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Domain Registration Info – Does it have any Impact on Rankings?

Domain Registration and It's Impact on SEOBarry Schwartz @ Search Engine Roundtable, raised a very interesting question that caught my attention this evening. A question that I was meaning to ask you all long time back via a Poll.

But later I did some extensive research on this and got my answer. Do I want to share the info with you? Hell yeah!

So here goes –

I tested this on 3 different domains, all with good organic rankings. Domain 1 has a Private Who is enabled, Domain 2 had its Registration info public and lastly Domain 3 was registered under someone else’s name in Godaddy and that person did a free push to my account which resulted in all the registration info to be changed under my name.

I don’t really wish to go into much details here, but based on my analysis I can say with confidence that –

1. Changing Domain Registration Info won’t usually hurt rankings (with all other variables being equal).

My Analysis: If your Domain Registration Address is in “India”, it might help you to rank well in Google.in. However I believe that Google checks this either periodically (long intervals in between) or it is set during the initial discovery of the website. But of course this is not always the case!

Domain Registration Info doesn’t only include Name/Address but it also includes the Registration & Expiry date of the domain name. Domains that are old (and has ZERO backlinks) tends to do well in competitive market and domains that are registered for a longer period of time is also believed to be rank well in the Engines. If someone registers a site for 10 years, it clearly shows how much dedicated that person is to that website…so its less likely to turn out to be a Spam site. (Makes Sense right?)

So if you can do a smooth transfer without the domain being dropped it is less likely to hurt your rankings and it should hold on to it’s old trustrank & pagerank. However If the domain actually drops, then there is a high chance that the any past authority that the domain may have had will be lost.

2. Moving from Private to Public (or vice-versa) doesn’t make any significant increase/decrease in ranking.

My Analysis: Based on the results it was clear that a Private Whois doesn’t have any direct relation to ranking. But if you have been naughty in ‘past’ and continue to show your true character, it won’t take Google’s Web Spam Team much time to track down all your sites (if you don’t have a Private Whois) and penalize them manually.

3. Sometimes your domain’s WHOIS information doesn’t matter

My Analysis: Majority of the cases that I have personally seen, A Domain’s locality was taken directly from a webmaster’s Google account. When you register for a Google account it sort of automatically sets your Timezone & Country based on your IP address. So if you are from Finland and you have added your website in Google Webmaster Tools or Analytics, in no time Google will start to recognize you as a webmaster from Finland and it will give you higher presidence for searches performed in Finland and other nearby locations. So if Google thinks you are from Finland, your US domain registration info won’t save you. Google Webmaster Tools also has a page where you can geo-target your website as well. But I personally haven’t tried that so I’m not sure whether its effective or not.

So in conclusion I’d say that some of these things are still very unclear as different webmasters tend to come up with their own facts & theory. Whatever I stated above is what I could figure out by doing my own set of testings.

So what do you think? Does changing Domain Registration Info has any impact on rankings? Share in comments.

Google Allows Mobile Ads to Run in Android & iPhone

Official Google Mobile Blog is reporting that, Adwords advertisers can now target their ads to the Mobile users of Android, Iphone or any other mobile devices that support full HTML.

The ads can basically redirect to a desktop landing pages so you don’t need to create individual mobile landing pages or special ads in mobile formats. The ads will have many of the same benefits as Google’s standard mobile ads. For instance it will continue to deliver mobile-specific calls-to-action and reach mobile users that are searching with their phones more than ever — especially during the holiday season.

Watch the following video to learn more about Google Mobile Ads, or read what others have to say.

More discussion at Techmeme.

Freckle – Online Time Tracking Service

freckleThose who are doing freelance work or running a Small Business, its something pretty hard to keep track of your own time. For instance, if you are a programmer and you are working for a lot of clients – you really need to keep track of your time so that you can bill each one of them accordingly. Similarly if you are providing consultation service to a client and also helping him with his website, you really need to keep track of how much time you spend on each of the individual tasks.

Freckle is an awesome web-based time management service that lets you do just that! The best thing that I liked about freckle is its easy to use interface and their thoughtful implementation of Ajax throughout the site.

So all you need to do is, enter the time you spent on a particular project and tag it accordingly. So for instance if you have spend 2 hours writing a report for Project X, you can just write 2h in the first column and Give a Project Name or Client Name in the second column and lastly add multiple tags or a good description to log it in your account.

Currently they have different types of account and all of them has a 30-day Free Trial period. So you can try out their service, and you can pay and continue after a month only if you find it useful for you. They also have a personal account which is 100% Free but only allows you to manage one client with one user access. Some of their more advanced accounts allows multiple users thus you can sign up for an account for your business and give Freckle to all your employees.

So head over to letsfreckle.com to sign up for a risk free 30 days trial account.

My Two Cents

Freckle is a really cool web service that I myself will be using for keeping track of my time. The only downside of this service is they don’t help you with counting the time. So for instance, If I’m working in a project I need to manually keep count of how many minutes/hours I have worked on it and then log it inside freckle. But if Freckle could give me a stopwatch which could do the counting for me then it would have been really cool. But I understand that they are new and they are going to improve their service based on the feedback they receive from their customers. I have already suggested some features to them via their Feedback form and I hope to see some of them included in the next version.

Update: Amy Hoy from Freckle’s support team recently emailed me and said that they are already working on a timer and it will be included sometime in January. So i guess this is a great news for all Freckle users! I’m really looking forward to it.

Delicious Audio Player

Delicious Audio Player Robin Wauters of Techcrunch reports that the social bookmarking pioneer – Delicious has recently updated their IE and Firefox add-ons – which includes fixing a couple of known bugs and adding some cool new features.

Among the new feature what caught attention of many user is – a brand new audio player to play your MP3 bookmarks inside the browser.

Former GM of Yahoo! Music Ian Rogers confirms that Delicious is actually using Yahoo! Mediaplayer to support this cool new feature. He writes:

It’s very cool in that it is a single line of javascript and reads simple, easy to author, HTML on the page to create the play buttons. The page author needs only add the single line of javascript, then wrap an MP3 link in an href and voila, you have an inline player.

Delicious Audio Player

Dell PCs will come with Microsoft Live Search

Dell LogoMicrosoft has recently signed a major deal with the Pioneer PC Manufacturing company – Dell. According to a source Dell will be shipping new PCs with Microsoft’s Live Search toolbar preinstalled with their operating system.

Even though Microsoft & Dell officials has denied to comment on this deal, ZDnet’s source has confirmed that Microsoft has offered Dell sweet enough terms to entice the PC maker to replace its search-preload deal with Google with a comparable offering from Microsoft.

This is not the first time Microsoft has partner with a PC vendor. According to ZDnet, in March 2007 Microsoft has signed a search-preload deal with Lenovo. Under terms of that agreement, Lenovo agreed to preload Live Search and Windows Live services — delivered via the integrated MSN toolbar — on all new Lenovo consumer laptops.

OEM deals with big companies are just one way Microsoft is looking to grow their search user base. Microsoft is also considering re-branding their Live Search with a more brand-able name – Kumo. (This move by Microsoft was however criticized by a lot of technologists & brand experts).

I am wondering what did Google do to piss Dell off? Because until now Google was the primary & default search for all Dell computers.

Google Webmaster Tools Settings

Google Webmaster Tools lets you adjust a lot of useful settings of your website that you can’t really set otherwise. Recently Google has added a settings page under Webmaster Tools, which makes it really easy to find all these different setting options under one page.

The site settings that have been added to the new Webmaster Tools Settings page are:

1. Geographic Target – Lets you set your site’s Target Geographic Location. So you run a small local business based on United Kingdom, you can simply set your Target location as “United Kingdom” . This way your site will have higher chance of ranking for your keywords when a user performs a search from UK.

2. Preferred domain control – This lets you choose whether you would prefer to display “www” in your domain or not. This basically changes how your URL is displayed in the Google search results.

3. Opting in to enhanced image search – If you want your site’s images to be found via Google Image Search, you should opt-in for this feature.

4. Crawl rate control – Now Google gives you the ability to set your site’s crawl rate. So if you feel that Google is crawing your site too fast, you can reduce the speed or if you update your content too frequently and you want Google Crawler to come to your site more frequently then you can adjust your crawl rate according to your need. (SEOmoz recently did a test and concluded that changing the crawl rate doesn’t makes any substantial difference to a site.)

Google Webmaster Tools Team will continue to add more options in this dedicated settings page.

Yahoo Introduced Pictures in Sponsored Ads

Erick Schonfeld at Techcrunch reports that Yahoo is now testing with pictures inside Sponsored Advertisements.

For instance, when you perform a search on Yahoo for “eBay” you will notice that the sponsored ad contains a graphical logo of Ebay, just like the above screen shoot.

Yahoo’s Spokesperson confirmed that the company is testing new search ad units that include “images, brand icons, videos, search boxes and deep links.”

My Two Cents

I certainly don’t think that this is a bad idea for Yahoo. Infact for brand queries, I think it will really help the advertiser to increase its brand recognition as the searchers will over time associate the logo/image with the brand easily.

But the downside of this feature is, the advertisers will probably spending more because the CTR (Click-Through-Ratio) will definitely be a lot higher compared to the traditional sponsored ads. So even if the advertiser ranks really well organically, people will tend to click on the sponsored ad (with a Logo) without being bothered to see the organic results down below it.

Technorati Engage Ad Network (Public Beta)

Technorati has came up with their own advertising network called – Technorati Engage. In their official blog they did mention about this network sometime in Octobar, but it seems like now the service is in Public Beta. So if you are a blogger/publisher or an advertiser, you can simply head over to Technorati Engage and Sign up to their network.

Technorati Engage

What is Technorati Engage?

Technorati Engage is a Advertising Network owned by Technorati that matches bloggers and social media creators with advertisers who want to reach their audiences. Technorati was founded back in 2003 as the first blog search engine and since then they have manged to gather enormous amount of popularity in the blogosphere. As of June 2008, Technorati indexes 112.8 million blogs and over 250 million pieces of tagged social media.

Who will benefit from Technorati Engage?

Basically bloggers who are actively participating in the blogosphere will find this service great as it provides another source of monetization.

Advertisers who are looking to promote their Online or Off-line Businesses will find this service pretty lubricative, as Technorati Engage Marketplace will connect advertisers to the top notch high profile bloggers to the raising star bloggers of the blogosphere.

What are the Notable Features of Technorati Engage?

  • Multiple Types of Ads: Technorati Engage Ad Network offers different kinds of ads of different size. Current Ad Formats are 125 x 125 ad units, plain text ads and also a new type of ad called “PhoText” – which can nicely combine text & image together. They come in four sizes (25, 50, 100, and 200 pixels in width).
  • Technorati Engage Ad Types

  • Flexibility: The blogger can decide how much they want to charge the advertisers. They can also choose what categories of advertisers that they wish to be shown on their blog.
  • Moderation: The blogger can approve or reject an Advertisement before it goes live in the blog.
  • Alternative Monetization Option: If Technorati can’t serve an ad and there’s an empty ad unit Technorati will serve CPC ads to the ad position.
  • Automatic Ad-Rotation: Technorati has built in ‘ad rotation’ feature where you can serve ads from a variety of advertisers in a single ad box.
  • Easy Payment Technorati currently offers payment to publishers is via PayPal, Check or Wire Transfer.
  • Big Revenue Share: Whatever money that your blog earns, Technorati will share it in 60:40 ratio. Thus you can keep 60% of the ad sales.

So if you are a publisher, don’t wait up – Signup with Technorati Engage now! If you wish to learn more about their service, read the Publisher FAQ section.

My Two Cents

This is indeed a great news for bloggers, and I’ll definitely try them out. So what do you think about Technorati Engage? Share in comments!

Yahoo Search Assist Adds Image Preview

Yahoo Search Logo Techcrunch reports today that Yahoo has started to show Image previews inside Yahoo Search Assist.

So basically when you to Yahoo to perform a search, you enter a keyword and Yahoo Search assist can automatically show you some other related search keywords that you may be interested in. This feature is more powerful than Google’s Autocomplete feature as it displays logical queries that are related to the search term.

But now it seems like Yahoo has taken things even further by adding Image Preview within Yahoo Search Assist. So when you are searching for something, yahoo will not only recommend you some other related search keywords but it will also show you pictures related to that keyword inside the search assist box. For instance a search for Obama displays the following:

Google Marketer’s Playbook Videos

I just stumbled upon Google Marketer’s Playbook – which is basically a series of educational talks where Googlers discuss strategies for getting the most out of AdWords and other Google products such as Google Analytics and YouTube.

Basically these videos were shot some time in April 2008 during the ad:tech digital marketing conference.

The videos are quite lengthy, But they are pretty informative and you can take away a lot of golden nuggets from here. So here goes! (If you are reading this via RSS/Email Please go here to watch the videos).

Optimization Strategies – Part 1 by Paul Coutts

Optimization Strategies – Part 2 by Geoffrey Stirling

Measuring &Tracking for Success – by Ashish Vij

Increase Your Advertising Reach – by Nicole Resz

Online Video Advertising – by Ryan Hayward & Robert Victor

Google Adwords Tactics for Tough Economic Conditions

Google Adwords TacticsTamar Weinberg at Search Engine Roundtable reports that Google has recently published yet another guide, and this time its about Pay Per Click advertising.

In this guide Google gives PPC advertisers some Top tactics for using AdWords during a Recession or economic downturn.

Here is an outline of the things that the guide elaborates on:

  1. Focus your ads on low prices and savings.
  2. Use value-related keywords.
  3. Make sure your ad groups are targeted and relevant.
  4. Don’t waste money on irrelevant clicks.
  5. Make it easy for customers to buy.
  6. Focus your money on your high performers.

So Check out the Google’s Adwords Top Tactics for Tough Times.

Google Adwords Ad Quality Videos

Inside Adwords blog reports that they have released two instructional videos that can walk you through the basics of Ads Quality and the transition to first page bids.

Ads Quality – Getting Down to the Basics

This video basically goes over the Ads Quality Basics. Once you watch it you will get some general introduction to Ads Quality, including a sweet overview of Google Adwords Quality Score and answers to some frequently asked questions about Ads Quality. If you have absolutely no idea of how this whole Quality Score thing works, This is a MUST watch video for you.

Quality-based Bidding Improvements

This video will give you more details on the recent changes made to the Ads Quality. If you wish to know more about how the change from inactive keywords to first page bids affects your campaigns, you should really take some time to watch this.

So if you have any specific tips for improving Adwords Quality score you can also share them in comments! Enjoy the Videos!

Google Street View Now Covers New Zealand

The Sydney Morning Herald & Google Blogoscoped reports that google is going live with high quality panorama photos for Google Maps for New Zealand.

Google has launched Street View in New Zealand.

Google has launched Street View in New Zealand.

Some highlights (as listed in Google Maps New Zealand page) include the Stone Store in Kerikeri, the Beehive in Wellington, and Cathedral Square in Christchurch.

Even though Google has repeatedly said that privacy shouldn’t be a concern for users as Google’s license plate and face-blurring technology has been put to use at all time. But I wonder how The Age was able to get a picture of a couple embracing outside the Colosseum in Rome using Street view.

Captured on Street View - A couple embracing outside the Colosseum

Captured on Street View ... a couple embracing outside the Colosseum

Google has shared Top 10 Street View tips for everyday use and a separate Top 10 List for businesses and organizations.

Gmail Desktop Gadget – Gmail in your Desktop

Official Gmail blog just announced that they have released a gadget that will enable you to access Gmail in your desktop!

Gmail Desktop

I know many of you (including myself) was actually waiting for this feature to come along and its finally here!

How to Get Gmail Desktop

Step 1: First you will need to get Google Desktop

Step 2: Head over here, and download + Install the Gmail Desktop gadget. (Screen shot below)

Step 3: Done!

Gmail Blog Writes:

…… it covers the basics such as reading, searching, and sending messages. You can star messages, use the same keyboard shortcuts, and we didn’t forget about contact auto-complete. It doesn’t take up much space in your sidebar or desktop, and you can also resize it to show as few or as many messages as you’d like.

With Gmail Desktop gadget you can keep more than once instance of your Gmail open at the sme time. So if you have two gmail address (for personal & work), now you can stay logged into both simultaneously.

Tip: You can bring up the gadgets in instantly by pressing the shift key twice!

So Try out Gmail Desktop Gadget now!

Search.io – A Search Engine with Tabs

Search.io Sometimes when I’m searching for something specific like say a recipe or a person, I end up opening a number of tabs in my browser in order to find the result that I want. Search engines like Google, does make it a little easy to find the top sites that I should go to for any given keyword, however it is annoying to have to open all the different results in different tabs in order to actually get to the information that I need.

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could simply type in a keyword and have it search through all other other specialized search sites and directly show you the results?

Well thats exactly what Search.io does! Search.io is a relatively new meta search engine that has the capability to search of sites, group them by topics and then display them in tabs (inside the website itself), making it very simple & easy for you to find the information that you need.

Using Search.io is simple & straightforward, just enter your search term that you would like to search and select your specific area of interest. So for instance, if you are looking for chicken salad recipe you should select “Recipe” and just enter “chicken salad” into the search box and hit GO.

It will automatically open up different tabs with all chicken salad recipes / and search results from the popular recipe sites for you. There are a number of categories that you can choose from – currently they have People, Search Engines, Torrents, Blogs and many more.

To test drive this brand new tabbed search engine yourself, visit Search.io.