Thursday, January 9, 2014

Revisit the "How Search Works" Website



The How Search Works website gives us an inside look at how Google continuously works on improving the results of their search engine.

http://www.google.com/insidesearch/

"Search. It happens billions of times a day in the blink of an eye. Explore the art and science that makes it possible."

I have looked at the How Search Works site before.  But a recent video (below) from Google's Matt Cutts, prompted me to revisit, as he revealed some interesting nuggets.


Matt Cutts is the head of Google’s Webspam team. So it seems appropriate that he would be most excited about the Fighting Spam page. Here are a couple of interesting points he touches on.

1. Quality Raters:  People, not robots, determine which changes are implemented

(1:48) When talking about search algorithms, he also mentions "quality raters".  These are folks who look at results pages side-by-side, and rate them based on the usefulness of the results for a given search.

2. The spam carousel: See the types of web spam being removed daily

(4:02) "...you get to see spam right after we've removed it... It's literally like you can watch over our shoulder as we removing spam so you get a chance to see the sorta stuff that we have to deal with everyday."

//

It's a fascinating behind the scenes look at how Google Search continues to evolve.  If you are a Web marketer, I highly recommend checking it out.
http://www.google.com/insidesearch/howsearchworks/thestory/

Watch more of Matt's videos: Google Webmasters Help channel on YouTube

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy adviser.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Navigating Social Media in 2014


10 Social Media Practices to Focus On in 2014


My top ten list of social media practices to utilize in the upcoming year.
  1. Publish often - Daily or weekly if possible
  2. Listen and respond - Let your customers know that you care
  3. Don't talk down to your audience - Be clear and succinct
  4. Integrate with your core website - Hook into existing streams and feeds
  5. Experiment - Try social networks you have not yet used (Tumblr, Instagram, etc.)
  6. Hash it out - Use hash tags to help people find your content #ilovehashtags #organizeandtag
  7. Comment and reply - Converse about things you are passionate about
  8. Be generous - Share your knowledge
  9. Establish authority - Own your niche
  10. Be thoughtful - Humility and kindness go a long way
Happy and prosperous 2014 to all!


Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy adviser.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Google Maps Engine Pro - Test Drive

Google Maps Engine Lite/Pro Demo

Google Maps Engine allows you to layer your data on top of Google’s base map and create your own maps.


Google Maps Engine Lite and Pro help you create interactive custom maps to share and publish to the web. You can map data such as store locations, to showcase and advertise your business. Import location data from a spreadsheet, add layers to visualize different types of content, or add places, lines, and shapes.

Key Features

  • Draw - Add lines, shapes, or place marks on the map.
  • Import - Add a CSV file, XLSX file or spreadsheet from Google Drive with geographically-specific data including addresses, place names, or lat/longs.
  • Layer - Hide or show different content to better understand your map.
  • Style - Make your point visually with different colors, place-mark icons, and line widths.


Going Pro

For commercial purposes, I upgraded to Maps Engine Pro.  This allows me to embed the interactive maps on my client websites.

Demonstration

The demo map below is for recreational purposes.  I'm mapping all known locations of rare Willys Jeep forward control vehicles.

Animated GIF showing some of the functionality of Google Maps Engine Pro.
Here's a quick run through of some of the common mapping functions: Adding locations, linking to images, editing data, etc.
Demo created using LICEcap simple animated screen capture app.

Embedded Google map (click to view)
Custom Google Maps can be easily embedded on websites via copy/paste iframe code.



More Information

Google Maps Lite - Introduction video on YouTube
Watch a short Google Maps Engine Lite overview video on YouTube.




Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy advisor.

Monday, December 16, 2013

New WordPress 3.8 UI Design

Customize Your WordPress 3.8 Admin Screens

WordPress has gotten an overhaul. WP 3.8 brings a modern new look to the admin dashboard.
New WordPress 3.8 features:
  • Updated UI design
  • Open Sans font for better readability
  • Responsive for viewing on mobile devices
  • Faster load times
  • Customizable admin themes
Learn more about WordPress 3.8: http://wordpress.org/news/2013/12/parker/

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy advisor.

Season's Greetings!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

1959 Jeep FC-150 rendering done in Google Drawing. GooglePlus auto-awesome snow effect applied.
One of the real joys of the Holiday Season is the opportunity to say Thank You for our acquaintance and to wish you the very best for the New Year!

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy advisor.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Google Snippets in Search Results

Google Snippets in Search Results

Snippet Discovery

I recently discovered a unique occurrence of Google snippets that appeared in a Google search engine results page (SERP).  It happens to be one of my portfolio pages, so naturally, it peaked my interest.
A Google snippet is a description of or an excerpt from the webpage.  A snippet refers to the description portion of a Google search listing.
Take a look at the SERP snippet below:


Note, the snippet is made up of an element count (40+ items), the meta description, and four excerpts from the page.

Page Rendering in Browser

Here's what the portfolio page looks like when rendered in the browser:


Underlying Page Code

In this case, it appears as though the Google bot has gone into the page code, and parsed out the top four image descriptions.  What's interesting is that the page contains an html table with alternating rows.  Images, followed by the company name and location.

Consistency and Stability Rewarded?

Other than minor updates consisting of adding new rows (images, links, and text) which follow the same pattern, the overall page structure has remained very consistent for 5+ years.

My Conclusion

Having established web pages with consistent code patterns must be easier for Google to understand.  I guess using html tables is not always bad thing. :-)

Have you come across similar snippets? If so please let us know.

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy advisor.

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