Archive for July, 2011

Kerala- The “God’s Own Country” – India

July 28th, 2011 No comments

Backwaters, Beaches, Cultures as well as Spices to territories and religious convictions, all are a building block of Kerala. There is an abundant of legendary narratives that are connected with Kerala. A few of them are of the opinion that Kerala was created by lord Vishnu and that is the manner in which it acquired its naming “God’s Own Country”. Take a trip to India and you are going to have in excess of seven metropolises to take a trip to. Kerala makes available romance in the company of a unification of religions. The celebrated remote places in Kerala as well as the boat houses have got to be visited. The wildlife refuges are exhilarating as well as filled with exciting activities that ought not be missed out on and which you are going to be taking back to your home as a number of truly exciting flicker camera instances. A number of the wish-list regions in Kerala would be:

1. Munnar – This place is distinguished by its out of this world beauty and is an asylum of tranquility and silence and so for that reason just the right soothing visitor destination in the God’s own country known as Kerala. Located at a height of 6000 ft in the district of Idukki, Munnar used to be the most preferred summer alternative for the one-time British monarchs of the colonial times. Endless stretches of tea agricultural estates with its immaculate valleys as well as mountains, out of the ordinary varieties of flora as well as fauna in the wild sanctuary and forests of this region and the smell of spice perfumed cold air are all there in Munnar.

2. Thekkady – This is the lone shelter present in India in which you are able to distinctively experience the witnessing of animals from a near distance at the same time as being in the protection of a vessel that is on the lake. The most supreme attraction of Periyar continues to be the big groups of undomesticated elephants which get nearer to the edge of the lake.

3. Kumarakom– Kumarakom is the abode of an extensive assortment of flora as well as fauna. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary’s a well-known bird asylum in which a lot of varieties of wandering birds pay a visit to. The Vembanad Lake, which is the biggest remote place of Kerala, is home to a lot of sea as well as freshwater fish varieties.

4. Kottayam – This is a territory that has distinctive traits, and is margined by the pompous Western Ghats on its east and the Vembanad Lake as well as the paddy pastures of Kuttanad on its west. Scenic stretches of backwater, green paddy grasslands, high grounds, widespread rubber agricultural estates along with its bunch of completely knowledgeable people have led to this locality being referred to as the land of letters, latex and lakes.

5. Chandragiri Cruises – This makes available boat journeys to the islands as well as palm orchard in close proximity. The place for getting onboard is Chandragiri Bridge and a mosque in close proximity, and the prehistoric Kizhur Sartha Temple as well.

6. Backwaters of Kottayam – In the midst of the paddy grasslands, rubber agricultural estates as well as the uplands lay the charismatic Kottayam, which is universally acknowledged to be the territory of lakes as well as latex. All of the inhabitants of Kottayam are knowledgeable and this is the aspect that makes it the territory of letters as well. The agriculture of the cash harvests is what makes Kottayam.

At the time of arranging a journey to India, in spite of Kerala experiencing pleasurable weather conditions right through the year you ought to attempt and leave out the months of June as well as July because of intense monsoons. Nonetheless to pay a visit to Kerala for the duration of monsoons turns out to be a gorgeous experience in itself. Monsoons are in addition just the right time to be having nice and warm massages.

Food as well as Shopping, Sightseeing as well as Massages, all, welcome you to the God’s Own County, which is the other name of Kerala! So visit Kerala and enjoy the beauty of it.

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Does Google Panda Uses Bounce Rate as a ranking Signal

July 28th, 2011 1 comment

In theory, bounce rate ( along with time spent on site) could be used by Google as a ranking signal. Google already has a mechanism to block all search results from a particular website if is not relevant or good. If you search for a term, land to its page, do not find its content as useful, hit back button you see a link under the search result that says – Block all results. Google does collect this data, and, if the threshold crosses a certain number, google may penalize the site for being poor quality. There were 2% websites affected, when google implemented the “block all result from a website” feature.

This scheme may be extended to record the bounce rates of different websites and necessary action be taken. The high bounce rate and low time spent on a website is one of the most important characteristic of a spam website. It does not take more than 10 seconds to realize that a website’s content is not useful or relevant. If we assume that google uses Bounce rate as an important signal it has some implications that all webmasters, especially those hit by Google Panda should be aware of.

First, all websmasters should install Google Analytics or other similar analytics tool and check the bounce rate of their websites. If your bounce rate is above 75% you are likely to get trapped in Panda penalty. This fact has been correlated and studied by starredreviews and has been established as a matter of fact.

There are few fine points that must be remembered. First, this signal can not be used for very websites that are very small and get very small number of traffic from google. If this signal is used for websites getting very little traffic from google, its can be manipulated by the webmaster or its competitor. For the data to be correct, it needs to be spread geographically and over a period of time. No wonder, small websites getting little traffic, are often not penalized even if they are low quality.

Time spent on site is another important signal that google potentially can record with its Chrome browser. With the increase in Chrome’s dominance google may be more accurate over the time in predicting a low quality site by measuring time spent on the site. Average time spent on the website is the next most important signal that a websmater will measure in the Analytics.

Whether google uses these signals in reality or not, as a webmaster, you are only going to gain by looking at bounce rate and time spent on site and attempting to improve the two parameters. Consider that you are getting 10,000 visits per day and have a 1.2 pages per visit, giving you a total of 120000 pages per visit. If you improve the bounce rate and increase the pages per visit from 1.2 pages per visit to 2.0 pages per visit, you increase the number of visits per day to 20,000 or an increase of 7,0000.

How to improve the Bounce Rate

1. Writing an exceptional first paragraph that is relevant to the search term is the most important factor, which will improve the bounce rate. Look at your google analytics tool and start with the webpages that get most traffic. Read the first paragraph from a readers perspective and think if it is good enough to engage the users. Rewrite the content if required.

2. Use a Good design webpage – The webpage should not look spammy and cluttered with a large number of ads. Tables and graphs should be added to make it impressive. Simple charts and infographics make users engaged.

3. Use Links to Related Topics – When a person finds your topic related, he is inclined to read more topics from your website. List out a set of related topics as a table or at the bottom of your topics. WordPress has Related posts plugin which not only helps readers in finding related contents, but also improves ranking by interlinking the internal webpages.

4. Use Links inside the webpage – As your website grows, you have a large pool of the webpages, that you can use to interlink from within the webpage.

5. Use Target = “new” for external links – If you are linking outside, it may be good idea to use target = “new” attribute for the links. This will open the external link on a new Tab. This helps readers stay on your webpage where they can come back and continue reading.

6. Use a forum for further discussion – Install a forum on your websites. At the end of the topic, leave a link to the forum where the topics is being discussed. If the quality of the discussion is good, reader may be willing to read more on the forum for informal discussions.

Even if google does not use Bounce Rate as a signal, it does help to track it to improve your site quality. Consider again the improvement in the pages per visit from 1.2 to 2.0 for a website getting 10,000 per visit. If you have improved the bounce rate to increase the number of pages per day to 20,000 – chances are, you have significantly improved the quality of the website. The improved quality of the website will likely remove the Panda penalty, which will further improve the traffic from 20,000 pages per day to 30,000 pages per day. So by improving your number of pages per visit from 1.2 to 2.0 you essentially increased the number of pages visited from 12,000 per day to 30,0000 per day. Stop asking the question – Does Google Panda Uses Bounce Rate a ranking Signal ? – If it does it helps more. But even if it does not it does correlate eventually with other signals that google may be using.

Google’s blog is a good pointer that encourages webmasters to monitor important parameters including Bounce Rate.

luzie – a top contributor in the Google Webmaster Forum an interesting example – if you have two websites A and B. If site A has 80% bounce rate, 20 seconds average time on site and if the website B has 20% bounce rate and 6 minutes average time on site, which one will search engine choose to rank ?

Officially google does not announces if it uses this as a signal for ranking. This is accordance with its policy not to disclose the ranking signals , as, it may be used to game the system. So we will probably never know if this is officially a ranking factor. But it does not matter – it only helps to improve your bounce rate

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A list of websites recovered from Google Panda

July 27th, 2011 3 comments

Starredreviews report

Recovery of the websites from Google Panda has been rare. Some of them have been reported by the webmasters and others can be inferred from the traffic at alexa or quancast. Here is a list of the websites compiled by starredreviews that have recovered from Google Panda

1. Cult of Mac Cult of MAC was one of the earliest websites that recovered from Google Panda. Cult of MAC has a huge following and writes about Apple products including MAC and iPhones. A technology oriented website, Cult of MAC covers anything and everything including the recent iPhone operating systems, new launches, hardware.

Cult of MAC’s recovery was also highly controversial. Its recovery did not align with the period of Panda re run. As you know Panda does not work in a continuous function though other minor tweak may continue to work. So it is quite possible that a manual exception was made by Google in the case of Cult of MAC leading to its recovery. The suspicion gains ground, since, Cult of MAC did not say anything they did on their own to recover from Google Panda.

Leander Kahney, the Cult of MAC owner had acknowledged the degradation of its website just after Feb launch of Panda. “We’re not alone. Also affected is the British Medical Journal, PR Newswire….” – he had said in an statement that was later on removed.

2. labnol Digital Inspiration, the name given by its owner Amit Agarwal, was also one of the earliest sites that reported Panda recovery. Unlike the Cult of MAC, Mr. Agarwal does lists out changes that he made leading to the Panda recovery. The most important changes he made include noindexing the tag pages, deleting unnecessary tags, fixing 404 pages, fixing short meta description and preventing google from indexing some pages using robots.txt

However, the Digital Inspiration did not remove the top ad and also did not enlarge some of the contents that can be said to be “thin content”. Many of his “how to” articles, though useful, can not be categorized as unique or not available at other places.

3. Daniweb Dani Horowitz’s Daniweb is a classical example, which shows that a dedicated effort can lead to Panda recovery – at least it looks like that from the long list of actions she took to make her site recover from Google Panda. It including improving the response time of website, removing the annoying pop up, making thin content pages “noindex” , adding more editorial content. Dani’s recovery offers a great hope for the webmasters who are working on improving their site quality to recover from Google Panda.

4. Pocket-lint Poket-lint works on a crowded niche where a huge number of MFA sites fight for the supremacy. Pocket-lint is on the border line, if we are to look at the traffic around July 25, 2011 in quantcast. It looks like it is on the road to final recovery. If pocket-lint recovers in a stable way, it will confirm that long articles are not necessary. Many of the pockt-lint content are barely 300 words and potentially come under thin content.

5. DCResource The owner has reported the recovery of the dcresource, though we do not have an independent way to verify the claim. DC Resource is also controversial as many of its pages contain affiliate links that are not nofollow. DC Resource publishes camera review and is one of the trusted names in Camera articles, reviews and news.

If your website has recovered from Google Panda, list it here. You may also like to list out what you did to recover from Google Panda.

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July 26th, 2011 6 comments

The recovery of Daniweb from Google Panda should come as a great news for anyone who has applied efforts to come out of the clutches of Panda. The recovery was announced by Dani Horowiz in the Google’s webmaster’s forum .

In February 2011, was hit by Google Panda resulting in decrease of the traffic close to about half of pre Panda level. While the February decline was minor, the website was hit hard when the Panda’s scope was enlarged to include all the English speaking countries in April 2011.

A frustrated Dani expressed her concerns at the Google’s webmaster’s forum, where she received a large number of positive suggestions. She has documented all of the efforts she applied in her blog. We are reproducing some of the important efforts that were made by daniweb to recover from Google Panda

– There used to be a pop up whenever anyone used to visit the website. This was to encourage the signups and create more posts. However, this had also led to poor user experience and flight at sight. The popup has since then been removed by Dani.

– There was a large number of threads that had zero replies and therefore came under the category of thin content. The noindex meta tag was added to all such threads. It must have taken a lot of time and effort. But a commendable job.

– The indexing of the tags was removed. This was done using the robots.txt. While tagging is useful in many cases where a generic tag applied to a large set of posts helps in grouping related topics, it does not work well if the tags are isolated or long keywords. As an example if you are writing about 2012 Toyota Corolla, the tag “cars” will be ok but a tag like “2012 Toyota Corolla release date” would be spammy.

– Increased the number of editorial posts that were high quality. The editorial content was written by individuals and they were paid for this.

Was it a coincidence that the website recovered when Dani started using Google Adwords “to bring new sign ups” to promote additional new contents. This seems unlikely, as google does not seem to act on such frivolous things. But it gives google critics armor to point fingers.

Dani had criticized the panda recovery of Cult of Mac in the very google forum where she had complained and asked for the help when her website was hit.

Dani seems to have started using Google Plus. At the time of writing there were 3 persons in her circle and it looks like it will keep growing – . Dani Horowitz posses B.S. in Computer Science from Hofstra University according to her google profile.

Dani’s Twitter profile can be accessed at!/daniweb

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Writing Semantically non equivalent content for Search Ranking

July 24th, 2011 39 comments

Writing Semantically non equivalent content for Search Ranking

Importance of unique content has always been crucial for higher search ranking. Webmasters have been using content rewriting for generating content, bring traffic, which is then used for the monetary or other gains. However, rewriting content leads to semantically equivalent content and search engines are getting intelligent at detecting semantically equivalent contents. The search engine then, can choose to rank only the original and the authority content and it can lead to the lower ranking of the semantically equivalent contents and / or duplicate contents.

How to generate Semantically Unique content

1. Write only what You know about

– Do not write about anything that you do not have knowledge about. You should have an in depth knowledge of the subject matter that you wish to write about. For example if you want to write about a place you have never visited, the chances are – the content will not come out uniue. A person living in Austin and who has never visited Boston, can only “rewrite” based upon the content already existing on other websites, which will lead to contents that are semantically equivalent to pre existing content.

2. Research before you write

– If you read just one article and start writing right away, you will generate content that is unlikely going to be unique in semantics and meaning. It will not add value to the readers. Read as many articles as possible until you are armed with enough information that you can use to write something on your own.

3. Write without looking at the content

Once you have gathered all the information, close the websites that you have read about. Close your eyes and meditate about it – analyze it and come up with your own thoughts, words and write them down. Do not look at other websites and content while writing, except possibly for the data that you will be looking for.

4. Use comparisons

If you are writing about something, try to compare it with something similar or other. For example if you are writing about a place A, give your thought about, how it compares with place B. If you are writing about Barak Obama, compare him with Bill Clinton.

5. Analyze data

Another technique that can be used is the analysis of data. Look at the raw data about a product, person, or idea and then write your own analysis of the data. This does not generate 100% semantically unique content but can help in general. Generate Tables, Charts to explain your point. Simple infographics and its explanation takes a little bit of time but adds value it terms of uniqueness as well as usefulness.

6. Read your content and recheck

Once you have finished your writing, think of the search term people will use to search for your content. Now use the search engine and read some of the contents available on similar topics. Check if what you have written is adding value on the top of the contents that are pre existing. If your content does not add any significant value, it is time to research more or choose a different topic.

7. Choose topic judiciously

When you choose a topic, look at the content already available online. Then try to answer the question – “Do you think you have something to write that you will add to the existing pool of information available ?” If not, probably you should choose a different topic.

8. Invite for Quality Comments

Make a provision for the quality and intelligent comments. The only comments that you approve are the ones that are unique and add value.  Spam, copied and monotonic comments degrade the overall strength of  your content.

Two contents A and B are semantically equivalent if the content B does not add any value as far as the information value is concerned. Typically a semantically equivalent content is generated by rewriting an existing content, potentially by using tricks like changing active to passive voice or vice versa, using synonyms, reshuffling words and sentence. In some more advance tricks, paragraph shuffling, content from mulitiple sources etc have been used to generate content.
Form the readers perspective this leads to poor experience as he goes on to read the same or similar content one after the other in the search results. The Search engine frowns upon the practice of the generation of semantically equivalent content. It is also a challenging task for the search engine to detect and weed out the such contents from the search result.

From the webmaster’s perspective it is important that the content on the websites are not only free from copycat duplications but be also free any semantically equivalent content generated by copying “idea” from other sites. With the recent change in the Google Algorithm ( aka Google Panda), the importance of the unique content has gathered more importance. Webmasters are therefore encouraged to write only what is unique, what is not available at other places. By “Unique Content”, we mean not only the arrangement of words but also the the “Inherent Meaning” of the generated contents.

Example of Semantically equivalent content. Take a look at the following two paragraphs.

“Starredreviews analyzes each content for semantic equivalence and publishes only the contents that are unique in terms of meaning and the value it adds. We expect the content based upon research, comparison. Eventually the reader should find value in the content generated and the value should be something not available at other places and sites.”

Now look at the following rewritten paragraph

“Each content is analyzed for semantic equivalence by our site and only the unique content is published. Each content is generated based upon comparison and research. In the end the readers see value that is not available on other websites.”

If you check these two sentences using copyscape or other similar duplicate content checking software it is likely going to pass the test. However, the second paragraph does not not add value and is a copy of the first one in terms of the meaning it generates. Search engines are getting smarter in detecting such rewritten and respun content and can lead to the rejection of their position in search result.

Vikas Shukla, occasionally takes interest in the Search Engine Related topics. The views reflected are his own.

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