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You may want to re-think that decision, perhaps even focus on a ‘mobile’ provider for your site, or an Android app instead of one for Apple’s store.
Why? Well lets list the reasons:
- Android OS is shipping on more phones currently than any other mobile OS
- 2013 should be the year that Android overtakes iPhone in subscriber #s
- A mobile ‘face lift’ should load on any phone/browser
- Apple is cracking down on all ‘Apps’ that generate revenue outside their store..
The last one is a real kicker, especially for Microsoft who is currently unable to update their SkyDrive app after Apple realized it was handling in-app purchases without going through the Apple Store.
Essentially Apple is rejecting all Microsoft app updates and 3rd party apps that communicate with SkyDrive until Microsoft has a solution to Apple’s need for a 30% cut of all transactions done through it’s App Store.
So if you made an Apple Store ‘App’ for your site, all you can do with the ‘App’ is browse information and provide free resources, since any attempt to engage in a financial transaction would require the Apple App Store to participate, at a 30% margin.
That’s just.. wait for it.. rotten.
Making Easy Money by Ignoring Copyright Infringement
On the surface, it may seem counter-intuitive to your profit margin, but not letting people steal your content could be what’s stopping you from getting rich.
PSY, the chubby Korean behind the most popular YouTube video to-date, is raking in the profits from his ‘Gangnam Style’ video, and it’s all because he didn’t censor his own work by chasing copyright violations.
If you look at TV commercials, ad revenue, product endorsements, and other direct revenue from his popularity, PSY is making over $8 Million in 2012 alone.
Clearly there’s a trade off between copyrights and profits that doesn’t favor always locking down your content.
I’m wondering though, once fame has taken hold, if next year we’ll have a story about PSY suing people for copyright infringements?
Well Microsoft has finally managed to get a leg up on all the current desktop web browsers available today with it’s new Karaoke Web Standard.
To quote the KWS wiki entry:
This specification defines a new API, focused on semantic language processing for two-way communication with a remote host. Eschewing typical binary protocols, this new interface creates a system-to-system forced sonic recognition on the receiving party.
The KWS definition page goes on to discuss key points like pending API access to the libation ES codebase, and encourages modification from the base parameters noting that each user has unique aptitudes in variety of related skills.
Indeed while some users, such as myself, have a low threshold for personal embarrassment (regardless of how many times a week I write these posts), I could possess high vocal aptitude that would mitigate a fond user experience if I were to stick with preset templates.
The spec deals with concerns such as bitrate, throttling, error mitigation, audio auth rights, P2P connectivity, and semantic packet delivery, but fails to touch on less favourable issues like hackers that implement auto-tuning modules.
Included with the announcement were two YouTube videos, one that explains the need for the new standard:
And a second video that focuses on presenting the new KWS:
The theme is apparently along the lines of “Have you tried IE Lately?”, with the assumption that you’ll like what you see.
I’m personally assuming that next week someone on the IE marketing team will get a phat bonus for a spike in downloads that doesn’t correlate to actual user shift.
In related news, FireFox has given up on 64bit development for now, listing a number of issues that make it a very wise decision, regardless of the folks that were ‘enjoying’ the struggle of maintaining a 64bit browser with very little 64bit extension support.
While a 64bit FireFox could theoretically run faster, the added expense of development was taxing the coders and holding back the progress of the browser vs. it’s competition.
If you MUST have a 64bit FireFox there is a build of FF with 64bit support, it’s called ‘WaterFox‘ and you can get it from Sourceforge.
Since I already had FireFox installed I grabbed the portable copy of WaterFox and it runs great, picking up most, if not all, of my FireFox profile/settings.
Personally? I’m using Chrome, and I am writing plugins for Chrome because I feel it’s going to win the browser war thanks to Android, Apple, and many other systems that use the WebKit engine by default.
There seems to be a lot of spam vs. turkey this year, but we still have plenty to be thankful for!
In fact just today I was reading about how Google is thanking Maps contributors with ‘Badges‘!
If you login to Google and head on over to the Map Maker section of Google Maps you can get started on either reviewing changes that need to be approved/disapproved, or make your own.
The badges are apparently awarded as follows (stolen from IBF):
So Thanks Google, for being Thankful! This is going to work very well for trust factors on your G+ profile, which as we pointed out many times now, should also be the author link for your site content.
In Other News..
DuckDuckGo was trying to prove they could deliver better search results without learning anything about the user.
It would have been neat if it were possible, but I wouldn’t send a stranger out to buy me new shoes, and I don’t want a web search that doesn’t know me either.
While I agree that making use of duck.com as a 301 to google.com is a bit ‘cruel’, my guess is that nobody offered Google a fair price for the domain, and it’s not bad business to improve the value by holding onto the name until a valid offer comes along.
If DuckDuckGo wants to disclose how much they offered Google, I may change my opinion, but for now this is just ‘big business’ vs. anything ‘anti-competitive’, and if this is the absolute worst mud that DDG can sling at Google then they have little to complain about.
Google Music Translate
While I have been eager to see someone like Wierd Al tackle the song Gangnam Style with some English lyrics, I am not sure I’m eager to see this ‘project’ come to life:
Heck this was meant to be a joke, but Google is so spooky with it’s tech that this is totally plausible?
Indeed some news sites this morning are actually getting flamed for discussing this as if it were a real service offered by Google.
Every once in awhile it would be nice if there was some construction on the information superhighway.
Some road work that caused folks oblivious to our websites to detour?
We all want some traffic to take a pass through our pages, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
Ideally we’d want the detour sign to read:
“Turn here for great deals on XYZ!”
…but more often than not folks go for something a bit more catchy like:
“If you like kittens and free bacon turn now before it’s too late!”
The problem with the former is that people don’t respect honesty as much as they should, after all, everyone has something for sale, tell us something we didn’t know.
The problem with the latter is that while totally successful, the traffic driven to the site won’t be on target at all, will likely bounce, and the best anyone can hope for is brand recognition. Unless the site actually has kittens and free bacon, but who would be reading this if they had all that? (Note to self, make a site with endless kitten pictures where the uploader is paid in bacon.)
Ideally we wish to find a ‘Goldilocks’ approach where we aren’t too off-putting with boring honesty, nor are we luring in people who have zero interest in the site.
So lets take a moment to look at two common approaches for traffic generation that I don’t see discussed often, one is very timely.
Google just launched a massive ARG called the Niantic Project and I am already 7 13 days behind on the clues/feeds..
The idea is that you become very curious about the game and subscribe to the daily clues. With luck this catches the eye of your friends, they get curious and sign on too. By the end of the game Google should have a large subscriber group waiting anxiously for their announcement.
Speaking of clues, one thing I seem to have discovered ahead of the crowd is the Interactive global Niantic XM (Exotic Matter) POI map that Google built:
If this game is an introduction to the recently released Google Field Trip app, then is it possible that Google associates have taken the time to embed ‘clues’ into major landmarks around the world that need local residents to ‘discover’ using an Android device and the Google Field Trip application.
With any luck Google will use Niantic to reach more people than they normally would, and the more people who know about field trip, the better/more interesting it will be.
Think Outside the Box
In this case, the box, is the web/online and thinking outside means creating web content that people will want to print/download and share.
All of our team is doing on-page optimization training so that all of us have some skills with on-page SEO. Even if we can’t have each member doing live A B tests and such, they should know why you would run one and be familiar with the current standards.
This means that each of us has an SEO cheat sheet pinned to our cork boards and each of these has branding on them that we’re fine with. In fact I’m very tempted to promote these as something all of you should print for your daily SEO but I need to check and see if they are still available to the public.
If your company has info pages that are getting a lot of traffic, I’d look at pulling together a PDF of the content for download with a quick-reference for printing.
Getting your brand out there and helping potential clients is a win win for you if the market you are in is something that you want to be recognized for.
Giving it Away
If you felt like making a resource and simply giving it away was too much for your time/budget, then you’ll be shocked by the next suggestion:
Give something substantial to a charity, preferably an example of your trade.
As an example: If you sell shoes and there’s a drive for winter shoes for the homeless, putting free footwear on people that cannot afford your product won’t cut into potential customers/sales, and it will remind people where to get shoes, and that winter is coming.
If there’s nothing you can do for charity that lines up with your company, you can always just give some money away, many sites thank donors with an ad or a link, and even micro loans are a nice way to help out with friendly options to get you started.
There’s a ton of ways to get unexpected traffic to your site in a manner that will have the visitors eager to explore, and potentially buy your product. Anything else and you risk the traffic bouncing off your site and telling Google that you aren’t offering interesting content.
Today’s Google Doodle
It’s with pride that I re-share the daily doodle for the Canadarm!
Google is celebrating 31 years of Canadarm use today with the above doodle.
After 90 missions the Discovery and Atlantis Canadarm installations will be retired with the shuttles for museum display. The Canadarm that was fitted to the Endeavour was given back to the Canadian Space Agency and it is currently on display in the Quebec headquarters.
An observant reader may wonder why the PNG with ‘poor’ compression is smaller than the JPG? The answer is that it’s transparent, and the PNG is only saving image data (compressed losslessly) for the visible pixels vs. JPG which has to save the additional information that ‘these pixels are white’.
Also keep in mind that we used really small images to keep this page loading quickly, the larger the image, the more of a difference compression quality can make.
The phrase ‘resolution’ has so many variable definitions that I would need to resolve the idea of this as a post vs. an article.
For the context of this discussion I’m speaking of the image dimensions, not the pixels-per-inch.
As an SEO blog I’d have to be really lazy to not mention the issue of image placement/size on a site when we know that Google has a clear concept of what’s most visible to your audience.
When I say ‘your audience’ it is not just a buzz-word, I really mean that Google looks at it’s analytics data and the browser window size of your traffic and actually knows when a site is delivering the right content for the majority of it’s user base.
So if your website is plastered with images that force the user to look for your content, and your content isn’t images, then that’s actually a problem in terms of SEO Optimization.
In fact Google’s just in the middle of moving it’s ‘Browser Size’ tool into the Google Analytics suite.
As you can see in this example of jQuery Mobile in the Browser Size tool, the existing results are generic and dare I say “unprofessional” looking?
In the above image we can see what % of general web users can see the elements of the page.
I would show off an example of the same page using the new tools, but Google Analytics is only for sites you own, and the new version is still in beta, throwing out ‘Not a Number’ (NaN) errors regardless of your choice of browser.
What you want to end up with, regardless, is a site that fits the screen size of your audience. So if you are running a forum that reviews ‘apps’ you probably want to aim for a design that will fit you most important content above ‘the fold’ with mobile browsers (at least the current generation of mobile browsers).
Image Site Maps
Site Maps are typically an XML format document that explains your website’s pages to Google in a more technical manner.
An image site map is specifically for explaining the images that are on your site.
An image sitemap’s XML structure lets you clearly spell out each image with options like:
loc: The full URL for the image
caption: Description of the image
geo_location: Physical location ie: British Columbia, Canada
title: Title of the image
license: URL pointing to a license for the image
Since each entry is related to a <loc> URL if your image is remotely hosted that’s fine, Google understands the need for CDNs, but that remote site needs to be registered in Webmaster Tools for proper indexing of the images.
Once again I’ve gone a bit too far on the topic for a first round, but I will return with a deeper look beyond the surface of the issue in a part 2 post.
Windows 8 is a tablet OS, and like any modern OS focused on tablets/touch/mobility options, there’s compatibility concerns with content not specifically written for a tablet/mobile device.
Apple’s famous for their certification process and using it for more than just the sake of ‘quality’ or ‘compatibility’ controls.
Indeed Microsoft has had certification for drivers, and applications in Windows for some time, but never to the point where something cannot be used without their certification.
If you wanted to install something that isn’t certified you’ll get a spooky warning, but I’ve never seen something completely fail to work due to a bad/missing certification on Windows.
Enter Windows 8 and IE10, a whole new ballgame, with two browser modes, one for normal use and a ‘desktop’ integration mode which has to play nice with the new Windows UI.
If you wish to publish web content that leverages the new ‘desktop mode’ you’ll want to visit Microsoft’s ‘developer guidance’ page for information on new meta tags and HTTP header codes that help flag such content.
In a nutshell they explain that either the header:
… work to create a handy little prompt explaining that the content on the page requires the page to be viewed in ‘desktop’ mode, and even gives a single-click shortcut to switch over:
The same page also deals with ‘Compatibility Verification’ and the steps to test/certify that your flash content is compatible with the extra features of a tablet OS.
Of particular interest is the option of a single registry entry that allows testing of your site for ‘debugging’ to see just how broken your flash content is.
The key is located here: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Flash\DebugDomain
.. and if you wanted to make a .reg file for easy access the contents would be: REGEDIT4
**Blank Line/Carriage Return**
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Flash\DebugDomain] @="www.mywebsite.com"
**Blank Line/Carriage Return**
At that point you could right-click the .reg file you made and click on ‘install’ from within the pop-up menu.
Passing this .reg file to your developers would be fine, but since only one site can be specified, this is NOT a solution for your end users.
Obviously the best advice we can give, as SEOs, is to ditch your Flash content completely.
Google recently updated their webmaster guidelines following the latest algorithm update. It is easy to feel inundated with the amount of information regarding web design dos & don’ts and the best practices for the internet. As an SEO I am frequently asked, “How can I get my site to rank?” The fact of the matter is that we follow the Google’s Webmaster Guidelines which establishes the best practices for websites to follow. Many are concerned about the Panda/Penguin updates and are worried that there site will be hit; or they have a site that has been hit. Our advice remains consistent: "Drink the Google Kool-Aid".
At one time, it was exceedingly difficult to get a straight answer from Google in regards to what was considered best practice. This led to a wild-west frontier attitude and many designers and SEOs adopted many bad practices. This is lead to an inundation of webspam in the Google SERPs and made it very difficult to get quality search results.
The Panda and Penguin algorithm and subsequent updates was a very concerted effort to rid the SERPs of webspam. In the wake of these substantial updates, my advice to customers remains consistent; follow the Google established guidelines. The mantra I repeat to my customers is: "Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?"
For many of us this is old news, but I still find myself learning new things to try and better practices to adopt. Much of the messaging from Google has been very consistent regarding what makes good content. This post will looks specifically at Google’s recommended Design and Content Guidelines to help Google find, crawl and index your site.
Give your site a clear hierarchical structure and make it as easy to navigate as possible. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.
Think of your website as a book with logical sections and headings; each with their own unique and relevant content.
The Title of you is your domain URL (eg. www.booktitle.com)
Your title tag <title> can be your topic for the page. It defines what content will be on this page (eg. <title>Book Characters</title>).
Your heading tag is your chapter title eg. <h1>Book Characters</h1>. Typically this is the same or very close to the page title and must be directly relevant.
Have only one topic per page and only one H1 tag on any page.
Use subsequent heading tags (h2, h3, h4) to define further related divisions of the chapter.
Offer a sitemap for your visitors. Not only does this provide a valuable service to your customers, but it can help improve the indexing of your site by bots.
If you have an extensive number of links on your site, you may need to break your sitemap into multiple pages.
Remember that a website sitemap is different than the sitemap.xml that you should submit to Google’s Webmaster Tools.
Keep the number of links on any page to the bare minimum. The guidelines used to state ‘around 100’ but this is one area where less is more.
In the most recent iteration of the Webmaster Guidelines, Google has only stated to ‘keep it to a reasonable amount’. Too many links leading to other internal pages or offsite is distracting to the visitor. It lowers conversion rates due to people getting lost and creates frustration.
Google has always stated that ‘content is king’. It is absolutely imperative that you create rich, useful and dynamic content that engages your audience. All textual content needs to be well written and grammatically correct. It should clearly and accurately describe your content and it must be relevant to the page that it is found on.
Do not write for what you think Google wants to see. Think about what searchers would type into a search engine to find your page and ensure that your content actually includes those terms.
Do not concern yourself with keyword densities. Inevitably the content comes across as spammy and does not read well. Google may regard this as keyword stuffing and see broken/confused grammar as potential spam or scrapped content…exactly what the Panda/Penguin updates are designed to target, and penalize for.
Check your site with the W3C to ensure that your site has valid HTML.
Avoid the use of dynamic pages with cryptic URLs (e.g., the URL contains a "?" character). Try to use keyword focused URLs that reflect the page you are building. If you must use a dynamic URL structure, keep them few and the parameters short.
You can give Google additional details about your images, and provide the URL of images we might not otherwise discover, by adding information to a web sitemap.
Do not embed important content into images; always use text links instead of images for links, important names etc, where possible. Google crawlers cannot determine the text displayed in an image. If you must use an image for textual content, ensure that you make use of the image ALT tag to describe the image with a few words.
Ensure that all image <title< and ALT attributes are descriptive (but not spammy) and accurate. Follow these guidelines for creating great ALT text for your images.
Give your images detailed and informative filenames.
The following areas (video and rich snippets and their usage are best described by Google themselves:
Do a search for ‘coinflation’ + ‘gold’ or really, almost any other keyword to see what Google considers an ‘improved’ result following the EMD update.
If you didn’t get something like the results above, please let us know!
Okay so that seems slightly silly, but how the heck did they pull that off? There’s clearly PPC/AdWords competition for the phrase, and EMD should either be a penalty or moot, shouldn’t it?
Well apparently not! In fact EMD can still clearly be an asset if the ‘quality’ scores are all above par!
This means that if you have an organic campaign, with ongoing back links/references from trusted sources, and you aren’t hitting other penalties, you really should be feeling no loss at all from the EMD update.
Indeed, if your competition was using non-organic approaches to EMDs they should have taken a trust hit, and you may see an improvement in position due to their failings!
So while I can show you some examples of the EMD apparently failing to work, we can assure you it’s working, and overall seems like a positive step for Google.
10″ Google Nexus from Samsung?
Last night CNET announced some ‘highly’ probable info that Samsung is manufacturing a new 10.1″ Nexus tablet for Google.
The article is more of a stub of hear-say but had some rather ‘exact’ details including the resolution of the display:
The 2,560×1,600 display will have a PPI (pixels per inch) of about 299, said Shim. That tops the 264 PPI on the 9.7-inch 2,048×1,536 Retina iPad.
Clearly this will be the ‘high end’ model for the Nexus line (currently manufactured by Asus), especially when you consider that Google will be releasing a 7″ Nexus subsidized down to a $99 price this December!
In fact since we’re pondering things to come more than talking facts, I’d have to assume this will be a dual or quad core device with GPU acceleration of some sort to assist with up-scaling video content and 3d games to that eye-popping resolution.
So if this high-end Nexus tablet is anything less than $399 I’d be really shocked and very worried for Apple.
Okay, perhaps more worried for Apple, would be more accurate given it’s current public affairs issues..
In case you’re wondering ‘who cares?’; Tim Pool goes to the streets and broadcasts unedited footage of protests/events.
I’d like to think Apple is patenting this to prevent companies from doing this, but in actual fact this is very creepy stuff from the overly litigious makers of the most expensive walled gardens on the planet.
It seems almost like Apple is testing how well their brand/product can weather bad public image at this point?
Why? Because the gains in SEO wouldn’t match the losses in user trust/conversions.
Would a good organic SEO/White Hat tell you NOT to purchase those types of domains for 301s to your main site?
I’d like to think so, but this was clearly a strategy for a lot of sites competing for top rankings.
Regardless of your SEO ethics, the practice of domain parking/selling because of search ranking signals is clearly an unnecessary burden on the internet.
While the ‘domains for sale’ issue would still exist without search engines, search engines honestly should be making your choice of domain name MUCH less relevant.
Ideally fresh internet traffic should occur as match between the searchers needs and the services/information that your site provides.
And with this latest update it’d appear that Google agrees with the idea that book should found by more than what’s on the cover.
As of this last update you can expect sites with nothing but some keyword dense 301′d domains to now face a penalty instead of a positive ranking signal.
We didn’t see this coming!
I’m already seeing people post sad tales of the deep impact this update is having on certain sites, and I’ve had a laugh at a few ‘professionals’ claiming they never felt this day would come.
Personally, while I’ve watched some very good presentations on SEO and web ranking strategies, the one thing that helps me most as an SEO is Matt Cutts’ breakdown of the real philosophy behind ‘good SEO’ which boils down to:
Never do something for the sake of search engine rankings alone.
If you like ‘Lord of the Rings’ then look at this as:
‘One Rule to Lead them all, one Rule to be found by…’
..and you should never have to fear a Google update!
In fact you should look at each Google update as a chance for your rankings to improve as other sites are punished for their ‘clever’ attempts to game the system.
Another Google Easter Egg?
And finally, to end the post with a chuckle, here’s a Google search phrase for you to test out:
Was anyone expecting Apple to replace Google’s Maps application with something superior? Apparently, the iPhone user base and Apple actually expected this to happen.
If you look at the most extremely biased sites reviewing the new ‘Apple’ Maps app for iOS 6 you will see guarded optimism and lots of ‘reasoning’ clash with angry rants from amazed and disappointed users.
One thing I don’t see is anyone calling it the ‘Maps app that Apple bought from TomTom’ the best I’ve seen is a mention that they relied heavily on TomTom and OpenStreetMap for data alone.
Instead I see a very consistent collection of sympathetic remarks like: ‘this is beta, it can only get better’, ‘for a first attempt this is outstanding’, ‘people will question anyone who takes their own path..’
But Apple isn’t taking their own path, they are merely attempting (badly) to replace something that wasn’t really broken.
Sure, Google wasn’t toiling endlessly to include all the updates it was adding to the Android version of Google Maps.
I’m guessing Apple really expected Google to beta test ideas on the Android and then polish them up and finalize them on the iPhone?
So sure, Google put Android development first, and there were things that Google Maps did better on the Android, but that still doesn’t mean it ‘had to go’.
Apple could have offered both solutions in a ‘use what you like’ approach to pleasing it’s user base, but this is a company making headlines for outrageous profits and the working conditions of it’s manufacturing partners.
Removing the choice to pick another company’s solution would clearly explain why Apple didn’t take a settlement from Samsung and wanted to ban their phones. Apple want’s profits, and if Apple wants really happy customers they could lower prices and focus on better apps vs. removing the best ones for inferior versions.
And in other News
Google has blessed a new meta tag!
content=”Apple Maps, iOS 6, Google Maps, Android, TomTom, Google news meta tag”
Do you publish content that you would call ‘news’?
Would you like Google to better understand the topic of your posts?
Would you like the freedom to ignore keyword use in a topic for style reasons?
Then brothers and sisters, this new meta-tag is what you’ve been waiting for!
The format is very simple, and it belongs near the top of your page content, usually in the <head> … </head> section.
Here’s an example:
<meta name=”news_keywords” content=”10 keywords, separated, by commas, just like, meta keywords, etc..”>
That’s some ‘easy breezy’ SEO optimization, and it’s great if you are indeed publishing ‘news’; Not just ranting about Apple.