Archive for सप्टेंबर, 2007

Google Finance Fights Back

सप्टेंबर 25, 2007

Google’s side of the story
Rick Aristotle Munarriz: Google Finance’s launch last year came years after Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) hit the scene. How is Google Finance different? What is it bringing to the table?

Katie Jacobs Stanton: Google Finance was a natural extension of Google’s overall mission to better organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible. Google Finance was designed to help users find the most relevant, useful, and comprehensive financial information as quickly as possible. In the past, users have often waded through a lot of irrelevant information to get the financial data they want or need. Our goal is to provide a fresh perspective on finance-related search.

Google Finance brings a lot to the table. I’ll highlight the top three distinguishing features. First, Google Finance offers an easier way to search for financial information. For example, you can search by the name or symbol of worldwide public or private companies or mutual funds. Try searching for “Bloomberg” or “Vodafone” (on the London stock exchange, not the ADR) or “Apple” on Google Finance and then conducting the same search on any other online finance site. You’ll instantly see how much easier it is.

A second major difference is our charts. We were the first to launch interactive charts where you can click and drag to view different time periods. Further, the charts are essentially a mashup of stock prices and news stories to help provide additional context as to why a stock may (or may not) have moved. You can also easily compare stocks and indices on one chart, as well as view splits and dividends. Lastly, I’m not aware of any other chart that allows you to see extended hour trades plotted. This is particularly important during earnings seasons or when a major company announcement occurs in extended hours.

A third major difference is our company coverage of news, blogs, and videos. We incorporate news stories from over 4,500 English sources to provide the most relevant, unbiased, and timely news on a company. We also launched Google Finance with blog search results to offer an even wider perspective of views on a company. And more recently, we added financial videos on our front page from dozens of sources to help provide a richer perspective on financial markets.

Munarriz: What are some of the latest features added to Google Finance?

Stanton: First, you can go to our blog to always stay on top of our latest features. Over the summer, we had a number of launches, including several Google Finance gadgets on iGoogle, the personalized page of Google. We also recently launched Google Finance Canada, our first international version of Google Finance. Smaller updates included more historical data for U.K. and Canadian stocks, additional views on charts, and historical price integration with Google Calendar.

Munarriz: The discussion boards on Google Finance are a mixed bag. Some boards are buzzing with activity, while others are surprisingly dormant. Any theories?

Stanton: We have some very strong discussions on companies like Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), Google, and NYSE Euronext (NYSE: NYX). These boards are full of high-quality and thoughtful discussions, which was part of our original goal. Also, we offer discussions on [over-the-counter] stocks such as GBRC, which are not available on other popular sites, including the Fool.

That said, it is true that other discussion groups are very light. When we launched discussions, we were very serious to put anti-spam measures in place. There is a lot of noise on other [services’] boards, and we wanted to create an environment where users could connect and have on-topic conversations.

Munarriz: You recently had an interactive Q&A session on the Google Finance blog to solicit user feedback. What did you discover? What do people want most?

Stanton: We had so much fun doing the Q&A session both on SeekingAlpha earlier this year and our own Google Finance blog. Four main themes resulted from the Q&A:

  • Real-time quotes. One of our top requests is access to real-time quotes. We feel strongly about this, too. In January, we announced a deal with the New York Stock Exchange which would allow our dissemination of last-sale quote data to all of our users for free. We reached a similar agreement with Nasdaq shortly thereafter. However, because market data pricing is regulated by the SEC, we have to wait for the SEC to approve these deals.
  • Internationalization. There were a lot of suggestions to add quotes from various international markets, including Australia and India. Currently, Google Finance offers quotes from many international stock exchanges, including Amsterdam, Brussels, Lisbon, London, Paris, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Toronto.
  • Tools. Many asked for more tools like stock screeners and technical charts. Most of the tools out there today haven’t been updated in years, so we agree there is a lot of room for innovation.
  • Content. We’ve had a number of suggestions to add earnings estimates, institutional ownership, and options data. These are all very important pieces of content for investors. Currently, we offer links to other sites that do a good job of providing this type of content. Unlike traditional finance portals, our goal is to quickly connect people directly with the source of information they are looking for, whether it is on Google or a third-party site.

Munarriz: Traffic has been improving at Google Finance since last year’s launch. Any numbers you would like to share? If not, any third-party data?

Stanton: We have seen great growth on Google Finance since we launched, but particularly strong growth over the past six months. Third-party research doesn’t always accurately capture traffic. While page views are one way to measure success, there are other ways that users are accessing Google Finance — for instance, from mobile devices and our portfolio gadget on iGoogle.

Munarriz: Google Finance hasn’t even hit the Terrible Twos yet. What can one expect out of Google Finance over the next year?

Stanton: You can count on us to listen carefully to the feedback we have received so far and offer more of the features stemming from our Q&A. We also have a bunch of features planned in Q4 that, to our knowledge, do not exist elsewhere. You’ll have to watch our blog, or, since you’ve been so kind to offer us a rebuttal, perhaps we’ll give you a sneak peak so you can help break the story on The Motley Fool.

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A don’t-leave-home-without SEO tool

सप्टेंबर 1, 2007

When you work in, on, or around the web, you tend to collect tools. A site here, a toolbar there… you really can’t help it. Here’s a total must have for your SEO toolbox… but don’t tell the developers and designers.

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chrispederick.com

The Web Developer extension from Chris Pederick is a hugely popular and useful tool for web developers and designers everywhere. But this browser add-on is an equal opportunity tool that should be in every SEO’s toolbox as well for quick snapshot views and reviews of sites. It will require the use of one of the following browsers, Firefox, Flock, Mozilla, or Seamonkey, but will run on Windows, Mac OS X, as well as Linux, and it’s free.

While you may find many uses for the extension beyond SEO and even more SEO uses than listed here, below are some of the top ways to put it to use. The best way to follow along though is to first install it, view a site that you are familiar with, and then try some of the methods listed below:

Disable Tab

 

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Disable JavaScript.

Select Disable JavaScript and reload the page and browse the site. Does that fancy dropdown navigation still function? Can you click on all the links? If it doesn’t and you can’t, then guess what… the search engine spiders probably can’t get there either.

Images Tab

Is all that great copy on the page really text that the search engine spiders can eat up and use for indexing the pages, or is it really just a bunch of images? Select Disable All Images and you’ll quickly find out.

 

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Displaying alt attribute text.

Use the Display Alt Attributes feature to view the alt attribute text of all images on a page. You should do this to make sure that none of the images have been stuffed with keywords, which won’t help in ranking and doing so may actually hurt rankings.

While text is best for navigation and links, if images are used for this, it’s especially important to make sure the alt attributes contain the textual equivalent to capture any value the search engines may give to images used for links.

Information Tab

Select View Link Information to view all the links on a page. Are there more links on a page than you thought? If this is your site, are there any links leading out to sites that you weren’t aware of?

Use View Meta Tag Information to quickly see all the meta information for a page to make sure that each page has a unique, keyword-rich and relevant description.

Use the View Response Headers and check the 404 Error page of a site by going to a page that doesn’t exist, like yourdomain.com/errortest and make sure that it returns a 404 Error and not a 200 “OK” response.

Miscellaneous

 

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Linearize the page.

Use Linearize Page to see the order of content based on how search engines will read the content. Is the most important content toward the top or buried at the bottom? Does the content read logically, or are “paragraphs” all jumbled because tables have been used poorly to layout the content?

Outline

Select Outline Headings and Outline Current Element to see whether HTML headings have been used (e.g., H1, H2, etc.) to help highlight important page elements. Headings will be outlined and when you mouse over them (or any element), you’ll see the HTML trail in your toolbar, identifying the HTML tags because of the Outline Current Element function, which will allow you to see whether the heading tag is an H1, H2, or other tag.

Options

 

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Persist Features.

Bonus… for a little known but very useful feature, select Persist Features if you want to click-thru to different pages of a site while maintaining some of your selections, like outlined headings and displaying alt attribute text as you move from page to page.

While the Web Developer extension won’t stop the need for a deep dive into a page’s code–there’s also a View Source feature for that too–it will satisfy and simplify many of the routine tasks associated with a quick SEO review.

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