Essential Search Engine Information Technology for Political Junkies and Activists: The URL & Image Filename

Think like a robot and a user searching on Google

People spend a lot of time and money trying to become pals with Google and social media software algorithms which are ever-changing. Search engine optimization is a tough balance between robots and humans, but I’m going to try and simplify it for you with easily usable techniques. SEO is definitely a mixture of science and art, however for the average political or personal website or blog, you can quickly avoid a few no-nos and institute effective techniques.

Don’t go crazy, sometimes you just have to go full on human, but most days it will be a compromise between humans and robots. I almost always do not implement my own advice 100% but the essence is there.

The URL

Super important, this is what Google first sees and heavily weights. Generally in WordPress the URL and the Post Subject are the same but they don’t have to be. Think like a robot and a user searching on Google. Just because every human in Uptown Chicago knows who the incumbent alderman is, spell it out. Google doesn’t know and could care less. To me, ‘That Horrible Alderman’ says everything to get my attention. To a robot, ‘Chicago’s 46th Ward Alderman Cappleman Builds Luxury Housing While Homeless Sidewalk Sleep’ says a lot more. Not only that, but the 2nd example contains things people are more likely to search on. No one except me searches on ‘horrible alderman’. In this election season (a little less so the rest of the year), people search on ’46th Ward Alderman Chicago’ all day and night.

The Image

Visually engaging the human reader is also super important. Google doesn’t read text in your images. Image text is useless, and Google and social media will even penalize you in their algorithms for text they perceive are predominantly text. The image in this post is illustrative to you to what is being discussed here but not the best for Google and social media.

Google and social media may make some kind of attempt to determine if your image is adult-oriented, violently graphic or what not, but generally they are not going to determine wow this is a great image or make quality judgements, but humans do, so put your best image forward.

The robots do however pay attention to the image filename, which many ignore to their detriment. The worst is straight out of the camera, like ‘DSC12345.jpg’, don’t even think of doing it. Still bad is image names for your convenience, like ‘view outside my south window.jpg’. No one will search for those.

Don’t think to yourself no one sees the filename. Google eats filenames like mustard on a hot dog and humans get them in image searches a lot. A good file name should start with your site name and then a good description, maybe even the post title or URL, like ‘openUptown 46th Ward Alderman Cappleman Builds Luxury Housing While Homeless Sidewalk Sleep.jpg’.

The Headline

To consider the subject a headline is really blowing a chance to not only expand and clarify to humans your subject/URL but also to feed robots with another <H1></H1> tag, which is significant. It’s not just visually standing out. Robots weight Headline tags higher, especially the 1st ones.

OK, Happy Trails!

Thanks,
-Yehuda

Be sure to join the openUptown Facebook Group, there will be new focus in 2019+ on this group!

Essential Social Media Information Technology for Political Junkies and Activists: The Facebook Scraper

https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug

Sharing without it can be less than optimized

Everyone has seen it or had it happen to them. You share a web page you know has a photo and Facebook does not see it. Another common issue is that you change the photo or edit the headline/text and Facebook does not see the changes.

Facebook Scraper to the rescue. Using this tool to clear Facebook’s cache is indispensable in my opinion. In a perfect world Facebook’s auto-scraping of your shares would proceed display, but in the real world it often fails to keep up, so you need to manually reset the cache. Super easy.

  1. Enter the URL
  2. Press the ‘Debug’ button
  3. Press the ‘Scrape Again’ button (Occasionally you will have to do this several times. I had to do it 3 times for this article)

There may be other issues which cause bad image display. Generally Facebook prefers something close to a 2:1 aspect ratio for the image. A Facebook scrape on a near 2:1 ratio image usually does the trick.

The Facebook Debugger/Scraper also shows various other Open Graph settings which may be beyond your ability to change unless you have admin access to blogging software like WordPress which allows customization (discussed elsewhere in this blog, search on Open Graph).

Social media posts with good images ALWAYS get significantly more views and shares, it’s a fact.

Thanks!
-Yehuda

Be sure to join the openUptown Facebook Group, there will be new focus in 2019+ on this group!

The Facebook Open Graph, Google+ and Twitter Card Tags WordPress Plugin

Part 1: Duplicate Open Graph Meta Tags and the Facebook Open Graph Object Debugger
Part 2: Facebook Open Graph Object Debugger and the Share App ID Missing Warning
Part 3: More control sharing your WordPress site with Yoast SEO plugin

A Yoast configuration recommendation

SEO > Social > Facebook > Add Open Graph meta data > Disabled
SEO > Social > Twitter > Add Twitter card meta data > Disabled

Then add the ‘Facebook Open Graph, Google+ and Twitter Card Tags’ WordPress Plugin to replace those functions.

It’s a big improvement in my opinion. You’ll see in the image above that ‘On Post/Page, use image from:’ has all 5 boxes check-marked, I recommend that setting but of course, test with your own content sharing to see what is best. I try to start every blog post with a 1024px wide image with roughly a 2:1 aspect ratio, but that is not always the case, and those checked boxes will determine what to do next.

Also be sure to check-mark: Settings > Facebook Open Graph, Google+ and Twitter Card Tags > Open Graph > Facebook Open Graph Tags cache > Clear cache.

This will save you the trouble of manually scraping the Facebook cache when you change configurations or post content, huge help!

Any questions on other configuration options, holler at me.

Thanks!
-Yehuda

More Ubuntu 16.04 network security with tcpwrappers, sysctl and nmap

tcpwrappers

It may be old school, tcpwrappers is deprecated in many OS. It’s easier than a firewall to make fast or temporary changes and most importantly provides redundancy. With tcpwrappers and a firewall, there is no single point of failure.

# vi /etc/hosts.allow

To prevent logs from growing out of control, configure logrotate.

# vi /etc/logrotate.d/tcpwrappers

sysctl

To help harden your network from various attacks, add the following to the end of sysctl.conf, and be sure they are not uncommented elsewhere.

# vi /etc/sysctl.conf

Reload sysctl

# sysctl -p

nmap

To be able to scan your systems for vulnerabilities install nmap.

# apt -y install nmap

For documentation, refer to https://nmap.org

In summary, there are many things you can do to add security to your Ubuntu Linux system, what we have covered so far in this series, are essentials. Be sure to see the other posts.

http://openuptown.net/category/ubuntu

Thanks!
-Yehuda