Monday, March 21, 2011

How Googlebot webcrawler works - an example

I've been wondering how does the Google spider work.  The main webcrawler for Google is called Googlebot.  So I created a website and checked my logs.

For this test I created a nine page website.  It consists of the home page and three others, all linked to each other with symmetrical linking.  The effect is that all four pages are linked equally.  Then I added a fifth web page that was the top page in a four page section.  I had one of the first four pages link to the top page of the new second, then had the top page link to the four new pages.  Each of the four new pages links only back to the home page.

The first impression when Googlebot does visit will be to see the home page with only four internal links.  Since my website is new and not linked from anything, I used a blog post to embed a link to the site.  This pinged Google and got the process started.

I don't know how long it took for Googlebot to show up and request the frontpage and robots.  It might have been a few minutes, it might have been a few hours.  I forgot to clock it.  But is was less than 6 hours I think.

Google got the links to the three other main pages and went silent.  Then in about three and a half hours Googlebot came back and got the first of the three other pages.  It got the remaining pages about one every nine minutes.

Then about two and a half hours later Googlebot came got the section header top page it found on one of the first three pages.  Then about three hours later Googlebot came and got each of the four section pages, about one every nine minutes.

What I did next was to make some changes to all of the web pages, and I added several new web pages and links for the spider to pickup.

The webcrawler has not come back and re-indexed any of the pages it has already seen.  I don't know if that will be days or weeks.  I'll post here and tell you.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Good Advice on SEM and SEO

Organic search is important, and will really pay off in the long run. But for instant results, many people turn to SEM programs based on PPC. (That's Search Engine Marketing based on Pay Per Click).

Basically you set an ad budget and let something like Google AdWords spend your money driving customers to your website.  For a few pennies a day you can realistically start getting customers immediately.  Even if you pay more, targeted online PPC advertising still gives you a better ROI than traditional advertising.

When you pay per click, you only absorb a cost when an interested person clicks on the ad.  You can further refine this by only showing ads in selected geographic locations.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Facebook Profile Changes - "like" Spam

Facebook recently changed the profile.  Used to be you would expose portions of yourself by expressing your interests in text.  Now you do the same by linking to pages of that name.  I was reluctant to do this and lost all my profile settigns as a result.

Recently I put it back in, linking tot he pages as required.  Now I get "like" spam many times a day form the commercial operators of these pages that everyone on Facebook "likes".  On the one hand I'm jealous I don't own these pages myself, on the other hand I'm just annoyed by it.

So I created a community page expressing my disgust.  Let's see if it goes viral.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Google $75 free trial for AdWords

Google AdWords is giving away a $75 free trial coupon.  You can apply for the offer here.

It's a one per person offer for new customer only.  I honestly had not used AdWords for years, but wanted to try it again.  It has given me good results in the past. I don't remember my AdWords account email address, so I just applied under my Blogger account email.

It took a couple of hours, but Google emailed me back an activation code.  When I applied it I got $80 - the $75 plus the $5 AdWords activation fee.  I'm happy.  I have a campaign going now.

My activation code had an expiration date of the end of the month, about two weeks.  I don't know if the credit expires then as well - my free facebook advertising did that.

I think this is a good way to introduce new people to Google Advertising with Adwords.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Strange Refferer URLs

I had a website die on me.  Oh, the domain name was fine.  I just had the server crash without a backup.  So, there has been no content for two or more years.  But the web site still gets thousands of "hits" each month.  Even after being down for years.

I brought my site back up recently and took a look at my web logs and found hundreds of pages being access, with 404 errors, every day.  All of them were links referred from another site.  Many of the site names made it obvious they were trying to sell something.  This is what is called referrer spam.

It seems that many years ago web statistic programs like Webalizer created pages saying who your top referring sites were, and made these lists active html links back to the referring site.  Someone then wrote and sold a program that allows you to fraudulently "drop links" into the logs giving you a backlink to your site.

Of course once this behavior was recognized, the Webalizer software to create the web stats was modified to prevent this - they just took out the link and made it plain text.  But years later of the links not being on site - even years later of my site being down, the referrer spam people are still plugging away at my site.

It does nothing for them, but it destroys any chance I have of having meaningful statistics from my stats program.  Thousands of page views and literally zero actual real people looking at a page.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Get Instant Approval for Adsense for Domains

Google is now providing domain parking page hosting.  They put sets of ad links on the page to help monetize your domain name.

This has been around for some time, but I only tried Adsense for Domains this week.  It looks like everyone is automatically approved, though you have to go through an approval process that looks to me like is just Google verifying you have your DNS entries setup properly.

My first domain I tried took some time to get approved.  My second domain was immediately approved.  I edited my DNS settings before I submitted the domain name to Google.  The Google automated verification process was able to verify me on the first try.

You can see an example of Adsense Parking Page.

There are several sets of ad blocks on the parking page.    The domain name is at the top left.  There is a search box under that, and also at the bottom of the page.  (I'm assuming this is monetized through Adsense for Search.)  There is a list of ten normal text links Adsense ads on the left.  There is a graphic banner ad under this (we are at the bottom of the page now) and a 5 x 4 "popular categories" ad block under that.  The top right also has a list of related topics. 

I don't know if it will make money or not.  The domain I purchased cost me a little over $2 for the first year.  I don't have to make much money.  But if I only get a nickle a click, that is about four clicks per month to break even - assuming my labor is free.