Addthis Google + alignment issues CSS update

Having alignment issues?...

OK so this title could have been much much longer as I should add that this article is for those of you not using the Addthis extension, but instead editing straight into the templates.

It is probably worth saying also that if you are editing straight into templates that you are probably think this is all very basic. Anyway. I had problems getting the Google share button to align in a row with the other buttons:

Addthis Google button <a allignment” width=”350″ height=”73″ />

Much frustration ensued. Changing the Google version from “large” to “bubble” to “small” and back again without any luck.

Anyway. The solution lies with adding an inline comment to the theme CSS. So assuming that you have added the relevant Addthis code to your template:

Addthis default code

Once you have this in the template of choice. Navigate to:


Then simply add the following to your file:

Addthis CSS update for Google

Clear cache and refresh the page containing the social buttons and you should have a nicely aligned list:

Addthis button alignment success

Hope this helps.


301 redirects with Screaming Frog & SEOTools for Excel

Frog & Excel - together at last

So it’s been months, almost a year, a lifetime in blogging and a lifetime in life. Back in the UK for unforeseen reasons for a month or so and working a LOT. Anyway, had to work through a series of 301 redirects a few days ago on a non-CMS driven site and pulled a few tricks which I thought I would share.

Setting the scene

Client has changed a sub-folder name and individual page names, which as a result meant all URLs had changed, which obviously meant any links pointing at these pages will now 404. If it were just the subfolder you could easily add a mass server side rule; but as usual it never works like that… I needed to add 301’s to the old pages via IIS7.5 & IT (nightmare) and importantly check the 301’s had been implemented correctly.

Primary tools

Really it’s only two tools you need, unless you decide to only 301 the files with external links pointing to them in which case you can run a backlink report using OSE or similar, these are:
Screaming Frog
SEO tools for Excel

1. Download pages prior to update

Use ScreamingFrog to extract the files relating to the subfolder you are editing. You can either run the entire site or simply extract that specific folder. Using ScreamingFrog means that you will have a comprehensive list of all pages within subfolder-X, meaning nothing slips through the cracks. It is important to rip the site prior to any changes being made. I have been witness to developers with quick hands that resulted in hours of trawling through the waybackwhen machine, GWT & historical server logs…

Enter subfolder to rip part of the site

You will basically end up with a CSV file which if sorted by address (I find it easier) will list all the pages you need to monitor.

Screaming frog will rip all files from subfolder X

2. Add the new file location

For this project the 301s were added by the in-house IT crowd, which meant that I had to provide a list of current and new URLs. Having mapped out the on-page updates this was just a case of adding a column to the above spreadsheet with the new URLs.

3. Wait for IT to make the updates

I put the kettle on at this point.

4. Check the 301s were implemented correctly

Now I know you can run header checkers and trawl through GWT but for being able to instantly check any number page’s server status; SEOTools for Excel really is AMAZING. If you don’t currently have SEOTools installed then I really cannot stress how quickly you should install it.

NB: Remember to actually extract the installer etc from the .zip prior to running/installing or like me you won’t get very Iniziamo col presentare la lista dei migliori casino online legali oggi in Italia:?CasinoNomeBonusVoto1William Hill Casino100% fino a 600€9,5Visita !2Titan Bet Casino75% fino a 500€9,4Visita !3888 Casino50% fino a 500€9,1Visita !4Star CasinoFino a 1000€8,8Visita !5Paddy Casino100% fino a 350€8,2Visita ! Gioco su internet: normeLa legge italiana sul gioco online e molto rigida ed attenta, allo scopo di tutelare il piu possibile i giocatori. far.

SEOTools for Excel has been around for a while now but essentially is a large suite of invaluable SEO tools accessed via your Excel ad-ins panel:

SEOTools for Excel toolbar

Insert a column (I named it ‘status’) next to the URLs you want to check (obviously you can use any column but I like them being next to each other).

Insert status column

Open the ‘Onpage’ tab of SEOTools for Excel and select ‘HttpStatus”, ensuring that you have the cell into which you want the server response to be added selected:

SEOTools for Excel httpstatus function

Select the cell with the URL which you want to test the server status of and hit OK/return/88mph:

Select the URL you want to check with SEOTools for Excel

The formula should return you a server response code:

Excel server response code

You can then copy the formatting down through the rest of the URLs you want to check which will highlight how well or badly IT have added the redirects and dictate how urgently you need to make the necessary phone calls/emails:

Http response codes in Excel

I know it’s not cutting edge and you could use Screaming Frog for it all if you need but in my opinion the combination with SEOTools for Excel made the process much more immediate, visual and ultimately successful.


UK Search Awards Winner

Nick Williams wins UK Search Awards

So this is maybe four months later than I had promised myself I would post it; but an SEO campaign I have been working on for the last two years won the “Best SEO Campaign” at the 2011 UK Search awards!

I hate to Slot Machines blow my own trumpet but recognition from peers is something really special. So so proud of the team at Verve Search with whome I continue to work and love. The awards came of the back of a full service search campaign which included:

- Site audit and technical SEO overhaul
- PPC campaign overhaul and management
- Full on-page optimisation
- Google Products feed creation, management and optimisation
- Extensive and on-going link building campaign

More than happy to discuss client, strategy and applications with anyone who wants to know. Just contact me via any one of the routes listed in the site footer.


Made it to Texas and 1st weeks of freelancing

Sorry that this blog post isn’t anything more than a massive exhalation after the last couple of mad months. London is calling from a faraway place as I am now fully settled in Houston Texas, whilst a collection of increasingly random belongings float their way across the Atlantic… Once they arrive we can get our excited behinds over to Austin. I honestly can’t wait.

All I can say about my freelance work is casino jameshallison that it has taken off, then more freelance creatures have joined it and they have taken off as well. If I didn’t randomly bump into family members and occasionally leave the house for food I could be still in London. No complaints, I am LOVING the clients and the work.

Well. I made it through visas, renting out flats, transporting belongings and starting a business. Not too bad I recon.

We are moving to Austin, Texas

Got a plan, oh yes I have a plan...So I have been putting off writing this post due partly to excitement and equally due to nervousness. As of June 2012 my wife and I will be setting up residence in the state capital of Texas, Austin. Over the past few years Landyn and I have been to Austin a number of times, they still stick in my mind as some of the best trips we have made together. From my first introduction to “Texas” country music to the dramatic hill country scenery; Austin has always impressed.

Leaving the UK was always going to be hard, but having made the US > UK trip countless times having a lot of technology; the distance begins to disappear. I guess the main thing for me is the knowledge that friends and family are eager to come visit (nothing to do with free accommodation and the countless festivals they have researched) right from the get go. How long that enthusiasm lasts I guess we will have to see… Fingers crossed.

I will therefor be entering the job market at the end of the month, which is a pretty exciting prospect. I have a head brimming with SEO knowledge and cannot wait to fully submerge myself  into the Austin search scene. I will therefor be open to job opportunities in and around the Austin area, so if anyone knows of anything please just get in touch.

Very exciting times indeed.

How to optimise for Google Products – Part 2

I suppose this article is a follow up to the one I wrote for Verve Search titled “How to optimise for Google products” which discusses what I deem to be the most influential ranking factors for Google Products and tips on submitting feeds.

I have been creating and optimising Google Products/Base feeds for a number of clients for the last couple of years now. What I deem to be the core ranking determinants have shifted slightly in my opinion and as this isn’t a hugely written about subject I thought I would continue to share my ideas.

Make Google Products a daily event

In my experience ranking competitively for the higher volume keywords requires you to approach Google Products as a daily task. It doesn’t need to take hours and it shouldn’t be too intensive (unless you are adding a number of new products or new attributes are launched. Firstly and very importantly change frequency within your Google Merchant account should be set to daily. Secondly where appropriate make small updates to products, no matter how small the changes are; make and upload them. Don’t forget to upload the file to the root of your website as well.

New attributes – keep an eye on the list

As I discuss in my previous post, it really is always worth keeping one eye on Google’s webmaster central blog. New attributes are added relatively frequently and almost as importantly attributes are often decommissioned. Although it isn’t usually detrimental to ranking to keep older attributes in your product feeds, missing new attributes will definitely put you at a disadvantage.

Suggested attributed – apply every attribute you can

It is also worth noting that Google often recommends certain attributes for different types of products. More often than not these recommendations are just that, suggestions. These attributes can and should be used for every product for which attribute values are available.

Take the recommended attribute ‘Feature’ <g:feature>, Google recommends this attribute for books, films and music. However if you think your product has a feature worth mentioning why not include it? It is another variable which could determine ranking position.


As far as I know the ID required and assigned to each product in your feed remains referenced in your feed whether the price, dimensions or colour changes. I personally think that age of feed is one of the biggest ranking influences, so whatever you do don’t erase your feed’s hard work, make sure you keep the product IDs.

Product type – Ignore at your own peril

A relatively new attribute ‘product type’ requires that you select the most appropriate ‘folder’ for your product. The key here is to really analyse the taxonomy provided and find the best fit from the options available. I think if there is any one recommended attribute not to leave out this is the one. Another key thing to remember here is that Google allows multiple product types to be added, just add as many <product_type> tags as you are able to.

Global Trade Item Numbers

As from June it will be mandatory for all products which aren’t custom made to have their GTIN number s listed within their product attributes. It is yet unsure how those which don’t include the identifiers will be treaded, as at the moment they aren’t classed as mandatory (so you would think that products won’t be excluded). All that can be assumed is that by leaving these codes out you are negatively affecting your ability to compete with similar advertisers and providing one less identifier to Google than your competitors.

Google +1 mania – what about all the questions?

I think it is true of any industry; if you work with your head down long enough you forget to see how you fit into the overall scheme of business. SEO is a particularly isolated place if you don’t step back from time to time and look at how you fit into the whole digital marketing world. I could go as far to say that you aren’t doing your job properly if you don’t on a day to day basis ask yourself basic marketing questions relating to your SEO project.

So Google launches 1 and pretty much everyone has been talking about it; as they should considering the impact it is set to have on how we search and the results we are greeted with as a result. But I can’t help but get the impression that in an attempt to keep up with the omni-present Facebook ‘like’ button Google are to a small extent forgetting who they are.

I don’t argue that social signals to me will play a massive part in determining what results I may or may not click on. I am more likely to click on a recommendation from one of my friends or colleagues but then I know what is going They offer online and classroom via community centers and local around town. on and what 1 is. I don’t fall into the ‘typical’ user group, I see through the branding and the rounded edges and I see Google staking its claim again into the social market. 1, buzz, wave, gmail etc etc are additions which have succeed and failed, with each attempt Google aims to get us more entwined than the previous.

What about normal users? Those which don’t have a Google account, don’t understand the different elements which combine into universal search? For them Google stays the same, apart from for those lucky enough not to have signed out of Gmail and are wondering why their friends faces are appearing in the search results.

I guess I just don’t want to get ahead of myself over 1. There are just so many questions running round in my head which need answering:

-          Why would people go back to the SERPs to 1 something?

-          They must be developing a 1 button to add to websites/content?

-          I know Google is playing down the ranking contribution of 1, but how big will it end up being?

-          If 1 is a ranking signal, surely it is far too open to abuse in its current incarnation?

-          How is 1 going to work with PPC?

-          Not everyone has a Google account which is a big thing

Yes the idea of 1 is really exciting. But at the moment, more so due to me being excited by the concept of more user data = better search results, and the likelihood that good quality websites which do their jobs will shine.

Social by most accounts should be taking up a large proportion of your SEO headspace. But I, like many, think the real winner out of these changes is quality content. Google’s 1 is just another way of promoting good, functional, quality websites and webpage’s.  Yes I think a lot of questions need ironing out, but hopefully pages and sites that we should be creating and promoting anyway will win big. Yes I am an SEO, but this update as with all updates isn’t for us, it is for the normal web users who will hopefully find what they are looking for more quickly thanks to 1.

I guess the SEO world will have to wait to find out if and how the 1 button will apply itself algorithmically, but it can be sure there will be a lot of discussions to come.

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