Archive for August, 2008|Monthly archive page

SEO Notes: Part II

I had talked about On-page optimization technique in my earlier post. I will talk about the most important SEO method, Off-page Optimization, in this post.

Off-page Optimization

Off-page optimization (off-page SEO) is what can be done off the pages of a website to maximize its performance in the search engines for the target keywords. These includes:

  • The Google page rank of the website linking to you. Higher the page rank of the website linking to you better it is for your website as it can contribute more towards your own page’s page rank.
  • Number of websites linking to you. Internal linking from your own webpages is also good for your ranking.
    Tip: No page should have more than 25 outgoing links, as you might lose your page rank a little (exact number cannot be said for sure).
  • The page title of the website linking to you. You’ll want to try to get websites to link to you from pages that contain your main keyword in their page title.
  • The anchor text used in the link linking to you. Anchor text plays an extremely important role in ranking, so try to get your main keywords in the anchor text.
  • The number and type of links linking to the website that’s linking to you.
  • The number of outbound links on the website that is linking to you. You’ll want to try to get links from webpages that have as few total outbound links as possible on the page so that they contribute more towards your page rank.
    Tip: Google and other search engines view one-way links (pages linking to your pages but your pages not linking back) as being much more important than reciprocal links.
  • Whether or not the websites linking to you are deemed by Google as an authority website.
  • The IP Address of the websites linking to you. It’s important to get links from as many different IP Addresses as possible.
  • Do NOT link to websites banned by Google.
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SEO Notes: Part I

These are some of the notes that I made on SEO after reading couple of books.

Before starting on SEO for you website, identify the keywords for which you want to optimize your search ranking. Once this is done, look at the current top sites in the Google search results for those top sites and take a note of their page rank and other SEO techniques they are using (there are many tools available which can help you do this).

There are 2 types of SEO methods: Onpage Optimization and Offpage Optimization. I am going to talk about the onpage optimization in this post.

Onpage Optimization

This is the part of SEO which is fully in your control. It’s basically the process of creating pages that conform to the standards so that search engines will be able to grasp the importance of the words or keywords in your content. Onpage Optimization techniques includes:

  • Use keywords under Header tags like H1, H2, H3, etc. Usually, it’s best to place your primary keyword in your <h1> tags and your secondary keyword within the <h2> tags.
  • Use keywords under Image alt attribute. Also, use keywords under title attributes of image and anchor tags.
  • Use the keywords in the page title. This does not mean that you should make a very long title, you can shorten the title by separating the keywords with characters like “|”. The least amount of words you can place in the title, the more weight Search Engines will give to each of the keywords and the higher you will rank.
  • Use the keyword under <b>, <i> or <u> tags.
  • Search Engines will rank a page higher if the keywords appears both at the start and end of the page. It basically means that your main keyword should not jsut be in the middle of the page content.

I will talk about the Offpage optimization in my next post.

Declaration of Independence

Today, India’s Independence Day, reminded me of the same day 2 years back when I was thinking of starting my first startup (which I did just after a month). On that day, I saw a very inspirational flash movie on “Declaration of Independence” for the to-be-entrepreneurs. Hope it will inspire some more entrepreneurs.

YUI 2.5 Problems

Yahoo recently released the preview release of YUI 3.0. After reading the changes they are trying to make in the framework, I thought of the issues we have faced with the earlier version, YUI 2.5, while using it in our startup lifeMojo. Some of the issues are:

  • More HTTP Requests: JS files are split based on the functionality. This means that separate HTTP request will be made for each functionality of YUI that you use. We use lots of YUI features and our pages used to do 8-9 HTTP requests just to get the YUI files. We had to combine all those files manually into a single file to improve the performance.
  • Even if you want to use a very small subset of some YUI component, you have to get the whole component. This increases the page size and thus performance can get affected.
  • Long Names: Usage of all components of YUI starts with something like YAHOO.lang. or YAHOO.widget., etc. In Javascript, you try to avoid long names of components which are used frequently so that the size is small, for example, Prototype and jQuery, both use $ as the main variable name to access the components. But, the long names in YUI increases your page size (There are ways to get over it like declaring a small name variable as the shorthand: var YL = YAHOO.lang)
  • No Powerful Selector: YUI does not support the widely used CSS based selector idiom made famous by jQuery. We have to use jQuery along with YUI to get these nice feature.

Apart from the problems above, YUI 2.5 is quite good. It saves you a lot from the cross-browser issues and provides ready-to-use components like DataTable, Calendar, Panels, etc.

YUI 3 promises to solve a lot of the above problems. I would love to use it once they release the beta version with lot more components (due probably in December).

Why many ex-Trilogians are Entrepreneurs ?

There have been lot of startups being started lately with some/all of the founding members being ex-Trilogian. Some examples: lifeblob, mustseeindia, reviewgist, drishti, kuliza, irunway, via (formerly flightraja), girnarsoft, ongraph and my own startup lifemojo. I have heard people ask questions like why are they seeing lots of ex-Trilogians in the startups. As an ex-Trilogian myself, here are some key points which I think helps Trilogians to be better prepared for the startup:

Note: These are based on my own experience of 2 years in Trilogy India during the period 2004-06.

  • Trilogy University (TU): Major credit goes to the Trilogy’s training program called the Trilogy University (TU). TU is a very fast paced training program where you see yourself doing things that you thought you could never do and you learn at an ultra-fast pace. In short, you learn how to learn fast. One of the best part of the TU is its graduation project where the trainees have to come up with an innovative idea, find its market potential, come up with a plan to market it, etc and then pitch it to the CEO who acts as a VC and decides whether you got to do the project or have to start the cycle again. Once you get the approval, you have to build the prototype within 3-4 weeks and prove that it is successful. Harvard’s take on TU can be read here.
  • Working in Small Teams: Employees in Trilogy work in very small teams (teams of 1-10 people). Small teams means that you get to work on all kinds of work (much like in a startup) and there is no separate UI or DB expert as such.
  • Early Responsibility/Ownership: People in Trilogy are given big responsibilities very early in their career. This introduces them to the high pressure of tight deadlines and meeting clients expectations quite early which helps them during the roller coaster ride of startups.
  • Working with the best people: The bar set by Trilogy at the time of recruiting is quite high, so you get to work with the best people in the industry. This also helps you in finding partners for your startup easily :).

Startup Demo

Demo

Yesterday I attended the demoes of two startups in startup saturday meet. It was an interesting contrast between the ways the two presented and I wondered what are the points to keep in mind to have a really good demo. Coincidently, I saw a post on the same topic in the evening. Some of the points from the post (including some of my own) that I thought really should be kept in mind:

  • Show your product within the first 60 seconds: I think this is really important as most of the people are waiting to see how are you going to solve their problem. The longer it takes for you to show your product, the worse your product is. If a picture tells a thousand stories, then a product demo tells a million. Note: Show your product immediately, and if you don’t have a product to show don’t plan the demo.
  • The best products take less than five minutes to demo: If your products takes more than this time then it means that your users will also be not able to understand it. You need not show the advance features in the demo.
  • Leave people wanting more: This is really important and it makes sure that they are not sleeping while you demo the product. It’s best for folks to discover the merits of your product for themselves, and it’s up to you to make such a compelling core product that they are intrigued enough to explore it.
  • Understand your competitors: You should have researched well in advance about all your competitors (current and historical). You should know about their team background, investors (if any), value they provide and how you differentiate from them.
  • PowerPoint bullet slides are death: Do not make slide after slide explaining your business in bullet points, because it’s really, really boring.
  • Be clear about your business model: Everybody knows that you have started your startup to create some business. So, don’t just say that you have not thought about the business model.
  • Be prepared for no internet connection: You should not just assume that an internet connection (or a fast connection) will be available at the demo place. Be prepared to give demo with the local copy.