Preventing unwanted Google Search Results

Something weird and peculiar happened to me this week which I thought I’d like to share with you so that you learn from my mistake.

A client alerted me to the fact that my name was showing up as an author on their site in Google search results and sent me the following screenshot.

Google-search-results

This website was built for a company that required no blog, thus no author template was provided. But ever so helpful Google decided to index the author archive anyway, meaning that clicking on the link, led to a page with no content.

When building websites for clients, I normally insert the content in all the pages and thus I’m listed as the author, which is where this information on the search results page comes from. This is fairly normal and I’m sure that I’m the author of millions of pages out there.

There are a few ways to deal with this.

  1. When launching the site, if you are adding your client as a user, simply switch all of the authorship on all content.
  2. If you won’t be adding your client as a user, you can go to your User profile and change your display name. A good idea would be to add the company’s name as a nickname and then use that as your display name.
  3. Finally and this is probably the most important tip, if you are using the Yoast SEO plugin, go to Titles & Meta > Archives setting and se the author archive to no index and Disable the author archives.  This will then redirect anyone who hits that link to your home page.

Ideally, you want to do this before you launch a site, before Google indexes your non-existing author archive, but I didn’t know it would do this until this week. Lesson learned.

 

 

Google Calendar for your Website

Louise’s great suggestion for putting your business on the Google map reminded me of another way to use Google’s tools for your business: a Google Calendar. You can share your calendar with selected viewers, say, to keep your family or partners in the loop. If you want the whole world to know when your Tupperware party is, you can make your calendar public to anyone with just a few clicks. (Do they still have Tupperware parties? OK, maybe you want to list your naughty toys party instead. Whatever floats your boat…)

You can take it even a step further, and include a public calendar in your own website to list your events or schedule. When you sign up for a Google Calendar you can create more than one calendar — so if you had a Bed & Breakfast, for instance, a calendar for each room could show when it’s booked.

There are certainly more advanced and customized ways of doing some of these things, but this is some great functionality if you’re on a budget.

How to add a public calendar to your WordPress site

Calendar testEvent details popup

If you’re comfortable with the teensiest bit of HTML tweaking this is really easy to do.

  1. Create a public calendar at google.com/calendar
  2. Make a page in WordPress
  3. Go to the Google Calendar Details screen and copy the code for including the calendar in your website
  4. Paste it into your WordPress page. Note, you’ll need to switch from Visual view to Code view in your WordPress editor. You may also need to adjust the width and height to fit your page layout.

Your website calendar page will be kept up-to-date because it loads all the events you add within the Google Calendar interface, each time your page is visited.

That’s it. Neat trick, eh?

Put your business on the Google map

Here’s an easy way for bricks and mortar businesses to reach new customers. Use Google Maps to point them to your front door!

When potential customers search Google Maps for information about a business in a specific area (e.g. Flower shop in Vancouver), they will find details like a business description, address, hours of operation, methods of payment, unique services, and even a coupon or a photo of your storefront.

It’s easy, free and takes just a few minutes to set up your business with Google Maps. Remember to use your keyphrases in your business description whenever possible.

Once you’re registered, Google Maps will send you a postcard to confirm your address before adding the listing. This may take a few weeks. When your business is on Google Maps, you can update or edit your listing at any time to improve its effectiveness.

Putting Technology on the Map

TechcouverBack in the summer, we were asked by Rob at Techvibes to come up with a mini website with a Map of the Web 2.0 companies of Vancouver, aptly named Techcouver. Darren drew up the map mimicking the Transit Map and we went ahead and created this mini website over the course of a weekend. It was very well received, but hardly “Web 2.0” material. The site consisted of a static image which was impossible to alter.

Following a meeting with Cameron, we discussed the idea of creating a map to which companies could be added easily. Cameron worked on a flash version of the site and came with with version 2.0 of the map. Although much improved, the map did have limitations and grew crowded very fast.

Techvibes has also been growing rapidly these past few months and in an effort to cover more cities and different technology, we knew that a better solution was needed. The idea of using Google maps had been mentioned from the very beginning but we never had the time to implement it – until now.

This week we launched version 3.0 of our map. The title “Techcouver” has been dropped and we’ve added different technologies. Techvibes goal is to provide visitors with the perfect tool for locating technology service providers across Canada and eventually the US.

If you’d like your company added to the map, fill out the request form and we’ll get you on there. If you have any feedback on the process, please report back and we’ll continue to make improvements.

Increase sales with PayPal and Google Checkout

WorkHappy.net has a good article on why you should consider accepting PayPal and Google Checkout in your online sales. The full article is worth a read but here’s a few tidbits of note:

  • …according to a recent survey by JupiterResearch. Among Internet users, 33% said they had a PayPal account and 23% called it their preferred way to pay.
  • 18% of U.S. online shoppers in a recent PayPal-sponsored survey said they would not have made a purchase if the retailer had not taken PayPal.
  • You can include a Checkout button with your Google AdWords, making your ad more noticeable.
  • Some of the Checkout fees are being waived until Jan. 1 2008

All the good stuff aside, the readers’ comments point out a few complaints about the process/user flow in Google Checkout. I imagine they’ll improve the service as it matures.

Step-by-step guide to using Google Reader

Back in early May, Mhairi wrote a piece about Google Reader and how its use allows you to keep track of your favourite blogs. I thought I would provide a step-by-step guide for those who may not know how to get started.

Step 1 – Register
Sign up for a Google Account

Step 2 – Login
Once your account set up, login. You should come to a page which looks like this:

Google account home page

Step 3 – Set up your reader

Click on Reader to access Google Reader. Using the link “Add Subscription” in the top left hand column add your favourite blogs.

Add Subscription

Step 4 – Enjoy

Now that you’ve added your blogs, you only need to login to your account to access them all in one convenient location.

Alternative Readers
For those of you who may not want to use Google, there are several other options.

The Scoop On Google Reader

Google Reader is a great piece of technology developed by the folks over at Google labs that lets you easily subscribe to information on the web. In tech terms, Google Reader is an RSS or Atom feed aggregator. For those of us without propeller heads, this simply means that it allows available information on the web such as blog articles, e-zine pieces and news bulletins to come to one central place so that you can log in and enjoy at your leisure.

Read more…