Welcome to the team, Marvin!

 

Hey everyone!

Marvin, Evolve's Fall intern My name is Marvin Saccucci. Originally, from Toledo, OH, I’ve been a bit of a nomad having lived in cities such as Milwaukee, WI, Cincinnati, OH, and even Madrid, Spain. I’m currently a Senior at St. Louis University studying both Marketing and Economics. Past jobs have included work at my neighborhood soccer store and internships with both a corporate security company and a bar soap manufacturing company. Realizing that I didn’t see my 150 pound self working as a body-guard, or wanting to come out of the office every day smelling like cleaning products, I decided to instead put my Marketing degree to use here at Evolve Digital Labs. Nonetheless, at St. Louis University I’m involved in a number of different clubs and organizations. First and foremost I am a member of the Service Leadership Program through the John Cook School of Business. This program is something that I’m very proud of as it has required me to complete 300 hours of community service in addition to attending 24 leadership workshops. The majority of my hours have come from working with the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program, Habitat for Humanity, and even a project where I spent two months doing volunteer construction work in Pisco, Peru. When I’m not in the library studying or at work, I like to spend my free time being active. My favorite pastime is soccer as I’ve grown up around the sport my entire life. Being half-Colombian and half-Italian, soccer is in my blood. As a result, when I do have occasional free time you can usually find me out on the soccer pitch, playing the newest edition of the FIFA videogame with my friends, or at a local bar watching all of the USA Men’s National Team games. With that said, in regards to my internship here at Evolve, I am very excited for what lies ahead. With my Marketing and Economics degrees, I would eventually like to get into Market Research. Market Research is composed of many qualitative and quantitative components. You need to be able to look at a set of numbers and derive conclusions. As a result, I look forward to the possibility of working with quantitative programs and performing quantitative analysis here at Evolve. I am looking forward to learning about SEO, Web Analytics, and Pay-Per Click Advertising. I am especially excited about my project where I will be required to apply my SEO knowledge to current St. Louis companies and blogging about them. These real world, quantitative skills that I will learn will be a great asset for my future in corporate America.

 

Is Duplicate Content Killing You Softly?

We’re often asked about duplicate content. What is it? How do I remedy this blasted predicament? It can be overwhelming to discover how many pages on your site Google considers to be duplicate versions of each other a but hopefully this post will assure you that the solution is well within your grasp.

What is it?

Duplicate content refers to identical (or nearly identical) pages of content. Many times it is not intentional. Homepages, for example, are often victims of duplicate content. Evolve Digital Labs’ homepage can be accessed by typing:

  • evolvedigitallabs.com
  • http://evolvedigitallabs.com
  • evolvedigitallabs.com/
  • www.evovledigitallabs.com
  • Evolvedigitallabs.com

Of course, Google does not see these different pages as DuCo because we conveyed which version is the one we want it to crawl and index. More on that later. You can do some fancy things with URLs, such as allowing them to skip to certain sections without leaving the page or print a plain version of the content. This is possible by adding dynamic parameters to the URL. But it also duplicates the pageas content.

Why is it bad?

Duplicate content can hurt your rankings because Google is forced to choose one version to index, and it may not be the one you wanted to show up in the SERPs. A printable version of a page, for example, might be more easily crawlable than its nearly identical original. In the worst-case scenario, it is possible that Google may neglect to index any of pages. Furthermore, duplicate content can sabotage linking efforts. If multiple websites are linking to various versions of the same page, that link juice, or the authority received from inbound links, will be diluted across the board a unless one page has been appointed as the sole version to rank. Duplicate content link juice

How do I know if duplicate content is killing me softly?

Spend time in Google Webmaster Tools. Get real comfortable because this interface alerts you to these kinds of issues so you can remedy them as soon as you feel the digital tap on the shoulder. It also allows you to see to which pages other websites are linking. This is phenomenal insight for a myriad of reasons, but in this case, you can see if outside sources are linking to different versions of the same page. For example, if you are seeing some sites linking to homepage.com and some linking to www.homepage.com, this can be a huge red flag. Note: if you have already designated one URL to be the canonical, or primary, version, this will not be an issue because the linking authority will be successfully transferred to the correct URL. Finally, we recommend performing a simple site search, which involves Googling “site:yourdomain.com,” but leave off the quotes and enter your literal domain. Then take it a step further; add the “inurl” command to search for URLs within your site that contain particular keywords. This is a very helpful way to quickly sift through the site to find duplicate files. Evolve inurl site search

How can I fix it?

301-Redirect

First, you can add a 301-redirect to the pages that aren’t receiving as much traffic. This will guide users, search engines, and any link juice to the new permanent URL.

Rel=Canonical

Adding the rel=canonical attribute to a link of a page allows webmasters to communicate to Google that there is another, better page that should be crawled and indexed. The search bots then know that the rel=canonical link is the primary page that should reap the link juice and be included in Googleas index of pages.

Summary:

Duplicate content is a big deal. But detecting and fixing it is easy, so there’s no reason to ignore this issue. To find out more about this issue and others like it, scope out our new Resources Page!

Raven Tools' New Toolbar for Chrome

Earlier this month, (September 6th), Raven Tools came out with a brand new toolbar for Google Chrome. This was pretty exciting for us at Evolve, seeing as we are already pretty huge fans of this brand. We rely on their tools daily and always welcome additions to the toolset. So hats off to you, Raven Tools a the Chrome toolbar is pretty sweet. With that being said, let’s look in more depth at each of the toolbar’s features. Specifically: what is cool about them, how we use them, and what could use improvements. As much as we love Raven Tools, this wouldn’t be a review without a little criticism too.

Features we love:

  1. Discover Contacts: This feature automatically scrapes contact information from a website. This includes the contact’s name, company, and email. From here, you select the contacts that you want and can choose to “convert into contacts” so they will show up in your CRM next time you log into your Raven Tools account.   Raven Tools discover contacts The value this provides from a link building perspective is huge to say the least. This saves so many manual hours and frustration caused by searching through “contact us” pages, if a site even has one. 2. Share This allows you to post on Facebook or Twitter about the site you are visiting. It automatically populates the site name and URL and allows you to fill in your post. Share Features   (Don’t worry we didn’t really post that.) Some really cool features in this tool include:  Shorten URLs: Allows you to shorten a URL so that it will more easily fit into a Tweet or Facebook post.   Shorten URLs Input Campaign Variables: Allows you to set campaign variables such as source, medium, and name in order to easily categorize traffic resulting from the link.   Input campaign variables This is great for monitoring links in Google Analytics. Schedule posts for later: Like HootSuite, this allows you to schedule a time for when you post goes live.   Schedule posts for later By doing so, you can postpone a Tweet or Facebook post until after content is posted, or until after your initial link building outreach. Again, this tool provides a huge benefit from a link building perspective. What better way to open up contact with a website than to mention them via your brand’s social media account?  3. Website Notes The Website Notes tool is brand new and pretty handy. It enables you to add a note about the website, which will show up as a little red icon next time you visit, and it will also be available in your Website Directory tool to view. This tool is great for someone like me, who always dedicates a column to “notes” in excel spreadsheets. When gathering potential sites for link building, I can leave myself a note about the Website so that I will see it when I return for outreach.   Notes on Raven Tools 4. Personas Personas lets you to log into any one of your social media accounts that have been set up through the given profile in Raven Tools. This is nice if you would like to use more non-traditional social media platforms to connect with the website a such as Digg or StumbleUpon.   Personas Raven Tools Although it won’t take you directly to the social media handle owned by the website/corporation, it will get you halfway there. It navigates you to the social media site of your choice and auto-populates all of the login information for the profile you are using in Raven Tools. From there, you are free to explore. This is especially useful if you handle more than one social media account. It takes time to look up login credentials for multiple websites and account combinations. This skips that step for you. 5. Switch profiles and accounts The toolbar allows you to quickly switch between profiles and Raven Tools accounts. Profiles can be selected from the dropdown menu next to “Profile” and the account can be changed from the Settings Icon dropdown. Switch profiles and accounts   This may not seem exciting, but it is helpful if you have more than one account or more than one client for which you do link building.

Critiques:

Every new tool is going to have glitches. Here a couple that we noticed: 1.    No Save Draft Option Currently, there is not an option to save your progress in the form of a draft when filling out information.  If you exit or click away from the pop-up window, all of your progress will be deleted unless you have already clicked Submit. An example of when this is inconvenient is adding a contact manually. The pop-up window blocks the content on the site so you can’t see what is on the page. If you want to navigate back to the page to find contact information, you need to exit the window. But when you do that, you lose your progress and have to start over. That means you need to have all of the information written down or in another tab/window in order to access it. 2.    Glitchy Scrolling Feature If you expand options, the pop up sometimes disappears beneath the bottom of the browser. However, there is not a scroll bar on the pop-up window that allows you to navigate to the bottom of the window.  If you try using the scroll bar on the browser, the pop up just slides down with the page, so you are still not able to see the bottom.   Glitchy scrolling feature What if? So, this toolbar is pretty fantastic, but we also have one radical idea for making it even better: Discover Social Media Accounts. What if Raven Tools took the social media aspect a step further and had the ability to search for social media accounts, just like the “Discover Contacts” feature searches for contact information?  This tool would automatically find the website’s corresponding social media accounts. Then, ideally, it would auto-populate social media handles into the “Share” feature. This would allow us to Tweet directly at the website or tag them in our Facebook post.

Summary

Overall, we love this tool for its link building and competitive analysis capabilities. Just like any new tool, it has a few glitches and imperfections. But overall, it’s a must-have for SEOs. We give it an A.