a concern to Yammer, etc,” writes admin engine.

Another admin, Bill, asks

“…what sort of companies would entrust internal communications to Facebook?”

...what sort of companies would entrust internal communications to Facebook? ~@IncrediBILL Click To Tweet

Google Contributor – An AdSense Alternative

AdSense is under attack these days. Ad blockers are gaining in popularity and many AdSense advertisers are wondering if the end is nigh. A sort of ad blocker alternative has appeared in Google Contributor. It allows visitors to pay a small monthly fee to see fewer ads.

The fee means that advertisers still get to make money, while visitors don’t have to deal with unpleasant ads. A win-win, right? Well…

“Note that it’s something the USER has to sign up for, and you get a percentage of whatever they’re willing to kick in….But if they are already happy with ad blocking, I’m not sure they’re going to bother with this,” writes user netmeg.

User IanKelley speculates that maybe Google Contributor will provide additional value in the future to make it more attractive to users. They write,

“Suppose the plan is to make Contributor something similar to Amazon Prime…Considering the breadth of Google’s services the possibilities are endless and like all loyalty programs it would get people using services they might otherwise have ignored.”

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