93177614

News of the day:

Google, the privately held Web search provider based in Mountain View, Calif., said it acquired Applied Semantics, a software company that makes applications for online advertising and managing domain names and other information. Santa Monica-based Applied Semantics’ software is based on technology that organizes knowledge from Web sites in a way “that mimics human thought and enables more effective information retrieval,” Google said. Read more about this at CNET.com.

For a more detailed analysis on the impact this acquisition would have on the search engine industry, read the article published at SearchDay, the newsletter service of the SearchEngineWatch.com.:

Google Buys Applied Semantics – Google has acquired Applied Semantics, a move that gives the company new traffic for its paid listings, new strengths in the contextual advertising space, and also potentially hurts major competitor Overture.

Tool of the day:

Acrobot – Abbreviation and Acronym Generator is a tool which converts all your acronyms to use the acronym tag with the appropriate title. This is just one of the tools and wizards offered by Accessify, a wonderful new site dedicated to accessiblity.

93047010

Catch of the day:

In preparation for my presentation on search engine optimization for all kind of media, here is an intial list of important links and resources:

  • Singingfish Grows As Multimedia Search Provider – Looking for audio or video files from across the web? Singingfish has offered its multimedia search engine to help you in this since mid-2000, but the company recently signed a deal to power audio-visual searching in Microsoft’s Windows Media Player client. The January deal with Microsoft means that Singingfish now provides the multimedia searching capabilities for two of the web’s largest digital media players, since Singingfish is already tied into the RealOne Player, through an agreement signed with Microsoft-rival Real, back in Fall 2001. The distribution deals helped Singingfish pass handling 1 million queries per day at the end of January (2003). Read more about this at SearchEngineWatch.com.
  • AltaVista – AltaVista Launches Largest Multimedia Search Database. AltaVista has launched an expanded version of its multimedia index, with over 240 million unique media files, including images, video clips, MP3 and other audio files. Read more about this launch at URLWire.
  • MusicMoz – MusicMoz.org Hopes to be the Open Directory For Music Sites. MusicMoz and many of its features were inspired by the Open Directory Project. MusicMoz also uses Open Directory Project data, which any site may do providing they display the correct attribution. MusicMoz is not affiliated with Netscape, although many of their volunteer editors also edit at the Open Directory Project. Read more about this launch at URLWire.

Tool of the day:

  • Iconico – WebTools The Webtools is a must for any (Windows/IE) HTML coder or web designer. Ever wanted to instantly see all the forms, images or styles on a page? Ever wanted to see how the tables are laid out on your favorite site? Well now you can, and you can also see them on any page on the net! Webtools manipulates the HTML that you view, providing reports and that hard to find information that will make you wonder why you ever ‘Viewed Source’.
  • PNHToolbar – Similar web tool but for Mozilla, the PNH Developer Toolbar is an additional Mozilla toolbar containing a collection of tools that web page builders may find helpful. I love the ability to “kill the images” and see immediately where alt text is missing.
  • Devedge Sidebar Tabs – This Mozilla sidebar is an extremely helpful resource giving you immediate access to CSS2/DOM2/HTML 4.01 references and Devedge News.

Site critique of the day

Site critique of the day:

I decided to practice what I preach and to share my knowledge of what I have learn about best practices in web development and web marketing over the past seven years. So, here is my attempt to write a few paragraphs a day by studying a random website and analyzing its shortcomings.

The choice of the site is, of course, not completely random – the gentleman who used to successfully run WAMMO (Washington Area Macromedia Organization), has just moved to a new company, PerformTech, so I am trying to put myself in his position and to predict what he would have to do to improve their website. By the way, since my message on the WAMMO forum suggesting to discuss search engine optimization at a WAMMO meeting, somebody has removed the meta name=”GENERATOR” content=”Microsoft FrontPage 4.0″ line which was adorning the front page’s code earlier today.

My focus today is search engine optimization. I have no idea if this company relies on search engine marketing, but looking at the way they treat their website, it seems they do not care if anyone can find them through a search engine. However, the following analysis should be helpful to them:

First, the front page title:
No page title or “Untitled document” (Untitled Document) is not the best way of introducing a company on the web. If a search engine were to index the page, the search result would show “Untitled document” as the page title – not very appealing! To illustrate, try making a search for performtech on google.com and the result is:

Untitled Document
Description: Computer company based in Alexandria, VA. designing and producing high impact technology solutions…
Category: Regional > North America > … > Business and Economy > Computers
www.performtech.com/ – 2k – Cached – Similar pages

The site description that the Open Directory has listed for PerformTech would be a good starting material for writing a descent page title. Putting something as simple as “PerformTech – high impact technology solutions for commercial and government clients” would be a good beginning (although cutting the marketing lingo would be beneficial but this goes into the copywriting realm and today we care only about the poor search engine spider!)

Second, the text links:
The front page has a nice logo with nice albeit generic tagline “Capturing knowledge” (how about releasing the knowledge after its captured :-). It also offers two options – for the high bandwidth and low bandwidth versions of the website – presented through an image map: one of the links would open, through a JavaScript function, a new browser window for the Flash version of the site.

This is all cool, but the problem is that the majority of search engine spiders do not read image maps. They are not much better about reading JavaScripts either. On top of it all, the site does not have alternative text for the images used on its front page (not very good in terms of usability and accessibility).

Since the search engine spiders are able to follow only text links, to see the site through the eyes of a search engine spiders, either try to select the text on the page and then copy and paste it into a text editor (if there is nothing to paste, then it is all graphics), or disable the JavaScript and kill the images (what is left is a big rectangural broken image which will not lead you to any other page, whether you click on it or not).

No wonder, then, the site is not indexed – the search engine robot cannot go beyond the front page (unless introduced to the site front some other site pointing to an internal page). If you go to Google and make a search for link:www.performtech.com you will see only 3 pages linking to PerformTech’s front page, and none of them from within the site:

Mayo-Wells Media Workshop
1220 L St NW PMB 290 Washington DC 20005 1 + 2 0 2 – 6 6 7 – 4 9 4 8.
Provider of quality Web Development, Multimedia Consulting, and …
www.mwmw.com/ – 6k – Cached – Similar pages

Potential Employers
In an effort to provide our students and graduates practical experience and hopefully
employment, we are creating a list of companies who may be interested in …
it.gse.gmu.edu/internships.shtml – 34k – Cached – Similar pages

Scrap Files Can Tear You Up
Scrap Files Can Tear You Up Wednesday, 10 May 2000 Last updated Sunday,
9 July 2000 What if there were a type of file that could …
www.pc-help.org/security/scrap.htm – 29k – Cached – Similar pages

What this means, from a point of view of the search engine spider, is that the PerformTech site is actually a single page with no unique content that can be of value to somebody searching the web and to which only three other pages have linked.

The only reason a search for PerformTech generates any result is because the site was listed on the Open Directory and because others used the word “performtech” in their webpage copy. Of course, one could continue with the analysis of the rest of the site but this should be enough for a free report 🙂

Books I am reading today:

  • Search Engine Visibility — good general overview of the best practices of search engine optimization, although some of the technical information is a big too low-level for my liking. Good read if you do not want to spend weeks reading all detailed articles on www.searchengineswatch.com; it has a companion website. Reading the book will inspire you to follow some of the good advise; however, if you still feel that you are not getting it, or your website is still not showing up high on the search engine rankings, contact me!
  • Google Hacks — a great book on a great subject; even just the webmaster pages are worth the price! Highly recommended! Reading it will instill even more respect for the engineering team at Google!

Books I finished reading over the weekend:

93003907

Site critique of the day:

I decided to practice what I preach and to share my knowledge of what I have learn about best practices in web development and web marketing over the past seven years. So, here is my attempt to write a few paragraphs a day by studying a random website and analyzing its shortcomings.

The choice of the site is, of course, not completely random � the gentleman who used to successfully run WAMMO (Washington Area Macromedia Organization), has just moved to a new company, PerformTech, so I am trying to put myself in his position and to predict what he would have to do to improve their website. By the way, since my message on the WAMMO forum suggesting to discuss search engine optimization at a WAMMO meeting, somebody has removed the meta name=”GENERATOR” content=”Microsoft FrontPage 4.0″ line which was adorning the front page�s code earlier today.

My focus today is search engine optimization. I have no idea if this company relies on search engine marketing, but looking at the way they treat their website, it seems they do not care if anyone can find them through a search engine. However, the following analysis should be helpful to them:

First, the front page title:
No page title or �Untitled document� (Untitled Document) is not the best way of introducing a company on the web. If a search engine were to index the page, the search result would show �Untitled document� as the page title � not very appealing! To illustrate, try making a search for performtech on google.com and the result is:

Untitled Document
Description: Computer company based in Alexandria, VA. designing and producing high impact technology solutions…
Category: Regional > North America > … > Business and Economy > Computers
www.performtech.com/ – 2k – Cached – Similar pages

The site description that the Open Directory has listed for PerformTech would be a good starting material for writing a descent page title. Putting something as simple as �PerformTech – high impact technology solutions for commercial and government clients� would be a good beginning (although cutting the marketing lingo would be beneficial but this goes into the copywriting realm and today we care only about the poor search engine spider!)

Second, the text links:
The front page has a nice logo with nice albeit generic tagline �Capturing knowledge� (how about releasing the knowledge after its captured :-). It also offers two options � for the high bandwidth and low bandwidth versions of the website � presented through an image map: one of the links would open, through a JavaScript function, a new browser window for the Flash version of the site.

This is all cool, but the problem is that the majority of search engine spiders do not read image maps. They are not much better about reading JavaScripts either. On top of it all, the site does not have alternative text for the images used on its front page (not very good in terms of usability and accessibility).

Since the search engine spiders are able to follow only text links, to see the site through the eyes of a search engine spiders, either try to select the text on the page and then copy and paste it into a text editor (if there is nothing to paste, then it is all graphics), or disable the JavaScript and kill the images (what is left is a big rectangural broken image which will not lead you to any other page, whether you click on it or not).

No wonder, then, the site is not indexed � the search engine robot cannot go beyond the front page (unless introduced to the site front some other site pointing to an internal page). If you go to Google and make a search for link:www.performtech.com you will see only 3 pages linking to PerformTech�s front page, and none of them from within the site:

Mayo-Wells Media Workshop
1220 L St NW PMB 290 Washington DC 20005 1 + 2 0 2 – 6 6 7 – 4 9 4 8.
Provider of quality Web Development, Multimedia Consulting, and …
www.mwmw.com/ – 6k – Cached – Similar pages

Potential Employers
In an effort to provide our students and graduates practical experience and hopefully
employment, we are creating a list of companies who may be interested in …
it.gse.gmu.edu/internships.shtml – 34k – Cached – Similar pages

Scrap Files Can Tear You Up
Scrap Files Can Tear You Up Wednesday, 10 May 2000 Last updated Sunday,
9 July 2000 What if there were a type of file that could …
www.pc-help.org/security/scrap.htm – 29k – Cached – Similar pages

What this means, from a point of view of the search engine spider, is that the PerformTech site is actually a single page with no unique content that can be of value to somebody searching the web and to which only three other pages have linked.

The only reason a search for PerformTech generates any result is because the site was listed on the Open Directory and because others used the word “performtech” in their webpage copy. Of course, one could continue with the analysis of the rest of the site but this should be enough for a free report 🙂

Books I am reading today:

  • Search Engine Visibility — good general overview of the best practices of search engine optimization, although some of the technical information is a big too low-level for my liking. Good read if you do not want to spend weeks reading all detailed articles on www.searchengineswatch.com; it has a companion website. Reading the book will inspire you to follow some of the good advise; however, if you still feel that you are not getting it, or your website is still not showing up high on the search engine rankings, contact me!
  • Google Hacks — a great book on a great subject; even just the webmaster pages are worth the price! Highly recommended! Reading it will instill even more respect for the engineering team at Google!

Books I finished reading over the weekend: