Brace Yourself. Google Penguin 3.0 Update Is Coming

Google has been known to release hundreds of minor updates throughout the year; however, they also occasionally create major changes that can sink the websites that lack the necessary preparation. One of the latest updates to the Google algorithm was Penguin 2.0; now, John Mueller, Google Webmaster Trends analyst, stated that the newer Penguin 3.0 was likely being released this year. Considering next year is only three more months away, every website owner should certainly start preparing by understanding the changes that will likely occur and the search engine optimization methods to accommodate them. Unfortunately, the algorithm that decides the search position of every website for every keyword is a locked tight secret. Therefore, we can only infer the possible changes that may occur by using past updates and the minor hints from Google employees.

If we take one step back to the release of Penguin 2.0, we can examine the changes the occurred. Unlike the Panda update, which targeted low quality content, this focused on assessing the back link profile of websites. Some of the problems that would demote sites from their position are links pointing towards them from other sites that are low quality, not relevant, and overly optimized anchor text, such as exact match and main keywords. This led internet marketers to begin preaching the quality over quantity in regards to link building. Considering having poorly positioned links could destroy any website.

Based on the concerns addressed by Penguin 2.0, the newer version will likely target similar issues. Specifically back links because they are so significant in the ranking of any site. One of the problems is the text that holds the link, which is labeled the anchor text. Keyword filled and exact match text will likely be retired entirely to replace more natural structure. Another important characteristic is the integrity of the sites themselves. For example, blogs with hundreds of high quality, socially shared posts are the premium choice. However, people often struggle to get recognition on these superior options, so they resort to less established avenues. These could be foreign language based, guest blogging networks, copied content, and any other site that uses methods that are beyond black hat. The restrictiveness of search engine optimization will almost certainly only become more restricted by Google in upcoming changes.

Proper Search Engine Optimization

Using some simple techniques, you can check if your site will be hurt by the new update. The first step is performing a link audit on any site you may be worried about. This can be just the webpage that contains the link, what page is being referenced, and the anchor text that is being utilized to hold that link. The following characteristics will help determine if any back links will damage the reputation of your websites.

1. High number of outbound links for a range of different subjects. For example, something focused on education would seem odd referencing video games and retail. Google would assume ulterior motives, and they will swiftly demote any associated website.
2. No focus. A range of different topics is quite suspicious to the Google algorithm. Most Internet marketers have already concluded this fact and the reprimand will likely only increase in the coming months. The reasoning may be that very few people have experience in dozens of topics, so anyone that has articles covering many topics is likely accepting too many guest posts or other sketchy behaviors.
3. Anchor text that is using search engine optimization too effectively. Too many instances of the main keywords or exact matches without instances of “click here” or phrasing will trigger alarms.

After performing the audit, the process may seem tedious, but every result must be clicked and analyzed to determine if any of the above characteristics fit. If so, the association with the website must be removed. If you own the post or profile, you can easily remove the link; however, you may have to contact the webmaster, if you do not have editing abilities.

If you maintain any website of significant size, this process may take some time. Considering John Mueller stated that Penguin 3.0 is coming within the end of the year, you need to get started with high quality search engine optimization techniques to ensure no drastic keyword ranking drops. Using the previous updates, we can assume that back linking practices will be scrutinized even more significantly by the secret algorithm. Therefore, you should take the steps to start analyzing every back link possible to ensure no unsavory ties.

Seedcamp risk capital

If you have a hot concept, a working prototype and better still a developer who can code like like a HAXXOR then seedcamp may be for you. There is a major equity gap for startups in the UK for funding up to 100k with a general down turn in Angel investment since 2000, even NESTA has abandoned the small entrepreneur to focus on broadening the power base of established business. I love the magnetic fridge they are backing! Seedcamp’s founders are looking for the next generation of entrepreneurs and their application criteria seems spot on, minimal enough to open the playing field but substantial enough to avoid a mile high pile of proposals copy pasted from Sketchbooks at the ready!

Long Now Membership open

The visioneers at the Long Now Foundation have opened up a new membership scheme. They have partnered with to bring you their high-quality Seminar videos in a new large format player with chaptering and searchable full-text transcripts. With membership you also have access to in-depth content about Long Now and additional benefits…

The first 1,000 people who join Long Now become our Charter Members and also receive a limited edition, individually numbered, stainless steel Charter Member card (long life membership cards! cool!) Perhaps I am the only one to geek out over a poster signed by Danny Hillis but I feel I am among friends here. Go, sign up, the videos will raise your IQ by a full 10 points anyway – they did ours!

Ambient information technology grows up

The field of ambient information displays is one of the founding elements of interaction design since, well, before most of us were using pc’s. From the first dangling wire to ambient devices stock orb everyday products and devices are getting jacked into the web. Nothing conceptually new to most of the tech savvy readers of Phicons, the stumbling block or glass ceiling that these devices have faced is the cost/performance measurment given as justification for producing almost any product. Glanceable displays are and have been expensive to produce for the ‘value’ of the output compared to a cellphone or a bluetooth headset for example, but as these products drive down the price of key device components such as wireless modules and the networks to support the comminication to these modules rise these products begin to justify themselves on the cost/performance curve. Ambient Devices is one of the first companies to put in place the elements needed to broadcast cheaply to products with small computing power embedded in them, such as the stock orb.

As an undergraduate I was fascinated by the work of Marc Weiser and he became a visionary mentor to my work from beyond the grave. As time has progressed I have seen my appreciation of this arena of thought slowly diminish as the ‘magic’ of interaction design theory becomes free PC widgets and seminal works, mainstream fashion ‘gadgets’. The biggest factor is that in the scale of the real world and the needs of society today can we justify producing these products?

A new breed of ambient information displays is using the power of the web to bring information to users that can enable them to make better informed choices, to know where they are and to know the state of devices that would previously sit inanimate at the most awkward of times (think of a broken boiler). The wattson and Centameter enable people to make informed decisions about their power consumption in their homes, information that has for generations been locked up in the vaults of your electricity provider. Growing up in Bristol I know the sight of the Clifton crossing well and would always enjoy seeing it lit up at night – I would love to visit there now and show my son the bridge with its lighting ambient display enabled (see picture above). Ambient information products have turned a corner merging the ‘design like you give a damn’ ethic and seminal interaction theory creating products that have crafted their place in society by enabling people to envision new possibilities not just creating new needs.

Smart meters a security risk?

The UK government is mandating smart electricity meters which give home occupants a read out of their electricity usage to enable them to save money and the environment by controlling their energy usage. (No more Xbox kids when dad spies the spike in energy usage after school)

These meters will doubtless need a wireless connection to display information conveniently in the home, for example, my meter is on our from lawn and I am not going to enjoy going out there to read it! Wireless means wireless security. Ultimately all wireless networks are hackable. This means that a passing crook with a modified PDA will be able to get a real time read out of my electricity usage and determine whether I am home or not from the energy consumption levels, a knock on the front door will confirm this.

Will we have to enable a button on our in home display that broadcasts fake electricity consumption data to fool these imagined high tech opportunists? Or is it an acceptable risk? How many acceptable risks can an individual collect before they become unacceptable?
Just some musings…time to do some real work.

Google eye tracking camera?

This eetimes article purports that Google will bring their click-tracking revenue system to the streets by using Xuuk’s eye tracking cameras on billboards. This is, I imagine, a ‘pay-per-look’ revenue model. You have to be sceptical that Google is even involved when you read its not much more than a student project from Queen’s University and that the product itself is made of not more than $30 worth of components showcased for the princely sum of $999!

Our studio has written various camera vision programs for gesture recognition and object tracking so I know it doesnt take much more than a few weeks programming from scratch to make a basic IR light source tracking software with a few smarts. The range of 10meters is a severe limitation to this products deployment and its hardly discreet enough to put on the shelves of a supermarket.
Either OptionA> the University is hard up for cash and needs to spin using Google’s name (tut tut) or OptionB: the articles author is spinning off the story to get clicks (triple tut) or OptionC> its all true and Google just became the demented evil underlord of the dark prince.

Oyster-Barclaycard hybrid passes first technical trials

According to the Register, Transport for London (TfL) and TranSys have said they have successfully completed the first technical trials of the combined Oyster and Barclaycard.

It amounts to a significant step towards making the Oyster card, currently used to prepay for travel around London, a means of payment for other transactions. Their trial approach has been through enlisting 60 employees and wiring up the Barclaycard coffee shop to handle the smart card transactions.

Internet World Conference in London (and it’s free)

Next week Internet world will be opening the doors to Earls Court 2 for London and the world’s web and mobile entrepreneurs. The 3 day event is for anyone interested or working in digital business, internet marketing and social media – so pretty much everyone then.

To spice up the days there will be keynotes from Google, Channel 4, AOL, BBC, John Lewis, Bebo, Sainsbury’s, Yahoo! Europe, IKEA, and 150 hours of free seminars. Best of all its free so head on down if you’re in the London area from 1-3rd May, we’ll be there so check back for some blogging highlights if your unable to make it.

Mobile Lifestyle Experience 2007, London

We will be attending the MLX event at the end of May so if you’re in town, London town that is, look us up at the event! Its held in the Business Design Centre Islington.

What the organisers say;
MLX Summit 07 – Mobile Lifestyle Summit 07 is the largest interactive Round Table summit ever for senior executives in the mobile communications and related sectors. Join 1,000+ senior executives related and interested in the mobile communications sector and who most influences the way mobile technologies affect consumer lifestyles. These executives will be from the network operators, and media, advertising, brand, software, music, and games companies.