Tag Archives: Google

Google mistakes Michael Jackson Searches for DDOS Attack

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After Michael Jackson’s death last week searches on that topic increased dramatically at Google. Google mistook the millions of search queries for a distributed DoS attack.

As Google product manager R.J. Pittman said in a blog post:
“Search volume began to increase around 2:00pm, skyrocketed by 3:00pm, and stabilized by about 8:00pm. As you can see in Google Hot Trends, many of the fastest rising search queries from yesterday and today have been about Michael Jackson’s passing.”

Many people saw Google’s error page when looking for that topic:

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Other websites were affected too: Twitter (micro-blogging platform) was forced to disable some of their features to keep the service up.


Let’s make the Web faster – Google’s new Code Section “Speed”

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I can still remember the first days of the web when I we were using Mosaic and later Netscape as browsers. Although websites consisted mostly of simple  text and a sometimes even some images, the speed was terrible. Sometimes it took minutes to load entire pages. Nowadays we have tons of images on every single page plus animations, flash and other media types. The web got way faster in the last 10 years. Big companies started to invest money into infrastructure and ISPs evolved with their services.

Let’s take Google as an example. They can provide search results within a fraction of a second though there are quadrillions of data to be parsed an processed. Google can do that trick only because of their enormous server farms and highly streamlined websites. But Google wants to go to the next level: surfing the web should be as instantaneous as “flipping through the pages of a glossy magazine”.

Let’s make the Web faster

Google introduced a new Code section called Speed. You can find there many useful articles on how to optimize the performance of your website and web server. And if you have some ideas about improving the speed of the web you can post it there too. It’s definitely a good resource for beginners and professionals.

Here is a short introduction video made by some guys at Google:

[youtube]IWWBnJEsUtU[/youtube]


End of PageRank Sculpting with NoFollow Tag

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Back then when Matt Cutts described the use of PageRank sculpting on YouTube it became soon a very welcome method for SEO professionals to bring more important pages within a website to the top. Although it is a very advanced technique you will find tools on the Internet that will do the job with just a few clicks. Times have changed.

For those who don’t know PageRank sculpting:

PageRank sculpting is a technique of website internal cross linking where you use the NoFollow tag to point to less important pages whereas you remove this tag from links that point to pages you want to bring to the front.

Normal link: <a href=”http://www.google.com“>Google</a>
NoFollow link: <a href=”http://www.google.com” rel=”nofollow“>Google</a>

Google has a pretty good algorithm to distinguish between relevant on rather useless content. With PageRank sculpting you can adjust this a little bit. Say Google thinks that one of your pages is relevant to a visitor but you would like to improve the ranking of your sign up page (which has basically no content) instead, you could achieve it with PageRank sculpting.

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Every page on a website has a PageRank value from 0 to 10 (or maybe sandboxed). To make it easier to understand it let’s call it page energy. Whenever you link to another page (including internal links) parts of this page energy are passed on to the landing page. So the more backlinks a page has the more relevant it is to Google. It’s like in the real world, the more people someone knows the more important he is (more or less). On the other hand using NoFollow will not pass on this energy (including internal links). Normally you would use NoFollow to link to websites you don’t trust.

Outgoing links on a page share  the whole page energy  in equal parts. So the more outgoing links you have on a page the lesser energy they can pass on.

Knowing this, PageRank sculpting became soon a method to control the energy flow. But as I already mentioned, times have changed. Google didn’t introduce the NoFollow tag for that kind of abuse.

What has changed?

Let’s assume you have a page with 10 outgoing links. Each link would gain 10% of the power that goes to the linked page. Say 5 of these links have the NoFollow tag, this would mean that each link gains 20%.

Google has changed that algorithm: Now the link power is shared among all outgoing links regardless if you use NoFollow or not. So if you have 10 outgoing links and 8 of them are NoFollow, the remaining 2 will just have each 10% of the link power. Before that change it would be each 50%. The 8 NoFollow links will still not pass on any power.

I’m sure this is causing a lot of headache for many SEO professionals. Well, Google wants to keep our lives exciting ;-)