Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Key Points from Matt Cutt's Presentation at WordCamp San Francisco 2009

Those of you who do not know about WordCamp, here is a brief intro about it. WordCamp is a conference that focuses on everything WordPress. WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users. Everyone from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas, and get to know each other. WordCamps are open to WordPress.com and WordPress.org users alike. Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress and Automattic takes the entire initiative to make event successful.

This year at WordCamp San Francisco 2009, Matt Cutts gave a very nice little presentation on how to blog, how to rank your website and what are other factors that one should consider while designing or managing your own website or blog. Given below are some of the key points based on his nice presentation:
  1. He explained why people actually blog. He said that people have different intentions of blogging like some do it for fame, some do it for access, attention, money and rankings. It is upto you how you want to utilize your blog. The whole idea of blogging is to put up something online that you are interested in or rather say you are in love with it. At the same time, you want your reader to read, add it to their favorites (Google Reader), give you a natural link from their own blog as well as want them to come back in the near future to read more. If possible try to write often and do not do overdo anything that might hurt your rankings.
  2. He also made us understand how to use WordPress as an effective tool to build a blog. He explained how to utilize various free WordPress plugins and utilize them to make your blog search engine friendly. He ensured that we should keep our WordPress and web server regularly updated so that we are always at par with other regular bloggers and do not miss out something that is useful for us. Using WordPress is a great choice to start your blog as it helps you to do better in Google since WordPress takes care of 80-90% of search engine optimization, which you don't have to do yourself.
  3. He shared with us a list of WordPress plugins that he uses and recommended them to us. Plugins like "Cookies for Comments" to prevent spam, "Enforce WWW. Preference" to set your preferences for your blog url with "www" or without "www", "FeedBurner FeedSmith" that detects all ways to access your feed so that you can track every possible subscriber, and many more were discussed.
  4. Google crawl depends in descending order of Page Rank. So if your website has a high PR (Page Rank), then there is every possibility that your website will be identified faster, crawl rate will increase, spider will go deep inside your website, and more often spider will visit your website to check whether your content has been refreshed or not. And in order to attain a high PR, you need good quality links pointing to your website. So it's the quality of links that does matter instead of quantity.
  5. Google Rank pages based on relevancy and reputation. So to rank for a particular query, your webpage should be relevant to it as well as it should have some decent number of quality links pointing to it. For example, Matt Cutts is not ranking high for the keyword "matt". He is ranking at position 8 whereas Matt Mullenweg is ranking 3rd for the same keyword.
  6. In order to gain your blog reputation, write something unique i.e. interesting, provide some great information, do some original research or reporting. All this will allow people reading those stuff, to give you a link from their blog or website naturally. In a nutshell, he asked us to start on a small niche that we are interested in and gradually cover bigger niches. He explained a very nice philosophy known as Katamari Philosophy.
  7. While choosing keywords, you should ideally think of all the keywords/keyphrases that one might think of it and try to include it naturally to fit into your blog posts or in you webpage content.
  8. It is always better to put in keywords in the your blog post url path instead of characters or numbers that have no significance in terms of ranking. If possible always opt of good keywords in categories also. Always use hyphen as a word separator instead of underscore as it works better in terms of ranking. Avoid totally using spaces in your url path.
  9. In case you are running Adsense for your blog/website and want Google to display ads relevant to your website/blog content, then it is always better to put up this 2 line of code (given below) in your content relevancy to which you want the ad to be displayed. Doing so the ad will be more targeted, people will be clicking more on the ads and in return you will make some descent amount of money.

    < ! -- google_ad_section_start -- >

    < ! -- google_ad_section_end -- >
  10. Use Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics to understand the search engine spider as well as the user behaviour and based on that make some effective changes. Avoid shortcuts, scams and paid posts.
  11. Add .htaccess in /wp-admin to protect your blog from hackers. You can specify the IP Addresses you want to give access in the .htaccess file.

Given below is the entire video of that presentation in case you are interested in watching it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Journey Begins at Lexmark International

Last 2 months, I had a tough time as I had made up my mind to change my current job. I have also decided to spend more time in blogging as you might have seen that I am not so fond of updating my blog on regular basis. So, I thought of giving it a shot once I get selected in a new company.

I started updating my CV on all the popular job sites like naukri.com, monsterindia.com and thetimesjobs.com. While doing so I ended up looking into 3 job posts that really gave me some hope that I might get selected if things go well. One was a job ad from HP (Hewlett Packard) and the other two was from Lexmark International and TCS (Tata Consultancy Services). All 3 of them are looking for Web Analytics Specialist. Without giving a second thought, I ended up applying to all 3 of them. (So, guys who are into SEO World and think that all the big daddy's are not into Web Marketing, then you are wrong. So gear up and look for the right opportunity.)

Lexmark InternationalFinally after a week or so, I started getting calls both from HP and Lexmark. I did clear first round of interview at both the companies. But after second round of interview, I did not hear anything back from HP :( . But I did manage to clear Lexmark interview and I was asked to come to their office for the 3rd and 4th round. And after successfully clearing all the interviews, I have been selected as a Global Web Analytics Specialist (cheers :)).

I was a bit excited and I am still excited to think that I am now associated with a big brand. I always wanted to work for a big company which I eventually managed to do it. And the bonus point is that I don't have to relocate to some other state as the posting is in Kolkata itself. Also it takes only 20-25 minutes drive from my home to reach my new office which is located at DLF Building, Rajarhat.

While writing this post, I will be completing my 1st week at Lexmark. I had a wonderful 1st week out here. I met here with my old friends who are an employee of Lexmark now, as well as came across some fine colleagues who are very very helpful. I am happy as well as confident that I will be able to learn something new and will try to deliver some outstanding work.

As I started blogging again, I will ensure that I do that on regular basis and keep writing posts on various topics (of course SEO being the first choice). So see you soon with a new post.

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