Total Pageviews

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Razer's Electra headphones pump out bass, keep your voice 'inline' for $60

Are you a gamer and bass-lover on a tight budget looking for a new headset? Razer's Electra headphones might just be your ticket for dubstepping through your next WoW raid. These stereo cans sport a 40mm driver in each earcup tuned to pump out lows, along with leatherette earpads to help keep 'em comfortable while aiding in passive noise isolation. To sweeten the deal, you'll also get two detachable cables, one of which has an inline mic; perfect for on-the-go phone calls while your heading to 7-11 for Slurpee-fuel, or a bit of TeamSpeaking when your Carcharias get lost. The Electras will be available come this October, but if you can't get past the green highlights we don't blame ya. Full PR past the break.

Continue reading Razer's Electra headphones pump out bass, keep your voice 'inline' for $60

Razer's Electra headphones pump out bass, keep your voice 'inline' for $60 originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 30 Jul 2011 01:52:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | sourceRazer | Email this | Comments"

Why Counting Links Is Not So Easy

This post was originally in YOUmoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community. The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of SEOmoz, Inc.

By Olivia Isaacs and Dixon Jones.

Knowing what a link is… that’s SEO 101 right? Think again! It’s one of the most fundamental parts of SEO, but when we really asked ourselves the question, we found there were many different ways of counting links. We use both Open Site Explorer and Majestic SEO and decided to see if we can get a common census between the two tools. (Full disclosure: In case you didn’t know, one of the authors of this post is the Marketing director at Majestic.)

Firstly, let’s get all the confusion out the way about the different terms that are used to describe this one key word. "Backlinks", "inbound links" and "in-links" and "links" are different words but they have the same meaning. Namely, they are incoming links to a webpage or the entire website.

What Defines a Link?

Open Site Explorer tends to have used the word “links” – but this can be ambiguous as it might also apply to outbound links from a page. (It doesn’t, in OSE’s case, but user perception is reality.) By contrast, Majestic SEO tends to use the phrase "backlinks", but again the user might reasonably ask whether a backlink is still a backlink after it has been deleted (since Majestic keeps the row of data, but just flags it as a delete link) or if a link from within the site should be included (as Majestic drops these).

Both SEOmoz and Majestic SEO realize that terminology is important and both tools have agreed to work towards a common language moving forward where we can. Certainly – when you use both tools, you will invariably get different answers as to “how many links” there are to a site or page. There are loads of reasons – but even if there weren’t, getting a methodology just to count them is pretty hard. So let’s look at an example (bring on the infographic. Full size here)…

How do you count links?

Problem 1: Handling the two (blue) links from Page A to Page B:

Have you ever seen a “Link count” between page A and Page B that is more than one? I haven’t. So how does one account for two links between page A and Page B with different anchor texts? They are obviously not the SAME link, but saying they are TWO links would be simply inviting trouble. Even the lowliest of hackers can create 1000 links on a free blog page all linking to a target page and call them 1000 different links in this case. We are pretty confident that Google only take the first link and anchor text into consideration at this time – if that’s any help to you.

Problem 2: Does an Internal link count as a link?

Link ALook at Page A. It has three inbound links and three outbound links. So is that three links or six? OK – 80% of you will say “3” even though technically the 20% would be right. Let’s take it a step further… what if Page A links to itself? Oh GOD! Here I think we have a difference between OSE and Majestic.

Majestic currently drops any links from internal pages (sites within the same domain), so that last example would not apply… but it is not true to say internal link don’t have link value. It is just a lot of extra data that Majestic doesn’t store as there are tools available for free that let you analyse internal links. OSE, by contrast, did seem to be able to keep a track of internal links last time I checked.

Problem 3: 301 redirects

You will notice that there is a third way a user can get from Page A to Page B with one click – via a 301. So are there two links from Page A to Page B or three? If you say “three” then you are also saying by the same logic that there is a link from page I to page B, which passes through the same redirected 301 page. Now that’s a problem. Is there a link from the 301 page to Page B? Or do would you say that the 301 page should be transparent?

Well I can tell you that Majestic (and I believe also OSE) counts the link from the 301 page as one link. Both sites mark it as a redirect link, but neither one will add in the links from pages H and I in their link counts. Technically – Google does though! At least sometimes. That’s why so many people buy up expired domains and 301 redirect them to other pages. They have a chance of getting link juice as a result. In recent years we have seen a bit of a downgrade in the effectiveness of 301s –but they remain a vital part of the web infrastructure. OSE shows you that the link is a 301, which should give you a good clue. In MJSE the link is flagged as a redirect, but you would need to pick up your “clue” from their ACRank on that link and if you wanted to investigate further, you would need to actually analyse the url that returns a 301.

Problem 4: Other Redirects

If either OSE or MJSE were to try and “act like a search engine” in making your decision that 301s should be effectively invisible, the problems simply multiply. Spam links would appear to increase, for a start, but what do you do with 302 redirects? In theory, Google does NOT treat these as invisible – although some .NET sites use 302 redirects in their menu structures, so goodness knows how Google handles that bad piece of programming. What happens on a multiple redirect? A 301 onto a 302 onto a URL which 301s onto the landing page and – itself – has 100 inbound links? No – it all gets a headache – so a link from a 302 or metaredirect page simply HAS to be a single link, even if there are hundreds of links going into the redirection URL. So how do the different systems actually keep tally?

  • Majestic SEO says there are 4 links to page B. One from page A (oops) and one from each of the three orange redirect URLs.
  • A Search engine obeying the official line on handling redirects would probably count 5 – but they would be very different links. One from Page A, one from each of pages H and I, one from the MetaRedirect page and one from the 302 redirect page.

How many does Open Site Explorer count? I don’t want to speak for OSE but hopefully they will be able to say.

Note from SEOmoz - At this time, Open Site Explorer would count 2 links from the diagram above, one from Page A and one from the 301 redirect. Although you may see both H and I in an Open Site Explorer link report, redirects do not share or include their totals with the targets of the redirect. We continue to evolve our measurement and reporting as our knowledge search engines continues to expand.

In Summary

Counting backlinks is not a straightforward logic. Whatever logic you choose, Google sometimes counts 301s and sometimes doesn’t. It may be that Google takes the Juice but not the context of a redirect. So if you are building a technology like OSE or MJSE we need to either give you data OR give you opinions.

Do you like this post? Yes No


Brand New Open Site Explorer is Here (and Linkscape's Updated, too)

This morning at Mozcon, I announced the launch of Open Site Explorer v3, a long-awaited upgrade to one of the most popular marketing tools on the web. I'm more than a little excited about all the progress, hard work and remarkable features that are included in this upgrade, so let's get right to them.

The first thing you'll notice is the new design (of which I'm a huge fan):

Open Site Explorer Homepage

This continues into the top view of link data and now, social metrics. I've always wanted these to be side-by-side, and it's great to finally be able to see both at the same time.

Open Site Explorer Social + Link Metrics

The menus of filters have improved, and there's now a new visualization to show links as groups in domains or as separate links (like the classic Yahoo! Site Explorer view).

Open Site Explorer Filters

Social metrics are also included in the Top Pages reports, so you can see how the most-linked-to content has performed on the social web. This is particularly cool for popular blogs.

Open Site Explorer Top Pages

The anchor text and linking domains tabs have a new feature that lets you see a sample of the links that come from that domain (or with that anchor text). Beware that right now, there's a small bug where we're sorting those links we do show in some odd ways. This should be fixed in the next Linkscape update.

Open Site Explorer Anchor Text Drilldown

Comparison reports have also taken a nice step forward, and feature the ability to side-by-side compare metrics for pages, subdomains and root domains on up to 5 sites simultaneously. They match the metrics you can get in the PRO web app, as well, which is very cool.

Open Site Explorer Site/Page Comparison

And last, but not least, the new advanced reports tab lets you query like a SQL master! Without having to write any complex logic against our API (though you can still do lots of awesome stuff with that), you can grab any combination of link sorts, filters and keywords you'd like (and exclude data you don't want). This is particularly excellent for link builders looking at competitive or industry-related sites' link profiles, and I expect we'll see a number of blog posts in the near future with strategies on how to employ this tool.

Open Site Explorer Advanced Reports

In addition to all the amazing new features in Open Site Explorer, Linkscape's index just updated using a new infrastructure that's allowed us to crawl much deeper on large, important sites. For many pages/domains, this will mean an increase in the total number of links we report, but likely a lower count of linking domains (unless you've gained a lot of links in late June/July) since we're excluding many domains that are low-quality/not-well-linked-to. We'd love your feedback on this index, as it's the first one of its kind, and will continue to see tweaks/improvements over the next few updates.

  • 58,273,105,508 (58.2 billion) URLs +47% from June (our largest index growth ever from one month to another!)
  • 637,828,397 (637 million) Subdomains +71% (it appears the domains we're crawling have more subdomains)
  • 91,013,438 (91 million) Root Domains -23% (due to the depth vs. breadth focus of this crawl)
  • 456,474,577,597 (456 billion) Links +14%
  • Followed vs. Nofollowed
    • 2.28% of all links found were nofollowed +5%
    • 60.44% of nofollowed links are internal, 39.56% are external
  • Rel Canonical - 9.50% of all pages now employ a rel=canonical tag +20% (my guess is higher quality domains are more likely to employ rel=canonical)
  • The average page has 78.64 links on it (+30% from 60.67 last index)
    • 65.33 internal links on average
    • 13.32 external links on average

We're looking forward to your feedback on the new features and the new index (which we plan to continue iterating upon). There's actually even more new features coming in September, so stay tuned and thanks so much for all the support and use of OSE; it's run more than a million reports, and we hope the next million are just around the corner.

Do you like this post? Yes No


3 Google Tools That Can Help Boost AdWords Campaign Performance

Google spoils us when it comes to free tools to optimize our search campaigns. Over the past few years, they’ve released a ton of really useful products that allow us to mine for keywords, auto-bid our campaigns, test ad copy and more.

It’s true that Google doesn’t strike gold every time it releases something new into the wild (Google Radio Ads, anyone?) but when it comes to tools for optimizing your AdWords campaigns, they normally get things pretty dead-on.

Here are three of my favorite AdWords tools for retailers, along with some hints and tips on how to leverage them for your campaigns.

Conversion Optimizer

Paid search bid tools have been the topic of hot debate over the years. When they first started coming out, they were hailed as the savior of search marketers everywhere, promising to save hours of campaign management time and increase efficiencies many times over.

Later, when Google introduced “Quality Score” into its paid search algorithm – and bidding was no longer just a simple case of getting $0.01 above the next guy – people declared bid tools were dead. This new “opaque” landscape was too complex for the tools…there were too many variables.

Well, this has proven not to be the case. Paid bid tools like Marin, Kenshoo and DoubleClick are being used to great effect by search marketers around the globe. However, there’s a free bid tool out there that’s also very powerful, and is contained right within the AdWords interface – Conversion Optimizer.

Conversion Optimizer is very easy to use. You simply go into your campaign settings, select edit bidding option, select the radio button next to “Focus on Conversions”, then whether you’d like to use a max CPA or an average CPA (think keyword vs. portfolio bidding here).

Within the UI, you will then notice your bid amount is now at ad group level, not keyword, and it’s your CPA you’re inputting, not your CPC. Once this is done, the system will then start auto-optimizing all ad groups within that campaign to hit that goal.

One thing to keep in mind here is that you must have recorded 15 conversions in that campaign over the last 30 days to be eligible for Conversion Optimizer (that’s the minimum amount of data required to make bidding decisions in the system)

What makes Conversion Optimizer different from other bid tools? Aside from being free? Well, it’s the depth of data available.

In addition to historic CPC, position, cost, orders, revenue and all that other good “surface” data, Conversion Optimizer has access to additional data points like user location, user search history, actual search query used (vs. just the triggering keyword), and whether the search is being done on or a partner site.

All this data helps the system make more educated decisions, and further reduce that cost per sale.

AdWords Campaign Experiments (ACE)

Continuous testing is one of the most important aspects of paid search management. Ad copy, landing pages, bids, budgets, ad positions, match types–you can test almost anything within your campaigns. However, the flipside to this great breadth of testing opportunity is that you can easily find yourself drowning in data and overloaded with variables.

So, with this in mind, how can you keep tests manageable, valid, and really measure the impact your changes are having on your results? The answer is AdWords Campaign Experiments, or “ACE”, as the kids are calling it.

This handy little tool can be used to split test ad copy, landing pages, identify the most profitable positions for keywords, and more. It does this by splitting the number of impressions and clicks that go through a “Control” group, versus an “Experiment” group. No need for separate ad groups, moving keywords around, or any of the other nonsense.

Initiating an ACE test is actually quite simple. Start by clicking the Settings tab in the desired campaign, scroll down to Advanced settings and click the + Specify experiment settings button to name your experiment.

Then, select the desired traffic split between control and experiment, and set desired start and end dates or start manually.

To add keywords to the experiment, under the Keywords tab click Add Keywords enter keywords as you normally would, though check the Add as experiment only keywords box at the bottom of the page and save.

To adjust bids and compare results, simply click the Segment drop-down and then Experiment.

ACE testing gives marketers the ability to conduct highly valuable, statistically relevant A/B testing with accurate and easily accessible results. Like the Conversion Optimizer, ACE testing is also free and, if you’re lucky, your Google account team will aid you in identifying prime testing candidates.

Use ACE testing to identify the most profitable positions for KW’s, highest converting landing pages, optimal ad copy elements and more.

Google Insights For Search

For forecasting, trend analysis and competitive insights, Google Insights for Search is just a great tool. Its core function is comparing search volume patterns over time. You can compare up to five keywords at a time, and see how their search popularity has trended – all the way back to 2004.

Some key questions Google Insights can help with include:

  • Is my offline or online display marketing effective? If searches for your brand terms rise while you’re investing, chances are that marketing campaign is the catalyst. If they don’t, perhaps you need to adjust your strategy.
  • Am I making market share gains on my competitors, or am I falling behind? Search volumes are a great way to assess brand demand and popularity. Comparing your own brand search demand to your closest competitors will provide context to results, and alert you to trending competitors in your space.
  • How much budget do I need to allocate to my non-brand campaigns during the next quarter? Knowing whether search demand goes up, down or stays consistent in the coming months can be a great budget and forecasting tool. The below graph shows that demand for laptops is highest during back to school and holiday, but that May/June are also key research periods.
  • Why are clicks or conversions up/down within a certain category in my AdWords account? This could of course be down to a number of reasons, but if you haven’t changed your site or pricing, then a seasonal or market-wide drop in search demand could be to blame. Our laptops example below shows that search demand for laptop computers is down in 2011 vs. 2009 and 2010, which could explain a decline in recent performance on that group of terms.

Arming yourself with this knowledge will help you not only optimize your campaigns, forecast traffic, sales and spend volumes, but it’ll also be a huge help when you (or your boss!) are looking for answers when a certain category within your AdWords account is trending a certain direction.

If you haven’t tried the above tools, I’d recommend starting now. Once you do, you might just find they become a staple in your campaign management strategy.

Catch the London Underground with Google Maps

Starting today, you can get public transport directions for London within Google Maps. One of Europe’s largest metropolitan areas, London is a major destination for both business travelers and tourists. More than 1 billion passengers are serviced by Transport for London (TfL) every year across over 18,000 bus stops and over 250 Underground stations.

Let’s say you’re at Trafalgar Square, and you want to visit Madame Tussauds. With a simple directions search, you’ll see all the possible public transport connections. In Maps, click “Get directions” in the left-hand panel, and then the train icon to see public transport directions. Enter your departure location next to A, and your destination next to B. These can be either street addresses or names of popular places, businesses or restaurants. When you’re done, click the “Get directions” button and suggestions for your trip will appear below.

Public transport directions are available on both Google Maps and Google Maps for mobile, so you always have access to a trip planner. When you’re on mobile, Maps even uses your current location to determine the best trip to your destination. Just search for your destination location, select it on the map and choose the “Directions” option. The suggested trips will be based on your location by default, and provide you multiple alternatives whenever possible.

If you’re using an Android-powered device, you can also get public transport directions with Transit Navigation (Beta) in Google Maps. With this new feature, which we launched earlier this month, you’ll get alerts when it’s time to get off the bus or train at your destination or to make a transfer. Transit Navigation is available in all regions where public transport directions are available, including London.

TfL is among the first agencies in a major European city to make its timetable information publicly available through the London Datastore. We’re strong supporters of open data and bringing information out into the open, and believe that making information publicly accessible can be an enormous engine of economic growth and innovation. ITO World has been a great partner in this launch by ensuring TfL’s data was adapted correctly and ready for our use.

Public transport directions are available for all Underground, bus, tram and Docklands Light Railway (DLR) lines, and we’ll include more public transport information as soon as it’s available. Whether you use public transport every day or infrequently, as a commuter, on a business trip or as a tourist, we hope that public transport directions in London make planning your trips more convenient!

Posted by Thijs van As, Associate Product Manager, Transit Directions

Gone fishin’—piloting community supported fisheries at Google

I've always loved the ocean—I was born in Shanghai, which means 'upon the sea.” And as a chef, I'm always drawn to food that claims a spirit of place. After moving to California, near Half Moon Bay, I began visiting the docks to buy seafood, and got to know the fishermen.

Over time, it became evident to me that this part of our food supply is broken: many consumers purchase stale, unsustainably-raised fish from chain grocers. Meanwhile, fishermen often sell their diminishing catch to wholesalers at a very low profit, meaning their livelihoods are no longer sustained by their catch. There’s also the environmental factor to consider: Overfishing and illegal practices cause worldwide decline in ocean wildlife populations and wreak havoc on underwater habitats—not to mention the carbon footprint of transporting seafood far from its origin.

Google’s chefs have long been committed to sourcing food for our cafes as locally, seasonally and organically as possible. And in our Mountain View headquarters, many employees cook with the same ingredients at home thanks to on-site Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs. When I joined the team as an executive chef in Mountain View, I wanted to make a difference in our purchasing program for seafood. For the five years leading up to then, I wrote a column for the San Francisco Chronicle called “Seafood by the Season,” and I knew it could be done. In early 2010, we began a push to apply the most rigorous standards to our seafood-buying practices, and respond to the in-the-moment fluctuations of the catch from small, independent fishermen.

Things took off from there. My colleague Quentin Topping dreamed of providing the same high-quality seafood we serve in our cafes for Googlers to take home to their families. That idea became the Google Community Supported Fishery (CSF), which we launched in May 2011. In this program, Googlers sign up to purchase a weekly supply of local, sustainable seafood, supplied through a partnership with the Half Moon Bay (HMB) Fisherman’s Association.

The Google Culinary team on a visit with fishermen in Half Moon Bay, Calif.—Quentin and I are the second and third from the left, in black.

We tend to think on a massive scale at Google—whether it’s how to deliver instant search results around the globe or help thousands of small businesses get online—but when it comes to feeding our employees at work and at home, it really comes down to a local touch. Knowing where our seafood, meat and produce come from, as well as knowing how they’re raised, farmed or harvested, makes all the difference in the on-the-ground work of sustainability. We see many bright spots ahead for our Community Supported Agriculture and Fishery programs, such as expansion to other offices and adding a grass-fed beef and pasture-raised poultry program. It’s exciting to work someplace where we can think big and local.

We know of two CSFs in the Bay Area. The Half Moon Bay Fishermen’s Association supplies only Google at the moment, but will soon add public drop-off sites—keep posted by visiting The other is CSea out of Bodega Bay. If you live elsewhere, we hope you’ll consider stepping up to create one in your area.

And even if you don’t live near the ocean or have direct access to fresh-caught seafood, the choices you make about what fish to purchase or order in restaurants can make a real difference. You may want to consider following the guidelines that we used for our Google Green Seafood policy: Whenever possible, purchase species caught locally and in-season, by small, independent fisher-families, using environmentally-responsible methods. We think it’s important to be responsive to the fluctuations of catch too, and source from fisheries that enforce catch limits or are guided by ecosystem-based management programs. As for us, we’ll continue to research and source responsibly managed farmed seafood, and always keep transparency and Googler health at the center of our program.

Posted by Liv Wu, Executive Chef

Social Plugin Analytics in Google Analytics

"With our recent Social Plugin Analytics launch you now have the ability to analyse how users engage with any social plugin such as Google’s +1 button and Twitter’s Tweet button. Now it’s time for the lowdown on how to set this feature up to work for you. If you are a developer, you should pay particularly close attention.

If you’ve added +1 buttons to your site and your Analytics implementation is up to date, integration is automatic and you should already see data in your account. You can ensure the +1 integration is working by taking some simple steps.

If you want to integrate with other social plugins, like Twitter, we’ve also made it really easy. The latest version of the tracking code has a new _trackSocial method to capture various aspects of a social plugin interaction. Using the async javascript snippet, the easiest way to call this method is to use:

_gaq.push([‘_trackSocial’, socialNetwork, socialAction]);

And if you’re using the traditional snippet you’ll need to use this syntax:

var pageTracker = _gat._createTracker(‘UA-xxxxx-y’);
pageTracker._trackSocial(socialNetwork, socialAction);

You then want to call this method somewhere where you know the social plugin has been clicked on. We’ve included some example on how this work with Twitter’s plugin API as well as Facebook’s plugin API and you can see a working demo here. Sweet!

If you are building an integration for use by several Analytics users we encourage you to use the code for the async snippet for now. Also, to enable the development of integrations such as these we would like to share with our customers that we are working toward better compatibility between the sync and async tags with the goal of enabling calls such as _trackSocial to work for both version with the same syntax.

Finally, if you are a developer of a content management plugin which adds social plugins to websites, or if you build social plugins, we want to work with you! Ideally we’d love for all users of your plugin and Google Analytics to have seamless social analytics. In the developer community spirit we’re giving out free t-shirts to the first 100 developers who integrate a social plugin, or a Content Management plugin that adds social widgets to sites with Google Analytics. Let us know what you’ve done by submitting your plugin here.

UPDATE: 7/8/11 5:30pm PST, corrected references to the social plugin analytics feature.

Posted by John Jersin, Google Analytics Team


Measuring and optimising Fairmont's social media efforts with Google Analytics

"Social media is a great way for marketers to spread awareness about their products, stay in touch with and interact with their loyal customers. Barbara Pezzi, Director of Web Analytics and Search Optimization, Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, is back to share with us how Fairmont measure and analyse their social media efforts with Google Analytics. By using a combination of campaign tracking parameters and advanced segments (which can be used in combinations with social plugin analytics), Barbara is able to assess which social media campaigns work the best for generating bookings.

Posted by Vinoaj Vijeyakumaar, Senior Conversion Specialist, Google Southeast Asia

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Powered by Blogger