Beanstalk on Google+ Beanstalk on Facebook Beanstalk on Twitter Beanstalk on LinkedIn Beanstalk on Pinterest
Translate:
Published On:
SEO articles and blog published on ...
Hear Us On:
Webmaster Radio
Blog Partner Of:
WebProNews Blog Partner
Helping Out:
Carbon balanced.
Archives
RSS

XMLRSS

Apple: On the Charge!

apple controller

Over at Apple things are changing to give the company even more power, profit, and exclusive control over it’s customers than ever before.

The good news is that Apple has been charged and found guilty of misleading Australian consumers who purchased Apple’s advertised “iPad with WiFi + 4G” only to find it’s not compatible with the 4G networks in Australia.

This resulted in a $2.25million fine + $300,000.00 in costs for Apple, a fine that seems light given the gross disregard for Australian consumer laws that Apple showed by selling a product that cannot deliver on it’s advertised specifications.

Indeed a small price to pay to purchase Australian tablet buyers without investing in efforts to make the hardware work with the country’s ISPs.

Protecting you from yourself :

Apple also made headlines by patenting an anti-surveillance technology that endeavours to mask a user’s on-line activity with fake information.

Clone Troopers

In a nutshell the service would hide your real activities behind a wall of fake information. If you ‘like’ a Mars Bar™ then your clone would like a brand of chocolate bar that directly competes with your choices. In essence it’s like an electro-acoustic muffler that covers your on-line activity with white-noise.

There is some implication that Apple has a technique to confuse actions of the clone with your actions, but I’d have to see that in action to honestly discuss it.

At the end of the day this means that instead of Apple and ‘others’ knowing about your interests/habits, only Apple will have accurate information, and they can claim that all other ‘targeted advertisers’ are second to them in accurately promoting to someone’s interests.

To me, this reinforces that Apple customers are the sole property of Apple, including their information.

Soul’d Out?

Apple has some great changes coming for loyal consumers. They are spending the time to remove the excellent Google Maps application, which is a free service, and replacing it with Tom Tom maps, which they likely had to purchase/invest in.

It’s also rumoured that the next update to Apple’s Siri app will focus on data from Apple partners like Yelp, Rotten Tomatoes, and OpenTable, instead of Google.

This was a brave move to protect Apple from Google’s growing competition in hardware markets. If Apple doesn’t limit Google growth with every effort they can muster, Apple consumers will start to see why so many people are switching to Android.

From a SEO perspective, the fact that Apple, and it’s users are getting away from Google is worth noting. When I am optimizing a site, I’m doing it for the good of the site/company, not my preferences in search engines.

So if I had a client who sold flower arrangements or something that is very likely to be searched for with Siri, I’d seriously be considering the competition and rankings over on Yelp as part of their external ranking strategy for coming months.

Spending your money for you…

These changes from free services to paid options won’t cost consumers too much more, at least not compared to the new 19pin iPhone interface that Apple is switching to starting with the iPhone 5.
The old iPad and iPhone adapters
You heard that correctly, all those accessories you have purchased over the years with iPad/iPhone connections are all going to be junk. Not to fret however, Apple’s authorized partners will sell you all new devices, and are already working on a new line of must-have add-ons featuring the new connectors.

This way, all the cheap knock-off adapters/accessories that aren’t making Apple any money are going to be worthless and Apple will be climbing back into your pockets to kick those imposters out.

And thus the walls of the garden appear to be growing, taller, thicker, and electrified on both sides.

Speaking of Power & Charging…

In more promising news the process of pulling solar power from infrared light is closer to ‘practical application’ with recent progress in the field of carbon nanotube research over at MIT.

If you look at a typical solar panel, exploring the reaction between light energy -> power conversion, you’ll note that infrared (non-visible) light energy is largely wasted.

This is especially troublesome when you realize that ~40% of the sun’s light energy that reaches our planet surface is actually in the infrared spectrum and isn’t being converted to electricity by traditional solar panel technology.

Plus this new research is pointing to a compatible technology that can be added to existing installations vs. replacing existing solar panel installations.

Here’s the relevant section from the original article:

The carbon-based cell is most effective at capturing sunlight in the near-infrared region.

Because the material is transparent to visible light, such cells could be overlaid on conventional solar cells, creating a tandem device that could harness most of the energy of sunlight.

The carbon cells will need refining, Strano and his colleagues say: So far, the early proof-of-concept devices have an energy-conversion efficiency of only about 0.1 percent.

So while the recent announcement is exciting, and very promising, we won’t see the results for some time to come due to efficiency/cost issues which need to be resolved first.

The real news is that folks worried about investing in current solar tech need not worry as much about the future if the next improvements are going to be complimentary to existing solutions.

SEO news blog post by @ 1:10 pm on June 21, 2012


 

TECHNOlogy: What is AJAX? Baby Don’t Hurt Me!

Wikipedia defines AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript And XML) as:

A group of interrelated web development techniques used on the client-side to create asynchronous web applications.

What a mind-numbing description! What you need to know is that AJAX is the combination of a several technologies to make better web pages.

If you have no interest in making websites but you like techno music, or you’re curious why I picked that title, this is for you:

This is a good soundtrack for this post. You should hit play and keep reading.

After a bit of time with HTML/CSS I started to build a growing list of issues that I couldn’t solve without some scripting.

I learned some PHP, which wasn’t tricky because it uses very common concepts. Here’s the traditional ‘hello world’ example in PHP:

<?PHP echo ‘Hello World’; ?> = Hello World

.. and if I wanted to be a bit more dynamic:

<?PHP echo ‘Hello World it is ‘.date(‘Y’); ?> = Hello World it is 2012

Because PHP is only run when the page is requested, and only runs on the server side, it’s only the server that loads/understands PHP; The browser does nothing with PHP.

With PHP code only seen by the server, it’s a very safe way to make your pages more intelligent without giving Google or other search engines a reason to be suspicious of your site.

In fact one of the most common applications of PHP for an SEO is something as simple as keeping your Copyright date current:

<?PHP echo ‘Copyright© 2004-’.date(‘Y’); ?> = Copyright© 2004-2012

Plus when I need to store some information, or fetch that information, PHP isn’t that easy, so I added MySQL to the mix and suddenly my data nightmares are all data dreams and fairy tales (well almost). I won’t dive into MySQL on top of everything here, but lets just say that when you have a ton of data, you want easy access to it, and most ‘flat’ formats are far from the ease of MySQL.

But I still had a long list of things I couldn’t do that I knew I should be able to do.

The biggest problem I had was that all my pages had to ‘post’ something, figure out what I’d posted, and then re-load the page with updated information based on what was posted.

Picture playing a game of chess where you are drawing the board with pen and paper. Each move would be a fresh sheet of paper with the moved piece drawn over a different square.

PHP can get the job done, but it’s not a very smart way to proceed when you want to make an update to the current page vs. re-drawing the whole page.

So I learned some JavaScript, starting with the basic ‘hello world’ example:
<span onClick=”alert(‘Hello World’);”>Click</span>

hello world javascript alert box

 
If I wanted to see the date I’d have to add some more JavaScript:
<script language=”javascript”>
function helloworld()
{
var d = new Date();
alert(‘Hello World it is ‘ + d.getFullYear());
}
</script>

<span onClick=”helloworld();”>Click

Hello World it's 2012 alert box example

 
JavaScript is ONLY run on the browser, the server has no bearing on JavaScript, so the example above won’t always work as expected because it’s telling you the date on your computer, not on the server. How would we see the date of the server?

This is where AJAX comes into play. If we can tell the browser to invisibly fetch a page from a server and process the information that comes back, then we can combine the abilities of JavaScript, PHP, and MySQL.

Lets do the ‘hello world’ example with AJAX using the examples above.

First you would create the PHP file that does the server work as something witty like ‘ajax-helloworld.php’:
<?php echo ‘Hello World it is ‘.date(‘Y’); ?>

..next you’d create an AJAX function inside the web page you are working on:
<script language=”javascript”>
function helloworld()
{
var ajaxData; // Initialize the ‘ajaxData’ variable then try to set it to hold the request (on error, assume IE)
try{
// Opera 8.0+, Firefox, Safari
ajaxData = new XMLHttpRequest();
} catch (e){
// Internet Explorer Browsers
try{
ajaxData = new ActiveXObject(“Msxml2.XMLHTTP”);
} catch (e) {
try{
ajaxData = new ActiveXObject(“Microsoft.XMLHTTP”);
} catch (e){
// Something went wrong
alert(“Your browser broke!”);
return false;
}
}
}
// Create a function that will receive data sent from the server
ajaxData.onreadystatechange = function(){
if(ajaxData.readyState == 4){
alert(ajaxData.responseText);
}
}
ajaxData.open(“GET”, “ajax-helloworld.php”, true);
ajaxData.send();
}
</script>

Only the purple text is customized, the rest of the function is a well established method of running an AJAX request that you should not need to edit.

So we have a function that loads the ‘ajax-helloworld.php’ page we made and then does an alert with the output of the page, all we have to do is put something on the page to call the function like that span example with the onClick=’helloworld();’ property.

Well that’s all neat but what about the ‘X’ in AJAX?

XML is a great thing because it’s a language that helps us with extensible mark-up of our data.

In other words XML is like a segregated serving dish for pickled food that keeps the olives from mixing with the beets.

Going back to our ‘hello world’ example we could look at the ‘date data’ and the ‘message data’ as objects:
<XML>
<message>Hello World it is</message>
<date>2012</date>
</XML>

Now, when the AJAX loads our ‘ajax-helloworld.php’ and gets an XML response we can tell what part of the response is the date, and which part is the message. If we made a new page that just needs to display the server’s date, we could re-use our example and only look at the ‘date’ object.

For some odd reason, most coders like JSON a lot, and this makes it really common to see AJAX using JSON vs. XML to package a data response. Here’s our XML example as a JSON string:
{“message”:”Hello World it is”,”date”:”2012″}

Not only is it really easy to read JSON, because JavaScript and PHP both understand JSON encoding it’s really easy to upgrade our ‘hello world’ XML example over to JSON format.

Here’s the new PHP command file ‘ajax-helloworld.php’:
<?php
$response = array(“message” => “Hello World it is”, “date” => date(‘Y’));
echo json_encode($response);
?>

The output of our AJAX PHP file will now be the same as the JSON example string. All we have to do is tell JavaScript to decode the response.

If you look back at this line from the AJAX JavaScript function example above:

if(ajaxData.readyState == 4){
alert(ajaxData.responseText);
}

This is where we’re handling the response from the AJAX request. So this is where we want to decode the response:

if(ajaxData.readyState == 4){
var reply = JSON.parse(ajaxRequestAT.responseText);
alert(‘The message is : ‘ + reply.message + ‘ and the date is : ‘ + reply.date);
}

Now we are asking for data, getting it back as objects, and updating the page with the response data objects.

If this example opened some doors for your website needs you really should continue to learn more. While the web is full of examples like this, from my personal experience I can honestly tell you that you’ll find yourself always trying to bridge knowledge gaps without a solid lesson plan.

Educational sites like LearnQuest, have excellent tutorials and lessons on AJAX and JavaScript including advanced topics like external AJAX with sites like Google and Yahoo. Plus LearnQuest also has jQuery tutorials that will help you tap into advanced JavaScript functionality without getting your hands dirty.

*Savvy readers will note that I gave PHP my blessings for SEO uses but said nothing of JavaScript’s impact on crawlers/search engines.

Kyle recently posted an article on GoogleBot’s handling of AJAX/JavaScript which digs into that topic a bit more.

With any luck I’ll get some time soon to share a gem of JavaScripting that allows you to completely sculpt your page-rank and trust flow in completely non-organic way. The concept would please search engines, but at the same time cannot be viewed as ‘white hat’ no matter how well it works.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:19 am on June 14, 2012


 

Google Advisor: Where have you been all my life?

Admittedly, when I read the announcement that Google Advisor (Link removed – no longer available) was here to help me manage my money the first thoughts were about privacy and that last bastion of private information Google hasn’t touched yet: Banking.

Gloved hand that is reaching for banking and credit info

Being wrong never felt so good!

Google Advisor is not (at the moment) a way to suck more private information from you, it’s actually more of a consulting service for comparing bank accounts, credit cards, certificates of deposit, and more.

Google Advisor

As someone who’s setup review sites for various services/offerings I can tell you how handy/popular it is to break down competing services so the consumer can select something that meets their exact needs.

Google Advisor claims that the information it’s showing is based on my data, but a 0% intro rate on transfers for 18months? If that’s really available to me I’m going to have to send Google some chocolates.

Google bought QuickOffice

QuickOffice Logo

Google bought the mobile office suite ‘QuickOffice‘ which allows ‘App-Level’ access to office documents for mobile devices based on Android/iOS/Symbian.

This move seems redundant with Google’s ‘Docs’ suite offering even more connectivity to your documents/spreadsheets/presentations, but that is just a cloud service, not an ‘App’ and you can have more offline control of your work if you have an ‘App’ vs. a cloud service.

Plus you can’t argue with the users, they want ‘Apps’ and will pay for them.

Google bought Meebo

Meebo Logo

I’m not sure if this was related to Yahoo’s ‘Axis’ bar plugin that came and went with zero fanfare, but it’s an interesting purchase for SEO interests.

Meebo is a handy social media tool with some great options for ad placement and on-line marketing. SEOs not already dabbling with the tool should take a look, like yesterday.

If you’ve been managing your Twitter, Google+, Facebook, etc.., profiles without a management tool, aggregation sites like Meebo are really what you’ve been missing out on.

We know that Google owned properties have more relevance and trust on the web than similar services/products. After all, if you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

So if you were using some other social aggregation tool, and were doing it solely for SEO awareness, you can safely assume it’s worth the effort to try out Meebo for a potentially improved result/relevance from your efforts.

We will be doing some testing (as we always do) and will blog about our results to further expand on what the service offers over others. This may even warrant an article or two?

SEO news blog post by @ 12:42 pm on June 5, 2012


 

Facebook going to the Opera?

Fat Lady singing Opera logo

With all that IPO cash in hand Facebook could really have a night on the town, perhaps even watch the fat lady sing?

Given the bad press over their profit reports and legal actions from investors, I’d be tempted to do anything that’s a change of topic from ‘stock prices’.

Why buy Opera?

That’s actually not too hard to answer as a nerd or as an investor.

Shut Up and Take My Money
Opera is real technology and has actual value. Something FB needs to be snatching up.

 
The main reason: Opera has always provided some of the best mobile browser software. My first experience with Opera Mobile (5.1?) was back in 2006 on an HTC Apache (X6700).

I remember installing Opera on my Windows Mobile phone and back then the 1x connection speeds were barely better than dial-up and data prices were just unthinkably bad. Opera Mobile not only pre-compressed the data for me, it would compress data my phone couldn’t render, like simple Flash video/animations and even let me painfully navigate Flash based menus.

That’s right, I was able to interact with Flash based content on a mobile phone before the iPhone was a twinkle in Apple’s.. erm.. eye. That’s how long Opera’s been providing must-have solutions to the mobile market.

Opera is more than just a very popular/powerful mobile browser with unique features… Opera is one of the most complete browsers available on the PC today.

SEO TIP:The turbo feature acts as a proxy to avoid identity issues on most sites.

Unless you are on a secure site or a site that you’ve configured specifically to pass your identity, Opera’s Turbo mode will send requests to Opera’s proxy server instead of the website you are on. The responses come back to Opera, get heavily compressed, and then it’s sent back to you. This means that Opera’s proxy IP is making the requests, not your computer’s IP. Handy dandy!

The IRC client is great and requires almost zero setup/knowledge to jump into discussions with really nerdy (and often brilliant) people.

I used to be a die hard user of mIRC, I even used it to author some scripts to create the first DOS network (SuperKill) myself and my nerdy friends from around the world had ever heard of. Today I happily use Opera’s IRC client because it’s zero hassle and it’s built into a product I already use.

Opera's HTML5 Date Picker
Opera’s HTML5 Date Picker

Opera also has some of the most complete HTML5 implementations of any desktop browser.

It makes sense that if you have to to know how to render/handle HTML5 tags for mobile use, it’s not hard to extend that support to your desktop users.

An input element with a type value of ‘date’ should illicit a date selection box, but of all the major browsers on the market, Opera is the only one that recognizes and supports these elements by default.

Opera’s other features are just as thorough and well developed as it’s core functions. Opera’s application page allows you to turn your Opera browser into a media player/streaming host, file sharing hub, webcam server, private photo shares, web proxy, messenger, etc..

If Opera had been made in Sweden vs. Norway we’d have to dub it the ‘swiss army knife’ of browsers, but for now we’ll have to look at it as the ‘concert of awesome’ for those times when you want one program to do everything.

Why NOT buy Opera?

Price. Plain and simple.

Google is a major partner in Opera, and is the default search engine for the Opera browser. If there’s a bidding war to purchase Opera, Google’s not going to let FB buy it cheap, nor will the other competitors in this arena of mobile/social web dominance.

Right now top financial teams from banks like Norway’s DNB have speculatively estimated Opera at a value of between $1 billion – $1.35 billion.

This is a value based on Opera share prices, and the stock was on a 17.2% rise this morning and hasn’t stopped climbing, with Google finance putting it up at 30.23% currently!

In fact, if you want my personal opinion, at this stage of the game, with FB’s intentions very clear, I’d say the whole deal will hinge on price alone since it’s a sound decision to buy, but only if the value holds.

I’d say you could take that to the bank, but I’m neither rich nor financially skilled, I’m just a nerd that’s been around for a long time. ;)

SEO news blog post by @ 11:54 am on May 29, 2012


 

Yahoo Axis – What the Flock?

I had a friend working on the Flock browser team right until it lost momentum and became clear that it was too much, too soon…

Amy's Winehouse - Too soon?

Here we go again with a new ‘all-in-one’ web browser concept, this time from a very big name?

**Update: Turns out that the leaks were really just rumors. This hype mill is a ‘googol‘ times more intense than it should be considering this is ‘just a plugin’ (unless you count Apple devices).

 

Paul Rudd doing the Double Take
Yahoo..? New?!?

Microsoft owns Yahoo right? So if Yahoo is releasing a new browser + a suite of browser plugins for people who refuse to switch browsers, what’s going on?

Well apparently giving people the option to ‘choose’ MSN/Bing/Yahoo wasn’t working out so well. Now you can run a browser or a plugin that removes that annoying hassle of choosing who’s search services you are using.

Y’know how Firefox and Chrome allow you to sign-in to your browser letting you seamlessly move from one location to the next? Yeah Axis is going to break ground and re-invent the web by also doing that same thing.

Y’know how Google is showing you previews of the sites you’re considering visiting within the search results? Yep Axis will finally let you do that, again.

Is this even a new browser or just IE9 with some ‘fluff’ and Yahoo branding? Tonight we will get a chance to try it hands-on and find out, but for now we have a few videos we can watch over on Yahoo Video.

One of the points my Economics teacher used to hammer home is to view each promotion as the promoter relating to their target audience.

If you have a good product with a smart client base, you can sell your product by focusing on real traits and strengths. Just demonstrate the product and avoid all pointless elements that distract the consumer from your product information.

Enjoy those videos and the clever/unique symbolism that hasn’t been copied too many times since Apple used it in 1984. :)

Does this mean Bing/Yahoo rankings will be important?

Who ever said they weren’t important? Okay, well expert opinions aside, you should never burn the Bing bridge, especially not with cell phones that default to Bing and new versions of Windows that also default to Bing.

It’s never wise to put all your eggs in one basket, and this is true of search engine placement/rankings as well as eggs.

Even if Yahoo Axis only manages a week of public attention, that’s one week of people around the planet searching Bing for a change.

If you rank really well on Google, we’re not going to suggest you intentionally tank your rankings for a short-term gain on Bing. The cost of recovering from such a move would probably be far more than simply paying for some pay-per-click coverage via Microsoft’s AdCenter (Link removed – no longer available).

There’s already folks worried about ‘Yahoo’ impressions vs. Bing impressions and the following advice has been posted in the AdCenter help forum:

1) You are currently bidding on broad match only, add phrase and exact match to your bidding structure.
2) Look at keywords with low quality score and optimize for those specifically.
3) Install the MAI tool and check on expected traffic for adCenter, you can also see what average bids are for specific positions.

Only 7 Days Left!

7 DAYS LEFT!

 

Talk about old news? I mentioned this just 2 days ago?!

We still have 7 days left in our Beanstalk Minecraft Map Competition! Check it out and even if you’re not entering, please let others know it’s coming to a close and we need all submissions by the 31st!

SEO news blog post by @ 10:03 am on May 24, 2012


 

Google Over-Optimization Algorithm Strikes

web spam

The anticipated over-optimization algorithm that Google’s Matt Cutts announced just a few week ago has now gone live. Nicknamed the "webspam algorithm update" by Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land, this latest algorithm update is a further attempt to combat the problem of webspam that permeates websites and search results.

A large volume of posts and complaints in the Google Search Blog shows that many have already been affected. Google has stated that they expect this newest update to affect approximately 3% of searches. From the Google Blog:

"In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s quality guidelines. This algorithm represents another step in our efforts to reduce webspam and promote high quality content."

Webspam refers to tactics that attempt to garner better rankings through unsavory tactics such as:

  • Keyword stuffing
  • Link schemes
  • Cloaking
  • Sneaky redirects or doorway pages
  • Purposefully created duplicate content

For a more detailed explanation of some of these webspam tactics, check out Search Engine Land’s Violation & Search Engine Spam Penalties.

Google has been combating similar webspam tactics for several years, but it is only in the last couple that Google is finding better ways to detect such abuses with better algorithms. The targeting of webspam began in earnest with the release of the Farmer and Panda Algorithm Updates in 2010.

Many SEOs realize that it is still very possible to rank using these "blackhat tactics" and that Google cannot possibly address the problem "one fell swoop" (or even several).

It is enough for any SEO to question their usage. SEOs need to remember that Google is fully committed to eradicating webspam and will not be ceasing to do so. It may seem like a good strategy offering short term gains, but the long term penalties will certainly spell disaster when (not if) Google becomes aware of these tactics.

Google’s mandate is clear; to produce high quality, relevant, spam free search results for their millions of users. Ultimately it comes down to individuals and the tactics they decide to employ. If we can all get on board with Google’s Quality Guidelines, we will all benefit from a more useful and friendly web that we can all enjoy.

SEO news blog post by @ 10:46 am on April 25, 2012

Categories:Google,SEO Tips

 

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 on March 27, 2012


 

Don’t drink the link bait..

Kool-Aid
Kool-Aid
Thanks to the recent (April/March) Google updates, ‘tread lightly’ has never been better advice to anyone in the SEO industry.

Between extra offers in my inbox to ‘exchange links’, ‘sell links’, ‘purchase links’, that all seem to be coming from GMail accounts, and reports of simple Java-script causing pages to drop from Google’s index, I’m about ready to dig a fox hole and hide in it.

First off, lets talk about how dumb it is to even offer to sell/buy/exchange links at this stage of Google’s anti-spam efforts.

Even if the offer came from some part of the universe where blatantly spamming services, using GMail of all things, was not the most painfully obvious way a person who SHOULD be hiding every effort could get detected, it still doesn’t bode well for the ethics of the company trying to sell you some ‘success’ when they can’t even afford their own mail account and have to use a free one.

Further, if the offer came from someone who was magically smart enough to send out all the spam and not have it tracked, if they are at all successful what you’ll be doing is adding your site to a group of sites ‘cheating’ the system. The more sites in the ‘exchange’ the more likely it is to get you caught and penalized. So technically, any success there is to be had, will also be your successful undoing.

Secondly, lets consider how you would try to catch people buying/selling links if you were Google? It’s an invasion of privacy to snoop through someone’s GMail to see if they bought/sold links, but if Google sends you and email asking to purchase a link on your site, is that an invasion of privacy or just a really accurate way to locate the worst spam sites on-line? The same would go for selling a back link to your site, just send out an email, wait for positive responses from the verified site owner, start demoting the site. Talk about making it easy for Google.

Heck as an SEO trying to do things the right way, if I get enough offers to sell/buy links from a particular spammer, wouldn’t it be worth my time to submit a report to Google’s quality team? I think the ‘lack of wisdom’ of these offers should be very obvious now, but they still persist for some curious reason; Perhaps they are all coming from those relentless Nigerian email scammers?

Java Script?

The next issue is on-page Java Script with questionable tactics. I know Google can’t put a human in-front of every page review, even if they actually do a LOT of human based site review. So the safe assumption for now is that your site will be audited by ‘bots’ that have to make some pretty heavy decisions.

When a crawler bot comes across Java Script the typical response is to isolate and ignore the information inside the <script></script> tags. Google, however, seems to be adding Java Script interpreters to their crawler bots in order to properly sort out what the Java Script is doing to the web page.

Obviously if a Java Script is confusing the crawler the most likely reaction is to not process the page for consideration in SERPS, and this appears to be what we’re seeing a lot of recently with people claiming they have been ‘banished’ from Google due to Java Script that was previously ignored. We even did some tests on our blog late in 2011 for Java Script impact and the results were similar to what I’m hearing from site owners right now in this last update.

So, the bottom line is to re-evaluate your pages and decide: is the Java Script you’ve been using is worth risking your rankings over?

If you are implementing Java Script for appearance reasons, using something very common like jQuery, you probably have nothing to fear. Google endorses jQuery and even helps host an on-line version to make it easier to implement.

On the flip-side, if you are using something obscure/custom, like a click-tracker/traffic Java Script which is inserting links to known ‘SEO’ services, I’d remove it now to avoid any stray rounds from Google’s anti-SEO flak-cannon.
Google Flak Cannon

I did toss some Minecraft demo map videos on-line last night/this morning, but they didn’t turn out so swell for a bunch of reasons and I’m just going to re-record them with better software. Stay tuned!

SEO news blog post by @ 12:42 pm on March 22, 2012


 

USA Dot COM

How do you feel about the US ‘owning’ .COM (and .cc, .net, .name, .org, and .tv) regardless of the international needs of the internet?
USA dot COM
Well the U.S. government feels pretty good about it and is exercising a controversial level of control over these TLDs by squeezing the US based VeriSign.

The logic is: if the businesses that control the domains are operating on US soil then it’s American controlled.

There has always been a desire to de-Americanize the internet by restructuring core components outside of US controlled entities but the cost and fears of this sort of uber-nationalist attitude have been ever-present roadblocks. It is sadly ironic then that the US itself isn’t safe from the whims of the local government.

Why so much attention when this has happened hundreds of times previously?

BoDog Poop'd On

Last week a Canadian registered .com (BoDog.com) was taken offline by federal US authorities because the site was making it possible for American citizens to gamble on-line with payouts.

BoDog.com’s business practices are not illegal globally however and having the site shut down by US authorities has a lot of people, myself included, complaining that this is going way too far.

The reason BoDog.com went down under US pressure is because it was registered with DomainClip in Canada which is merely a VeriSign subcontractor. Even then, you have an international business shuttered by the whims of one country’s governmental policies.

VeriSign is throwing it’s hands up in the air proclaiming innocence and pointing out that they are just abiding by court orders that the US based company is lawfully obligated to follow.

So does this mean that you should toss your SEO campaign aside and find a way to register the site outside of VeriSign’s control? Not necessarily.

Unless you are running a site that isn’t US based at all, or likely to come under fire from the US Government, there isn’t much to fear from this situation, at present. If you run an international gambling site and you made the mistake of registering it with a VeriSign affiliate, then you might want to go change it, quickly.

Personally, if this sort of activity continues unfettered, I expect to see a strong push for the ITU to take over some or all of ICANN’s roles. The internet isn’t just an American thing, it can’t be, and the international community won’t tolerate meddling much longer before some sort of action is taken.

And finally, on a different topic, yet similar struggle for control, I have to give Bing a mention for this amazingly bad anti-Google ‘Googlighting’ video:

Yep. Bing used YouTube to burn Google.

For anyone too young to remember 80s television, this was a parody of Moonlighting (TV series) and boy did they do a bad job of Bruce, not that their version of Cybil was much better.. ;)

Most companies can survive simply by putting their best foot forward. Bing seems to think this isn’t enough and that we need to be informed of how dumb we are buying using Google’s framework of tools.

Google was so moved by this advert that Mark Striebeck, the manager of GMail, wore a similar tie at a recent Google technology demonstration to show some good sportsmanship.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:17 am on March 6, 2012


 

Easy options for de-personalization

Today I saw the start of a graphical ad campaign by DuckDuckGo aimed at explaining how search personalization creates a ‘bubble’ that traps your search ability. Here is the link to the ad-site if you want to give your brain a wash.

Mark Zuckerberg has been quoted as saying,

“a squirrel dying in your front yard may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa.”

The heart of the matter isn’t new, TED’s got a pretty decent presentation from a ‘user’ perspective dating back to May 2011:
[jwplayer mediaid="3446"]

So what’s DuckDuckGo squawking about?

I think it’s time to burst their bubble by taking a look at the options we have and why the suggestion of ‘try something new’ doesn’t really ‘fit the bill’. ;)

Bursting the Bubble Myth

It is very true that search engines know a lot of ways to customize search results based on information that the browser gives the sites you visit. You have some options depending on what you need to accomplish.

For every-day searches:

  • Use the browser you use the most often.
  • Your search results will be relevant to you if you use Google or Bing.
  • DDG results will be relevant to the way DDG thinks results should be filtered because they are avoiding personalization.

For research based searches in your location:

  • Use ‘incognito’ or ‘private browsing’ modes. (* see below for Google tip)
  • Your search results on major search engines will not be related to your personal tastes, just your location/language.
  • DDG won’t change search results according to their advertising.

For research that is not based on language or location:

  • Use a fresh browser, switch your language on a system level, and use a proxy to make your queries from multiple locations.
  • Search results will need to be combined and compared at this point because there will be differences each time.
  • From what we’ve seen, this level of unique information does elicit a variety of search results even from unbiased search engines because language and location are very large factors in search queries.

* When searching with Google you can add “&pws=0″ to the search URL to see the search without personalization. This only turns off the ‘personalized web search’ function so the results will still be in your language and relevant to your location.

You could also add a short-cut to your browser so that you can search with personalization turned off by default, change the default language, location, etc..

While changing the search parameters is only ‘mostly effective’ I will be doing a follow-up post, complete with video guides, on how to do this and how to make it simple with shortcuts in the address bar.

If you still want to guess at the macro images from last month you aren’t too late. We are accepting guesses until we announce the winner next week, so feel free to go back to the old posts from last month and let us know what your little eye spies.

PS: There have been two versions of Minecraft 1.2x released today so far, some features weren’t even in the public builds so there’s some fresh bugs and features to explore. We have been waiting for this version to release to announce a new contest based on Minecraft! Stay tuned for full details in a post to come very soon!

SEO news blog post by @ 11:50 am on March 1, 2012


 

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »
Level Triple-A conformance icon, W3C-WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Copyright© 2004-2014
Beanstalk Search Engine Optimization, Inc.
All rights reserved.