Webmasters often ask us at conferences or in the Webmaster Help Group, "What are some simple ways that I can improve my website's performance in Google?" There are lots of possible answers to this question, and a wealth of search engine optimization information on the web, so much that it can be intimidating for newer webmasters or those unfamiliar with the topic. We thought it'd be useful to create a compact guide that lists some best practices that teams within Google and external webmasters alike can follow that could improve their sites' crawl ability and indexing.
Our Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide covers around a dozen common areas that webmasters might consider optimizing. We felt that these areas (like improving title and description Meta tags, URL structure, site navigation, content creation, anchor text, and more) would apply to webmasters of all experience levels and sites of all sizes and types. Throughout the guide, we also worked in many illustrations, pitfalls to avoid, and links to other resources that help expand our explanation of the topics.
We plan on updating the guide at regular intervals with new optimization suggestions and to keep the technical advice current. So, the next time we get the question, "I'm new to SEO, how do I improve my site?", we can say, "Well, here's a list of best practices that we use inside Google that you might want to check out".
"Google for Advertisers" is a brand new site from the search engine giant, and as the title suggests, it's all about information for advertisers. Specifically, there are four primary things advertisers can do and learn on the site, per the Inside Ad Words Blog:
1. Read up on Google's various media platforms. Get descriptions of Google's ad platforms and all of the supporting tools.
2. Take a ride on 'The Marketing Cycle'. Learn how Google's solutions can be applied across the stages of an advertising campaign, including strategy, creative, media deployment, measurement and optimization.
3. Stick it to a marketing objective. Google created a fictional marketing example (Pet Stick) to demonstrate how their tools work to solve specific goals.
4. Build your personal 'toolkit'. When browsing the site, save Google tools that interest you by adding them to an online toolkit. It makes it easy to go back to them and share them with your colleagues.
Interactive maps that detail carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion are now available on the popular Google Earth platform. The maps, funded by NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy through the joint North American Carbon Program, can display fossil fuel emissions by the hour, geographic region, and fuel type.
A science team led by researchers at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., integrated seven primary data sets, including imagery of Earth's surface captured by the NASA-built Landsat 5 satellite, fossil-fuel carbon dioxide emissions data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy, and population data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Researchers from the project, named "Vulcan" for the Roman god of fire, constructed an unprecedented inventory of the carbon dioxide that results from the burning of 48 different types of fossil fuel. The data-based maps show estimates of the hourly carbon dioxide outputs of factories, power plants, vehicle traffic and residential and commercial areas.
First released to the scientific community in April 2007, the emissions data have now been integrated into an image-based format that has become a standard online viewing tool for content that spans broad geographic areas.
"The release of the Vulcan inventory on Google Earth brings this information into the living room of anyone with an Internet connection", said Kevin Gurney, an assistant professor of Earth and atmospheric sciences at Purdue and leader of the Vulcan Project. "From a societal perspective, Vulcan provides a description of where and when society influences climate change through fossil-fuel carbon dioxide emissions".
"Users can see their county or state in relation to others, and see what aspects of economic activity are driving fossil-fuel emissions", Gurney added. "Vulcan could help demystify climate change and empower people in the same way as seeing the miles-per-gallon number on the dashboard of a hybrid car".
The new Vulcan maps assimilate fossil-fuel carbon dioxide emissions data that was previously available from disparate sources and in different formats into one comprehensive data product. The fine level of detail offers more accuracy for estimating the fossil fuel contribution to the global carbon budget, the balance of carbon absorbed by Earth and released into the atmosphere. The Vulcan data product provides new scientific opportunities to assess the relationship between fossil fuel emissions and climate in the atmosphere and to see what future variability and extremes may bring.
"One of the goals of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program is to assist with scientifically based formulation of policy and decision making", said Peter Griffith, director of the Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Office at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and coordinator of the North American Carbon Program. "By allowing non-specialists to see changes in carbon dioxide emissions in time and across broad areas, we're helping them to understand critical information for climate change policy decisions".
Vulcan Project data and maps will complement observations from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder on NASA's Aqua spacecraft and the upcoming Orbiting Carbon Observatory, which is set to launch next week. This mission will use space-based instruments to precisely make the first global measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide with the accuracy and geographic coverage required to improve estimates of the sources and sinks of the greenhouse gas.
Gurney and colleagues now have a second phase of NASA-funded work underway to create similar inventories of carbon dioxide emissions for Canada and Mexico.
Google Earth is a popular Internet application through which users can view maps. This web site provides zipped Keyhole Markup Language (.kmz) files through which users can view map overlays created from FEMA's (Federal Emergency Management Agency) National Flood Hazard Layer on Google Earth images.
You must already have the Google Earth application installed on your computer to use these files. The starting point for obtaining the software is Google Earth. Information about the system requirements needed for your computer to run the software is available through Google Earth Help. A user guide is available at above Link.
FEMA offers two applications:
Each is described below, and each has its own .kmz file. For optimum performance, please do not open both, and do not have more than one copy of each, in Google Earth at the same time. To use the .kmz files, first save them to your computer. Do this by right-clicking on a hyperlinked file name below, choosing "Save Target as" (Internet Explorer) or "Save Link As" (Firefox), changing the file name if you wish (be sure that the file name has the extension .kmz), and clicking on save.
After saving the file, double-click on the file on your computer. This action should start Google Earth and provide the opening view for the application. If you plan to use mapped flood information displayed in Google Earth for official purposes, insure that imagery and other map information displayed with the flood data meet FEMA's standards for map accuracy.
Some Geographic Information System (GIS) software can import GIS data encoded in the kmz format used for these applications. This technique is unlikely to work with the kmz files provided below. If you are interested in using the NFHL in GIS software, use the NFHL GIS data or NFHL Web Map Service. Both are available through FEMA's Map Service Center.
FEMA anticipates future improvements to the .kmz files, so please revisit this page occasionally to obtain the latest version. "Stay Dry" is a focused application that provides basic flood hazard map information from FEMA's National Flood Hazard Layer for an address. It allows you to view flood hazard zones, cross sections and their labels, community names and boundaries, Flood Insurance Rate Map numbers and boundaries, and Letter of Map Revision case numbers and boundaries.
For best performance please delete or turn off previous versions of the "Stay Dry" or "FEMA NFHL" folders that you have loaded in Google Earth before using the new version of Stay Dry V2.0.kmz.
Version 2.0 has one step, in which the user provides an address and receives a view of flood hazard information. Previous versions required two steps before flood hazard information could be viewed. Please use version 2.0 instead of previous versions.
FEMA NFHL is a general application that provides for the display of flood hazard zones, floodways, Coastal Barrier Resources System and Otherwise Protected Area units, community boundaries and names, base flood elevations, cross sections and coastal transects and their labels, hydraulic and flood control structures, and Flood Insurance Rate Map and Letter of Map Revision boundaries and numbers.
Additional reference layers include the status of NFHL data availability, point locations for Letters of Map Amendment (LOMAs) and Letters of Map Revision Based on Fill (LOMR - Fs), Q3 base flood, and subbasin hydrologic units. You control the information displayed by turning layers on and off. A basic knowledge of Google Earth and FEMA flood hazard information will help users of this application.
The name of each layer is hyperlinked to a description of the layer, the map symbols used for the layer, and links to other FEMA web sites relevant to the layer. If a layer is turned on, clicking the text below the name of the layer (text that starts with "Draws at…") zooms the Google Earth view to a sample display of the layer. Layers are organized for display at one or more of three "eye altitude" (map scale) ranges in Google Earth: status maps and subbasins at high altitudes, regional overviews of flood hazards at medium altitudes, and detailed flood hazard maps at low altitudes. Click on the hyperlinked folder name of the application to see the altitudes at which data in the layers are displayed.