No Title in Meta

Having worked in SEO for a while now, I’ve gotten pretty good at distinguishing good SEO from bad SEO. It’s no wonder the search engine optimization industry as a whole doesn’t have the greatest of reputations as being a useful marketing tool, most of the “marketers” engaging in SEO tactics for their clients have absolutely no idea what they’re doing and are unintentionally, or intentionally, ripping off their clients. You can easily guess by the tone of this introduction that this entry has rant written all over it, so let me just state for the record that the title tag is not a meta tag.

A recent Entireweb Newsletter dated November 14, 2006 contained an article by an SEO entitled “More pointers for a good search engine listing.” Before I get into this I should state for the record that Entireweb is not the only SEO newsletter guilty of distributing erroneous information, just the source of the most recent newsletter sitting in my inbox. Now, the author, who is supposedly “award-winning,” begins by saying that because his previous article on search engine optimization received such a great response, he decided to go a bit deeper into SEO methodologies.

The author begins the article with a discussion of web page titles, a seemingly logical starting point given its importance in the grand scheme of search engine optimization. However, the presentation of the material is utterly misleading. The following in an excerpt from the article:

The Title meta tag:

To start with, let’s take a look at your website’s Title meta tag (you can find yours by opening your site, clicking View, then Source – the meta tags are placed between the HEAD delineations).

Now, I have been writing HTML code for over 5 years since I took a class on it back in 2001, and to this day never have I used or even heard of the “title meta tag.” There is a title tag, and there is a meta tag, of which multiple variations are possible. But nowhere is there a title meta tag, and the W3C seems to agree. Granted, most SEOs are not programmers I understand that, but if you’re going to be published in an SEO newsletter which Entireweb claims to send out to over 500,000 subscribers, the least you could do is get your facts straight.

I don’t mean to sound condescending in my critique of the article, I just think that if you’re writing essentially a how-to on SEO to a large audience, you should take the time you make sure you get it right. It’s safe to assume that a fair percentage of subscribers to the Entireweb Newsletter are new to SEO, and with all the bad SEO already out there, why feed the fire by teaching wrong information to new students of the craft. I would hope that the author chooses his words more carefully next time, and if he or she does in fact not know any better, to stop disseminating false information. Furthermore, I think there needs to be a stricter review process for content up for submission in the Entireweb Newsletter.

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Al Jazeera English going global 11/14/2006

Al Jazeera, the highly controversial Arab satellite TV station, announced that it will launch on Wednesday a global channel dubbed Al Jazeera English. It’s about time! Americans, whether liberal or conservative, democrat or republican, constantly bicker about the overarching bias of certain broadcasting networks. One that gets mentioned as often if not more than any other is FOX News. The bottom line, however, is that they’re all biased. American TV networks can claim to be as “fair and balanced” as they want, however the undeniable aspect of it is that they’re all biased, and always will be, for the simple fact that they are the Western media. CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, BBC, etc., all owned and operated by the Western world.

It is in this respect that Al Jazeera differs from the rest. According to Wadah Khanfar, head of the Al Jazeera network, Al Jazeera is “the only international network that is based in the developing world.” Khanfar claims, and I agree with him, that this gives Al Jazeera a strategic advantage. For example, when an international news team covers a story in the Middle East they will travel to the location and meet up with other Western colleagues, share information, report a story, and go home. However, Al Jazeera has local correspondents throughout the Middle East, individuals already embedded within their respective societies, which Khanfar says will provide for much better insight. Al Jazeera English will explain the Middle East region to the outside world, because “the role of the media is to give an honest understanding of reality,” Khanfar says.

Many nations have long been at odds with Al Jazeera. Although clashes been Al Jazeera and the United States have received the most media attention, several Middle Eastern countries have raised complaints against the network; such as Saudi Arabia, who has never allowed the bureau to operate within its territory. Even Qatar, the country which is home to Al Jazeera, has been critical in many instances.

What remains to be seen is just how many people will have access to Al Jazeera English, given that it is a satellite TV station. I can see it gaining initial popularity in European countries, where there is no big brother-ish corporate America controlled media that certainly does not want Al Jazeera English to be broadcasted. After the democrats’ mid-term election landslide over republicans last week in the House of Representatives and the Senate, one can only imagine the repercussions the executive branch would be forced to endure if the American public were to actually find out the truth about our foreign policy with respect to the Middle East.

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Windows Internet Computer Name

For many people remote access to a computer is crucial. Traditionally software such as pcAnywhere or utilities like Remote Desktop have been used accomplish such a task. But how would you like to be to able to access your computer anytime, anywhere? No longer will there be a need to purchase your own domain name and configure dynamic DNS, Windows Vista will ship with Windows Internet Computer Name, a unique domain name for your computer.

The Windows Internet Computer Name is the result of advances to the Peer Name Resolution Protocol (PNRP) which came stock with Windows XP. Traditionally, domain name servers have been used to hold lists of domain names and their respective IP addresses. However, in Windows Vista, PNRP will perform all the domain name resolution at the peer-to-peer level. As a result, Windows Vista users will provide PNRP domain name resolution services to fellow Vista users.

In leyman’s terms, you will be able to specify a name for your Windows Vista computer, and PNRP will make your computer available to other PCs on the internet; thus, allowing for direct connections to your machine. It goes without saying that if you choose to utilize this feature of Windows Vista you have better invest some time into securing your system.

The major drawback of the Windows Internet Computer Name system is that it requires IPv6 which isn’t supported by most of the consumer routers on the market, although it does come built-in with Windows Vista. IPv6 addresses are much longer than the typical IPv4 addresses that take the format xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx, which means there practically an unlimited number of them available.

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Microsoft and Novell to partner on Linux

In a stunning change of position today Microsoft announced that it would allow open-source Linux software to work with Windows. What’s more, Microsoft even claimed that it will provide the support and technology necessary to achieve this end. This marks the company’s second open-source partnership this week, which signals an effort by Microsoft to inform an ever-growing Linux user base that the two platforms can co-exist, particularly in the server market where Linux is most competitive against the Redmond giant. For those who are unfamiliar with Linux, it is open-source software, which means developers are able to share code with one another and anyone may contribute to the project. Most Linux distributions are free, in the dual-sense of no cost and of code without restrictions, with a few commercial Linux companies that make money by offering custom features, maintenance and technical support.

I think this collaboration of Microsoft Windows and SuSe Linux represents a clear victory for the open-source community. For years individuals from Microsoft, particularly top-level executives, have done nothing but bad-mouth Linux, and have made threats to “crush it.” Linux had always lagged behind Windows in the consumer desktop environment, due to its traditionally difficult learning curve. However, certain flavors of Linux such as Suse and Ubuntu have come a long way in making the Linux desktop easier for novice Windows users. In terms of the server market, Linux has long been a competitor to Microsoft, as many large enterprises such as IBM have realized the power and reliability of Linux over Windows in a corporate backend environment. It seems clear that Microsoft is doing this simply as an attempt to prevent further losses in market share. Linux has slowly grown stronger over the years and it seems like the time has finally arrived when Microsoft has got to take it seriously.

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