Categories
India Internet

Letter to Matt Cutts: Google’s Panda Update for India – Case Study

Dear Matt,

We’ve interacted in the past on various platforms which you may/may not remember but that’s not very important right now.

I thought Google may be missing out on providing the highest quality of search results in India that it’s known for, based on what I’ll mention in the next couple of paragraphs.

The Panda update, although great for search experience for the general English speaking world, is not the best idea for a country like India because English is not the native language of most of India’s citizens. English is a secondary language for Indians (you probably noticed the grammatical irregularities during your recent visit to Hyderabad) and therefore, expecting very high quality of written English from “user driven” (not editorial) websites in India is futile. You won’t get that here.

In fact, most users write such bad English that we spend considerable time correcting grammar from their comments on our clients’ websites worrying that these sites might be penalised for bad English. However, this can’t be done for forums or other user generated content.

Examples from an Indian university Q&A website :

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   Example above: Bad grammar

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   Example above: Use of Hindi or another native language between text 

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Example above: All CAPS and sometimes very little content on one page.

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Example above: A mix of all CAPS, bad grammar, but very useful information for other visitors

Very Brief Case Study:

The result of these updates is that most websites that are based on user-user interaction with indexable content have disappeared off Google (or at least that’s what I’ve been noticing recently). A good example perhaps is: http://www.madras-university.in/ (no longer exists as of October 2015) – a site that I built a few years ago because the official university website provided little or no information and a website that has now been adopted by the university and is one of the few reliable sources of information for students of the University of Madras (now Chennai). Every question is answered as accurately as possible by someone from the University but what are you going to do about the quality of English written by the question posters? This site has lost its ranking and so have innumerable others that are based on user content.

You’ve probably had this information before but I thought you needed to know in case you hadn’t.

My suggestion would be applying a milder version of the Panda to countries that have English as their second language so as to put it simply.

Best regards,
Arjun

Categories
business idea Internet UK

Google “good to know” ads on London Underground (tube) in association with CAB

Google is now advertising on London Underground or Tube as it’s popularly known. I saw these ads on a central line train in London today. Here are a couple of images taken from my iPhone. The advertisements in the Tube are about security, data protection and family protection mainly. Google have teamed up with the Citizens Advice Bureau and more information can be found on http://www.google.co.uk/goodtoknow/. Google is not new to advertising on the tube and we’ve all seen those Google Chrome browser ads, but this time, it’s more philanthropic.

Google Good to Know Ad on London Underground - Sign out
Google Good to Know Ad on London Underground – Importance of signing out
Google Good to Know Ad on London Underground - Strong Password
Google Good to Know Ad on London Underground – How to keep a really strong password

I was very surprised to see these ads on London trains. Why would Google be so kind? Google has been taking the UK more seriously recently with recent news of Google investing in an East London tech zone. Also, with Google’s purchase of of UK businesses like Beat that Quote, this may be an attempt at being seen as a household name, “not just for search”.

Have you seen these ads?

Categories
Internet

Alexa launches keyword tool filled with skewed SEO data

I used to be a big fan of Alexa, in fact I still am for some niches – If you’re researching 2 sites that are targetted to SEOs or users interested in Internet marketing/search engine rankings, Alexa data will be quite accurate for US, UK and India but when it comes to non-technical industries, for example shoes, handbags or perfumes – Alexa is pretty useless.

Alexa has launched its own little keyword tool, which they should expand over time. This tool lists keywords that drive traffic to a site from search engines (data is gathered from users that use Alexa Toolbar). So I went ahead and checked Wikipedia’s keywords and I wasn’t surprised to find “SEO” as the second most “traffic driving” keyword for Wikipedia. Reason for this is that a high percentage of  SEOs or Internet Marketing experts around the world either have the Alexa toolbar installed (to check Alexa rankings of websites) or have a Firefox Addon that shows Alexa rank. Either way, maximum data received by Alexa is from people who have web related jobs and therefore is highly skewed.

According to Alexa - Keyword "SEO" drives high traffic to Wikipedia
According to Alexa - Keyword "SEO" drives high traffic to Wikipedia
SEO drives traffic to Wikipedia
SEO drives traffic to Wikipedia

Now this is obviously incorrect if you check Wikipedia’s stats that they openly share at http://wikistics.falsikon.de.

Alexa will continue being in my arsenal of tools, but expecting Alexa to deliver correct traffic rankings and keywords for websites that are not related to SEO, web design etc, is not something I can bank upon.

Categories
Achievement inspiration Internet News World

Are Google Talk, Twitter, Facebook days over? Welcome Google Wave!

Google Talk days are over. For all you Gtalk addicts – You abandoned MSN messenger first, then you quit Yahoo chat. Now its time to welcome Google Wave. It is awesome and it’s here to give Twitter and Facebook a hard time, although it is very well integrated with Twitter.

I’m not really talking about Google Wave replacing Facebook or Twitter. The question I have is, with such dynamic integration with Twitter, Facebook and other API based services, will you even need to log into Twitter via Twitter.com ever again to access anything? Already, with Twitter applications, I hardly ever use Twitter.com’s web interface to update my Tweets, its always some application.

Although Google Wave is coming out in a browser-only version, it’s just a matter of time before we’ll have hundreds if not thousands of applications developed around Google Wave. With the failure (or what they call a failure at Google) of Orkut and Google Friend Connect, this is Google’s attempt to regain a slice of the communication market.

I am interested in how it will integrate with Google search and other search engines and how it will affect Internet Marketing and SEO for businesses in days to come. That will probably be the deciding factor whether Google Wave replaces Twitter for businesses.

In a nutshell – Google Wave is a multi-stream communication system that integrates with Twitter, Facebook and other applications for seemless communication, conferencing, emailing and media sharing.

Only Google Wave’s public launch will tell if I’ll ever need to log on to Twitter or Google Talk again.

Check out these videos to find out more about Google Wave and what makes it extra special..

Categories
inspiration Internet News World

Wolfram Alpha Screenshots and My Test Reviews

I have been intrigued with the whole Wolfram Alpha hype for a long time and when finally I got to lay my hands on this engine, I was pleasantly surprised. I have to say, this is way beyond my expectations (I mean better) and the extent to which they’ve researched before launching it is really mind boggling.

Microsoft tried for ages to solve Integral and Derivative mathematical problems. I remember coming across a set of software to solve some complex Integration problems during A levels – never found anything good.

Wolf Ram Alpha is an answer engine that doesn’t return results like Google. It returns answers straight to the point. I have a few screenshots of what Wolfram Alpha can do. Get ready for an eyebrow raising experience.

What do you think about Wolfram Alpha? It’s 4pm CST and Wolfram Alpha launches at 7pm CST. 3 hours to go. Can’t wait.

For all those still talking about “hype”, just imagine the detail of the algorithm that runs this engine. It is remarkable. All the best to Mr Stephen Wolfram and Wolfram Alpha!

Categories
Uncategorized

Google Latitude – There goes our privacy in shatters!

First you could email and get your messages across to your mates. Then came online messengers – instruments to disturb your peace resulting in unnecessary, useless chatter. Yahoo invented the “invisible mode”. Never been visible since. Google Talk, however, maintained my peers’ right to know when I’m online. I somehow managed with that. All my searches, chats were being logged every second. And just because all that wasn’t enough, now Google has come up with Google Latitude.

Google Latitude - Privacy killer
Google Latitude - Privacy killer

Google Latitude – Track your friends on a geo-satellite map. For God’s sake! Why would I need that? Why would I ever want my girlfriend to know that I’m not actually in a meeting, but out there somewhere meeting mates? (or doing whatever!!) Why would you want the world to be able to find out exactly where you are and when!!?? I fail to understand. Court room – “Your honour – this man wasn’t  present on the scene of crime.” Judge: “Check his Google Latitude records.” Indeed he was – hang him!

I had thought of a concept in 2005 – People with geo-tracked mobile phones where you’d add friends and if a friend was within a 100 meters you’d start hearing a beep.. and the beep’s frequency would increase with respect to your closeness to your friend’s mobile phone. People literally stopped talking to me for having the gall to even think of an idea like that. And today, voila! Google has almost done it.

Next will be geo trackable tablets inserted into your body to track your movement for your lifetime. Very useful for the Police! Thank you science!!!! Whatever!