jump to navigation

Canonical Issues & Duplicate Content November 12, 2008

Posted by Sarah Bernier in Things.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

In reviewing/auditing websites for my current employer, I continue to run across a very common issue: duplicate content due to canonical issues. Now, I’m sure any SEO knows that – over time – search engines will naturally canonicalize URLs (pick what they think is the preferred URL). But in the meantime, if you’re acquiring any 3rd-party links, odds are they’re spread out amongst the various ‘versions’ of the URLs.

The issue here isn’t dupe content, since you don’t incur “penalties,” per se, for having duplicate content. Rather, as aforementioned, over time the search engines just pick what they see is the original source of the content and display only that version.

For the sake of argument, let’s review some possible versions of a URL. Keep in mind that in spite of the rendering the same content, search engines still see these as separate URLs:

In instances where the site is set up incorrectly – and the preferred domain isn’t denoted – sites can have multiple versions (upwards of 4) of their content. The longer the site is online, the greater the chances the “link love” will be spread out between different URLs. This is especially true since in the majority of sites where I see this happening, the internal links to the home page of the site don’t point to the root level domain (www.mysite.com), but instead some other version (most often some variation of http://www.mysite.com/index.html).

Great, so we’ve diagnosed this…now what?

The first thing to do is realize which URL is the canonical version. Most webmasters use http://www.mysite.com, but there could be reasons why they’d choose mysite.com. Whichever version is chosen, you must be sure to remain consistent throughout the site.

I’m not a technical person, so I’m referring to “code nerds” on this one, but I do know you need to 301 redirect the non-www to www version. Every content management system (CMS) should have a relatively easy way to do this. For those of you not using a CMS, read about avoiding duplicate content by using .htaccess files in more techy detail.

Keep in mind that these 301s need to be implemented at the page level. Recently I gave an audit to a company with an in-house tech team and they didn’t quite understand how to go about fixing the problem and in fact made it worse by redirecting all non-www versions of URLs across the site back to the root level domain! Did I mention they did this with 302 redirects? Ooops.

Long story short: Make sure you don’t have more than one “site” floating about online, and when you try to fix something that’s broken, make sure you completely understand the inner workings of a website first 🙂

Advertisements

A “Cuiler” Way to Search? July 28, 2008

Posted by Sarah Bernier in Things.
Tags:
2 comments

I’ve never been much of a brand-name gal (let’s be honest, I wore hand-me-downs ’til I outgrew my sister), but I am a Google fan, and have been for several years. I “google” things and am utterly loyal.

I’m not surprised to read today about the newest ‘rival’ to the big G – Cuil – started by a husband / wife team who just happen to have worked at Google in the past.

Of course, upon reading about how it doesn’t bank its results off of “superficial popularity metrics”, I tried it out. I queried something pretty easy: SEO blogs. (Of course!) After about 10 bars of Dave Matthews’ #41, I gave up and hit the back button. No results. It was thinking the entire time. Ok. So I gave them a chance and tried something simpler: SEO. Should be plenty of results to choose from there.

Again, denied any results. Granted, it was only launched this morning, and after reading the TechCrunch article on how Cuil’s computers couldn’t handle the influx of new visitors, I understood why I wasn’t getting any results.

I tried again a few minutes later and “genericized” my search even more: Dogs. Whew. Got results, so at least I could see what the layout is supposed to look like.

It’s different, and before I totally discount it, I’ll try it to see what I really think. I’m not crazy about their initial interface – I don’t like reading white text on a black background – but at least they don’t carry that look through to the SERP.

I’m not sure how they expect to compete with Google when they’re using “fewer computers” to cover more pages (120 billion pages, according to the CNNMoney article this morning)…but, we’ll see if they really can offer a “cuiler” way to search with their biggest little search engine.

After all, Cuil WAS built by ex-Googlers!

The Power of Long Tail Search May 8, 2008

Posted by Sarah Bernier in Things.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

This is an article I wrote awhile back…when I worked in another time; another place. Not a new concept, by any means, but one of which I’m quite the advocate. I realize I have “Part Deux” mentioned below…hopefully certain new people in my life will read this and learn something. Modified slightly from the original version (posted elsewhere).

So, what is a long tail search? Maybe you’ve heard the term but aren’t sure what it means; maybe you know what it means but are thinking, “how does this apply to my site(s)?” Also known in the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) world as “search tail” or “query tail,” this phrase was coined by Chris Anderson of Wired magazine in his article, The Long Tail, in October 2004. In essence, it’s defined as the seemingly never-ending “tail” of searches that follows a high-volume population of mainstream searches (For you math people out there, think of an x / y graph and an asymptotic curve). What this means is that although there are search terms which are searched for frequently and generate great numbers of queries (which everyone wants to “rank for” on the main search engines), there are also myriads of little-searched and different (i.e., unique) terms, which cumulatively outnumber or outweigh the conventional, ‘popular’ searches.

In relation to strictly organic search results, this is where good Web site content comes in to play. As SEOs, we can use industry-standard tools to perform keyword research, we know (basically) who’s searching for what mainstream terms, we can guess at how people are likely to search based on trends that we see, and now Google has even offered up a Traffic Estimator Tool. However, we cannot intuitively know how any one Web user is actually going to search. That’s because people search what’s on their minds – and since everyone has a different connotation of any given topic, who knows how they’ll search for it.

We do know that in addition to typing in a couple of words or a phrase, people also search with queries – i.e. questions – typed directly into the search bar. They also tend to start out with broad terms, and if they don’t find what they need, they refine their searches. So, how can we apply what we know to help our clients’ sites show up in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)?

Again, we can only guess at long tail terminology, but by expanding on the subject matter in Web sites, we greatly increase their chances of being found for those obscure searches which comprise the search tail. As Danny Sullivan on SearchEngineWatch.com says, “having lots of good content will naturally tap into the tail of queries.” For example, by using synonyms and colloquialisms that people use in day-to-day speech, we might be able to tap into things that we might not think to optimize for.

Piggybacking on that idea, when we have existing sites that are upgrading or “refreshing” content, we MUST take a look at their analytics to see for which terms and phrases the site is already being found. Your analytics traffic often shows odd terms which might only happen twice or even 1 time in a year, but these will be worth adding to the new site’s content – these are the long tail search terms! Even though the volume of these searches is low in relation to the mainstream searches, these little-searched terms can actually generate better business since they’re very exact and will most likely convert better than the general search terms will.

One more ace in the hole we have as SEOs is our clientele – they can help their own sites with the long tail search. Most sites boast marketing copy – meant to attract the search engines and their users – but often our clients submit their own articles, testimonials and in some cases, forums. When they submit content for their site, we might ask, should it be optimized for the search engines? It doesn’t need to be – client-supplied content is a GREAT breeding ground for long tail searches! These pages – especially forums – often do well for their part because ‘normal’ people write differently than copy-writers, thus tapping into different verbiage than writers will use. That’s not to say that our marketing copy needs to be different; rather, it helps to have a different perspective to incorporate on top of the site’s marketing content. Again, the more quality content a Web site has, the more likely it is to tap into targeted traffic.

When optimizing a Web site, it’s important to remember that the terms we think are important for visibility might not be what actual Web users are typing into the query box. Of course, it’s easier to look back in retrospect by using analytics data to measure how a site is performing and for which terms it’s being found, but by focusing on quality content and inviting our clients to add their own, we are giving their sites an even better chance of showing up in the Long Tail of search.

Oh, What’s in a Meta Name*? May 6, 2008

Posted by Sarah Bernier in Things.
Tags: , , , ,
1 comment so far

At a previous company, I was on a call with a client who claimed to be Web savvy (because, he said, his girlfriend is “an IT person”), and who was very adamant that “search engines don’t look at meta labels anymore”. Keep in mind, this guy also wanted to get into the debate of ‘there is no such thing as different datacenters on search engines’. I didn’t have the heart (or the energy or the patience :)) to ask him “what exactly IS a meta label, anyway?”

I’ve also heard clients (and others who say they ‘know SEO’) say “make sure to work on my tags, since that’s the most important thing for ranking**”.

Makes me wonder where people get ideas about what is and isn’t important in regards to search engine optimization. And, frankly, how they can assume that ranking = success. But that’s a different discussion.

Danny Sullivan gives a nice definition of Meta Tags in his article How To Use HTML Meta Tags:

Meta Tag Overview
What are meta tags? They are information inserted into the “head” area of your web pages. Other than the title tag (explained within the article as ‘isn’t really a meta tag, but it’s worth discussing in relation to them’), information in the head area of your web pages is not seen by those viewing your pages in browsers. Instead, meta information in this area is used to communicate information that a human visitor may not be concerned with. Meta tags, for example, can tell a browser what “character set” to use or whether a web page has self-rated itself in terms of adult content.

In other words, we’re not just talking about meta description & keywords tags; this is information that is, for the most part, ‘behind the scenes’ for spiders to get some info from and in some cases, a visitor could see some of it. (Case in point – the meta description tag.)

Now, that being said, there is a tag which is vastly ignored: the meta keywords tag. While some search engines evidently still utilize this (they can be found within the Search Engine Features on Search Engine Watch), the major crawlers ignore the tag, due to its overuse in attempting to spam search engines in the late nineties. So, guy-who-knows-SEO-’cause-your-girlfriend-is-in-IT, you’re partially right for one tag.

However, your description tag is an important aspect of on-page optimization, and should be descriptive of the page it’s attached to – i.e., put relevant keywords in it. It should also be some sort of call-to-action, as *hopefully* it’ll be displayed in the SERPs and will help visitors decide (along with the tag and even URL) if they want to click on that listing or not.

That’s right, search engines don’t always display your well-written meta descriptions on their snippets. Why?, you ask. Depends on their search, depends on the words you utilize, etc. If your page is relevant, but the query is different from what you have in your description, search engines will most likely grab a more relevant fragment/s from within your content and display that instead. Keep in mind, search engines want repeat “customers” so they want to return the best, most relevant results they can. If that means overriding your well-thought-out meta description tag, so be it!

And, as alluded to above, all the rest of the meta data is informational – like the character set – and doesn’t concern visitors (inasmuch as optimization is concerned, anyway).

So, I’m going to call ‘erroneous’ on the dude’s observation that “search engines don’t look at meta labels anymore”. They do; you just need to be cognizant of a) nomenclature and b) on which tags you should focus your efforts. Go ask your IT girlfriend 🙂

* Keep in mind I’ve had this post on the back burner since before that SEW article by the same / similar name.
** Future post material.

If a Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words…What’s a Video Worth? March 16, 2008

Posted by Sarah Bernier in Things.
add a comment

What’s happened to video online? Several months ago, my place of occupation was all up in arms about creating videos to place on professional services sites. I could see it was being looked at in a different light – as a means of appearing in search results – and for a time, it seemed everyone was adding videos to sites. The search engines (and by that I mean the “biggies”) are returning video-specific results – such as the query for “I Have a Dream“, but does it matter very much?

There are some things people want to see video for, such as artists (my recent obsession with Bon Jovi is a good example) or “how-to” types of questions (like home improvement), but what sort of future are we really looking at for online video in regards to search marketing?

As of right now, the idea seems to fit nicely within the realm of learning (horse training, for example) or general entertainment (any myriad of examples, from the aforementioned Bon Jovi query to looking at the latest & greatest of YouTube).

Is it worthwhile adding video to your site? It depends on what purpose the clip(s) will serve.

If your end goal is building an audience with your credibility – for example, if you’re a horse trainer demonstrating a technique – then it would behoove you (pun intended) to add as much information (via video) you can, to prove you know your stuff. But, keep in mind, if you want these video-watchers to convert to clients, don’t give away the horse; give them enough information to capture their attention; leave them wondering what else you know and with the urge to contact you.

If, however, you’re merely looking to entertain people, then by all means, get a YouTube account and pipe in videos to your blog/web site and entertain away.

The point is, I just don’t see video as being a means to an end for search marketing purposes except within certain realms.

Prove me wrong.

The Long Tail…Part II August 21, 2007

Posted by Sarah Bernier in Things.
add a comment

The topic of “long tail search” fascinates me. Also fascinating is the way different SEOs approach this – from selling their services as “optimizing for long tail keywords” to merely expounding upon subject matter within a site in order to try to “capture” it.

It’s an elusive thing, this Long Tail Search concept. Even harder to grasp is the question – “what ARE long tail search terms?” Well, that’s the beauty – and the catch-22 – of it…specifically, in looking at a particular site’s focus, we don’t know until AFTER they’ve happened what they are.

In general, they’re the unique terms that people search for which don’t conform to the mainstream, heavily-searched queries. In any field/subject/service, there is a long tail. For example, in the music world, I’m sure iTunes gets TONS of hits on the newest releases, from Fergie to Carrie Underwood. However, what about all the little-known a) songs or b) artists for which people are searching?

Take for example my buddy, OB. His band, Enchanted Ape, has songs on iTunes, for which I’ve searched. Now, other fans of his band are certainly searching for him, but I’m going to assume he’s not going to be able to compete with the mainstream bands being played on radios across the nation. Sorry, buddy 🙂 HOWEVER, people ARE searching for him. They’re also searching for other bands/artists or songs that aren’t as ‘popular’. This is the long tail. The amount of searches coming through on the myriad of song titles and artists that aren’t the ‘top searches’ outnumber the heavily-searched, popular bands/songs.

Now, in regards to marketing – whether it be for commercial goods or professional services – how do you capture the people looking for little-known terms/keywords, i.e., how do you capture the long tail?

I’ve heard people I think are competent SEOs say “you can optimize for the long tail”, but, can you? It depends on your definition, at this point, of what “to optimize for” means. I’ve also seen people presenting themselves as SEOs give actual terms – which they think are long tail – which “you should optimize for”: Searches such as New Jersey Law Firm and New Jersey Divorce Lawyer. It’s sad, really, because that’s not what long tail IS.

I personally don’t think you can “optimize for long tail search terms”. That’s because you don’t know what those terms ARE when you’re writing content and putting together a web site, because they’re unique searches. You can perform research to see what the mainstream searches are, and even some lesser-known terms…but the only true way to see what the ACTUAL long tail terminology is comes after the fact, by looking at your site’s analytics. Sure, you might have a good idea of what a unique search could be – but a) are people going to type it in as a query in the future, and if so, b) will you be found for it?

To emphasize this point, I always bring out the “horseplay at work” example. We work with lawyer sites – these people’s careers revolve around words, and we do our best to explain what they to do potential clients while still remaining professional. Well, through some attorney-supplied content or article on a Workers’ Comp site we did, a long tail term came through in their Hitbox analytics – “horseplay at work”. How on EARTH would we know to add that to the site in order to “optimize” for that word? We wouldn’t.

Only by adding good, descriptive content can we truly hope to capture long tail terms. If we use the same keyword/s over and over, it won’t read very easily AND if you’re not expounding upon the subject matter, how can you expect to be found for anything other than the over-used keyword phrase you’ve chosen?

I’m not sure who coined the now-cliché of “Content is King”, but it’s true. If you explain what you do, how you do it, how you can help your clients, etc, and you take the time to write good content and optimize it well, you’ll naturally encompass long tail search.

Marketing Professional Services to US Hispanics June 29, 2007

Posted by Sarah Bernier in Things.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

What follows is basically the summary of my presentation at SES Miami ’07 (first day, June 18th, in the Fundamentals Track: Search Term Research & Targeting).

Translated vs. Custom Content

There will always be the question of whether or not to translate existing content or create custom-written content – in regards to Spanish or whichever language you’re targeting – even though we learned last year (and it was mentioned this year, as well) that you should always “transcreate”.

The reality is it’s considered “easier” to just translate what’s already on your site, instead of worrying about performing keyword research and creating brand-new content. Let’s be honest – you can’t expect a translator to incorporate keywords/phrases you’ve researched while they’re translating…it might not fit into the context or the sentence structure might not work. Their goal is to preserve the content message as much as possible; not try to “keyword stuff” the recommendations from an SEO. They’ll definitely use descriptive terms, though, so it’s not a total wash.

Also, with translated content, I add meta data after the fact – because of course they have to describe the page – which isn’t as “valuable” as creating content from meta data, but it’s still optimized content.

When I’m performing keyword research for Spanish custom content, I start out by using the literal translation of the term (e.g., custodia de niños) and branch out into colloquialisms just as I would for English terms – the majority of the time I’m finding (through the ever-helpful 20/20 hindsight: analytics) that US Hispanics are searching using more a) general and b) colloquial terms. In the example I just used (child custody) the preferred term is actually “custodia de hijos”, but since it’s much more “slang” (jerga) than the legal jargon (which attorneys prefer for some odd reason :). So I’ll use both.

Keyword Research Tools

When choosing your keyword research tools – especially in regards to foreign languages – you need to consider a couple items:

1) What’s the data source for this tool? (Global or domestic)
2) How rich is the data for the language in question (are they pulling from enough of a “pool” to give good feedback)

If you’re marketing to any Spanish-language web user, then a research tool which returns global results would benefit you; if you’re marketing solely to the US Hispanic market, then that information would be at best superfluous and at worst the wrong data for your research.

Global results will return some different data because generally US Hispanics (as well as those web users in Latin/South America) don’t use special keyboards, so the majority of searches performed don’t include accents/special characters (of course, people learn how to create them but it’s much quicker to type in the non-accented version). In Spain, however, their keyboards contain the special characters so their searches will differ.

This doesn’t really matter inasmuch as the search engines are concerned; they recognize what you “mean” and will return pretty much the exact same results – whether you use special characters or not. (I’m talking merely from a keyword research perspective – if you’re looking for ratios of what’s searched.)

I’ve heard people – SEOs! – mention the Spanglish/misspelling tactic and it frightens me this is something that’s being condoned. Adding these terms to content to capture that traffic, that is. Maybe it’s because I deal with the legal industry exclusively, but regardless, I wouldn’t want to recommend to anyone to put misspellings and incorrect grammar/usage into their marketing web sites! If you MUST have it, add it to the meta keywords tag (which is pretty much ignored…). For e-commerce products, this might differ, but for professional services, you’d have to weigh the value of getting the traffic from misspellings to the value of appearing as an expert / professional in your field to the traffic that comes through on “clean” search words.

Linking

Something else you must weigh is the value of information you have to offer vs. usability. In regards to the Spanish content we offer, this means if not all of the English content on the site is also offered in Spanish, do you inter-link between languages (to offer the information to those who’re bilingual) or have monolingual areas of the site (to cater to the loyalty of the language)?

One way to offer the information even if it’s not in Spanish is to add a disclaimer after the link – such as “en inglés” – because switching the reader from one language another doesn’t create a good user experience. That way, you still get that content in front of the visitor, but you’re alerting them to the change in language.

Geo-Targeting Keywords

This doesn’t apply as much to e-commerce as it does to those marketing their professional services. If people have a problem they need to talk to someone about (vs. buying something and having it shipped), they’re going to want to find someone local. This is why it’s important to geographically target your keywords/site. People aren’t looking for a lawyer to help them with their workers’ comp claim; they’re looking for a lawyer in their hometown (or as close as they can get to it) to help them.

Even if the web user doesn’t search with the geographic term, the search engines can return results based on geo-targeting (because of the geography listed on your site, you’ll then have that aspect covered). The only caveat here is that – for now – because of the relative lack of competition for Spanish content out there, sites are more likely to show up for general/broad searches than what they’re targeted for geographically.*

Speaking of showing up for terms, the brand-new sites we’ve released with both English & Spanish content differ in the types of searches and the performance in SERPs. The English content will show up right away for specific name searches as well as, on occasion, VERY niched/specialized keywords, whereas the Spanish content shows up a little bit later but for much more general searches – most likely because, again, the lack of competition makes the content appear authoritative and unique.**

I’ve cut out some of the information I covered, but what I’ve listed here is the information (& questions to think about) I think most people who market professional services would benefit from knowing.

* As more and more businesses/services start marketing to Spanish-language web users and content continues to grow, I don’t foresee this being the case in the future.
** Again, I don’t see a continuation of this in the future because the amount of content out there is definitely growing.

Presenting in Miami June 27, 2007

Posted by Sarah Bernier in Things.
add a comment

It’s only taken me a week to recover from the Miami heat and humidity…of course, Minnesota welcomed me back in fine fashion, with temps climbing to the 90s and the humidity rivaling that of the southern seaboard states.

Regardless, I survived my first-ever presentation at a Search Engine Strategies event. I was very excited – albeit a NERVOUS excited – to have the opportunity to speak in front of people who want to learn more about marketing to the online US Hispanic population. On the other hand, I was leery of the reception of my information because it’s so very focused on the legal venue – so I tried to tone down the lawyer-speak and make it geared towards professional services in general.

I was surprised and pleased that afterwards (during the Q&A) I took a turn answering a few questions and got seconded by both Larry Mersman (VP of Trellian) and Jessie Stricchiola (from Alchemist Media, Inc.) on some points I made!

Long story short, it was a thrill, and hopefully I’ll get a chance to speak again sometime.

Re-entry June 11, 2007

Posted by Sarah Bernier in Things.
4 comments

I must admit I’ve been in absentia for quite a while from this blog…but I’ve finally figured out what to do – therefore I’m dedicating this blog to SEO / SEM type information and the other will be strictly for d’blogging (i.e., blogging about my dog – why WOULDN’T I think that’s an interesting subject?).

Without further ado, I’ll jump right into my new favorite topic – SES Latino. I will be representing FindLaw down in Miami on June 18th (NEXT MONDAY!) by speaking in the Fundamentals Track under Search Term Research & Targeting. Whoa.

My team lead suggested this would be a good opportunity for me, so she sent in a “proposal” to Nacho Hernandez (the chairperson for SES Latino ’07 and also the CEO of iHispanic Marketing Group). He accepted and I think my stomach might’ve hula-hooped my spine a couple times.

I got to thinking, “they must be pretty open to getting random (i.e., unknown) people to speak at these things if they’ve chosen me”. However, I’ll sit up there and tell anyone who attends the session all they want to know about how US Hispanics are searching for lawyers. Zzzzzzz…oops, I just dozed off a bit. Where was I?

Frankly, I’m hoping I don’t bore everyone to tears – from last year’s attendance/presentations, it sounds like the majority of people coming to this are focusing on SEM and e-commerce. However, if they want to reach out in a professional services vein, that’s where I can help. I guess!

I was actually getting very excited to speak there…then after reading Danny Sullivan’s take on the “notability” of those who speak at SES functions (mentioned in passing in his article Open Letter To Wikipedia Editors: Yes, Matt Cutts Is Notable), I’m starting to get a wee bit nervous:

“In general, if they’re one of the relatively few asked to speak at a major conference on search marketing, yeah — they are notable. Every search consultant does NOT get to speak.”

There you have it. According to Danny, I’m someone. No pressure 🙂

Zada & Sarah’s Journey Begins… January 7, 2007

Posted by Sarah Bernier in Things.
3 comments

She’s here! We’re both over-stimulated, confused, dirty, and dog-tired, but she’s safely ensconced in her brand new home.

As a recap for the day, I went to Mankato and go there at 9:30am, stayed at the breeder’s for over 2 hours, loaded Zada into the back of Dani’s SUVie, ate lunch at BW3s with Kristen and Ike, then went to a big pet store down there to buy her dog food and a crate to fit her (she’s bigger than when I last saw her!)…THEN we got on the road to come back to the cities; stopping at PetCo (for a new collar – more on that later), Target (tennis balls & a rug for under her dishes), then the liquor store (that was Dani’s stop 🙂 and FINALLY on home. We didn’t pull up to my garage until 5pm.

Zada had never ridden in a car before; good thing she was crated because somewhere around Jordan she threw up in there…poor thing. It wasn’t a lot, just some grass and some treats. One other area of life she’s never experienced: a collar or a leash. THAT was interesting. Almost lost her in the parking lot of the Mankato pet store – Ike & Kristen wanted to see her and she about popped her collar off and made a bolt for it. Super.

Hence, the new collar, which is a choker, but seeing as how it’s that or she runs off, I’m going to opt for safety. She’s getting used to it – since she has to be tied out on a zip-line in my yard, she’s finding that battling a non-yielding cord isn’t lucrative to anything.

She’s a quick learner, so that’s good. Found out she doesn’t like other dogs – the breeder had told me that, but I had no idea to what extent until Tom brought Mack out to meet her. Granted, he was excited and barking, which isn’t the calm state I was hoping for…she started barking and lungeing at the end of the line (I was holding it like a leash) and if you weren’t looking, you’d think it was a full-grown shepherd attacking someone. She is SERIOUS about not wanting other dogs near her.

We finally got over that, and they started playing like champs. He’s teaching her how to go down stairs – going up, she’s cocky and gallops right up; coming down is another matter. She whines and pleads and then comes down paw over paw, griping the whole way.

Everything’s new, and she’s taking it all in pretty calmly…the mirror on my door puzzled her for a few minutes:

Zada in the Mirror

See, she thought there was another dog behind the door 🙂

Zada Looking for the “Other Dog”

We’ve already had one accident in the house – and by “we,” I mean her – and I caught her in the act, so HOPEFULLY that’ll leave an impression. You’re “supposed” to catch them at it, scold them by picking ’em up by the scruff & shaking them (like a mother dog would do) while saying “NO!”, all the while carrying them outside, where you place them on the ground and they finish while you praise them.

Yeah.

Didn’t happen – her finishing, I mean. So, we’ll see. Baby steps.

Speaking of babies, this one’s pretty wiped out – I took this just now and she didn’t FLINCH when the flash went off…she finally laid down by me about 10 minutes ago, but was a little anxious, so I gave her a “massage” by slowly stroking her head with a couple fingers – she lasted about 30 seconds before laying out flat with a puppy, whiny sigh and falling promptly asleep on my foot 🙂

Sleepy Puppy

…Time passes…

This post is slow going because if she walks out of the room I follow to make sure she’s not going to soil my house again…but, I woke up from this nap and took her directly outside and she peed OUT IN THE YARD. Very exciting. I didn’t really think I’d ever be so ecstatic about a dog’s urinary habits, but this is great. Like I said, baby steps!

Evidently she’s energized after the nap, because she’s very alert and has barked once at something (who knows WHAT she can hear with that sonar she’s got goin’ on)…doesn’t miss a tick, this one.

I think that’s about it for now…pretty sure there’ll be more later (tonight, tomorrow, the next day…the rest of her life…)

Hasta la later.