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I recently heard a story of a business that got caught with fake reviews on Yelp. They were also an advertiser spending thousands of dollars a month on ads. When they got caught, Yelp canceled their ad account and told them they would be demoting the listing’s ranking for 6 months. After that time, they would re-evaluate, but there was no guarantee that things would go back to how they were before. Yelp’s stance on fake reviews couldn’t be more completely opposite of Google’s. Here are a few ways they differ when it comes to approaching businesses caught with fake reviews:

1. Yelp issues a ranking penalty, Google does not.

2. Yelp stops the business from advertising, Google does not.

This is a free "K2 Content Module" template override for the Joomla component K2 that can be used with any Joomla 1.5, 2.5, or 3.x site. 

Download the template override files attached to this post and upload them into your Joomla template here:

/templates/your-template/html/mod_k2_content/

So the full path will look like this:
/templates/your-template/html/mod_k2_content/C2-Optimized/default.php

This video demonstrates how to use Joomla and K2 to deliver email notifications to your contact list using Mailchimp - you can specify in Mailchimp how frequently (monthly, weekly, etc) and on which day and time you want the emails to be delivered. 

 

The video below will demonstrate how I used Joomla + K2 to build an advanced, custom home page layout using regular Joomla modules.  This customization and technique will work on any Joomla 1.5.x, 2.5.x or 3.x site.  

Download the template override files attached to this post and upload them into your Joomla template here:

/templates/your-template/html/com_k2/

So the full path will look like this:
/templates/your-template/html/com_k2/home-override/category.php

Now would be a good time to remove the "Google+" profile link from your website, if you haven't already.

Original Article:

Google is about to have its Cambridge Analytica moment. A security bug allowed third-party developers to access Google+ user profile data since 2015 until Google discovered and patched it in March, but decided not to inform the world. When a user gave permission to an app to access their public profile data, the bug also let those developers pull their and their friends’ non-public profile fields. Indeed, 496,951 users’ full names, email addresses, birth dates, gender, profile photos, places lived, occupation and relationship status were potentially exposed, though Google says it has no evidence the data was misused by the 438 apps that could have had access.

The company decided against informing the public because it would lead to “us coming into the spotlight alongside or even instead of Facebook despite having stayed under the radar throughout the Cambridge Analytica scandal,” according to an internal memo. Now Google+, which was already a ghost town largely abandoned or never inhabited by users, has become a massive liability for the company.

[Full Article]

 

See Also:

(Do ADA (or Section 508) Accessibility Standards Apply to My Website?)

I've had a few clients ask me recently about ensuring that their website is ADA accessible, mainly referring to visually impaired users and their ability to navigate and interact with your site. 

I've also spoken to business owners who have already been targeted with litigation because their website was not ADA compliant.

I've inquired with a client of mine (who happens to be an attorney) and asked them for any guidance they could offer on the issue. 

Introducing...

Carly Jane Covington
8 lbs 4 oz — 21.5 inches
Born June 14, 2018 at 9:03am

TL;DR

  • On August 1st, 2018, Google released a broad core algorithm update that seems to have had an impact on both local and organic rankings.
  • One of the functions of the update has been to demote advice pages with questionable expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) in rankings.
  • YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) websites and pages seem to have been a particular focus.

You’ll no doubt have noticed, whether from reading the news or experiencing its effects yourself, that on August 1st, Google released what it’s called a ‘broad core algorithm’ update. This is the same way it referred to the updates in March and April, perhaps in an effort to move away from the irregular, major updates like Possum, Pigeon, Panda, etc. which inevitably send shockwaves throughout the SEO and content industry.

[Full Article]

GMB has a handful of new features and some best-practice confusion. Contributor Sherry Bonelli clears things up and answers five frequently asked questions on fake reviews, random people changing your listing and more.

Not only does your Google My Business listing increase your chances of showing up in the Google Local 3-pack, but when your business is searched for by name, Google often shows a Knowledge Panel that displays detailed information about your company.

These details are pulled directly from your GMB listing, as well as from information Google finds from other online sources and user-generated content (like third-party reviews, Q&As, user-suggested information and so on).

When it comes to building a website, the biggest problem that people generally face with software like Wordpress, Drupal, and Joomla is there is so many different ways of building a particular ‘section’ of a site.  

You could build your “Meet the Staff” page using one “Article” in the CMS and list out all of the staff member’s head shots, names, titles, and descriptions in one big long page… or, you could create a custom content form for staff members that allows you to enter each bio as a separate article with fields for their image and each piece of information about them.  This type of decision makes a huge difference once you add a few dozen bio’s into the site and then decide to change something.  It’s not fun going back through them all, one by one.  

I just switched from the regular Apple Mail app, which I had been using daily since 2008, to Thunderbird.  I had been having problems with Apple Mail's program's "message tagging" feature, which I used for marking which emails I had to respond to.  This feature became a daily nuisance, and after repeatedly calling Apple's tech support and jumping through all sorts of hoops, I finally decided to try Thunderbird.  What a breath of fresh air!  And yes, Thunderbird is Open Source software.

I've got the following Thunderbird plugins / extensions installed:

  • ImportExportTools (for importing messages from Mail.app)
  • Send Later
  • Manually sort folders

I also disabled the "Lightning" plugin because I don't want to use Thunderbird for managing my calendar.  For this, I'll continue using Google Calendar (via Apple's Calendar.app).  

Historically, I've recommended GoDaddy for domain registration services to my clients because they were the cheapest. However, GoDaddy's hosting plans were a general pain to work with: they provided limited resources like CPU and memory, the database servers were isolated and slow, and they didn't include my preferred hosting account control panel software, cPanel.  This is now included with GoDaddy's economy hosting plans, which is the main reason that I decided to give them another look.  I actually intended on making this switch - I had GoDaddy provision 3 separate hosting plans at a rate of 3 years for $89.64...

I recently started receiving these email notifications from Google about certain sites becoming indexed as "mobile first" - and wanted to write a quick post for those who are curious and want more information.

Basically, this is a non-issue and something you can essentially ignore if your site is built using latest, common practices.  This mainly becomes an issue only for sites that are not mobile friendly (e.g. desktop only) - or, for sites that have both a desktop and a mobile site.  For my clients, I've never built a "mobile only" site - I always build proper, responsive websites that are inherently mobile friendly.  For some of my older clients, this may be the push that finally drives you into a modern, responsive (mobile friendly) website.

I have been accepting payment via PayPal for over 5 years through my website.  I recently decided to start offering “real” credit card processing options and want to share my findings.

I recently found a nice, unobtrusive, free “Live Chat” widget that can be installed on almost any site.  It’s called Tawk.to and you can see an example on my site.  You can use it to monitor website visitors in real time, optionally initiate a chat with them, monitor your support staff chats, and more.  I’m using the free version, but you can also upgrade to remove the branding.

Learn more:  www.tawk.to 

Another free service that I found recently is Uptime Robot.  You can use it to monitor your website’s uptime and receive alerts if it finds a problem.  The free version monitors up to 50 sites and checks them every 5 minutes.   

Learn more:  www.uptimerobot.com

Squarespace Review: 
You may have noticed Squarespace ran a few ads in this year’s Super Bowl.  It was quite a surprise to me.  In the last month, I’ve had one client switch their site over to Squarespace (they’ll be back), and a new lead come to me, flat-out asking me to ‘rescue’ them from the Squarespace platform. For these reasons, I decided to share a few of my thoughts.

Warning: This is another article in my “Why I Love Open Source Software” series.  

What is your preference?  And if you’re a client and are now realizing that your website was built with two spaces and you’d prefer a single space between sentences, or vice-versa, please just send us an email so that we can make the necessary adjustments.  

Personally, I’m not sure which is better, I just enjoy watching people argue about it.  From my angle, this is a generational thing.  I attended grade school in the 90's and early 2000's and two spaces after a sentence was standard at the time.  

Articles:

Message from Nate:
I wasn't aware of Google's Grant program for nonprofits to advertise on the Google Adwords campaign - in general - until just recently.  So this is a two-part post, for my clients.  One is to announce that this program exists for nonprofits, and the second is to announce that Google recently made changes to the program.  


Google Ad Grants changes and your PPC strategy: Where to go from here

Is your nonprofit organization involved with the Google Ad Grants Program? Contributor Pauline Jakober shows how you can benefit from the recent ad changes with a few creative tips and workarounds.

This past December, Google communicated changes to its Google Ad Grants program. If you’re a nonprofit or an agency working on behalf of nonprofits, these changes may apply to you.

Some of the changes are good, but others may create new challenges for you. In this article, I’m going to briefly walk through some of the new rules and then detail a few strategies and creative workarounds you can use.

I want to take a quick moment to reiterate why I love Open Source software so much.  Not only is open source software free to use and customize to your liking, you can also run it on almost any hosting server.  You could even host it on a server in your basement if so desired.  

I recently noticed that the “Captcha” field on my website’s comment form was still showing the old “V1” anti-spam check:

old-recaptcha

(Yikes!)

Rather than the newer, friendlier format: 

new-recaptcha

The solution, which actually came as a surprise, was quite simple.  All I had to do was update the “K2 Component” in my site to the latest version and generate a new API key for the new “V2” Captcha.  And it just so happens that the developers behind K2 took the effort to make the latest version of K2 (released in 2017) compatible with Joomla 1.5, which dates back to 2010.