Tag Archives: Tools

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 ;-)

Ultimate Spotlight Secrets on Mac OS X

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I think the majority of mac users would say that spotlight is a really nice tool. But most of them don’t even know what cool tricks Spotlight can even do. In my opinion, Spotlight is one of the best productivity tools that comes for free (well, you have to buy Mac OS anyway).

Windows users can only dream of it. You would need to buy a lot of software to cover the same functionality. And performance I don’t even want to mention here.

So, what can we actually do with Spotlight?

1. Normal Search

Searching for some documents is pretty simple. Just hit cmd+Spacebar (Spotlight will open in the top right corner of you screen) and start typing the phrase. Let’s say we are looking for: script. And voila, we get a list of everything containing script.

spotlight-box


2. Boolean Search

Now that we’ve got a nice list, we want to refine it a little bit. We don’t want to get results that contain editor. Spotlight comes with boolean search functionality. It works with the following operators: AND, OR, NOT. Now the important part here is to type these operators all in capital letters, otherwise they will be understood as search terms.

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3. Type Search

When you are looking for a specific type of document, let’s say an image, you can use the kind command followed by a colon and the file type. In this case the command would be script kind:image.

spotlight-kindMake sure that you don’t have any space before and after the colon. There is a list of types you can use with this command:

Search for: Use:
Aliases kind:alias
Applications kind:application, kind:applications, kind:app
Audio kind:audio
Bookmarks kind:bookmark, kind:bookmarks
Browser history kind:history
Contacts kind:contact, kind:contacts
E-mail messages kind:email, kind:emails, kind:mail message
Folders kind:folder, kind:folders, kind:fol
Fonts kind:font, kind:fonts
iCal Events kind:event, kind:events
iCal To-Do Items kind:todo, kind:todos, kind:to do
Images kind:image, kind:images
JPEG files kind:jpeg
Keynote files kind:keynote
Movies kind:movie, kind:movies
MP3 files kind:mp3
Music kind:music
Numbers documents kind:numbers
Pages documents kind:pages
PDF files kind:pdf, kind:pdfs
PowerPoint files kind:powerpoint
Preference panes kind:preference, kind:preferences
Presentations kind:presentation, kind:presentations
QuickTime files kind:quicktime
TIFF files kind:tiff
Word documents kind:word


4. Calculations

There is a nice calculator in the Dashboard but you could use the space for another nice widget. Spotlight can to all basic calculations as well. It also can handle brackets withing the formulas. Furthermore it is capable to handle a few more advanced calculations too, like square root, power, PI, …

As you can see spotlight is more advanced than the regular Dashboard calculator.

spotlight-calculator


5. Application Launcher

That’s my absolute favorite one. The Dock has a limited space to place icons. Of course you can extend it with a stack and put there even more icons but it’s so much simpler with Spotlight. Just start typing fire to show Firefox in the list.  Just think about how many clicks it can take you sometimes to launch a specific application.

spotlight-launch


6. Definition

Another nice feature of spotlight is that it can show you the definition of a word you type. Just hover the definition row in the result set and it will show you the definition of that word in a tooltip. Really nice.

spotlight-definition


7. Show in Finder

If you don’t want to open a document within Spotlight but show it in a Finder window you just press cmd and hold it while clicking the found document.



Spotlight is a powerful tool to speed up your work. It is included in every open/save file dialog box and helps you finding lost files in TimeMachine.


Top 10 Firefox plugins for web developers & designers

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Firefox is my favorite browser for creating and testing website design and functionality. On the one hand you have big share of visitors using Firefox (Wiki: Usage share of web browser)  and a rapidly growing user base. The reasons for the success of Firefox are speed, stability and a strong open source community behind it.

And then you have IMHO the most important part: an endless range of great plugins

Although there exist hundreds of absolutely great plugins I’d like to share with you today only these plugins that helped me best while working on web projects in the past:

1. Web Developer

web-developerA must-have plugin for any web developer. It will add a new toolbar to Firefox with a lot of great tools for displaying page information, request headers, CSS element information, disabling/enabling Javascript, Cookies, Images and CSS, validation and displaying Javascript generated content. I just named some of the features but there is a lot more inside this tool. So make sure to have it.


2. SearchStatus

seachstatusThis one is great helper for SEO work. It includes a better PageRank information (forget the original – problems with cached values), Alexa Rank and the essential NoFollow link highlighter.


3. HTML Validator

html-validatorI would say 20% of SEO work is On-Site optimization. This tool will help you in locating every validation problem of your HTML code. And I guess most of you will agree: Google loves valid content.


4. Javascript Debugger

javascript-debuggerWorking with Javascript can get very tricky, especially when you are loading dynamic content via Ajax requests. Just looking into the code won’t help you a lot. The Javascript Debugger allows you to set breakpoints in your script and inspect variables and objects.


5. Live Http Headers

live-http-headersAs the name already says this plugin will show you all Http headers while browsing a website. Sometimes a valuable source to understand the redirection mechanism of a website and how data is sent across.


6. Leet Key

leet-keyA very useful tool for quick transforming encoded data. Sometimes when I need to check if a Base64 encoded parameter was transferred correctly I can decode it with this plugin to plain text. Apart of the transforming for Base64, Bin, Hex, Morse and others, there is even a functionality for encrypted contents in AES and DES.


7. JS View

js-viewWhen you want to have a quick look on a JS or CSS file from some other website you need to view the page source and copy the file path. But it can be so much simpler. JS View provides you any given JS/CSS file of a website with the easiness of a mouse click.


8. Duplicate Tab

duplicate-tabSometimes you need the currently open page in a second tab. But if it’s javascript generated content you cannot just copy and paste the URL in another tab. But Duplicate Tab can.


9. Add N Edit Cookies

add-n-edit-cookiesThis tool allows you to manipulate and add cookies and can help you to test the security of your website.


10. Clear Cache

clear-cacheVery simple and useful. While you are changing elements on your website you want to make sure to see the changes and not a cached version. Things like that can end up in frustration.


As mentioned before, these plugins helped me a lot. I know there are a lot more useful plugins out there, so feel free to share your list with us.


Update 2009-06-10:

Firebug

firebugAnother essential tool for web developers that allows you live editing of CSS, HTML and JS on any website.


7 essential must have applications for Mac OS X

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This is my list of essential little helpers every Mac should have installed. These tools are not very expensive and can improve productivity on a Mac a lot.

1. Little Snitch

little-snitchThe Firewall that comes with Mac OS X is a very simple one. That’s because Apple tries to keep the user’s life simple. That firewall doesn’t allow much of settings and handles only incoming traffic. As long as you are a “normal” user it’s great, but if you would like to control outgoing traffic too you need to find another solution. Looking for a better firewall I came across a lot of apps and Little Snitch turned out to be the only one that would handle outgoing traffic as well. Furthermore it integrates perfectly with your Mac as a small tray icon. After having installed Little Snitch I was shocked about all the applications that where trying to connect to some strange servers. It’s really a must-have security tool for every Mac.

 

2. iFreeMem

ifreememiFreeMem can help you in optimizing your Mac’s memory after having a long session. It will clean up all memory blocks that are not in use anymore (typically after quitting memory intensive applications) and rearrange others that are in use. After installation you will find a new tray icon in your toolbar which will show you the currently consumed memory. A click will open a small box with a more detailed memory allocation and an “Optimize Memory” button. So from time to time when you need a little bit more memory just run this tool and you won’t need to reboot at all.

 

3. 1Password

1password1Password can store all your passwords used on websites. Moreover it can handle full forms as well. This is very useful during web development when you need to test extensive web applications. All your passwords and forms can be protected with one master password so you want need to remember all the others anymore. 1Password integrates directly as a toolbar in your browser and will give you the easyness of “one-click-login”.

 

4. AppDelete

app-deleteWhen I was new to Macs I fell immediately for the simple install/unistall process. But sometimes applications leave a lot of useless trash on your system. AppDelete will help you to clean up your Mac from all associated files of any software. It’s a great tool to keep your Mac healthy.

 

 

5. iArchiver

iarchiverBeing used to Zip and Rar files iArchiver became a very good friend of mine. Of course there are more professional solutions out there like StuffIt, but this one is really cheap.

 

 

 

6. KeyCue

keycueEspecially for Mac-beginners this tool can be a lot of help. By simply holding down the command key it will show you a window with the most important hotkey combinations. After a while using it I remembered more and more hotkeys. Great for productivity.

 

 

 

7. AirGrab WiFi Radar

airgrabApple’s AirPort can give you only limited information about the quality of your wireless connection. With AirGrab you can find out exactly how good or bad the connection in reality is and what other networks surround you.