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10 things which any SEO must know March 1, 2010

Posted by simarprit in Uncategorized.
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This is a list straight from my top of the mind recall, no specific order

  1. Google still makes or breaks SEO
  2. http://twitter.com/mattcutts helps you understand Google’s point of view better
  3. Spending time on http://Quantcast.com can keep you going and in business
  4. http://Alexa.com still matters
  5. Using “Google Insights” helps
  6. All Meta tags are important
  7. You can never fool search-engines over a stretch of time
  8. Your competitors are not fools. They are either Clever or Smart
  9. Single word SEO positioning has no substitute
  10. Clever keyword stuffing helps. For definition of clever refer to Google Webmaster Tools

And the other 1.

  1. Know your bests at all times. Best hour of the day, best day of the week, best week of the month and best month of the year. The endeavor should be to work on verticals and geographies which can make the best hour of the day become an average performance figure for the day.

More to come…

SEO Basics and Understanding February 10, 2010

Posted by simarprit in Search Engines, SEO, Uncategorized.
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I am a part of training session, this is series of thoughts which are passing through my mind as the trainer is going through his slides.

  1. Understanding  definition of search engine is essential
  2. Search engines are nothing without the BOTS which do the job of crawling around from them and populating them
  3. Query mapping has a role to play, query mapping works on the basis of Search Engines algorithm applicable at that time.
  4. Cache of websites play a role but with social media penetration that role is changing quickly. Now you can get many results without the search engine cache being updated
  5. Algorithms work on essential parameters – 1. Tags (Title, Description, Keywords) and H1 tags are essential parts of it
  6. Giving a correct result is priority and purpose of a search engine
  7. For a search engine it is important to focus on freshness of the content.  A usefulness of a search engine depends on its ability to aggregate User Generated Content from numerous sources and process them on the basis of merit
  8. Assigning of weights is becoming a bigger challenge for search engines
  9. More unique the content, more need by search engines to have you there. It is also important to keep in mind the users of these unique content and their needs to be mapped against current availability
  10. Size of page matters to the BOT and to the surfer
  11. Images right sized and properly tagged are a permanent asset to SEO
  12. Relevancy Matrix remains a yardstick for search engines to capture a holistic view of the website
  13. Domain Age helps to a certain degree only. At one point of time it was very important. Domain name generic attributes remain important.
  14. Links from and to your site make the neighborhood you belong too. And neighborhood matters. Good neighborhood matters to a good extent.
  15. What do you want the user to do on your site, it is important to know and plan on how much time you want your user to spend on the site.
  16. Hidden text can hurt big time, you can’t have a strategy of cheating a search engine while defining your SEO plan.
  17. No of links on a page have two parts to play, allow BOTS to create map for crawling and allow users to navigate
  18. Your understanding of your domain name makes a difference to your SEO strategy. Try to read your domain in staggered words not initially intended. If your domain name is IndianaProfile. It would read also as IndianAProfile
  19. Search Engines can read dynamic codes now and they do. It is not a question of reading dynamic code, it is a question of reading data held in tables and deriving it the same way a surfer would do while doing natural navigation
  20. If you map your structure with Yahoo/ Google or DMOZ directory structure the site would have a tested and proven navigational approach
  21. Is your layout talking in the same language as a bot would like to hear
  22. Navigational steps should be well documented and should carry the objective through and through
  23. I am sure Google does consider everything good about your site including Meta Description and Meta Keywords
  24. Multiple usage of  a word in a long URL may not hurt you with search engines. Adjacency matrix of a search engine usually works on content but he same matrix may have a use in mapping out URL stuffing.
  25. Search Engines are based on fundamentals, it doesn’t matter if the site is on WordPress or on Drupal or on Joomla it treats all of them as a “Content Management System” and works it s way around the, A searchengine needs content in a structured manner and any CMS does that. So fundamentally any bot or serachengine would move the world to talk to any popular CMS and reach to all its inside folds.
  26. Junk on your site is your junk and search engines are bound to hate it. Keep the trash out and keep your site clean.
  27. Site-maps help and having them updated would help you big time at every stage
  28. Broken link audit of your site should be part of the job. If you are the owner and there is a team which works on the site, make sure you check manually the homepage for important links

Thank you Manish

Play with Google Search and Experience ZeroG January 27, 2010

Posted by simarprit in Uncategorized.
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Playing with search engines is my passion and just an hour of playing around and you start feeling that you are using the search engine for the fisrt time in your life. You get that high, that high feeling of flying something like zeroG, a bird flying higher and higher – just on top of the world.

I have experienced it before and I experienced it once again. Wondering, what was I doing? I was playing with the date command of Google under advance search and creating a time-matrix on random search terms. Google Search has a pure genius under its belt and finding that pulse and populating it with feed brought in tremendous predictability in search terms. I felt like saying Eureka!!!

Google must step up its own command language and take it into account users needs of integration of many of the advanced features on the command line. Google may standardize on a special symbol which makes command language work. If Twitter can create itself with just a smart use of # tag, Google can surely make SFO & Florida searches unite on command line with a single special character usage. That’s for another day, but my day was made with what all you can do with the date command.

Google Vs Bing – The Real Picture June 6, 2009

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I loved doing Google Vs Cuil Comparison, I bow and thank all who agreed with my very early comment that Cuil isn’t cool. Once again I take a neutral stance and begin to do a beta of what I would love to do. I would do some searches and post some early observations. I am now working on Google and Bing together – and bear my passing comments.

  1. Bing Homepage scores hands down- Google looks like some sleepy college project. I may choose to go to BING for its homepage, other things remaining constant – Weight 10, Google 1: Bing 9 Running Score – Google 1: Bing 9
  2. Search: Chicago Airport – Observation: Bing is crowded with so many ads, it just looks unreal – the result is pushed below the fold. Both Bing and Google get ohare.com as the first result. However Google also serves a related link to Conditions at Chicago Airport, which I think is cool, Weight 10 – Google 7 Bing 3 – Running Score – Google 8: Bing 12
  3. Search: Cairo Speech – What is Bing doing, why should they exclude YouTube- thumbs down to Bing, Google gets the White House alongside most which Bing does. Weight 10 – Google 8 Bing 2 – Running Score – Google 16: Bing 14
  4. Search: Jobs back at Apple – Oh No! Bing doesn’t understand everyday English offers me local job related ads – it does give me what I am looking for, but it is down-under. Google gets the context right, absolutely right. However the first irrelevant result from wikipedia about Steve Jobs was unnecessary. Weight 10: Google 9 Bing 1 – Running Score – Google 25: Bing 15
  5. UI: The UI of Bing while searching is far superior to Google – you need to get a hang of it though. I like the left panel and a “website like”navigation capabilities. Eliminates the need to go down or go up every-time you need to navigate away from the page – Weight 30 – Google 7 Bing  23 – Running Score – Google 32: Bing 38
  6. Search: Nokia n97 – This is search we are talking My Dear Bing, what is it – your results are a joke. Bing suggestion bar is not based on search trends, it suggests me n95 while the world is moving to n97 while keying in itself. Further I don’t like Bing’s approach of throwing too much advertising on me, is advertising on Bing free. Google scores better in terms of results also. If  I put irritants aside I would give Bing 8 and Google 6, but irritants define internet and usage so here we go – Weight 10 – Google 8 Bing  2 – Running Score – Google 40: Bing 40
  7. Search: Where Am I – Bingo for Bing, Google is lost. Bing pulls up a map and shows me Chicago, Google doesn’t understand and comprehend what I mean. This is awesome. Bing gets it bang on the dot reads my mind, though doesn’t get my exact location – but Google is in 1900’s – so sad – Weight 10 – Google 1 Bing  9 – Running Score – Google 41: Bing 49
  8. Self description: I searched for Google on Google and Bing on Bing – Google doesn’t think there is a need to define itself properly. Bing defines itself in a very articulate manner – Read this when search for Google on Google “Advanced Search · Preferences · Language Tools · Advertising Programs – Business Solutions – About Google. ©2009 – Privacy”and now read this when searched for Bing on Bing “Bing is a search engine that finds and organizes the answers you need so you can make faster, more informed decisions” – Weight 10 – Google 2 Bing  8 – Running Score – Google 43: Bing 57
  9. Search: New York – Bing is clumsy, what a mess of a simple search term Bing displays second result as New York Casino Las Vegas – OMG. How can they do this! Google gets the map right, the official site and other sites right and also gets the videos right – – Weight 10 – Google 10 Bing  0 – Running Score – Google 53: Bing 57 – That is big negative for Bing – UI/ Navigation is all fine, but if you get your main algo wrong – God Bless… and continue blessing
  10. Search: Red Wines – Google and Bing are twins – with Google few minutes elder and slightly wiser. Also Bing is more about monetization and hence here we go – identical results, nearly identical scores – Weight 10 – Google 6 Bing  4 – Running Score – Google 59: Bing 61
  11. Search: Trending on Twitter – Google suggestion bar reads your mind and brings home all absolutely relevant results – Bing suggestion bar doesn’t catch the trend. However when it comes to results Bing does come up somewhat.  Weight 10 – Google 8 Bing  2 – Running Score – Google 67: Bing 63

Final Scores Google 67 and Bing 63 – Game to Google

With this I come to an end of my 2 cents on Google Vs Bing – Google is better, but Bing does well, very well for Johnny come lately. Bing is good garnishing on average cut, Google is better cut of a better block anyway.

As always, I love comments and observations. My final report based on extensive research may take few more days.

A for Apple and only Apple Inc March 8, 2009

Posted by simarprit in Domain Names, Google, Search Engines, SEO, Uncategorized.
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Working further on understanding Domain Name and its growing importance within Google, I went back to the basics: A for Apple.
When you search for Apple in Google, Google is 100% certain that you only want to know about Apple Inc and their products. So eight of ten results are from http://apple.com – try this http://uurl.in/Apple – the other two results are from Slashdot and Yahoo and both are again about Apple Inc. Now where does this leave the poor Apple, I mean Apple the fruit, I mean Apple the inspirational fruit behind Apple Inc – no where.

So what would have I liked, Google should create, or maybe even now has  “A Conflict Filter”

Conflict Filter can be a web 2.0 creation allowing surfers to suggest serious conflicts, like this one – which dries up all juices from the real apple. This conflict filter can then act as a base for forking and offering a choice, maybe splitting the screen to show two important conflicting terms. The results on Apple Inc can be in one window and the results on Apple the fruit can be in another window and if possible accommodate a third window which covers images of the two conflicting results.

If A is for Apple Inc, O is for anything but Orange the fruit in Google search results. B for BAT throws the first result as BAT.com the British American Tobacco Company website, fortunately the wikipedia result quickly follows at number two and saves Bat the mammal. Wikipedia also comes to the rescue for Cat the cat, but looses first position to ironically Caterpillar, yes it is Caterpillar Inc, which owns the domain cat.com

Google has been taking the challenges head on and I am sure something exciting would cover up for this.

Google Search – Domain is King? February 28, 2009

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Is Domain the King in the new Google Search – looks like it is almost there.

I must admit I had to tweak it abit to get it going. About 70% I got right the first time, for 30% of the terms I had to search.

Domain is King?    
Search Term Default Domain #1 Result #2 Result #3 Result #4 Result top 10 Result
Apple apple.com apple.com        
Buy buy.com buy.com        
Cars cars.com cars.com        
Dog dog.com   dog.com      
Egg egg.com egg.com        
Flights flights.com flights.com        
God god.com   god.com      
hotels hotels.com hotels.com        
Internet internet.com   internet.com      
Jewelry jewelry.com jewelry.com        
King king.com king.com        
Law law.com   law.com      
Movies movies.com movies.com        
NYC nyc.com nyc.gov        
Orange orange.com orange.co.uk        
Play play.com play.com        
Quest quest.om quest.com        
Rent rent.com   rent.com      
Shoes shoes.com shoes.com        
Time time.com time.com        
USA usa.com   usa.gov      
Virgin virgin.com virgin.com        
Wine.com wine.com   wine.com      
X-ray xray.com         xray-mag.com
Yellow yellow.com yellow.com        
Zombie zombie       zombie.com  

Rediscovering Google February 14, 2009

Posted by simarprit in Google, Search Engines, SEO.
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This one is a self-assigned project to understand how Google works for a “yet another surfer”

  1. Lovely adaptation for Valentine’s Day – Google logo played around looks good.
  2. Search term: Indian restaurant in San Jose ca
  3. Google Search or I’m Feeling Lucky
  4. I’m Feeling Lucky
  5. Wow – takes me to Yahoo local – http://local.yahoo.com/CA/San+Jose/Food+Dining/Restaurants/Indian+Restaurants
  6. I like what I see. I am done. 10/10
  7. Google Search
  8. I am happy with what I see, Local results and also with the first few listings. No spamming
  9. Results 110 of about 20,800,000 for Indian Restaurant in San Jose ca. is misleading – A higher degree of semantic search deployment may make results and selection more meaningful.
  10. Let me try…
  11. “Indian Restaurant” + “San Jose ca”
  12. Results 110 of about 15,100 for Indian Restaurant” + “San Jose ca.  Great, this is a more realistic number of content pages which can exist for this particular search term
  13. Image search for the term in 12. doesn’t excite me at all. http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=%22Indian%20Restaurant%22%20%2B%20%22San%20Jose%20ca%22&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi – maybe the SEOs don’t consider it worthwhile to work on keeping this one structured
  14. Let us opt for  Maps for the term as in 12. Nice, neat, useful  – http://maps.google.com/maps?q=%22Indian%20Restaurant%22%20%2B%20%22San%20Jose%20ca%22&sa=N&hl=en&tab=fl
  15. News – fr the term as in 12. makes me no wiser – http://news.google.com/news?q=%22Indian+Restaurant%22+%2B+%22San+Jose+ca%22&hl=en&sa=N&tab=ln – This is not expected, there should be some news, maybe
  16. 20 adds and no results when you opt for the Shopping tab – http://www.google.com/products?sa=N&tab=nf&q=%22Indian%20Restaurant%22%20%2B%20%22San%20Jose%20ca%22  Is it right?  – Yes and No. Yes because technically one doesn’t go to shop at restaurants. No because there are twenty advertisers showing up.

I am loving it. Would be back with more shortly…

Twitter and Brand Building January 15, 2009

Posted by simarprit in Microblogging, SEO, Twitter.
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Just attended a session on Twitter and Brand Building. Some quick takeaways:

  1. Define and document who do you want to be seen as
  2. Define and document “who all” (you desire) see you around
  3. Be simple and upfront
  4. Let your tweets add value
  5. Never Spam
  6. Never pile on
  7. Remember you are in a cloud – be proactive, but don’t be pushy
  8. No bursts of tweets –  regular, routine, habit forming approach is better. You’ve belong to the community and not be a guest.
  9. Communication is important. If you are communicating, you are listening and talking, you are reacting and agreeing, reacting and disagreeing. In short participation is important
  10. Have a precise profile

More to come…

SEO Unique Sources January 4, 2009

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Over last 10 years on the Internet, I would have personally worked on over 300 sites. In some I had a bit role and in others I worked on the project since birth of the idea. In 1998 we made the site for the Internet environment, in 1999 we started making site for Yahoo and the Internet , from 2002 we have been making it for largely Google environment. and others. A change is in the air, I see myself working for the Internet again. Google is important, very important, but it looks like there are certain set of projects which need Google for growth not for their survival. What would be the relationship of these projects with Google. It looks like Google would need them more than they would need Google. Facebook and Twitter are two of the many examples which come up when you think of changing environment.

While working for Dil Khol ke Bol, our microblogging platform deployment – Google was not the central character of my To Market Strategy. My central character was Engagement. How do we engage even one person who lands on our site. If we can engage him he will engage others. If one website uses Dil Khol Ke Bol to promote their website, slowly hundred would and over a period of time 100,000 and maybe a million in couple of years. Google is like a honeybee, it is in act of enriching user experience of its own users. Where there is so much of action, Google would surely be proactive, it goes well with its character.

So what do I see as a checklist from an SEO purposes:

  1. Google/ Yahoo/ Live
  2. WordPress
  3. Facebook
  4. Twitter
  5. Quantcast
  6. Quarkbase
  7. Vertical Specific Blogs
  8. Geography Specific Blogs
  9. Vertical Specific News Websites
  10. Geography Specific News Websites
  11. Student Interaction Websites
  12. Other blogging sites
  13. Other microblogging sites
  14. Homepage of your site
  15. Each landingpage of your site
  16. Google Analytics
  17. Google Insights
  18. Your competitors homepage
  19. Your complimentary sites homepages
  20. Your Graphic Images

More to come…

What is SEO? September 28, 2008

Posted by simarprit in Internet, Search Engines, SEO, websites.
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SEO – Search Engine Optimization Basics

  1. What is SEO? – To make your website cut through the clutter and deliver business is SEO.
  2. What is this clutter all about? Everyday hundreds of thousands of web-pages are born, each with an expectation to deliver results and be on the top. This is the clutter. Fifty five million pages on Google respond to the words  – What is SEO and over 136,000 pages are working precisely to be on the phrase “What is SEO?”. This page, once posted would add yet one more page to this clutter.
  3. How does a website deliver business? – If you know your business, half the job is done. Congratulations! Now for the other half, you need to cut through some jargon’s and face several challenges. SEO is one of the many challenges and definitely not the only challenge. SEO only helps you to get the eyeballs to move to your website, for your website to deliver business, you would have to attend to those eyeballs to convince the rest of the body to do business at your website. You would also need to get the RIGHT EYEBALLS and not yet any eyeballs. Landing Page is the page where your SEOed eyeballs land. SEO job ends and the landing page’s job begins. Many SEOs (the individuals who do the SEO) consider Landing Page as a different subject, however, no SEO strategy can succeed without a functional landing page. Landing Page is a marriage between the two half’s of online business – your business knowledge and your website’s effectiveness, it is the place where the SEO meets business and each order is an offspring of this marriage.
  4. So who should do the landing page? – The landing page should always be done by the business, it should have inputs from sales, marketing, production, dispatch, finance and every-other department which keeps your business running. The business should ask the SEO company or the inhouse SEO professionals – zillions of questions and incorporate SEO essentials to the landing page. An SEO firm doesn’t know your business, so take their inputs, look at the landing pages of your competitors and write down your essentials for the landing page. You may also study specific challenges on Landing Page Optimization.
  5. What do we mean when we say Organic Search Results? – Let us step back and understand the origin of this phrase. As per Wikipedia – “Organic farmingis a form of agriculture that relies on crop rotation, green manure, compost, biological pest control, and mechanical cultivation to maintain soil productivity and control pests, excluding or strictly limiting the use of synthetic fertilizers and synthetic pesticides, plant growth regulators, livestock feed additives, and genetically modified organisms”. Now let us check what Wikipedia has to say about Organic Search – “Organic search results refers to those listings in search engine results pages that appear by dint of their relevance to the search terms, as opposed to their being adverts”. I would phrase it very differently: Organic Search Resultsare the snippet listings from those webpages which are most likely to focus on the searched term, the order of organic search results is reflected by the user friendly projection of the relevance of the webpage to the various automated programs (robots/spiders etc) which visit the page periodically, organic search results explicitly exclude cloaking (projecting what you are not to the robots/ spiders), paid link building and Black Hat (Illegitimate means of projecting your page) SEO techniques. So what do we call those results which show up in Organic Search results using Cloaking, Black Hat and Paid Linking – They are fakes.
  6. How important are Keywords to SEO? – To understand SEO Basics well, it is important to understand and underline the difference between Keywords and Key-phrases. Keywords are essentially the words on which you would like your site to come-up on SERPs (Search engine Result Pages), for instance if your business is all about selling birthday favors, your keywords would be, amongst others, birthday and favors. However your key-phrase would be “birthday favors.” Coming on Birthday favors as a phrase should be everything to you, as it is 100% business relevance. All the leads which this key-phrase would get you would be a potential sale.  So Keywords are important but in many cases the key rests with the key-phrases.  Literally.
  7. What is Keyword Stuffing, and does it hurt? –The act of populating disproportionately your content or meta tags with one particular or few keywords or key-phrases is referred to as Keyword Stuffing. Keyword stuffing is gross, it is bad for your site, bad for your business, bad for your client/ surfer, bad for the search engines and bad for the internet on the whole. It is a malpractice. As it hurts all concerned, it hurts you too, directly and indirectly. Directly it hurts as search engines are becoming smarter to identify keyword spammers, surfers report keyword stuffing more often, Indirectly as the surfer who lands on your website, discovers that you indulge in malpractices may decide not to do business on your website.
  8. Do you SEO a site, or you SEO individual pages? – You SEO individual pages, and if you SEO all pages on your website, your whole site is done. Having said that, you do SEO your website. You define the focus of your website and ensure that every page contributes and reflects that focus. Let us say, you have a hotel website which covers all the 50 states of the United States of America and over 600 cities, it would help you to use your anchor words and phrases on every page when you are optimizing them. If you come on say “Hotels in San Jose”, “Hotels in San Francisco”, “Hotels in Sacramento”, “Hotels in Los Angeles” there is a good opportunity to come on “Hotels in California”. Similarly if your site comes on “Hotels in Texas”, “Hotels in California”, “Hotels in New York”, “Hotels in Washington” and “Hotels in Florida”, it would be easier to make it perform on “Hotels in the US”, “Hotels in the USA”, “Hotels in the United States of America”, and on “Hotels” itself. So, work multi-stage – Stage I: Focus “Hotels in San Jose”- Stage II “Hotels in California” – Stage III “Hotels in the US” – Stage IV “Hotels” – Where Stage I is your web page focus and stage IV is your website focus.
  9. Is SEO genetically modular, or is SEO genetically absolute? – SEO is anything but an absolute exercise, it is totally modular in nature. You can work on Optimizing your site part by part.

Much More coming…