Tag Archives: Google

Duplicate Content

We always hear about how Google doesn’t like duplicate content, and will penalize a page that has the same content as another. There are plenty of articles on optimizing sites to avoid having duplicate content internally, and articles ranting about scrapers.

What I want to know is what Google thinks about duplicate content cases such as Reference.com or the Associated Press.

Head over to Reference.com, the encyclopedia branch of the Ask.com network of reference sites. Enter a search term. Now go over to Wikipedia and enter the same search term. They’re the same! Reference.com is pulling Wikipedia articles onto their site and throwing in a few ads. (How are they doing this? Does Wikipedia have some sort of API?) What does Google think of this?

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Chrome: Google’s Shiny New Browser

After years of rumor and speculation, Google finally released a web browser. Google Chrome is the company’s attempt to make a web browser that fits the times better than the others.

Since we spend so much time online, we began seriously thinking about what kind of browser could exist if you started from scratch and built on the best elements out there. We realized that the web had evolved from mainly simple text pages to rich, interactive applications and that we needed to completely rethink the browser. What we really needed was not just a browser, but also a modern platform for web pages and applications, and that’s what we set out to build.

Thus Chrome came about. Chrome is a clean and easy to use browser, designed to be clutter-free, and to use less system resources than other browsers. I installed it on a Gateway machine with 1.25GB of RAM and a Pentium D (there’s no Mac or Linux version yet). After clicking the desktop shortcut, the browser opened in less than a second, and used significantly less resources than Firefox 3 when left idle with one tab open.

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Google Ad Manager

Google’s Ad Manager is now out of beta. It looks like my WP125 plugin has some competition now. :D Okay, okay, it’s not really in the same category as WP125. Sure, they both manage ads, but mine does so from within WordPress, and is designed to make 125×125 ads as easy as possible, while Google’s service is designed to offer as much power as possible, while keeping the interface clean.

Google’s offering is more advanced, at the expense of usability. Google Ad Manager is intended more toward the audience that OpenX has. For people who want to manage CPM/CPC ads, or ads simply with a start/end date. Google Ad Manager allows you to define various ad zones, with a wide variety of ad dimensions (including 125×125 and custom sizes).

Overall Google’s offering looks like a very good way to manage ads. It seems powerful, and the interface is clean and reasonably easy to use. If you’re looking for a full-scale ad server to handle ads across a medium to large site, this is an option well worth considering. It’s overkill for an ordinary blogger looking to sell 125×125 ads.

If you have a Google Account, all you have to do is go to google.com/admanager/ and login to start using the service.

Did Google Just Update Their PageRank?

I have a widget on my desktop that tells me what all my websites’ PageRanks are. I’m not obsessed with PageRank or anything (unlike some people), but it’s nice to be able to check at a glance.

Anyway, I was checking another widget a few minutes ago, and I had a bit of a surprise. All of my websites’ ranks went up. That’s right, they’ve all went up.

  • Webmaster-Source.com is now PageRank 3 (it was 1 previously)
  • SiteOfRequirement.com is now PageRank 4 (was 3)
  • NTugo.com is now PageRank 3 (was 1)

After seeing my new ranks, I went and checked some other sites.

  • ProBlogger.net: 6 (hadn’t it been lowered to 4 recently?)
  • SmashingMagazine.com: 6
  • Copyblogger.com: 7
  • EnGadget.com: 7
  • Amazon.com: still 9

So, what’s Google done this time? Did they update the toolbar PageRank? Did they update their algorithm? It seems that most of the sites that had been penalized recently have been restored to their prior ranks.

PageRank and “Overall Site Metrics”

People like to measure and compare things. Metrics affect decisions, like whether someone will buy an ad on your site.

Websites are measured in numerous ways. They’re given an “overall score” with PageRank; Feedburner counts the number of people who subscribe to their RSS feeds; and advertisers are forever obsessed with monthly pageviews.

Google’s PageRank is used by many to compare websites, though the fairness of the value is questionable. PageRank basically boils down to Links In – Links Out = PageRank. So if you have a lot of people linking to you, then you have a higher PageRank. Hording links, and by extension PageRank won’t get you anywhere either, as you have to link to get linked to.

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Little Known (and Insanely Useful) Google Analytics Tip

Google Analytics is one of the most popular, and most comprehensive, web statistics services. It’s not the most user-friendly site in the world though. I’ve spent plenty of time digging around in its interface, and I’ve found a killer feature that should really be highlighted a bit more.

Okay, you start out on an overview page like the “Top Content” page. Going with the example I mentioned (the Top Content) you then click on one of the entries. Once you land on the stats page for the individual blog post, take a look at the little dropdown menu marked “Segment.”

By using the Segment dropdown, you can pull-up pretty much any data you could ever want about the page. Which sites are referring all those visitors? Just choose the “Source” option from the menu. What browser do they use? The Segment dropdown saves the day again.

You’d be surprised how many people don’t know this option exists. It’s, in my opinion, one of Google Analytics’ most useful features.

AdSense Placement (and Styling) for Bloggers

Google AdSense is the biggest and most-used ad network among bloggers. As you’ll know already, it’s based off a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) model where the placement of the ad units drastically affects earnings. Want to make more money off your ads? Keep reading.

So how should you place your AdSense blocks? The three most important rules to remember are

  • Pick a good ad format, as they tend to have different click rates.
  • Position the ads near content or navigational elements, where people will notice them.
  • Style the ads so they blend-in. If your ads are obviously ads, your users’ eyes will steer around them. If your blog has black text with blue links, then your ads should too.

Of course, there’s more to it than that.

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Dropping Your Text-Link-Ads? Read This First!

Are you killing your Text-Link-Ads after reading about how Google has been penalizing websites that sell text links? First, consider these two points:

  • With all of these sites panicking and removing their TLAs, the value of text ads is going up. If you continue to sell the ads, then you may be making more and more money as sites stop using the program. Personally, I’m too chicken to risk my rankings like that. :D
  • Sure, Google doesn’t like you selling text links on your website. What about the other services TLA offers? You can sell text links in your RSS feeds, which the big G doesn’t seem to have a problem with, or you can use their affiliate program.

I’d advise you against continuing to sell text links on your website, though I think TLA’s Feedvertising program is a good opportunity. Their affiliate program, used by ProBlogger Darren Rowse, seems to be profitable as well.

Feedburner’s RSS ad system is rather exclusive at the moment, and TLA’s is open to anyone (plus it seems to pay well).

Google Doesn’t Like Text-Link-Ads

There has been talk for the past few months that Google seems to be penalizing sites, rank-wise, that use Text-Link-Ads to sell paid links on their site. TLA is a great service, offering reasonable rates for paid links on your website, though Google doesn’t like the idea of paid links because plain links (as opposed to JavaScript widgets like AdSense) affect the rankings of the sites buying the links.

The site Text-Link-Ads.com pretty much doesn’t appear in search results at all (except in a paid ad at the top of the results). So, it’s okay for TLA to be shown in search results only if they pay Google? Other sites, like JohnChow.com, have met similar fates, though Chow’s site may have been demoted for other reasons.

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Hey, WordPress Devs! You Screwed-Up Our Incoming Links

You know that convenient spot on the WordPress dashboard that shows links leading to your blog? Guess what. As of WordPress 2.3 it doesn’t work anymore. Some genius thought that instead of pulling the list from Technorati, they should use Google Blog Search instead. Now instead of seeing a list of recent incoming links, it seems to be more of a list of your recent posts. What’s with that? I hope they patch it soon.

Here’s an example:

What was the reason behind this change (could it be loading speed?), and why didn’t they notice the bug I just discovered?