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Duplicate Content

It’s really not hard to spot duplicate content.  And, it’s even easier to check it out with the latest browsers. Just highlight a couple sentences (you can highlight the whole thing, but Google only considers so many characters), right click, and let Google do the rest.

So what’s the big deal about duplicate content?  Does it hurt my search engine rankings?  How can I minimize it’s impact?  We’re going to answer all these questions in this post.  But first, let’s walk through a quick example. A recent blog post on a realtor’s website caught our attention:

duplicate content example

So we highlighted and copied the first couple of sentences…







…and did a quick Google search of everything we just highlighted & copied:






Voila!  We have 355,000 other websites that contain the same verbiage:4















So, how can this hurt?  Assuming you’re like these 355,000 websites and don’t include proper attribution with a link to the owner (and all the ones we checked don’t), then this won’t necessarily hurt your search rankings (read, penalty), but it will subject your page to being excluded from the search results.  That’s because the search engine (e.g. Google) doesn’t know who authored the content. And without a clear authoritative source, the search engines will tend to simply ignore it.

Next, what does it tell your readers? Answers will vary by person, but overall, we think there’s more potential downside than there is benefit.  Especially if your supposedly original article gets noticed by a reader who saw the same thing on another website, or talked with a friend who read the same thing elsewhere. Perhaps on a competitor’s website. You run the risk of being tagged as disingenuous at best, and of plagiarism at worst.  Take it a step further and try one of the social media sharing buttons – on the social site, the resulting post usually begins, “By (website owners name)…”  This makes it look like the blog post was authored by you.

Why take a chance?  Sure, there are industry blog subscriptions for everything from real estate to car repairs, from acupuncture to landscaping. If you’re determined to use them to fill an otherwise sparse webpage, at least adhere to best practices (see Google’s own recommendations) and give credit where credit’s due. Better yet, put the time, thought, and effort into truly original content and you may be surprised at your visitors’ reactions!




How to find Internet Explorer after Windows10 upgrade

We had two frantic calls for help in a single day from clients who couldn’t find their Internet Explorer browser after upgrading to Windows10.  “My bookmarks are gone!”  “I don’t like this ‘Edge’ browser!”  And so on…save IE to taskbar

Relax – despite Microsoft’s attempts to get you to use it’s new “Edge” browser, your trusty old IE is still there.  In this post, we’ll show you how to access it, and create a shortcut in your task bar (that small horizontal bar across the bottom of your Windows screen) so it’s only 1 click away.  Not only is IE there, your bookmarks and other settings will be there as well.

Start by simply typing (without quotes) “Internet Explorer” into the search box at the bottom, left (small rectangle that’s usually pre-populated with “Search the web and Windows”).  At or near the top of the results, you’ll see the familiar logo and the words “Desktop App.”  Simply right-click on that logo and select “Pin to Taskbar.”  You’ll then see it, along with other shortcuts, along the bottom of your screen:




Android update
piedmont technology blog

Pencil Sketch Photo (example of new photo templates in latest Android update)

I finally caved and accepted the persistent reminders to upgrade my (android) phone.  And just noticed that it includes some new photo editing templates. After snapping a photo and opening your pictures folder, tap it once to open an editing toolbar.  You can experiment with different settings and templates and save them to the studio folder while retaining the original photo. Kinda cool..






Go Incognito

incognitoIt’s a two-edged sword, this privacy thing. We benefit from a HUGE amount of FREE online services from a wide variety of sources, but at the expense of being exposed to marketing and advertising.  Targeted marketing and advertising.  “And how do they target?” you might ask.  By tracking your online travels via cookies and other methods.

Sometimes you may want to forgo some of the ‘conveniences’ made possible by this tracking; or, perhaps you’re just borrowing a friend’s PC and don’t want him seeing what you did or where you went.  Just switch over to incog_icon“incognito” mode – all the major browsers offer it under various names. Here’s Google’s quick reference on using incognito mode with the Chrome browser (click the pick for a quick trip to the full Google article):



If it’s good enough for the FBI cheif…

Update:  Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is also on board with this low-tech solution!  In fact, he tapes the camera and the microphone.

Click above fot the full NY TImes article

Click above for the full NY TImes article

Recently, FBI Director James Comey spoke at Kenyon college (no relation 😉 ) about security and privacy. Perhaps the most notable take-away (aside from the routine list of do’s and dont’s), was this quote:

“…I put a piece of tape over the camera. Because I saw somebody smarter than I am had a piece of tape over their camera.”

dddI’ve been doing this for years…and, even if you’re a frequent skyper or facetimer, I’d strongly recommend you do the same.  Takes about 30 seconds to make and stick a little flap over your laptop’s webcam.  If it’s good enough for the FBI cheif, it’s good enough for me.

Here’s a link to the full presentation on NPR’s website.

Faux Pas #1 – Ignoring voicemail messages.

If someone who is trying to reach you leaves a voicemail, it’s better to listen to it before having this conversation:

“Did you get my message?  I left you a voicemail.”
“No, I just saw a missed call from you..”

After all, they took the time to listen to the ringing, your greeting, and then to leave a message; and, frequently, it wasn’t one that even required a call-back.  How do you feel when this happens to you?

Faux Pas #2 – Jumping from one platform to another.

Unless you and the other person agree beforehand, it’s much better to complete a conversation where you started it.  Replying to a Facebook message via email, replying to a Tweet via a post in a Google+ group, replying to…well, you get the idea.  We all use (abuse) caller ID and we can see who sent messages on social media, do we have to also use a hodge podge of platforms to avoid actually talking with one another realtime?

Faux Pas #3 – Not sweeping the front porch.

By this, I mean keeping your voicemail greeting short, sweet, and current.  And please, please don’t let your mailbox (email and voicemail) fill up.  What kind of message does that send about you?


The power of “vs”

The power of “vs”

Let Google do the preliminary research for you!

Ever wondered what the other options were?  If you’re considering a purchase and aren’t sure what else is out there that may be a better choice, just search for whatever vs…   and watch Google do the rest:

Wonder what other search engines are out there?



How about alternatives to photoshop?



Can you relate?       😉

If you have a jail-break iPhone, read on…

If you have a jail-break iPhone, read on…

Yet another good reason to NOT JAILBREAK your iPhone (or droid, for that matter)

(click graphic for full story on CNN)






On this day in technology history…

In April, 2003 – Apple opened the iTunes Music Store with 200,000 songs for 99 cents a piece. Songs could play on any iPod and up to three authorized Macs. Windows users were out of luck but tracks could be burned to unlimited numbers of CDs.apple_ipod

WordPress Security Release – Update to 4.2.1

WordPress doesn’t frequently tag an update or new version as “critical,” so when they do I pay attention. If you administer a WordPress site, you should as well. 4-28-2015 7-54-47 AM

incognitoIt’s sometimes a two-edged sword, this privacy thing. We benefit from a HUGE amount of FREE online services from a wide variety of sources, but at the expense of being exposed to marketing and advertising.  Targeted marketing and advertising.  “And how do they target?” you might ask.  By tracking your online travels via cookies and other methods.

Sometimes you want to forgo some of the ‘conveniences’ made incog_iconpossible by tracking — or perhaps you’re just borrowing a friend’s PC or tablet and don’t want him seeing what you did or where you went: hop over to “incognito” mode – all the major browers offer it under various names.

Here’s Google’s quick reference on their version
(click the pick for a quick trip to the full post):



A matter of perspective

A man flying in a hot air balloon suddenly realizes he’s lost. He reduces height and spots a man down below. He lowers the balloon further baloonand shouts to get directions, “Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?” The man below says: “Yes. You’re in a hot air balloon, hovering 30 feet above this field.” “You must work in Information Technology,” says the balloonist. “I do” replies the man. “How did you know?” “Well,” says the balloonist, “everything you have told me is technically correct, but It’s of no use to anyone.” The man below replies, “You must work in management.” “I do,” replies the balloonist, “But how’d you know?” “Well”, says the man, “you don’t know where you are or where you’re going, but you expect me to be able to help. You’re in the same position you were before we met, but now it’s my fault.”

Excellent about online security.  You did know that today is “Safer Internet Day,” didn’t you?!

A compendium of thoughts, reflections, and suggestions regarding life online.

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