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Beanstalk's Internet Marketing Blog

At Beanstalk Search Engine Optimization we know that knowledge is power. That's the reason we started this Internet marketing blog back in 2005. We know that the better informed our visitors are, the better the decisions they will make for their websites and their online businesses. We hope you enjoy your stay and find the news, tips and ideas contained within this blog useful.


March 27, 2012

Google IO is a sellout

I know we’ve been anti-Google the last few weeks, but Google’s upcoming IO conference really did sell-out, in 20 mins no less!
GoogleIO 2012 Sold Out
With only 5,500 seats the 20 minute sell-out wasn’t too shocking, but the $2,000 EBay auction for a Google IO ticket took me by surprise. I tried to go find it for a confirmation picture but it was already nuked. Even at the full price of $900 a pop, the scalping price was over double! Heck educational admission ticket prices are only $300 each!?

If you’re wondering ‘what the heck is Google IO?’ that could be our fault, because our post about it last year, Ooh Shiny! ChromeOS & ChromeBook, was totally about the new ChromeBook and not the conference.. Oh man!

Each year Google hosts it’s Input/Output conference to not only share a vision of what’s ahead for Google, but also to get some feedback from the developers and users that work with Google’s solutions.

As is the case each year the team of nerds over at Google have put together a ‘chrome experiment‘ for anyone with a Google account.

The splash page for the Google IO event experiment teases us with the following:

“Brush up on your geometry, dust off your protractor, and architect a machine only you could have dreamt of. Join developers tackling our latest Chrome Experiment for a chance to have your machine featured at Google I/O.”

… yet the site seems a wee bit too popular at the moment, refusing to proceed into the actual site no matter how many times your click it. I’ll have to keep trying but right now it looks like I’ll have to come back and update after lunch.

If you REALLY wanted to click something to fiddle with in your browser, and it has to work right this second, well try Browser Quest from Mozilla Labs! While the game is currently still up and running I expect it will completely flat-line as it reaches peak popularity. I am running around as DobbieBobkins if you get in.

Browser Quest is an HTML5 site, with everything using the latest web-tech available. Don’t let those 8-bit graphics fool you, this is a modern technical demonstration. I’ve seen the game work with the latest versions of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Opera, just fine, though Opera was loading like dirt because of some broken plugins.

Speaking of coming back to things. I keep saying that we will have more on the Beanstalk Minecraft map contest, including some videos to inspire folks with ideas.. Sadly I am SO out of date with video capture that it boggles the mind.

Apparently my problem with recording is missing codecs, so I installed the FFdshow package which supposedly contains the right codecs to maintain the correct color space and gamma values in my source videos. If that sounded like Spanish, in a nutshell I’m fixing some dark video issues. :)

Here’s my last upload fresh off the preview screen, and it’s STILL TOO DARK?

http://vimeo.com/39291926

So, for now, today’s post is more of a bookmark, with some Google IO teasing, to be visited again after lunch when things are less popular. ;)

SEO news blog post by @ 1:38 pm


 

 

December 8, 2011

Give back to Wayback – Donate to Internet Archives

Any webmaster/SEO will tell you that you can never have enough backups of your content. They will tell you this because they have tried to keep enough backups but ultimately even the most OCD backup plan will leave you wanting more.

When it comes to website backups the Wayback Machine has saved me many many times from wondering what a site ‘used’ to look like or ‘when’ an issue was added to the site for those ‘who done it’ moments.

Say you wanted to find out when a logo was added to a client site to make sure that the typo in the image didn’t come from your offices? If you put the URL into the Wayback Machine, and start looking through older versions of the page you can usually find the date it changed in minutes:

The service is very well laid out, straight forward, and advertisement free, yet they backup web pages, and on-line content, for the entire planet, employing over 160 people in the process!

If you don’t know about the internet archives, take a look and see what you’ve been missing out on. I know a lot of folks are amazed when I pull something out of the fire by fetching an old layout from years prior to even dealing with the client. It’s not black magic, it’s just the internet archive.

Heck even just browsing old movies in the archive is fun!

Night of the Living Dead
The Last Man On Earth
The Three Stooges

There’s plenty more on the site, and some of the videos are really interesting, and there’s support for Flash, HTML5, MPEG, and OOG.

So regardless of who you are, search engine optimization specialist, web-master, graphic designer, etc., and regardless of how you use the Wayback Machine, or other Internet Archive features, it’s a great service that runs on donations…

Yes, your donations.

Thanks! ;)

 

SEO news blog post by @ 11:45 am

Categories:Articles,html 5,Misc

 

 

November 22, 2011

Welcome to NewTube – HTML5 + Sneak Peek Tip

YouTube and Google have been update crazy this month. Apparently the Google engineers are doing more than growing facial hair and thinking about their tongues.

New YouTube Start Page

The image above is a sneak peek at the new YouTube start page. It wasn’t intended to be public but a single command can enable anyone to use it right now.

This command will give you the cookie you need to see the new layout:
javascript:document.cookie=”VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE=ST1Ti53r4fU”;

To enter the command in Chrome, you can paste it into the address bar and if it removes/culls the “javascript:” part, just put it back in and hit enter. Now you’ll have the cookie and going to YouTube’s homepage will show the new screen.

Optionally with other browsers you can get into the developer console and run the javascript command from there.

If that’s not enough fun for you, HTML5 features are almost completely caught-up with Flash versions of the YouTube player, and in many ways it’s better.

No tricks needed here, just head over to the YouTube HTML5 page and click on the ‘Join’ button on the bottom of the page.

Once that’s done you should notice a much different menu when you right click on videos that support the HTML5 player:

HTML5 Video Playback on YouTube

One other “TIL” was the speed test pages linked from the HTML5 page:

Performance tests on YouTube

Performance graphs on YouTube

And even a real-time streaming benchmark:

Performance graphs on YouTube

From the looks of things this could be the year that YouTube drops flash entirely, or at the very least makes it the ‘other option’ with HTML5 as the default. I’d personally love to uninstall flash and that would be one big hurdle down if YouTube switches completely. *fingers crossed*

SEO news blog post by @ 10:53 am


 

 

August 11, 2011

Google’s Chrome Web Store

Yesterday I went public and openly admitted I’d managed to overlook Google’s all-in-one solution to Zynga, Microsoft, Grooveshark, Foursquare, etc..

The fact that I’ve played with Google’s ChromeOS makes this all the more amazing..

Google wants to make it possible to use a browser as your operating system, experiencing the entire internet via the world wide web.

I doubt that in 1989 when Sir Tim Berners-Lee proposed adding the WWW specification to the internet he could have imagined it becoming a single point of access to the extreme of causing confusing between the two technologies. Yet here we are with an entire OS written around booting into a web browser.

ChromeOS

The result of this enormous effort to solve the world’s problems inside a browser makes Android, ChromeOS, and the Google Chrome browser much more useful/powerful than even I had expected.

Chrome web store is more than just games.

Yes, you can play Angry Birds, PacMan, SuperMario, and modern versions of PaperBoy until you’re divorced and homeless, but there are really handy applications and tools in the web store.

The two SEO applications that I’d like to take a minute to highlight are not all there is to offer, just the first two really handy apps that I’ve used and recommend.

First app is the SEO SERP Workbench, a tool for watching both websites and keyword phrases. This tool has all you need to track your position, your competition, and your market in real-time and historically.

SEO SERP Workbench

The interface is clean and simple, skipping a lot of pointless options that would inhibit less experienced users, and it works great. The only gripe I have with the tool is that it looks to give you ‘worst case’ results by fetching it’s info from a US based IP address on Google data centres in the US. If you were a UK site looking for UK rankings, this tool would not give you the correct results for your location.

The second app is ShiftEdit, an on-line tool for developing website code. It has (S)FTP support for direct edits, upload support for existing disk based projects, and it’s code engine can edit/markup PHP, Ruby, Java, HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

ShiftEdit

The beauty of having a single point of access for editing, where all you need is a web browser, is a dream come true for most developers. Accessibility is a huge annoyance for me and having a tool I can access from anywhere makes it far more useful and productive. If Adobe is reading this, it’s time you made an on-line version of Dreamweaver with full interoperability between the desktop version. Personally, I know that’s an upgrade I’d actually appreciate paying for.

I could go on all day discussing the Chrome Web Store, but I have to get some work done, and then get back to beating my CanvasRider high score on the Whistler Mt. sketch by Jon312.

SEO news blog post by @ 12:10 pm


 

 

July 28, 2011

What do you love ~ Google Thorough-Good

Just when I was wondering what Google’s been doing to tie it’s products together for the uninitiated, they launch the ‘What do you love?’ service.

I could hyperlink the URL, but it’s super easy to memorize, just wdyl.com
(as in What Do You Love)

*UPDATE: If this does not work for you, try it again tomorrow. I’m getting reports that the host name is broken for external DNS? Personally I’m using Google DNS which is 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 for the primary/secondary DNS addresses.

This is tying together the following services:
Google product icons

  • Google Translate
  • Google Trends
  • Google Books
  • Google SketchUp
  • Google YouTube
  • Google ImageSearch
  • Google Alerts
  • Google Maps
  • Google PatentSearch
  • Google Moderator
  • Google Chrome
  • Google Gmail
  • Google Voice
  • Google Groups
  • Google Calendar
  • Google Earth
  • Google News
  • Google Blogger
  • Google Mobile
  • And more products as they are released..

What do *I* love? Google! (It’s not a very interesting result when you put ‘Google’ into the WDYL tool, oddly enough?)

Just typing in random words can be fun, interesting, and even educational. I have to admit that as much of a ‘fanboi’ as I am with Google, there’s a few services I haven’t explored enough and this one site bridges that gap for me. From an SEO stand-point, there’s really no harm in trying your keywords in this new tool to see what comes from it. Worst case you may find some new avenues to look into for your business and on-line rankings?

Oh and for something just a bit different, on the topic of new stuff from Google, OK Go and Philbus have whipped up a treat. For users of Chromium browsers (including Google’s Chrome (yes they are slightly different)) this latest ‘Chrome Experiment’ can be a lot of fun, if a bit excessive for the purpose.

I should mention it’s showing off Chromium’s multi-threading, so if you have a slow machine or don’t have multiple cores in your CPU, you may want to skip this?
All is not lost – Chrome Experiment

SEO news blog post by @ 11:51 am


 

 

June 9, 2011

Chrome XII Released

If you’re not too busy playing around with Google’s tribute to Les Paul’s 96th birthday..

Google search logo tribute to Les Paul's 96th birthday

..you may have time to check out some of Chrome 12′s new features.

Chrome’s never been big on fluff, and most users upgrading to the version 12 release are going to have to look carefully to see anything new. Part of this is due to the very speedy release cycle that Chrome adheres to.

Some of the changes include:

  • Proactive alerts on malware detection to avoid downloads
  • Full flash integration with local shared object management
  • Hardware support for accelerated 3D CSS transforms
  • Small tweaks like the new default favicon: Chrome 12s Favicon

H.264 is still in place even though many speculated that the next release would be dropping H.264 to pave the way for more open standards with HTML5 like WebM and Theora.

The flash integration gives access to cookie management and more:

Flash management screen in Chrome 12

Release 12 wouldn’t be a new version without some issues, and much like the recent performances by the Canucks this latest version has a few failings:

  • Proxy support is broken. If you need to use a proxy, there is a fix. Check here for updates.
  • The version jump has enraged numerologists around the globe to the point where I couldn’t resist busting out the Roman numerals. Version 20 next week?
  • Native HTML5 Netflix support is still not working for everyone

So while it could have had a bit more time on the ironing board, it’s here now and we can try it out. If you wanted to see the 3D CSS transform upgrades try viewing this HTML5 video demo before and after you upgrade.

SEO news blog post by @ 5:15 pm

Categories:css,html 5,web design

 

 

June 2, 2011

Windows 8 – First public showing

Yesterday was an exciting day for more than just hockey fans (Go Canucks!). Wednesday was Microsoft’s first public showing of the new Windows 8 user interface.

Windows 8 Start Screen

Microsoft isn’t kidding when they admit to having some strong influences from the mobile phone market!

Moving towards web technologies and taking a page from the ‘Google Gears’ handbook, Microsoft is saying that Windows 8 is geared towards 2 unique application types. The first being the traditional compiled windows application including games and software you currently run on windows. The second would be more of a full screen HTML5 + Javascript full screen application.

Google made great success out of exploring what a browser can do without an internet connection when they built the Chromebook and Microsoft clearly wasn’t ignoring this development. Beyond the usual stock tracking widgets and weather displays that could be running from an internet connected browser, this will extend to innovative applications like the customizable touch Piano application that was demonstrated.

Hardware in general seems to be an interesting focus of Windows8

  • Internet Explorer 10 is built into Window 8 and it will be very touch friendly, allowing the OS to run on a tablet or make full use of a PC with a touch screen.
  • Microsoft has stated the OS will be compatible with ARM processors and NVidia hardware. There should be a showing of that later today.
  • Windows 8 continues the tradition of Windows 7 where dependance on improved hardware is not a given. Indeed the way forward seems to be extracting more from the current hardware vs. demanding more under the hood for each new feature.

Our next public blurb from Microsoft on the Windows 8 front is due in September during a developer conference in California.

 

Dave’s Footnote:

While this post focuses on Windows 8, Dave believes that the author may have glossed over the truly important point (tsk tsk Ryan) which is captured in the following video:

SEO news blog post by @ 6:24 pm


 

 

February 15, 2011

SEO Opinion of IE9 RC – Day 1

Well it’s day one with Internet Explorer 9 for this SEO nerd and I have a few things to say already.

Why ‘day one’ you might ask? Well the thing is, I’m a complex fellow, I have the 64bit version of Microsoft’s latest OS, Windows 7, installed on my work machine. This über ‘bleeding edge’ configuration was giving previous installs of IE9 too much to cope with and so I have been limited to testing Chrome, FF, and Opera browsers almost exclusively.

Yesterday the first reports of IE9 RC hit my in-box, and I chuckled at the thought of testing to see if it was stable enough to run on my ‘bleeding edge’ work machine. Surprisingly, all that was required was a restart of the whole computer and I was finally able to see the beta of IE9 firsthand! Eat your heart out, Windows 95!

Want to know what it looks like? Load up Chrome or Opera and open a couple tabs. Now picture the tabs on the same bar as the address box, just to the right of it, instead of at the very top. That’s what IE9′s layout looks like to me. The big difference is that instead of seeing a long address in the address bar, I see it in the title bar of the whole window, just like Opera except that Opera doesn’t even try to mask the sad fact that 3 bars are in use (title on the top, tabs in the middle, and then address and buttons on the bottom bar).

Speaking of Opera and wasted space, IE9 has taken the same approach as Chrome with regard to the status bar at the bottom of the screen. There is now a ‘status area’ where messages will pop-up as needed, and only Opera is wasting pixels at the bottom of the screen (by default, you can tweak it).

IE9 is supposed to be a great HTML5 browser and this was something I really had to test on day one. Things got off to a rough start with IE9 RC failing to run one of the first HTML5 test drive functions on Microsoft’s IE9 test pages. Admittedly it was an error with some MS geo-locational service, but that doesn’t explain why all the other browsers succeeded. IE9 also does not render HTML5 pages precisely the same way as Chrome, FF, Opera, and Dreamweaver. In fact it’s only IE9 that mangles my personal HTML5 markup, and trust me, I wouldn’t complain if it somehow improved my work. The speed of IE9 did impress me, and even Opera clobbered my Chrome install in a few benchmarks which was shocking. IE9 overall was the fastest to render the HTML5 tests on Microsoft’s pages, and quite fast in other benchmarks, but Chrome still does best in my favorite test, the CC Real-World HTML5/Javascript browser benchmark putting out a score of 14,443 vs. IE9′s 3,942 (Opera 11 = 11,943 and FF 4 = 6,454) out of 50,000 possible points.

Paste and Go gets a whole paragraph because it’s so badly overlooked. Come on IE, everyone else stole this, why can’t you? This is a no-brainer, so stop avoiding it and get it into the right-click menu. I could show you how to code this in less time than it took me to curse at it’s absence today.

Finally we get to how it feels. Fonts are tiny, 9-10 point looks like a 7-8 point font in IE9, and single spaced lines look double spaced.

IE9 Font

IE9 Font


Normal Font

Normal


I wrote a number of emails in IE9 with GMail and each time I was in a panic to make sure I was typing the body of the message without any unwanted font settings. This part of IE9 is likely to take too long for me to become accustomed to and combined with giving me bad renderings of my own HTML5 pages, I clearly can’t see this trial lasting that long on my machine.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:57 pm


 

 

January 13, 2011

Debunking SEO Myths – part 1

First off, let me say Happy New Year to everyone! As we all reluctantly settle back in to a “regular” work schedule, devoid of festivities, short work weeks and staff parties, we can keep our eyes ahead on what is sure to be an exciting year in SEO

I was reading a great blog post ( http://www.highrankings.com/8-seo-myths ) from Jill Whalen, CEO of High Rankings, a Boston SEO Services Agency where she was debunking popular SEO myths. I wanted to repost a couple of them here in an effort to spread some of her wisdom and to take the opportunity to add my own two cents in to the mix.

SEO Myth #3: You can’t use tables in your HTML code

"This one makes me want to scream. HTML tables have been easily spider-able by search engines since the search engines were newly hatched. As far as I know, table code has never been anything that choked the search engines. I think this myth was propagated by website developers who advocate table-less designs to make you think you’ll somehow get better rankings out of their designs. You won’t."

Search Engine bots expect to find TABULAR data in a table so it should not be used for the formatting graphical elements. CSS, DIVs and TABLEs are (or should only be) used for presenting information to the reader and not used for the formatting and placement of graphics. Tables should focus on the physical layout of the page and are all about the presentation of the content and information to the reader.

The Search Engine bots are more concerned with the logical use of W3C compliant HTML code on a webpage to determine its content and how to categorize the information in the context of the presented formal language structure as it reads through the page (i.e.: the div, H1, h2, table data, blockquote etc).

Tables of course should be used in moderation. Avoid the use of nested tables. They can work great for a basic site but the strength of CSS is in its ability to automatically apply global changes to a site. You will not be necessarily penalized for using tables, but there reaches a point where CSS makes more sense. Page elements and physical layouts will always be rendered faster and more efficiently using a mathematical algorithm than a table that uses percentiles etc, to determine placement and size.

SEO Myth #5: You can’t use Flash on your website

"Yes, you can! While I don’t recommend that you create your entire website in Flash, using bits of Flash here and there for some cool effects will not bother or choke the search engines in the least. They don’t punish, penalize or otherwise nuke into oblivion sites that have Flash on them. You should of course avoid putting important content into your Flash elements, and also remember that some mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPad don’t support Flash. But if you add alternative text for non-Flash-enabled browsers, all should be well."

Since 2008, Google has been able to interpret links and some content from Flash elements. More recently they have the ability now to read meta information from them and to parse the textual content of the site. This means that while there have been some great advancements within the Google algorithm, it is still cannot fully interpret flash movies and that we are still some ways from where you can safely use flash on your website concordantly with effective SEO techniques. In the meantime, HTML 5 is gaining widespread implementation and is being touted by some as the “death of flash” ( http://www.readwriteweb.com/start/2010/01/death-to-flash-3-great-html-5.php )”. From what I have seen of these examples, I might be inclined to agree.

So what can we take away from this? The world of SEO/SEM is very fluid and is constantly evolving. To be effective as possible as web marketing analysts, we must keep our ears to the ground (or to the web) for new changes and developments that make the SEO industry to dynamic and exciting. The best way to do this is to read popular SEO blogs such as Jill Whalen’s to keep abreast of the new going-ons.

SEO news blog post by @ 10:33 pm


 

 

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