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WP.me Shortlinks via JetPack: Why I disabled them

JetPack options in WordPress admin for WP.me shortlinks

I use WordPress for my website (this website); I’m aware of it’s shortcomings but all in all quite happy with it.

On most sites I work on I install JetPack, but I only really use a few features.

I recently decided to try disabling the “wp.me shortlink” and I’m quite happy with the results.

Here’s the details:

Branding

Using wp.me shortlinks causes Publicize, which auto-posts to my social media channels, to post links that are non-branded gibberish in the URLs, as shown below.

tweet of auto posted wp.me shortlink

By disabling that feature, my links get posted with my actual domain.

auto posted tweet with link showing default permalink

Transparency

As a web professional, I know more about security exploits than the average bear. Auto-posting a wp.me link to Twitter means that the link that shows up is a redirect to a redirect to my site.

A URL shortened redirect to a URL shortened redirect…Sounds legit, right?

Analytics Traffic Attribution

Let me note, I haven’t looked into this but if I see t.co in my traffic reports than I know that people clicked a link on Twitter.

If t.com redirects to wp.me how is that traffic attributed?

My guess is that any traffic I get from auto posting to social media would be attributed to wp.me and that isn’t useful.

Sure, there’s an argument to be made that wp.me links would be auto-posted and t.co traffic would be that which was shared personally. That argument will be valid when and if I ever have time to share links to my own site without auto-posting them.

Non “Pretty Permalinks”

The main drawback to this approach is that the links auto post as links to the default WordPress which is a post ID in a query string.

All sites I work on use “pretty permalinks” as they are much more human and SEO friendly, and while I wish they’d post that way, the simple fact is that auto-posting non-pretty permalinks saves me a lot characters so I’m OK with it.

What do you think?

Do you prefer the wp.me shortlinks or the default WordPress query string permalinks?

Columbus Web Analytics Wednesday Jobs Website

Almost every month we have a Web Analytics Wednesday Group that meets here in Columbus.
woman with outstretched arms welcomes you to Web Analytics Wednesday

It’s vibrancy surprised me when I first attended, there were at least a 150 people, likely closer to 200.

The vibrancy has spilled over into a website for Columbus web analytics jobs. You can post a job, post a resumé and just get to know us a bit. If you’re interested, check it out!

Learn More About CBus WAW

I first stumbled upon the group on Meetup.com but we also have a Linked In Group.

I have no idea how many other WAW groups have regular meetings but it’s a safe bet there are others as the page about it currently lists upcoming Web Analytics Wednesdays on 4 continents!

Maybe I’ll See You There

50 States—or 49 Negative Keywords for PPC

Negative keywords often save a lot of money in PPC.

Local businesses generally don’t want traffic for queries containing other states.

I live in Columbus, Ohio and run a couple dozen AdWords campaigns for local businesses.

Negative Keywords: States With Cities Named Columbus

Most often I would see Columbus GA or Columbus Georgia in AdWords queries; initially, I would exclude them when I came across them.

There’s a:

  • Columbus, Georgia
  • Columbus, Indiana
  • Columbus, Mississippi
  • Columbus, Nebraska
  • Columbus, Texas
  • Columbus, Wisconsin
  • Columbus, Montana

It took me a while to figure out that I should just add all those states as negative keywords.

The 49 Other States To Use As Negative Keywords for PPC

google ads interface showing where to create negative keyword lists

Once I started thinking about that, I realized I could add every state other than Ohio to the negative keyword list.

Here’s the list (remove your state from the list before adding it to your ‘Shared Library’ as a negative keyword list):

  1. Alabama
  2. Alaska
  3. Arizona
  4. Arkansas
  5. California
  6. Colorado
  7. Connecticut
  8. Delaware
  9. Florida
  10. Georgia
  11. Hawaii
  12. Idaho
  13. Illinois
  14. Indiana
  15. Iowa
  16. Kansas
  17. Kentucky
  18. Louisiana
  19. Maine
  20. Maryland
  21. Massachusetts
  22. Michigan
  23. Minnesota
  24. Mississippi
  25. Missouri
  26. Montana
  27. Nebraska
  28. Nevada
  29. “New Hampshire”
  30. “New Jersey”
  31. “New Mexico”
  32. “New York”
  33. “North Carolina”
  34. “North Dakota”
  35. Ohio
  36. Oklahoma
  37. Oregon
  38. Pennsylvania
  39. “Rhode Island”
  40. “South Carolina”
  41. “South Dakota”
  42. Tennessee
  43. Texas
  44. Utah
  45. Vermont
  46. Virginia
  47. Washington
  48. “West Virginia”
  49. Wisconsin
  50. Wyoming

Punctuation, which in this case dictate match type matters. You may have to strip the double quotes and manually set the match type of the negative keywords if using the AdWords Editor.

State abbreviations as Negative Keywords

Be Careful!

I learned this the hard way: The 2 letter state abbreviations match a whole lot of stuff you probably don’t want to prevent your ads from showing on.

The best example of this (which is obvious when pointed out specifically) is the abbreviation for Indiana which is IN.

IN added to your negative keywords list prevents ads from showing on searches like my service IN my city.

There are several other state abbreviations that can trip you up as well like Lousianna which is abbreviated LA and Montana which is abbreviated MT. Having those will prevent your ads from showing on queries containing la (e.g. hotels near la guardia airport) or mt (e.g. restaurants in mt vernon ohio).

I’m sure there’s other states with abbreviations that could cause problems, so I recommend avoiding adding them wholesale.

That said, here’s the list of US state abbreviations:

  1. AK
  2. AL
  3. AR
  4. AZ
  5. CA
  6. CO
  7. CT
  8. DE
  9. FL
  10. GA
  11. HI
  12. IA
  13. ID
  14. IL
  15. IN
  16. KS
  17. KY
  18. LA
  19. MA
  20. MD
  21. ME
  22. MI
  23. MN
  24. MO
  25. MS
  26. MT
  27. NC
  28. ND
  29. NE
  30. NH
  31. NJ
  32. NM
  33. NV
  34. NY
  35. OH
  36. OK
  37. OR
  38. PA
  39. RI
  40. SC
  41. SD
  42. TN
  43. TX
  44. UT
  45. VA
  46. VT
  47. WA
  48. WI
  49. WV
  50. WY

Let me say again: Don’t use the abbreviations without careful review.

Additionally, it’s wise to keep in mind that ‘Washington D.C.’ and therefore ‘DC’ is an additional municipality that should be account for.

By making smart—even better—proactive negative keyword lists and adding them to your shared library you save yourself a lot of wasted clicks and needless expense.

Common Sense PPC Targeting

I’ve been managing a lot of PPC advertising lately, mostly AdWords but also Bing and Yahoo through Bing Ads. I’m good at it and I enjoy it (even though my interests are more holistic).

Not to toot my own horn but part of what makes me good at it is common sense; common sense seems to be lacking in Internet marketing.

Common Sense PPC Targeting Exclusions

Over and over I have noticed this but it is hard to quantify…until now:

My employer asked me to improve the CPA on our nationwide ‘E-Commerce’ AdWords campaign. I thought about places that were less likely to convert (a common subject to ponder in paid search marketing).

Recollecting my time in a town on the Mexican border, I thought about how hand-to-mouth life there was and how people obtained things through asking family and friends, not by searching the web (which was exasperating for me). I waxed philosophic on how no one there was concerned with online sales (“webpage design” was searched much more often than “website design” if that tells you anything).

Anyway, it occurred to me that exceptionally poor communities have a below average statistical interest in expensive websites, and therefore e-commerce websites.

I then went to Wikipedia and looked up the poorest counties in the U.S. both by household income and per capita income.

What follows is a combined list of the: a.) per capita; and b.) household income; poorest counties in the U.S. (as per Wikipedia, which is good enough for me). I added all of these counties as ‘locations’ to exclude from Google AdWords.

  • Adair County, Oklahoma
  • Allendale County, South Carolina
  • Apache County, Arizona
  • Bee County, Texas
  • Bell County, Kentucky
  • Bennett County, South Dakota
  • Benson County, North Dakota
  • Big Horn County, Montana
  • Breathitt County, Kentucky
  • Brooks County, Texas
  • Brooks County, Texas
  • Buchanan County, Virginia
  • Buffalo County, South Dakota
  • Bullock County, Alabama
  • Calhoun County, Georgia
  • Calhoun County, West Virginia
  • Cameron County, Texas
  • Casey County, Kentucky
  • Catahoula Parish, Louisiana
  • Charles Mix County, South Dakota
  • Chicot County, Arkansas
  • Cibola County, New Mexico
  • Claiborne County, Mississippi
  • Clark County, Idaho
  • Clay County, Georgia
  • Clay County, Kentucky
  • Clay County, West Virginia
  • Clinton County, Kentucky
  • Coahoma County, Mississippi
  • Concordia Parish, Louisiana
  • Conecuh County, Alabama
  • Corson County, South Dakota
  • Costilla County, Colorado
  • Culberson County, Texas
  • Cumberland County, Kentucky
  • Dewey County, South Dakota
  • Dimmit County, Texas
  • Duval County, Texas
  • East Carroll Parish, Louisiana
  • Elliott County, Kentucky
  • Evangeline Parish, Louisiana
  • Floyd County, Kentucky
  • Glacier County, Montana
  • Greene County, Alabama
  • Greene County, Mississippi
  • Guadalupe County, New Mexico
  • Hamilton County, Florida
  • Hancock County, Georgia
  • Hancock County, Tennessee
  • Harlan County, Kentucky
  • Harmon County, Oklahoma
  • Hidalgo County, Texas
  • Holmes County, Mississippi
  • Hudspeth County, Texas
  • Hughes County, Oklahoma
  • Humphreys County, Mississippi
  • Issaquena County, Mississippi
  • Jackson County, Kentucky
  • Jackson County, South Dakota
  • Jefferson County, Mississippi
  • Jefferson Davis County, Mississippi
  • Kalawao County, Hawai’i
  • Kemper County, Mississippi
  • Keya Paha County, Nebraska
  • Knott County, Kentucky
  • Knox County, Kentucky
  • La Salle County, Texas
  • Lake County, Tennessee
  • Lawrence County, Kentucky
  • Lee County, Arkansas
  • Lee County, Kentucky
  • Leflore County, Mississippi
  • Leslie County, Kentucky
  • Letcher County, Kentucky
  • Lewis County, Kentucky
  • Luna County, New Mexico
  • Macon County, Alabama
  • Macon County, Georgia
  • Madison County, Idaho
  • Madison Parish, Louisiana
  • Magoffin County, Kentucky
  • Martin County, Kentucky
  • Maverick County, Texas
  • McCreary County, Kentucky
  • McDowell County, West Virginia
  • McKinley County, New Mexico
  • McPherson County, South Dakota
  • Mellette County, South Dakota
  • Menifee County, Kentucky
  • Menominee County, Wisconsin
  • Mingo County, West Virginia
  • Monroe County, Arkansas
  • Morgan County, Kentucky
  • Navajo County, Arizona
  • Noxubee County, Mississippi
  • Oregon County, Missouri
  • Owsley County, Kentucky
  • Pemiscot County, Missouri
  • Perry County, Alabama
  • Perry County, Kentucky
  • Phillips County, Arkansas
  • Presidio County, Texas
  • Pushmataha County, Oklahoma
  • Quitman County, Mississippi
  • Randolph County, Georgia
  • Reeves County, Texas
  • Rolette County, North Dakota
  • Roosevelt County, Montana
  • Russell County, Kentucky
  • San Juan County, Utah
  • Searcy County, Arkansas
  • Shannon County, Missouri
  • Shannon County, South Dakota
  • Sharkey County, Mississippi
  • Sioux County, North Dakota
  • Starr County, Texas
  • Stone County, Arkansas
  • Summers County, West Virginia
  • Sumter County, Alabama
  • Sunflower County, Mississippi
  • Tallahatchie County, Mississippi
  • Tensas Parish, Louisiana
  • Thurston County, Nebraska
  • Todd County, South Dakota
  • Tunica County, Mississippi
  • Wade Hampton, Alaska
  • Wayne County, Kentucky
  • Webb County, Texas
  • Webster County, West Virginia
  • Wheatland County, Montana
  • Whitley County, Kentucky
  • Wilcox County, Alabama
  • Wilkinson County, Mississippi
  • Willacy County, Texas
  • Winn Parish, Louisiana
  • Wolfe County, Kentucky
  • Woodruff County, Arkansas
  • Zapata County, Texas
  • Zavala County, Texas
  • Ziebach County, South Dakota

So, if you have a product or service which appeals to people of higher socio-economic status, consider using this to exclude PPC advertising in that area.

Conversely, if you have a product or service that appeals to the less affluent, consider using this list as a starting point for targeting…that is, if you trust Wikipedia.

OSX Software for SEO, Automation & Development

After you update your OS, the surest way to know that everything will work right is to make sure you have all the software that is likely to be used installed.

This is a long list, and most of it is command-line software but you’ll like it because it’s mostly “package management,” “task automation,” and “version control,” and “virtualization” software.

Package/Dependency Management: Installs stuff for you (like homebrew)

Task/Automation: Builds and tests stuff for you

Version Control: Let’s you change/update/revert software easily

Virtualization: Let’s you install software on a “virtual machine” so you can run Windows/Linux software on your Mac (also lets you install software on a ‘virtual’ computer which greatly reduces the risk of any software/malware/problems hurting your computer.

Follow the step by step instruction in this awesome tutorial:

Install (or Update)

  1. Install ‘Git’
  2. Install ‘Homebrew
  3. Install ‘RVM
  4. Install ‘XCode’
  5. Install ‘XCode Command Line Tools’
  6. Install ‘XQuartz

Additionally Install (in this order):

  1. Install ‘Node.js‘  (includes NPM)
  2. Install ‘Yeoman‘(includes yo, bower, grunt)
  3. Install ‘Compass‘ (includes Sass)
  4. Install ‘Virtual Box
  5. Install ‘Vagrant

Recommended (all available from Get Mac Apps) :

  1. Install ‘Sublime Text 3
  2. Install ‘Gimp‘ (open-source bitmap graphics editor, a PhotoShop alternative)
  3. Install ‘Inkscape‘ (open-source vector graphics editor, an Illustrator alternative)
  4. Install ‘The Unarchiver‘ (make and open archive files easily)
  5. Install ‘Alfred‘ (fantastic productivity shortcut application)

Last time I updated my OS, it ‘broke’ everything so don’t rely on anything you already installed to work after you update.

Almost all of those have clear, simple directions (either a copy and paste command line prompt for Terminal or a ‘click here to download’ button).

If you have any problems feel free to send me questions.

Follow all the directions and you should be fine.