Tag Archives: SEO

Invitation to Beta Test Web 3.0 Firefox Add-on “Headup”

So you aren’t quite sure yet what Web 2.0 is all about? 

Well, hang onto your hat, as Web 3.0 is slowly galloping to meet us.

This is long, but worth reading (even if I say so myself!), and the Invitation is right at the end – OK?

A bit of history

Web 3.0, a phrase coined by John Markoff of the New York Times in 2006, refers to a third generation of Internet-based services that collectively comprise what might be called ‘the intelligent Web’, and the end of 2006 was the first time that Web 3.0 was  associated with the Semantic Web

Now what the heck is the Semantic Web? It is “an evolving extention of the Internet in which the semantics of information and services on the web is defined, making it possible for the web to understand and satisfy the requests of people and machines to use the web content”. 

It derives from the 3WC director Sir Tim Berners-Lees vision of the Web as a universal medium for data, information and knowledge exchange.

Did I lose you yet?

How about an example (from Markoff, no less)? 

the Holy Grail for developers of the semantic Web is to build a system that can give a reasonable and complete response to a simple question like: ‘I’m looking for a warm place to vacation and I have a budget of $3,000. Oh, and I have an 11-year-old child.

Under today’s system, such a query can lead to hours of sifting — through lists of flights, hotel, car rentals — and the options are often at odds with one another.

Under Web 3.0, the same search would ideally call up a complete vacation package that was planned as meticulously as if it had been assembled by a human travel agent.

The day after Markoff’s article was published, it was torn to pieces by Thomas Claburn in The InformationWeek.

That was in 2006.

Where is the Semantic Web in 2009?

Last night I braved the Jerusalem cold (and a horrible head-cold), and armed with a large packet of tissues I attended the Jerusalem Web Professionals (JWP) monthly meeting, entitled “Web 3.0 and the Semantic Web: What You Need to Know“.

The presenters were Eitan Burcat and Mike Darnell, together with Eran Lahav, from SemantiNet, an Israeli start-up who have developed a Web 3.0 Firefox add-on (so far that’s all they support, but are working on support for other platforms) they call “headup+ your web, connected

headup the Semantic Web Firefox addon

Their tagline is: “FIND without searching, BOOST your browser, CONNECT your web

Eitan did the presenting, Mike did the demo (see below), and all three answered loads of questions.

The presentation started off with a few slides on the history of Web 3.0, an explanation of the terminology involved, and his example, which is probably more useful in today’s day and age than the dreams of Sir Tim. 

I arrive in a new city, and I’m looking for a place to stay, somewhere to eat, and something fun to do. On my facebook profile, I wrote that I like Madonna, on some other social networking site I mentioned that my mother cooks great Italian food, and I’m registered at a dating site where I’ve tagged my lifestyle. My handheld GPS knows where I am, and can tell me which hotels suiting my lifestyle are in the area, where the best (i.e. with the most recommendations on a local restaurant website) Italian restaurant is nearby, and that there’s a Madonna concert the day after I arrive.

Today I need to go onto the web and look, instead of some cool technology (aka Headup!) offering it to me. 

Headup only uses information freely available on the web, and keeps away from any password-protected stuff and privacy issues. Eitan explained that the connections between the pieces of information are made in realtime, on your PC client. He explained how Headup is different from Google Universal Search (basically, headup goes into social media sites, and all sorts of other places, to find semantically related information).

What was particularly cool about the presentation was that they actually have a working addon, that you can download and add to your FireFox (rather difficult not to see this

on their home page !!!), and about half the presentation was a demo of the thing working.

There were loads of questions from the audience, like:

  • How do you deal with spam?
  • What about adult content?
  • How are going to make money?
  • How many users do you have? (Answer: “more than a few and less than many” !!)
  • What’s the connection with LSI (latent semantic indexing)?
  • Why did you just do an add-on?
  • Who has funded you up to now? (Sir Arnold Cohen, Jeff Pulver, Giza, and others I didn’t catch)
  • What about Hebrew support? (Answer: it’s already there – have a look at the cool example at the end of this post)

and others, which I’ll leave to the headup blog to answer (unless they beg me to write up all my notes!)

The most interesting question, of course, was “how does web 3.0 and the semantic web affect SEO?

Excellent question – the one we all want answered. But there aren’t too many answers around at the moment. Rather, more questions. Like “how are computers going to be able to understand the possible contexts that a human being understands?”. 

It seems obvious that objects (people, things, stuff) will need to be tagged in many different ways, for example “Pink” – the singer or the colour? Using the W3C standards, microformats and the like, will help. But in reality, no-one really knows ….

So, of course, first thing I did when I went home was to install the little Mr. Man superscript (those are a couple of things that it’s supposed to remind you of ….), and lo and behold, it actually works !!

Here are a couple of screen shots (sorry  about the quality – it’s a wordpress crunching thing).

The first shows that when you “headup” the word עזה  (“Azza” – the Hebrew name for Gaza), it even shows you English news items with the word “Gaza” – very impressive. 

headup-hebeng

In the second screenshot I set it up to include my facebook and other friends, and here you can see (just) that it’s picked up one of my friends, “Miriam”, from FriendFeed.

headup-social

So, that’s Headup.

Now where’s the invitation to Test?

Well, it’s simple. 

Mozilla’s policy is that all new add-ons added to their site are considered experimental until they are reviewed.  The top-of-the-crop, those add-ons found to be ready and appropriate for public display, are made public. Experimental addons can be downloaded for testing and reviewing by users who are registered to Mozilla’s site.

So, the Headup team need YOUR positive reviews and ratings! 

These ratings will factor in the Mozilla team’s decision to approve headup as a “public” add-on.

They are asking you to register for Mozilla’s site, visit the headup page and provide them with a your rating and review.

How about trying headup on this blog post? See how much information you can find on Eitan, Mike and Eran (I specially didn’t link their names to anything …)?

That’s it for now. Thanks for sticking around till the end of this post, and see you next time (if you sign up for my RSS feed, of course!)

debi-zyx-signature

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Cuil – In Urgent Need of QA?

I love this time of year.

Last week I had Knols to talk about, and this week I’ve got Cuil 🙂 

 

Cuil, pronounced “Cool” looks pretty cool at first glance.

The colour scheme and design of the User interface (trust me to look at that first!) is way cool.

The results lay-out (hang on a minute …) is also très kool.

But the results … Oy, Vey !

First, you need to know what Cuil are saying about themselves (the colours are Cuil’s, the bold is mine!):

Welcome to Cuil—the world’s biggest search engine. The Internet has grown. We think it’s time search did too.

The Internet has grown exponentially in the last fifteen years but search engines have not kept up—until now. Cuil searches more pages on the Web than anyone else—three times as many as Google and ten times as many as Microsoft.

Rather than rely on superficial popularity metrics, Cuil searches for and ranks pages based on their content and relevance. When we find a page with your keywords, we stay on that page and analyze the rest of its content, its concepts, their inter-relationships and the page’s coherency.

There’s more, but you can read it yourselves.

Or have a look at what some of the 1,170,000 search results for Cuil (on Google, of course – on Cuil itself, there are only 121,578 results!) are saying about Cuil: Danny Sullivan, Rafe Needleman at CNET, TechCrunch, Masterworld, you name it, they are saying it.

Or, let’s have a look for ourselves …

Well, tomorrow is the last day of the Blogging Idol competition, so I just HAD to connect this post to that.

So, here’s the results of my search for “the Blogging Idol”  (without the inverted commas). These results are completely undoctored, this is exactly what happened.

Stage 1 : Search for the Blogging Idol

Ok, sorry folks, looks like WordPress.com is “scrunching” my screen shots rather too much …

You’re going to have to believe me that the number in the right hand corner says 2,280 results.

Now look at the bottom left corner. How many pages of results?   2 !!

Stage 2: Click on the > to move the the next page of results.

 

You’re going to have to believe me again that the number in the right hand corner NOW says 5,630 results.

Now look at the bottom left corner. How many pages of results?   4 !!

Stage 3: Click on the “3” to move the the next page of results.

What does that say ? (sorry again, folks, I’ll try to get the WordPress people to fix this …)

It says:

“We didn’t find any results for “the blogging idol ”

Some reasons might be…

  • a typo. Please check your spelling.
  • your search includes a term that is very rare. Try to find a more common substitute.
  • too many search terms. Please try fewer terms.

Finally, try to think of different words to describe your search.”

Amazing, isn’t it !!

So, off you go, QA (and SEO?) readers, get your CVs up-to-date, and send them off to  jobs@cuil.com , looks like they could use you 🙂

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Knol, SEO and The Blogging Idol – Test Case ends

I’ve decided to end the “Test Case on Knol, SEO and the Blogging Idol“.

If you remember, I wrote a Knol on the “Blogging Idol” competition, where the test case was “How long will it take for my Knol to reach the top 10 in Google search results“.

The reason I did this test case was to see whether Google was showing favoritism for content written in it’s own system.

So, here are the results, and a preliminary analysis.

The Impressive Results

  1. It took just 35 minutes for Google to index my Knol
  2. It took about the same amount of time for Google to index my blog post about it!
  3. At T0+27.5 hours, the Knol was #20 on Google, and the blog post was #22 for search expression: the Blogging Idol
  4. At the same time, the Knol was #10 on Google and the blog post was #11 for “the Blogging Idol”
  5. 10 hours later (no, I wasn’t obsessive compulsive about it …), my Knol had gone up to #16, and my blog post was up to #20.

Then It All Went Belly-Up …

  1. As I write, my blog post is still at #20 and #11, respectively (for the 2 different searches)
  2. The Knol, on the other hand has been dropping quite steadily, and is now at #88 and #35, respectively !!

My Analysis

  1. Firstly, Google does seem to be indexing Knols (and Blogs for that matter), very quickly.
  2. Obviously http://knol.google.com has a many more pages and links than my blog
  3. How on earth did http://knol.google.com get to Alexa Rank 2 ?!?!   A..HAH – that’s easy. Who wants to guess? Which site is ranked #2 on Alexa? That’s right, Google. By the way, who knows what is #1 on Alexa?
  4. Anyway, back to my poor Knol. Why did it go into free fall, whereas my blog post did not? Why did it go into free fall, while How to Read Russian in 75 Minutes did not?
  5. So, using some of my SEO knowledge, I’ll hazard a few ideas:
    1. My Knol is about a subject that lots of sites (mainly blogs) are writing about. These sites, including my own blog, are adding more relevant content all the time.
    2. I didn’t figure in the fact that “American Idol” is also alive and kicking, and there are thousands of blogs about that. Same thing here – lots of new “relevant” content.
    3. On the other hand, my Blogging Idol Knol is static – the most it has received is a couple of links. But content-wise, I’m not doing anything with it. True, there have been about 500-600 pages added to Google Knol since I wrote mine, but none of them are relevant.
    4. How to Read Russian in 75 Minutes is also a pretty static subject. There aren’t 10’s or more pages being written every day about reading Russian. So, relative to the rest of the Web, this Knol isn’t continually “under attack” by lots of new content in the same niche, using the keywords “read Russian”.
    5. I’ll hazard another guess: the URL structure of Knol focuses first and foremost on the Author. That means that if I write loads and loads of Knols, they will all start with knol.google.com/k/debi-zylbermann/…
      The subject is much less important. Now, if you agree that a site built using a Silo structure (see this 9-minute video for a very good explanation) is more effective in the search engines than one that is not, it becomes clear: in Knol, all the content on a particular subject is divided up into author-related silos. So, if an author doesn’t continue writing lots of Knols, his or her Knols are not going to move up the search results.

What do you think? Any other ideas to explain how my Knol fell flat on it’s face?

Have you written any Knols yet, and have you checked their Google search position?

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And the 2nd Winner of my Free SEO Give-Away competition is…

Kevin Prince … all the way from Down Under 🙂  Kev – send me a buzz via the Contact page, and we’ll arrange how you can collect your prize.

And Daniel B, the 1st Winner – if you’re still reading, please contact me too.

Jagdesh – sorry about that, but random is what random does.

By now it’s no secret that I’m NOT going to win  the “Blogging Idol” competition… but I wasn’t in it for the money anyway. I’ve learnt so many new tactics and techniques, and discovered a pile of great sites and blogs to wile away my time with, that it was definitely worth it.

The Blogging Idol ends in 3 days time, and that also gives you

Just 3 more days to win my Final SEO Give-Away.

All you have to do is subscribe to my blog (this link is for email subscriptions, for RSS, click on  ) and write a comment on the blog telling me that you’ve subscribed. Please don’t forget to write that comment, or I won’t be able to put you into the next draw of the competition.
 
And if any of you looking at the Blogging Idol Scoreboard are wondering what happened to MY numbers (you can scroll down to entrant #102 to find me) – well just go look for all my questions on the Feedburner Help forums (on second thoughts, you probably don’t want to bother doing that) … anyway they are somewhere in the 60’s, which I’m rather happy with, all things considered.

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How Much do YOU Knol?

    Yesterday, Google officially launched Google Knol (officially beta of course). In case you don’t know what Google Knol is about, here’s the explanation:

Knols are authoritative articles about specific topics, written by people who know about those subjects ... millions of people know useful things and billions more could benefit from that knowledge. Knol will encourage these people to contribute their knowledge online and make it accessible to everyone.

OK, so isn’t this just a Google version of Wikipedia?

Well no. There are supposedly 2 major differences:

  1. Everything written has an author (or authors). It’s his or her knowledge, opinion, whatever. You can’t change what’s been written (unless you get the author to agree), but you can comment on it.
  2. It isn’t philanthropic….
    As Google states: At the discretion of the author, a knol may include ads from our AdSense program. If an author chooses to include ads, Google will provide the author with a revenue share from the proceeds of those ad placements.  

So, I went to have a look at my favourite topics.

Want to guess what they were?

Of course, it shouldn’t be very difficult – SEO, QA and Testing, Blogging, Photography, Travel

And what did I find?

Well, if you want to know about Kosher Wine (now I really must comment on that one …), head lice (don’t get me onto that subject, PLEASE!), or how to un-clog a toilet, you’ll have so much to read, that I’ll never get you back here 😦

But what about those topics that I (and I hope you) are REALLY interested in?

Well … using the Knol search box, I found ONE, yes ONE, measly Knol on SEO. Actually, it wasn’t measly, it was very good. It was Danny Sullivan‘s excellent list of Firefox plugins for SEO and SEM, which is getting longer as each commenter adds his or her list – great idea. 

Now I Knowl (please excuse the pun) that there is more on SEO there, because I also found Moose’s Knols about SEO, the SEO Knols Group (loads and loads and loads of SEO tools), and his comments on Aharon Wall’s very good SEO Basics.

But whichever way you look at it, it took me ages to find these, and that is just by wading through link after link, mainly from the comments.

And what about the others, you are asking? 

NADA, Nothing, Zilch, כלום (that’s pronounced Klum, as in Heidi), Rien ….

So, either Google Knols has a big, big, bug in their search, AND / OR there’s plenty of scope for all of you to start writing huge numbers of Knols about basically anything you want  …

On the other hand, it looks like Knol topics are doing amazingly well on Google

So, who’s going to join me in Collaborating on QA and Testing?

Anyone for SEO?

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5 Tips for Getting your First (SEO) Clients

OK, so you are a newbie to SEO, and you’re looking for clients.

Well, I was there not so long ago (and actually I’m still there, kinda, since I’ve been doing this for just 3 or 4 months).

What are the top 5 tips for getting clients when you’re just starting up? And actually this list goes for other areas, not just SEO. In fact, they have helped me get clients for both parts of my business, SEO and Software Quality Assurance.

  1. Know Your Stuff – make sure you have a really good grounding. There’s a lot out there on the internet, but a lot of it is just too basic for you to be able to convince a customer, let alone do a reasonable job on his site. Some information is incorrect, and some is what in other businesses would be called “shady” or “fishy”, but in SEO is called Black Hat. Personally, I found that a good course put it all in perspective.
  2. Use Your Contacts – most people starting off in SEO have already done something previously with their life. Hopefully, you were good enough, and have enough experience to have made some good impressions here and there. Meet up with your contacts, and tell them what you are doing now. Explain it at the level that they will understand, and let it be clear that you are looking for work in your new field. 70-80% of my new clients have come from contacts.
  3. Network, Network, Network – before turning independent, I didn’t think that I had it in me to “sell myself”, so to speak, but you’d be surprised what you can do if you have to put food on the table!  And when you network, PLEASE remember to bring your business cards!  I was agonizing over “the right logo/brand”, but in the meantime, made myself some colorful (no surprises there!) but business-like cards with my name, phone number, email, and “new” profession. Where to network? There are loads of networking opportunities: local entrepreneur groups, local or national professional and industry groups, conferences, courses, and more. The other 20-30% of my clients have come from networking.
  4. Keep up to date – find the best few blogs in your industry, and read them religiously. Make sure that you know what the Gurus in the industry are saying. If you can, find webinars, videos, conference presentations on-line, and the like.
  5. I know I had a 5th in mind – it’s so nice to be able to write a headline like “the top 5 blah blah blah” – somehow “the top 4 …” doesn’t quite sound the same, but I can’t for the life of me remember it. 

I’ll probably remember it in the middle of the night, or in the shower, or something. Anyway, I’ll add it when I remember.

It would be great if you added your ideas in the comments (but please do it here, please, and not on the SEO blog, until I manage to combine them), and I’ll add them to the list.

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SEO Give-Away Competition !!!

How did I get myself into such a pickle?

Remember my post on breaking all the branding, SEO and Blogging rules?

Well, I probably should have rushed and put up my SEO blog in time to get it into The Blogging Idol competition. But I only managed to get my QA blog there. And now I’ve discovered that I can’t redirect either of them to a combined QA and SEO blog, because I’m hosted on wordpress.com …

So, I’m going to start putting some of my SEO blog posts up here too, and please just assume that this blog was really called “Debi’Z blog”, or “Debi’Z QA and SEO blog”.

At least until I get this sorted out? OK ??

You can find a short history of how I got into SEO at “Who am I?“, and you’ll find an overview of what I do for an SEO living at “What does SEO Qualified mean? “.

And now for the competition …

Do you want to win a FREE SEO Website Analysis?  Well NOW YOU CAN !

Once a week, till the end of the Blogging Idol competition, I will be giving away a FREE analysis of the website of your choice.

All you need to do is to subscribe to THIS blog as of today, and let me know about it in a comment on this post. Three subscribers, chosen completely at random, will win the prize 🙂

The prize-winners will be announced on the 20th, 27th, and 31st of July !!

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