Thursday, 7 November 2013

Stats checking

This morning I had an email from Facebook to say that they were removing a privacy setting to do with timelines, so I thought I had better check my privacy settings. There is a useful 'view your profile as... ' option, so I used that and found various stuff showing up that I didn't want to be public. So I went through the privacy settings to change that.

But one thing that was very difficult to change was my profile picture. Your profile picture is always public, and you can't change the privacy setting for it. If you click on the profile picture there is a remove option, but clicking this, and then clicking OK on the 'are you sure?' message didn't do anything. I did try multiple times with no success. The page reloads when you click OK, but the profile image is not removed.

So, I uploaded a blank image instead. That worked. Then I tried removing my new profile image, and this did work - I now have a default facebook profile image that looks a bit like Tintin.

Today I was checking my web stats again. One thing I noticed when looking at 404s was that I have an image named like "640px-image.jpg". And I had received requests for non-existing images like "1280px-image.jpg". There were a number of different requests, all for this same file, but with the pixel size at the start of the filename changed to various amounts, all the way up to 7680px. I checked the logs, and the requests were all one after another from the same 'user'. The requests had a proper UA string (Chrome) though, so it didn't appear to be a bot.

In Bing Webmaster Tools, one of my sites only had two URLs listed. So I thought I would have to try and submit the URLs manually if Bingbot couldn't spider the site / read the sitemap. But I couldn't see any way to submit URLs manually. I searched the web and found their help (Submit URLs to Bing), which says you can use The Submit URLs feature in the Configure My Site section in Bing Webmaster Tools. Well, that would be helpful, but I didn't have a Submit URLs feature in the Configure My Site section in Bing Webmaster Tools.

The Configure My Site section in Bing Webmaster Tools - note there is no Submit URLs feature

Bing Webmaster Tools help, which says you can use The Submit URLs feature in the Configure My Site section in Bing Webmaster Tools. What looks like a form in the page is just an image of a form.

Now, in another site I did have the Submit URLs option in the menu. Back on my problem site, I tried Fetch as BingBot on one of the pages, and received a message that I didn't have permission to do that. I checked the verify site details, and it was listed as verified. The meta code was in the page I was trying to fetch, and the value was the same as the one given in Bing Webmaster tools to verify the site. So it seems that Bing just thinks most of the pages on this site don't contain the verification meta tag, even though they do.

Honestly, with all the other bugs and lack of information in Bing Webmaster Tools, it's very difficult to pull out useful information from it. I did manage to get one bit of useful info from it though, some of my sites were missing meta description tags, which was just a case of changing a setting in the Yoast SEO plugin to fix.

And of course, Google Webmaster Tools, while much better than Bings, is hardly perfect. It seems that they're having issues with structured data again at the moment. The structured data tool will parse a page correctly, but Google's internal indexing processes will not, resulting in the amount of pages with structured data being reported dropping to zero (or near zero). They fixed this before, so I hope they'll fix it again.

So, I didn't get any work on my wordpress plugin done today. The other thing (not) worth mentioning that I did today was to go on a walk. We had some not rainy weather, but unfortunately it wasn't really suitable for photos as the sun was behind clouds and set behind a bank of cloud.

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