DNSRank: New kid in the same old block

DNSRank is an all new juvenile entrant in a jungle full of raging tigers. What I mean to say is that, they’ve decided to join the whole SEO bandwagon with almost no originality on their part – which might make it very difficult for them to survive for long.

The site definitely has that Web 2.0 jazz & sparkle to it and is very well laid out. They describe themselves as a “Domain Evaluation Tool” – but I’m sorry to say that they fall way short of expectations in this quarter. Eye-candy isn’t all !! Lets face the reality. There are plenty of age old predators in this field, starting from web-based services like SEOMoz & Xinu to awesome Firefox extensions like SeoQuake, SEOpen & SearchStatus. Most of these tools give far more comprehensive information and Search Engine Optimization tips than the barebone skeletal outline offered by DNSRank. While utilising their service, I couldn’t find a single tool that could spike my interest… except maybe for the section that displays sites which share the same IP as yours. Then again, there are plenty of other services on the net that cater to just this, as a simple Google Search reveals.

DNSRank is still in it’s infancy. Running their own tool on their own domain reveals that even the domain registration is just 29 days old (on the date of writing this review). Judging by it’s age, we can certainly cut some lax. If they have market domination (or at least gaining a large percentage) in mind, they’ve already lost out of the beginning battle. They totally failed to cash in on the element of surprise (by introducing new tools & tricks) – which is so common to any Web 2.0 startup these days. If they’re really out to set a mark on the wall, they need to strive much much harder than this.

Free SEO ranking techniques not working for you? Try Apogee

Apogee LogoLets say, you own a web-based business that isn’t working all that well. You don’t seem to get too many hits from the major search engines, despite trying out all the “proven” SEO techniques you dug up from the net. Your best bet under such circumstances is to turn to professional help – like Apogee Search – who can get your business into the limelight in no time.

The company has been around since 2001 and has evolved to become one of top 25 search engine marketing firms in the world. Apogee’s SEO can lead your site to be ranked at the top of today’s most popular natural search engines. Increased RevenuesThe increased visibility leads to more sales which in turn enables your business’s market share to grow by leaps and bounds.

Apogee handles the bulk of San Antonio SEO. San Antonio is a booming market for small, local businesses. Applying their domain of expertise (paid search, natural search, affiliate marketing, pay-per-call etc.), Apogee has put many of these small businesses online and helped them gain a stronghold in an ever expanding market.

They’ve an active blog that covers the latest and hottest search engine marketing news and events. Even if you aren’t availing their services, their articles can provide you with many helpful pointers & insights. If you wish to sample their services, you can always order a free Search Marketing Analysis of your site anytime.

To sum it all, Apogee is a trusted partner who can help squeeze the most out of your marketing dollar and quickly raise your revenues to the next level.

Xinu: Your one-stop SEO shop

Xinu LogoWell, almost ! Xinu is this great new “Jack-of-all-trades” tool that analyses and returns a horde of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) related information regarding your site, neatly stacked in a single page. A real time-saver if you ask me.

All you go to do is enter your site’s URL and hit Go. The results are fetched using AJAX – so you don’t have to suffer long wait periods while all the factors are summed up and displayed. In fact, the interface comes up with pre-created tables and SEO factor titles, where the values are simply plugged-in later on.

Among the results provided are:

  • Screen-shot of your site
  • A mini site diagnosis involving your URL’s difficulty-to-remember score, site title score (based on the number of words), keywords & description, HTML file size, number of each types of tags etc. Surprisingly, this section reported that my site doesn’t have a favicon and I need to get one, whereas you can see mine (the blue flask) the moment you land-up at my site.
  • A small domain panel that shows the IP your domain resolves to, the country where your host is located, the site author’s name and if possible the age of the domain.
  • A site ranking panel that displays you Google PageRank, Technorati rank, Alexa Traffic rank as well as the number of DMOZ listings.
  • Couple of lines of information on the type of syndication (feeds) offered by your site and the number of subscribers.
  • Number of inbound links from various well-known Social Bookmarking sites like del.icio.us, Digg, Clipmarks as well as from lesser-known ones like Mister Wong, Meneame etc.
  • Site markup validity information broken up into HTML, CSS and Feeds.
  • Number of indexed pages on Google, Yahoo and Live.
  • Lastly, the number of backlinks from all major search engines like Google, Yahoo, AllTheWeb, AskJeeves etc.

Xinu Interface Screenshot

All in all a pretty good tool – although a bit buggy in places. Hopefully, they’ll fix these soon. What I like best about Xinu is that you can stop scampering around half of the internet just to check on all the important SEO aspects of your site.

Calculate your site’s SEO Score with Website Grader

Website Grader LogoIf you’re a webmaster and run your own site, Website Grader can count as a brand new yet invaluable addition to your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) toolbox. The site takes your own site’s URL as an input and provides a Percentile SEO Score (on a scale of 100) along with a comprehensive report that tells you the SEO pros and cons of your site.

Additionally, you can enter your keywords/keyphrases along with your competitors URLs to get a relative feedback on your site’s marketing effectiveness.

My blog, Chaos Laboratory, got a score of 96/100. That means my site has a marketing effectiveness that is higher than 96% of all other sites submitted to this service.

A website grade of 96 for chaos-laboratory.com means that of the thousands of websites that have previously been submitted to the tool, our algorithm has calculated that this site scores higher than 96% of them in terms of its marketing effectiveness. The algorithm uses a proprietary blend of over a dozen different variables, including search engine data, website structure, approximate traffic, site performance, and others.

By submission, they mean the first time a site’s URL is entered at Website Grader, following which the data is kept stored in their database and matched against all such similarly submitted sites. This also means that the SEO Score for this site isn’t constant – and may vary from time to time depending on the quality of other sites submitted sooner or later.

The only warning I received was regarding the high number of meta keywords I have in my site header.

We believe that though the search engines don’t weigh keywords as heavily as they used to, they’re still important to get right. By using a high number of keywords, it is possible that you are diluting the effect of your most important keywords. We would suggest keeping the keywords to 10 or less. Currently, this site has 21 keywords in the meta-data.

The site sports a simplistic Web 2.0 AJAX based interface and there’s a membership feature, which helps you keep track of your SEO Score as well as get detailed reports mailed to you.

Website Grader is a free service (as of now) and I don’t see any mentions of a paid high-end counterpart anywhere on the site. This can definitely act as a free but great alternative to the Sitescore and the SEOMoz Page Strength tools – which have retracted their free services (at least Sitescore did while SEOMoz has reserved the updated analysis feature for premium subscribers only).

Found via: Quick Online Tips, Our Website SEO Grade is 98/100

How to get Search Engine Optimized URLs for Simple Machines Forum

Search Engine OptimizationA couple of days back I’d made an announcement regarding the launch of the Chaos Laboratory Forums in order to provide technical support for the WordPress plug-ins I’ve written. Now a normal installation of SMF (Simple Machines Forum) is well known for the ugly & non-search-engine-friendly URLs it generates. On the other hand, WordPress comes totally optimised for Search Engines and the crawler bots simply love the URLs generated by WordPress. So I had to figure out a way of making SMF generate the same for proper indexing.

After searching far & wide I came upon this plug-in (or Package, as it’s referred to as in SMF terms) called SEO4SMF. It’s not listed under any easily accessible page in the Simple Machines site. You’ve to dig quite deep to discover it. I’d hunt for quite a while to get at it – more so because simple SEO and SMF related queries in Google somehow failed to get me this page. Finally by a stroke of luck I keyed in “SEO for SMF” and bingo !!

Installation is as painless as it is with most other SMF packages. Only configuration on your part involves editing a line in the htaccess.txt file and then renaming the file to .htaccess. If your forum is hosted at the root of your domain (for e.g. http://chaos-laboratory.com) then no modifications are required. In case, it’s under a sub-folder (like my own forum, http://chaos-laboratory.com/forum/), then you’ll have to edit the htaccess file and change the RewriteBase directive to point to the correct folder. That’s about it.

Really feel happy with the board now – it felt kind of incomplete till I could get this done. As soon I had it up and running, I decided to write a small post about it with a title that’ll hopefully come up on search engines with more common keywords. Just trying to make it easier for the newcomers 🙂

In case you don’t want to visit the download page, here’s a direct download link to the package. And for any other problem(s) you face, you can always drop by at the official discussion zone at the WebmasterTalks forum.

It’s possible now to check inbound links (backlinks) through Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster ToolsWebmasters who use the Google Webmaster Tools (formerly known as Google Sitemaps) will be pleased to know that now it’s possible to get a list of the incoming links to your site right from the Webmaster Tools control panel.

Earlier on, you could glean some information about your site’s inbound links using the Google search engine’s link: operator. It works even now. All you need to do is go to the Google Search Page and type..

 

link: youdomain.com

and you’d get the list of sites linking to you. However, the resulting list of linking sites known as backlinks in Web site parlance, is only a small sampled subset of the actual inbound links. Google doesn’t reveal the full list of backlinks to prevent search engine manipulation by the ubiquitous SEO firms, let alone the spammers.

However, according to the Official Google Webmaster Central blogs, Google has decided to be a little more lenient on that policy. While the entire backlinks list is still now available to you, you’re entitled to download a list of upto a million External Links. If you’re confused as to what External links are, they’re the links that point to you site from pages that do not belong to your domain. For example, if I am viewing links for http://chaos-laboratory.com/, all the links that do not originate from pages on any subdomain of chaos-laboratory.com would appear as external links to my site.

So how do you view the backlinks?

It’s simple. If you follow the instructions provided on the Google Webmaster Central blogs, all you need to do is log into your Webmaster Tools account, select a verified web-site that you own and click on the Links tab at the top. Once done, you’re presented with two options to choose from – Internal & External Links. Choosing either will show you the corresponding list of links.

For further detailed information on what else you can do with the newly introduced section, refer to the article on Google Webmaster Central blogs.

Source: InformationWeek

Chaos Laboratory switches to the no-www version from today

My site has been up for quite sometime now and has started enjoying decent link-backs. Google’s definitely crawling my pages. Surprisingly, my PageRank never increased. It was ZERO on the first day and it stayed ZERO till today.

A little investigation revealed that while, www.chaos-laboratory.com is at PR 0, chaos-laboratory.com has silently crept up to PR 2 !! So Google has been indexing the non-www version of my site all this while, while the www-based version has been left untouched.

I’d heard about this PageRank Splitting issue quite sometime back but never paid any attention. Experienced it first hand, today ! However, I am not one to give up so easily on my PR. The easiest way out here was to switch to the non-www version for good. Since Google has already indexed it well, why not use that to my advantage? Besides, the www subdomain is pretty useless anyway.

There are two ways of doing this…

  • First – for the non-techies – is to use the No-WWW plug-in for WordPress. This automatically redirects all www based requests to the primary domain based URL.
  • The second method – which I believe is the more elegant way of getting it done, involves editing the .htaccess file, if you’ve got access to it. Inserting the following lines in .htaccess will get your job done. However, you need Apache’s ModRewrite to be up and working for this to take effect.

    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.your-domain.com$ [NC]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://your-domain.com/$1 [R=301,L]

    Make sure you replace the your-domain with your actual domain name. This will effectively and fail-safely rewrite all the www based addresses of your site to it’s non-www counterpart.

No more headaches about split PR 😀

Excellent Free Tools to analyse your Google Ranking

Here are a couple of excellent free PageRank analysis tools that can help you estimate your site’s standing with Google.

Live PageRank – This tool gives you a comprehensive chart of your site’s PageRank across multiple Google datacenters. If you’ve been waiting for a hike in your pagerank for a long while – and you see a higher figure in any one of the datacenters it might be indicative of celebration time in near future 😀

Once you enter your URL in this tool, it shows you your site’s Alexa Ranking and Google Backlinks along with the PR chart. Also displayed are the minimum, maximum and average PR values averaged over all datacenters.

Live PageRank Screenshot

Live PR site also offers a PageRank extension for Firefox which sits in your status-bar and displays the PageRank of any site you’re visiting. However, I prefer the SearchStatus extension which shows both your Alexa Ranking and Google PR.

Future PageRank – Brought to you by SEOTools, this queries the various Google datacenters to check for any changes in PageRank values for a given URL. Usually all data centers output the same value, but if queried during an update, you might get a glimpse of any upcoming changes in your chosen URL’s PageRank value (similar to Live PageRank).

Future PageRank Screenshot

Similar tools in this category:

Visual PageRank – This tool shows you the PR for all links on a page. Once you enter the URL, the results will show the page given, along with the PageRank of each hyperlink on that page in form a tiny but nice PR graphic beside each of those links. You also have the option to show “nofollow” and external links. Very useful when you want to figure out what links on your site have a higher Google PR.Visual PageRank Screenshot

A similar script that can be run off your own web-space (and for free) is Webmaster Eyes.

SearchStatus: Another great SEO extension (add-on) for Firefox with a twist

A couple of weeks back I’d written about two SEO/SERP analyser extensions for Firefox namely …

Recently I came across another great extension called SearchStatus that offers similar functionality as the above two with a twist… in the sense that this one offers something that neither of the above-mentioned offer. This one throws in a combined display of Google Pagerank & Alexa Traffic ranking in your status-bar making it a really useful extension.

SearchStatus Screenshot

However, the SEO tools offered in this one are not as powerful or cover as much ground as the former two. Among them are …

  • Backward / Related links
  • Keyword / Nofollow highlighting
  • Fast keyword density analyzer
  • Alexa Info etc.

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SEOpen: Yet another terrific SERP Analyser Extension for Firefox

This comes as a third follow-up of my two earlier posts…

David G. Paul informed me about this alternative Firefox extension called SEOpen, which works pretty much like SeoQuake but with a whole lot more features. Both the extensions are meant for help with Search Engine Optimisation by providing you with an in-depth view of your site’s (or any site’s in fact) SERP (Search Engine Result Page).

The major search engines typically display three kinds of listings on their SERPs. Listings that have been indexed by the search engine’s spider, listings that have been indexed into the search engine’s directory by a human, and listings that are paid to be listed by the search engine.

The difference between SEOpen and SeoQuake is the modus operandi. SEOpen provides with a right-click context-menu with which you can view a site’s SERP Parameters for most of the popular search engines. An alternative is to use the toolbar that shows up after installation of SEOpen.

On the other hand, SeoQuake doesn’t install any toolbar – the results are shown as a collapsible floating HTML block embedded inside the site. By default, this block is displayed for all pages. However, you can disable it at any point by clicking on the SeoQuake icon in the status bar.

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