The beta for iTunes Match, Apple’s service for bringing all of your music to iCloud, has been released to developers.

The service is part of the release of iTunes 10.5 beta 6.1. iTunes Match scans a user’s music and finds copies of those songs in iCloud, regardless of whether those songs were purchased through iTunes. That music can then be played or streamed via iTunes.

The iTunes Match beta is available now to U.S. developers for $24.99 for a 12 month paid subscription. Developers that jump on iTunes Match during the beta period get an additional three months for free. Developers should back up their iTunes library because “Apple will periodically reset your iCloud library during the beta.”

Apple will face stiff competition for its cloud-based offering from startups like Spotify and Rdio. Apple’s strong relationship with the labels gives it a distinct advantage though as it prepares to push iCloud to the masses.

More About: apple, itunes, itunes-match, music

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Posted by Sajeet Nair, Convonix

I often wonder how the life of an SEO consultant would have been if there was no Google Analytics. I mean, sure in that case a lot of paid tools like Omniture, Webtrends etc. would have dominated the analytics segment of the online world, but then, that would also mean that business owners around the world would have had to pump in those extra bucks into their online marketing campaigns.

Google Analytics has become such an integral part of our data analysis and still quite often we land up criticizing it for some of its smallest flaws. But in all of this love and hate game, we always forget the most important feature of this wonderful tool i.e. its absolutely FREE and there are a lot of features that a lot of other paid tools do not offer.

On a personal note, I have always believed that Custom Reports, Custom Variables and User Defined Variables are some of the most underrated features of Google Analytics and many internet marketing firms do not use these amazing features to their fullest potential. In fact, if used intelligently, Google Analytics more than often can help you come out of tricky situations, especially when you are dealing with high end and high profile, demanding clients.

Imagine a client whose SEO, PPC and Social media campaigns are doing really well and yet he comes to you and states that he wants his website to generate more revenue. Keeping this situation in mind, I decided to analyze one of my client’s website from usability point of view and as usual I turned to Google Analytics for some help.

Now before the word "usability" misleads you I would like to clarify that by usability I meant understanding and analyzing the performance of my website across different browsers in terms of the metrics provided by Google Analytics. I created a simple custom report with "Browser" as my key dimension. The whole idea was to find loopholes in the website from a browser point of view using some of the key user metrics like bounce rate and %exit. Once I have the data for the under-performing pages the next step would have been to identify any browser compatibility issues like page not loading properly or improper screen resolution etc.

Before we discuss the findings of the report let’s just have a look at how to go about making this report.

We are generating a simple custom report with some of the key basic metrics like Revenue, Bounce Rate, %Exit, and Unique Purchases. And the dimensions selected are Browser, Page and Keyword. Now that we are done with the report let’s start with some analysis. For your information, only a few combination of metrics and dimensions are allowed. You can check the complete list here.

As I mentioned earlier, the whole idea was to generate a report that would help me in understanding the performance of the website in terms of its usability. But on creation of the report what I found was pretty startling.

For any internet marketer it’s a dreaded sight to see large number of visits in conjunction with negligible revenue and I was well aware of the fact that it’s only a matter of time before my client found out about it. It is clearly visible that Opera and Opera Mini browsers are driving almost same number of visits to our website but the difference in revenue is pretty huge. Obviously, this called for an investigation. The question hounded me for 10 whole minutes ( I mean sure 10 minutes sounds very less but trust me for those 10 minutes I was going crazy).

Anyway, while I was scratching my head over it, something else caught my attention.

I found that I was getting almost 5200% more (yeah you are seeing the right numbers!) revenue from Android browsers when compared against same number of visits from Opera Mini. I was nervous and happy at the same time and I knew that I had to get to the bottom of this. I immediately opened my website on Opera mini, Opera and Android browsers to understand what was stopping Opera Mini users from buying products from my site.

Well simply put, Opera and Opera Mini users were taken to the desktop version of the website. As you must be aware, Opera Mini is a mobile browser and as any SEO consultant would know, the obvious recommendation here would be to take the user to the mobile version of the website. But how do we convince the client?? The answer lies in the report itself.

That’s when I showed the android numbers to the client. Turns out that Android users were taken to the mobile version of the website. (That’s when we hit our Eureka moment ). This is nothing but hardcore evidence that shows that by simply taking the mobile users to the mobile version of the website the revenue will definitely improve. The above data when presented resulted into our recommendations getting implemented without any doubts or concerns at the client’s end.

Once again Google Analytics made me a hero. I would be sharing more such reports with all you amazing SEOs and would love to hear back from you.

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Ethan Marcotte coined the term Responsive Web Design and soon after wrote an amazing book on the topic.  A Book Apart’s Responsive Web Design is the perfect stepping stone to getting started coding and designing responsive websites.  For those of you who may not know what I’m talking about, Responsive Websites are websites that adapt to their surroundings rather than being substituted for alternatives.

Instead of multiple versions of websites for mobile devices, tablets, projectors, and more; we create one website that responds to the dimensions of the screen or the device it’s been loaded on to.

There are endless benefits to this form of development but one that I’ve been experimenting with and have had huge success with is marrying these sites with Facebook fan pages.

I have yet to see anyone else doing this, so consider this a gift from me to you.

Facebook opened the doors to dynamic Facebook fan pages once they allowed for the creation of iframe fan page tab apps.  Since you can iframe in any site that is in compliance with Facebook terms, nothing is stopping you from framing in WordPress powered sites.  This immediately empowers your users to control the content of their facebook fan page without any extra work.

I started creating WordPress Powered Facebook Tab Apps a while back but recently I’ve taken it to another level.  Instead of designing a custom WordPress theme or page for use in a Facebook tab I’ve been implementing Responsive Designs, which allows you to continue your website branding and remain consistent without having to design something custom.

Below are two of my most recent examples.  The first is a campaign that the team at Neal Advertising has been hard at work for Herb Chambers.  We produced an awesome commercial for a campaign called We’ve Got What You Need.  The website is responsive and because of that it works on all mobile devices, tablets, and beautifully fits right into the Facebook tab dimensions.

weve got what you need

The second implementation of this tactic is for my personal “After Gastric Bypass” [link: fan page.  I wanted to offer my users the ability to upload their stories but what I’ve found is that traffic on the fan page is far greater than the site. So I iframed in a WordPress powered site with a Responsive Theme allowing for form submissions right from Facebook.

Responsive Theme

I have had some great success with this and I hope you can do the same.  Please feel free to get in touch with me via comments below or twitter so we can chat more about this or I can answer any questions you might have.

Check out the SEO Tools guide at Search Engine Journal.

Responsive Web Design and Facebook Fan Pages a Perfect Marriage


Sooner or later, we all make mistakes. Who doesn’t? It’s something that happens to everyone. Eventually we all have our slipups, blunders, misunderstandings – or maybe even a full blown PR disaster.

It can be mortifying, but it doesn’t have to be – especially if you’re prepared.

credit: DoktorSpinn

Social media has changed the game in terms of handling bad press or negative PR. It used to be that negative comments had limited reach in audience. But now, due to sites like Facebook, people can quickly band together and make a seemingly little comment lead to negative press coverage. However, social media can also work in your advantage to minimizing damage.

Because of how quickly social media can facilitate negativity, it’s important to always be vigilant and ready to respond.

Having a PR strategy and responding quickly and intelligently can mean the difference between a diffused PR disaster or one that runs rampant.

The Goal

Effective responses are apologies that don’t create a permanent online footprint and minimize organic spread.

The idea is that you don’t want a permanent reminder of your negative press and you don’t want to inform people of the problem if they don’t already know about it.

The two places you want to publish your response or apology are on social media platforms or a corporate blog.

Apologizing in Social Media

Although it may seem counter-intuitive to post your response on social media, it’s actually a great option. Most social feeds move briskly, so your response quickly disappears – people that are looking for it will see it but not many others.

Twitter
Twitter is a great place to post a response because it allows you to apologize immediately. The 140 character limit forces you to be concise with your tweet and keeps you from saying too much.

Also, since Twitter doesn’t have threaded comments the reactions to your apology are dispersed throughout the ecosphere.

Facebook
Slower than Twitter, Facebook is still an awesome hub for a PR response. It’s best to create a custom tab with the response displayed as an image rather than posting it on your Facebook Wall.

Posting the apology as a status update lets Facebook fans easily share it with others and everyone can leave comments. Which wouldn’t be so bad, but you’ll end up with a PR response with 500+ comments telling you how badly you messed up.

Instead, by creating a custom tab you’re able to write a long letter that’s displayed to fans. Using an image instead of text makes it harder to share and once the tab is removed, so is the response.

Creating a custom tab to host your PR response can be difficult for a company that is not nimble with a quick PR and development team.

Apologizing on the Business Blog

Finally, if your business has an active blog, it can be a great place to publish your PR response.

However, since blogs are meant to be search engine friendly and are usually optimized for sharing, we have to take a few precautions and make a few changes before publishing the PR response.

Use an Image
Similar to the strategy used with the Facebook custom tab, make sure the response is created as an image. This ensures that users are unable to just copy and paste your text anywhere they want.

Also, once an allotted amount of time has passed, you can remove the image – taking it down from other websites that may have just copied the image URL onto their site.

NoIndex the Article

Since search engines love blogs, it’s important to make sure that your PR response won’t be included in the search index and show up for brand terms.

The best way to achieve this is to make sure that the article is tagged as “NoIndex”. This tells search engines that they should not include the article in their search index.

Close Comments
Before publishing the PR response, make sure that comments are disabled. This keeps the article from building hundreds of negative comments and potentially starting an argument between readers.

Closing comments allows you to fully control the message and keep the focus on the response itself, instead of the comments.

Next Steps…

Hopefully, you’ll never need the information outlined in this post, but if you do it’s best to be prepared. You should make sure you know where you’ll be posting your response and have templates prepared for each element.

Have you ever had to deal with bad press? How did you post your response? What did you do to remove the negative comments?

Check out the SEO Tools guide at Search Engine Journal.

The Right Way to Apologize Online


With keeping in mind the three key items used to create a successful start-up; a start-up venture like social-medicine.org is likely to succeed:

  1. A start-up requires good people and efforts taken to network,
  2. A start-up should fill a gap in the market that isn’t already filled and provide a niche service, to people knowing what they want, and make them aware of what they need
  3. A start-up requires as little money spent as possible

And that’s not to say that achieving all three key items isn’t challenging. It’s achievable but believe me it’s difficult.

The Idea

The idea for a start-up is only the beginning. The entrepreneur needs to have a passion for their start-up. Passion comes from the inside, something that is personal to the entrepreneur. Their passion needs to be strong enough knowing that other’s will be judgmental of their idea, and knowing to stand their ground when push comes to shove.

As a psoriasis sufferer I know first-hand how hard it can be to deal with an illness without that all-essential support from people who truly understand.

After spending years managing my condition alone, I turned to the Internet for help. The sheer number of forums, blogs, and communities out there in which psoriasis was discussed by fellow sufferers was astonishing, but I found that it wasn’t a personal experience.

The Gap

So I decided to create a site to personalise an individual’s experience and developed www.psoriasissocial.org. My simple goal was to give psoriasis sufferers a voice, a sounding-board, and a close-knit, supportive community of people who understood what it was like to live with the condition.

Psoriasissocial.org took off with a speed that surprised me – in a short period of time around 400 people registered and began to get to know each other. In fact, it’s been such a success that it was the main reason I created www.social-medicine.org. A site for those who suffer from a range of illnesses and conditions, a wonderful community driven support network, an avenue for not-for-profit organisations who may like to reach out to people via this forum or support its development.

The Technology

Every start-up should provide better technology than people currently know of. When people hear the words social networking, they think of Facebook, a site everyone knows how to use.  For that reason I chose a Facebook style technology, a familiar social network for the medical community.

The Plan

The plan needs to be sticky. Changing the plan needs to be justifiable. A vision needs to be set as to where the start-up will end up. The initial plan is almost certain to be wrong in some way, and the first priority should be to figure out where it is wrong. The only way to find out where your plan is wrong is to implement the plan.

Like most start-ups, plans change on the fly. At first I expected the customers to be savvy internet users. Introducing a social network that is too difficult or too easy to use, would deter the users away.

The People

One startup, one person, was social-medicine.org’s plan. Having one moral weight was ideal to set the plan but difficult at the same time. Knowing who to talk to and where to source information from requires good people. The social-medicine.org start-up was through personal contacts that got most of the people interested. This is a crucial difference between start-ups and big companies. Knowing someone for a couple days will tell you more than companies would with greater budgets.

The Customer

With a technical and business background, I believe I had a good feel for what people want and how to derive to what they want through technology. The start-up requires being unique and in high demand not just another me-too solution.

So, how did I figure out what customers want? I watched them. One of the best places to do this was at medical forums.

The Expenses

The way to reduce expenses is to maximize the start-up’s chances of succeeding. During the seed stage, I think it’s wise to take money from investors, non-profit organisations advertising on the website. Investors don’t expect you to have an elaborate business plan. Seed money is known for emptying out a few tens of thousands of dollars to pay expenses, while developing a prototype.

When initialising the start-up, there are various cost categories to consider:

  1. Research fees
  2. Technology costs
  3. Administrative costs
  4. Marketing costs

Once the start-up is set, it may seem presumptuous to go knocking on the doors of potential investors and asking them to invest tens of thousands of dollars in something that is really just an idea. But when you look at it from the investor’s point of view, the picture shows more light. Investors look for good investments, and if you think you have a chance of succeeding, you’re doing them a favour by letting them invest.

The Funding

Many start-ups get big fast. When real money starts flooding in from investors, the questions lies with what to do with it? And the answer is not to spend it, or spend it very wisely.

The Success

The key to success is knowing your start-up inside and out. The most important factor is placing users before advertisers, even though the advertisers are paying clients. By understanding that getting all the users to the site, the advertisers will follow, will prove success.

By being professional in the start-up means doing good work, not elevators and glass walls. Everyone loves the underdog and look up to those who rose from rags to riches.

Check out the SEO Tools guide at Search Engine Journal.

Creating a Social Networking Site – Entrepreneurship Journey


My Friday afternoon has been much quieter than usual, anyone else?

Posted by robmillard

RegEx is not necessarily as complicated as it first seems. What looks like an assorted mess of random characters can be over facing, but in reality it only takes a little reading to be able to use some basic Regular Expressions in your day to day work.
 
For example, you could be using the filter box at the bottom of your Google Analytics keyword report to find keywords containing your brand, such as Distilled. If you want to include both capitalised and non-capitalised versions, you could use the Regular Expression [Dd]istilled. Pretty simple, right?
 
Hang on though… some of you might be asking, what the hell is RegEx? That’s a good point. RegEx (short for Regular Expressions) is a means of matching strings (essentially pieces of text). You create an expression which is a combination of characters and metacharacters and a string will be matched against it.
 
So in the example of the keyword report above, your Regular Expression is applied to each keyword and if it matches it’s included in the report. If it doesn’t match, it’s discarded.
 
RegEx has many uses aside from Google Analytics too such as form validation or URL rewrite rules.  Hopefully this post will give you an understanding of the basics and some ideas for where you might be able to use it.
 

Characters & Metacharacters

I mentioned that Regular Expressions are made up of characters and metacharacters. A character, to clarify, is any letter, number, symbol, punctuation mark, or space. In RegEx, their meaning is literal – the letter A matches the letter A, the number 32 matches 32, and distilled matches distilled (but not Distilled – characters in RegEx are case sensitive).
 
Metacharacters, however, are not treated literally. Below I’ll go through each of the metacharacters used in RegEx and explain their special meanings.
 
If you want to test them out as we go along, I’d recommend opening up Google Analytics and using the filter box at the bottom of your reports. Alternatively you could use http://RegExpal.com/ and make up your own data set.
 

Dot .

A dot matches any single character. That is to say, any single letter, number, symbol or space. For example, the Regular Expression .ead matches the strings read, bead, xead, 3ead, and !ead amongst many others. It’s worth noting that ead would not be matched as the . requires that a character is present.
 
 

Backslash \

From time to time you’ll find that a character that you want to match is a metacharacter.  For example, if you’re trying to match an IP address such as 172.16.254.1, you will find that your RegEx matches 172.16.254.1 but also any string such as 1721161254.1 because the dots can represent any character.
 
Preceding a metacharacter with a backslash indicates that it should be treated as a character and taken literally.  In the example above, you should use 172\.16\.254\.1
 
The question mark is often found in dynamic URLs such as /category.php?catid=23.  If you’re trying to track this page as part of your conversion funnel, you may experience problems as question marks, as we’ll see later, are metacharacters.  The solution is simple: /category.php\?catid=23
 
 

Square Brackets []

Square brackets can be used to define a set of characters – any one of the characters within the brackets can be matched.  We saw them in the example I used in the introduction – [Dd]istilled can be used to match both distilled and Distilled.  
 
You can also use a range, defined with a hyphen.  [0-9] matches any single number for example, or [a-z] matches any lower case letter of the alphabet.  It’s also possible to combine ranges, such as [A-Fa-f] would match any letter between a and f in either lower or upper case.  Ranges are often combined with repetition which we’ll touch on next.
 
Specifically in character sets, you can use the caret ^ to negate matches.  For example [^0-9] matches anything but the characters in the range.
 
 

Repetition ? + * {}

The question mark, plus symbol, asterisk, and braces all allow you to specify how many times the previous character or metacharacter ought to occur.
 
The question mark is used to denote that either zero or one of the previous character should be matched.  This means that an expression such as abc? would match both ab and abc, but not abcd or abcc etc.
 
The plus symbol shows that either one or more of the previous character is to be matched.  For example, abc+ would match abc, abcc, and anything like abccccccc.  It would not, however, match ab as the character has to be present.
 
The asterisk is an amalgamation of the two – it matches either zero, one or more of the preceding character.  An example you say?  Oh go on then!  abc* matches ab, abc, abcc, and anything beyond that such as abccccccc.
 
Finally, braces can be used to define a specific number or range of repetitions.  [0-9]{2} would match any 2 digit number for example, and [a-z]{4,6} would match and combination of lower case letters between 4 and 6 characters long.
 
 

Grouping () |

Parentheses allow you to group characters together.  I may, for example, want to filter the keyword report for searches containing my name, and I want to pick up both rob millard and robert millard.  I could do this by using rob(ert)? millard – the question mark and parentheses mean that either zero or one of ert can be matched.
 
In addition, you can use the pipe to represent OR.  You might use it for something like (SEO|seo|s\.e\.o\.|S\.E\.O\.)moz to track SEOmoz, seomoz, s.e.o.moz, and S.E.O.moz, although the versions with dots seem unlikely.
 
The pipe can also be used without the parentheses if you don’t need to group the characters.  For example iphone|ipad could be used to filter traffic coming to your site from keywords containing either.
 
 

Anchors ^ $

Although we’ve already looked at the caret in conjunction with square brackets, it can also be used to show that a string must start with the following characters.  For example, if you’re trying to match all URLs within a specific directory of your site, you could use ^products/.  This would match things like products/item1 and products/item2/description but not a URL that doesn’t start with that string, such as support/products/.
 
The dollar sign means the string must end with these characters.  Again you could use it to track certain URLs like /checkout$ which would pick up the likes of widgets/cart/checkout and gadgets/cart/checkout but not checkout/help.
 
 

Some shorthand

There are a few quick timesavers here…
\d means match any number i.e. the same as [0-9]
\w means match any letter in either case, number, or underscore i.e. [A-Za-z0-9_]
\s means match any whitespace, which includes spaces, tabs, and line breaks.
 
Phew!  That’s quite a lot to digest.  I’d recommend playing around with the short examples above to really get a feel for them.  Once you’re comfortable with the basics you can start getting stuck into the real uses…
 
 

Google Analytics

Filters can be used to exclude internal traffic out of your reports, and combined with some simple RegEx you can filter a range of IP addresses.  In Profile Settings, create a new custom filter which excludes the filter field Visitor IP Address.  Using an expression such as 55\.65\.132\.2[678] would exclude IP addresses 55.65.132.26, 55.65.132.27, and 55.65.132.28.
 
Another Google Analytics feature which can greatly benefit from the use of RegEx is Advanced Segments.  One of the more common uses is to create a segment for non-branded organic search traffic so that you get a clear picture of your SEO efforts, unaffected by any branding exercises.  Create a segment where the medium matches exactly organic and create an and statement where the keyword does not match Regular Expression.  In this statement, you should include RegEx such as the [Dd]istilled example in the introduction, or for my personal site it might look like [Rr]ob(ert)? [Mm]illard.
 
You could also use Advanced Segments to create a social media segment – select source and set the condition to matches Regular Expression.  Your value should be something like facebook|twitter|youtube|digg etc.
 
I’ve already touched on the filter box at the bottom of each report earlier in this post – it’s probably where I most often use RegEx as it can be a great help when investigating specific problems or queries.  Use the pipe, for example, in the keyword report to find keywords containing a few synonyms, or do something similar to the social media segment on the fly by listing a handful of sites in the traffic sources report.
 
Finally, RegEx can be useful when setting up conversion goal pages and funnel steps where you want more than one URL as the goal or step.  When setting up a new goal with a URL destination, use the match type Regular Expression match.  You might wish to use a value such as ^/(widgets|gadgets)/checkout/thanks\.php$ to track both /widgets/checkout/thanks.php and /gadgets/checkout/thanks.php for example.  When setting up a funnel, all URLs are treated as Regular Expressions so you can use the same technique.
 
There are more advanced examples for all of the uses above in several excellent blog posts and resources about RegEx and Google Analytics – there are too many to list here but I’d thoroughly recommend searching and reading some of them.
 
 

Rewriting URLs

I expect that most of you SEOmoz readers are familiar with SEO friendly URLs.  They should be static rather than dynamic and should be descriptive.  Often this is achieved using URL rewrites which are implemented on Apache servers using the built in module called mod_rewrite.  A text file called .htaccess sits at the root of the domain which contains your mod_rewrite rules.  A simple rewrite looks something like this:
 
RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule ^category/link-building/?$ category.php?cat=link-building [NC]
 
This example would mean that the URL www.example.com/category/link-building/ would actually serve the page www.example.com/category.php?cat=link-building.  As you may remember from earlier, the caret and dollar sign mean that the URL must start and end with link-building/, and the question mark means that the trailing slash is optional.  [NC] is not RegEx – it is part of mod_rewrite’s syntax which simply states that the RewriteRule is not case sensitive.
 
Obviously this approach is not particularly efficient for large sites with thousands of URLs, and this is where RegEx becomes indispensable as it allows you to match patterns.  A dynamic rewrite rule using RegEx might look like this:
 
RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule ^category/([A-Za-z0-9-]+)/?$ category.php?cat=$1 [NC]
 
This rules states that the URL must start with category/ and can then be followed by any combination of letters, numbers and hyphens as long as there are one or more (+).  This part of the rule is surrounded with parentheses so that it can be referenced in the second part of the rule using $1.  If you had a subsequent set of parentheses, it could be referenced with $2 and so on.  Again, the trailing slash is optional because of the question mark, and the caret and dollar sign are used to define the start and end of the URL.
 
This is just one simple example in an area where there are numerous possibilities.  If you want to know more I’d definitely recommend checking out this guide as well as the excellent cheat sheet.
 
 

Word – yes, Word

This is something I’ve only been getting to grips with lately, but turning on wildcards in Word’s Find and Replace can save a huge amount of time when cleaning and manipulating data.  I find that I’m often doing this when creating reports or preparing data for an infographic for example.
 
You can find the wildcards check box under the advanced options in Find and Replace.  An example of how you might use it could be to remove the session ID from a list of URLs.  You could enter sid=[0-9]+ into the find box, and leave the replace box blank.
 
As with mod_rewrite you can also reference back to your find box, although the syntax is slightly different.  Instead of $1 and $2 you use \1 and \2.  If you had a list of URLs and you wanted to switch the subdirectories round you could use example.com/([a-z-]+)/([a-z-]+)/$ in the find box and use example.com/\2/\1/ in the replace box.
 
There’s more about using RegEx in Word on the Microsoft support site here and here
 
 
Of course there are many, many other uses for Regular Expressions, especially in programming, but I hope this gives you some idea of the potential of RegEx in the field of SEO.  Let me know if you have any questions or thoughts in the comments, or feel free to give me a shout on Twitter (@rob_millard).
 

 

Further Reading & Resources

http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/04/regular-expression-tips-and-tricks.html – some handy RegEx tips from the Google Analytics blog.
 
http://www.lunametrics.com/RegEx-book/Regular-Expressions-Google-Analytics.pdf – a really well put together PDF which goes into some depth for each metacharacter.
 
http://services.google.com/analytics/breeze/en/RegEx_ga/index.html – a guide to using RegEx with Google Analytics by Google.
 
 
http://RegExpal.com/ – useful tool that mentioned in the main post which is great for testing your RegEx.
 
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/5-quick-google-analytics-hacks – a quick tip from @tomcritchlow on how to use RegEx to filter by keyword length or depth of page.

 

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I noticed recently google started to have a 3 line bullet points description for some retail sites. Instead of showing the meta description or some text taken from the page in 2 lines, it’s listing very short form of meta description on the first line, then taking a combination of the name, price and review rating of the top 3 items listed on page and list them in bullet points.

Google takes another look at scraper sites and poached content.


After Google+ was launched, I wrote a long post in which I detailed the features of the new service and discussed the real barriers between Google and success. The biggest one, I noted, was that Facebook had a user-base of 750 million, and could easily play copycat to anything Google+ did that users praised. It seems that Facebook followed exactly that predicted trajectory, having already implemented video chat through a partnership with Skype and now offering improved privacy and sharing controls that look shockingly Google-like.

What are the features, exactly? First and foremost, Facebook is allowing users to see and manipulate the privacy settings on shared content directly in-line. This makes it easy to make a post public or share it only with your friends. Additionally, Facebook specifies that they’ll be expanding this feature to even more selective sharing in the future; the in-line controls will be integrated with Facebook “groups,” making the functionality of groups become a lot more similar to Google+ Circles.

Additionally, users will be able to approve tags before the content (image or otherwise) is displayed on their profile. This increased level of control allows any Facebook user to decline tags altogether or even request that the content be pulled from Facebook. Other more minor changes include an highly visible button on your profile that makes it easy to see your profile as it looks to the public eye, the option to tag those who aren’t yet your friends on Facebook, and adjust the privacy settings of a post even after that post has been published.

Make no mistake: Facebook is ripping off Google’s success, which is exactly what they should be doing. It’s for this very reason that competition is good for the economy and for users, and even Google’s VP of Google+ (Bradley Horowitz) commented that he was excited to see Facebook’s changes.

[Sources include: Tech Land]

Check out the SEO Tools guide at Search Engine Journal.

Facebook Mimics Google+ Features with Privacy and Sharing Controls