Gregg Hilferding :)

New from Google: LessTraffic™

From the Google Blog:

Answer highlighting in search results

Consider the example, [empire state height]. With today's improvements, the answer —1250 ft, or 381 m — is highlighted right in the search result:

Google Answer Highlighting

This might be cool for Wikipedia, but it totally screws every other website owner.

If you have a website that deals with anything Google's algorithm has decided is a "fact" then watch out, your traffic is about to drop. Google's destroyed a lot of niche online markets but this is a broad attack against all sites.

The future of this feature is that you never have to leave Google at all.

Published by Gregg Hilferding on January 22nd, 2010 at 4:25 pm. Filed under Google,Search,SEO,Signal1 Comment

expandUrl passes 11,000 mark (at least)

Since announcing the launch of expandUrl and fixing the few bugs that cropped up in the first week or so, I have barely given the service a second thought. The API works incredibly well for my own sites which take advantage of it.

Today, after receiving a report that the service was unavailable last night, I took another look at it. Still not sure why it went down, but while I was working on it I've added some basic logging (for troubleshooting purposes) and looked around the internet to see if people are using the service.

Since logging was never included in the first place, the only way to surface a reasonable count of URLs was to count the cache files. Since cache files are programatically deleted, I was pretty shocked to find over 11,000 files in that directory. Now that I have actually logging in place, the site displays a counter. Today's count? 11,411 URLs expanded!

Of course, people only know about the service because of the folks who have helped spread the word about it! Thank you to all these folks for mentioning expandUrl:

  • Blog Brasil Academico "If you prefer a cleaner and more free advertising try"
  • Troy Sabin "The Yang to the URL shortener Yin - URL expanders"
  • Free Nuts #2 in their top ten URL expanders list!
  • Borrowed Code Mentioned as part of a blog entry about fighting Twitter spam.
  • Benny Chen "After failing to find a good solution, a short address before the humble beginning to run out to restore the service; Can only say that a group of prescient people, ah!"
  • Kate Morris "There is another useful tool available - - it shows you not only where it goes, but how many times it is redirected and how. :) Not my tool, but a friend built it."

Finally, I discovered a Google Code project that integrates the expandurl API into Google Chrome. This is very cool to me, as it means the service will be used by lots of folks (even if they don't know they're using it!). :)

Not too shabby for 221 days in. ;)

Published by Gregg Hilferding on December 4th, 2009 at 4:27 pm. Filed under Search,Signal,Social Media,WebmasterNo Comments


What sound does a pinball machine make?

Bing, ba-bing, bing bing, ba-bing!

Pinball Targets

Fruitless perhaps, but worth the effort nonetheless. ;)

Published by Gregg Hilferding on May 28th, 2009 at 5:53 pm. Filed under Search,SEO,SignalNo Comments

Search the year 2001

Google can pull up a version of their search index from as far back as January 2001. From an IT point of view, this is pretty amazing. They make it clear it's not an exact version, but that they can do it at all is impressive.

Could your company pull up a backup of anything from seven years ago? Let alone make it functional in the same context it once was? I surprise people whenever they learn I keep emails for as long as I do.

Anyone who didn't believe they are keeping a Time Machine-esque index of every version of any page ever crawled should be convinced now. Just like a lot of folks want BackRub, I bet a lot of folks would love access to a searchable and far more comprehensive internet archive than the, well, actual Internet Archive.

Things I've learned about my sites from playing around with this?

  • I did not rank quite as well as I remember ranking.
  • I abused duplicate title tags, a lot.
  • My general design style has evolved but is still recognizable (probably a bad thing!).
  • I was reminded of some of our old domains and the odd subdirectory structure of the different web projects.
Published by Gregg Hilferding on September 30th, 2008 at 10:01 pm. Filed under Google,Search,Signal,WebmasterNo Comments