John Andrews is a Competitive Webmaster and Search Engine Optimization Consultant in Seattle, Washington. This is John Andrews blog on issues of interest to the SEO community and competitive webmasters. Want to know more?

johnon.com  Competitive Web & SEO
March 31st, 2008 by john andrews

Open Source Skills: Been There, Done That

As I wait for yet another install of Magento to delete itself, so I can install it yet again, I am reminded of my tech support days. Then, as now, this Open Source stuff is all about “been there, done that“. The more times you’ve done it before, the better you are at doing it. No matter what level of conceptual understanding you have, you still have to have “done it” in order to be able to “do it” again.

Magento on Dreamhost. Magento on 1and1. Magento on my dev server. Magento on my Redhat server. Magento on my local XAMPP installation. They are all slightly different, and now I know exactly why. But I still have to track down every instance of the use of HTTPS to enable use of a shared SSL cert (1and1), or manually configure the secure/non-secure basedir settings, and start with admin console unsecured, etc etc etc. Yes, I know it’s a great package. Yes, I understand why I have to manage these peculiarities, and I totally support the cross-platform approach that necessitates the compromises. But still, must I install it again?

The next time someone asks me “what do you mean by SEO for Magento. It’s already search engine optimized, because it runs on Zend Framework” I will likely switch from Pinot Noir back to Jameson. Yes frameworks are about best practice and flexibility. And SEO is about competitive webmastering. You use ZF as is, while your brother exploits the __call method to make sharper URLs, my cousin uses a Controller plugin to hack URLs before they get to the router, JoeSEO deploys good ole regex rules in Zend_Controller_Router_Route_Regex, and I struggle with enforcing strict URLs and a custom route class.

Question: Who will win in the SERPs?

Answer: The one who ties it all back to the shopping cart in a fashion most effectively tuned to the market, as defined by Google.

In a way that is portable, and flexible, and adjustable, of course. Sound familiar? Go figure.

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March 30th, 2008 by john andrews

First to 300 Sphinns: Thank You Bionic Sphinners!

Note: A few days ago, after proclaiming for many months that paid links are not allowed and arguing what does and does not constitute “payment” for links, Google has finally cleared up the confusion around the use of the nofollow attribute by publishing a living demonstration of the right way to barter direct back links. Using the very popular Google Webmaster blog as an example (which has a very high page rank), Google demonstrated the proper way to use direct backlinks, without nofollow, in reciprocity. Quid pro quo.. this for that… direct back links as a reward for participation.

And so, in the Spirit of Google’s example, keeping in line with the living example of correctness, I hereby thank my loyal Sphinners who pushed my post over 300 Sphinns at the search marketing community Sphinn.com:

Thank You (with links) Bionic Sphinners

Setting up and running a website is getting easier and easier, and it’s wonderful to see so many new webmasters sharing their voices with the world! For you as a webmaster it’s pretty easy going… until you run into an issue that you just can’t seem to solve on your own. Maybe some technical issues were flagged in your Webmaster Tools account; maybe you’re just trying to get your robots.txt to block a certain part of your site; or maybe someone reported that they got a virus while visiting your site (gasp!) maybe you want to get a ton of Sphinns on a post to make the Greatest Hits list. All of these issues can come up and sometimes it’s helpful to have a helping hand when diagnosing and solving it.

Our Google Webmaster Help Group Our Sphinn community is a great place to get help. There are many webmasters active in our group, friendly and ready to help others, often with first-hand experience. They can show you what might be wrong, show you how you can find answers in the future, and point you towards a solution that you’ll be able to use. They Sphinn your posts!

Just recently a webmaster came into the groups with a website that was having strange problems in need of more attention. Less than 20 minutes later, one of our dedicated members replied and pointed the webmaster to hidden content that was placed on their site by someone else Sphunn the post! Finding that Being ignored is bad enough; but not getting Sphunn finding it is even more frustrating.

While there are lots of helpful people in our groups, we have some that really stand out as being exceptionally active, helpful, competent and friendly. They volunteer time and energy to help build a great community and to help webmasters all around the world. In order to more publicly recognize their contributions, we’re calling them our Bionic Posters Sphinners. We want to highlight their outstanding efforts and thank them for the sound advice Sphinns they’ve offered to so many.

We wanted to take a minute and send a shout out to our Bionic PostersSphinners:

0thelisa 97thfloor abbazi81 abhilash Aboutbruyns
adam AdamCarson aerobe agito aglobalwarming aimClear
akrone alex alex365 alexorella alexupstream aleyda
algoholic amberturrill AmyGreer AndreyMilyan AndyBeard
ArcticNorth artyone askablogger AtomBoyz Aussiewebmaster AutomotiveSEO
avi AVIVA Directory B10G baiduyou beammeup benbicais
BenWilks bhartzer Bill15 billse billslawski bloggero
BrendanPicha BrettFromTibet bsaric Burgo bwelford
Calamier CameronOlthuis casieg centernetworks chickenhole Chris1
ciaran cisco claireschoen cmiddlebrook cmswebsiteservices ColinCochrane
controltheweb coolice crashingflwrgrl cre8pc cselorio Cumbrowski
CWI dailymoolah Dan DandyAndy24 danieldessinger Danny Sullivan
danperry DariaGoetsch darwix DaveDavis davidgrant55 DavidWallace
DazzlinDonna Dave Bascom dedmond29 demerzel Derick discuit
dlarson104 DLPerry DoshDosh Doubleohd dougs123 dreras
DutchBlogger Eloi EmergenceMedia EmmaJones erazem EricLander
erik EstebanPanzera Tiptopweb Articles Directory fantomaster FetalMinds flogo
floppy fskipper gabs Gamermk georgiecasey GiorgosK
graywolf gronk gyutae hagiohost HamletBatista HawaiiSEO
HayMeadows Hobo howtoknowme illumini IncrediBILL inkodeR
isaSuperstar jackvorety jahsymon JamesDunn JamesOmdahl jandrew07
jaybol JDA jdevalk Jeeb90 JeffHinds Jeremy
JeremyLuebke jfhscribbles jimmyfloyd jkbright jmaulson JohnMu
JohnWeb Kalena KangoTraveler KarlRibas kelvinnewman kenhvm
kevgibbo KevinNewcomb kimber kiru4 konvictcollin kpraveenkumars
leadegroot LightingSEM lizblaze Lodispoto lorenbaker Lotus21 LucidClicks
LukeRegan Lyndon macewan majorbta mandat ManishPandey
MariosAlexandrou Marketing MarketingGuy martinbowling MattKeegan MattMcGee
MattSawyer mayobrains mbeharry mckennagene Mel66 mellonstock
Mendax Mert mhuggins michaelnew20 mjesales mktgrl
mnotman17 MrJavodotCom Musa must Naoise NatashaRobinson
nathanholman navdigital neelakantha neelakanthap neil nejron
neyne nichenet NickWilsdon nickycakes Nicole NNCA
nolimitdomains oggin OliverTaco OnlineMarketer PaFinder patrickaltoft
PaulHancox penbeatssword peterdavanzo phaithful planecrazy PPCblogger
pratt Purposeinc Ramkarthik randfish rdash Rhea
Rich roberrific robwatts RoomForMeToo ruchirkc RuZ
Rynert sailman salinawyldcat sammy sarahdeh84 ScottFish
seanmag SearchBuzz searchcommander Sebastian SEMaven seo.magnet
SEOdisco seoforgoogle SEOHonolulu SEOinSeattle SEOish SEOpranos seosuresh
seoz87 Sergi SexySEO sheppy shor Silver
simo SimonHeseltine SisterSledge Skitzzo snipergrunge socialmedia
sorenj soz spatiallyrelevant sphinn007 sphinndr sphinnthis
SpostareDuro squishee steaprok stefanjuhl streko stutofts
sunaren2001 sunpost sussane Syzlak TannerC techustle
textahead TheMadHat thinkingserious TimDineen tinkerbellchime tobyism
toddemaus toddmintz tonyruscoe toprank totentando traduzione
TrafficGuru TreatInfamy tubalusa turnkeywebsites uebersetzer ukdaz
UtahSEOpro vanessafox vbin vikramprashant ViperChill Virginia
webconnoisseur webprofessor webuildpages wheel whiteknightpro Wiep
willcritchlow wolftrust worstellr yeepage yourseomentor zacharyfox

Thank you all for helping to make the Webmaster Help GroupJohnon.com post such a success!

Note: It will take some time to get everyone listed, so you can either be patient or post a comment with your details, matching your Sphinn credentials above.

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March 29th, 2008 by john andrews

Pay Attention to Google

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPgV6-gnQaE]

Thanks Ken. That was hilarious.

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