Using Curl to add rows to a Google Spreadsheet without using an API

Adding content to a Google Spreadsheet usually requires using the Spreadsheet API (, getting auth tokens, and tearing out 42 pieces of hair or more. If you just want to use Google Spreadsheets to log some information for you (append-only), a simple solution is to use a Google Form ( to submit the data. To do that, you just need to POST data using the field names, and you’re done. The data is stored in your spreadsheet, you even get a timestamp for free.

Using Curl to add rows to a Google Spreadsheet without using an API »

Totally simple syntax highlighting in Blogger

Sometime you don’t need to host code, you just want to post it in a blog post. Google Code Prettify ( does this really well, either per post, or across the blog. 1. Copy the script tag. Here’s what you need to copy into either your template, or into your post: <script src="" ></script> 2. HTML-encode your code There are a bunch of HTML encoders ( online, I haven’t found one that I’m really a fan of.

Totally simple syntax highlighting in Blogger »

429 or 503

Here’s one for fans of the hypertext HTTP protocol – should I use 429 or 503 when the server is overloaded? It used the be that we’d only see 503 as a temporary issue, but nowadays we treat them both about the same. We see both as a temporary issue, and tend to slow down crawling if we see a bunch of them. If they persist for longer and don’t look like temporary problems anymore, we tend to start dropping those URLs from our index (until we can recrawl them normally again).

429 or 503 »

TLDs & ranking

It feels like it’s time to reshare this again. There still is no inherent ranking advantage to using the new TLDs. They can perform well in search, just like any other TLD can perform well in search. They give you an opportunity to pick a name that better matches your web-presence. If you see posts claiming that early data suggests they’re doing well, keep in mind that’s this is not due to any artificial advantage in search: you can make a fantastic website that performs well in search on any TLD.

TLDs & ranking »

Mobile friendly

I’ve been asked about the mobile-friendly tag in search and noticed two common mistakes that I wanted to share. Both of these result in the Mobile-Friendly Test showing that a page isn’t mobile-friendly, but the PageSpeed Insights tool showing that it’s ok: Too much blocked by robots.txt. Googlebot needs to be able to recognize the mobile-friendliness through crawling. If a JavaScript file that does a redirect is blocked, if a CSS file that’s necessary for the mobile version of the page is blocked, or if you use separate URLs and block those, then Googlebot won’t be able to see your mobile site.

Mobile friendly »


I’ve been involved since we first started testing authorship markup and displaying it in search results. We’ve gotten lots of useful feedback from all kinds of webmasters and users, and we’ve tweaked, updated, and honed recognition and displaying of authorship information. Unfortunately, we’ve also observed that this information isn’t as useful to our users as we’d hoped, and can even distract from those results. With this in mind, we’ve made the difficult decision to stop showing authorship in search results.

Authorship »

Authorship 1

We’ve been doing lots of work to clean up the visual design of our search results, in particular creating a better mobile experience and a more consistent design across devices. As a part of this, we’re simplifying the way authorship is shown in mobile and desktop search results, removing the profile photo and circle count. (Our experiments indicate that click-through behavior on this new less-cluttered design is similar to the previous one.

Authorship 1 »

Authorship vanity urls

Authorship works fine with Google+ custom/vanity URLs. I’ve seen this come up more since custom/vanity URLs for Google+ profiles have become more popular. Authorship works fine with vanity profile URLs, it works fine with the numeric URLs, and it doesn’t matter if you link to your “about” or “posts” page, or even just to the base profile URL. The type of redirect (302 vs 301) also doesn’t matter here. If you want to have a bit of fun, you can even use one of the other Google ccTLDs and link to that.

Authorship vanity urls »


Dear webmasters, if something goes drastically wrong with your hoster, and you can’t host your website anymore, please return a “503 Service unavailable” HTTP result code. Doing so helps search engines to understand what’s up – they’re generally more than happy to give your site some time to catch up again. Returning an error page with “200 OK” will result in us indexing the change of content like that (and if all of your pages return the same error page, then we may assume that these URLs are duplicates).

503s »