Hello Happy Site Owners! What a wild week with the Internet burning. I hope you all have safe sites still. This week’s post include more on the Social Media Widget Plugin scare, more tips and news for protecting your site from the brute force attack and why I won’t make one of my videos on it public, clarity on what a nofollow link is, when and why you need to use it, and a little plugin that can help, plus how I got to the front page of Google three times this past week and how you can too, tips for optimizing your YouTube videos that actually work, and recent developments on G+ that have me jumping for joy. So let’s dive in. Listen to the podcast.
First, I want to remind you that I’ll be speaking at WordCamp Nashville on Saturday, the 20th. I’m the first speaker on the first Track, which starts at 9:00 am. There are three Tracks this year for beginners, intermediates, and advanced and developers. So, visit the site and plan out your day because there are a lot of super speakers and the topics are great. I’ll be there all day and at the after party, so be sure to say hey.
On to the other hot news. If you’ve been living under a rock and not heard, the Internet was burning down last week, and it’s not over. First, the Social Media Widget plugin was found to be injecting spam into sites and everybody had to rush hurry to get it off their sites. Be sure to see my post on it that also has a video showing you what to do before and after you delete the plugin that will save you a ton of time, and then a walk through of setting up an alternate plugin called Social Sharing Toolkit that pulls double duty of providing both the social share and follow buttons on your site.
And then the next day, I confirmed suspicions that there was something slowing down sites, like a DDoS attack does. Come to find out that it was a global brute force attack specifically aimed at WordPress sites. If you don’t already have your site secured and a backup set in place, you need to do this right away. Over 90,000 IP addresses are involved and it may be a while before this attack eases up. Read my post on it with more on what’s happening and what you can do to protect your site. And here’s another post with even more on putting a lock on the front door of your site, which is where these brute force attacks are hitting.
On top of that, if you’re still using admin as your login username, you need to get that fixed. I have a video tutorial on it in the SEO section of the video library titled User Profile and one of the reasons that I have not made this publicly available is because it comes with a warning. Creating a new User is an easy thing to do, but if you miss checking one box, poof go all of your posts. They are actually still in the database, but no longer assigned to an author. It’s all explained clearly in the video. I honestly want to limit the access to that video to my clients, and this is why.
I don’t run an emergency site repair department because my training clients know how to keep their sites safe, and the sites were secured all the way to the core by me at time of setup. Plus, they get priority alerts when something like the recent fiascos happen and they know just what action to take, if any. Prevention is cheaper and calmer, and we like it that way. My services, whether it’s through the video library, or in a one-on-one session doing a site evaluation for security, cost a fraction of what it takes to fix a site after it has been harmed. I’m not saying that other tutorials out there are not as good as mine. I will say that my clients are better than the average Jane and Joe, and they get it about prevention, and are wise enough to call on me when they don’t feel comfortable doing something major to their site. Way cheaper than calling a repair person to clean up the mess some folks make.
In WordPress news, the Beta 1 version of 3.6 has been officially released. I’ve been running the nightly builds for a while now and it’s looking pretty good. I’ll be making videos for you when the Beta 2 version comes out, which should be in another week or so.
Some of the links below are to the plugin developer’s page, but you can find most if not all of these plugins in the WordPress plugins repository.
I don’t want to keep harping on the Social Media Widget plugin hoo haa too much. But I do want to speak to the broader picture of what this means for the future of WordPress. Brian Freytag was the original developer of that plugin. After several successful years, he sold it to another development company and he went on to bigger and better things. This new company is the one that put the spam injection code into it. Of course, folks associate the plugin so much with Brian that it’s been difficult for him to stay out of the fray. WP Daily has a post on this whole issue, and about Atuomattic running more tests on plugins in the repository. I hope you’ll take a moment to read it, and my comment on it, because I believe this is an example of growing pains for WordPress, and for the open-source community for which we should all be grateful. So much of what we have is run on their volunteer efforts. And, I hope you’ll read it to get a real perspective on just how big the repository is, and what it would take to properly police it, and the collateral problems it would cause. It might help folks get their expectations in line with reality, and that we may all need to start paying for what we enjoy instead of just expecting every good thing to be free.
In plugin tips, are you confused about when to use a nofollow link? I was, and it’s an important SEO thing to know. Now, I usually don’t find super posts on About.com, but this one from Marziah makes nofollow super easy to understand. And we like easy.
For the most part, you want to use nofollow on any paid links from your site, like affiliate links. And you want to use them for any links to dodgy sites. Now, I hope you’re not endorsing any dodgy sites, but you want to ensure any links left by others in your comments are nofollow for that reason. Most comment systems have that built in, or as an option.
Thing is, it’s cumbersome to create nofollow links in your content. Some folks choose to make all of their external links nofollow. Well, if everyone did that, all the Google juice of backlinks would go down the drain.
Well, Geeks for Share has a nice review of a new plugin that solves this problem. It’s called WP External Links and it allows you to make an individual link nofollow. I’m going to give it a spin.
I’ve had posts hit the front page of Google several times, and even a few number one posts. After a while, it starts falling in the rankings. On Search Engine Land, Barry Schwartz has a post with a Matt Cutts video titled Google Explains Why Your New Page’s Number One Ranking May Drop.
Let me tell you something. Being the top post or on the front page for even a day or two can make a radical difference to your traffic. And I’ll tell you exactly how I did it, and what came of it. I remember sitting on my deck when I got a call from a friend that it was announced at one of the big conferences that Google was shutting down the Feedburner API. It was 10:30 at night and I immediately started the research to verify it, and then I started writing a post. It published at 1:00 am and by 8:00 am was number one on Google. And it stayed on the front page for a week or so. I got to make friends with FeedBlitz Founder Phil Hollows whose own post replaced mine at the top of Google.
And then I continued to follow up with more posts and finally I published a free report titled the Ultimate Feedburner Alternatives Guide.
That has continued to be one of the top trafficked pages on my site for eight months. It’s been downloaded thousands of times. And I’m all over it again, with ties to those posts and that report when I talk about the shutdown of Google Reader. In fact, I’m doing it in this post.
Now, there were a few tricks that made all of this happen. First, I already had several posts on the site that were fairly well ranked for Feedburner. All of them were how-to posts. So, I had already established at least a little authority and relevance with Google on that topic.
Second, I moved on the news as soon as I heard it. There weren’t many folks posting on that topic or that rumor yet. I was one of the first, and one of the first sites with a little authority.
Third, I kept posting about it.
Forth, I gathered all of my research and knowledge and put it into a free report that has been constantly shared and linked to ever since.
The moral of the story is, when there is news of interest to your audience, jump all over it.
I did that twice last week with the two fiascos of the Social Media Widget and the Brute Force Attacks. Because there so many big sites writing about both, my time on the front page of Google was rather brief, but the video I made got a lot of hits on YouTube and both posts got shared like crazy by my followers who used them to provide help to their followers.
And in one of the posts, I mentioned that my newsletter subscribers got priority notice about all this. Guess what came of that? Yep, new subscriptions started coming in immediately.
Being a trusted source with the right info at the right time pays.
In a previous post I told you that Ronnie Bincer helped me square out the part of my Google Account mess that was connected with YouTube, but that I couldn’t tell you what yet. Well, the cat’s out of the bag now. Read this post on the YouTube Creator official blog about the new Beta of Using Your Google Page Identity on YouTube.
Becky Sangha, who runs The Online Video Marketer blog, gives you the 7 Steps For Optimized YouTube Videos That Drive Website Traffic. I do every one of them and it works. YouTube is the second largest search engine and is owned by the largest and they talk to each other all the time. So, use these steps to optimize your videos like you would a blog post.
Are you active on G+ yet? Here’s the number one reason why you need to be. One of the first posts I made about the brute force attacks was simply to report that it was happening, and I made that post on G+. Within an hour it was on the front page of Google with my happy little face beside it.
As Ronnie Bincer says, you can do more SEO in six months on G+ than you can in two years with your site.
I already have a few posts on helping you with G+ and more are on the way. In fact, a whole series is on the way. And, the SEO and AuthorRank Video Course will help you make all 14 of the possible connections with authorship plus get your site’s SEO squared away. If you’re serious about your site’s success, you seriously need to get busy with G+.
And for those already there, have you attended a G+ Hangout where the host was doing a screen share, but you couldn’t really see it well? Justin Gale has handy tips on how to make things a little easier to see.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday podcast. You can find this podcast on iTunes, as well as Stitcher, and the Blackberry Podcast. You can also subscribe directly to the RSS via email. Visit BlogAid.net for more tips, tutorials, and free resources to make your site better.
And I’ll see you online!