Bill Hartzer Tue, 09 Feb 2016 22:12:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 3 Things To Do Today for Safer Internet Day Tue, 09 Feb 2016 22:12:14 +0000 Today, Tuesday, February 9th, is Safer Internet Day. I honestly didn’t realize that it was Safer Internet Day yet, until a friend of mine posted about Google giving us 2 extra GB of data in our Google Drive accounts. If you do a quick 2 minute security check of your Google Account, Google will reward you with extra storage space (which they normally charge for). There are, in fact, other things that you can do today, as well, for internet security. Here are three things that you can do right now, today, that will make the internet safer for you and for all of us.

Google account security checkup

First, go on over to your Google Account security checkup page here and review your account. Click on the various options and check to see that you have a backup phone number, and that you’re using two factor authentication on your account. Once you review all the details and confirm that they’re correct and okay, you’ll see an extra 2gb of space in your Google Drive account.

Unencrypted Message

Secondly, be aware that if you use Gmail, Google will be starting to tell us if an email you’re about to send (or one you receive) is (or is not) going to be secure. You can learn more about this on their blog which they posted about earlier. Basically, Google wants us to start using encrypted email, and only send and receive emails that are secure. Many email providers don’t use encryption, so sending and receiving email could mean that others could be reading your email without your knowledge. If you don’t use Gmail, and you’re using email using your own domain name, check your email settings to see if you’re using encryption or not.

Thirdly, if you’re a website owner, then look to see if your site has been moved to HTTPs or not. If your site is not fully HTTPs (meaning that every page on your site is served up on HTTPs), then consider moving it over right away. If you use 301 Permanent Redirects, and you redirect from HTTP to HTTPs, then you won’t suffer any search engine ranking losses. I moved over a year ago and haven’t had an issues at all that I am aware of.

Even though today is Safer Internet Day, these three things may take some time to implement–especially the move to HTTPs. But, nonetheless, all of these will make the internet just a litter safer for all of us.

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Google Allows Official Representatives to Suggest Changes to Knowledge Graph Data Fri, 05 Feb 2016 19:36:19 +0000 The Google search results of a search query for my name shows information from the Knowledge Graph or Knowledge Base of data. I know that this data was originally pulled from Freebase, as I entered it several years ago when I was very active in editing and adding data to Freebase. I regularly monitor the search results for my name. Today, Google started asking me if the data if the info was up-to-date and if I had any suggestions. This is new, at least for me. Take a look at what this looks like:

Bill Hartzer's Google search results

Once I clicked the “Suggest Edit” option, I was taken to this:

edit knowledge graph entry

For now, I’m happy with the photo that is there, so I will leave that alone. However, I do want to change the dates that show up in my Education area, so I made a suggestion:

knowledge graph suggest edit

After you submit your suggestion:

thank you

More information about their change policies are available here:

Request a change to a Knowledge Graph card in search results

If you officially represent a topic that has a Knowledge Graph card in Google search results, you can request changes to that card. To be recognized by Google as an “official representative,” you need to be signed in as an owner of the topic’s official website, YouTube channel, or Google+ page.

Previously, if you wanted this information updated, you could go into Freebase and edit it there, and it would take a few weeks (sometimes longer) for it to be reflected in the Knowledge Graph. However, Freebase is not editable anymore, so it’s not as easy to make changes. For Knowledge Graph entries that pull data from Wikipedia or other sources, then you’d have to edit those sources or get that data changed on those sites. Keep in mind that the Knowledge Graph pulls data from a lot of sources, so it can truly be very difficult to figure out exactly where that data is being pulled from.

I’m not sure if this is new (suggesting a topic), but it’s the first time I’ve seen it.

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Moving a Website from a Static Home Page to Your Latest Posts Wed, 03 Feb 2016 20:49:33 +0000 Well, as you probably know, or at least if you read my blog (this site), or follow it, you’ll know by now that I’m always testing various things on the site. I was one of the first ones to move to HTTPs, for example, and even tracked my rankings and traffic…just to show that moving to HTTPs helps, and doesn’t hurt, traffic and rankings. I thought it was time for another test, so take a look at my site’s home page now. I just changed it from a static home page and I am now showing the latest posts, the blog posts that my site is really known for.

Bill Hartzer new home page

I had been ranking in the top 3 for “search engine optimization expert” on Google, so it will be interesting to see if I can maintain that search engine ranking without having an optimized page about that topic or about those keywords. I don’t think it will actually make a big difference or matter much, but I certainly will be watching.

One way that I am testing or tracking this is to use Google Analytics. So, you may not be aware of this, but you can actually put in an annotation in Google Analytics and look back later at your notes to see if whatever you changed has any effect on rankings. Here’s what my annotation looks like:

Google Analytics annotation

I made a change yesterday where I added more blog post links on the sidebar, and normally I don’t recommend making changes like this one day after another, as you can really end up messing up the actual testing. But in this case, I’ve been wanting to go to a more lively home page with my latest blog posts so let’s see how Google interacts with these changes.

One thing I also did was to take my site’s home page and move it under the “About” tab in my navigation, since it’s still there. That way there is potentially a chance that that page might end up ranking either in place of my site’s home page or it might actually rank along with my site’s home page, giving my site more coverage in the search results.

Anyhow, here’s how the page looked before.

search engine optimization expert Bill Hartzer

One thing that I’d also like to mention… if you use WordPress, make and you make this change, you’ll want to make sure that you only show a snippet of your posts on the home page, and not the full text or the full post. If you show the full post, then you’ll end up creating duplicate content on your site’s home page.

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Is Google Quietly Embracing Paid Inclusion? Mon, 01 Feb 2016 15:19:48 +0000 Let’s think about Google’s current product offerings, what services they are offer us as business owners, online merchants, and website owners. You can submit your website to get crawled, but you can also pay for inclusion. Over the years, Google says that it’s free to get listed. But really, is it? You can get included, but the options are very limited. It seems as though that Google just won’t send you a lot of traffic to your website unless you pay for it. Is Google quietly embracing paid inclusion?

A recent H/N post that hit on the front page linked to this article from 2012. That got me thinking… even though Google says it’s free, do you have to pay? It certainly seems as though that’s the case.

Currently, we can submit our website to Google (which really isn’t necessary) because Google’s crawlers are so good at crawling the web and discovering new domain names, new web pages, and new URLs. And, if you want to pay for traffic to your website, you can certainly pay to get listed (or pay for the traffic) via Google AdWords, Google Shopping, and Google’s display network options (running banner ads, etc.).

— Google used to let ecommerce retailers submit their shopping feed for free traffic. Now merchants have to pay for that same traffic, via Google Shopping.
— Google had a separate blog search for bloggers, Google blog search. It no longer exists. But you can still submit your blog?
— Google used to show more Google Maps listings in the search results. It was called the “7 pack” or sometimes the “11 pack”. Now, we’re down to only 3 local map listings being displayed.

Then there’s this:

colleyville fencing google search results

A local search, like for “Colleyville fencing” (a city here in Texas) shows the Google AdWords ads, the local map with 3 local results, and then that’s it…. you have to scroll down to actually see the organic “free” search results.

Back in the early 2000s, if you had a large website (over 100,000 pages) it was really a good thing to opt into Paid Inclusion. You could get a lot of your pages included in Yahoo!, for example, which really did work to bring a lot of traffic, and sales, to your ecommerce site.

But we’re at the point now where it really seems as though Google is really quietly embracing paid inclusion, or they have already done that. They “say” it’s free to be included, and I believe it will always be free. However, if you want traffic and paying customers then you have to pay for that.

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Google To Give Unsecure Websites a Scarlet Letter Wed, 27 Jan 2016 21:24:51 +0000 Chris_Palmer_on_Twitter_The_future._More_like_this_coming_down_the_pike._#enigma2016_t.co_7tWt08mQAd_-_2016-01-27_15.23.52

Google will soon publicly use the Google Chrome browser to give unsecure websites a Scarlet Letter. When visitors use Chrome to visit an unsecure website, it will be very clear that the site is unsecure. The site will be marked with a red X mark whereas a secure website will show a lock symbol.

According to, today “during a presentation at the Usenix Enigma security conference in San Francisco, Google pushed the proposal out in the open with much more fanfare, and gave a sneak peek of how it’s going to look. (You can see the little red “x” on the padlock in the URL bar.)”.

Chris Palmer posted this Tweet on Twitter showing the new “Scarlet Letter” that will be given to unsecure websites soon.

If this isn’t another reason why you need to move your own website to HTTPs soon and encourage your clients’ sites to move to HTTPs, I don’t know what is. As you know, ever since Google announced that HTTPs is a search engine ranking factor, I moved this site to HTTPs and have never regretted it. Now I’m very happy I did move.

Check out my checklist for moving to HTTPs. Oh, and by the way, if you still have a question about why Google is continuing to get sites to move, it’s not just because of web security. This is the reason why they keep pushing HTTPs.

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Should the Phrase Link Juice Go Away? Tue, 19 Jan 2016 22:31:31 +0000 I ran across an interesting conversation on Twitter, started by Ashley and her tweet: “Sign my petition to get all SEOs to stop using the term “link juice”.”


Do you think that the term “link juice” is gross? Does it relay un-professionalism in the SEO community? Well, let’s first take a look at a definition of “link juice” and what it means, according to Woorank:

“Link juice is a colloquial term in the SEO world that refers to the power or equity passed to a site via links from external or internal sources. This power is interpreted as a vote of recommendation toward your site and is one of the most important factors in determining your site’s search ranking (and PageRank).”

If you search Google for “link juice”, you will see that Google themselves pull out that definition and show it at the top of the search results. What I find interesting to note, though, according to Pedro Dias, and ex-Googler, the phrase “link juice” doesn’t appear anywhere in any official Google documentation. Google doesn’t use it.

I don’t really have a personal opinion as to whether or not the phrase should go away or not. However, there are some rare cases where I have struggled to find a better keyword phrase. Could it be something like “link equity”. I’m not sure.

In any case, since I couldn’t find a real petition to ban the term “link juice”, I decided to start a petition myself. If you believe that use of the term “link juice” should be stopped by all SEOs, then feel free to sign the petition:

Whether or not this actually gets SEOs to stop using the term is remain to be seen. But at least it’s all in fun, right?!?

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Apple Registers 682 More Nonsense Domain Names Wed, 13 Jan 2016 21:26:07 +0000 nonsense mystery domain names

Again, on January 9th, Apple register another 682 (six hundred and eighty two!) nonsense domain names. I’ve been following these nonsense domain name purchases since they started purchasing them a while back. Here are a few of the domains on the latest purchase:

It looks to me like these are both .com and .net domains. They’re not all the same length, and I am not sure what exactly these domains mean. Your guess is as good as mine.

On December 31, they registered 62 nonsense domains.

Here’s a sample of one of the domains’ whois:

Domain Name:
Registry Domain ID: 1992476260_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server:
Registrar URL:
Updated Date: 2016-01-08T01:49:52Z
Creation Date: 2016-01-08T01:49:52Z
Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2018-01-08T01:49:52Z
Sponsoring Registrar IANA ID: 299
Registrar Abuse Contact Email:
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.8887802723
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
Registry Registrant ID:
Registrant Name: Domain Administrator
Registrant Organization: Apple Inc.
Registrant Street: 1 Infinite Loop
Registrant City: Cupertino
Registrant State/Province: CA
Registrant Postal Code: 95014
Registrant Country: US
Registrant Phone: +1.4089961010
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax: +1.4089741560
Registrant Fax Ext:
Registrant Email:
Registry Admin ID:
Admin Name: Domain Administrator
Admin Organization: Apple Inc.
Admin Street: 1 Infinite Loop
Admin City: Cupertino
Admin State/Province: CA
Admin Postal Code: 95014
Admin Country: US
Admin Phone: +1.4089961010
Admin Phone Ext:
Admin Fax: +1.4089741560
Admin Fax Ext:
Admin Email:
Registry Tech ID:
Tech Name: Domain Administrator
Tech Organization: Apple Inc.
Tech Street: 1 Infinite Loop
Tech City: Cupertino
Tech State/Province: CA
Tech Postal Code: 95014
Tech Country: US
Tech Phone: +1.4089961010
Tech Phone Ext:
Tech Fax: +1.4089741560
Tech Fax Ext:
Tech Email:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:

Based on my experience with these nonsense domains in the past, they typically don’t resolve and at some point they may “go away” and become available again. They have been pointed to Amazon web services in the past, but right now they’re not resolving to anything.

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Google’s Link: Search Operator Is Not Useful Fri, 08 Jan 2016 16:45:01 +0000 As you probably know, I’m a Brand Ambassador for, and as such I deal with a lot of link issues on a daily basis. I recently had a conversation with someone who consistently uses Google’s link: search operator to look at the links to their website. They honestly thought that they had lost a lot of links lately. But, that’s not the case.

The Google search operator for link data looks like this:

where is your website’s domain name. If you use this feature, keep in mind that the data that Google shows is incorrect and misleading. It’s been widely known for years now that Google does not show the correct amount of links to your website. They have been doing that for years, and honestly I believe they’re doing it on purpose–especially because Google’s algorithm relies so much on link data.

The best way to get a good accurate of the links to your website is to use Google’s Search Console. Log into with your Google account and verify your website. Then, once your site is verified, you’ll need to look at the links section of Google Search Console:

google links to your site

I recommend going to this section often, and downloading the links to your website on a regular basis. The more you download the links the more Google refresh the data, so you may want to save the data into a spreadsheet and collect it until you need it for link analysis.

At this point, Google’s link: search operator is pretty worthless. It’s just not reliable at all, so I would NOT use it. In fact, take a look at this:


I just used the link: search operator to see the links to and there’s NO data. It’s so bad (like this example) they should just remove that search operator entirely.

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Two New gTLD Domains Show Up in Alexa What’s Hot Wed, 06 Jan 2016 13:36:06 +0000 One of the things that I monitor on a regular basis is the Alexa What’s Hot (on the web), formerly called the Alexa Hot URLs. In order to be on that list (that’s updated every five minutes or so), the site has to have a LOT of traffic going to it. So, when I looked at the list of top 20 URLs on the web in terms of traffic, I was surprised to see two new gTLD domain names there on the list. While I’m surprised that this is the first time I’ve seen new gTLD domains there, I’m not surprised that they are .CLUB domains.


The two sites are DatingAdvices.Club and HomeFitnessBeauty.Club. Unfortunately, looking at these particular names, though, it appears that they’re most likely on the list of Alexa What’s Hot URLs because they’re doing something nefarious with the traffic or doing something that isn’t “natural”.

One of the sites, HomeFitnessBeauty.Club is banned in Google, which makes me believe that it’s “fake” traffic that is causing Alexa What’s Hot to show this site on the list:

site banned in Google

The other site, DatingAdvices.Club, is not banned in Google, but only has about 20 pages indexed. I really want to give these two sites that benefit of the doubt that the traffic is natural, but personally I know that the Alexa Hot URLs list is easily manipulated. Essentially there is one particular URL (a redirect) that Alexa is monitoring. That’s the URL that their toolbar pings whenever someone with the toolbar installed goes to a website. If one were to send lots of fake traffic of “bot” traffic to that URL, Alexa would think that the site is receiving traffic and visitors–but it’s not. It’s just fake traffic.

So, that’s why we just cannot trust the Alexa rankings. In fact, I will go further and say that if someone points to their Alexa ranking or even talks about Alexa rankings, I would question them, as the Alexa rankings can be manipulated so easily. And here is a perfect example, with these two .Club websites.

]]> 0 Temporarily Redirects Home Page to HTTPs Tue, 05 Jan 2016 21:52:35 +0000 The official website of the White House,, has a temporary redirect (a 302 redirect) set up from the HTTP version of their website to the HTTPs version of their website. You may already know that I’m a big fan of moving your website to a secure version (HTTPs), as I moved this website to HTTPs days after it was announced that HTTPs is a Google search engine ranking factor. But, the White House website is doing it wrong.

The proper way to redirect from HTTP to HTTPs is using a 301 Permanent Redirect, and NOT a 302 Temporary Redirect. In fact, a 302 redirect implies that the move is temporary–that it will eventually be moved back to the HTTP version. That is probably not going to happen.

There are actually other reasons for permanently redirecting to HTTPs, but one reason is that Facebook is giving an error and flagging it as spam. Whenever you link to, Facebook give you this: facebook

Then they tell you that it’s a bad website, and you may be linking to something they’re wary of:

Facebook White House error

Looking at the server headers, it truly is a 302 redirect from to

Sending request:

GET / HTTP/1.1
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10.11; rv:43.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/43.0
Connection: close

• Finding host IP address…
• Host IP address =
• Finding TCP protocol…
• Binding to local socket…
• Connecting to host…
• Sending request…
• Waiting for response…
Receiving Header:

The Facebook error could be the fact that Facebook’s bots are trying to hit the site and the White House’s site is responding with a 404 error. But, nonetheless, there is an error and it looks like Facebook doesn’t trust the site.

H/T to @schachin for pointing this out to me. 😉

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