I’ll be a speaker @ #SMX #Milan #2014 !


Speaker

 

Yes, it’s right, i’ll have the honor of being a speaker for #SMX conference in Milan for the first time!

It will be funny, because i’m in the same panel with

Bastian Grimm, Managing Partner, Grimm Digital

Dixon Jones, Director, Majestic SEO

…and it will be funny because i’ll be probably bashing Majestic, but in a friendly manner, don’t worry Dixon :)

e Ora in italiano…

Si, confermo che avrò l’onore di essere uno speaker per la conferenza #SMX a Milano, il prossimo 14 novembre 2014.

Sarà molto divertente, perchè sono nello stesso segmento con

Bastian Grimm, Managing Partner, Grimm Digital

Dixon Jones, Director, Majestic SEO

…e sarà molto divertente perchè probabilmente me la prenderò con Majestic, ma in una maniera amichevole, quindi non preoccuparti Dixon :)

(Per chi si chiedesse cosa c’entra il Freedom Gundam nell’immagine sovrastante, ho sempre pensato che un nome altisonante come SMX dovrebbe appartenere ad una fiera di robotica)

A website walks into a bar (a cautionary tale about http, Seo and ninjas)

INT. INT. GOOGLEBAR — DAY

A SINGLE BARTENDER IS CLEANING GLASSES BEHIND THE BAR COUNTER. A WEBSITE ENTER THE PREMISE.

HTTP

Hello Google!

BARTENDER

Hello sir, how can i help you today ?

HTTP

Gimme the usual, it has been an hard day

BARTENDER

The “ranking” with 200 ingredients, sir ?

HTTP

yes please!

IN THE MEAN TIME ANOTHER WEBSITE ENTER THE BAR. HE HAS A CONDOM WRAPPED AROUND ITSELF, BUT HE CAN MOVE JUST FINE.

BARTENDER

Good morning Sir and welcome to our premise, how can i help you ?

HTTPS

I’ve read raving reviews about your famous cocktail the “Ranking”. I would like to try it, please.

BARTENDER

With 201 ingredients, right sir?

HTTPS

Yeah, surprise me!

THE OTHER WEBSITE SEEMS SURPRISED OF HEARING THAT THERE IS ONE ADDITIONAL INGREDIENT.

HTTP

Excuse me, but since when the “Ranking” has 201 ingredients instead of the standard 200 ?

BARTENDER

The Administration decided that we had to award a “special ingredient” for those who shows regards for safety of other people.

HTTP

This is madness, the guy is wrapping a condom around itself! How is that contributing to the public safety? He could still crash a truck full of gasoline inside a kindergarten for what we know!

BARTENDER

I’m sorry sir, it has been decided from the top brass.

HTTP

Look, i may wear a condom in my genital area, is that enough to get the 201th ingredient ? Would you check it ?

BARTENDER

Please no sir, i’m forbidden from exploring my patrons intimate parts and the administration stated that only the people who wear protection in their entirety are allowed the additional ingredient.

SUDDENDLY A NINJA MATERIALIZES AND STAB THE HTTPS WEBSITE WITH A SHORT BLADED SWORD. FTER A FEW SECONDS

BARTENDER

What the hell! What happened! Are you ok ?

HTTPS

Just a flesh wound !

BARTENDER

Why he is not reacting ? I think he is bleeding pagerank! What was that black man ?

HTTP

That, my friend, was an hacker.

BARTENDER

I thought mr HTTPS was safe! The condom malfunctioned! I’m confused!

HTTP

Maybe it was not intended to protect you from ninja sneak attacks… pour me another one.

Fade to black

ENDING CREDITS

 

Artwork by: Claire Mason (used with permission)

 

 

…On the slow agonizing death of SEO

According to clickz/mashable:

Now SEO may be going the way of Megalodon, a 100-foot shark rumored to exist but mostly accepted to have gone extinct a million years ago. If it isn’t functionally dead, it’s certainly in the sick-house. Google does not especially want the SEO industry playing games with its rankings, and what Google wants, especially in a case like this, Google gets.

and this is Judge Seo opinion…

 

 

Matt Cutts leaving Google.

…for a few months.

Thought his Blog, Matt has announced a deserved vacation lasting a few months “till october”.

So we’re going to take some time off for a few months. My leave starts next week. Currently I’m scheduled to be gone through October. Thanks to a deep bench of smart engineers and spam fighters, the webspam team is in more-than-capable hands. Seriously, they’re much better at spam fighting than I am, so don’t worry on that score.

Google is a company that allows a key figure like Matt Cutts to take 4 months of vacation: other companies, take note and copy them.

Unfortunately

The news is creating some panic, probably because some people translate “extended leave” as “i’m going away for good”.

 

Calm down guys!

Let’s wish Matt an happy holiday and let’s remember what happens when people spend to much time inside the Spam team :D

Faster than light ! How the geographical position influence a website performances

Oh my goodness, it’s already July, how time passes.

Without futher delay i would like to present a little speed test i’ve done some weeks ago, i hope it’s still interesting.

The premises

Google pagespeed insights it’s a web service by Google which should grade the performances of web page. It’s a nice tool for novices but it’s very basic and the results produced are lacking in accuracy and context.

As every tool, it must used with discretion, don’t turn off your precious neurons just because Google says so.

Faster and Faster, but it’s really necessary?

Google has stressed time and time that a quick website is fundamental requirement in order to have better results, in terms of user experience.

I will not enter into the details, but a quick user experience means a “relative improvement” of your ranking, meaning that your slower competitors will probably see a decrease in visibility (and sales).

Speed it’s not a silver bullet to rank better: you still need good content, properly structured navigation and of course links.

Think also in terms of sales, an article on Fast Company published in 2012 said:

Surprising as all this may be, the implications of this impatience are even more shocking. Amazon’s calculated that a page load slowdown of just one second could cost it $1.6 billion in sales each yearGoogle has calculated that by slowing its search results by just four tenths of a second they could lose 8 million searches per day–meaning they’d serve up many millions fewer online adverts.

Questions ?

Server response time

One particular aspect of a page performances is “server response time”. I will quote directly from the Google guidelines:

Server response time measures how long it takes to load the necessary HTML to begin rendering the page from your server, subtracting out the network latency between Google and your server. There may be variance from one run to the next, but the differences should not be too large. In fact, highly variable server response time may indicate an underlying performance issue.

One aspect that had me worried is this part of the description:
the network latency between Google and your server

Why ? because i’m an italian guy and i do international Seo! If my clients servers are based in Europe and the Google Pagespeed is based in California, is it possible that the network latency is creating inaccurate reports of “slow response time” ?

One particular aspect i wanted to test is the “time to first byte“.  (TTFB), the time required to get the first byte to render on the client  browser.

According to serverfault, it’s depend on:

DNS Lookup: Definition: Find the IP address of the domain Improve: more numerous/distributed/responsive DNS servers

Connection time: Definition: Open a socket to the server, negotiate the connection Improve: typical value should be around ‘ping’ time – a round trip is usually necessary

Waiting: Definition: initial processing required before first byte can be sent Improve: This is where your improvement should be – it will be most significant for dynamic content.

Theory and experiments

Being a geek and a skeptic, i decided i had to measure the amount of delay caused by network latency.

The services used for the experiments were:
gtmetrix.com: Gtmetrix is a very fast tool to measure pagespeed. It’s not my favourite, but it’s reaaaally quick and never crowded. By becoming a registered user, Gtmetrix allowed me to test the performance from different server locations. (Dallas and London)

  • Digital Ocean: Digital Ocean is a unique server provider. They allows you to create pre-configured virtual servers with several configuration, called “droplets“, quickly and effortlessly. I decided to use them, because they have several server locations… and you can move your “websites” around the world! How? Thanks to the concept of “frozen images”.

It may sound strange to non-coders but each droplet can be “frozen” in time, creating a perfect backup (called “snapshot”), which can be restored in a matter of minutes.

One particular characteristic (not unique to Digital Ocean) is that it’s possible to move the backup to another data center and restore the snapshot, effectively changing country.

It's easy, fast and cool

It’s easy, fast and cool

My process was:

  • create a droplet in the USA
  • measure the performance using gtmetrix from Dallas
  • measure the performance using gtmetrix from London
  • measure the performance using gtmetrix from San Paolo
  • measure the performance using gtmetrix from Sidney
  • move the droplet to Europe (Amsterdam)
  • measure the performance as above
  • move the droplet to Singapore
  • measure the performance as above
  • pour me a tea (mandatory)

The test environment

According to the Google Guidelines

You should reduce your server response time under 200ms. There are dozens of potential factors which may slow down the response of your server: slow application logic, slow database queries, slow routing, frameworks, libraries, resource CPU starvation, or memory starvation

in order to mitigate those factors the test environment included:

  • Droplet: 512MB RAM / 1 CPU / 20 GB SSD disk
  • Configuration: Ubuntu Linux 14.04 X64 pre-configured
  • A single responsive (bootstrap) php page,
  • Some text and 3 jpg images (50kb each)
  • The php page did a single query to a SQLite db, in order to populate a dropdown list.
  • Since digital Ocean map the droplets on an ip address, i was able to call it directly without doing any DNS resolve.
  • Each combo of hosting/client was checked 5 times during an hour in order to avoid temporary network problems.

The results

You'd better stay close

You’d better stay close

Best case scenarios per city

  • User in Sao Paulo -> Hosting in San Francisco
  • User in Sidney -> Hosting in Singapore
  • User in Dallas -> Hosting in San Francisco
  • User in London -> Hosting in Amsterdam

Worst case scenarios per city

  • User in Sao Paulo -> Hosting in Singapore
  • User in Sidney -> Hosting in Amsterdam
  • User in Dallas -> Hosting in Singapore
  • User in London -> Hosting in Singapore

Final considerations

My study doesn’t take into consideration multiple aspects, like rendering time or the use of CDN to parallelize content loading.

What i wanted to  do was evaluate if having a server close to your customers, may drastically change the perception of the website.

the answer is “yes” of course and it’s backed by real data.

So in my opinion, you should choose and hosting which is not only quick but also close to your target audience!