Google PageRank - The Magic Begins

AdSense4Dummies - first for the hottest Google News:

Posted: 1900 hrs GMT, 27 April 2007

It's here. After about 4 weeks of being perched on the edge of our seats it seems the much anticipated PageRank export has now begun. Good luck to everyone - hope the magic Google fairy dust works for you!

Monitor your PageRank progress with DigPageRank

More on PageRank: The Quest for the Golden Google PageRank

Quick Review: Infected Or Not

Did you realise that half of the protected computers and almost 70% of the non protected computers are infected with some kind of malware? No? Me neither, but apparently a few virulent viruses and Trojans are able to defeat even the most hardy of antivirus software. Panda Software's Infected Or Not is a handy little site that allows you to scan your PC for viruses lurking on your hard drive. It's aimed at detecting little troublemakers that have penetrated chinks in your antivirus armour.

The site offers two quick tools for scanning your hard drive for potential problems - Panda NanoScan, which detects 813,653 different active viruses, spyware, Trojans and malware and Panda TotalScan, which detects 886,915 of the little critters. Being a busy sort of chap I checked out the NanoScan version which can sift your drive in only one minute. Despite my initial FireFox compatibility problems and having to revert to the inferior browser that is Internet Explorer, I quickly managed to install the ActiveX plugin and run the scan. I was distinctly impressed at the speed of the progress bar as NanoScan whirred into action. Thankfully my online empire isn't going to grind to a halt just yet because, completely as expected, my machine got a clean bill of health. I guess I buck the 70% trend, but as a rule I am very switched on when it comes to antivirus. The scan stats collected are displayed on the Infected Or Not site on a daily basis, so you can see how well you fair in the virus sweepstakes.

The Infected Or Not campaign really does provide a quick, informative and useful assessment of the integrity of your machine and I recommend you try it yourself if you have any doubts about the cleanliness of your drives. An important point to note is that NanoScan and TotalScan are tools for detecting viruses - they are not a substitute for your own antivirus program.

UPDATE: Panda Software have now developed a version of their software that is compatible with the Mozilla Firefox browser. If you're on FF you might like to try scanning your PC now.

Guidelines Clamp Down

1. Page compliant with webmaster guidelines.

2. Non-compliant page with hidden link.

3. Source code of non-compliant page.

News hot off the press (Googler Matt Cutts' blog here and here) that Google are going to get 'tough' on sites that flout their webmaster guidelines. They are going to place particular emphasis on detecting hidden page text, links and paid links. Some 'black hat' SEO experts go to extreme lengths to hide their anchor and link in the body of apparently legitimate looking pages. An example is shown above, where the link has been adjusted so that the text stays the same and URL remains hidden during mouse over. This is a definite no no - links must be visible on the page. Cutts also explains the drive towards human and machine-readable disclosure of paid links. Paid links should be displayed in such a way that they don't affect search engine results - using the rel=nofollow attribute is one of his examples about how to achieve this. Any webmaster falling foul of the guidelines faces penalties - the ultimate being ditched from Google's search engine results.

All this is food for thought - it makes the future for pay to post and link sale companies look bleak. The arrogance of Google knows no bounds - what right have they got to dictate to webmasters how they use their page space?

Google Checkout Reaches UK

Google Checkout, the internet giant's online payment processing system, is unveiled in the UK for the first time today. By a unfortunate twist of fate the launch clashed with major problems with the VISA payment system, meaning some Checkout transactions were disrupted. Checkout is basically the merchant parts of PayPal under the Google banner, although they would hate to admit to that! According to Google merchants can sell with complete confidence because they proactively identify and filter out fraudulent transactions. How reassuring. Until 2008 every AdWords advertiser who spends £1 on ads will receive £10 of payment processing free of charge. Check the Google Blog and Checkout site for more information.

Blogger - Splogs Be Gone

A few new features have recently cropped up in Google's Blogger free blogging service. Last week saw the emergence of the new Newsreel and Video Bar widgets. Newsreel delivers the latest Google News live to your blog and Video Bar offers a convenient, fool proof way of integrating YouTube movies without the need to alter post HTML.

A major area of concern for Blogger is the way a few hardcore users abuse their platform by filling it with spam blogs (splogs). This week they are unveiling a new feature in the battle against the splog - word verfication of individual blog posts. This has long been a feature of comment moderation and should help to stop sploggers in their tracks. It has the negative side effect that honourable Bloggers will no longer be able to use software to publish the same post on multiple blogs. Oh well, you win some you lose some.

Google Maps With A Twist

Last week I talked about how Google Maps had made its first appearance on the Google homepage. Today they are taking another step forward with Maps by introducing a new feature called My Maps. Just as the name implies My Maps allows you to customise your own Google map using the same drag and drop idea that has made the Blogger interface so popular. You can do usual mappy things like add lines and shapes as well the new Googlesque novelties of being able to embed text, images or video. Best of all you can publish you map on its own URL to share with the rest of the world.

To demonstrate the new system Googlers at Mountain View have been feverishly working away making their own cartographic creations. A photo essay of the Googleplex itself features as one of the published examples. Why not hop across to Maps and see what's new for yourself? For further details visit the Google Blog.

AdSense Ad Units - A Clean-Cut New Look

Out with the old, in with the new. The new ad formats will 'allegedly'
benefit advertisers and publishers alike.

AdSense have just released a refreshed version of their ad units. Gone are the irritating 'Ads by Goooogle' and in come a minimalistic alternative with neutral borders. Google have apparently been conducting extensive trials on the new format and have found the ads to be pleasing on the eye as well as better performing for advertisers and publishers alike. The eagle-eyed among you will notice that the previous claim, about performing better for advertisers and publishers alike, is a contradiction in terms that couldn't possibly be true, but we'll just gloss over that!

The new ads are going to be making an appearence over the entire network over the next week or so. The changeover will retain the previous fonts and colour schemes, so there shouldn't be any inconvenience for publishers. For more info check out the official Google blog, Inside AdSense.

Quick Review: Broadband Suppliers

This is post is sponsored by Broadband Suppliers. To view our policy on sponsored posts please click HERE.

I remember not so long ago when I wanted to download a music or video file I had to take a deep breath, hesitantly click the download link and wait sometimes hours for the thing to download by dial up - not a very productive use of time or energy! Thankfully nowadays most of us have broadband and the annoying whine of the dial up modem connecting is a distant memory - after all, there's no point having a fast PC if your internet connection is painfully slow. Most people are wise to what broadband technology is, but they aren't so wise as to where to get the best broadband package to suit their requirements and budget, which is where Broadband Suppliers fits into the picture. Their website has the latest information on the tariffs available from all major UK broadband providers. If you're not technically minded it also has some useful articles explaining the science behind broadband and how to set up your home network.

For the latest information on UK broadband tariffs visit Broadband Suppliers.