Monthly Archives: February 2011

Choose What Sites Google Shows You

Yesterday Google Relesaed an Extension for Chrome which allows user to block selected websites from SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).

This may look like a poor solution to solve Google ‘s content farm result issues, however it is just a tool they are using to help them combat this issue.

The data from this extension will be sent to Google and analysed to create a “potential ranking signal for search results” according to Matt Cutts (head of the web spam team at Google).

The Extension is called Personal Blocklist Extension.

I decided to try it out myself to see if it is any good. It took less than 10s to download and install and no browser restart is required so you can block as you please straight away.

It’s quite simple to use, when you search for anything on Google a link is displayed underneath each result which can be used to block a domain.

Pages from blocked sited no longer appear on the results page. However they can be allowed back into your current results page by clicking the “show” link that appears at the bottom of the page.

A list of blocked sites can be viewed, edited or unblocked by clicking the red logo next to the address bar.

So all in all it’s a pretty good extension, however for Google web spam team to find the data collected useful a lot more users will need to

a) Use Chrome (currently with only 10% market share)

b) Bother install and use the extension

Should you Bother Using Meta Keyword Tags?

As with most SEO queries there is no straight forward answer, so I’ll just go with it depends…

Basically Google doesn’t use them any more at all!

So if you’re only worried about how you show up on Google don’t bother (unless your site search feature uses them!).

However, if you’re concerned about showing up on Yahoo or Bing they are a necessity!

Bing and Yahoo have a combined 10%* of search market share which may not seem like much first glance, however this accounts for 4.6 Billion^ searches per month in the US alone!

Yahoo has claimed in the past that they stopped indexing the meta keyword tag, however they provide advice on improving your search position including:

Use a “keyword” metatag to list keywords for each page of your website. Use distinct lists of keywords that relate to each specific page on the site. Do not use one broad set of keywords for the entire site.

Bing also provides similar suggestions in their head tag optimisation blog.

So if you care about your position on Bing or Yahoo follow their advice, but like any SEO method you will need more than just a good meta keyword tag to position well on any search engine.

*According to Net Market Share

^According to comScore December 2010 U.S. Search Engine Rankings

How much Publicity is too much?

If you listen to the Radio in England you have probably heard about the Street-level crime map site.

The site allows users to see what crimes have been reported in their local area. Check it out here.

I decided to try it out myself…

The interface seems to have some bugs and there appears to be very limited functionality, but for a site made for the minimal sum of £300, 000 you can’t really have very high expectations :P .

I then discovered that since it went live this morning millions of users have accessed it and the site has since gone down. The Home Office reported on their Twitter that they were receiving approximately 75, 000 hits per minute.

So what is the moral of this post?

Sometimes you can have too much publicity. If you intend to create a service that thousands (or in this case millions) of users will want to access you need to take into account volumetrics, bandwidth and other limitations.

Whenever a new site is launched and will definitely have an immediate large following there are going to be those who are legitimate users and those who are just browsing or curious about the site becuase it was a trending topic on twitter,  google or any other social media or search site (if you ever see your site as a trending topic I suggest you upgrade your hosting plan!).

Even if you over estimate these figures it’s best to have a site live and the ability to catch potential visitors and customers than to greet them with a server error.