…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 😀

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

Update April 2018

Since WordPress has become “de facto” the CMS that rules the world, it’s become very important to optimize it for speed.

There’s an interesting guide about it called 22 Tips To Speed Up WordPress Site Performance” by Cloud Living, so i suggest you start from there and find your own way to speed up wordpress.

And when you’ve finished optimizing it…

Go Static! I’m not suggestic to use a Static CMS (like Pelican or Jekyll), because they are quite nerdy and require considerable tech knowledge, but you could use a plug-in that create an html-version of your blog. Just upload the resulting files and your site will be quick and strong as a fortress.

Just pay in mind that you have to forget interactions with the database (no internal comments, no internal forms).

Explore Simply Static

Update february 2015

i’ve been contacted by Dotcom Tools and they told me that they offer a free test service to check the speed of your website from 20 different locations worldwide!

Have a look! 

it’s pretty neat!


 

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!

The next marketing battle will be fight on Amazon ground

The war campaign of Amazon keep going. In order to expand its rule over his customer base, Amazon is using its strongest weapon in its arsenal: deep pockets of money.

Gizmodo announced a two days bonanza where android users could download around 100$ of applications

The “Epic Summer App Bundle” giveaway is only on today and tomorrow, so you should grab them while you can. Head to the bottom of the page if you need to know how to get the Amazon Appstore on your phone (remember, this isn’t Fire specific—anyone using Android can take advantage).

Since Gizmodo gain money through affiliation (no shame in that) when people install the amazon app store (which is a different application from Google play store), they even went so far to explain how to install it. (it’s a bit funky being an “unofficial” app store).

If you don’t own a Kindle Fire, you’ll need to install the Amazon Appstore for Android on your phone before you can take advantage. Fortunately it’s pretty easy sailing. Go to Settings and navigate to Unknown sources option (which is under Applications or Security, depending on your device). If Unknown sources is unchecked, tap the checkbox and hit OK.

Amazon strategy and target

This is of course a basic strategy to get early adopters and make them familiar with the Amazon App Store… early adopters are usually strong influencers.

If you can turn them to fight for you, they will eventually influence other people.

bell2

 

The next marketing battle will be fight on Amazon ground

And it will be a bloodbath, because:

  • The Amazon app store, is basically… Amazon. It’s not simply a place where to buy apps or games, it’s entire ecosystem where you can buy almost anything. On google play or even itunes, you could only buy digital objects.
  • Amazon bloody filters! i love Amazon categorization and search filters: by price, by rating, by category! I’m talking about amazon.com, if you visit amazon.co.uk it’s still “itunes-style” AKA old style.
  • One account buy everything: Amazon already has my data and my credit card. There are no psychological barriers to get more applications or even virtual currency to use inside the games.

So, what do you think  ?

Yottacom : la mia nuova attività professionale

Alcuni mesi fa (febbraio 2014) ho lasciato il mio precedente posto di lavoro a Milano per imbarcarmi in una avventura che non esito a definire “picaresca” (o piratesca se il termine non vi è familiare).

Mi sono trasferito a Londra

Alla ricerca di nuove esperienze e con l’intenzione di conoscere nuovi mercati, mi sono trasferito a Londra con l’intenzione di diventare un consulente più “bravo” di quanto ero prima.

Finalmente dopo diversi mesi si è concretizzata la mia visione di aprire una mia azienda, che ho l’onore di presentare a chi segue il mio blog.

yottacom quadrato
Ora vi spiego da cosa deriva il nome

La genesi del nome

Non sono nuovo alla creazione di una azienda, anni fa ho creato una piccola software house in provincia di torino, da cui poi sono uscito per inseguire il mio sogno di fare il consulente di internet marketing.

Allora era stato necessario mettere assieme e d’accordo 5 persone, poi alla fine avevamo deciso di chiamarci come una corporazione malefica di un gioco di ruolo che il 51% degli azionisti giocava (Werewolf the Apocalypse per chi si chiedesse).

In questa occasione c’e’ un unico socio, cioè io, quindi alla fine è stato solo necessario prendere a pugni me stesso… e cercare un nome ragionevolmente breve… che avesse il dominio libero e che non fosse già occupato su twitter o facebook.

Quest’ultimo aspetto social è stato particolarmente lungo e doloroso. Visto che la registrazione su twitter è una pratica comune per via dello spam che viene prodotto, c’e’ stata una corsa alla registrazione di qualsiasi termine comune e meno comune.

Insomma per verificare manualmente tutto ci voleva un sacco di tempo e la maggior parte dei servizi online offriva caratteristiche limitate e di solito mono-social.

Ero abbastanza demoralizzato, finchè non ho trovato una estensione di scrapebox, che faceva esattamente questa funzione: gli dai un elenco di centinaia keyword e verifica se le properties social esistono già o meno… nel giro di pochi istanti.

Dopo aver provato a combinare parole di greco, latino, elfico, nanico, klingon non sono riuscito ad arrivare ad una definizione che suonasse in maniera decente in tutte le lingue  (mi è mancato l’indoeuropeo, perchè non ho trovato un dizionario decente).

Alla fine ho cercato termini che fossero informatici di uso comune e ho finito per scegliere il sistema metrico internazionale.

Yotta is the largest unit prefix in the International System of Units (SI), denoting a factor of 1024 or 1000000000000000000000000. It has the unit symbol Y. The prefix name is derived from the Greek οκτώ (októ), meaning eight, because it is equal to 10008. It was added to the SI in 1991.

In pratica è un “tera di terabytes” se vogliamo, quindi prima o poi diventerà di uso comunque… magari bastano poche centinaia di anni.

E il Com?

Visto che la mia attività principale riguarda il marketing ma anche la COMunicazione sui social media, era giocoforza inserirlo.

Inoltre se le cose dovessero andare bene potrei pensare di ingrandirmi e lavorare con altre persone… che mi sopportino.

C’e’ già una yotta (non com) che però si occupa di infrastrutture, spero non sia un problema.

Infine il logo

La mia genialissima amica Eleonora Anzini, dopo avermi fatto una serie di domande aziendali a cui avevo problemi a rispondere  😀 ha realizzato tre bozze di logo. Quello che mi è piaciuto di più è quello che vedete ovunque. Appena mi autorizza vi faccio vedere gli altri! 🙂

Se volete restare in contatto

facebook: http://www.facebook.com/yottacom

twitter: http://www.twitter.com/yottacom

Google plus: ancora non c’e’, ma arriverà.

web: http://www.yottacom.co.uk

Amazon Fire Phone: the battlefield has changed

Amazon has just presented its first smartphone, the “Fire phone“. While it has many gimmicks, that’s one aspect in particular that the Verge Article has perfectly nailed: it’s the ultimate buying machine.

Firefly

let me quote a specific part of the article

Firefly, a way to scan and identify products and media around you just by pointing a camera at something. Amazon wants you using this a lot, and it’s put a dedicated button on the side of the Fire Phone that’ll send you right into Firefly mode.

That’s… diabolic. And clever. You simply have to press a button to get informations about anything recognizable: a product, a service, a tv show! A single button is the barrier between your credit card and a purchase.

It’s a clear shot at brick-and-mortar retail stores, giving shoppers an incredibly fast way to compare prices. And usually, there’s a good chance that Amazon will win out.

The war is just started

Amazon has just produced one device with firefly but nobody can tell if the firefly service will not become part of the Amazon App. The normal app is already able to scan and recognize a lot of products and bar codes, just imagine what could happen if it was remotely good as they say it is Firefly ?

I’m wondering how Google will react! I suppose that a lot of transactional queries will disappear, absorbed by Firefly.

And i’m also wondering what will happen to the SEO community: is it time to talk about Amazon Marketplace Optimization ? (AMO)

Only time will tell!

Copyright of the picture: The Verge

Brace yourself, Google Local is evolving into Google MyBusiness

After years of sorrow and sadness, Google has finally decided to evolve its local service into something more coherent, called “Google My Business“.

Googlemybusiness

 Major features

  •  Unified dashboard for companies with many retail stores
  • Assign managers to manage specific shops
  • Transfer ownership
  • Make updates and posts to your customers using the Google+ page for your location
  • Global Rollover for every country/market
  • Automatic Upgrade

Doubts

During previous updates, Google had to fight against “data conflicts”. Let’s what happens this time!

Browse these official threads to stay informed.

Post Implicito ed esplicito: cosa cambia per chi fa social media marketing?

Qualche giorno fa, il sogno di Zuckerberg di fare un social network di “azioni” è stato travolto da una marea di segnalazioni di spam.  O per meglio dire gli utenti si sono rotti di vedere nella bacheca l’ennesima condivisione implicita. Quindi Facebook ha deciso di limitare la visibilità delle convisioni implicite.

 Cos’e’ una condivisione implicita?

La divisione tra implicito ed esplicito è sottile e non è di facile comprensione.

Implicito è quando uno strumento si occupa di propagare una attività al posto mio, qualunque essa sia, per esempio:

Magari non a questi livelli...
Magari non a questi livelli…

Una condivisione esplicita è quando io, essere umano dotato di volontà cosciente, decido di condividere un contenuto con altre persone.

Non solo è volontaria, va diffusa ovunque!
Non solo è volontaria, va diffusa ovunque!

Allarmismi

si sono susseguite voci, in italia e anche all’estero, che i vari tools come Hootsuite o Buffer fossero definitivamente condannati dopo questa notizia.

Come si sia generata questa paura non mi è chiaro, anche perchè è scritto a chiare lettere nel comunicato di Facebook.

We’ve found that stories people choose to explicitly share from third party apps are typically more interesting and get more engagement in News Feed than stories shared from third party apps without explicit action.

E la motivazione è semplice: il software di terze parti consente di condividere contenuti interessanti, alle persone giuste, agli orari migliori. (un vantaggio non da poco rispetto all’impostazione di default della pagina facebook).

Rispetto dell’audience,  originalità e tempistiche, sono quello che fornisce valore ad un contenuto: non è sicuramente il tool usato.

Cosa servirebbe a questo punto ?

Un test aggiornato per verificare di quanto differisce il pubblico tra il postare un contenuto tramite applicativi di terze parti.

Io test recenti non ne trovo, tutti quelli più autorevoli sono vecchi di due anni, quando ancora c’era il concetto di EdgeRank. Hoosuite su Quora ribadisce che il concetto è cambiato quando è “morto” l’EdgeRank.

Proposte ?

Cosa resterà ?

Sicuramente Facebook continuerà a processare tutti i segnali (anche quelli impliciti), semplicemente non li farà più vedere agli utenti.

Rimane ancora visibile foursquare, che probabilmente solletica un’interesse morboso del sapere dove sono le persone.

Voi ne avete visti altri ?

 

How to remap F2 and F4 in excel for OSX

After several years of switching from Windows to OSX, there was still a couple of HUGE features which I was deeply missing:

F2 (edit cell) and F4 (formula reference) in excel

As a marketer, I’m truly grateful to Excel for being a versatile tool, that helped me in several occasions (especially when the Comma separated values were involved). It’s not the first spreadsheet I’ve used (for example, I was quite proficient with Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS, but that’s ancient informatics ).

Switching to osx, the functions keys had fixed meanings, and I lost the beloved F2 and F4 keys, which were replace by “raise screen luminosity” and “Launchpad”.

Today the gap has been filled by the app with the worst name of history : Keyremap4macbook 

..which actually works for any kind of mac. The replacement available are activated only while using Excel and you can have different keyword profiles, which you can switch in an instant.

Brilliant and Free.

Screenshot 2014-05-06 21.54.14

Advanced Seo Tools – Bologna – 20th may 2014

On 20th May 2014 i’ll be one of the speaker during the event “Advanced Seo tools“, organized by Giorgio Taverniti and his nice team!

I’ll talk about Scrapebox, one of the most used tools by black hat SEOs and how to use if… in white hat mode, to automate tedious jobs, scrape informations and one specific case history where i’ve used it for business intelligence. (not comment spam)

And of course during the networking time, feel free to approach me and ask embarrassing questions 🙂 I eat a lot, but i don’t (usually) bite.

Screenshot 2014-05-06 16.29.42