AdSense Publishers Get Speed Boost

It struck a lot of Webmasters as ironic that Google made page speed a rank signal when AdSense scripts was one of the factors slowing sites down. According to Google, it slowed publisher sites by about 12%.

Gone are those days. Google developers improved the show_ads.js JavaScript needed by AdSense publishers and sped up delivery of ads. Google claims the changes will speed up publisher sites by a half second or more. After running Page Speed and YSlow tests, we’ve seen a noticeable improvement in scores. Publishers don’t have to upload new code since the change is automatic. Right now, the changes are working with Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer 8, with more browsers and versions included soon.

If you need to block the new ad version, set “google_enable_async = false” for each ad slot.

SEO Revolution Blog

YSlow Page Speed Availabe for Chrome

Speed, Chrome and bugs. I’m not talking cars, grilles and things that stick to grilles. I’m talking about YSlow Page Speed being available for the Chrome browser, without needing an add-on, like Firebug. YSlow is a tool for webmasters that helps identify ways to speed up page load time.

Download YSlow for Chrome

SEO Revolution Blog

Amazon Dumps all Illinois Affiliates

Amazon sent a “Notice of Contract Termination” to all Illinois affiliates today in response to a new law in Illinois. The law, sponsored by Rep. Patrick Verschoore (D-Rock Island) and Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), requires online retailers with affiliates in Illinois to collect sales tax and submit it to the llinois Department of Revenue (IDOR).

The email reads, “Unfortunately, a new state tax law signed by Governor Quinn compels us to terminate this program for Illinois-based participants. It specifically imposes the collection of taxes from consumers on sales by online retailers – including but not limited to those referred by Illinois-based affiliates like you – even if those retailers have no physical presence in the state.”

Govern Quinn says the goal of the bill is to level the playing field and make things “fair” for brick and mortar main street companies that currently collect sales tax. The fact is Illinois is beyond broke and the state needs revenue. Instead of getting rid of redundant programs and wasteful spending, they looked to the Internet. The Governor also believes this will help create jobs. Guess he thinks consumers are going to shop more on main street and less online because of this legislation. Poor fella.

Amazon is fighting this new law calling it, “unconstitutional and counterproductive.”

Even though the damage this does won’t officially be reflected in unemployment figures, Governor Pat Quinn has caused people in his own state to lose jobs–at least temporarily, entrepreneurs always bounce back. Unlike the millions of Americans on unemployment, that won’t be an option for affiliates who made a FT living with Amazon (not that entrepreneurs would collect). Unlike union members protesting in Wisconsin for more more more, online entrepreneurs have no collective rights–and quite clearly no one looking out for their interests. —Maybe that needs to change.

In the meantime, if this creates a significant decrease in your income, contact a good attorney and tax account to come up with solutions, because there are solutions! Best Buy, Walmart and many other stores have also said they’ll welcome Amazon’s booted affiliates.

SEO Revolution Blog

Leave a Message on Skype–Literally

Skype announced today via a press release that for the first time they’re offering display advertising. Ads appear in the Home tab of the Skype software, for Windows users only in the USA, UK and Germany. Groupon and Nokia were two big names that shoved off the launch. Ads can include audio, video, social media sharing and click to call. Advertisers can target their market by country for the time being. The majority of ads will appear to users of the “free” version of Skype.

Skype Display Advertising

SEO Revolution Blog

PubCon Austin Starts

I arrived in Austin on Sunday and have been soaking in the sun and BBQ waiting for PubCon to start. This is PubCon #9 for me and today I am speaking on the Essentials Overlooked by 90% of Affiliate Managers. I’ll be summarizing the happenings over the next two days right here and going into full detail for members of the SEO Revolution.

In the meantime, you might want to read an article I did last month, How PubCon Made Me a Millionaire.

SEO Revolution Blog

Jonesing for Something Open

How many times have you needed to find a store, bank, post office, restaurant, dry cleaners, hair salon, coffee shop, taco stand, etc. that was open NOW? We’ve all been in that position either on holidays, weekends, during road or business trips, and later in the evening when places start to close.

Google’s mobile search has a new feature called Open Now. It allows iPhone and Android users to filter search results by establishments that are presently open. Users can also search by distance and review rating.

Source: Google Mobile Blog

How does Google know your business hours? You tell them–via your Google Places page. If you have a brick and mortar store, or your clients do, be sure this information is up-to-date.

SEO Revolution Blog

What’s Going on With Titles in Google?

It’s common practice that your Title will be truncated if it’s too long and pulled from DMOZ or Yahoo!’s directory, but lately Google’s use of Titles is making a lot of site owner’s scratch their heads. A domain name overriding a Title Tag’s contents? Titles crafted from anchor text, ALT or H3 tags? Titles coming from text used in inbound anchor link text–even if that text is nowhere on your site.

Complaints and concerns can be heard all over the web at Google’s webmaster forums, Webmaster World, and here. But not all webmasters are experiencing or even bugged by this. Some are reporting that the changes are improving click throughs.

If you’re seeing an altered Title, look through your source code and see if the source comes from your site. If so, you can make adjustments like rearranging tags, switching header tags, expanding alt text, etc., to get the Title you want. Also read, “Changing A Site’s Title and Description,” at Google’s Webmaster forum.

As always, don’t panic. Don’t make drastic changes to your site. Let things play out. This could be Google testing out potential algo changes or even a bug. In the meantime we’ll continue testing and will contact Google about these changes.

SEO Revolution Blog

It’s Time to Take Social Search Seriously

In March 2010 we told you about Google Social Search, which gathered blog posts, images, Tweets, and other information your friends/family were posting and placed them at the bottom of search results. You can read the March 2010 article here: Google Launches Social Search.

Previously, if Google’s algorithm deemed information from friends/family useful for your search, it would appear near the bottom of results. Now that information will be mixed into search results, with annotations and notes from the original poster.

Back in March we urged you to get a jump on your competition by building your social circle in Google. If you did that, good job! If not then consider starting now.

SEO Revolution Blog

When Did JCPenney Grow Cojones

If you haven’t read it, here is a link to the JcPenney “links gate” article.

The Dirty Little Secrets of Search

To give you a recap of the article, no doubt during some unauthorized web shopping at work, a New York Times reporter found that JCPenney was consistently #1 in Google for keywords like “casual dresses,” “home decor,” “skinny jeans,” “comforter sets,” etc. As stated in the article, the reporter felt it was odd that JCP outranked cooler (albeit more expensive) stores like J.Crew and Crate & Barrel and so an investigation ensued (aka they asked an SEO firm to explain what was going on).

What they found was that JCP had allegedly purchased or placed links on spam blogs and double gasp, those links were placed on pages related to what JCP was selling (dresses, rugs, jeans). The result was that JCP owned rank during the holiday season. The New York Times reporter felt that JCP cheated their way to the top and set up a meeting with Matt Cutts. But all Cutts did was irritate them with his, I-should-be-the-poster-child-for-the-calming-affects-of-medicinal-marijuana laid back attitude.

In the end, received penalties across the board (from #1 to #70ish) for violating Google’s guidelines despite JCP’s claims that they had no knowledge of and were not involved with the links. Their SEO firm, SearchDex, got the axe. Matt Cutts got a vanity slap from the New York Times, and the NYT basically let the world know they’re in the dark ages. Whether you agree with the tactics or not, as an SEO you have to admit that JCP just shed its outdated image for something more…renegade…cowboy…defiant. Yeah, that won’t do anything to boost sales. Are they cool enough for you now NYT?

What are your thoughts? Do you admire JCP’s ambition? Think their SEO firm was totally irresponsible?

SEO Revolution Blog

Borders Files for Bankruptcy

Borders Group, Inc., the second largest bookstore chain, filed for bankruptcy today in New York.

Borders plans to reorganize, but must close 200 of its 642 stores and sell the furniture and merchandise. Sales could start as early as Feb. 19. Furthermore, if negotiations with current landlords fall through, Borders may need to close 75 additional stores.

You can read the full story at Bloomberg.

SEO Revolution Blog