tl;dr I found a bug that allowed me to find anyone with a Google+ account’s login email address (even if they chose not to share it). This could be used to target specific people or just crawl Google+ collecting emails, and tying them easily to other social accounts as step one of something nefarious (e.g spear phishing, or other account compromise). This has now been fixed by Google’s security ninjas.
Since the Panda and Penguin updates, the SEO community has been talking more and more about machine learning, and yet often the term still isn’t well understood. We know that it is the “magic” behind Panda and Penguin, but how does it work? Why didn’t they use it earlier? What does it have to do with the periodic “data refreshes” we see for both of these algorithms? I think that machine learning is going to be playing a bigger and bigger role in SEO, and so I think it is important that we have a basic understanding of how it works.
As SEOs we talk a lot about “search queries” (or simply “searches”), yet I think search has outgrown our definition of what exactly a search query is. In this post I’m going to explain how I think the old definition is fast becoming less and less useful to us, and also how I believe this is going to mean we’re going to talk about keywords less and less. Our understanding of what we mean when we say “query” has become too narrow.
Recently I have found myself fairly frequently wanting to get links that are linking to a certain sub-section of a website (i.e. links to only certain pages on the domain). I tend to use a mix of OpenSiteExplorer, Majestic, and Ahrefs when I get backlinks, but currently none of these services actually allow me to get backlinks in such a fashion. I decided to put together a short script proof of concept script to do this.
It is relatively standard practice nowadays to do keyword rank checking with tools such as SEOmoz, Authority Labs or Conductor. It just makes sense to us as SEOs to keep an eye on them, whether you are of the school that you should be reporting them to your clients/boss or not. But something I haven’t really done much of until now is tracking my competitors’ sites (their markup, structure and content). I think observing your competitors in a structured and routine fashion is something that absolutely makes sense, and doesn’t need to be a big task.
In the Moz Q&A, there are often questions that are directly asked about, or answered with, a reference to the all-powerful .htaccess file. I’ve put together a few useful .htaccess snippets which are often helpful. For those who aren’t aware, the .htaccess file is a type of config file for the Apache server, which allows you to manipulate and redirect URLs amongst other things.