Archive for June, 2011

New Google Layout: Have you seen it yet?

Google has finally changed its home page. The new look is more contemporary and neat. The way the search results are shown has also changed a lot. Things that have changed (& i have noticed are) :

1) Black bar running across the screen at the top
2) Smaller fonts
3) Listings page changes :
a) URL now directly after the listing Title
b) Cool search button
c) Icons changed for search options on left navigation
d) Timeline is open and no longer an option. Right indented and in different color.
e) User details also in different color and right indented
f)  The “web” search option is now gone. Everything encompasses all searches.

If you find any other changes do comment and let me know

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7 Deadly SEO Sins

Even after so many years, SEO industry is still misunderstood by many people and even by many SEO practitioners themselves. Last few months have been very turbulent for SEO industry. First there was a hype about content farm dominating and spamming Google search results. Google in response brought out Panda update which further muddied the already muddy waters. Panda update failed miserably and ended up creating an image that Google is selectively targeting rival sites and sparing sites associated with it (like eHow.com). Panda update also garnered harsh reviews because of it inability to make distinction between thin content farms and many genuine small sites. In the process, many smaller websites and genuine good quality were also penalized.

Google’s ways for judging a site are still thought by many to be shrouded in mystery. Google has a reason to do so, to prevent people form gaming their search algorithm. But that been said, there are some basic factors which can be followed to avoid penalties and to be in good books of Google.

Today, we will discuss 7 deadly sins of SEO which are still committed by many SEO consultants and webmasters with alarming regularity

1) Excessive use of Flash, JavaScript, Ajax, Images: Many web designers pride in developing all Flash websites. Flash websites may look beautiful but serve very little purpose most of the times. Similarly, sites using JavaScript extensively for menus are also quite a norm. Such sites more often then not do fare badly in search engine rankings. The reason is that search engine spiders cannot read the text embedded in the Flash and hence cannot determine what the site is about. This is a great barrier for search engines as there will be very information for them to evaluate and rank a website. Similarly, websites with JavaScript menus are not easily navigable for search engine bots. Bots rather than trying to figure out may well leave your website when faced with a dead-end.

Amazingly, a lot of websites are made completely with images. Whole paragraphs after paragraphs for content are embedded in text.

What is not surprising is that these websites do badly in search engine rankings.

2) Improper Use of Title tags: Title tags are perhaps the most important part of a page. Not just search engines but users also use that information to glean information about a website. Embed your most relevant keywords in your title tags. And make sure you use those keywords in your content also. Sites with irrelevant title tags will never be found in top pages for search engine results for any decently competitive keyword.

Another sin is use of duplicate title tags. Many websites are guilty of using same title tag across all the web pages. This can really confuse search engine bots as they will have tough time to know which page is most relevant for a keyword!

3) Thin content: A lot of sites have low quality content and almost negligible. If you think a subject requires a separate webpage, then make sure the webpage has decent amount of content. Few lines or a paragraph may look like thin content to a search engine bot. With Panda update still ravaging the internet, you have to be very careful on this issue.

A webpage should have both decent quality and quantity of content with appropriate keyword density.

4) Keyword spamming: Over jealous SEO experts stuff content, alt tags, attributes, title tags, meta tags with keywords just like a guy love bombs his girlfriend. But here, search engine Bot may feel offended, very offended. Use keywords naturally. Do not write content for search engines but for real human beings. And you will be fine.

5) Cryptic URLs: Search engine spiders have come a long way. Earlier they used to be absolutely clueless when faced with long-winded, cryptic URLs with punctuations and identifiers. Now, even though spiders can read and parse them correctly, static URLs rank better then dynamic URLs. No reason to persist with them when you have better options.

6) No link building: Many website owners think that just having a website and putting some content on it is enough. They are wrong. A website’s success depends on how much traffic it gets. A site with no promotion will be virtually unknown on internet. The best and most affordable way to spread the word is SEO through link building.

7) Black Hat techniques: Many SEO consultants want quick search engine rankings and try to go the easy way. The easy ways are usually tactics which involve spamming Google’s algorithms. Though, i appreciate the sentiment, the problem is that Google doesn’t. Google comes down hard on such sites by removing the site form search results altogether. Recovering from such penalties is almost impossible. So, better safe than sorry.

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Google Buys out Admeld

Admeld provides platform for large ad publishers manage inventory

It has been confirmed by Google that it has bought Admeld a display ad management company. Though, Google refused to reveal the price, industry expects peg it to around $400 million.

Admeld provides technology and services that help large online publishers optimize the inventory , plugging into ad networks and demand-side platforms to assist publishers in maximizing yield.

“The Admeld team is an example of the huge strides the industry is making—it has quickly developed a great service that is helping many major publishers manage their ad space more efficiently and profitably, wrote Neil Mohan, VP of display advertising, in a blog post.

Online ad industry has seen some frantic buying with  Yahoo acquiring 5to1, and players like Pubmatic and Rubicon Project growing at a quick pace.

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Mubarak fined $33 million for internet disruption in Egypt

Dethroned Egypt President Hosini Mubarak could not have imagined in even his wildest dreams that he will be fined million of dollars for indulging the favorite pastime of despots and dictators around the world i.e. trying to control and disrupting communication.

An Egyptian court found Mubarak guilty of turning off the internet and mobile services in a futile bid to quell rebellion against him and his regime. The court fined him and his cronies quite heavily. An administrative court fined Mubarak 200 million Egyptian pounds, former Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif 40 million pounds, and former Interior Minister Habib al-Adli 300 million pounds. The court ruling stated that Mubarak, Nazif and Adli were guilty of “causing damage to the national economy” and the fines would be paid to the country’s treasury.

Mobile and internet helped the rebellion spread far and wide in Egypt. Even Twitter was abuzz with the protest and caught the imagination of people worldwide. Because of such wide spread publicity and support, Western powers such as USA, once Mubarak’s staunchest ally, had to egg Mubarak to relinquish power.

Communication has really become the bugbear of authoritarian regimes worldwide like those in China and Middle East. For long and how successfully will they be able to keep their populations dumb and misinformed is a million dollar question.

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