Have you recently discovered the fun of Facebook? Connecting with old friends, hearing news from businesses and groups that you are interested in, or just keeping in touch with your kids. The Internet is the greatest tool developed in this century. It has revolutionized the way we communicate, do business, and get stalked. Online stalking has become a serious issue, here are a few ways to make yourself invisible to obsessive strangers — without putting a crimp in your social life.
The constant updates and pictures that are put online through social networks are like hanging a welcome sign to anyone who wants to browse through a glimpse of your life. You are revealing a lot of information about yourself that you may not have imagined would be of interest to someone who does not know you… but you are wrong. You may have thousands of friends on a social network, but you should only allow a chosen few to view the day-to-day happenings of your life.
Fortunately, most websites have privacy settings, which are easy to set up. To create a barrier to prevent against prying eyes on Facebook, type www.Facebook.com/privacy into the address bar and choose what information you would like to share with the public and what information you would like to keep only to your friends.
There are similar account settings on both LinkedIn and Twitter. On Twitter, specifically, if you are a frequent user it is recommended that you update your settings on the account page to “Protect My Updates.” This will allow only your “Followers” to be allowed to read your Twitter feed. Every event in the everyday Facebook user’s life is now shared with friends and coworkers. Through the course of life there are highs and lows, marriage and divorce. P
arry Aftab, an Internet privacy and security lawyer, recommends temporarily “defriending” mutual friends after a breakup. There is a good chance that mutual friends share information about you with your ex or at least make comments about your status in passing. It is best to break that connection online, at least until the drama has died down.
It’s tempting to publicly share your location when you are doing something exciting such as “Flying to Hawaii” or “Going to Miami for the weekend!” However, you are actually telling any prospective criminals “Hey, I’m not at home!” It doesn’t matter how excited you are about going to the Caribbean on a 2 week cruise, post the pictures when you get back…tell people about it online after the fact. There is too much at stake.
It may sound egotistical, however, by searching for you name online you can find out who’s talking about you in a forum or group, posting blog comments about you, or potentially posing as you! Set up a Google Alert that will notify you anytime someone enters your name or phone number online. This will keep you alert to your online presence and hopefully prevent any misunderstandings.
Craigslist is an amazing website connecting people from all walks of life to get a job, sell an item, or hire a contractor. The simplicity of using a service like this can make it easy to be comfortable and forget the #1 rule of safety first. To be safe using these online forums, use an email that doesn’t give away your full name when responding to an advertisement. Take precautions when meeting someone in real life for the first time, even if it is for buying their Ipod or checking out their car. Some quick ways to evaluate a person before meeting them is a quick search through Google.
This will at least give you some security about who you are going to meet. If you are still unsure you can turn to the many online agencies who conduct background checks, combing through security databases on your behalf. Always be accompanied by a friend if you are going to meet someone you are unfamiliar with, and let others know where you will be going.
Technology has provided us a world at our fingertips.It’s amazing the applications we have created for the Smartphones. Those phones enabled with GPS can triangulate your position and tell friends if you are nearby. As a precaution you should keep these programs turned off unless you are actively using them.
The world is amazing and unpredictable. Do not stray from the modern advances in technology; embrace them! Keep yourself safe by being precautious. It doesn’t take much time and you will have an invaluable reward for your actions…piece of mind.
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However, a full year of Box.net is going to cost 0. It’s not going to help me make 0 in extra revenue, and it’s not going to save me time that’s worth 0, so it’s not an expense I can justify. The product is great and the service works perfectly, but the minimum 3 person license just doesn’t make sense for me, so I’ve stopped using the product. If you have three or more users, however, this is absolutely something I can recommend, especially if they are iPad users. If not, I’d recommend the competing service of Dropbox (see my Dropbox.com review). There is an extra step when working with Google Documents, but IMHO it’s not a step that’s worth 0.
photo credit: eschipul
Posted by richardbaxterseo
Today, we’re going to talk about Microformats, a simple set of extensions to HTML, allowing us to add meaning to certain types of data found in our web pages. As SEOs, Microformats provide us with a wonderful toolbox to enhance our Google search snippets, particularly if you own a site with reviews, recipes, contact details or location data.
In this post we’ll talk about Microformat standards available to webmasters that have events listings data on their websites. Think conferences, festivals, theatre, even opera – they’re all events that can be described with components of the hCalendar Microformat.
This result, for "photography exhibitions London" shows an enhanced, hCalendar based rich snippet:
The example ranking is taken from a site that lists things to do in London, and you can see that the events featured on the listings page have been pulled through into Google’s (UK) SERPS.
Brace yourselves for a mildly techie, but perfectly worded definition, courtesy of Microformats.org:
hCalendar is a simple, open, distributed calendaring and events format, using a 1:1 representation of standard iCalendar (RFC2445) VEVENT properties and values in semantic HTML or XHTML. hCalendar is one of several open microformat standards suitable for embedding in HTML, XHTML, Atom, RSS, and arbitrary XML. http://microformats.org/wiki/hcalendar
Google looks out for the following elements of the hCalendar Microformat in your web page mark-up. Not all of the elements listed are actually required, but if you have the data it’s probably worth implementing as fully and correctly as you can. Here, Google break down exactly what they’re watching out for:
||Required. The name of the event.|
||Link to the event details page.|
||The location or venue of the event. Can optionally be represented by nested organisation data, or nested Address data. Recommended (unless the page containing the markup is a page about the venue, and the location is the same for every event.)|
||A description of the event.|
||Required. The starting date and time of the event in ISO date format.|
||The ending date and time of the event in ISO date format.|
||The duration of the event in ISO duration format.|
||The category of the event, such as "Festival", "Concert", "Lecture".|
||Specifies the geographical coordinates of the location. Includes two elements:
||A link to a photo or image related to the event.|
On Saturday a few of us went to the Wireless festival to have a day in the sun with music and (of course) a few beers. Let’s say you’re describing that event listing on your website.
Your HTML might look a little like this:
<a href="http://www.wirelessfestival.co.uk/lineup/">Wireless 2010</a>
<img src="wireless.jpg" />World class acts playing across four stages -
but Wireless is about so much more than just amazing music...
When: Saturday 3rd July, 12:00pm - 11:00pm
Where: Hyde Park, London
Now let’s take a look at that same event, marked-up with our hCalendar elements:
<a href=”http://www.wireless.co.uk/” class=”url summary”>Wireless 2010</a>
<img src=”wireless.jpg” class=”photo” />
<span class=”description”>World class acts playing across four stages -
but Wireless is about so much more than just amazing music</span>
July 3rd, 2:00PM<span class="value-title" title="2010-07-03T1200Z00"></span>
~11:00PM<span class="value-title" title="2010-07-03T2300Z00"></span>
<div class="location vcard">
<span class="fn org">Hyde Park</span>,
<span class="street-address">Hyde Park</span>,
<span class="value-title" title="51.50716" ></span>
<span class="value-title" title="-0.17066"></span>
Category: <span class="category">Concert</span>
This is usually a simple implementation, with only a few changes to the CSS stylesheet required. Have a chat with your web developer to get an idea of how much work it is to implement.
Implementing Microformats can be reasonably easy, provided you already have the event data available on your site. To make using Microformats just a little easier, Google has provided a rich snippets testing tool to help make sure your mark-up is correct.
To get your rich snippets working in Google’s results pages though, takes time and patience. Google are reviewing sites on a case by case basis, so the next step is to fill out this form and wait. Patience is a virtue though, and Google takes the semantic web and structured data very seriously. According to this write up of the Semantic Technology Conference in San Francisco, rich snippets are now available in 40 languages, and enhanced snippet impressions have grown four fold globally since October 2009. Google are planning more support for more formats, such as video, local businesses and shopping in the near future. How exciting!
If you’d like to learn more about Microformats, Joost De Valk has an excellent tutorial on implementing hReview in WordPress. If you’ve got a spare 45 minutes or so, Joost and I recently discussed Microformats and their impact on SEO with Bas van den Beld on the State of Search show on WebmasterRadio.fm. Enjoy, and thanks for listening!
Aaron’s discussed content mills in his interview with Tedster yesterday.
What is a content mill?
A content mill is a site that publishes cheap content. The content is either user-contributed, paid, or a mix of the two. The term content mill is obviously pejorative, the implication being that the content is only published to pump content into search engines, and is typically of low value in terms of quality.
The problem is that some sites that publish cheap content may well provide value, but it depends who is reading it. For example, a forum might be considered a content mill, as it contains cheap, user-generated content of little value to a disinterested visitor, or a forum might be a valuable, regularly updated resource provided by a community of enthusiasts!
Depends who you ask.
As Aaron says, content mills are all the rage in 2010. Let’s take a closer look.
This idea is nothing new. It’s actually white-hat SEO strategy, and has been used for years.
If you can publish a page at a lower cost than your advertising return, then you simply repeat the process over and over, and you’re golden. Think Adsense, affiliate, and similar means to monetize pages. Take a look at Demand Media.
One of the problems with content mills is that in an attempt to drive the production cost of content below the predicted return, some site owners are producing garbage content, usually by facilitating free contributions from users.
At the low end, Q&A sites proliferate wherein people ask questions and a community of people with opinions, informed or otherwise, provide their two cents worth. Unfortunately, many of the answers are worth somewhat less than two cents, resulting in pages of little or no value to an end reader. I’m sure you’ve seen such pages, as such pages often rank well in search engines if they are published on a domain with sufficient authority.
Some sites, like Mahalo, not only automate their page creation, but the use that automated page to generate automate related question pages as well. The rabbit hole has no bottom!
At the other end of the spectrum, we have sites that publish higher-cost, well researched content sourced from paid writers. A traditional publishing model, in other words. Generally speaking, such pages are of higher value to end user, but the problem is that the search engines can’t appear to tell the difference between these pages and the junk opinion pages. If the content mill has sufficient authority, then the junk gets promoted.
And there are many examples in between, of course.
As Tedster mentioned, “the problem here is that every provider of freelance content is NOT providing junk – though some are. As far as I know, there is no current semantic processing that can sort out the two. It’s tough to see how this could be quickly and effectively reined in, at least not by algorithm. I assume that this kind of empty filler content is not very useful for visitors — it certainly isn’t for me. So I also assume it must be on Google’s radar.”.
I think Tedster is right – such sites will surely appear on Google’s radar, because junk, low value content doesn’t help their end users.
It must be a difficult problem to solve, else Google would have done so by now, but I think it’s reasonable to assume Google will try to relegate the lowest of the low-value content sites at some point. If you are following a content mill strategy, or considering starting one, it’s reasonable to prepare for such an eventuality.
The future, I suspect, is not to be a content mill, in the pejorative sense of the word. Aim for quality.
Arbitrary definitions of quality are difficult enough, as we’ve discussed above. Objective measurement is impossible, because what is relevant to one person may be irrelevant to the next. The field of IQ (information quality) may provide us some clues regarding Google’s approach. IQ is a form of research in systems information management that deals specifically with information quality.
Here are some of the metrics they use:
Any of this sound familiar? It should, as the search landscape is rife with this terminology. This is not to say Google look at all these aspects, but they have used similar concepts, starting with PageRank.
As conventional SEO wisdom goes, Google may have tried to solve the relevancy problem partly by focusing on authority, on the premise that a trusted authority must publish trusted content, so the pages of a domain with a high degree of authority receive a boost over those with lower authority levels. But this situation may not last, as some trusted sources, in terms of having authority, do, at times, publish auto-gen garbage content. Google may well start looking at composition metrics, if they aren’t doing so already.
This is speculation, of course.
I think a good rule of thumb, for the time being, should be “will this page pass human inspection?”. If it looks like junk to a human reviewer in terms of organization, and reads like junk in terms of composition, it probably is junk, and Google will likely feed such information back into their algorithms. Check out Google’s Quality Rater Document from 2007 which should give you a feel for Google’s editorial policy.SEO Book.com – Learn. Rank. Dominate.