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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

How to limit access to facebook

Sometimes the users are the ones to request help with the network nuisance known as facebook... (Don't get me wrong. Sometimes Facebook is great. But sometimes it is frustrating to discover how much of a resource sink it actually is). 

And thus I found myself answering the question: how to limit my exposure to facebook during working hours? 

The quick and easy reply:
Assuming you are using google chrome (and if you are not, why not?), there is a very easy and efficient method to block access to certain websites, either completely, or in certain times and days -
  • Install Chrom's Block-site extension 
  • Configure the extension as you wish -
    • Click its icon (the no-entry icon among the extensions icons)
    • under "blocked sites", define those websites whose usage you wish to limit
    • under "active days&times" choose the website, define time-frame and add.

That's it. the interface is very intuitive and the extension gets right to work...

I know that other people prefer other chrome extensions. Others won't touch chrome and are willing to go to war on behalf of another browser. If you are one of the supporters of Chrome's Stay- focused or of a completely different  solution - why don't you talk-back about it and tell us all about its merits? 

Friday, December 16, 2016

The importance of adding sitemaps to Google Search Console

Had a funny conversation with a friend a few days ago. He had been blogging for quite a while and suddenly discovered his posts have not been registered as indexed in Google's Search Console. 

It isn't that he has been completely aloof to SEO: 

But why didn't his posts get indexed? 
Now, first lets make something clear: there is a difference between the way Google Search Console looks on indexing and the actual indexing. It might be that the posts have been indexed and can be found using google search, but have not been acknowledged by Google Search Console. One way or the other, the simplest answer is also the accepted practice: always add sitemaps to Google Search Console. He didn't do it, because he did not think he needed to do it, as he did all his blogging on Google's own blogging platform of google blogger.

What is a sitemap, anyway? 
To make a long story short, We'll quote wikipedia on sitemaps
"A site map (or sitemap) is a list of pages of a web site accessible to crawlers or users...An XML Sitemap is a structured format that a user doesn't need to see, but it tells the search engine about the pages in a site, their relative importance to each other, and how often they are updated." 
How to add a sitemap for Google Blogger to Google Search Console? 
For google blogger, we use Google blogger's Atom. 
  1. Click on the blog for which you want to add sitemap.
  2. click on dashboard 
  3. clock on the ">>" icon in the sitemaps section 
  4. click on the red "ADD/TEST SITEMAP" button. 
  5. Add the following code in the text box: atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=1&max-results=500 (what if you have more than 500 records? add several sitemaps, cutting the set to chunks using start-index and max-results) 

I'll use this opportunity to document this procedure for all the blogging platforms I've been working with. Not surprisingly, it is MUCH EASIER in other platforms: 

For tumblr: 
the same process, only in the text box, you should add both tumblr's own sitemaps:

For Wordpress: 
the same process, only in the text box, you should add Wix's own sitemap:

For Wix: 
the same process, only in the text box, you should add Wix's own sitemap:

After you finish, go to Crawl/Sitemaps, and VERIFY that Google can actually reach the provided files. 

A few days later, come back. Why? 
  1. verify that no problems were found with your website 
  2. VERIFY that the expected number of URLs had been indexed... (under