Speeding Up WordPress – Gravatars

Speeding Up Wordpress - Gravatars

After monkeying with OptimizePress a bit and updating some on-page elements to my liking, I decided that I would see how my site was performing in some of the page speed testers.  I don’t like using these things because there are so many calls being made that I was not aware of and it typically takes me on a wild goose chase of time wasting.  So, let me give you the skinny on what I noticed and how I quickly “fixed” it.

Gravatars are cool.  It simply allows you to put a face to a name…and in the digital age, that is a good thing in my book.  However, if you have a post with a lot of comments, and like me, you want to have them displayed on the same page as the post (rather than paginated after say 10 comments), you may be seeing a large performance hit.  On a post with over 60 comments, I noticed that each gravatar was making its own request.  While I am sure their servers are lightning fast, it is still a lot of “unnecessary” requests.  To me, the Gravatar is a luxury item in the world of, “everything now.”  So, I decided to switch them off and see what happened.

NOTE:  I tried the “blank” option and that simply put a blank image in there…not a great solution!

Find the Discussion Menu

WordPress Discussion Menu
WordPress Discussion Menu

The “Discussion” menu is located in the Settings menu in WordPress.   Settings -> Discussion.  Scroll down the page and you will see a section about Avatars.

De-Select display Gravatars

When Gravatars are Set to be Displayed
When Gravatars are Set to be Displayed

At the top (above this screenshot!)  You will find a check box to turn of the default of displaying Gravatars.  Uncheck the box and click “Save Changes.”

What It Should Look Like

When Gravatars are Set to be Displayed
When Gravatars are Set to be Displayed

Everything will shrink up after you save your new settings.  You should see this.

Using the GT Metrix tool, I went from an “F” to an “A” simply by removing the display of avatars.  This is subjective, but the page load time dropped from ~2.1 seconds to ~1.2.  THAT, was enough to make me drop avatars for now.

Cheers!

WordPress Help – Adding Author & Updated to Posts and Pages

WordPress Help - Adding Updated and Author Information to Your Poasts and Pages

The Microdata Problem

Using Google’s Webmaster Tools is a great way to find little issues that might be holding your site back from ranking better in the Google SERPs.   It had been a few years since I hopped into Webmaster Tools, and when I did, I noticed a number of errors in the Structured Data section.  Clicking a few links it seemed that Google wanted to see “Updated” and “Author” data called out on many of my pages and posts.  After poking around a big on the WordPress forums, I found that most people answering questions didn’t really understand what was being asked, nor what Google was looking for.  I have played around with Rich Snippets and other Microdata information, so I had a good idea of how to solve the problem…it was just going to take a little poking around in the WordPress Codex (their repository of the code snippets that give users access to all of the information we have entered into our blogs).

[feature_box style=”1″ only_advanced=”There%20are%20no%20title%20options%20for%20the%20choosen%20style” alignment=”center”]

NOTE:

This information is for people with “self-hosted” WordPress blogs. In other words, your website is not hosted on wordpress.com. Also, use this information at your own risk. Don’t freak out if you don’t know what your doing and your website goes blank when you start changing code in your wordpress files. Computers need things to be perfect, not close. So, take your time and make sure you don’t leave out punctuation, or add extra spaces here and there…sometimes, a semicolon can be the difference. Use of any information you find here is at your own risk. You have been warned.

[/feature_box]

Adding Author Data / Updated to Your Posts

For the un-initiated, delving in to the workings of a WordPress blog can be a bit daunting.  But, it need not be so.

Most (not all) WordPress themes use the “single.php” file as a template to generate the web pages for your posts.  Basically, all of the fancy stuff on the screen around your post is found here.  WordPress just grabs your post content and sticks it in the middle of the single.php file and, boom, you have a post.  Somewhere in your single.php file, you should see something like this:

 

<?php the_content(); ?>

 

This is the piece of code that grabs the post you have written and puts it into your theme’s post template (single.php in this case).  At this point, you have two choices.  You can add information just above, or just below your post’s content.  To automatically add the date your post was last modified AND add the author responsible for the post, enter the code below just above or below the code above:

 

Updated on: <span class=”date updated”><?php echo get_the_modified_date();?></span> by <span class=”vcard author”><span class=”fn”><?php the_author_link(); ?></span></span>.

 

Use the WordPress Codex for more information on get_the_modified_date() and the_author_link() functions and options for changing how they work.

Adding Author Data / Updated to Your Pages

Adding updated and or author data to your pages is just as easy.  Instead of using single.php, your theme likely uses the page.php file as a template for your pages.

So, fire up your favorite text editor and look for the same function in the page.php code:

<?php the_content();?>

Add the code again either above or below to display author and last modified date information:

Updated on: <span class=”date updated”><?php echo get_the_modified_date();?></span> by <span class=”vcard author”><span class=”fn”><?php the_author_link(); ?></span></span>.

You should see this data listed at the bottom of this post to get an idea of what you can expect.

The Problem With This Technique

Ok, so as with anything, there is no perfect solution.

Modifying your theme’s files is a dicey proposition.  This is because when you update your theme, it may overwrite the changes we just made.  To deal with this, I keep a note in Evernote of the modifications I make to the theme I use.  When I need to update the theme, I know that I have to make a few changes on top of the them update.  This happens very infrequently, so I am ok with this system.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and I will try my best to respond.

Enjoy!

 

La Spaziale Pre-Infusion Taste Test #1

La Spaziale Pre-Infusion Taste Test #1

I recently installed La Spaziale’s “progressive pre-infusion” chamber on my 2 group New EK.  Since installing the setup, I have not had any bad extractions to speak of.  I have also been paying close attention to quantity of coffee in (18g) and quantity (weight) of liquid out (~18g).  I typically like shorter shots, so anything 9-18g is usually something I enjoy more.

This was the first taste test to see if there is any appreciable difference between a shot with pre-infusion and one without.

The Equipment

Grinder: Baratza Vario

Machine: La Spaziale New EK

Basket: 18g Stock La Spaziale

Portafilter: Spouted double

Coffee

Ethiopia Dry Process Yirga Cheffe – Aricha from Sweet Maria’s.  The coffee is on its 6th day post roast, and to be honest, I took this coffee beyond what I would have liked.  This is a “berry bomb” coffee at lighter roasts, however I probably took this into the first couple of snaps of 2nd crack before opening the door and hitting cool on the Behmor roaster.  So, I would say we were probably at FC to FC+.  It is a nice coffee at this level, but for a guy who loves fruity espresso, I blew it.  The coffee exhibits mostly cocoa flavors with a little red fruit at the end.

Expectations

While I was not expecting a dramatic difference with this “pre-infusion” setup, I did think there might be a slight improvement in the roundness to the shot.  I was also curious if the extraction would go just as well on the non-infusion side.

Yirga Cheffe Espresso Shot 1

Yirga Cheffe Espresso Shot 2
Yirga Cheffe Espresso Shot 2

Results

Both shots were 18g in and came out around 19g.  Both smelled of dark chocolate with a hint of strawberry on the nose.  First sips while they were fairly hot tasted identical.  Slightly bitter dark cocoa, a hint of roastiness and a hint of red berries at the close.

I let both cool for a couple of minutes before taking my second (and final) sip.  This is where it seemed that the pre-infused shot had a slightly more viscous mouth-feel and overall a more rounded flavor.  The non-pre-infused shot seemed to be sharper.

What is This Worth?

Not a whole lot, really.  Seems like a good reason to try it all again tomorrow morning with the Ethiopia Kaffa Chiri that is ready for duty.

Adding Pre-Infusion to the La Spaziale New EK

The Goal

  1. Pull more consistent shots.
  2. Test if there are any discernible differences with and without pre-infusion

Hypothesis

  1. Most of the crappy extractions I get are probably more of a function of a lazy barista. However, I wonder if a “soft start” might be more forgiving.
  2. When I first bought this machine and before I plumbed it in, I drew water from a large bottle of water.  Those first shots had the best body and balance I have seen on this machine (for the most part).  I have constantly wondered if line pressure, pre-infusion, or some other mythical creature might help me recapture this legend.

The Back Story

I picked up a La Spaziale New EK for a song in 2014.  It was less than a song, the purchase was so good it wasn’t optional.  And, when you have a wife that is as amazing as mine, you get to have a commercial 2 group machine on your counter.  The machine is unique in the way the heat exchange takes place and in the fact that it uses a 53mm portafilter.  The smaller diameter portafilter has a taller basket than you would find on your run of the mill commercial 58mm portafilter.

After disassembling the machine last year (not that it needed it) to descale everything, I noticed that there is a port on the left side of the group heads with a brass allen headed plug in them.  After poking around a bit, I found this pre-infusion kit for La Spaziale espresso machines at Chris Coffee.  So, I tried to read up as much as I could over at Home Barista about the pre-infusion kit and pre-infusion in general.  Suffice it to say that took me on a journey that made me forget all about the kit.

Fast forward to the present and a desire to refine my barista skills more.  And with a good sum of money sitting in the paypal account, the order was placed for one pre-infusion kit.  After all, what better machine is there to test any variance that might exist with and without the pre-infusion kit, then on a 2 group machine?

The Kit

The La Spaziale Pre-Infusion Kit from Chris Coffee

That’s all folks.  Three pieces.   The adapter on the bottom screws into the port after removing the factory installed plug.  Then attach the tube to the adapter.  Lastly attach the pre-infusion chamber to the tube.

Where the Magic Happens

 

A look inside the pre-infusion chamber.

If you look closely, you can see the spring that pushes against a disc at the other end.   When there is sufficient back pressure (from a loaded portafilter) the spring will compress easing the initial water pressure the puck sees.  A simple solution and I guess La Spaziale’s attempt to mimic the soft start of the E61 group.

The 2 Minute Install

Top Down View of Pre-Infusion Adapter and Tube Installed

The installation was a breeze.  It took more time to remove the panels and coffee cups from the top of the machine than it did to install the three pieces.  I removed the plug, installed the brass adapter and then the tube.

View of the finished installation from below.

I bent the tube less than the S1 instructions noted as I didn’t need to due to abundant clearance.

Here is a view of the finished installation after the machine is put back together.  This view is looking from below the front controls…where you would be if you were cleaning the floor. The chamber is barely visible.

Finished installation of the pre-infusion chamber.

Now, on to the good part…

UPDATE: 2 Weeks Later

The installation went off without a hitch…and without any leaks.  From the start the chamber has worked as expected.  I have been focusing on basic techniques of weighing in and weighing out recently and it has made massive improvements in shot-to-shot consistency…lazy in my old age I guess.  With that said, I have not had a bad extraction (knock on wood) since I have installed this on the machine.  The preinfusion takes about 5 seconds to bring the portafilter up to full pressure and it does seem to help make sure the integrity of the puck is not disturbed.

Next up, side-by-side testing with and without preinfusion.

November 11th

Today I cried.

As I sat bundled up with my three-year-old daughter on my lap and looked into the eyes of war veterans passing by, I cried.

I’m not completely sure why.  I cried for their suffering, I cried for my children to whom I will one day have to explain war, I cried because in a town with an estimated 900,000 people, we could only muster maybe 1,000 to line the 15 block parade route in support.

We are all Americans, like it or not.

Not white-Americans, African-Americans, Latin-Americans, just plain ‘ole Americans.  That is our common ground. One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Are we really so self-important that we can’t show a little support to some people who signed on to possibly make (what we commonly call) the ultimate sacrifice?  Maybe they only lost a leg, or an eye. Maybe they have only had the same nightmare for 60 years. Maybe they only watched a friend die, while there was little more they could do than sit and be there with them. Maybe they were lucky enough to miss out on all of that.

Does it matter?

I hope that at some point today we can all make time to reflect upon what thousands of people have donated to the cause that is America. I know it’s not easy. I know it may not be fun.  But, I think it helps us become better people…it helps other people.  It reminds us that we don’t know everything.  It reminds us that maybe that person we want to honk at, that looks crazy, or that is sitting quietly by themselves, might be dealing with something that most of us can’t comprehend.

And, here’s the best part, we don’t have to.

We don’t have to have experienced any of that to pause for one or two more seconds before honking, before yelling, before passing judgment.  We don’t have to comprehend to look someone in the eye and say hello or thank you.

We just have to do it.

I learned something new today.  That on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, in 1918, the Armistice to stop the fighting in World War I was signed by Germany.  Today, we celebrate Veterans Day here in the United States, but many other countries do the same thing. Armistice Day and Remembrance Day are observed in over 50 countries including Australia, the UK, France, Canada, India and more.  I know there are people who, for one reason or another, don’t feel they should or should be compelled to thank those that have served in our country’s armed services.

But, that’s simply because you are too busy thinking about yourselfIt’s not about you.

And, you can trust me, nobody likes to think about themselves more than I do. So, let this be the one day a year that you stop all the divisive thoughts. Forget about “them” for a day.  Today is the day we remember that we are all Americans.  Think about those who have died.  Think about what they may have experienced.  Think about how your parents’ or grandparents’ lives may have been different. Or better yet, ask them how their lives were affected.  Maybe, at the very least you’ll learn something new.  Maybe you’ll learn that in the end, it’s okay to be against war, but be supportive, even helpful to those who carried it out…literally and figuratively.

One love.

Tasting Notes: El Blanco Espresso by Johnson Brothers Coffee

Equipment:

Grinder:  Rancillio Rocky (set to 2)
Espresso Machine:  Rancillio Silvia w/ Auber PID
Temperature:  Auber PID set to 218
Pressure:  OPV set to 9 Bar
Dosing: 15 to 16g
Basket: Espresso Parts Ridgeless Double
Portafilter: Espresso Parts Naked

Coffee:

El Blanco Espresso by Johnson Brothers Coffee.  From the Johnson Brothers Coffee website:

This lot is comprised entirely of the admired Pacamara variety of Arabica, a cross between the giant-beaned Maragogipe and Pacas, a selection of the heirloom Bourbon.

Blind Assessment from the Johnson Brothers website:

Gently bright and pungent in the small cup: fresh-cut cedar, buttery chocolate, night flowers, hints of apricot and pear. Impressively creamy mouthfeel; rich, flavor-saturated finish. Retains its buttery richness in two parts milk, with flavor dominated by a crisp dark chocolate.

Dial-In

Miss Silvia was warmed up for over an hour for each of the two sessions today and had two flushes somewhere around 20 and 30 minutes into warm-up.

It took me about 4 shots to get things dialed in unfortunately.  Rocky needed to be tightened up a notch, which I did not expect.   For these long beans, I needed to turn Rocky down to 2 from 3 (which seems to work well for many coffees).  Once I managed to get the grind close, I worked on dosing.

Fortunately, the 17g dose I typically use was pretty close, but was a bit bitter.  I have learned that lesson from Miss Silvia and decided to lower the dose. I went all of the way down to 15g, but found that something between 15.5g and 16g seems to work the best (depending on humidity).

First Impressions:

Once I had El Blanco dialed-in, it became obvious very quickly that this was not going to be some dark fruit action.  My wife and I were both surprised at how prominent the tropical fruit nose was.  After sampling the fruit really came through on the mid-palate through to the finish….and a long finish it was.  There was a nice chocolaty finish which was a little bitter for my liking, but that is more likely operator error than a “defect” in the roast or beans.

A very fine espresso indeed.

Looking forward:

Tomorrow, I will play with the temperature a bit to see what effects that has and try to take a video or two of the extractions.  It was really a nice espresso to watch as the crema production on extraction is impressive.

Disclaimer: I am not a Barista.  For that matter I am not a good espresso maker.  But, from time to time, I manage to extract most of the essence that the roaster intended from the coffee beans.  These tasting notes are for my own diary of sorts and may be of interest to other Rancillio Silvia owners, espresso fanatics, or people who have too much time on their hands.

 

Backlink Ideas – Document Hosting Sites

[feature_box style=”7″ only_advanced=”There%20are%20no%20title%20options%20for%20the%20choosen%20style” alignment=”center”]

A quick note:

I created a draft of this post weeks before the Penguin Update from Google.  While many people are still dealing with the aftermath of Penguin and Panda, building backlinks by syndicating your documents and articles via document sharing sites is still a great way to be heard…and pick up a backlink or two along the way.

[/feature_box]

Most people know that in order to rank for certain terms in the search engines like Google, they need to build quality, keyword specific backlinks to their website…but, don’t know where to start.

Enter this series of posts where I will walk you through great, free backlink ideas that anyone with a computer, website/webpage (there is a difference) to promote, and an internet connection can do when they have some time.

Quality Backlinks From Quality Content

First, lets talk a little bit about content.  Content has always been and will always be king.  In my opinion, if you want long-term, lasting backlinks then you need to create good content.  This is not hard if you: 1) are know a lot about your product/industry 2) are passionate about what you do.  By creating good content, be it a report, how-to, review, video, podcast, or blog post, you are giving yourself a great platform for quality backlinks (as well as doing a host of other things like building your authority).

More important than the “backlink opportunity” is that you might get someone to read / watch /listen to your content that you would not otherwise have been able to get in front of had you not posted your document on this site.  That IS the goal.  The backlink is really a side-benefit.  Keeping this in mind with all of your link building efforts will pay dividends.

In short, I am going to assume that you are not reading this because you are lazy and uninterested in what you are doing with your online venture(s).  If you are looking for quick link ideas so that you can build links to your Acai Berry affiliate page, sorry…but, I am gearing this towards people will real, unique content.

Building Links With Document Sharing Sites

With that out of the way, let’s talk about today’s idea: Building Backlinks With Document Sharing Sites.

Why Document Sharing Sites?

Document sharing sites are a great way to publish your content in a professional format or simply in a different format.  You can share PDF files, Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint files.  You can share simple text or RDF files.  There are a host of other file formats that many document sharing sites support, but it really is not important to list all of them here.  What is important is that the major search engines (and a bunch of smaller ones) have the ability to parse or read these files.  It is also important to realize that using one of these formats might be a big help to a potential user or customer.

For example, you might have a checklist put together for traveling with a small child.  Using the PDF format would be great to use because when people print it out, it retains your original format and layout.  Printing from a web page will probably not do that.  Maybe you have created a Powerpoint presentation that explains the benefits and features of your new product…this might be a great way for you to present your product to a new customer or client.

In my mind, and this is simply my own opinion, it also seems more natural to me that if you are really in business, you will have content created in a host of different formats that can be found all over the internet.  If you are a car stereo manufacturer, it would stand to reason that your installation manuals, product brochures, press releases, catalog(s), product lists, price sheets, promotional videos, podcasts, radio ads (audio), and any number of other items would be found on retail, personal, and other websites.  As someone who has always been working with search engine optimization, I have always tried to think about what would make any website look “natural.”  Publishing content beyond basic HTML is something any company is and has been doing.

The reality is, these are another great opportunity to get your content seen.  AND, it is a great and legitimate way to get a backlink to your site.

List of Document Sharing Sites

I am writing this post in Mid September, 2011…and this list is sure to change and evolve as time goes by.  A good way of finding sites to submit to is to use the “related” operator in Google (here is a great guide to Google search operators).  Once you have a good site that you like to use, type in related:websiteyoulike.com on Google.  You will get a list of websites that are probably good candidates for you to submit to.  Here is a list of sites that you may want to post your content to:

  1. Scribd
  2. Docstoc
  3. Google Docs
  4. issuu
  5. box.net
  6. 4shared.com
  7. esnips
  8. mediafire
  9. Zoho
  10. Docshare
  11. authorstream
  12. divshare
  13. slideshare
  14. yudu

This is by no means the end-all-be-all list of document sharing sites.  This is just a starting point.  If you are looking for sites to share Powerpoint presentations, then search for “powerpoint sharing” or “powerpoint sites”.  You can even use the “filetype” operator and search for Powerpoint documents in Google (filetype:.ppt).

What Should I Publish?

We touched on some ideas of things you can publish above in the talk about your assets.  Anything that is or could be of value to your clients or customers…or to anyone really, is something you should consider publishing.  But, don’t just start submitting stuff willy nilly.  Read over everything you are considering publishing.  Be sure that there is a way for people to get more information, know how/where to order your product, sign up for your newsletter, or whatever you are trying to get them to ultimately do in at least one, prominent location in the document, video, or audio.  Give them a little blurb about you or your product and with a link using descriptive anchor text.  Don’t just whip through this without much thought.  You will be surprised at how much traffic this stuff can generate.

If you are really good, you can use Google’s URL builder so that you can track every link in every document (if you are using Google Analytics).  Yes, you will get your link juice using this stuff…it may just take a little bit longer to kick in.  Having this information is great.  Or, you can leave out the Google URLs. I have seen one person in particular mention that he doesn’t think it is a good idea.

Submitting Content

There is never a substitute for doing something yourself.  The reality is, nobody will do something as well as you will.  But, there are a number of different options when it comes to submitting your documents to these sites:

  1. Do it yourself – Yeah, this is the best option, but submitting to these sites can get pretty boring.  Worse is actually setting up the accounts…see below for help with that.
  2. Pay someone to do it for you – There are tons of people out there who are waiting to take your money to submit documents for you.  IF you go this route, be sure that you will get a detailed list of what was submitted, to what site, when, and the document URL so that you can make sure the document is available online and can be found.
  3. Use software to submit – This is probably going to have the lowest success rate, but can obviously cover a lot more ground than you or the human you are going to pay to do it for you can.  The reality is, most of the people you might pay are probably using some kind of submission software.  There are a couple of big software platforms out there
    • SE Nuke – I am not a subscriber…it just felt a little slimey to me when I went to check it out.  It has a ton of features beyond simple submissions…but, I cannot speak to it as I do not subscribe to the service.
    • Magic Submitter – This is a much lower cost alternative to SE Nuke, and I have seen it work.  However, I think the days of automatic submissions is really numbered.  Completion rates/success rates for these applications is not good. And, if you are writing real content (like you should be) then you want every single submission to work, right? Do it manually.

 Rich Snippets

One final thought for those of you wondering why you want to publish your hard work on someone else’s site.  There are a number of good reasons that come to mind.  First, diversity.  While some people (like Warren Buffet) think diversification is not a good idea, in this case, I think it has merit.  Not only are you able to leverage the authority of some of these big document sharing sites, but you are also making sure you do not have all of your eggs in one basket.

Today, with Google’s Penguin update giving many webmasters pause, those who published real, quality content (not spun articles) on 3rd party sites may have more traffic coming their way than they did before Penguin, or more than they would have had they only published content on their site.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in building a strong website with great content as the cornerstone, but diversifying with 10 or 20 percent of the content you create is not a bad idea.

The point of this section though is to talk about Rich Snippets.  You can add Rich Snippets authorship to many 3rd party sites…and I don’t see any reason why it will not be a part of just about all of them soon. So, this is a great time to get on this before everyone is doing it.

 

 

How to Add Rich Snippets Authorship for HubPages

Following up on how to get your picture next to your SERP listings, I thought I would show you that you can also get Rich Snippet goodness for authoring articles on OTHER sites as well.

Today’s example is going to be HubPages.  I am not going to get into “what HubPages is” other than to say, it is a site where authors can publish articles.  They have a lot of authority in the search engines as HubPages has a lot of content to offer users.  So, if you are an aspiring author or publisher, it is a great resource to help build your own authority.

NOTE: This tutorial assumes you already have Rich Snippets showing for your own website, or you have them showing for a website that you contribute to.  If not, please see this Google Rich Snippets How-To….and that you have a HubPages account. =P

Now, on to getting Rich Snippets to show for your HubPages listings in the SERPs…

Edit Your HubPages Profile

The first thing you are going to want to do is log into your account on HubPages.  Once in there, you will click on “my profile”…

The My Account link on HubPages

 

…and then click on the Edit Profile link…

 

Edit HubPages Profile

 

In the text box you are presented with, you will want to modify your bio so that you have a link pointing to your Google+ profile.  The link will have to have ?rel=author appended to the end.

 

Adding Google+ link to HubPages bio

I would recommend the anchor text (the text of the link you will create) be your name with a “+” on the end (no space).

Clicking on the hyperlink button in the text editor will give you a pop-up like this one.  Use the URL to YOUR Google+ profile and add the ?rel=author as shown below:

 

Formatting the Google+ Author Link

 

Ok, so save all of that business and let’s move on to the next step.

Add Contributor Link to Google+

The other part that makes all of this work is “claiming” your profile on Google+ by adding a link to your hubpages profile FROM Google+.  So, as we did in my Rich Snippets tutorial, we are going to add a contributor link.  Rather than rewriting it all here, please just see my original Rich Snippets tutorial if you are not sure how to add a Contributor link to your Google+ profile.

Testing Tool Time

Now that you have added a link to your Google+ profile from your HubPages profile, and vice versa, we are ready to test things out.  Using my wife as our example again, we will put her HubPages profile URL into the Google Rich Snippets Testing Tool

Danielle's Hubpages Profile in Google's Rich Snippet Testing Tool

 

You should see your picture displayed next to your listing when you enter your HubPages profile URL (danielle’s is http://daniellebianchi.hubpages.com) into the testing tool.  If that works, you should also be able to enter the URL for a piece of content you have uploaded to HubPages:

HubPages Rich Snippets Sample

 

It is really pretty simple.  If you run into problems let me know in the comments below and I will see if we can’t get it working.

Best,

Jason

 

 

How to Add Google Rich Snippets to Your Web Site

If you are living in a cave or just had a baby, then you are excused.  Otherwise, I am sure you are aware of Google’s Rich Snippets…or at least have seen them in the SERPs.  Rich Snippets can be anything from an author picture, thumbnail image of a video, stars from a product or service review, list of audio files, or even the breadcrumb navigation from your website.

Tracking people’s eyes has shown that there appears to be a positive correlation between having an image next to a SERP listing and interest.  So, the bottom line is, if you want people to check out your listing on the Google search results pages…getting some images next to them is a great idea.

Rich Snippets is one of Google’s advancements that, I believe, will pay huge dividends to those who choose to be early adopters.  Not only does Google get to jazz up their SERPs, they get some additional benefits as well…

Author / Publisher Association

That’s right, part of the deal here is that Google is able to associate (or authenticate if you like) authors and publishers.  The Author Snippet (your mug shot) is provided by associating a piece of content (article, video, blog post, etc) with a Google+ profile. You link your content to your author page on your website OR you can link a piece of content or author page on a 3rd party website to your Google+ profile as well.

IF you do it right, you get the disco lights.

How Do I Get Rich Snippets Next to My Listings?

Armed with the right knowledge, you can easily add Rich Snippets to your web pages displaying your photo next to your SERP listings in just a few minutes. You need to accomplish 5 things the first time you add Rich Snippets to your website (we will cover all of them in detail below):

  1. Create a Google+ Profile if you don’t have one
  2. Add your website to your Google+ Profile
  3. Associate your content with your author profile on your website
  4. Link your author profile on your website with your Google+ profile
  5. Notify Google that your website is Google Snippets enabled

Here is a breakdown of how I would attack the Rich Snippets program:

  • Add Author Rich Snippets
  • Add Rich Snippets to 3rd Party Websites
    • Adding Rich Snippets to Youtube Videos
    • Adding Rich Snippets to ArticlesBase
    • Adding Rich Snippets to Tumblr
    • Adding Rich Snippets to Hubpages Author Page
  • Add Rich Snippets Breadcrumbs
  • Add Rich Snippets for Audio Files or Podcasts

But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  We will start with the most important one and go from there.

 Adding Author Rich Snippets to Your Website

Rich Snippets Author Example
Rich Snippets Author Example

Sexy, right?  So, here is how we accomplish this…

Setup Google+ Profile

First, you need to setup a Google+ profile.  So, run over to the Google+ sign-up page and either associate your Google account with Google+ or create a new account.

Add Your Website to Google+

Second, we need to add your website / blog / whatever to your Google+ profile.  The way you do this is by adding yourself as a “Contributor” to your site.  So, click on the arrow next to your avatar in the upper right hand corner (when logged into Google+), then click “View Profile”, and finally click “Edit Profile.”   If you scroll a bit, you will see “Contributor to”…click on it.

Edit Google+ Profile
Edit Google+ Profile

Next let’s click “Add Custom Link”:

Adding Contributor to Google+
Adding Contributor to Google+

Next, we will enter the URL (aka website address) of your website:

 

Entering Contributor URL
Entering Contributor URL

The first box is what you want to have displayed on the screen (“golod.com” and “Jason on Youtube” in this picture).  Next is the URL of your website.  Click “Save.”

[content_box_light_blue width=”75%”]

IMPORTANT: I almost forgot to mention that you will need to upload a QUALITY picture of yourself.  Obviously, you are not going to have a picture displayed next to your listings if you don’t have a picture of yourself in your Google+ profile.  If you don’t have a good picture, go and take one.  Don’t go ahead without it. You don’t want to risk the Google Rich Snippets team nix’ing your acceptance into the program because your picture is crap.

[/content_box_light_blue]

Click the “Done Editing” box in the bar at the top of the screen and we can move on to the next step:

Done Editing Button

Associate Your Content with an Author Profile

Now, we need to associate your content with your Google+ profile on your website.  There are two ways to go about this:

  1. You can associate your content (blog posts, articles) with an author profile on your website AND then associate your website profile with your Google+ profile (yeah, that is two separate steps…stay with me).
  2. OR, you can associate an individual piece of content with your Google+ profile.

Now, you have to make the decision here.  Obviously, if you have a blog or a website that you have authored lots of articles or posts on, you are going to opt for door #1 above.  If you only have a few pieces of content or pages, you might opt for #2…but, I would not recommend it…here is why.  It would be more flexible to use the proper markup to associate each page or post with your website’s author page.  This gives you the option to expand or change things much more easily down the road should things change (and they always change, right?).

Creating an Author Page on Your Website

If you use WordPress, please see my (upcoming) post on how to add an author page to your WordPress blog.  For the rest of you, here is how you can add an author page.  Most of you already have an “About” page on your website…if you do, you can skip to the next paragraph.  If you are still reading along, then you will need to create a page on your website that will be an author “bio” for you.  You can put whatever you like on the page.  The key for right now is that the page exists.

Create the Author “Relationship”

Now that you have your author page, we are going to let the world know that you are the author.  Well, the reality is there is going to be next to nobody that will see what we are about to do…but, the search engine bots will.  We are going to use the rel=”author” attribute to let the search engines know that your author page tells them who created all of this junk.  So, if you have an “About” link on your navigation bar (you should, btw), we are going to add a rel=”author” attribute to the anchor tag.

On my blog, I have an “About Jason” link on every page as it is located right at the top in my main navigation menu.  If we take a look at the html anchor tag for my navigation bar, you will see this for the “About Jason” link:

<a rel=”author” href=”http://new.golod.com/jason/“>About Jason</a>

As you can see, the anchor tag has some additional info in there…  rel=”author” is making an association that every page that I am the author of this website.  If you add this to every page on your site, you should be fine according to option 2 of the Google Rich Snippets Authorship page.  However, I actually do what both steps on that page indicate….for a couple of reasons:

  1. I wanted to make sure it worked
  2. I want to give people a chance to read more about me should they find something I wrote interesting. My profile doesn’t have anything super-awesome in it right now, but I can add it in the future if I would like.

So, you will need to add a byline like “Posted by” or “Written by” or “Author: ” to your articles or posts. Of course, you will add your name after the byline and link your name to your author profile page on your website.

Link Your Author Page to Google+

Stick with me, I know this is tedious.

Now, we are going to want to add a link from your website’s author page to your Google+ profile.  We accomplish this by adding another attribute to your Google+ profile link.  In my case, my Google+ profile url looks like this:

https://plus.google.com/105529091549806108461/about

According to Google, you can simply append (add for you illiterates) ?rel=me to the end of the URL.  But, I have had issues with the Rich Snippets Testing Tool recognizing that method.  Instead, I simply add it as an attribute in the anchor tag as we did above.   So, we get something that looks like this:

<a rel=”me” href=”https://plus.google.com/105529091549806108461/”>Jason Golod</a>

In this example, the numbers are unique to my profile. You will want to go to your profile page, copy the URL and paste it accordingly.  The key is that you add the rel=”me” attribute to the anchor tag.

The Rich Snippets Testing Tool

OK, so we only have one step left.  But, we have to make sure it is all working properly.  So, let’s head over to the Rich Snippets Testing Tool and verify that your markup is correct.

  1. Copy the URL of your author profile on YOUR website.
  2. Go to the Rich Snippets Testing Tool
  3. Paste the URL  and click submit

You should see something like this:

Rich Snippets Testing Tool Sample Output
Rich Snippets Testing Tool Sample Output

If you see your mug instead of mine, move to the next paragraph.  If you don’t, be sure you have done all of the following:

  1. Created a Google+ profile complete with your picture
  2. Linked TO your website FROM Google+ as a Contributor to link
  3. Linked TO your Google+ profile from your website’s author page with the rel=”me” attribute

If you have and it still doesn’t work for you, leave a comment below and we will get you straightened out.

For those of you in the front of the class, now we are going to copy a URL from a blog post or article you have written on your website and past that into the tool.  You should see something similar as before.  The title of the page will likely change, but the important thing is that your mug is showing up to the right.  If there are any major errors, you will see that below the listing, but if your picture is there, you are a happy camper.  Now we can move to step 5.

Telling Google You Are Rich Snippets Ready

They don’t make this page easy to find, but here you go:

https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dHdCLVRwcTlvOWFKQXhNbEgtbE10QVE6MQ

Go to that page and fill out the form.  In a couple of weeks your mug will start showing up.  Google needs to re-crawl all of your pages after they “flip the switch” before it will show up for a particular page.

Hope this helped.

Jason

Link Building Strategies: Google Image Search

In June of 2011 Google upgraded some of the search functionality of its Image Search.  One of the interesting new features was the ability to search using an actual image. So, instead of typing words into the search box, you can enter the URL of an image, browse for an image saved on your computer, or even drag an image from your desktop to the search box (very cool).

At first I was not really that interested in the whole deal, but after coming across an article today on How to Build Backlinks Using Google’s Image Search, I have to say that I am thinking of a few different ways that it can be used in your link building strategies.

Jason Stinnett does a great job of showing three examples of how you or one of your clients might be able to benefit from a few quick image searches:

  1. Research Someone:  Jason shows an example of how to gain some background information on someone who is active on line.  Maybe it is one of your competitors, maybe it is someone you want to meet.  Whatever the case may be, you can quickly gather information on where they interact with others online.  Link opportunities abound.
  2. Find Guest Posting Opportunities:  Looking for some blogs to post your unique content and expand your reach?  Do you know a competitor or avid guest blogger that works in your industry? Grab their avatar and in a matter of seconds you should have a list of websites to peddle your latest and greatest piece of work.
  3. Low Hanging Fruit:  Working for a big firm or do you put out a lot of articles or press releases?  There is probably a lot of your content out on the web right now that is not linked to a relevant page on your client’s or your website.

I am sure it is a matter of time before some crafty individuals mash up some stuff to allow you to find all of your website’s images on the web.  Copyscape for images anyone?

Best,

Jason