Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Time to head over!

We're done with all the tweaking, hacking and cracking that we could do! The end result as we see it now is that we get no points from Bing, but Google ranks us 2nd!

Time to head over and get the final rankings assigned! Farewell, rankmaniac 2011!

two hours to rankmaniac 2011!

There are just two hours left till we push the final Google/Bing search button on this competition. The Google results have been responsively good, while Bing remains disappointingly silent (even on the matter of listing us!).

I will try and be there when they decide the results, maybe even try to capture some of the meeting on photos or video. For those of you just visiting this site for the first time, you can help give us a final push by doing anything that drives internet traffic here. Make this blog your homepage, post a link to this blog on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, on your own blog, on your dog's back, on your cat's tail. Who knows? Maybe the last two will finally convince Bing to list us =P

Stand by for the last few posts! Cheers!

Fly in your nose?

Fastest.Speech-Pattern Change.Ever.

You are rankmaniacs!

Hey guys! Thanks for the continued support that you have generously provided us. We are currently second place (OH YEAH!) on Google for the keywords 'rankmaniac 2011'. Meanwhile, Bing seems mysteriously oblivious to our presence. No comments.

I want to let you know how the points for this competition are going to be awarded tomorrow at 12:30pm PST.

(a) Get listed (20 points): You receive 10 points if your page is listed by Google when the query “rankma- niac 2011” is searched for and another 10 points if your page is listed by Bing for the query “rankmaniac 2011”.
(b) Beat the TAs (20 points): The TAs will take a shot at this assignment along with you. You get 20 points if your page is ranked higher for the query “rankmaniac 2011” than the one created by the TAs on either Google or Bing.
(c) Beat CMU (5 points): You get 5 points if your page is ranked higher than the highest ranked CMU page for the search query “rankmaniac” on either Google or Bing.
(d) Beat last year’s class (5 points): You get 5 points if your page is ranked higher than the highest ranked page from last year’s class for the search query “rankmaniac” on either Google or Bing.
(e) Class competition: Each team that is first for “rankmaniac 2011” on either google or bing gets 10 points. Each team that is second on either google or bing gets 8 points. Each team that is third on either gets 6 points. If a team manages to have the top spot on both google and bing they get 25 points.

So now you know. I hope we can make one final push and get to the top spot on Google before 12:30pm. This has been a great learning experience for us and we highly value your contribution in making it even better.

The Bear Trampoline!

In case you haven't seen the infamous Bear+Tranquilizer+Trampoline sensation, feast your eyes (and your funny bone!):

I know some of you might call it animal cruelty, but the bear was reported to be in perfect health even after free-falling head-first from 10 feet up.

Search Engine Optimizations Report

What better place to explain our SEO strategies than here?

This report could also act as a guide for anyone trying to obtain a better search ranking. Especially if you go for specific keywords, like in our case, 'rankmaniac 2011' or 'rankmaniac'. If you want proof of how this works, just type in those keywords on Google :).

If you have anything you would like to add, feel free to comment below. We appreciate your feedback, and we'll definitely update the post with your suggestions.

Here are our tried and tested strategies:
1) Use the appropriate keywords within the domain or sub-domain name. In our case: 'rankmaniac 2011'.
2) Use a respectable, thus well search ranked, domain: 'blogspot'.
3) Use a widely used blogging framework to easily add content. Less work for us, and search engines are already 'used' to spidering websites using the framework.
4) Post a lot of content. The only way Google would know that there is reason to go to our website.
5) Post content related to what the keyword relates to. Example for rankmaniac:
Search Engine Optimizations, Google, Websites, Pagerank, Caltech, etc.
6) Spread content in multiple pages that link back to the main page. The blogging software already does this for you, if you use multiple, not too long posts. This strategy makes the main page the most important within our website, the perfect landing page for the visitors.
7) Use links to well ranked, outside, pages. All well ranked pages do this (ex: Wikipedia).
8) Use rel="nofollow" for outside links. Prevents the leaking of 'pagerank juice' to the outside world.
9) Interlink and have clusters. The web has these properties, so should our website. Ex: the framework provides archives where our pages will be in, and each page links to its archive (and close by archives). Each archive will thus become a cluster within our website.
10) Update often. Shows spiders that our website is alive and gives them reason to re-spider our website more often. Below you'll find our crawl chart from Google, and we noticed that the more often we update the more Google crawls our page.

11) Post a lot of comments on other blogs/sites, which link back to our main site. Even though most blogs use 'rel="nofollow"' for links which prevents them from being useful for pageranking purposes, search engine will sometimes follow through and re-crawl our main page. However, don't go spamming! A billion 'nofollow' links won't help much. What does works is posting a couple of links per day, in addition to having new content. You need to aim to have "Get more results from the past 24 hours" shown under your Google result. (Twitter is also really good for this.)
12) Use the Google webmaster tools! Very helpful, provides a lot of info and settings you need to know about. Same for Bing webmaster tools.
I'll post a more detailed version soon, but until then here's a quick how to for Blogger:
-- Sign into Google webmaster tools with the account you used to create your blogger blog. If it's not asking you to add it, click 'add a site', and enter the url.
-- Click on the site, go to 'Site Configuration'->'Settings' and pick a geographic target.
-- Go to sitemaps and submit one. To get the link, go to Blogger Sitemap Generator and type in the url to the blog.
13) Social networking! Advertising (read 'begging') on Twitter and Facebook helps a lot. Having many users following the blog is also a big plus.

Semi-'white hat' strategies:
1) Create multiple blogs relating to 'rankmaniac 2011' and having diverse content that use the same techniques to get well ranked, and link them to our main page. This hopefully gives search engines the impression that our main page is not only important within its website, but also for other websites.

Strategies still to be used:
1) Interlink inside pages using appropriate keywords in the link. Ex: linking to a page about search engine optimizations using 'seo'. This gives Google hints about the content of each page, and follows wikipedia as a very successful model.
2) Meta tags that contain good keywords, rankmaniac, and the like. We heard search engines seem to like them, but we also heard it's not good to abuse them.

Follow what Google says in their Webmaster Guidelines.

What not to do (inspired from above):
1) Duplicate content. Google will figure it out, and searching for duplicate stuff isn't that hard algorithmically.
2) Long lists of keywords (which are probably hidden). Google won't like it, since it seeks CONTENT (in sentences) not lists. Also, the last thing your users want is to reach your page searching for 'someword' and not find it on the page.

Can you believe them kids??

I wonder how the coach organized their instructions?!



3rd on Google!!

So its almost 3:30am and there are just 9 hours to go for the rankmaniac 2011 query. I was thinking there is no way that the rankings would update now. I just queried google to check who was leading and to my surprise - WE'RE IN THIRD SPOT!!!

I think it's time that we go full speed ahead from this point on and aim for the first spot!! So guys, please continue to do help us out by reading the previous post. We have confirmation that it's working and working well!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

rankmaniac 2011 countdown

Hey Guys!

Thanks a lot for all your support so far. The competition is in its last leg now and the deciding queries (where the ranks of the webpages for 'rankmaniac 2011' will be recorded) will be made tomorrow. But, we still have today for one final boost!

You can help me achieve this boost in any of these ways:

1. If you have a blog/personal website of any kind, publish a link to our blog:
2. If you are active on Twitter, then tweet the same link.
3. If you call Facebook your second home, then donate a status telling people to find us here.
4. If none of the above apply to you, then you still help by making this blog your homepage for a day and/or telling some of your friends to become one of the privileged few who follow this blog!

By now, you have a good idea of what would help. The idea is to get the link to this blog as widely publicized as fast as possible. If you think of better ways I could do this, go ahead and leave me suggestions in the comments. If you think of better ways you could do this, just do them!

You guys have been great!

Monday, February 14, 2011

X-Men: First Class Trailer!

If you haven't seen this yet, check it out! Its the new X-Men movie coming out this June and it's a prequel to all the rest that have come out so far (yes Deja vu, I know):

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Homeless Man with Golden Voice!

For those of you who aren't jobless enough to keep track of viral internet sensations, you might want to check this out. Have you ever imagined what a homeless man standing by the curb sounds like when you pass him by? I bet you didn't imagine this!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Google Chrome Browser hits 15% for January 2011

The browser from Google keeps increasing in popularity, which is not at all unexpected. It has been on a very steep rise ever since it was launched, hit 6.04% in Jan 2010, and now stands at 15.68% worldwide, as reported by StatCounter.

From the graph we can observe that it cannibalizes the market share of its main competitor, IE, now at 45.48%. IE's market share has seen a continuous downward trend ever since StatCounter started gathering data in July 2008, but ever since Google Chrome was first released it's downfall has been accelerated.

To be continued.

Until then, here are a few features that users of Google Chrome surely appreciate:
- Has the speedy V8 JavaScript engine, that makes websites feel snappier than ever.
- Chrome defaults to a page featuring the user's eight most visited Web pages.
- Chrome has an "Incognito" mode, in which the user can browse with complete privacy, as none of the history, cookies or searches are not stored.
- Tabbed browsing. Furthermore, Chrome integrates the Title Bar with the Tabs Bar, to save display estate.
- Very good security. Chrome sandboxes Web pages, preventing drive-by downloads and installations. Furthermore, just recently, Google placed a 20000$ bet in the Pwn2Own competition that Chrome won't be hacked.
- Warns the user whenever they inadvertently reach malware sites.
- Users less memory that competing browsers.

Six Degrees Of Separation

If you guys haven't heard of the concept before, Six Degrees of Seperation (SDoS) refers to the idea that any two people in the world are connected by approximately six steps. Pretty remarkable right? To think that your friend of a friend of a...(6 "steps" away) is President Barack Obama himself! Time to use that connection, don't you think?

Obviously, there are a lot more considerations regarding social structure and acquaintance networks involved in these estimates, but studies have shown that for a population like the US, three degrees of separation is a more realistic estimate. In our CS 144 (Ideas Behind the Web) class here at Caltech, we had a small question in our first assignment to experiment with these ideas using Co-author graphs as well as "People who bought item x also bought y"-networks and the results were surprisingly consistent with the average separation suggested by this idea.

So the next time you think you aren't well connected, think again ;-)