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Features Digg Should Have

Thursday, November 30, 2006
Features Digg should haveSinse posting my story about Digg banning IP addresses i have been, Like i said i would, Participating in the "digg community".

After almost a month of participating in digg i have to say I like it, There have been some interesting stories posted and commenting on them is fun, Though there are a lot of obvious features that should be included.

So i thought i would post a list of features that digg should have, But don't.

  1. Show Digg count for comments in profile - If you don't know, People "digg" or "digg down" comments you make, and if a comment gets enough thumbs down it becomes hidden. If you want to find out how many diggs your comment got you currently have to look at your own profile, Click the "commented on" tab and then go to that stories page. You then have to search through the comments looking for your comment. I propose that digg display the digg count of comments directly in the profile along with the number of replies it got.
  2. Personal messages - Why is it you can add people as friends on digg but you can't send people instant messages? Personal messaging should be an essensial feature for any site claiming to be a "community".
  3. Tags - When you submit or Digg a story you should also have the option to add tags. This will make searching and organizing stories you dugg a lot easier.
  4. Email alerts - It would be faily easy for digg to impliment a system where when one of your friends posts a new story, Or someone else posts a story that contains a keyword you get notified about it via an email. Similar to what google do with thier google alerts, But for digg.
  5. Advanced search feature - At the moment if you want to search a specific catagory on digg you have to navigate to that section and then use the search box. So i propose that digg has a "search page" with advanced options. A user can select if they want to search all of digg or a specific catagory. They can also select what time frame they wish to search in. "this week", "this month" or "this year". You get the picture.
  6. More catagories - Digg started off as a tech site but quickly expanded into other areas such as videos and sport. Say for instance i wanted to post a video of a huge car crash, Should i put it under "funny" or "educational"?
  7. Better dupe detection - I know that just because something has been posted once already doesn't mean everybody got to see it, But the amount of dupes on digg is insane. Some stories have been posted upto 10 times and sometimes people even go to google translator and post that link just because the exact same page had already been posted and digg doesn't let them post the same URL again.
  8. Stop banning IPs - Sinse i blogged about digg banning IPs a lot of people have emailed me saying they have had thier company LAN IP banned from digg simply because a few people share the same IP but login through different accounts. Digg seems to have a system where if different user names appear to have the same IP that IP gets banned.
  9. Burried stories - As well as showing what stories a user Dugg it would be nice to see what stories they have burried, too. And for what reason. Spam, dupe or lame.
  10. Open links in new window - If a user has selected to open story links in a new window links posted in replies should open in a new window too.

If you have any other ideas for improvments to digg, post them as a reply

I was just informed that another blogger, franticindustries has made a similar post about the features digg should have. (It's ok, I don't think he copied me :p ) He also has some good ideas for features digg needs.


Are Google Going To Add Blog Results To Google.Com

Saturday, November 25, 2006
Are Google Going To Add Blog Results To Google.Com Occasional blogger and webdesigner Andy Boyd, A fellow Brit, posted an interesting screen capture on his blog recently of a google search he performed, For tea, Which yielded an interesting result.

blog search on google.comAs you can see, At the bottom of Andys search page there is a "blog posts about tea" section with a link to a blog search page and a selection of blog posts about tea which Google think may interest the searcher. Though many other bloggers have been talking about this nobody else has currently been able to reproduce what Andy done, Including myself. I tried searching for "tea", and other phrases and words on multiple countries google search pages but were unable to produce any blog search results.

There has been recent speculation that google may add a link to blog search on the Google main page after they included Blog search on google news and created Google Alerts for blog search. If Andys discovery is correct, And i have no reason to think he made it up, Then this is good news for bloggers and suggests Google are taking steps to provide a better platform for bloggers to get found in search engines.

How To Track Email Spam With GMail

Thursday, November 16, 2006
How To Track Email Spam With GMailIf you are anything like me you will find your email inbox littered with spam. Even though GMail is pretty good at spotting spam, and getting better all the time, On the odd occasion some spam will still get through.

luckily GMail have a "feature" that will let you track which sites are spamming you, which sites are selling your email address and which sites are compromising your personal information.

Here's how it works. When you enter your GMail address on a site or registration form, For instance domain.com, don't enter username@gmail.com. Enter username+domaincom@gmail.com as your email address. GMail will still send the email to the username@gmail.com account but it will use the address username+domaincom@gmail.com. GMail will use whatever comes before the + symbol as the email account to send the message to.

Essensially, this means you can have multiple email addresses, One for every online form you fill in, All in the one account.

So over time, By using this method, You will be able to easily find the email spam offenders.

I don't think GMail done this specifically to track spam, So if you have any other handy ways of using this feature please post them.

Top WordPress Plugins for Google Adsense

Sunday, November 12, 2006
Wordpress Plugins for Google AdsenseIf you blog using wordpress the chances are you will be using Google Adsense to bring in some income. We have already covered how to put adsense ads in blogger blogs so thought we should do something to help you guys who use wordpress. Incorporating adsense into a wordpress blog is fairly easy since wordpress have the ability to use plugins. So instead of explaining how to hardcode adsense into your wordpress blog we though we would collect a few wordpress plugins for google adsense. As you guys like lists so much, This is going to be in the form of a list.
With these wordpress plugins for adsense you will be able to position your adsense ads anywhere on your wordpress blog, experiment with them and find what produces the highest adsense earnings.

  • Adsense Earnings Plugin - With this plugin you can view your adsense earnings from your wordpress admin panel..
  • Adsense Profit - This wordpress plugin will display your adsense profits to the public on your blog. Make sure this is inline with adsense terms before using..
  • AdSense Revenue Sharing For Wordpress - This wordpress plugin lets you share ad impressions with other people. Maybe co-admin or post authors.
  • Author Adsense Wordpress Plugin - If your wordpress posts are made by someone else you can use this plugin to encourage them to post by letting them enter their adsense ID and have their own adverts displayed..
  • Adsense Deluxe Plugin - This wordpress plugin allows you to automatically insert YPN or Adsense ads into your blog posts.
  • Adsense Injection plugin - This plugin randomly inserts adsense into your wordpress blog.
  • Adsense Inline plugin - Wordpress plugin to insert adsense ads into your blog posts
  • Adsense Beautifier plugin - This plugin may help you increase your CTR for adsense displayed on a wordpress blog by placing images next to the adsense ads. Before using this you should see our post about putting images near adsense to make sure you aren't going to break adsense ToS.
  • AdSense plugin for WordPress Sidebar - Google AdSense wordpress plugin for the new WordPress Sidebar Widgets plug-in.
  • Mighty Adsense - This wordpress plugin lets you display adsense in your blog posts without modifying your wordpress template.
  • AdRotator Wordpress Plugin - If you don't want to only display adsense you can use this plugin to rotate between adsense and any other advert you want to display, Such as YPN, Chitika or affiliate links.
Having never used wordpress i can't personally endorse any of these wordpress adsense plugins, So use at your own risk.

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Top Webmaster And Developer Tools For Mac OS X

Saturday, November 11, 2006
Top Mac OS X Webmaster ToolsHere at Pro-SEO we like to provide webmasters with lists. Some of our most popular posts of days gone by have been lists like webmaster firefox extensions, Free SEO ebooks, adsense tools and Adsense alternatives. Given the popularity of these posts it become obvious that you guys like lists. But then it occurred to us, We have been neglecting webmasters who are on a Mac. So we decided to collect a bunch of webmaster tools for Mac OS X.

When looking at this list please remember, As a Linux user i have no way of testing these Mac OS X web developer tools so i can't vouch for them. So the comments of Mac users are very welcome, also if you know any more please post them.

  1. Transmit Max OS X FTP Client - If you are a webmaster an FTP client is a must. And from what i have read about this application it seems that Transmit is the best FTP client for Mac.
  2. Taco HTML Editor for Mac - Taco HTML Editor is a full-featured HTML editor and PHP editor distributed as freeware. As an HTML editor, Taco HTML Edit empowers its users to rapidly create their own web sites. It is designed exclusively for Mac OS X and has many advanced features including spell checking, live browser previewing, PHP previewing, syntax checking, and much more.
  3. MAMP - Macintosh, Apache, MySQL and PHP - If you are a web developer or webmaster on a Mac it's going to be important that you have a way of testing your scripts and pages on your own computer. mamp installs to a single 214MB directory and is completely self contained. It will not make any changes to previous installations of apache you may have.
  4. Locomotive - Ruby on Rails development - Similar to mamp locomotive will help you develop Ruby on Rails applications on Mac OS X. While those not choosing to set up their Rails development environment using Locomotive may spend hours frustrated by broken libraries, compilation errors, and incomprehensible incompatibilities, you will be able to jump right into Rails development the minute you finish downloading.
  5. TextMate - Whatever type of development you do on your Mac, whether it be web development, PHP coding or web design TextMate is an essential mac text editor that every developer on a Mac needs
  6. ColorMod - A pain for every web developer is when you have to open photoshop when you want to get a color value. With Colormod this task becomes a lot easier. It's a great way to get and convert color values on mac OS X.
  7. Parallels Desktop for Mac - Parallels Desktop for Mac is the first solution for Intel-Macs that give you the flexibility of running Windows on a Mac OS X simultaneously without rebooting. You can use Parallels Desktop for Mac on any Intel-powered iMac, Mac Mini, MacBook, MacBook Pro, & Mac Pro Towers.
  8. BLT Broken Link Checker - The broken link checker for Mac is used just like a browser. Simply type in the address of your webpage and the BLT will check the page for broken links.

We will continue to add more Mac OS X webmaster tools as we find them, So if you found this page useful keep coming back and don't forget to social bookmark us (buttons below).

Adwords Users Can Now Target Adsense Channels

Friday, November 10, 2006
Adwords Users Can Now Target Adsense ChannelsGoogle have added a feature to their adsense adwords program that will allow advertisers to pick a custom channel to advertise in, and also allow adsense publishers to select which channels to enable channel targeting in.

No longer will adwords advertisers have to manually select pages or directories that they wish their advert to appear in, they can now simply select the channel that the publisher has set to allow channel targeted adverts to appear in. I'm guessing it will also enable adwords advertisers to pick what adblock on the page they wish to advertise in on a certain page if you have channels set up on a per-ad-block basis.

If you are an adsense publisher and want to enable this custom channel targeting for your adverts simply follow these instruction.

  1. Log into your account at google.com/adsense
  2. Under the AdSense Setup tab, visit the Channels page.
  3. Under the AdSense for content sub-tab, make sure you have selected custom channels.
  4. Click the radio button next to the channel that you would like to make targetable then, click the corresponding 'edit settings' link.
  5. Click the checkbox marked 'Show this channel to advertisers for targeting' and enter a description for your channel. Keep in mind that advertisers will see the name and description, so you want to provide something accurate and informative that will represent your site well.
  6. Click 'Save channel'.

For more information on this visit the Adsense help centre

Slashdot Goes Down

Slashdot Goes Down - database errorNot really SEO news as such, But an important lesson we should all learn. If a site like Slashdot can make these kinds of mistakes then we all can.

On the 8th November 2006 Slashdot failed due to a database error caused by the 16,777,215th comment made by an Ontario based musician. Looking at the post i can't see anything about it that would cause the database to crash. Well that's because it wasn't the content of the post, it was the fact it was the 16,777,215th comment.

The Slashdot database comment index is set as an unsigned mediumint in MySQL, which maxes out at 2^24, which puts the maximum size of the table at 16,777,216 rows. So after the 16,777,215th comment was made the Slashdot database said "no more!" and died.

Once Slashdot figured out what caused the database error fixing it was a simple, but lengthy process. The remedy was a simple ALTER TABLE MySQL statement, But on a table that is 16 million rows long it took over 3 hours to do it, In which time no posting was allowed.

So the lesson is, erm, i guess, Don't do things that will break your site. Or something like that.

Digg Ban IP Addresses If You Digg Your Friends Stories

Thursday, November 09, 2006
Digg Ban IP Adresses If You Digg Your Friends StoriesThe new Digg algorithm changes may have had some rather worrying side effects which will see some Diggers having their IP address banned from Digg for doing nothing more than taking part in the "community" aspect of digg.

I was informed by a number of friends today that every time they tried to login to digg they would get the error "Sorry - bad IP address" and were offered a link back to the homepage. They are still able to look around digg, heaven forbid they not see the adverts, But they are no longer allowed to vote or submit stories (or anything that requires you to login), At least until they change their IP or use a proxy, Which will be about 30 seconds.

Here is a screen shot of what you can expect if you get your IP address banned from digg. It's not the most impressive error page i have seen.

Speculation is that changes were made to the digg algorithm which were designed to spot people who digg as a community. While this is obviously good for combating those who try to cheat digg or commit "digg fraud", Such as spike the vote, It isn't so good for people who actively take part in the digg community, digg the same stories or stories their friends has submitted.
  • Say for instance, 10 people spend all day on digg, The chances are that over time they will be digging the same stories. Will the part of the digg algorithm responsible for spotting digg fraud flag them all and ban them?
  • What if people are loyal members of a forum or loyal readers of a blog? If a thread on the forum or post on the blog gets submitted to digg there is a fairly high chance that the same few people will always digg stories from their favorite forum or blog.
  • What if 10 people sit in IRC and share stories they have found on digg? Chances are they will digg the same stories, Will they get flagged and banned from digg by the algorithm?
It should become apparent now that digg can not retain it's community feel and protect against digg fraud. So what's it going to be digg? Stay a community driven site? Or protect against digg fraud at the expense of the users you so regularly thank for making the site a success?

I don't actually own a digg account myself, But i may sign up and see what i can do to get myself banned. I would like to see just how damaging this digg fraud protection algorithm is going to be. I thought digg fraud was going to kill digg, But it looks like the digg algo is pulling it down from the inside.


How To Remove Your Competition From MSN Live

Wednesday, November 08, 2006
How To Remove Your Competition From MSN LiveI recently came across an article that explained in step by step instructions how to remove your competitors pages from MSN live. I haven't tried this myself, it's not my style, But i thought i should tell you about it in case someone starts doing it to you.

I'll try to explain, as i understand it, Why MSN will dump the pages out of the index and what you can do to protect yourself against an attack of this kind. At the moment the MSN live algorithm definitely has a few bugs, So even if this does work now im sure it wont last long. It certainly wont remove a site from MSN live forever.

How Does it work?

Unfortunately MSN have screwed up the part of their algo in MSN live that deals with duplicate content. Where as Google and Yahoo will more than likely just not count your duped pages MSN will drop all pages, new and old, from the index entirely.

So if MSN is able to follow different URLs to your site and find the same pages it will drop all duped pages from the index.

This is going to drastically effect people who use affiliate links in order to track who sends them visitors. Most times the affiliate page will be identical regardless which URL is clicked to get there, So MSN live will see this as dupe content and drop the pages.

If you can visit a page with URLs that look like the following and each time the page is exactly the same it's possible the site is vulnerable.

IMPORTANT: If your site does not return a 200 OK status then it's not vulnerable. A 200 status is what the server sends when it has received the request, Understood what you want and sent the page. If your server send any other status when you try this it's not vulnerable.

How To Fix It?

Fixing it and protecting against it is fairly simple. We simply have to make sure your server does not send a 200 status when the fake GET URLs are used.
I would recommend a 301 status
if($_GET) {
header ("Pragma: no-cache");
header("Cache-Control: no-store, no-cache, must-revalidate");
header("HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently");
header("Location: http://www.yourdomain.com/");
header("Connection: close");

Hopefully MSN live will fix this before too many people become effected and with any luck they will be quick when it comes to clearing up any mess caused by this.

I wouldn't reccomend trying this to dump your competition out of the index, It's not very nice. And besides, It's not like it's going to be premenant and MSN will more thsn likely fix it before you even see changes.

The Death Of Adsense?

Friday, November 03, 2006
The Death Of Adsense Is google adsense deadYou have probably seen this eBook floating around the internet for download, Usually being spammed as a referral link on webmaster forums. It presents the premise that Google adsense is dead.

So is Adsense dead? The truth is yes, Yes it is dead. But it is only dead if you run a useless site with copy and past articles and if your sole intention is too make money from adsense. We have all seen these sites, They use automatically generated articles that have been scraped from other sites or rehashed search engine links. If you are a good webmaster or blogger who writes interesting articles and unique quality content Google Adsense is very much alive and a great way to keep a steady stream of income.

Some time ago Google made a few small, But significant changes to the adsense program. Adwords users can now chose if they want their advert displayed on Google search pages, Publishers websites or both. Needless to say, Probably because of click fraud, Most advertisers decided they wanted to display adverts only on google search pages, Which means those adverts receive the highest bids from advertisers.

The next thing Google done was to try and remove the MFA, or made for adsense sites, from the Google search index and prevent people displaying adsense on MFA sites. the Google terms even says you aren't allowed to display adsense on sites created entirely for displaying adverts. This got a few webmasters who run the useless MFA sites worried, They were used to making hundreds of dollars a week from their useless spammy sites. So when Google made the changes to clean up Adsense and clean up in Google index these webmasters came to the conclusion that "Adsense is dead" and proceeded to created stupid little eBooks, That you have to buy, Which claim adsense is no good anymore.

There is nothing wrong with building a website to make money from adsense, I do it, But it is essential that you create quality articles, provide good information and don't become one of these meaningless spam sites.

It's Official, First Adsense Block On Page Pays Most

First Adsense Block On Page Pays MostThe adsense team have just confirmed something which most Adsense publishers have known, Or at least suspected, For some time. And that is that the adsense adblock that appears first will contain higher paying adverts.

Currently, the first ad unit on a page always shows the top ads that win the ad auction. Also, if there aren't enough ads in our ad inventory to fill all of the ad units on a page, the first ad unit on the page will display ads first. This is why I recommend using custom channels to determine which of your ad units has the highest CTR, and then placing that ad unit first in the HTML code.

When the Adsense team say "the first ad unit on the page" they mean the adblock that appears closest to the top in your source code, Not the first to appear on the page. It's possible that the adblock that loads first will actually be the last to receive adverts if it is near the bottom of your source code or positioned using a DIV.

So like the adsense team say, First impressions count. Make sure that the adverts closest to the top of your source code are the adverts that receive the highest number of clicks, You can find this CTR by setting up a custom channel for each of the adblocks that appear on the page. So if your high paying adblock is receiving less clicks that the others you may have to rejig your source code.

The rule is, The adsense adblock that appears first in your source code will contain the highest paying adverts, So you should position this in a high CTR area of your page

How To Optimize Blogger Blogs For Adsense

How To Optimize Blogger Blogs For AdsenseIn this post i will attempt to explain what I have done to optimize this blog for adsense and how i got adverts to be displayed in different places depending on what page you are looking at.

If you go to the index of the blog you will see that i have an image block at the top and two text blocks down the right hand hand column. But if you go to this article about firefox extensions you will see i have an image block above the blog post, one below it and a text block in the right hand column. I have found, Through experimentation with adsense channels, that this is the best way to display adsense on blogs. This is only achievable by knowing that blogger blogs have tags in the template that can be used to display different things depending on whether you are on the index, the archive page or the item page.

The two main tags you need to use to optimize your blogger blog for adsense are as follows;
<MainOrArchivePage></MainOrArchivePage> - Text or adblocks placed between these tags will only be visible when the visitor views the index page or an archive page.

<ItemPage></ItemPage> Text or adblocks placed between these tags will only be visible when the visitor views the item page.

So if you want to place an adblock under your article you need to find <$BlogItemBody$> which is the blogger template variable that is used to place the article text. Then directly underneath this you need to put
<ItemPage>your adsense code here</ItemPage> and then you will see adsense ad blocks underneath your blog post.

By using these tags that blogger provides and experimenting a little you can get the adverts where you want them, and more importantly where they will be most effective.

Note: These changes have to be made to the blogger template, It does not work when included in a post.

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Digg Ban Users Who Criticize Digg

Thursday, November 02, 2006
Digg Ban Users Who Criticize DiggI hate to go on about digg, i have been doing it a lot lately, but their methods and ways of doing things has become obviously immoral and corrupt. A friend of mine read my article about digg banning IP addresses and thought he should post it on digg. People should know about changes to the digg algorithm, right? of course they should. But i guess Kevin Rose got wind of this criticizm and decided he would ban my friends digg account, and the account of his room-mate who commented on the post, simply for criticizing the changes digg is making.

If you go and look at the Story (digg it while you are there) you will see it's submitted by a user called "GoogTube". Now, If you click on his profile you will see it comes up with the error "Invalid User Provided". This occurred just 20 minutes after he submitted the story criticizing digg. Coincidence? I think not.

It's bad enough that digg have created an algorithm that bans users for participating in the digg "community", We can assume it was a mistake and it's something they are working to fix. But when they start banning people simply for criticizing changes that have been made it starts to leave a really bad taste in my mouth. Funny how they don't ban the hundreds of people who post sycophantic articles about how great digg is and how much they love Kevin Rose.


Top 10 Ways To Get On The Digg Front Page - What Would Kevin Rose Do?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Top 10 Ways To Get On The Digg Front Page - What Would Kevin Rose Do?Most people have heard about digg. It's that place that the ill-informed hang out, Bitch about Microsoft, talk about how great Kevin Rose is and pretend they all use Linux. Having said that, getting on the front page of Digg is what every webmaster and blogger wants, It will drive thousands of visitors to your site.

Get on front page of digghaving spent some time looking around Digg, Not submitting anything, Not digging anything and not commenting on anything i think i have figured out what kind of post gets the diggs from the types of people who "Digg". So i though i would throw together a list of things you can do to make sure you have a big chance of getting your articles on the front page of digg.

The main thing to remember about Digg is that it is like slashdot for kids. In fact, That could be it's tag line.

(in no particular order)
  1. Write about Digg - As a whole Digg is about a narcissistic as it gets. It loves it's self and loves to hear about it's self. So if you can pander to Diggs ego the Digg drones are sure to "Digg" you.
  2. Mention Kevin Rose - 99% of diggers see Kevin Rose as some kind of god. They are sycophantic no-hopers who think that by clinging to the coat tails of a man who still thinks drinking beer on a couch with his fat friend makes him "cool" they can get some kind of recognision for themselves. I have even seen a video of Kevin Rose spilling a beer get on the front page.
  3. Bitch about Microsoft - Even though most of the "diggers" are sitting there using ME they like to whine on about how crap "M$" is. So give them something to chew on, Even if it's a story about a 3 year old internet explorer exploit.
  4. Make your title look like it's written by a 12 year old AOLer - "Linux kernel patch released" is a bad title "OMG AMAZIN NSFW VIDEO LOL" good title. See how that works?
  5. Make it up - If you have to, Make it up. These people aren't going to research it. Most of them can just about read.
  6. Insult the pariah - Insult people diggers don't like. Write about Bill gates and how he is probably gay, how George Bush is an idiot or how Family Guy uses too many flash back scenes.
  7. Appeal to the fanboys - Digg is littered with fanboys. Find a subject that has a big fanboy following and write about it. You can have this one for free "TOP 10 reasons Apple pwns M$".
  8. Firefox firefox firefox - Firefox is better than IE right? Of course it is (though it is still just a leaky browser). For most diggers using Firefox is as close to Linux as they will get, So they grab this with both hands, Digg it and comment on your article.
  9. Top 10 - Make it a top 10. Even if it's not. Make the Diggers think that by reading a simple list they will get easy to understand information on a group of items and knowledge about which is better than the other.
  10. Include a graph - Images are good, It means less reading, Diggers like that. So include a few images, like a random graph you have found. They may try to figure out what the graph means but when they fail they will just assume they don't understand it because they are an idiot.


The Secret To SEO Is Karma

A friend of mine from WMT, Steve, wrote an interesting article looking at how SEO is Nothing but Karma. His article was submitted as part of a competition, So we wish him luck with that, But that aside the article raises some good points.

In the article Steve tells us that to succeed in SEO you simply have to give things away. Whether that be knowledge, a service, videos, Your time posting on a forum - anything. Do good things and good things will happen to you.

So what happens when you do good deeds or give something away? Well it's simple. People like it, They like you, They tell people about it and they link to your site which in turn brings more people, who in turn like it, Like you, tell people about it and link to it. See how it works?

So let's all take a minute, Sit crossed legged on the floor, Drink some herbal tea and think about our websites, Karma and SEO. Let's also wish Steve good luck in the competition.

(you can earn some karma right now by telling your friends about Steves article)

PS. I look forward to googles KR (karma rank)