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Green Web Hosting

Posted 7/10/2008 6:28:22 AM by Mark Reichard

Matt Cutts' blog recently had a post about how to reduce the volume of junk postal (snail) mail that you receive , which seemed like a cool thing for someone with a readership as large as his to post about.  Of course, the real answer to junk mail is to change postal rates so that it is not economical to annoy people and damage the environment with junk mail (and perhaps this kind of change would also have the benefit of forcing some of the companies that currently rely on interruption marketing rather than innovation to step up their game).  In the meantime, though, anything that we as individuals can do is important because, aside from the annoyance, the environmental cost of  junk mail  is quite high.

Matt's suggestions got me thinking about steps iData can take to be greener, and one obvious step came to mind, namely to research and advocate green Web hosting companies.  People often don't think much about the power required to run Web servers (and more importantly to power the air conditioning units that data centers run), but it is significant.  Since most greenhouse gas emissions are from power plants, reducing energy consumption in any way we can is really important.  So, over the next several months, we'll be looking into Green Web hosting, and we'll let you know what we find.  In the meantime, here are some resources:

By the way, thinking about green Web hosting got me thinking about whether people really care about the environmental impact of the choices they make in their daily lives, which gave me an excuse to use Google Trends to do a little research about what people are searching for.  If you haven't played with Google Trends, you should.  It is a service that lets you see among other things the relative frequency of different search terms (i.e. Yankees versus Red Sox).  The most interesting result I saw in comparing various environment-related terms was the relative frequency of searches for "electric car" versus "cheap gas" (see the screenshot below).  It seems we hear from the media all the time how ordinary people are not concerned about conservation, they just want cheap gas so we should focus on more drilling (even though drilling to solve our current energy problems is, according to the US Energy Information Administration,  not a realistic option ).  

But guess what --- people search more frequently for information about electric cars (red line) than they do for cheap gas (blue line), which suggests to me that maybe your average Web surfer is a lot smarter than many in the media and in politics, who often suggest short sighted and unrealistic solutions when what people want is real, thoughtful leadership.  This impression is further borne out by the lower graph, displaying the volume of news stories about both terms. The conventional wisdom is that news stories drive search volume, but in this case you see that the reverse may be true  --- the most recent spike in the volume of stories about electric cars has come after a sustained rise in the number searches, suggesting that the media is belatedly catching on to people's interest in electric cars.

Tags: GoogleComments

Using the Google Webmaster Tools to Optimize Your Site

Posted 6/27/2008 1:46:53 PM by Mark Reichard

This post will explore one way that we use Google’s Webmaster Tools to optimize our site. In case you're not familiar with Google Webmaster Tools, they are found in the Webmasters area of the Google site ( here ), and you can get a quick introduction from our article about the predecessor application, called Google Webmaster Console.

One of the most useful areas of Webmaster Tools is the overview screen. The overview provides a summary of any issues that Google sees with your site.

Google Webmaster Tools Overview Screen

For example, let’s say that you decide (like iData recently did) to update your site and re-organize the content, but you don’t want to lose search engine rank accumulated by the old pages/URLs. As those who’ve been through the process know, in this situation you want to use 301 redirects to let search engines and site visitors know about the change. For our update, we implemented 301 redirects for almost all of our old site pages (we thought) using the URL redirect functionality built into our Synapse Publisher CMS.

Soon after the move, when we looked at the overview, we started seeing pages from the old site showing up as not found. Clicking the not found error brings up the Web Crawl report with details of the URLs. This report is great, because it gave us a handy list of pages we’d missed creating URLs for.

Google Web Crawl Report

To fix these pages, I logged into Synapse, went to the URL Redirects screen and added the missing links.

Synapse Publisher 301 Redirect Screen

I then went back to the Web Crawl report and clicked the missing URLs in order to make sure that they were fixed. Clicking the links now brings up the redirected page of new content, which is exactly what we want.

what to look for in a CMS image

Visiting the Overview report and looking at the Web Crawl report are important not only when you have gone through a major redesign. It’s a good idea to use these tools on an ongoing basis to make sure that you have not deleted or moved content that Google has indexed.

Tags: GoogleComments

Google adsense revenues flat?

Posted 5/19/2008 10:21:08 AM by Mark Reichard

BlackHat SEO has an interesting (if slightly odd) post about Google losing $85 billion in market capitlization which attributes an almost $300 drop in the price of Google shares to a simple decision to change how adsense clickthroughs work. 

Tags: Google, Pay per clickComments