Google and valid markup

Just a quick thought that has passed my mind while taking a shower today.

If I were at Google I would give a few more points to the page that consisted only of valid markup. Notice when I say valid, not semantic as the latter one gives you more google points beyond a shadow of a doubt. Valid markup says that the author simply cared more than the rest and as such it is more probable that its content is more relevant (but that, of course, is not true for all cases, take hosting blog services for example), so giving more points to such page would certainly makes sense.

I may, of course, be wrong :)

Google AdSense will not display any ads

I’ve been noticing a strange problem with my Google Adsense advertisements. Quite often, in fact just too often, Google would not serve any ads in the right sidebar of my homepage. There would be just this blank space staring at your face. What’s weird though is the fact that the ads would display properly on any of the content pages. No ads equals no money, so that was not acceptable.

Trying out different ad combinations and sizes I’ve noticed that the ads would suddenly start appearing when there was only one ad block per page (be it a homepage or a content page). Most of the time I had three and I’ve rarely seen all of them being displayed. Placing just one helped greatly. I’m thinking that maybe Google has some content to ads ratio system in place as that would at least partially explain this behavior. Nonetheless it’s working now (meaning that at least one ad block is displaying properly all of the time).

It’s a pity that Google does not want to make more money off me letting me decide how many ads to run ;)

UPDATE: Seems I’m not the only one.

Street maps for Europe on Google Maps

Google Maps has recently enabled both map and hybrid view for most of the Europe countries. This means that now they show names of the cities, streets and important institutions. And that, my friends, is great news!

Below, for example, is my alter matter. It’s not as colorful as it should be only because this aerial photo was taken during winter time (this past winter, I presume). It’s named properly in Polish (Politechnika Gdańska) and all the streets are there too:

Politechnika Gdańska on Google Maps

(via Digg)

Google ban lifted

For the past two or three months this blog has been sandboxed by Google. Searching for terms, which usually put my page high in the results lists, yielded my blog at the very end. Googling for my own name became disgraceful. I was last on the list!

I believe it might have had something to do with my Google Ads. While experimenting with them, I might have overcrowded my page, so ads to content ratio became too high. Although it doesn’t make much sense for Google to ban me for using their own ads, yet I still believe it to be quite possible. Conspiracy theory in its fullest.

However, it’s all in the past now. Sandbox is lifted. My AWStats are showing me a 8x-10x increase in traffic coming from Google in the last 24 hours and my page is back at the top for few essential queries. All of that makes me a very happy person.

Every time GMail is down

Every time GMail is down you are reminded just how much trust you can put in online applications/services. Not much, it seems. If my professional work depended on gmail I would be losing money now. Same goes for every other online application. They’re great when they work, giving you many different possibilities, which desktop apps cannot give you. However, when something breaks and they go down, you are left alone with many problems on your head.

So now, c’mon, don’t be like that and give me my gmail back!

UPDATE: As it was expected, after a little while it’s back up again.

Introducing Google AdSense

But, oh why?

Why do you blog?

I could not put it in better words. Hugh just put those words out of my mouth. We’ll see how it goes.

The funny thing is that I cannot see my own ads, because I’m using Firefox with the AdBlock extension. I have to run Internet Explorer just to see if they are there at all. Chances are some of you, just as me, will not see them at all. I can live with that, I guess.

There’s also some weird flicking problem with Firefox. I suppose it will have to be dealt with sooner or later…

Poland on Google Maps

Google Maps now features satellite photos of the whole wide world, which means that Poland is also there! And on top of that some of the bigger cities (like Kraków, Warszawa, Gdańsk) have pictures available at the maximum zoom level (which means they are extremely detailed). At this rate Google Maps will dominate all geo/mapping applications in two years tops.

Here are some of my most important places:

Damn, this is fun! I have notified all of my friends showing them various places and all of them were like “wow… this is great”. In fact, it’s more than that. It’s AWESOME.

As usual, Marek Futrega spotted it first.

The demise of Google?

Is it time for Yahoo now? Who knows. All I know is that I receive about 2,5x more juice from Yahoo than from Google. This blog is a nice example of how search engines deal with new content. On the one hand my blog is relatively new and not linked-to, besides one link from Max Thrane and few others left in comments on other blogs. On the other hand it has good and relevant content (the crazy frog video) that people search for, find and download (it generates about 10GB of traffic a day). Do more people use Yahoo? Hardly so. All comes down to the fact that Yahoo lists my blog higher than Google for various crazy frog queries.

Should they list my blog high for those queries? Sure. In fact I should be at least in the top three results for this query as my blog is actually one of the three websites which host it (at least the high bandwidth version). This means that my content is 100% relevant. I’m ranked at number 6 on Yahoo for this query (which isn’t that bad after all) and outside of the top 200 on Google. This says a lot – mostly along the lines of “you are not good enough to be a Google citizen”.

Coincidentally, Marek Futrega writes about the Google’s outdated index for special link: queries. Let’s see who actually links to my blog: Google, Yahoo and MSN. The results speak for themselves.

Big changes are always initiated by small symptoms. Just like those described above. Is it the indication of Google’s demise? Maybe so, maybe not, but it clearly gives their competitors the advantage to shine in those areas (and take away a small piece of pie from them).