Google PageRank Update June 2011 Rolling Out

Google PageRankGoogle is rolling out a new PageRank update to websites as we speak. This is the second update of Google PageRank in this year. Google had also rolled out updates to PageRank in January 2011.

I have seeing a lot of webmasters tweeting about PageRank updates and most of them seems positive. Google has been making several changes to their search engine lately and have heavily penalized websites through Panda updates. We had written about mistakes you should avoid if you are trying to recover from Panda algorithm.

In addition to banning some big sites, the Panda update also managed to push scraper website on top of search results, however, those problems have reportedly been fixed with the new Panda 2.2 update.

Even though PageRank is not a very important in ranking sites in search engines, sites with higher PageRank are often trusted more. If you have been seeing some drastic traffic loss, a positive PageRank update could mean that Google still sees your site authoritative. However, you might want to avoid making simple mistakes and get penalized.

Did you see a PageRank update for your website? Feel free to share your rankings through your comments.

Fix Ad.DoubleClick.Net DARTIframe.html 404 Error

If you check your logs regularly, you might notice 404 errors which are valid. However, several times most of the 404 errors might not be a fault of yours at all.

One of the most annoying 404 errors I have had to deal was with Google’s Doubleclick DARTIframe 404 error, which was supposed to be used for expandable ads or Interstitial ads which needed to be displayed on the site.

Google Double Click 404 Errors

More likely than not every website which uses or a Google display ad network might see an error as shown above. Clicking on the link will give you no clue as to what is wrong.

Thankfully, I found a thread, or rather a discussion which had an answer to solve this problem. You can read more about it here. However, if you are looking for a quick solution to fix the Ad.DoubleClick.Net DARTIframe 404 Error, here is the cause of the problem and how you can solve it.

Why Does This DARTIframe.html 404 Error Happen?

According to the document I read, and from what I know as a developer; in many cases expandable ads require permissions from the website it runs on while they do it in iFrames. This disallows them from displaying.

In most of these cases, ad networks use a workaround by hosting a file on the server they are running on to circumvent the issue. DoubleClick does it too. However, neither Google or DoubleClick have a FAQ or help topic listed about it.

How To Fix This Issue?

To fix the DoubleClick DARTIframe issue, you will need to create a new folder in the root directory of your website named as doubleclick. For example, the one we have here is http://techie-buzz.com/doubleclick/ and then upload a file provided by them called DARTIframe.html to that directory.

It is pretty simple, but not documented by Google itself which is shameful. Once you create the directory and upload the file you will not get 404 errors and your ad earnings might just go up.

You can download the ZIP file which contains the DARTIframe.html file and instructions to implement it from here. I hope this helps you to solve your problem.

Easily Remove URLs From Google Index and Google Cache With Google Webmaster Tools

is definitely one of the best tools any site owner can use to find out how his/her site is performing in Google. In addition to showing search queries, backlinks and sitemaps, the service also has features such as search statistics, site hacked notifications, site performance to measure website load time, outdated software notification and content analysis among other things.

Another feature that has is the ability to remove a URLs from Google’s search index. However, the earlier process was a bit tedious. Today, Google has rolled out a new Remove URL tool which simplifies the process of removing URLs from the index.

To Remove a webpage from Google’s index, you will need to login to your Google Webmaster account and administrate the site you want to remove the URL from.

Remove URL Google Webmaster

Now Click on the Site configuration in the left hand side menu and select “Crawler access”. On the Crawler access page click on the “Remove URL” tag and click on the “New removal request” button to start the process for removing a website.

Remove URL from Google Index and Cache

The new URL removal tool allows you to remove the page from Google index and cache, remove the page from the cache or remove an entire directory.

The new simplified process makes it easier for users to remove content since they don’t have to first block the content now. With the help of the removal request, users can remove any webpage from the website they own. Additionally, they can also remove the page from Google cache.

Google cache usually stores pages for a long time even after the original webpage is deleted, so allowing users to remove pages from cache is a extremely helpful step.

You must note that the removal of URL from the index is only temporary and will last for 90 days. During this period Google may crawl the page but it will not display it in Google search. For permanent removal, users will need to return a 404 or 410 status for the page or block the page from being crawled by using robots.txt or the noindex meta tag.

Important Note: Remove URL tool is only available to people who own those websites. If you are an individual and don’t own the content you are looking to remove, you might want to visit the Webpage removal request tool.

Fix UNINSTALL_WPSUPERCACHE Must Be Set To A Non-blank Value

In my post about Techie Buzz’s Architecture, I had stated that I used a WordPress plugin for caching   called W3 Total Cache. I love that plugin and have been using it for over a year now. However, prior to that I used another popular caching plugin called WP Super Cache which did the job well too.

However, I removed the plugin for some reasons and started using W3 Total Cache instead. Today, while performing a regular maintenance, I decided to remove plugins that I am not using anymore. One of the plugins I was removing was WP Super Cache. However, while uninstalling the plugin I was getting an error:

UNINSTALL_WPSUPERCACHE must be set to a non-blank value in uninstall.php

The problem was that it was looking for a non-empty value for a field. Now, I could have simply deleted the plugin folder using FTP, however, it would mean that there would be unwanted settings and files lying around on the server. However, I   was able to fix the error and uninstall the plugin.

If you are looking to fix this issue, here are the steps you need to follow:

Step 1: Use FTP or WordPress inbuilt plugin editor to edit the wp-super-cache/uninstall.php file.

Fix WP Super Cache Uninstall Problem

Step 2: Find the text

define( ‘UNINSTALL_WPSUPERCACHE’, ” );

and replace it with

define( ‘UNINSTALL_WPSUPERCACHE’, ‘1’ );

Save the file and try to uninstall the plugin again. It should work this time. Additionally, make sure to follow the other uninstallation notes for WP Super Cache too.

How To Setup And Use Memcached With WordPress

A few days ago, I spoke about the architecture that powers Techie Buzz. In that post, I had mentioned that memcached was one of our key ingredients.

Memcache is a powerful tool to share objects across servers and it is used by several big sites including , Yahoo and many more. The best part about using memcached on your server is that you can cut down on your database queries significantly and store commonly used objects in memory and share it across multiple servers.

If you use WordPress on a multi-server setup, you can easily cut down on DB queries by up-to 50% by implementing memcached. If you are interested in knowing how to implement memcached on your server, here is a tutorial. The assumption is that you are using Ubuntu, if not, the installation steps might change.

How To Install Memcached And Configure It

Step 1: Install memcached using the command given below

sudo apt-get install memcached

Step 2: After you have installed memcached you will have to configure it through a .conf file, to do that use the command given below

vi /etc/memcached.conf

Step 3: In the configuration file you will find few parameters, you can ignore the -d, -u and logfile parameters and leave it as default. However, change the -m, -p and -i parameters to suit your servers. The -m parameter specifies the memory that will be allocated to memcache. The -p parameter specifies the port that memcached will run on and the -l (ell) parameter specifies the IP address the memcached server will run on. You will need to change the -l (ell) parameter value from 127.0.0.1 to a local or global IP address of your server. This is necessary because your memcached server will be accessed by outside servers and using 127.0.0.1 will not work then.

Once you have done that run the following command.

service memcached restart or /etc/init.d/memcached restart

Using Memcached With WordPress

Once you have setup your memcached server, it is time to now setup WordPress to use memcached to store your objects. To do that, head over to http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/memcached/ and install the memcached plugin for WordPress. Unlike other plugins, you will have to drop this file into the wp-content directory and not the plugins directory.

You will have to install additional plugins for your server to make use of this plugin, namely PECL memcache extension which can be downloaded from http://pecl.php.net/package/memcache.

Now comes the part where you will actually tell WordPress to use memcached as an object storing mechanism. To do that, open the wp-config file and add the line below to it.

global $memcached_servers;
$memcached_servers = array(‘default’ => array(‘memcache-server-ip-or-name:11211′));

The array is used to define multiple memcached servers which can be used for your site. Please make sure to edit the name/ip of the server and the port before you save the file.

That’s it. Now just refresh your cache and WordPress should start storing the objects in memcache and will access your database very sparsely.  Do let me know if you have any problems or difficulties in setting this up through your comments.

Bonus Note: You can browse and manage your memcache server through a WordPress plugin called WP Memcached Manager which can be downloaded at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-memcached-manager/.

How To Use Ubuntu Font On Your Website or Webpage

The Ubuntu font was released last year in August to everyone and it was definitely one of the best looking fonts I have come across. I also use the Ubuntu font extensively on my PC thanks to this handy trick to install Ubuntu font on Windows.

Use Ubuntu Font on Websites

As I was redesigning the website to give a fresher look to it, I wanted to make use of the Ubuntu font for it. Unfortunately, it is not a web font yet modern web browsers won’t understand it.

However, you can use the Ubuntu font for your website or any webpage on the internet thanks to Google Web Fonts. In , you can also change the font of any website using a called Google Font Directory.

Ubuntu Font for Websites

To implement the Ubuntu font on your website or webpage, head over to this page and click on the link which says "Use this font". On this page you will find code and instructions to use the Ubuntu font on your website. Just copy over the code to your webpage and you can specify your font as "Ubuntu"

Google Web Fonts also has several other fonts which can be used on any websites or webpages, head over to http://www.google.com/webfonts to browse the entire collection.

P.S. Don’t forget to tell me what you think of the new Techie Buzz design.

Find Out The Best Web Hosts With Hosting Site Reviews

[Sponsored] Most of us get confused while looking for the best web host, since there are hundreds of web hosting provider, which claims to offer the best services, compared to their competitors. But, in reality, the scenario is completely different. Some web hosts provides cheap hosting, but it comes with some limitations. On the other hand, web hosts with out-of-the-box features and unlimited hosting will burn a hole in your pocket. To solve this problem, you will need to check out the detailed reviews of the top web hosts to learn more about their service and pricing structure.

Hosting Site Reviews is a simple and amazing site which provides detailed reviews of the best web hosting sites. This site currently reviews 34 web hosting providers. Hosting Site Reviews was created to give the users an unbiased look at the top web hosting companies on the internet. The web hosting providers are divided into 4 different categories to suit your needs – Green Hosting, Linux Hosting, Reseller Hosting and Windows Hosting. You can also select the web hosts based on their ratings.

hosting review

If you are looking for unlimited space and bandwidth, then just head over to the space and bandwidth column and look out for the web hosts offering unlimited space and bandwidth for your future website or blog. After selecting the required web host, we recommend you to read the detailed hosting review to find out, whether the services offered by them are perfect or has some flaws. If you are still not convinced, even after reading the  detailed review,  then look out for other web hosts. Currently, there are in-depth review of more than 15 web hosts at the Hosting Site Reviews.

If you are still confused, then check out the list of top 10 web hosts, which are based on a list of criteria that are necessary in determining the qualities of a good web host. The different factors taken into considerations are Uptime, Interface Usability, Reliability, Customer Service and Average Customer Ratings.

You can also write your own reviews and submit it to the Hosting Site Reviews. Your review will be published on the site after the approval. It will not only help others to find the best web hosts, but it will also help them to learn more about the value added features offered by the web hosts. Hosting Site Reviews will definitely help you to find the best web host according to your needs and requirements.

nRelate Is An Excellent Related Posts Widget For WordPress and Blogger

My journey with related posts widgets has been very diverse. I first started out with an excellent native WordPress related posts plugin called YARRP. However, I had to get rid of it because of the massive database overhead it had and had to go with LinkWithin, which I quickly ditched for Outbrain.

I have come to love Outbrain a lot, however, over the time that I have been using it, I have found a major problem with it. Relevancy. The Outbrain related posts are not as relevant to the article as I would want them to be.

outbrain_related

For example, take this post. The related posts widget continues to show you posts which are mostly unrelated to the article, thus resulting in lesser clickthroughs. After all, doesn’t related posts have to be related contextually to the content you are reading?

As usual, I had to find an alternative for Outbrain which really did the relevancy job well. I could always have used one of the related posts plugins available for WordPress, but for a high traffic blog, database overhead is really unwanted. You might ask “Don’t widgets add site overhead?”. Well it does, but I would trade a little bit of site overhead with database overhead any day.

So, did I find anything? Yes, indeed. I found an excellent related posts service called nRelate, which not only does the job well, but is astonishingly accurate at providing relevant content for the article people are reading. The screenshot below you the related posts nRelate served for the same post that Outbrain did.

nRelate_related_posts

I am thinking of switching to nRelate completely, but I still like Outbrain for the ratings widget it provides and will continue to use it. I am still making a transition to completely make the switch for all related content to nRelate, till then I will continue using Outbrain.

One thing I liked about both Outbrain and nRelate is the support team is awesome and always respond to my queries. It is definitely a great team to work with.

If you are interested in trying out nRelate, you can do so by visiting their website at http://nRelate.com/. Big thumbs up to them for the awesome job they did with their widgets. They also have some other things they are working on, including popular posts and more. I definitely look forward to them completing those and using them.

Post Meta Values Automatically Deleted in WordPress?

I use a lot of custom meta fields in WordPress posts for several reasons. They allow me to manipulate multiple posts without having to write code for a specific conditions.

WordPress Logo

However, of late, I came across a very annoying problem where custom meta fields were automatically deleted for some reason that was unknown to me. It was annoying me to no end because I had to manually go in and add those custom fields for the posts over and over again.

I didn’t have much time to figure out what is wrong and left in some debug code which would allow me to later on see how things were disappearing. Today, I checked those logs and found out the problem with the disappearing custom meta fields.

The problem was that, WordPress processes hooks for the edit_post, publish_post and save_post not just for editing the posts but also various other functions like while approving comments too, but the code in question always tried to find the $_POST variables and delete them if they didn’t exist. This was the mystery behind those disappearing post custom meta fields.

Solution For The Problem?

If you are not a developer, you are better off disabling those plugins and adding those fields manually using WordPress write interface. However, if you use a plugin you might lose additional functionality it provides. You could always send an email to the plugin developer asking them to make the appropriate changes.

If you are a developer, Mark Jaquith has a post which talks about avoiding such problems. You can read the post here and modify your plugin or theme to fix this issue.

Google Analytics March 15 Traffic Drop? Not a Farmer Update Issue

As I was looking through my stats for yesterday, I saw a huge drop in traffic. Though most of the other statistics tool I use reported proper numbers.

Google Analytics March 15 Traffic Drop

I sent out an update on and @Blogsdna responded back that he is seeing similar issues with the Analytics for yesterday. It looks like Google Analytics has had some issues with traffic reporting for several blogs from yesterday.

If you see a huge drop in traffic for Google Analytics for March 15, 2011, it is not because you are hit with a farmer update penalty algorithm rolled out by Google recently. It is because of a glitch in the Analytics reporting software.

However, if you are seeing a long term traffic drop you might have been penalized. I had written up some instructions on how to find if you have been penalized by Google. Do check it out if you are seeing a consistent drop.

I have reached out to Google for a statement regarding this and will update this post.

Update: Google responded back and said that it was a known issue. The Analytics Dashboard page has more information about this.