Keyword Research Using Python, RAKE, and Support Chat Transcripts

Over at, our main avenue of customer support is live chat. We previously were on Olark, but has since built out a chat system that we call HappyChat (support folks are referred to as Happiness Engineers). There are a number of excellent features that the development team has built in, but an often underutilized one is chat tagging. If a user joins a chat, and asks about a domain renewal, that chat might be tagged with “domains” or “domain-renewal”; we aren’t very strict on tagging, except in certain circumstances. We can pull out the data we need even if the tagging is a little fuzzy.

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Grow Your Traffic with Keyword Research

Grow Your Traffic with Keyword Research

This post is an introduction for bloggers to the concept of keyword research, with some real-world examples, tools, and step-by-step guidance.

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Three Google Search Console Tips for Better SEO

Three Google Search Console Tips for Better SEO

This is a post I wrote geared towards users. However, the tips are great for any site, no matter the platform, and are the very first things I do after verifying a site on Google Search Console.

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Help! Googlebot Cannot Access CSS And JS files On My WordPress Site!

Googlebot cannot access CSS and JS files on...

If you received this message this morning from Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools), you’re not alone. Google has recently been pushing harder for webmasters to allow crawlers full access to all Javascript and CSS so that they can render a site to determine whether or not it meets mobile standards (among other things). Many WordPress sites (along with the other major CMSs) received an ominous warning that their site was blocking assets, and it could affect rankings. While technically true, many of the sites were only blocking /wp-admin/, where absolutely no public-facing assets should live. For those of you that are in that situation, relax.

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Improving WordPress Site Speed

(originally posted on Bring Your Own Design)

Most of us don’t need to serve up millions (or even hundreds) of pageviews a day, but, eventually you’ll run into a situation where your site is running slow. While the reasons for a slow-loading site are countless, there are a few things you can do to help increase your WordPress site speed.


It’s easy to get tempted by cheap hosting. You can even find free WordPress hosting if you look hard enough! But, the old adage of “you get what you pay for” definitely applies to the web hosting world. Cheap hosts tend to overcrowd their servers, and one badly-behaving site can take down multiple others! For mission-critical sites, we recommend using a managed hosting provider like WPEngine or Synthesis (if you’re on StudioPress Genesis). If you’re handy with a command line, a managed VPS like A Small Orange offers is probably your best bet.

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Google Rewrites Page Titles To Push Brand Over Keywords

The Google+ expert, Mark Traphagen tweeted a link to an article that talked about how Google seemed to be testing yet another method of rewriting the page title, or that somehow, colons in the title could be a new ranking factor. Other Twitter people reported seeing it as early as Friday.

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90% of Webmaster Tools Alerts Are Black Hat Related

(originally posted on DesignBigger)

In the thousands of Google Webmaster Tools alerts and messages that are sent each month, about 90% of those are estimated to be black hat related. Another stat that’s interesting is about 3% are notifications of a hacked site; chances are, you’ve seen pharma spam in the SERP results that lead to a normal-looking page. That same 3% covers malware-infected sites, too. Check out the video for Matt Cutts’ take on these alerts.

What we’re interested in knowing is what percent of notifications are for non-spam/non-black hat issues? Does this mean that webmasters are doing better at keeping a solid, optimized site? Is the popularity of good CMS software helping site owners adhere to standards easier?

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7 Steps to Google Places Phone Verification

This article has since been outdated by changes to Google Places, but left for “historical value”.

(originally posted on DesignBigger)

Stop the presses, and get ready to clean up your business listings in Google Places!  It appears that a new year has brought a few new things along with it, and one of those is phone support for local verification issues in Google Places. If you are like me then you probably have a few local listings that are still pending verification, and you have probably sent out those pesky postcards at least 3 or 4 times with no success. Maybe it’s Google’s fault or maybe it’s just the postman’s fault, but one things for sure, they aren’t making it to their destination!

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Analog Keyword Research

When it comes to keyword research, I'm guilty of doing the same old thing; I open up the AdWords Keyword Tool and start pecking away, hoping to take a few general head keywords and turn it into something workable. I'm pretty sure every other SEO on the planet starts out keyword research pretty similarly, if not the exact same way.

Most of our customers are traditionally paper and pen kind of businesses; the digital landscape is pretty new to them, and subsequently, they may not really have many online assets (service manuals, documentation, whitepapers, etc.). It kind of struck me today that while getting these things online and working in our benefit might be extremely costly, we can still take advantage of them for the initial brainstorming phase (not to mention content fodder down the road).

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3 Ways To SEO Someone Else’s Site (And Benefit From It)

All the time, we're told that all of our efforts should push traffic only to our site. We should be building links to try to raise domain authority, take advantage of referral traffic, and building up rankings for our site. While we can't abandon those ideas altogether, sometimes there are moments where stepping outside of that thought pattern can really help us in the long run.

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