Wordcamp Chicago 2013

Well here we are! Steve, Rogan and myself hopped in the car for a weekend of WordPress at the 2013 Chicago Wordcamp and are having a great time so far. So many great people and so much awesome information. Thus far we have attended 3 highly informative sessions:

So far each has been incredibly informative. We learned a lot from Brad Parbs about using SASS for compiling CSS in the first session and much more about the amazing power available within WordPress templates.

Andy Christian had a lot of great insight on typography and the best use of fonts on the web. He also had loads of great resources for fonts.

Right now about to learn more about all the cool stuff available within WP queries.

Penguin 2.0 is Coming Summer 2013: Google’s Matt Cutts Outlines 10 Points Forcing Black Hat & Link Spammers Out

Matt Cutts with Google put out a new video regarding Penguin 2.0. Technically this is Penguin 4, but Matt and his team are going with 2.0 as this is a major upgrade to the algorithm  The changes being made will mostly affect black hat SEO marketers, marketers that try to buy their way into search results, trick the system or cheat. He touched on 10 items that will be happening over the next few months and during the Summer of 2013 that these people will not like.

White Hat Marketers and small business wins with Penguin 2.0

This is a valuable update for small and medium size business owners who work hard to build a great compelling content and web sites. If that’s what you’re doing, Matt and his team are working hard to share your content with the world. While these Penguin 2.0 changes will help small – medium sized businesses, they will make it harder, or less likely, that web masters will find it difficult to rise up through the rankings when they try to buy their way into SEO, use Black Hat techniques or attempt Link Spamming. These are the main points of Penguin 2.0:

  1. We’re going deeper that Penguin 1.0. Penguin 2.0 is according to Matt, “…a web-spam change that’s…dedicated to try to find…Black Hat webspam and to try to target and address that. This change will have more of an impact than 1.0
  2. Advertorial that violate quality guidelines is going to have a very rough road ahead. Paid ads will no longer float pagerank  Matt explains that there’s nothing wrong with Advertorials in Google’s eyes, but they should not float page ranking in the SERPS and the ad should fully disclose that the content is paid and not editorial. I suspect that we will hear a great rumbling from those who sell advertising space online from this change alone
  3. Traditional queries will be see cleaner SERPs while traditionally spammy SERP areas will receive even tighter filtering. Matt specifically brings up pornograhpic queries and payday loan search results where Penguin 2.0 will have a much stronger impact
    Cute Samurai Penguin representing Google's Penguin 2.0 changes for Summer 2013
    Penguin 2.0 is just a little more aggressive.
  4. Denying value to link spammers by “going upstream”.   This will negatively affect black hat practices like link networks even more than what has been done historically
  5. Matt’s team is “munging” around on some ideas to enhance the sophistication of link analysis. The data they’re working with will potentially bear fruit for the team. It’s pretty early to discuss the details and we’re excited to see where this goes
  6. Improve the ability to detect hacked sites and enhance the way site owners communicate with Google when the site is reclaimed. Potentially the best part is that there will now be a single point of contact and a single source point of information for site owners to bring their website back up the SERP results
  7. Author Authority is going to have a huge boost this summer.  The Google team is working hard to use a few new signals to better determine if an author is an authority in their sphere of influence and if so, to give them more float
  8. The Google team has found and is adding some signals of quality to algorithm. This will positively affect the quality of  results and “soften the blow” for legitimate sites who were impacted too severely by the first version of Panda
  9. The team is reviewing a change that will limit clusters of results showing from the same domain.  So as you’ve reviewed results, once you’ve seen a set from a domain, and if there’s a cluster from that domain further down in the SERPS, those additional results will be ignored to allow other results to float up. The purpose is to increase the diversity of the results page
  10. Give more information to Webmasters. Beyond information about hacked sites as mentioned in point 6, Google is moving their resources around in order to give more concrete details and more useful URLs for diagnosing issues

My favorite line from the video is when Matt Cutts says, “If you’ve been hanging out on a lot of black hat forums and trading…different types of spamming package tips and that sort of stuff, then this may be a more eventful Summer for you!” Just goes to show that the anti-spam team is very serious about delivering quality results. Without it, Bing wouldn’t have to work as hard to gain market share.

As a team, Real Big Marketing is excited for these changes and the improvements it will provide to small and medium size businesses in Jackson, Lansing and the surrounding area. If you’re staying on top of your content, making sure it’s fresh and relevant, this shouldn’t be a problem for you and we hope that you have an “uneventful” Summer 2013.

If you’re interested in watching the video, we’ve embedded it here for you to view:

Guide to using CSS attribute selectors

I recently encountered a new request on a client website that introduced me to an extremely cool CSS trick. We were working on an e-commerce website that featured hundreds of different products but all were from six specific, well known brands. We observed that it would be very useful to the site’s visitors to be able to easily distinguish between the products offered by the six brands as they browsed the site’s catalog and navigated through pages and pages of choices.

I brainstormed a little and came up with the idea of theming the “Read more” button that people would be clicking on to view a product according to the brand’s colors. After a little research, I found that this was possible by using CSS attribute selectors.

I first discovered a great intro to this CSS trick on (what else) CSS Tricks which is one of my favorite websites. This got me started and I managed to make my vision a reality with just a few of my own additions.

To really make this as simple as possible, I think I’ll begin by breaking down some CSS basics.


This diagram will help us break down the various components that we can use when applying our CSS. We’ll work with this basic HTML and give examples for styling based on each part.

A. Styling by the HTML element

a {
color: blue;

B. Styling by the “href” attribute

a[href="http://google.com"] {
background-color: red;

…or something like this would work too:

a[href*="google"] {
background-color: red;

This example states that any links with “google” in the “href” attribute will have a red background. The asterisk indicates that if “google” is found anywhere in the URL, this rule will apply.

You could also style for certain file types. Here is how to use the “href” attribute selector to style links to a PDF file:

a[href$=".pdf"] {
font-family: "Arial" sans-serif;

C. Styling by ID

#apple {
font-weight: bold;

Any elements with the “apple” ID will have bold text.

D. Styling with classes

.orange {
outline: orange;

…or something like this:

.orange.cherry {
text-decoration: underline;

The first example sets an orange outline on anything with the “orange” class. The second states that elements with BOTH the “orange” and “cherry” classes will have an underline.

E. Styling by the “title” attribute

a[title~=Google] {
border: 1px dashed green;

This rule applies a dashed, green border to links that have “Google” in the title attribute.

F. Styling by the “target” attribute

a[target="_blank"] {
border-radius: 4px;

This example sets a border radius on links that open in a new window.

As you can see, there are loads of cool ways that we can apply our custom styling to HTML elements.

For a good example of what we did with the attribute selectors, check out the Power Barn. I hope you find this useful. Please feel free to share your own examples of what you’ve done with CSS attribute selectors.

How to Say “Thank You” – Infographic

Supporting local, small businesses is an integral part of what Real Big Marketing is all about. It is why we love what we do and what made us want to do it in the first place. Every day, we get to help our clients grow their businesses and watch them achieve the success they have always dreamed about. It is truly special.

But the truth is, it doesn’t take a professional company like us to promote a business. We are able to do many things for our clients to ensure their success, but the ultimate promoter for any company is YOU! That’s right, YOU actually have tremendous power to help or hurt any business you have had an experience with.

We have such a passion for helping other businesses grow that we always encourage everyone we know to go the extra mile when it comes to thanking those who have provided us with great products and services. They deserve our gratitude and it goes a long way.

Now we have all heard the phrase “support local businesses”, but what exactly does that mean? To many it means simply buy products and services from local companies. This is, of course, an excellent thing to do. But is there more? Are there are other, easy ways we can show our support and appreciation to those who make our communities a better place? We believe the answer is yes, which is why we put together this infographic illustrating many easy ways that we are able to positively affect those businesses that we love. This can include so many things that take only seconds to do such as a Facebook “Like”, following a Twitter account, commenting on a video, sharing on social media sites or giving a star rating on a business review site. We strongly encourage you to reflect on this and consider taking a few moments of your time to help your favorite local businesses.



Feel free to share this with anyone and remember that is you really are thankful for a business, it is very easy to show it.

Great WordPress Management Tool – WP Remote

WP Remote Delivers

Here at Real Big Marketing we are always looking for ways to better serve our clients. Today I wanted to throw the spotlight on a handy tool that can help those of us who are managing a large number of WordPress sites.

This tool is called WP Remote. What this tool does is allow you to have one location that you can login to and monitor all the updates needed by your WordPress sites. This I have found to be extremely useful and is so much faster than logging into each individual site every time a plugin needs an update.

But this feature is not the only benefit. WP Remote also offers a site backup feature. This is very important to me since I have had problems in the past with theme updates obliterating some of my customizations and tweaks.

This site is incredibly easy to use and best of all, it is entirely free. All you need to do is go to the site and it will walk you through the quick, three step process of installing their plugin on your site and you are good to go.

We hope you find this review useful. If you have used this tool also, please feel free to leave a comment and tell us what you thought.