Tag Archives: SEM

Get New IP for Fresh Results

These days it seems like everyone online is trying to track you. The big names like Facebook and Google grab all the attention, but the reality is that almost every company online is interested in where you have been and where you are going. This tracking can interfere with online research where results are “personalized” or where services block you if too much activity comes from your computer’s IP address.

Private Browser Settings graphicThe most common way to track users is with cookies. Cookies are small files stored within your browser that can store things like your account information so that you don’t have to keep logging in to your account. However, websites do much more than just what helps YOU with your cookies. Deleting your cookies helps to protect your privacy.

Unfortunately, there are some websites you would rather keep the cookies on your computer. For example, most banking sites require you to answer an additional security question whenever your logon from an unregistered computer. By answering the question and then registering the computer as one of the ones that you authorize for access, you can keep from having to answer the extra question each time you login. However, that registration is stored as a cookie on your computer, so if you delete all of your cookies, then you delete your registration as well. It’s also a pain to remember to constantly delete your cookies.

Fortunately, there is an easy solution for Google Chrome users. The Vanilla Cookie Manager extension for Chrome allows you to set up a whitelist of protected cookies. Everything else is deleted when you start (or shutdown, depending upon how you configure it) Chrome. That way, you can log into Facebook, for example, and stay logged in as long as Chrome is open. Once you close Chrome, your Facebook cookie is hammered and won’t come back until you log in again. That means, no more Facebook Open Graph following you around as you read your news, update your blogs, or whatever. With your bank registration cookies, you can mark them as whitelisted and they will not get deleted.

Read my latest Credit Check Total review at Finance Gourmet.

It’s the best of both worlds. Your tracking cookies get deleted regularly (rendering them useless) automatically, but the cookies you actually want to keep are kept safe and sound.

Deleting Tracking Cookies is Not Enough

As it turns out, some companies just don’t want to take no for an answer. Even if you delete your cookies, they will still track you and log information about you based on your IP address. Then, they will match up your cookies and IP address and still get a pretty good picture of what you are doing whether your delete your cookies or not.

To get around this, you can take advantage of a wrinkle in the way most internet service providers work. Back in the day, getting a fixed IP address was a big deal. You can’t host your own website without one, for example, and there were only so many addresses available. These days, most ISPs use IPv6, which has plenty of available addresses, but it still is a pain to manage fixed addresses. Besides, they have gotten used to charging extra for a fixed IP.

That means that most internet service that is either DSL or cable internet does not have a fixed IP address. Instead, IP addresses are assigned dynamically. You can use this to your advantage by disconnecting your connection and getting a new IP address. However, most dynamic addressing keeps the address assigned to you for a period of time after you disconnect. It keeps things smooth in case your connection just drops for a few seconds or minutes. That means you need a long enough disconnect so that your ISP releases your IP address, assigns it to someone else, and then has to assign you a new one. This can take a few hours depending upon your service.

With my Comcast cable internet, it takes at least two hours to be sure I get a new IP address. Unfortunately, I use the internet extensively for my freelance writing business and I don’t want to try and use the connection only to remember that I had disconnected it earlier, go and reconnect it, and then wait to get online. Instead, I stole my outlet timer from the Christmas tree. Now, each night between 3:00 am (sometimes I work late) and 6:00 am (sometimes I work early) the power gets cut to my cable modem. That three hours of disconnection usually results in a new IP address each morning.

First thing each morning I use the tools that get bogged down if there is too much activity from one IP address, like when Google starts showing you a captcha for everything you do. With a clean, new IP address, and no cookies still stored, all of those interactions take place with whatever counters are out there set to zero, and I don’t have to worry about getting tainted results that are “personalized” for me.

What tips do you use to keep your online activities private and untracked?

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Relevant Backlinks vs Unrelated Backlinks – Does It Matter For Improving Google Search Engine Ranking?

related-links-unrelated-links-comparisson-graphic A lot of information floating around the search engine optimization world is either old news. A lot of the so-called accepted wisdom is based on flimsy, or even non-existent, research. And, much of the search ranking conventional wisdom repeated, again, and again, on websites and blogs isn’t actually relevant to the most common scenarios.

So, when a disagreement between colleagues regarding the importance of relevant backlinks versus backlinks from sites that are not relevant arose, we looked around at trusted resources and found that they all said the same thing. In order for links to be worth counting toward a website or page’s Google PageRank or toward its search engine ranking, they had to come from relevant sites. However, we realized that, oftentimes, this bit of information came coupled with SEO strategies and tips that we knew were no longer true; if they were ever true.

Thus, the question remains. Does it matter that a page’s incoming links come from other websites or webpages that are related to the subject matter that they are linking about?

Google Search Ranking Algorithm

To understand why this question matters, and to be able to use the data found in the answer, it is important to have a basic understanding of Google’s search algorithm that ranks those results you see listed on the page after doing a Google search.

The search results page, or more specifically, the order that links are displayed on the search results page is sometimes known by the acronym SERP or Search Engine Ranking Page. The order those links are displayed in can be very important depending upon what is being searched for, and what the goal of the website on the other end of that search link is. Microsoft’s Bing Search Engine’s blog says that in researching how people use search, they found out that people stopped looking in much detail at the results after #5, and in many cases, after looking at just the top 3 results.

In the online advertising world, Internet marketers claim that the #1 position on a Google search can be worth anywhere from three times as much, to ten times as much traffic as the #2 position. They will also tell you that anything below #10 isn’t worth having, since it won’t be on the first page.

Whether any of this is true or not, is irrelevant to out question here. However, what is important is to know that the results that appear on any given SERP are not listed at random, nor are the listed alphabetically, nor by date, or any other non-discriminatory method. Rather, pages are listed in order based on how well they match up with the term entered into the search box on Google’s home page. These terms are known as keywords, even when they are actually a key phrase.

More accurately, the webpages listed high on Google search results pages are ranked based on how well they score on a secret algorithm that Google uses. The intention of that algorithm is to determine which one of all the webpages that match the query is most likely to provide what the searcher wanted to find. The reality is that a very small number of easily manipulated parameters determine the order from top to bottom of every Google search query.

One of the most important of these parameters is how many links point to a given website using the exact words entered into the search. This is by no means the only criteria, but it is very important.

Obviously, this evaluation can be very easily gamed. A determined webmaster or online ad salesman, need only create a million links on a dozen of his own websites to earn the #1 ranking over more legitimate websites.

Fortunately, the raw number of incoming links, or backlinks, is not the way rankings are scored. In fact, since the paper with the original ranking strategy that led to the found of the Google company and its famous search engine, much time and resources have been devoted toward determining which links should not count, which links should count more, which links should count less, and so on.

Thus, our million link creating Internet Marketer will get nowhere with his strategy.

However, the core of every search ranking improvement effort, or SEM engagement is building more links. They just can’t all come from your own websites, or from just two or three websites, or all from the same article.

Theoretically, one of the criteria for determining how much a link should count for is how much the site providing the link is related to the site receiving the link. The idea is that a website about Credit Cards would be more likely to provide "good" links on topics related to credit cards, like banking, loans, credit scores, and credit card reward programs. On the other hand, a website about plumbing would not be a good source to get information about financial topics.

Whether or not this concept is valid is open for debate. However, virtually any SEO consultant or SEM consultant (or whatever else they call themselves) will tell you that Google believes it, and thus related backlinks count for more than unrelated backlinks.

Do Related Links Count More Than Unrelated Links?

It is technically impossible to ever say with 100% certainty that something does or does not count at all in the Google ranking algorithm. However, what can be demonstrated is what features have so little value that they are easily pushed off of what determines the rankings of webpages under real world conditions.

In this case, it seems that whether or not a link comes from a related webpage or website is of so little value that its affect cannot be replicated in the real world! Instead, a host of other factors carry so much more weight that restricting oneself to only related backlinks is foolish.

That is not to say that getting links from spammy or MFA (Made For AdSense) sites is good. These sites can pass some of their negative marks on to your site, especially when they form a large number of your incoming links. However, a link to your home mortgages website from a legitimate site about Mickey Mouse collectibles will end up being worth every bit as much to your website’s PageRank and search engine rankings, that you shouldn’t bother finding related sites. Instead, just collect all the links you can.

Add those incoming links up with your other SEO optimization efforts, and your site’s rank will increase faster. Soon your website could be a high-ranking Google search result.

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