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March 6, 2011

Get Meta Tags, Response Headers and Cookies

I wrote a small script to fetch some meta data for any web page. The script loads the Keywords, Title and Description meta tag values and compares to some guidelines from SEO guru Jerry West.

I attempt to display as many Server Response Headers as I can. I omitted some esoteric headers but if I get requests for them I can add them in.

Here’s what the results look like:

Title, Keywords, Description and Server Response Header Analyzer

Title, Keywords, Description and Server Response Header Analyzer

You can go to the page directly at http://www.toshop.com/get-info.cfm

February 25, 2011

WordPress 3.1 Update: Could Not Open the Page, Too Many Redirects

<a href="http://www.wordpress official website.org/”>WordPress had a shiny new 3.1 update I found out about today. The features looked pretty interesting so I decided to install it on the sites I host on my windows 2008 server. I downloaded the files and ran the upgrade.php to install the update. On most of the sites, I had no problems. One I’m in the middle of setting up was giving me the “Could Not Open the Page, Too Many Redirects” error. What is going on?

CirclesI’m working with my graphics guy and wondered if he made some changes to that site. That was the only web site with the problem. He was also supposed to be working on a widget but he said he was just uploading some images at the time. That wasn’t it. What else could it be?

I use the web.config file within IIS to do this type of redirect. Anything not www.domain.com format will be redirected there. As soon as I took that code out of the web.config, the site started loading. But not the way it was supposed to load.

Something was redirecting it back to http://domain.com/ even if I had www.domain.com loaded. That seems to be causing the loop. Something was fighting with IIS! Since I had just upgraded wordpress, guess where I started looking?

Google to the rescue

I found a handy post talking about this very issue here:

http://wordpress.org/support/topic/windows-server-infinite-redirect-after-upgrading-to-31?replies=4

Others were having the same problem. One poster, Jarnez, posted a solution that seemed to fit with what I was experiencing:

I just installed this plugin:
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/permalink-fix-disable-canonical-redirects-pack/

And it seems to have fixed my issue. I can bring up all the site pages now.

That seemed like my solution too. Disabling the canonical redirects in WordPress made sense with my theory. I also installed the plugin.

The site continued to load fine.

I put back the code in my web.config to redirect to www.domain.com and VOILA! The site was working again.

So it looks like something funky is going on with WordPress 3.1 and canonical redirects on windows servers. I installed this on five sites and only one had this problem. Hopefully if you have a similar problem, this is a possible solution for you.

January 22, 2011

Can You Trust Your Flesch-Kincaid Readability Scores?

WritingI subscribed to ScribeSEO a while ago and really enjoy it. One of the nice report items inside of it is the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Score of your article. Wikipedi has the equations used to calculate these scores.  Since the equations are easy to program, I thought scores from various sources would be very close.

I was wrong!

I wanted to compare the score from ScribeSEO to other tools so I went in search of other readability score tools.  The source was an article I wrote about synthetic stock options.  It’s not pure text as it has some math in it so perhaps it was a bad source, but it was a real article so I wanted to see how these tools scored it:

http://scribeseo.com/
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 60.5
Flesch-Kincaid Grade level: grade level of “7th or 8th grade.”
Their range was 60-70 for the grade so I assume it was nearer the upper range, or 8th grade level.

In Microsoft MacOffice 2011
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 73.6
Flesch-Kincaid Grade level: 6.7

The Readability Test Tool at http://www.read-able.com.
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 80.7
Flesch-Kincaid Grade level: 4.3

http://www.standards-schmandards.com/exhibits/rix/
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 45
Flesch-Kincaid Grade level: 14

http://www.online-utility.org/english/readability_test_and_improve.jsp
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 59.49
Flesch-Kincaid Grade level: 11.71

http://www.addedbytes.com/code/readability-score/
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 64.40
Flesch-Kincaid Grade level: 11.10

http://juicystudio.com/services/readability.php
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 73.67
Flesch-Kincaid Grade level: 4.88

http://www.editcentral.com/gwt1/EditCentral.html
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 81.4
Flesch-Kincaid Grade level: 7.6
The other readability calculators I found were old, limited in number of characters you could check or downloadable software.

Putting it all together, we have:

Reading Ease Grade Level Source
81.4 7.6 http://www.editcentral.com/gwt1/EditCentral.html
80.7 4.3 http://www.read-able.com/
73.7 4.9 http://juicystudio.com/services/readability.php
73.6 6.7 Mac Office 2011
64.4 11.1 http://www.addedbytes.com/code/readability-score/
60.5 8.0 http://scribeseo.com/
59.5 11.7 http://www.online-utility.org/english/readability_test_and_improve.jsp
45.0 14.0 http://www.standards-schmandards.com/exhibits/rix/
67.35 8.54 Average
12.37 3.43 Standard Deviation

So what does this mean to me?

There is a LOT of variation between tools.  Don’t just use one tool and assume it is correct.  As you can see, no two are the same and they are all using the same equations!    I’ll keep using ScribeSEO as my primary tool.  The Grade Level is very close to the average of all of the tools.  I’ll compare to MacOffice 2011 since it is on my computer,  handy, reasonably fast and in the middle of the pack with the numbers.

If you do more testing with other text, I’d be curious what you find out!

Oh.. I checked this article with ScribeSEO and I had a Reading Ease score of 48.77!  I suspect these tools don’t work well with reports like this.

Leave a comment and I’ll comment on your blog!

January 18, 2011

Cool Commenting Policy

So I wandered over to Paul Wolfe’s Blog with his New Commenting Policy and I loved it right away! So what is it?

ElectricityIt’s a great idea that if you make a thoughtful post on my website, I’ll reply, and visit your website and post a comment on your website!

It’s a universal principle of influence: Reciprocity. [full length version] Dr. Robert Cialdini describes this in a fantastic speech at Stanford. The basic idea is we have a social obligation in our society to give back to someone if they give something to you.

This could take up some time when/if I have lots and lots of comments, but I’ll try to keep up as long as possible!

I look forward to hearing from you and putting this cool commenting policy into practice!