Tag Archives: seo

Simple Hotlink protection for SEO profits

This post is not about protecting images against hotlinking, it's about protecting your downloads against hotlinking.


If you've been reading this blog you might have noticed I published some wordpress plugins, patches and an xml sitemap module for pligg. Sometimes other people write posts about my patches but instead of linking to my posts they link directly to the download. This creates a series of problems: people might miss important information about the download, page rank is uselessly transferred to a zip, tar.gz, or .patch file, and you're basically serving content for other people's posts while they rip all the benefits.


So here's an easy way to avoid it. Well you can't really avoid it but you can benefit from it. All you have to do is set up a .htaccess file in your wp-content/upload directory ( that's where downloads are storred by default, feel free to change the location if you're using something else.

This .htaccess file will check the referer of every request on any file in that folder and if the referer doesn't match your domain it will redirect the visitor the search page on your blog with the search term set to the name of the file they wanted to download. most of the time this search will show as the first result the post where you published.

Here's how the file looks on my blog:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /wp-content/uploads/
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !(www\.)?patchlog.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteRule ([^\/]+)$ http://patchlog.com/index.php?s=$1 [R=permanent,L]

Pretty simple huh?
What about the SEO profits?
As you can see the last rule redirects using a permanent redirect and this means google will transfer page rank to the search page.

Other solutions?

This method is good because it's really easy to implement, but I would like a method that would redirect the visitor directly to the post page instead of the search page.  I'm hoping the wordpress download monitor plugin that I'm using will at some point implement an advanced hotlink protection method but until then or until I find time to do it myself this is good enough.

Follow Self Pings

The Problem

Wordpres creates all links to comment author's site or pingbacks/trackbacks with "nofollow external" . This includes links to your own blog. Apparently this is bad for your pagerank according to this post:Pinging Your Own Blog Posts? Good or Bad?

The Solution

On that article mentioned above, the author suggested that you can use a plugin that would make wordpress stop creating pingback links to your own blog. I didn't like that idea so here's mine: a plugin that will make wordpres NOT add "external nofollow" to the pings to your own blog.

The plugin doesn't require any configuration, just download, install , activate and forget about it.


UPDATE: The plugin is now hosted in wordpress plugins directory. That means you can install it dirrectly from  your wordpress admin or go to it's page to download it: Follow Self Pings Plugin

The first version of the plugin had a small bug that prevented it from working on blogs that were installed in one directory and had the home page pointing to something else. This bug is fixed in version 0.2 . You should be able to  update it from the plugin admin.

Google set to kill link ads

Google has a way of reporting paid links now. They say buying links is an attempt to game their pagerank algorithm and they want you to report sites that sell or buy paid links.

They agree links are a good way of advertising and are not against it, but they want those that display text link to put the rel="nofollow" attribute in the links. Using the "nofollow" attribute will means that GoogleBot will not follow the link, thus will not use it when computing the page rank for the destination url.

I think the only reason you would want text links on a site is because of that, to get a higher page rank and relevance, so by requiring webmasters to use nofollow, they are just killing text link advertising networks like Text Link Ads that work especially because they sell link ads that are followed and transfer page rank.

Google says this violates their guidelines. How can you violate a guideline, you can violate a rule, but if it's just a guideline that means you shouldn't be penalized for not following it.
And there are other problems with this policy. Links are supposed to mean that the owner of the site thinks that some other site is relevant, and that is why he links to it. Paid or not it can be relevant. Page rank is about relevancy, right ?
If I want my site in google search ads, I pay google for it, does that mean my ads are not relevant ? Google says it shows contextual ads because they are relevant to the content the user is seeing. It seems to me, it's relevant only if you pay google for the ad.

And here's another problem: How can google tell if the person that reports such violation does not lie? If I want to get my competitor out of google index or set him on a lower page rank I could just report him for buying text links. A lot of web sites have text links pointing to them, paid or not. It's hard to tell. Some disclose them, other's don't. This may influence the ones that do disclose them, not to disclose the links anymore. Why add to the risk of being reported?

Stop playing with page titles

This is more like a reminder to me then an advice for others to follow. It reminds me that I should stop playing with page titles and get them right from the beginning.

WordPress default post titles

When I first started this blog using wordpress the default template had something like "Patchlog ›› Blog Archive ›› Post name" for the post titles.

That's really not good for search engines. Having that "Patchlog ›› Blog Archive" in front of every post title is looking like all posts have the same title to a search engine because they only consider a small number of characters from the title when they index your pages, and because the part that makes them different is in the end it may not be considered or may not show up in results.

The first change and the imediat result
By the time I finally decided to change this, google had already indexed all my pages with the wrong titles. After I changed it google started to re-index everything because it thought that everything changed ( see how important the page title is ? 🙂 )

That was all fine but because it started to re-index my posts were not showing anymore in google results for relevant keywords until it finished the re-index.So during that time the traffic decreased till my posts were back in it's database with the new titles.

The second change

The only problem is that I did not get the page titles right so I had to change them again after the site was already re-indexed and I'm back in the dark on google.

Take for example my post about making squid 2.6 transparent proxy to work if you are used to squid 2.5 config. That post got more then 400 visits from people searching for squid 2.6 transparent or phrases containing squid 2.6 or transparent or proxy last month. This month got around 100 and I think that was in the beginning of the month before I did the second round of changes to my page titles because I did not notice any increase on those numbers in the last week.

So if you want to change something as important as your page / post titles and you know it will affect all the pages on your site, think twice before applying the changes to make sure you get it right the first time.

WordPress optimal title

I'm using Aaron Schaefer's Optimal title wordpress plugin to modify the way wordpress displays the title by default. This plugin provides a function similar to wp_title() but your title will not contain "blog archive" in front of your post's title and this is good for seo.

You will have to modify your header template and replace the call to wp_title with a call to optimal_header().
In a previous post I presented a plugin for integrating Jerome's keywords plugin with google sitemaps, this post will show you how to integrate it with the optimal title plugin.

Continue reading WordPress optimal title

Showing some link love

As of today the links in the comments section do not have the nofollow attribute anymore. So those that will comment on any post will get a link back to their site and that will add to their page rank. I'm using Oliver Bockelmann’s Nofollow Case by Case plugin that will remove the rel="external nofollow" attribute from links in comments. Thanks to Martin Reed of communityspark.com for his idea about making a blog link love compatible

The side bar also shows a top of those that commented the most with links to their sites ( also with no nofollow ) . I'm using the Show Top commentators plugin for this, thanks to John Chow for his ideas about how to increase blog comments

Some think that this will just increase spam ? what do you think ? do you show link love on your blog ?

Google Sitemaps – Jerome’s Keywords Plugin

I wrote this little wordpress plugin to integrate Jerome's Keywords plugin with Google Sitemaps plugin so that the generated sitemap will also include tag pages. This plugin was inspired by a an addon that integrates Ultimate Tag Warrior with Google sitemaps.

You will need WordPress 2.0.x, Google sitemap 3.0beta and Jerome's keywords 1.9 for this plugin to work. It would be easy to make this work with Google sitemap 2.x so if you need it just let me know.I don't know how this would work on older versions of Jerome's Keywords cause I haven't tried that.

Download: Google Sitemaps - Jerome’s Keywords Plugin