Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Interesting Alternative Google Logos

Google generally comes up with new logos for special holidays etc... However only recently I came across some very interesting alternative logos of Google. These have obviously not been created by Google themselves, but they are totally fun and absolutely creative. So scroll down and take a look at some of the fake holiday alternative Google logos. Enjoy! :)

Gargoyle Day Logo

Googol Logo

Guess WhoOgle Logo

L33T Speak Logo

Lego Logo

Google Pacman Logo

Giggle Day Logo
Google Eye Examined Month Logo

Monday, March 30, 2009

Social Networking Overtaking Email

It seems that Social Networking... especially websites like Facebook seem to be taking over internet mailing by storm. Social networking has now become more popular than e-mailing. With almost 67% of users preferring to use it for sending instant messages and even mails, than email itself, the social networking trend has significantly gained popularity. Thanks to networks like Facebook (one of the leading websites on the social networking front) recent studies have shown a great increase in its users in the past year. And why not... Facebook is easy to use, interactive plus everyone just replies to you on that rather than to your emails that generally rot in their inbox :s

Friday, March 27, 2009

10 Most Common SEO Mistakes - Stone Age to Present

SEO offers business owners a significant way of promoting their products and services online. While SEO is easy, it is also generally misunderstood as something that requires major capital. True that SEO can provide your business some major benefits, but if mis-treated it can also go in the opposite direction... leaving you and your business in a lurch.

Search engines have their own rules and guidelines set to be followed. Ethical SEO firms and SEO experts make sure that they follow them to a large extent, if not completely. And while some of us are on the go, following these set of rules, we tend to make some common mistakes that can lead us into the deep dark ditch of penalization.

So here's a look at some of the most common SEO mistakes made from times past to the day present:

1. Copy Cats: Copied content, either plagerized or otherwise will simply not do. Unique and original is always better. Be it short or long, just make sure that the content on your website or blog is originally yours to begin with. Otherwise... well, face the consequences!

2. Linking Softwares: Trying to link your website automatically to various websites and search engines via some software can get you banned forever.

3. Duplicate Meta Tags: Using the same titles and descriptions throughout your website is... well... wrong!

4. Keyword Stuffing: Don't try and increase your keyword density by over using the keywords throughout the page. You should know by now that this will get you penalized.

5. Link Farm Programs: Participating in link exchange and link farm programs will possibly lead you into bad neighborhood, might link you to scam websites and will surely get you penalized... need I say more?!

6. Cloaking: As old as SEO itself... cloaking text using same color as the site background and hiding keywords just doesn't work anymore. Will make you zero instead of a hero.

7. Flash-based Website: The search engines refuse to crawl flash-based websites, so avoid making it completely with flash. Also try using images and graphics that take less time to load to keep both the visitors and search engines happy.

8. Doorway Pages: This one's from stone age too and must be avoided at all costs. Try the Landing page instead, its healthy and profitable.

9. Over-Optimized Web Pages: Too much of everything is bad. So is the case with SEO. Don't over optimize your web pages, instead keep them fresh and easy to read.

10. Duplicate Content: Like duplicate meta tags, this one's a goner too. Only spread duplicate content across several pages of your website or various domains if you're looking for some penalized fun ;)

So there you have it... 10 most common SEO mistakes from the SEO Stone age to the present day. And with this we end the Murderous March series for now. Until next time, Happy clicking! :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

OverLooked Landing Page Aspects

Here's a look at some Landing Page aspects that are generally overlooked but have the potential of enhancing a web page:
  • Using More than One Headline >> Every headline has the capacity of engaging the reader and urging them into buying your services/products.
  • Testimonials from Well-known Authors >> High-powered testimonials are like warranties that will only benefit your business to a larger extent.
  • Sacrificing Load time for Graphic design >> Any page that takes too long to upload, especially due to graphics, can seriously help you lose quality traffic.
  • Aesthetic Issues >> Test the design for your audience before uploading a landing page. Aesthetics are important, so make sure that you understand what a majority of your audience will respond to before finalizing it.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Instant Website Knockouts - Insignificant SEO Worries

And Murderous March continues...

There are some things in SEO on which we like spending our time. Then there are a few things we have to spend time on. And then there are a few others we should NOT be spending time over at all, let alone think about them.

These 'other things' we should 'Not be spending time on' are what I refer to as the 'Instant Website Knockouts'. Research shows that small business owners are amongst the hard hit by these as they tend to obsess over many insignificant SEO related things. So a word of advice...

Don't knock yourself out fretting over the following:

Google Page Rank Obsession >> In case you didn't know, Google Page Rank is not very significant. What the page rank tool bar probably shows you are rankings that are many months old and are barely relevant. What you should be concerned more with is whether or not any of your web pages got stuck in the supplemental index.

Multiple Domains >> Trying to get yourself up in the SERPs by having additional domains or multiple sub-domains is a bad idea to start with. Multiple domains are generally required under different considerations and are mostly this involves user's involvement. Don't try to be over smart with the search engines or the users by spreading out your content over many domains.

Website Submissions to Search Engines >> Huge wastage of time and big loss of money. Search engines are generally crawler-based and will find your website eventually. So don't waste your time submitting your website to search engines. So not the in-thing anymore.

Website Rankings >> It's absurd checking your website rankings every day. If they have dropped down, your looking constantly at them will not make them come back. The best thing to do is to keep working on improving your web pages.

Replying to SEO spam emails >> Don't ever believe a company that claims that you can buy over a 2000 quality links for a mere $50 or less. Neither should you believe any claim of getting your website submitted to over 1000 websites and search engines with just one click. It's not likely that an authetic SEO company would send you such an email. If it sounds too good to be true, it could be spam.

The list can continue well beyond this point. Your comments and suggestions are welcome :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

If You Give Google A Cookie - SearchEngineWatch

The other day I came across a very interesting post by Frank Watson on SearchEngineWatch called If You Give Google A Cookie. The post is regarding Google's behavior based search. Although it is a couple of months old but then again that's how long the story itself has been developing and that's how long concerns have also been growing. The post follows on Google's behavior based search trend... What some are calling privacy invasion, others refer to as advancement in technology and Google calls it the Behavior-Based Search!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Google Behavior Search - To frusturate or not to frusturate?

With search engine position and rank being dead, website owners seem to be finding other more comprehensive concerns with Google search and its new shift. While some expert seem to be claiming that traffic has become the #1 Google concern with the personalized search, many others beg to differ.

Google's Personalized search is keeping track of your IP Address and several other search factors. Of course with this there is no way that searches will remain relevant, if anything, in any way what so ever. The Behavior based Google Search is taking into account, apart from your IP Address, your most visited pages, previously visited pages, the types of searches you conduct and not to mention the geo-location. So now your searches will more or less be tailored to fit your needs. Or will they really fit your needs at all?

This new behavior-based search might not always be able to give you the exact answers to all your queries. And by always I mean whenever you feel like searching otherwise...

Suppose you are used to searching for various kinds of banking needs and generally spend all day long searching for these specific needs and techniques. And say that you are a huge movie buff also. Now for instance one day you forget the name of this actor who came in a certain movie. What do you do? You will Google of course... and type in a general search for the actor. What do you get? Well with Google's Personalized search you are more likely to get data more or less similar to your earlier work related searches. Why? Because this behavior-based search
of Google's will probably not be able to distinguish between work queries and your movie-actor based search. Thus... you are likely to get frustrated with the kind of results you will get. So typically classic-Google-beta-frustration style... ain't it?!!!

Reminds anyone of Google's Monopoly... ahem.. adventures from the not-so-distant-past? Seriously, I think it's just another one of those growing-the-business attempts. Humph!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Google Personalized Search Trends 2009

... just taking a short break from the SEO/Landing page series to give you the latest on Google. And of course with the frusturation much of this is likely to cause, this update remains quite apt to our Murderous March theme ;)

Come another year and we find yet another one of Google's drastic changes launched in full force. Welcomed? I wouldn't really count on it... but of course Google is only doing all this for our search benefit, as always. Duh!

What Google's Personalized Search is offering? Quite simply...
  • customized search
  • no more login to personalized search necessary
  • no more web page ranking
  • importance given to traffic
  • more strictness for spammers
oh and before I forget, there is also this
It's being claimed that Google search is now 'supposedly' becoming more universal and we are likely to see plenty of changes in the traditional SEO theory. Yawn! Yawn! That's what they always say... Remember last year's drastic algorithm changes in Google and the frustration it caused? Not to mention the Google Dance? Ya well, with this behavior based search of Google's , get ready for some more of those dance routines, I'd say.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

10 SEO Suidical Attempts - The Hangman's Noose!

Despite the fact that there are many SEO firms and experts out there who claim to be following the ethical practices and seem to know what they are doing, there seem to be hitches and glitches everywhere. While SEO can lead your website to the best of places, some basic mistakes in it can also become the hangman's noose for you, leaving you and your website stranded.

So today we take a look at the most common SEO mistakes or as I'd rather call them...
The Top Ten SEO Suicidal Attempts:

1. Hiring the Vigilant: When choosing to hire a SEO company for your business, make sure that you pick out only the best. Since SEO has the capacity to make or break your business, it is best to choose an experienced company after much research and questioning. Remember to question as much as you can and even meet a couple of their clients if you can for maximum satisfaction. You will be paying them so its your job to understand and know about them as much as possible, because if you don't then you might end up paying a high price for their mistakes.

2. Website Usability: Do not avoid things like logical navigation, simple structure, good linking and quality content. These are considered by both, the visitors and the search engines, so rest assured that it will not be overlooked. Even the smallest downloading issue or complication with these can make a visitor lose interest.

3. Generalized Keywords and Phrases: Opting for keywords that are too general will lead you nowhere. Chances are that these keywords will also be competitive and the higher the count there is for these keywords, the lesser the chances are of your website getting ranked anywhere on the top for these. Specific keywords/phrases tend to work well and these are possibly something that potential customers will possibly use when trying to find the services/products you offer.

4. Duplicate Content: Having the same content, not just on your web pages as text but also in the meta title, is a no-go. Before you know it, your site will start appearing in the supplemental index and will be caught for duplicate content issues.

5. Same Anchor Text: Try using different anchor texts when linking your website. Using the same text every time for linking is considered unnatural and doesn't really help your link building in anyway.

6. Stuffed Up Web Pages: Stuffing your meta tags, page footer or the page header with keywords is called spam. Same as with hiding text in the background or anywhere else on the page. You will get caught, so don't do it!

7. Domain Name Issues: Always be careful with your domain name. Search engines consider www.mydomain.com and domain.com as 2 different websites, so you can imagine what that could possibly mean. You will get caught for duplicate content for sure.

8. Too Much Link Usage: Using your website link over and over in your guest books, blogs or comments is not good SEO. This will be taken as spamming.

9. Restrained Spiders: Incorrect robots.txt files, having an all-flash and full of graphics website that the spiders can't crawl, various session IDs and a number of variables in your website URL are capable of restraining search engine spiders to crawl your web pages and hence prevent it from getting properly indexed.

10. Disturbed Link Trade: Trading links with every website is not the very best of ideas. Although reciprocal linking is good but it is best to trade links with quality sites only and with those related to your industry.

The list can continue well beyond where it stopped. Your additions and comments are welcome :)

Friday, March 06, 2009

7 Instant Landing Page Killers - Covert & Merciless!

Murderous March continues...
And with today's post I intend on continuing the list of seemingly covert tactics that are generally ignored and are quite capable of leading any Landing page to an instant death.

Given below are 7
more Instant Landing Page Killers:

1. Obnoxious Forms: Quite obvious you might think... think again. When it comes to the contact form, most people tend to overlook this fact and end up asking potential clients a hoard of questions in the first go. Results... the potential customer runs away... clearly scared of the interrogation. Perhaps people do so in order to gain quality leads. But is it really worth it? No it isn't! Instead of asking too many questions in your contact form, make sure that you ask a few 'specific' questions only and leave the rest for later.

2. Unclear Contact Form Response: Another major aspect that many tend to overlook is stating the response time to the customer and being more specific about how you will be contacting them. Both are important. Customers who fill up your forms expect to know When they will be contacted and How. So don't keep them assuming. State it clearly, it will only work to your advantage.

3. Unnecessary Navigation:
Make sure that the links of your website provided on the Landing page are specific to the services or products you are offering there. If the links are referring to other services or unnecessary pages of your website, the chances are that the client will get distracted and navigate elsewhere on your website. Result... Quite obviously you will end up losing the client.

4. Info Overdose:
Yes we all know that landing pages should have a simple layout, easy navigation, lighter images and relevant content. And many of us constantly obsess over these overt issues more when creating a landing page. But did you know that relevant content doesn't mean cramming up information regarding your services/products on one page only? If you have a lot to say then its always wise to cut down the things and make separate landing pages for each new thought.

5. Self-Praise:
Benefits of your services or products must be cleverly stated on a landing page and should address the problems of the customers rather than praising what you do and how you do it. A landing page that poses a question derived directly from a possible problem of clients is likely to gain more attention than loads of praise about your services/products.

6. Float Gloat: Sometimes people end up keeping the contact form or the special offers in a float only, which tends to pop up soon after the landing page is uploaded. Most of the times visitors close these floats without giving them a second thought and get deprived of those special offers. Sure it doesn't hurt much to have a pop-up float once in a while but try and provide the same info on the landing page as well.

7. Industry Specific:
It's good to keep content relevant to the industry your business is related too. But if the content is too specific, so specific that it becomes readable for only the high class professionals, then chances are that you will lose many potential customers. Also, it gives to simply, yet cleverly, state your services and to possibly compare and contrast the major points. It really doesn't hurt to specify a couple of things that you are offering and your competitors are not.

The list can obviously continue when it comes to covert killer tactics, as it would if we speak in terms of the overt. However, the moral of the story is to think smart when creating a landing page for your website. Its important to keep all elements clear-cut and not to get overwhelmed by it. Just try a couple of things and see what works best for you! ;)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

3 Things to Murder Your Landing Page with

Murder Tactic # 1

Keyword Stuffing: Using keywords way too many times and hiding them in all the wrong places. Some people, in an attempt to increase the keyword count on their web pages, tend to hide keywords in various ways e.g, writing keywords in invisible text or filling up spaces with keywords written in a tiny font. Do this an get penalized!

Murder Tactic # 2

Link Bleeding: Insignificant and irrelevant linking is highly combustible. Overcrowding and obsessive link use can lower your conversion rate and possibly have your website banned (if not for life, then at least from the top results for sure). Although when it comes to making money this way... Google for one couldn't care less!

Murder Tactic # 3

Automated Linking & Link Farms: Use an automatic linking software, work with link farms, use excessive unnecessary link exchange and get banned for life. This is a surefire way to get your website murdered by the popular search engines. There goes your dream!

For now that's the best top 3 covert tactics to use, if you want to get your Landing page murdered online. Coming up next... more instant overt landing page killers. Keep me posted with your insights and ideas regarding this topic! ;)

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Autobiography of Malcolm X - Book Review

A friend of mine recommended The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley to me a couple of weeks back. Being an avid reader, I’m a little embarrassed to say that I had come across the book many times, but I had not dared to read it. Although reluctant to read yet another autobiography of some renowned person, I decided to give it a try. I’m glad that I did!

The book grips you right from the very first chapter that describes Malcolm Little’s life as a child. You can’t help but get pulled into the story of the black American child, his poverty stricken life and the appalling ways in which he has to succumb to doing some degrading things in order to survive. The account is gripping and the details vivid. Thought provoking though the book is, it starts losing its charm halfway through when young Malcolm is transferred here and there, bumped around, pushed and pulled in various directions till he starts life in the city. It isn’t until he starts trying to become one with the ‘in crowd’, trying to ‘move up’ and achieve status that the book starts to grip the reader again. From then on we learn of his life as a criminal, a pimp, an addict, a hustler and then later on as a prisoner, a racist and somewhat of an extremist. We see him as a Muslim, who has found his identity (or what he then believed it to be his true calling) ready to put down his life for the cause he believes in.

His life takes the turn for the best, and in some ways for the worst, after his visit to Mecca. He comes back as a changed man, a man the world comes to know as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. After that there is a powerful psychological drama that even makes the reader question himself and his true beliefs. We find a lost man - shaken by a shattered trust, a new man having found his true calling, a changed man daring enough to speak the truth when death deviously plays games all around him. We find, by the end of the book, a man who is dead, but alive in ways beyond common beliefs. Malcolm X changes much when he is alive, but the dead Malcolm X brings even more changes. He changes the way many of us think today; he changes the thought process of a whole race.

There are times when you have to put the book down and reflect upon not just your own life but on our life, collaboratively as a nation and then as a whole Muslim Nation.

I will not say that Malcolm X was the best leader ever, or the greatest person ever to live. Of course he had his flaws. What shocked me to some extent was his extreme hatred for the white people; he refers to them as ‘the white devils’. But given his background and the unjust system he was raised in, it is not too hard to understand his feelings or to sympathize with him.

The book made me understand the fanatics’ point of view to a greater extent. I can understand how people in Kashmir, Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq and in other occupied areas feel.

Also, what I loved about Malcolm X was his realization that the black Americans had a separate identity and cultural background, something that they could look up to. It makes one wonder that how far down have we demeaned ourselves into believing that only by ‘becoming’ like the whites will we become something. Our psychological situation is nothing less than the situation of the black Americans back in the 20th century.

Nevertheless, The Autobiography of Malcolm X is truly an eye-opener. It is a revolutionary book about a human being who changed for the better when alive and has the capacity to change people after his death.

Published Link: US Magazine (The NEWS)/Feb 09