On the Fly Website Translation in Google Chrome

I stumbled on this neat trick the other day while having a look for information on a Russian website.  If you are browsing using the Google Chrome Browser and open Google Translate in one tab, when you surf to any foreign language sites, it will offer to translate the site for you.  You click yes, and bang, you’ve got that site in English. The actual translation is as good as the library they have, hence Spanish is pretty good, while you can probably bet that Urdu or Swahili will offer mixed results.

I’m now using Chrome for most of my browsing although I do use Firefox for css debug, and IE just to be sure my work is accessible in all browsers.  I expect we’ll see Chrome really take off this year.

The Localized SEO Project Yeilds Fruit

2 weeks after go live, BayStatePowerWashing.com is now fully indexed in Google.  The site initially had Google position only for it’s own name, due to the use for frames in the old site design.  Here is a sample of some of the results:

  • residential power washing massachusetts – #1
  • commercial power washing massachusetts – #3
  • power washing weston ma – #1
  • power washing shrewsbury ma – #1

Excellent progress.  Even better news is that the site owner has the ability now to create new pages which will target other local search terms.  In other words, he has the ability to be where he needs to be.  On top of that, he’s working on fine tuning the marketing message, so we’ve got the fuel to get Google position, and the content to provide the potential customer the right message when they get to the site.  A potent combination.

The even better news is these results are all “white hat” – we’re not using any nefarious techniques to fool Google.

New Site: BayStatePowerWashing.com

BayStatePowerWashing.com

Over the past few weeks I pulled together a new site for my friend Ryan Mowry, owner of BayState Power Washing.  The site is built in wordpress and uses a fairly standard template.  Points to consider:

  • This is a test of a new localized SEO tactic.
  • The site hadn’t been indexed yet by Google yesterday, the last time I checked.
  • Site is fully editable by Ryan.
  • We did include a blog, where Ryan will be posting information of use to Massachusetts home owners.
  • I’m not a fan of 100% width sites…

Give the site a check – especially if you’re looking for the best power washing service in Massachusetts for your home or business.

Say What You Do For SEO Success

Jeff Bennett had a great post yesterday about a shop that had changed their name to take advantage of the customer’s common name for them

I said it absolutely made sense and I fully agree.  Indeed from my experiences @ NameMedia this is exactly the way it is.  I learned first hand the power and impact of generic names as we built our media business.  It costs a lot of money and effort to create awareness for nondescript names and brands.  It is hard to break through the clutter.  Brand building today has to take into account a lot of things and generic and descript names have proven to rise to the top in Google.  The Shopkeeper surely gave me an astute rationale for changing the shop name.

The domain name is one of the key SEO characteristics that Google uses in the algorithmic results.  Hence if you want to perform well in a certain local, like Sutton, on a particular keyword, like Septic Cleaning, I’d consider buying that domain name and pointing it at a n optimized landing page for that town and keyword.  If I wanted to perform well in the another town, I’d do another landing page.

So even though my business name might be “Cahill Septic Cleaning” I could still get the google juice from Sutton Septic Cleaning, plus any of the surrounding towns.  Then I could also watch my analytics package and see what type of traffic I am getting from those domains, to see if they’re worth the yearly fee.

The good news is that most localized landing pages are available. Think about investing in them today!

Your World is About to Change – Google and Augmentative Computing

The past two have been very interesting if you follow the technical goings on at Google.  In no particular order, they have released, at least in beta format:

  • Google Chromium OS – the Google operating system which offers about all the functionality most folks would require to surf the web, get email, write basic docs, etc.
  • Google Goggles – a system that allows your Android based phone *(Android is their mobile phone os) to use it’s camera to identify via search people, places and things.  All you do is open the Goggle app, point your camera at something and it can tell you what it is.  Think facial recognition for your phone, but that is only the tip of the iceberg.  You might also use this as the start of a query, such as point at a product and then request “nearest vendor”.
  • Google Translation and YouTube Closed Captioning working together – in essence they have the technology to do to do a similar presentation as Goggles that would act as a real time live translator via the camera phone.
  • They have enhanced the predictive results produced by Google Suggest when you start typing in to the Google search box.
  • They have enhanced the command line capabilities of the Google search box – try entering an airline flight number or weather new york and see what happens.
  • Establishment of the Data Liberation Front within Google to ensure all data contained in Google applications is easily portable.

There’s been a lot off hot air generated on each of these topics, along with prognostications that Google is getting ready to take on Microsoft, particularly when it comes to the browser.  I don’t believe this is the case.  I think Google isn’t looking to compete head on head with anyone, it is my supposition that they are in fact trying to make a quantum leap ahead of everyone.

What I see is a company that is:

  • Carefully pre-positioning themselves against anti-trust legislation, both in the US and in the EU by avoiding the traps MS fell into in the past.  Hence Data Liberation and their development of apps vs. including some of their developments as features in their OS.
  • Attempting to keep their system interfaces as stripped down and command line like as possible.
  • Producing real time use type applications.

To my mind, they are setting themselves up to enable voice based OS navigation.  If it’s command line interaction, the technology exists to allow that interaction to happen via voice.  Then throw in vision based search, such as Goggles, or tie in on the fly translation via the phones microphone, and you’ve reached a new level of computing. Think augmentative computation, where your actually getting real time data from that little computer in your pocket.

When that happens, everything in our lives will change.

A Few Coherent Thoughts on Murdoch Blocking Google

Yesterday Rupert Murdoch, Chairman of News Corp, said that he was going to have Google blocked from all New Corp. websites.  That means something

From EditorandPublisher.com:

The Chairman of News Corp. said in an interview with Sky News Australia (reported here in MediaWeek U.K.) that once the newspapers get their paywalls, News Corp. plans to pull its content from the likes of Google and others.

Murdoch said: “We’d rather have fewer people come to the Web site and pay. Consumers shouldn’t have had free news all the time — I think we’ve been asleep. It costs us a lot of money to put together good newspapers and good content. No news Web sites anywhere in the world are making large amounts of money.”

Immediately the web went all a flutter, myself included, predicting that that Murdoch would rue the day.  Joe Mandese at Mediapost.com noted:

According to an analysis of Google-generated traffic released late Monday by Experian’s Hitwise service, Google and Google News currently account for more than 25% of the daily traffic to the Wall Street Journal‘s WSJ.com site.

That’s an awful lot of traffic to put at risk.  Now the other side of the coin is that Murdoch knows that showing tons of traffic low cost network ads begging them to Punch the Monkey or telling them they just won a lottery is the absolute path of least resistence.  You go there when you have nothing else to possibly do… Continue reading “A Few Coherent Thoughts on Murdoch Blocking Google”

Google Sidewiki – Because we haven’t made your life hard enough yet…

Let’s say you own a business.  It’s a small business, and you’ve tried very, very hard to build it into something.  Along the way, like most businesses, there have been bumps, but for the most part, you’ve got a bunch of customers who love you.  Then one day, right in front of your door, someone puts up a huge billboard, and on it, they will allow anyone with anything to say about your business to put up whatever they want.  All of a sudden you’ve got some really nasty comments about your business hanging there where any potential customer will see them.

Sounds, far fetched, huh?  No one could get away with that, right?

Enter Google Sidewiki…an add on product to the Google Toolbar which opens a sidebar when you are visiting sites that allows you to comment about sites as you visit them.  So now, instead of commenting on my blog, you could leave comments on Google Sidewiki, where I am unable to moderate them.  Hence that troll who’s been stalking me, that one I banned from one of my sites, is now free to flame away, and the only recourse I have is to report him to big brother Google.

There’s no opt out here, no metadata I can add to my site to keep them from doing this.  And frankly, because it’s Google, I’d really think long and hard before using it if there were, because one could reasonably expect at somepoint, they’ll find a way to make Sidewiki comments a component of my overall score in the Google algorithm.  So opting out might make me liable to lose search position.

I spend enough of my time trying to work with Google, either watching my analytics position, or managing things in Google Webmaster, or working with Adsense.  I don’t need yet another way for them to monetize me.  How about, for a change, they make my life easier, not harder?

Google Social Toolbar

I’m ready to vent here.  Are we, as community builders, becoming so lazy that we don’t want to take the time to build in the social media features we want for our sites, the way we want them?  Do we really need to have Google package them up and provide them for us, the way they want them?

Two days ago, Google announced they were releasing the Google Social Toolbar, which is really a misnomer, as it isn’t really a toolbar at all, rather it’s a toolpack that site owners can embed in their sites.  From Techcrunch:

Basically, the social bar is a small strip that webmasters can layer on top of any web page, either at the top or at the bottom. That way, website visitors are provided with a bit of information, and the bar also lets them interact with any social feature the site incorporates through drop-down gadgets. As Software Engineer Christopher Wren explains in the announcement blog post, this is a good way to save on pixel space and keep putting the actual content of the site forward first.

The Google Social Web blog explains:

  • On the far left, visitors can join your site, see their identity, and edit their profiles and settings.
  • Your visitors can also delve into your site’s activity stream to see what’s happening throughout your site. It includes links to recent posts made anywhere on your site, helping other visitors quickly find where the hottest conversations are taking place.
  • The wall gadget can host a discussion for the whole site, a section of pages, or each individual page, letting your visitors easily read and leave comments.
  • Lastly, visitors can see the other members of your site, check out their profiles to see how like-minded they really are, and even become friends.

These are for the most part functions that you should have addressed on your site by proper design (have I not told you that social media is an important tool in your toolbox?).  Why would you want discussion about your site going on at another site, where the readers are seeing ads from which you do not profit?  If discussion is needed on your site, add it, but for God’s sake don’t hand that traffic and it’s revenue over to Google for free.

We are looking for good value adds for our sites, such as the ability to share content ala Facebook Connect.  What we don’t need is a convenient way to off load our revenue generating traffic.

If you’re going to build and manage a site, then do it.  If you want Google to do it for you, then don’t come running to me when you want to “monetize it”.

Google Kills 6 Services

Google announced late last week that they were killing 6 of their services, Dodgeball, Google Catalog Search, Google Mashup Editor, Google Notebook, Jaiku, and Google Video.  Additionally, the Jaiku service is going to be an open source project from here on out.

From Informationweek:

In addition to Google’s announcements about the elimination of 100 recruiting positions and the shutdown of offices in Austin, Texas; Trondheim, Norway; and Lulea, Sweden, the company said it would close Dodgeball, Google Catalog Search, Google Mashup Editor, Google Notebook, and Jaiku. It also said it’s discontinuing the ability to upload videos to Google Video.

Okay, Google isn’t infallible.  Most of this makes sense, certainly the moves to eliminate redundant development paths such as with Mashup Editor and without question Google Video, which should have shutdown within weeks of the YouTube purchase years ago.

Still, I question stopping development on Google Notepad (it will remain available for the foreseeable future) which was a useful project that isn’t redundant and is in fact, quite unique.  I suspect that little development projects won’t be the future for Google.  The question we then ask is what do we lose?  Will we ever see the benefit of the Google 20% development projects again?  Indeed, do we really expect the 20% development rule will still be in effect?  I think not…


How Technorati Gave Away Their Special Sauce

I used to use Technorati to find compelling blog posts to share and comments.  It was rather convenient to be able to go to one spot and find out what people were saying in blogs around the globe and to easily search.  One of the most compelling features, for me, was that it was an application designed with blogs only in mind.

This morning I was looking a set of compelling blog posts on the anniversary of 9/11.  So I fired up my Google Chrome browser and headed over to Techorati.  Strangely, the homepage was infested with non-blog newsources such as cnn.com, time,com, etc.  The ration of mainstream media to blog posts on the homepage was around 3 to 1, with blogs drawing the short stick.

So I did a search on my topic, and once again, tons of mainstream media results, although they were at least clearly identified, once again my results bore lots of topics from big media.

Part of the problem is that lots of big media is now using blogs as a part of the content strategy.  The New York Times is blogging using WordPress MU and many other papers and news channels are as well.  Hence they get submitted along with the rest of the unwashed masses.  And since they’re big media with big readership, they jump to the top of the authority heap. Authority is one of the measures that Technorati uses to rate your blog – in my case, an authority of 9, which used to be 40+ when I blogged at Vario, and a rating of 705,000 or so, vs. the Vario rating somewhere under 100,000k when I was active there.

I guess blogging has come to the big time and media’s realized it finally.  I just wonder if there’s going to be any room for the rest of us when all is said and done.

Resources:

Technorati. Old Tools Don’t Die. They Gather Dust.  – Global Neighbourhoods

What’s wrong with Technorati – Neville Hobson

Technorati and Me – Thornley Fallis