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Google Responds To Impact Of Blocking CSS & JSS & Panda 4.0

Yesterday we covered some SEO theories around blocking JavaScript & CSS triggering Panda 4.0 issues. I didn’t honestly believe there was a relation, based on the example provided and very few other sites reporting the same effects but now we have a response from a Googler.

Well, maybe the response is a bit Google-like and cloudy.

One webmaster posted the theory on Google Webmaster Help and John Mueller responded to the specific case at hand, not necessarily Panda 4 and how it related to blocking CSS & JavaScript. But he did respond to the question about being hit by Panda and blocking content via external files.

John Mueller of Google wrote:

Allowing crawling of JavaScript and CSS makes it a lot easier for us to recognize your site’s content and to give your site the credit that it deserves for that content. For example, if you’re pulling in content via AJAX/JSON feeds, that would be invisible to us if you disallowed crawling of your JavaScript. Similarly, if you’re using CSS to handle a responsive design that works fantastically on smartphones, we wouldn’t be able to recognize that if the CSS were disallowed from crawling. This is why we make the recommendation to allow crawling of URLs that significantly affect the layout or content of a page. I’m not sure which JavaScript snippet you’re referring to, but it sounds like it’s not the kind that would be visible at all. If you’re seeing issues, they would be unrelated to that piece of JavaScript being blocked from crawling.

So is John saying that if you block content, then it may impact the Panda algorithm? Is he saying that? Or is he saying that the content that is blocked, Google can’t see anyway and it has no impact on Panda? Or maybe it may or may not have an impact on Panda because Panda is about content and maybe layout?

See how this can get confusing. What is your take?

June 2014 Product Update

This month in Google Analytics: a recap of the annual Google Analytics Summit, revamped Ecommerce reports, new integration of GA Premium and DoubleClick, tips on using our APIs and an intro to A/B testing for apps.

New Features
Google Analytics Summit 2014: What’s new for Analytics
A cheerful crowd of Google Analytics Certified Partners, Premium customers and developers joined us in May for our annual summit. We shared new features and some surprises on the horizon for Analytics. If you couldn’t make it, we’ve posted an overview of all the key topics, from new custom tables to Unified Channel Groupings. Read all about it.
Better data and better decisions with Enhanced Ecommerce
Enhanced Ecommerce for Google Analytics has launched in beta! It’s a complete revamp of our ecommerce analytics, designed to provide richer insights into shoppers’ pre-purchase behaviour and your own product performance. It includes tracking code updates (with full support for Google Tag Manager), data model changes and much more. Learn more.
Google Analytics Premium integrates with DoubleClick Digital Marketing
Top marketers rely on DoubleClick Digital Marketing to run sophisticated cross-channel ad campaigns that reach their customers every step of the way. Now this powerful platform is integrated with Google Analytics Premium to give users even better ways to see the full customer journey, so they can make the most of their marketing pounds across all channels and devices. Learn more.
Tips and Best Practices
Intro To Analytics APIs
Have you tried Analytics APIs? Google Analytics Certified Partner LunaMetrics has an intro for those who are new, with tips on how to use them to gain better insights. Learn more.
Learn About A/B Testing for Mobile Apps
Content Experiments, the new feature for mobile apps, is great news for any app developer. You can test, iterate and optimise in ways that just haven’t been possible before. Learn more.
Thanks for reading our monthly update. Don’t forget to share your thoughts with us through the feedback link below. Tell us what you want to see in future updates!
     Access Analytics     

Happy Analysing,
The Google Analytics Team

Google Announces Strong Q2 Earnings

It’s the end of Quarter Two and now it’s time for all the major companies to release their earnings. Google had a particularly strong Q2 that was propelled by their acquisition of Motorola Mobility and an increase in ad revenue.

“Google standalone had a strong quarter with 21% year-on-year revenue growth, and we launched a bunch of exciting new products at I/O – in particular the Nexus 7 tablet, which has received rave reviews,” said Larry Page, CEO of Google. “This quarter is also special because Motorola is now part of the Google family, and we’re excited about the potential to build great devices for users.”

Google reported $12.21 billion for Q2 which is a 35% increase over Q2 2011. Google’s GAAP operating income was $3.20 billion, or 26 percent of revenues. The company’s non-GAAP operating income for Q2 was $3.95 billion. GAAP net income in Q2 was $2.79 billion while non-GAAP net income was $3.35 billion.

As for individual revenues, Google pulled in $10.96 billion in advertising and other Google revenues in Q2, representing a 21 percent increase over Q2 from last year. Google-owned sites generated a respectable $7.54 billion in Q2 while Google’s partner sites generated $5.96 billion.

The foreign exchange hurt Google somewhat, but not as badly as others. The company notes that it would not have lost $68 million if foreign exchange rates stayed constant throughout the quarter. Revenues from the UK totaled $1.18 billion representing the same percentage of revenues that came from the UK in Q2 2011.

Paid clicks increased approximately 42 percent over the second quarter of 2011 and one percent increase over Q1 2012. Cost-per-click increased approximately 16 percent over Q2 2011 and one percent over Q1 2012.

Motorola revenues were $1.25 billion in Q2 with most of it coming from the mobile segment. The home segment still brought in a respectable $407 million.

Operating expenses were $4 billion in Q2 compared to $2.97 billion in Q2 2011. The percentage of revenues stayed the same across both quarters.

Google’s operating income as a whole was at $2.88 billion, but Motorola contributed an operating loss of $233 million.

Google has $43.1 billion in cash. The Motorola acquisition has added 20,000 more employees to the headcount, but Google itself lost a little over 1,000 employees since Q2 2011.

Google Updates Maps In Countries Across Europe, Asia, and Africa

Today (July 19, 2012), Google has announced updates to maps in nearly a dozen countries in three continents. The updates provide more overall detail, new additions like 3D buildings, and updates to existing features like ferry routes.

Here are the countries that received the updated maps:

Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lesotho, Macau, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore and Vatican City.

First up for these countries is more details. This means upgrades to coastline and body of water detail. Also, Google has labeled more important points like airports, schools, and public areas.

One of the more interesting improvements is to ferry routes, for example near Naples:

Google maps ferry routes portugal

From the Google Lat Long blog:

We’ve also added better and more clearly labelled ferry routes in many places, such as the area below surrounding Naples, Italy. Traveling by ferry is one of my favorite ways to explore a city—I love looking back from the water at the cityscapes—and this improvement will help you find the ferry routes you need to do the same. You can even use Google Maps to get transit-based directions for ferries. We take into account ferry timetables to route you over water just easily as you might follow our driving directions over land.

Finally, Google added more multilingual support for road names and changed the look of highways and local roads to make them more distinguishable from one another.

Yellow Ratings Stars in the Google SERPs (Search Results): How to Set Them Up

Suggestion 1: for WordPress Site

Google Rating Stars

Google Rating Stars are simply ratings on your website that are shown in search results. There are WordPress plugins that will make ratings widgets appear on your posts and pages and allow  users to rate or vote on your content.  This shows engagement on your site, and if you’re lucky, those ratings will get picked up by Google and other search engines.

Why should you care if stars show up in Google results?

Ratings that show up on Google will very likely increase your Click-Thru Rate (or CTR) within search results.  The stars that show up in the SERPs take up an extra line of space for your website and draw attention to the eye.  Which of the two results below are you more likely to click?

google rating stars example

Even if you only have one rating, it still makes an impact.   And a higher CTR means more visitors to your website and is seen as a positive sign to the search engines to help raise your search engine rank.

What program can I use to show rating stars in Google?

To display stars like the ones at the bottom of this post, I use the GD Star Rating plugin. I personally have setup the plugin to only show star ratings and exclude thumbs and comment ratings.  After installing, if you want to see how your ratings should appear in search results try out Google’s Rich Snippets Testing Tool.

The cool thing about GD Stars is the results are often picked up by Google.  Unfortunately, it has entirely too many settings.  So if you want to setup stars like mine, here are the settings I use (below are the only screens where I have changed the defaults):

GD Star Ratings - Settings-Features

GD Star Ratings - Settings-Articles

What if GD Stars does not work with W3 Cache?

I’ve installed GD Stars on two blogs and found it conflicts with W3 Cache (a caching plugin) on one blog even though the settings are identical.  On the blog where it doesn’t work, when a post loads, the GD Stars rating widget shows “loading…” indefinitely and never displays.  Note: if you are logged in to WordPress, the rating widget will appear fine to you but your visitors will see the error, so ask a friend to test for you.

I got around this by taking the following steps.  Please note that changing your caching settings incorrectly is an easy way to screw up your blog, so I must provide a disclaimer that I hold no responsibility should things go horribly wrong while you are tinkering with settings.

  1. In W3 Cache, on the General Settings tab, Minify section, change Minify mode from Auto to Manual.
    W3 Cache - Minify settings
  2. Then go to the Minify tab and the Advanced section.  Add /wp-content/plugins/gd-star-rating to Never minify the following pages.
    W3 Cache - Minify exclusion

Suggestion 1: for general Site

By now you are sure to have come across search results on Google which have a star rating review under the main link. This is an increasingly popular trick using rich snippets which people are using to draw extra attention to their listings.

Rich snippets are a system which allow the user to include extra information into their content which is readable by web bots, being one of the first steps being made towards creating a semantic web. Google have been accepting rich snippet information in three different formats; microdata, microformats and RDFa, however recently they have announced that they will be focusing on supporting the schema.org format, a standard set by Bing and Yahoo as well as Google, to avoid fragmentation of standards across different search engines.

Schema

Schema.org offers a library of syntax for you to add to your content, providing context for Google bots when indexing content. There is a wide range of syntax to choose from so you can be more specific about what topics your content is relevant to. It also absorbs the markups used in the old microdata, microformats and RDFa formats, so existing rich snippet data shouldn’t be affected at this point.

Product Reviews

The star system that you would have seen in the SERPs is typically down to Microdata being inserted into the content. Product rich snippets allow for a “review” tag to be used to generate the star rating. There are several pluggins for content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress and Joomla which make implementing rich snippet reviews far quicker and smoother, also allowing users to submit their own reviews. The number of reviews recorded will also be displayed, so similar search results which have similar or slightly lower star rating to other results and ratings around it are more likely to gain clicks due to the authority of having so many extra reviews, gaining the users trust more than the other results.

Snippet Spam

Google have recently updated their algorithm to penalise websites which have included their own fake rich snippet reviews. Through embedding rich snippets (usually using Microdata) into the website’s code it was easy to game the Google bots into thinking they were genuine reviews, however without a system that allows users to include their own ratings and reviews it is nothing more than spam, being treated as such with a long slide down the SERPs. You can now report pages you suspect are using fake reviews at Google’s own report spam in rich snippets page.

Check your Listings

To encourage people to start adding this extra data to their content Google have launched a rich snippet testing tool, so you can see exactly what is found by the Google bots and how it will be displayed in search listings.

So it looks like including rich snippets into your content would be a good move and adopting Schema early has the potential to pay dividends; just don’t try to game the system otherwise you may wind up paying the hefty Google penalty of search obscurity.

Below is Code:

<!--Rated Code Starts-->
<div typeof="v:Review-aggregate" xmlns:v="http://rdf.data-vocabulary.org/#" style="display:none;">
    <b>
  <span property="v:itemreviewed" style="display:none;"></span>
 </b>
   <span rel="v:rating" style="display:none;">
    <span typeof="v:Rating" style="display:none;">
     <b>
      <span property="v:average" style="display:none;">10</span>
      <span property="v:best" style="display:none;">10</span>
     </b>
    </span>
   </span>
   <b>
    <span property="v:votes" style="display:none;">99</span>
   </b>.
    <!-- <div id="voteindspan2"><img src="/img/1x1.gif" id="voteind2" height="10" width="100"></div> -->
    <b><span property="v:count" style="display:none;">99</span></b>.
</div>
<!--Rated Code Ends-->

What is the .htaccess File, and What Can I Do With It?

You may have been working on a website, or reading an article about web development, and heard about the .htaccess file, but wondered what it was, or what, if anything, you can do with it. This tutorial will tell you the basics about .htaccess, and show you a few ways you can use it on your website.

Before we go any farther, let’s explain what the .htaccess file is. htaccess is short for Hypertext Access, and is a configuration file used by Apache-based web servers that controls the directory that it “lives” in–as well as all the subdirectories underneath that directory.

Many times, if you have installed a Content Management System (CMS), such as Drupal, Joomla or WordPress, you likely encountered the .htaccess file. You may not have even had to edit it, but it was among the files that you uploaded to your web server. BTW, that’s its name, .htaccess–it begins with a period, and ends with “htaccess.” If you edit it, you need to make sure that it stays that way, and doesn’t end up with a .txt or .html extension.

Also note that some web hosts do not allow you to edit the .htaccess file–but even on most of those hosts, you can create your own .htaccess file and upload it to specific directories, and as discussed above, it will control those directories and subdirectories below it.

Some of the features of the .htaccess file include the ability to password protect folders, ban users or allow users using IP addresses, stop directory listings, redirect users to another page or directory automatically, create and use custom error pages, change the way files with certain extensions are utilized, or even use a different file as the index file by specifying the file extension or specific file.

Custom Error Pages for Better SEO

One use of the .htaccess file is to redirect users to a custom error page depending on the specific web server error they encounter. By using a custom error page, you can present them with a list of your site’s top articles, a sitemap with links to the various areas of your site, and it can include your site’s navigation system. It can also feature a FAQ, so folks who are looking for information on your site, but can’t find it, are able to narrow down the location of that information on your site without leaving, going back to the search engine, and more than likely not returning to your site.

It’s not difficult to use the .htaccess file to redirect users to a custom error page–but to do it you’ll need to know the proper error code. The most common ones you’ll use are:

  • 400 – Bad request
  • 401 – Authorization Required
  • 403 – Forbidden
  • 404 – File Not Found
  • 500 – Internal Server Error

To use .htaccess with these codes, first you’ll need to open up your favorite text editor, create a new document, and in that document, specify the error message that you’ll be redirecting like this:

ErrorDocument 404 /filenotfound.html

If you wanted to redirect users for another error, such as 500, Internal Server Error, you would do it like this (and so on):

ErrorDocument 500 /servererror.html

Then you’d just save the .htaccess file (remembering to check that it is saved just like that, without some additional extension), and upload it to your web host’s root directory (or whatever directory you are wanting to use it in).

Using a Different File as the Index File

By adding another “command” to the .htaccess file, you can use a different file as the main index file that folks see when they come to your site. In other words, when folks visit www.yoursite.com, usually they are presented with www.yoursite.com/index.html or www.yoursite.com/index.php–but often you have created a special page that you want to use as your site’s main page–and it isn’t any of the traditional pages. Or you may want to take advantage of the latest version of PHP…there are many reasons for needing to use a different file as the index file. Here’s how you would do it, with each type of file being next in line, if the others are not in the directory.

DirectoryIndex index.php3 index.php pictures.pl index.html default.htm

For instance, if there was no file named index.php3 in your directory, then the server would look for a file called index.php. If that file wasn’t present, it would look for one called pictures.pl, and so on. In our next article, we’ll look at other types of redirection, password protection and we’ll show you how to allow or deny users with specific IP addresses from accessing your site.

By Scott Clark

Windows 7’s Worst Features

Windows 7 fixed many of Vista’s ills, but it also introduced a few of its own.

There’s a lot to love about the Windows 7 operating system: it’s fast, it looks great, and it has some cool features–like Jump Lists for quickly opening recently used files, Homegroup for sharing files between computers, and Aero Snap to help you quickly organize your open desktop windows.

Windows 7 is addresses some of the problems that plagued its predecessor, Windows Vista, such as the Universal Access Control security system, the constant stream of notifications, and the lack of device drivers for printers and other peripherals.

Microsoft hasn’t solved all of those issues–in fact, getting Windows 7 drivers for some printers continues to be a struggle–but so far Windows 7 is a vast improvement over Vista, despite their underlying similarities.

That said, Windows 7 has downsides of its own. Some of the problems involve minor inefficiencies that grow annoying over time; others truly degrade the user experience through lack of functionality, poor organization, or an overabundance of choice. Here are the problem children of Windows 7–the faulty features I found in the Home Premium version of Microsoft’s latest OS.

When Clicking Isn’t Switching

If you’re looking for a good reason never to use Internet Explorer 8 in Windows 7, try this: Open multiple tabs in IE 8, and open a Microsoft Word document. Then click the IE icon in the taskbar, and…nothing happens. Instead of switching over to Internet Explorer as you’d expect it to, Windows 7 greets you with miniature pop-ups for every tab you’ve opened in IE and asks you to choose the one you’d like to go to.

Windows 7 Aero Peek; click for full-size image.Windows 7’s Aero Peek offers some helpful features, but also makes switching between programs with multiple windows harder to do quickly.This feature, called Aero Peek, is actually a nice idea, since you get to choose the tab you want to see. But we’ve been trained for years to expect to switch to a new program when we click on its icon in the taskbar, so why change the behavior now? In Windows 7, many Microsoft-made programs (including Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer 8, and Windows Live Messenger) use this feature. But since you can also activate Aero Peek by hovering over a taskbar icon instead of clicking it, a better solution for Windows 7 would be, hover to peek but click to switch.

The Automatic Switch

Thanks to another Aero Peek function, when you move your pointer over any of the small pop-ups, you suddenly find yourself in the new program–except that you aren’t really there. When you mouse over a pop-up, the corresponding application fills the screen, but when you move the pointer to go to the app the app disappears. The purpose of this feature is to enable you to quickly navigate to another program like IE, refer to something in the browser, and then jump back to where you were. But suppose that you’re in Microsoft Word and you jump over to IE 8 to check out a news item on CNN. As you read the article, you decide to click an accompanying video–but the moment you move your mouse, you’re back in Microsoft Word. That’s not helpful; it’s frustrating.

Windows 7 behaves similarly when you hover over ‘All programs’ in the Start Menu. Hover too long over ‘All programs’, and Windows 7 will switch to your full programs list instead of remaining in the primary Start Menu. Unfortunately, this little trick takes just under 2 seconds to pull off, which is too slow to be useful but just fast enough to be annoying.

Too Many Notifications

Windows 7 greatly improves on Vista by cutting down the number of system notification pop-ups that interrupt you during a Windows session–but there’s still room to cut down on the excess. For example, Windows 7 issues an “Information” notice when you plug headphones or speakers into your computer’s headphone jack. You can’t get a virus through a headphone jack, though, so why alert me to something so innocuous?

The most ridiculous alert I’ve encountered was an update telling me that Windows 7 was going to check for a system update at 3 a.m. Do I need to know this? Just do the update; and if you need my authorization to proceed, let me know when it’s time. My computer should work on my schedule, not interrupt me with details about its itinerary.

User Account Control

When it introduced UAC in Windows Vista, Microsoft hailed it as a significant step toward making Windows systems more secure. But most users detested UAC–in particular, the way it blanked out the screen and then repeatedly asked whether they really wanted to install something. Microsoft has made the UAC in Windows 7 dramatically better, with fewer screen blank outs (you can even turn them off) and alerts. Still, there must be a better way than UAC to handle security issues.

Windows Live an Essential Hassle

With Windows 7, Microsoft has removed some basic programs from the operating system and bundled them in a free download called Windows Live Essentials. Windows Live programs include Windows Live Mail (the successor to Outlook Express), Messenger, Movie Maker, Photo Gallery, Call, and Writer (a blogging tool). Microsoft says that it decided to make these programs available as a download, instead of including them with Windows 7, so that it could update the applications “without being tied to the OS upgrade cycle.”

The drawback of the Windows Live Essentials download is that it adds a step to the initial Windows 7 setup process. Given that Live Essentials are basic programs that most users will want to have at their fingertips, why not figure out a way to bundle them with new computers right out of the box?

Persistent Gadgets

I’ve never been a huge fan of gadgets, but they can be helpful for quickly checking a flight time or weather forecast. In Windows 7, you can put gadgets anywhere on your desktop; but just as in Vista, you don’t have an automatic hide option for gadgets. Instead, to make your gadgets disappear, you have to right-click your desktop, select View, and uncheck ‘Show desktop gadgets’.

Windows 7 Gadgets; click for full-size image.Gadgets can be helpful when you want quick access to things such as weather forecasts and flight times, but they lack an automatic hide option to keep your desktop tidy when you don’t need them.That’s not a very convenient procedure, so your gadgets are likely to remain visible on your desktop pretty much all the time. An automatic hide option that would enable you to make gadgets reappear with a keystroke would be a nice thing for users who value a clean desktop.

Complicated Themes

All I wanted to do was change my desktop background–not get new system sounds or a new color scheme or a new mouse pointer. In XP, adopting one of my own photos as my desktop background took just a few clicks; and even in Windows Vista, the process was pretty straightforward. But Windows 7′s themes take changing your desktop background to a new and unpleasant level of complication.

Themes in Windows 7 are predefined profiles that compile everything from your system sounds, screen savers, and windows colors in one place, where you can activate them with just one click. For the most part this is a great and highly customizable feature, but one of the things people are most likely to want to change is their desktop background. So why not make this basic act something you can do on the fly in just a few clicks, instead of the confusing rigmarole Windows 7 makes you go through now?

Vague Control Panel

The problem with the Control Panel started with Windows XP’s introduction of Classic View. In truth, there’s nothing classic about this view, and “Standard View” would be a more apt name for it. Though the Classic View in XP has a very practical organizational structure, Microsoft insisted on switching to a new default organization in Windows 7 called ‘Category.’

Supposedly, Category provides a simplified version of the Control Panel; but in reality it’s vague, confusing, and much harder to navigate. The display closest to the Control Panel’s old Classic View is called ‘Large icons’, and you select it in the ‘View by’ drop-down menu in the upper right corner of the Control Panel window.

The other trouble with the Control Panel is that, ever since Vista, some icons have acquired more-confusing names. The straightforward ‘Add or remove programs’, became ‘Programs and Features’, and ‘Accessibility Options’ became ‘Ease of Access Center’. Give me that old-time Windows 98 Control Panel any day.

Screenshots: Easy but Not Simple

Creating screen grabs, which I do every day, has always been a chore in Windows. Before Windows 7 you had to press Ctrl-Print Screen, open a program such as Windows Paint, paste the image into Paint, and then save it. You can still do this in Windows 7, but Microsoft has tried to make the screenshot process easier by introducing the Snipping Tool. To access this new application, clicking Start, Accessories, Snipping Tool.

Windows 7 Snipping Tool; click for full-size image.The Windows 7 Snipping Tool is the most efficient way yet to capture screenshots in Windows, but Mac OS X’s approach is simpler still.The Snipping Tool offers such options as a one-window snip, a full-screen snip, a rectangular snip that you frame yourself, and a free-form snip for tablet computers. You select the snip you want, the application performs the action, and then you save. But again, Windows 7 falls short by making the screen capture path unnecessarily difficult.

In contrast, Mac OS X gives you two basic choices for screen grabs: Command-Shift-3 takes a shot of the whole screen; and Command-Shift-4 lets you frame your own shot. Screenshots in OS X are saved directly to your desktop as a Portable Network Graphic file (.png). Like the Snipping Tool, Mac OS X offers various other screenshot options, but in OS X the variations use keyboard shortcuts and don’t require you to open any applications. Microsoft should create a similarly easy method for capturing screenshots.

Tip: To make screen grabs a little easier, create a keyboard shortcut to the Snipping Tool. Click Start, Accessories, and right-click Snipping Tool, Properties. Move your cursor into the Shortcut tab’s entry box, enter s (or any other keystroke), and click apply. From now on, whenever you type Ctrl-Alt-s, the Snipping Tool should open up.

Elusive ‘My Documents’ Folder

Wondering what happened to your old ‘My Documents’ folder (from Windows XP) in Windows 7? In a practical sense, My Documents has become ‘Documents’–but that description isn’t quite accurate. Actually, Windows 7 introduced a new file hierarchy called Libraries that differs from the file systems in previous versions of Windows. As a result of this change, the My Documents folder rarely appears in the main section of Windows Explorer in Windows 7. Instead, it sits in the side panel on the left under Libraries, Documents, My Documents, but it almost never appears in the main window.

The new arrangement is helpful in that you can see the My Documents subfolders right away; it also reduces the number of clicks needed to get to the folder’s contents. But the new hierarchy provides what appear to be two places to save a document, though in fact you end up in the same location either way you do it.

To illustrate this, save a file to My Documents in Windows 7: Select Libraries, Documents, My Documents; once your document is saved, right-click the file and select Properties. Under ‘Location’ you should see something like ‘C:\ Users\USERNAME\Documents’. But didn’t you save that file directly to the ‘My Documents’ folder? So shouldn’t it be ‘C:\Users\USERNAME\Documents\MyDocuments’?

If you use the left navigation pane in Windows 7 to get to My Documents, you’ll still see your file listed as part of the My Documents folder, but you’ll also see it standing alone in the Documents view one level up. So Windows 7 appears to the user to maintain two different navigation structures for getting to the same file: Libraries, Documents, My Documents, FILENAME, and Libraries, Documents, FILENAME.

It may be a great way to organize your files, but I find it redundant. Windows 7 should either discard the My Documents folder or embrace it; the OS shouldn’t try to do both at the same time.

The Exclusivity of Homegroups

Homegroup in Windows 7 lets you easily share documents, music, pictures, and videos between different computers at home. It’s a great feature, except that it only works with Windows 7 computers. It’s a shame that Microsoft hasn’t brought this functionality to computers running Windows Vista. You can still share files between Vista and Windows 7 PCs through Windows Media Player, or you can set up a home network the old-fashioned way under Network Settings. But I wish that Microsoft had brought Homegroup to Windows Vista–and enabled Homegroup to share with Mac OS X computers, too.

For the most part, Windows 7 is an excellent operating system that includes an array of great new features as well as some basic improvements on its predecessors. I’ve never seen Windows interact so seamlessly with peripheral USB devices, for example; and monitoring your default and startup programs in the new OS is remarkably easy. But if Microsoft tweaked a few more things in Windows 7, the experience would be nearly perfect.

news source – pcworld.com

Article Submission & Article Distribution Sites

Article Submission Sites

This Page is republished with permission from ArticlePR.com, its original source, and with our sincere thanks to Glenn Murray from ArticlePR and DivineWrite.com for the tremendous effort he put into producing this information.

Add a site or report a broken link – This list is maintained manually, so we’d really appreciate it if you could point out any broken links or links that point to questionable sites. Also, if you know of an article submission site or article distribution list that isn’t listed here, we’d love to hear about it. Please Contact Us, and we will update our page and also pass on the info to ArticlePR.com.

List of Article Submission Sites & Article Distribution Lists

The following table contains several hundred article submission sites and article distribution lists. These are ALL the sites I’ve used to achieve my top ranking (for divinewrite.com).

Jump to:

Article Submission Sites

Article Distribution Lists


Article Submission Sites

Article submission sites are websites that act as ‘article banks’. They allow authors of articles to post their articles on the site for free, and they allow webmasters who need content to copy those articles for free (in exchange for a link to the author’s website).

TIP:

I’ve tried to order the article submission sites by their Alexa ranking, with the most popular at the top. This way, if you don’t get to the bottom of the list, you’ve still managed to submit your article to the most popular article submission sites (giving it more exposure).

Site HTML Allowed in Byline? (Y/N) Login Required (Y/N) Notes
Digg ? Y NA
Ezine Articles Y Y See their editorial guidelines, but specifically DO NOT USE Paragraph or Break tags. Instead, use normal paragraph breaks in Word. No more than 3 self-serving links.
Go Articles Y Y Max 15,000 characters.
Content Desk Y Y NA
Article City N N NA
Article Dashboard Y Y NA
Articlesbase ? Y NA
Idea Marketers Y Y Max 14,000 characters INCLUDING BIO.
Article Alley Y Y Interprets Word’s paragraph markers as HTML Paragraph tags so if you have both those and actual Paragraph tags, you’ll get double paragraph spacing. Same network as A1 articles. Articles are automatically published there.
Excellent Guide ? N NA
Valuable Content Y N – uses WYSIWYG Do NOT change ‘Start Date’, ‘End Date’, or ‘Article Type’. Do NOT select ‘Don’t Auto Format’ under ‘Headline Summary’.
Home Business Webmaster Tips N N NA
Article OnRamp Y Y NA
InfoPool Y Y Article Title: Title length must be between 4 to 100 characters. Your title must be relevant to your article and may not contain contact information, your name, business name, and any website name or otherwise. Article title must not be stuff with keywords. Titles must NOT be written in all CAPS. The first letter of each word must be capitalized, excluding common words (optional) like ‘the, and, are’ unless it is the first word of your title.

Article Summary: Article summery is a required field and must have minimum 20 characters and maximum 150 characters. Article summery should be relevant to your article.

Article Body: Articles must be 350 words minimum not including the summary or author’s bio. DO NOT include any HTML tag or hyperlink in the body of your article. Article submitted with hyperlink in the body will be rejected immediately (use about author box to display hyperlinks). We strongly recommend that you copy and paste articles from a basic text editor like notepad.

About Author: Up to 300 characters or roughly 40 words. Maximum two hyperlinks are allowed per “About Box” (Affiliate links are not allowed). You must include the necessary HTML tags to make any link included here active; simply placing http://www.yoursite.com in the text will not generate a live link. The About box can be used for biographical and copyright information as well as linking to relevant websites.

SimplySearch4It Y N 500 – 8000 words.
I-Snare Y Y NA
Free Content Y N NA
Article Hub N N Append bio to article end.
Ezine Finder N Y NA
Amazines Y Y NA
ReprintArticles N N NA
Business Highlight Y Y NA
Home Highlight Y Y NA
LinkSnoop N N 350 – 1000 words including bio.
Click-Partners Y Y No smart quotes (i.e. the fancy ones that Word sometimes creates) and don’t use HTML equivalent. Just use text quotes.
Morgan Article Archive N N NA
Xongoo N N NA
Oqey N N NA
Article Avenue Y Y NA
WebSition Y Y NA
Connection Team ? N Just list url of the page where your article appears on your website.
Article Blast ? Y NA
Business Tool Chest N N NA
WorkAtHomeArticles N Y NA
ArticlesHaven N N You can only put a link that goes to a top level domain or directory. We do not allow linking to specific pages. This is to prevent link spamming and affiliate linking.
ArticleDepot N N NA
ExpertArticles ? Y NA
Business Clique Y Y NA
Article Point N N NA
USWebPros N N NA
How-It-Works ? ? NA
What Say N Y NA
Money Making Parents Y N NA
Content-Articles Y Y NA
Live Articles ? ? NA
The Whir ? ? NA
Marketing Seek ? ? Can format fully or copy & paste from MS Word. You must send a picture with your article.
Free Spirit ? ? NA
SearchImport ? Y Must include reprint guidelines in order for it to be considered a free reprint article.
ArticleWorld ? ? NA
Free-Articles-Zone ? Y NA
Article99 ? Y NA
ActiveAuthors ? Y NA
ArticlePros ? N NA
Free-Articles-Zone ? Y NA
The Self Improvement Site ? ? NA
Article Content King N Y NA
Article Sphere ? ? NA
Good Morning Planet Earth ? Y NA
Article Street ? Y NA
Articles Beyond Better ? Y NA
Article Treasure ? ? NA
Article Destination ? ? NA
Articles4Free ? ? NA
Articles-Hub ? Y NA
Article Pro ? Y NA
ArticleXtra ? Y NA
Work At Home Business Website ? Y NA
ArticleMS ? Y NA
All Over Essays ? N 1 on topic link allowed in article
Articles Book ? Y NA
Qwik Ezine ? Y NA
GoArticle.net ? N NA
Smash Articles Y N NA
Copy & Paste Articles Y N NA
Go-See.Info Y Y Use the resource box for linking back to your site – Articles submitted will not be approved if they contain links in the body belonging to the author. Please use the resource box to link back to your site. Please limit resource box links to 3 or fewer – Articles containing more than 3 links in the resource box will not be approved. Articles must be spellchecked and proof read for grammatical errors prior to submitting – Do not submit articles filled with spelling errors and bad grammar. We do monitor article submissions and we will reject content that doesn’t meet this requirement.
TNT Articles Y Y NA
Topic Planet Y Y Quite detailed guidelines.
My Free Article Central Y Y Quite detailed guidelines.
Live Article Directory Y Y NA
ArticlePower.org Y Y Article Title: maximum 150 characters. Article Body: maximum of 15,000 characters or roughly 5,000 words. Author Bio: 400 characters or roughly 60 words. We strongly recommend that authors submitting to ArticlePower.org copy and paste articles from a basic text editor like Notepad or TextEdit. Following this suggestion will ensure that paragraph breaks, line length and other basic formatting will be properly handled by our submission form. Copying and pasting content from applications like MS Word can and does result in a variety of formatting problems. The reason for this is that MS Word and similar applications use non-ASCII, sometimes invisible, characters that are copied with article content into our submission form, causing articles to appear very differently from the way they were submitted. Keeping the above in mind, it is not necessary for authors to use html tags for specifying font size or to create paragraph and line breaks. Use of HTML should be minimal and we suggest html tags only be used for creating live links to sites, services or products. Our submission process does not automatically create activated links. You must do this.
Smartfinds Article Directory Y Y Use the resource box for linking back to your site – Articles submitted will not be approved if they contain links in the body belonging to the author. Please use the resource box to link back to your site. Please limit resource box links to 3 or fewer – Articles containing more than 3 links in the resource box will not be approved. Articles must be spellchecked and proof read for grammatical errors prior to submitting – Do not submit articles filled with spelling errors and bad grammar. We do monitor article submissions and we will reject content that doesn’t meet this requirement.
Worthy Articles Y Y No links in the article body are welcome as well. Please use the resource box to link back to your site. Articles containing more than 3 links in the resource box will not be approved.

Article Distribution Lists

Article distribution lists serve a similar function to article submission sites – they just operate differently. Instead of visiting the site and posting your article, you simply email your article to the group, and all members automatically receive it (assuming they’re subscribed to received emails). Most article distribution groups are Yahoo groups.

This list is not ordered by popularity; it is alphabetized.

TIP:

Each article distribution list / group will have its own conditions and formatting requirements, but this Article Template for Article Distribution Groups will be suitable for most.

IMPORTANT: Before you can email your article to a group, you MUST:

  1. have a Yahoo Group membership (or Google, MSN, Topica, etc.)
  2. be signed in to Yahoo Groups (or Google Groups, etc.)
  3. be a member of the group
  4. in most cases, subscribe to receive the group’s email
Site (Home) Type Email articles to Notes
aidphelp Yahoo Click to email NA
Allergy-Asthma-Info Yahoo Click to email NA
AllThingsPondered Yahoo Click to email NA
Announce_It_Write Yahoo Click to email NA
AP-Shorts Yahoo Click to email NA
Article Announce Writer & Publisher Exchange Yahoo Click to email In addition do not post more than one article per group per day. If more than one article is posted within a 24-hour period, it will be deleted without notice. Press releases may be posted to the groups only if they are formatted as a press release and follow the submission guidelines.
Article Announce Home Yahoo Click to email NA
Article Announce Health Yahoo Click to email NA
Article Announce Business Yahoo Click to email NA
Article Announce General Yahoo Click to email NA
Article Announce Internet Yahoo Click to email NA
Articles4You2Use4Promotion Yahoo Click to email NA
Article_Announce_List Yahoo Click to email NA
ArticleAnnouncer Yahoo Click to email NA
Article_Archives Yahoo Click to email NA
Article-Distribution Yahoo Click to email NA
ArticleExchange Yahoo Click to email NA
Article-Free Yahoo Click to email NA
Article-Group Yahoo Click to email NA
ArticleSubmission Yahoo Click to email NA
articles-about-promotion-articles Yahoo Click to email NA
articles-concerning-google-adwords Yahoo Click to email NA
Articles-Network Yahoo Click to email NA
ArticlePublish Yahoo Click to email NA
ArticlePublisher Yahoo Click to email NA
AstroClubNewsletters Yahoo Click to email NA
automotive_content Yahoo Click to email NA
BachAndHandelResearchResources Yahoo Click to email NA
BizEzyGuide Yahoo Click to email NA
bookreviews-fiction Yahoo Click to email NA
bookreviews-nonfiction Yahoo Click to email NA
BusinessArticles Yahoo Click to email NA
Christian_Articles Yahoo Click to email Post only the preview and bio incl an email address. Interested editors will then contact you for the entire piece.
Christian_Content_For_Reprint Yahoo Click to email NA
computer_tips_4_reprint Yahoo Click to email NA
content-4-the-holidays Yahoo Click to email NA
content-about-communities Yahoo Click to email NA
copywriting_help Yahoo Click to email NA
dating-tips-and-articles Yahoo Click to email NA
diabetic-articles Yahoo Click to email NA
Edipity Yahoo Click to email NA
EditorsReview Yahoo Click to email NA
E_A_A Yahoo Click to email NA
electronics_articleblaster Yahoo Click to email NA
employment-hunting-tips Yahoo Click to email NA
ePub Yahoo Click to email NA
ExCHANGE-board Yahoo Click to email When you subscribe, you’ll be asked to submit a bio, end-of-article blurb, by-line and a your first article to: ExCHANGE-board-owner@yahoogroups.com. Once approved, you will receive further information on how to post your articles directly to the group.
EzineZone Yahoo Click to email NA
family_articles Yahoo Click to email NA
family-by-design-articles Yahoo Click to email NA
filler_content Yahoo Click to email NA
FreeAnnouncements-Ebooks Yahoo Click to email NA
Free-automotive-articles Yahoo Click to email NA
Free-business-articles Yahoo Click to email NA
Free-Content Yahoo Click to email NA
FreeContentArticles Yahoo Click to email NA
FreeContent4WAHMS Yahoo Click to email NA
FreeContentForWAHMS Yahoo Click to email NA
Free-dating-articles Yahoo Click to email NA
Free_eContent Yahoo Click to email NA
FreeEzineArticles Yahoo Click to email NA
Free-Ezine-Content Yahoo Click to email NA
Free_gardening_articles Yahoo Click to email NA
Free_Health_Articles_for_Reprint Yahoo Click to email NA
Free_internet_articles Yahoo Click to email NA
free_medical_business_articles Yahoo Click to email NA
free_parenting_articles Yahoo Click to email NA
Free-Pet-Content Yahoo Click to email NA
free_political_articles Yahoo Click to email NA
Free_real_estate_articles Yahoo Click to email NA
free-reports-and-articles Yahoo Click to email NA
Free-Reprint-Articles Yahoo Click to email NA
Free-Reprint_Recipes Yahoo Click to email NA
FreeReprintables Yahoo Click to email NA
Free_Sports_Articles Yahoo Click to email NA
Free_travel_articles Yahoo Click to email NA
freE-zinecontent Yahoo Click to email NA
Freelance_Promotion Yahoo Click to email NA
FreeWrites Yahoo Click to email NA
freezinecontent Yahoo Click to email NA
GH-ContentAnnounce Yahoo Click to email NA
Health-And-Wellness-Articles Yahoo Click to email NA
Health-Articles Yahoo Click to email NA
Helping-Our-Kids-Succeed Yahoo Click to email NA
Historical-Reprint-Content Yahoo Click to email NA
HolidayArticles Yahoo Click to email NA
Home_and_garden_content Yahoo Click to email NA
Home-Improvement-Articles Yahoo Click to email NA
humor-articles-and-jokes-4-reprint Yahoo Click to email NA
internet_marketing_articleblaster Yahoo Click to email NA
I_Need_Content Yahoo Click to email NA
Inspiration-Articles Yahoo Click to email NA
jewelry-reprint-articles Yahoo Click to email NA
JustArticles Yahoo Click to email NA
MarketingArticles Yahoo Click to email NA
mba-crm-erp-cio-pm-it-free-articles Yahoo Click to email NA
med-content Yahoo Click to email NA
Nature-Reprints Yahoo Click to email NA
netwrite-publish-announce Yahoo Click to email NA
OnlyWritingArticles Yahoo Click to email NA
Parenting-Articles Yahoo Click to email NA
PNewsletterFreeArticles Yahoo Click to email NA
Political-Thoughts Yahoo Click to email NA
ppcse-reprint-articles Yahoo Click to email NA
PromoteYourArticle Yahoo Click to email You may submit only one article per day. You must be the author of any Article that you post to this list.
PublishYourArticle Yahoo Click to email NA
Publisher_Network Yahoo Click to email NA
pyabusiness Yahoo Click to email NA
pyahealth Yahoo Click to email NA
QC_Reprint_Articles Yahoo Click to email NA
ReadMyArticles Yahoo Click to email NA
realty-web-content Yahoo Click to email NA
realworld-advertising-articles Yahoo Click to email NA
Relationship-Advice-Content Yahoo Click to email NA
ReprintArticles Yahoo Click to email NA
ReprintArticles-Paradise Yahoo Click to email NA
ReprintedArticles Yahoo Click to email NA
SelfCareArticles Yahoo Click to email NA
Self-Improvement-Reprint-Articles Yahoo Click to email NA
SpiderSuccess Yahoo Click to email NA
spirituality_article_publisher Yahoo Click to email NA
sports-health-medicine-articles Yahoo Click to email NA
stormpay_articles Yahoo Click to email NA
SubmitYourArticle Yahoo Click to email NA
The-Article-Depot Yahoo Click to email You may post one (1) article or report per day (until further notice).
the-business-of-medicine Yahoo Click to email NA
TheWriteArticles Yahoo Click to email NA
UseMyArticles Yahoo Click to email NA
video-production-articles Yahoo Click to email NA
Webmaster-article-corner Yahoo Click to email NA
WriteAnnounce Yahoo Click to email NA
WriteQualityContent Yahoo Click to email NA
WritersContent Yahoo Click to email NA
1st-Article-Group Google Click to email NA
Article Google Click to email NA
Article-Distribution Google Click to email NA
Content Discussion Group / FreeContent Google Click to email NA
Free-Content Google Click to email NA
Free Online Reprint Articles Google Click to email NA
Free-Reprint-Articles Google Click to email NA
Quality Content Google Click to email NA
Real Estate Information Google Click to email NA
Relaxation Google Click to email NA
Reprint Articles for Ezines and Websites Google Click to email NA
Free-Reprint-Articles MSN Click to email NA
Free website content MSN Click to email NA
The E-Zine Article Exchange MSN Click to email NA
Articles Only SmartGroups Click to email NA
Free Reprint Articles SmartGroups Click to email NA
ArticleReview Topica Click to email NA
Click for Content Topica Click to email NA
Free_Articles Topica Click to email NA
FreeEzineContent Topica Click to email NA
Free-Reprint_Articles Topica Click to email NA
New_PhantomArticles Topica Click to email NA
Reprint-Articles Topica Click to email NA
Article PR – More links, less time.

For comprehensive Search Engine Marketing, contact Alkemi – Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Consultants and Internet Marketing Agency

Data Center Chief Mike Manos Quits Digital Realty Trust

Mike Manos, an influential figure in data center design and construction, has resigned from wholesale data center provider Digital Realty Trust after less than a year at the company, Digital Realty said on Friday.

Digital Realty designs, builds and manages large data centers for third parties, including collocation providers and hosting companies. It is one of the biggest providers of such services worldwide.

The company hired Manos last April as senior vice president of technical services, where he oversaw design, construction and technical operations for Digital Realty’s data centers worldwide. Before that, he ran Microsoft’s Data Center Services division.

Manos said via e-mail that he planned to announce his next move on Sunday. “The next chapter of my career brings me back in closer alignment with what I did for Microsoft,” he wrote.

“I remain firm in my endorsement of Digital Realty Trust and hope that my involvement has helped to move the company forward,” he was quoted as saying in a statement from Digital Realty.

Digital Realty said, “We understand that this was a difficult, personal decision for him and we wish him the very best in his future endeavors.”

Manos has been a champion of containerized data centers like those being used on a large scale at Microsoft’s new data center in Chicago. Containerized data centers pack servers and other compute gear into shipping containers, and they can help companies boost energy efficiency or delay the need to construct new data centers.

Manos is also a frequent speaker at industry conferences on energy efficiency and other data center topics. He is also a proponent of building data centers in a more modular, standardized way, where mechanical and electrical components are designed and can then be reused in a “cookie-cutter” fashion.

Digital Realty said Dave Caron, senior vice president for portfolio management, will oversee technical operations, and Jim Smith, chief technology officer, will oversee design and construction on an interim basis, both effective Feb. 1.

Why Amazon Must Now Focus on E-Book Sales

If Amazon stakes its future on Kindle hardware instead of cross-platform e-book sales, it’s in for a world of hurt from Apple’s iPad.

Apple’s upcoming iPad includes the iBooks app, which combines e-book reader software with an iTunes-like service for selling books. I was somewhat surprised by iBooks. I had just assumed that Apple was going to let existing e-book distributors like Amazon.com and FictionWise install apps on the iPad and sell books that way. But I should not have been surprised. Why wouldn’t Apple want to have its own e-book store?

The iPad is likely to suck the oxygen from e-book hardware sales. Given a choice between an e-book reader and a device that does e-books and dozens of other things, consumers will likely choose the more useful device.

Novelist Charles Stross thinks the Kindle is in trouble.

“And this thing is going to slaughter the Kindle and most of the other ebook readers on the market, even without Apple coming up with a better business model for the publishers. With Penguin, Hachette, Macmillan, Simon and Schuster and HarperCollins on board, they’ve just about aced the main US trade publishers — remains to be seen how smaller outfits plug into the platform, but at this point Amazon have a struggle on their hands. As iBook reads ePub format files it may be possible to add free content to it. Maybe.”

Whether this is a win or loss for Amazon depends on how Amazon plays it from here out. The Amazon Kindle software already runs on the iPhone, and it will therefore run on the iPad. With the introduction of the iPad, the market for e-books is going to explode.

If Amazon stakes its future on the Kindle hardware, it’s in for a world of hurt. But if it builds a business on cross-platform e-book sales, then Amazon will prosper.

Not everyone agrees that the iPad will be fatal to the Kindle. Brad Stone of the New York Times argues that the iPad is not a Kindle-killer:

“The Kindle is for book lovers, and the iPad is not.

“Sure, the Kindle’s potential market may have shrunk today, since the two-books-a-year folks will now opt for the more versatile iPad.

“But the Kindle (and other devices with E Ink screens) will continue to be the best device for lovers of long-form reading, period. (And they do love it; check the Kindle forums for the passion of Kindle owners.) The iPad’s backlit screen, higher price and more limited battery all make it a poorer choice for curling up with a novel.

“Also, there’s the distraction factor. When you read a book, you just don’t want to have e-mail, Twitter and the ESPN Web site beckoning from the browser. The absence of those services on the Kindle — sure, it’s also a flaw — actually make it better for focused leisure reading.”

I’m a book-lover, and I disagree with Stone. I don’t think there are enough people who agree with him to sustain e-book reader sales.

And there’s one way the iPad is great for writers, readers and publishers: The iBooks store will provide an e-book alternative to Amazon’s growing monopoly.

As an added bonus feature, iBooks supports the ePub standard for e-books. Macworld’s Dan Frakes explains the significance of ePub support:

“Adopted by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) as an open-standards-based format for digital books, ePub allows publishers to create books in a single format for distribution to various e-book resellers and for use on any device that supports ePub. With more and more publishers and hardware vendors adopting the ePub standard, this news means it will be easier for publishers—big and small—to make their e-books available for the iPad and other e-readers.

“(Questions still remain, however: Will Apple apply FairPlay copy protection to books you purchase through the iBookstore? Will you be able to import unprotected ePub documents into the iBooks app? We’ll be working on the answers to these questions going forward.)”