Bill Hartzer Bill Hartzer is a search engine optimization consultant based in the Dallas Fort Worth Texas area that provides SEO Audits and Link Audits of websites. Fri, 31 Jul 2015 00:44:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Verified Domains Provides Comprehensive Background Checks for Domains Fri, 31 Jul 2015 00:44:38 +0000 Verified Domains Due Diligence for Domain Names

This week, I’ve launched our new service called Verified Domains. Verified Domains is the first-ever service on the internet that provides comprehensive background checks for domain names. I have personally been working on this patent-pending process since the beginning of this year. Before you buy a domain name and start using it for your website, I urge you to get your domain verified. Not only will we uncover any potential problems with the domain name before you use it, we guarantee it, up to $50,000.

I’ve written a pretty comprehensive post on the Verified Domains site titled “Why Verified Domains” that includes some of the background and what it’s all about. Essentially, it all started with a conversation at NamesCon with Brandon from We both were in agreement that if such a service like Verified Domains was started, that it would be helpful. A while back when I bought a used car, I ordered several CarFax reports, getting the history of those cars. It simply gave me a bit more information about the vehicle’s history, and minimized some of the risk of buying a used car.

And let me tell you, I’ve been marketing websites, creating websites, writing and blogging, and I’ve seen my share of spam. I’ve seen plenty of awesome domain names churned and burned by spammers. I’ve seen companies buy domains and then find that those domains had search engine penalties. Even ZDNet blamed Google for their own lack of performing due diligence on a domain that they bought at a GoDaddy auction.

So, before you buy that next domain name, do yourself a favor and order a Verified Domains report.

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Google Sends Warnings About Blocking CSS and JavaScript Files Tue, 28 Jul 2015 18:33:44 +0000 Google has been very aggressive about sending out warnings in Google Search Console that says that your site is blocking CSS and JavaScript files on your site. Today I received a warning message from Google regarding my site’s blocking of CSS and JavaScript files. But when I first looked at the message, I thought that I wasn’t actually blocking any .CSS or .JS files on my site. Until I looked a little bit further.

Here’s the message I received, July 28, 2015 from Google. Apparently it was so important that Google sent it via the Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) but they also sent it via email:

Google search console blocking css javascript files

Googlebot cannot access CSS and JS files on
July 28, 2015

To: Webmaster of,

Google systems have recently detected an issue with your homepage that affects how well our algorithms render and index your content. Specifically, Googlebot cannot access your JavaScript and/or CSS files because of restrictions in your robots.txt file. These files help Google understand that your website works properly so blocking access to these assets can result in suboptimal rankings.

Here’s how to fix this issue:

Identify blocked resources

Use the “Fetch as Google” feature to identify those resources that robots.txt directives are blocking.

Fetch as Google

Update your robots.txt file

Remove the restrictions on your site’s CSS and JavaScript files from your robots.txt directives and test the changes with the Robots.txt tester. Then update your revised robots.txt file on your site and submit it to Search Console.

Test Robots.txt

Validate the fix using “Fetch as Google”

Fetch and Render your page with the “Mobile: smartphone” option selected to double-check that Googlebot for smartphones renders your content properly.

As an SEO myself, I have been fully aware that you need to make sure that you’re not blocking .CSS or JavaScript files. Typically you do this in your robots.txt file, you can find mine here: That’s where your robots.txt file should be, and where you should find one. If it’s not there, then you need to put one there.

And here’s my robots.txt file, where I don’t appear to be blocking any .CSS or .JS (JavaScript) files:

google search console robots.txt tester

As you can see above, there are no warnings or errors. So it appears that Google sees that I am NOT blocking any .CSS or .js files.

So, if I am not, and have not, been blocking .CSS or JavaScript files, then why is Google sending me a warning message about the fact that my site IS blocking these files? I only have two possibilities here:

1. Google has sent a false message, and they’re wrong. Well, that’s a possibility, they have been before.
2. I am, in fact, blocking a .CSS or .JS file on my site.

Looking into this further, I am blocking access to my wp-admin folder on my site, for security purposes. There in fact happens to be a common.min.js file in that wp-admin folder on the site. So, most likely that may be the culprit.

How did I find this?
Well, I went to google and did this search query: which is a folder that I am blocking. Turns out that there IS, in fact, a .JS file there. So I am, in fact, blocking one .JS file. That’s related to a theme that I have installed, so I’ll need to update my robots.txt file so that I don’t block the wp-admin folder. Oh well. So much for security, huh?

So, I went ahead and updated my robots.txt file to allow indexing of the wp-admin folder where the rogue .JS file is located. I could have actually “allowed” indexing of that file, by adding an “allow” command. But for now I’m going to see what effect it has on allowing the whole wp-admin folder to get indexed. I’m pretty confident with the security of my site, so I’m not too worried about allowing that directory to be indexed.

Also, I added the locations of my sitemap files to the robots.txt file, as well. So if you look at my site’s robots.txt file you’ll see those there as well.

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State of Search 2015 Conference Wed, 08 Jul 2015 17:11:13 +0000

As a co-founder of the Dallas/Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association, I highly recommend that you plan attend the State of Search 2015 Conference, being held in Dallas on November 16th and 17th, 2015. Back in 2003 when I first personally chose a list of founders and invited them to get together at a local hotel in Dallas, I didn’t envision that we would be at this point: holding an annual conference and having digital marketing and search engine marketing speakers from all over the United States (and beyond) attend.

The State of Search 2015 Conference will be the best one yet. There are simply no other conferences that offer the quality of speakers and the quality discussions for the price. This year, as I write this, I have already attended (and spoken at as an SEO Speaker) close to a dozen different search-related and internet conferences. There are some that rival State of Search, but are more expensive to attend. These include PubCon, SMX (SMX East, SMX West, and SMX Advanced) and even ClickZ Live and Mozcon, which tend to be more expensive to attend than State of Search.

This is one way how the Dallas/Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association is giving back to the community, and local business. We’re pulling in highly-sought-after speakers to present leading-edge, mind-blowingly awesome presentations that will undoubtedly help your company’s marketing efforts.

I’ve embedded this year’s promo video, take a look. You might have to play it a few times to get the full effect.

The only thing I can say about State of Search 2015? Register early for a better price, and then hope that your competitors don’t attend!

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Many in Marketing Don’t Know About the New gTLDs and Domain Extensions Mon, 29 Jun 2015 03:39:30 +0000 new gtlds .brand

I had the incredible opportunity to be invited to speak at the Domain Name Association breakfast meeting held at the ICANN 53 Meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina this past week. While I didn’t attend the whole ICANN 53 meeting, I was able to attend the event on Monday and Tuesday for two full informative days. On Tuesday night I flew from Buenos Aires to Toronto, Canada, where I spoke at the ClickZ Live conference. Speaking at these two events during the same week gave me a unique perspective. I met with some amazing minds behind the New gTLD domain names and domains in general. And then met with a lot of marketers who are not directly involved in the domain name industry. What did I learn?

I learned that many in marketing don’t know anything about the new gTLD domain names. They generally are responsible for the day-to-day marketing (digital marketing) for major brands, yet have never heard of the new domain extensions. And when I mentioned .brand, one corporate marketer, responsible for a Fortune 100 brand (a product that I have in my home and use every day) had never heard of .brand, and the opportunity to own their own extension.

This shocked me. A C-level executive at a Fortune 100 company had not heard of the .brand opportunity to own their own domain extension.

When I mentioned this to her, she was very excited–and instantly began thinking of the possibilities. She told me that she had not heard of .brand, and would immediately investigate it and most likely apply when she got back to the office.

While I personally have been very aware of the new gTLD domain extensions and the .brand opportunities, it wasn’t until I was in Toronto this past week speaking directly to Chief Marketing Officers of Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies that I realized that the domain name industry still has a long way to go. It will take some additional time until corporations realize what a great opportunity the new extensions are, and that they can own their extension.

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Sales Spam on Google Plus Thu, 18 Jun 2015 21:58:13 +0000 By now, I’m pretty used to getting spam on LinkedIn, as I get it at least several times each week. But now, it seems as though the sales spammers are now targeting Google Plus, and somehow sending unsolicited sales spam that show up as notifications on Google Plus. Here’s the latest one, that I received just today. I have scratched out the name of the person and their company and URL, but you get the idea.

straightsource spam

Click on the photo above to see a larger version of it. As you can see, it is personalized and sent directly to me. It’s just really trying to sell me on their “franchise” opportunity, by saying that I’m a great sales person.


Have you ever tried to see me sell something? Probably not.

This is exactly why I’m an SEO expert, a writer, and a content creation guy. I don’t do sales. I’m a tech expert, not some sleazy sales guy.

What I’m wondering, though, is how they manage to automate the sending of this Google Plus spam, as it truly would only be beneficial if you did it on a large scale, and not just contact someone manually, one by one?

Have you ever received spam or sales type spam on Google Plus?

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Posting on Social Media Won’t Get You More Fans Tue, 09 Jun 2015 15:29:53 +0000 getting more social media fans

In an interesting, eye-opening study that Clickable recently did, they found that if you post more often on social media you won’t necessarily get more fans on social media. Clickable studied the social media accounts of major consumer brands and found that those brands who posted more often never had more social media fans in their industry category.

In one industry, for example, the consumer bank industry in the USA, Clickable found this:

social media posts and fans for banks

While Bank of America truly had a lot more social media posts and a lot more posts more often, that did not equal to more social media fans. In fact, more posts on social media got Bank of America the number 3 spot when it comes to the number of fans. Capital One had more engagement and didn’t post as often as Bank of America did. And Capital One got more social media fans.

When it comes to the number of posts for Chase, they didn’t even show up in the top 5 banks when it comes to looking at the number of posts that they have. But when it comes to social media fans, Chase is number two when it comes to winning the social media fan war amongst the US banks.

Clickable also studied major consumer brands’ posts and fan engagement, such as looking at Colgate and Unilever. According to Clickable, “A great picture that creatively ties in with the brand and a memorable hashtag are key to posts generating a lot of comments and engagement.”

So, it’s not just about posting often: it’s about making every post count, and especially having quality posts that your users engage with and share–that will get you more fans.

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Google Doesn’t Understand What None Means Mon, 08 Jun 2015 17:46:07 +0000 I was searching and looking through the SERPs of some of the people I hung out with last week at SMX Advanced in Seattle. I noticed a rather odd thing showing up in the search results for David Iwanow, where the word “none” is showing up several times in the SERPs (search results pages). Take a look:

David Iwanow

This is the knowledge graph entry that shows up next to the search results. For David Iwanow’s entry, he has this showing up:

Children: None
Siblings: None

It all makes sense to us, right? David has no children, and he has no siblings. But if you look further, you’ll notice this:

David Iwanow people search

Well, apparently people also search for “None”. Yes, “none”. Google apparently doesn’t really understand what none means.

People who search for David also search for me, and that would make sense because we’re in the same industry. But where does Google get the information that people also search for “none”? Well, apparently they don’t actually get that information from the search history. Because, frankly, I don’t think that people would actually search for the word “none”. It’s just not feasible.

So, looking into this further, it appears that Google is (still) taking this information from, as that’s where the original information (None) appears:

David Iwanow freebase

Here’s David Iwanow’s freebase page:

What makes sense is that since the word “None” is actually a Freebase page, and has been designated as a Freebase entity, a part of the knowledge graph that actually has an entry, Google is interpreting “None” as an entity. And not “none” as in “nothing”. So, when Google shows us that people also searched for “none”, then there’s a good chance that Google could be using data from Freebases searches; and/or they could be relating clicks on the “None” entry on David Iwanow’s Freebase page (or on the search results page) to actual searches for “None”.

Whatever the case, and whatever the reason behind Google showing “None” as something that people also search for, doesn’t really matter. What matters to me is that Google truly doesn’t really understand the meaning of “None”. With all the technology behind semantic search and the knowledge graph coming into play here, you’d think that Google understands what “None” means.

But apparently not.

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When Ad Targeting Goes Wrong Fri, 05 Jun 2015 22:16:56 +0000 There are times when ad targeting just goes wrong, no matter how targeted you think you get. For example, a recent ad that I saw for a Brookstone, selling drones as Father’s Day gifts, showed up on a local Dallas news website. Brookstone was obviously targeting the keyword “drone” and since “drone” was in the headline of the news article, it was displayed.

Brookstone ad targeting

But this actual ad targeting does not want me to go buy a drone from Brookstone for Father’s Day. Granted, I still might want a drone for Father’s Day (hint, hint), but seeing this ad, and this ad placement, doesn’t make me want to buy one.

The headline, “FAA: Drone Comes Close To Southwest Flight” is a CBS article, linked from the Drudge Report, talking about how a drone was illegally flown into airspace at Dallas Love Field. This particular ad makes me feel as if the guy in the ad is “having fun” flying that drone into restricted air space, near an airport.

Ad targeting can be great, but honestly when it goes wrong, it’s just a nightmare for the advertiser. In this case, Brookstone.

Well done, Brookstone. Well done!

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I Always Write My Own Content Fri, 29 May 2015 23:55:55 +0000 If you ever seen any content written or any other type of content on the web with my name on it, then I was the one who wrote it. In fact, even though there is over 1,000 blog posts here on my blog and over 100 pages of online marketing, SEO, social media, and domain name content here on this website, I wrote it all. There was a time a few years when I accepted a few guest blog posts, but they always had the other writer’s name on them. And, by the way, those have all been removed from the site. So what you see now is what you get: content written by me.

It seems as though the internet marketing, social media, SEO, and content marketing industries (can we call it one industry now, called website marketing?) have a real bad habit of outsourcing content to others, and even seems as if there are a lot of “experts” out there who are outsourcing content more than ever now. And they’re putting their own name on it.

If a piece of content has YOUR name on it, then you must take full responsibility for it.

And there have a been quite a few posts that I regret posting, some I’ve taken down and you never really saw them because people involved with what I was wrote about made a fuss. So I took the content down, no problem. I always take full responsibility for all the content that has my name on it (Bill Hartzer), and, like it or not, I never have outsourced content and I never will.

Sure, it would be easy to pay someone $50 or $100 (or more) to create some great content, put my name on it, and then get all sorts of great recognition from having written it. But that’s not my style, and it never will be. When my upcoming book(s) are out, they’re not going to have been written by a ghost writer. I will personally write the content.

If your content has issues, or if it even ends up being a case of plagiarism, then take full responsibility for it. There’s been an unfortunate case of someone who has been highly respected for many years (even by me) who was just called out, publicly, for plagiarizing content.

Neil Patel

This case is very unfortunate for both parties involved, and the one doing the plagiarizing is going to have his reputation dragged through the dirt. Already I can see several people in my industry now having a different perspective, and will probably not be highly respected as he once was in the past.

I know that everyone isn’t a prolific writer or blogger like I am (yes, people have called me that in the past). I have been writing content for 35 years, and was a technical writer, writing technical software manuals on IBM mainframe computers in the early 1990s for several years–so I can typically generate more written content, faster, than a lot of people. I understand that some people are not writers, and never will be. That’s fine. So outsource to a great writer and concentrate on what you do best (whatever you do). But if you’re going to do that, read every single word that is written, then edit that content before it’s posted publicly in your name.

After all, your reputation is on the line.

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Will Bing Webmaster Tools Change Their Name? Tue, 26 May 2015 20:58:03 +0000 twitter-no-name-change-bing

Of course this is just speculation on my part, but it does not look like Bing Webmaster Tools has any plans to change the name of their product anytime soon. I was having a conversation on Twitter today where a friend from Microsoft mentioned that a name change wasn’t on the radar.

But, of course we know how that goes. Plans can certainly change at any time.

As you might recall, Google recently changed the name of Google Webmaster Tools to the Google Search Console, a move that has surprised many veteran Google Webmaster Tools users, such as myself.

Google Search Console

Although Google Webmaster Tools is going through what looks like a re-branding to another product name, Bing won’t be changing their name. Frankly, this is good news, as I think the name, Webmaster Tools, really should reflect what, and who, those tools are for:

These are Webmaster Tools. I don’t think that anyone without the knowledge or access as a webmaster of a website should have access to these tools. So, they’re Webmaster Tools, and they should remain that way.

Naming the Google Webmaster Tools something like “search console” is inappropriate, since that gives another connotation: that someone other than webmasters belong using them. What do you think?

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