Where on Earth is your Website?Written by Robert McCourty
Where on Earth is your Web Site? by Robert K. McCourty
You've just finished congratulating your marketing team. After six months of concentrated effort you can now actually find your own company web site within search engines. Everyone is busy handshaking and back patting when a voice from back of room rises above din. "Yeah this is great! Can't wait until we can find ourselves on wireless devices." All conversation comes to an abrupt halt. Eyes widen. Everyone turns to fresh-faced intern standing in corner with a can of V8 juice in one hand and a PALM device in other. You, being Department Manager, barely managing to control your voice not to mention your temper, ask now nearly frozen with panic intern, "What do you mean find ourselves on wireless? We just spent thousands on our web site visibility campaign!" "Well... Explains sheepish intern, "There is no GPS or GIS locational data within our source code. Without it, most wireless appliances won't be able to access our site."
Guess what? The intern is absolutely correct. Anyone interested in selling goods and services via Internet will soon be required to have some form Geographic Location data coded into your web pages. There are approximately 200 satellites currently orbiting Earth. (even Nasa won't confirm exact number) Some are in geosynchronous or geostationary orbit 27,000 miles above your head. The Global Positioning System (GPS) is name given to mechanism of providing satellite ephemerides ("orbits") data to general public, under auspices of International Earth Rotation Service Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF). Sounds like Star Wars doesn't it? It's pretty close. The NAVSTAR GPS system is a satellite-based radio-navigation system developed and operated by U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). The NAVSTAR system permits land, sea, and airborne users to determine their three-dimensional position, velocity, 24 hours a day, in all weather, anywhere in world, with amazing precision. http://igscb.jpl.nasa.gov/
Wireless devices, WAP, Cellular, SATphones and a whole host of newly emerging appliances and indeed, new software applications, will all utilize some form of GPS or more likely GIS data retrieval. GIS stand for Geographic Information System and relies on exact Latitude and Longitude coordinates for location purposes. Several car manufacturers currently utilize GPS for on-board driver assistance and Marine and Trucking Industries have been using it for years. Obviously your web site is a stable beast. It sits on a server somewhere and doesn't move much, so at first glance it seems quite unplausible you'll need GIS Locational Data within your source code. On contrary. One aspect your web site represents is your business's physical location(s) and if people are going to try to find your services and products, shouldn't you at very least, tell them where it is and how to get there?
Google’s Shake Up: A View From the Beginning - Part OneWritten by Jim Hedger
Monday, December 16, 2003
It has been exactly one month since Google introduced its infamous Florida Update. As Florida Update has brought about largest and most comprehensive shake-up of Google’s listings ever, it has generated a great deal of interest around world and genuine panic for literally millions of webmasters who’s sites have been adversely affected by change. The following article is a compilation of our writings about Florida Update since November 17th, first Monday after shift.
Monday November 17, 2003 - Happy Monday Morning Folks... DON'T PANIC!
Have you taken a look at Google today? Yes, what you are seeing is real. Google is showing totally different listings on search engine returns pages today. Actually, this weirdness started sometime on Friday night or Saturday morning. Most of our clients have not been affected and only one we have seen effected has had his rankings rise dramatically. Our site has been affected though, rather badly at that. From #6 spot under phrase "Search Engine Placement", happy-go-lucky StepForth site has dropped past fifth page of returns.
I think this is a temporary thing. We last saw such a massive shake-up six months ago and listings went back to normal after a few days. This sort of shake-up generally indicates that Google is re-ordering their entire database of spidered sites. Something big is happening at Google but we're not sure what it is. What we do know is that since a major update of Google's database started on Friday night, search returns have been extremely buggy with long-term Top10 pages dropping from existence, recorded back links decreasing or disappearing for many sites, and more than usual amount of spam appearing in Top10. We have also noted disappearance of one of their major servers (www-sj.google.com).
Google has been delivering questionable returns for several months now with spam and duplicate listings often making it into Top10. The last time their listings have been this upset was in October 2002 when Google tried introducing Blog entries and news releases into its general listings. Within two weeks, listings had been restored to a shakey state of "normal" but that marked beginning of strange and often spammy entries into Top10. This month's update is being referred to in SEO community as "Florida Update" and has a lot of SEO practitioners scratching their heads. Our current advice is to wait it out for at least two weeks and see what Google does next.
December 3, 2003 - Google’s Florida Update
The impact of Google's Florida Update has not been fully realized yet, but it appears damage will be extensive considering reports we are getting from some clients. Literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions of websites have seemingly disappeared from Google's listings, most of whom enjoyed a Top10 placement before massive update which started on November 16th. Like most retailers, ecommerce sites that have faded from listings needed a good Christmas season to remain viable into next year and many of them staked their sales plans on a their previously strong placements at Google. The fallout will be noticeable, particularly among small businesses where advertising options are limited by small business budgets. Small businesses, however, will not be only companies facing an uncertain future because of Florida Update. When SEO community starts receiving calls from mainstream media and people who are not clients, asking what is wrong with Google; one knows that Google itself has a problem that goes far beyond their data centers. As one of pioneers of web, Lee Roberts of The Web Doctor points out, "It was word-of-mouth that generated their popularity because people could find what they were looking for. Now, we only find sites with less quality content and less sites that offer what we want." The Florida Update encompasses most substantial changes to Google's famed ranking algorithm in young company's history. There are several theories as to why Google forced this update. Some say that Google is trying to force small businesses to join their highly profitable AdWords program by making such a comprehensive update just before Christmas shopping season. Others say that Google has always used weeks around US Thanksgiving holiday to make changes in hopes that sudden decrease in traffic over what is often a 4-day weekend will give their engineers enough time to introduce a new algorithm, (and fix any minor errors), without causing massive disruptions to their normal users. A third theory, (the one I lean towards), states that Google was simply tired of being gamed by growing cadre of less ethical players in SEO sector and has simply changed rules overnight by applying this new algorithm. Whatever reason, damage is being done and now advertisers and web-users want to know what to expect next. Unfortunately, that is not an easy question to answer as Google does not comment on any changes to their algorithm, therefore only thing we can do is offer experienced and educated guesses.