Sunday, January 25, 2009

Iphone applications for education?

The questions are easy:

- How to price?

- How much does Apple take?

- How does the marketing work? To Apple? To the public?

- What sort of volumes to expect? If I’m successful, if I”m not?

- What’s the competition like?

- Any support from Apple?

I went to my local apple store where they knew little to nothing about development or business model or marketing or volumes. They did tell me how to check out existing applications by going to the itunes store (I suspect everyone else but me knew that. I kept going to the iphone application site).

Note iFlipr Flashcards for $.99, spanish anywhere for $9.99,

I’ll start collecting articles…

MacResearch article on business model. He mentions: Getting real numbers about the iPhone app market is hard, and I am just relying on the few analyses already out there and on the anecdotal evidence I gathered from iPhone developers (posts on the web and private conversations). Hopefully, the developers of Molecules, Mental Case, PCalc, Grafly, OsiriX, Atom in a Box and the many many other science apps will have more insights in the comments…

A good blog seems to be the Iphone App Entrepreneur which sadly seems to have stopped posting as of Oct 2008. Specific articles:

Photoshop pieces to demo your iphone concept.

Snippets of sales data from Eliza Block, developer of the crossword puzzle app 2 Across

Rejection risk by apple

Number crunching posts…

TapTapTap shares his sales data. as well as ten iphone user secrets.

Pinch Media Post from summer 08 polemically discussing the pricing focusing on the pressure to be the cheapest.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Supplementary Index Research Analysis

I've pursued more research and performed some original analysis on the concept of the Google Supplementary Index. In my last post, I had found how to get Google to tell me how many of pages were indexed versus how many were in the main index.

I then discovered how to find the pages that Google has put in the supplementary index. Go to your webmaster tools and for each page, look at the inbound onsite links and the inbound external links. If the site has some links but Google is NOT showing them (after a reasonable amount of time), this means that Google has decided that page belongs in the supplementary index which means:
  • It rarely shows up in search results
  • It's inbound links do not really contribute to your site total
  • It's internal and outbound links do not really count
  • And too many pages in this index seem to hurt your site's quality profile

So I've identified some pages on my site as being in this index and conducted some research about how to get them out. It's not so scientific but it is data. Here's the results.

Test case 1. Added 1 external link from a blog in the third position on a group of 27 links. Appeared with one link counted internally and one externally.

Test case2 . Added 1 external link from a blog in the 8th position on a group of 27. Also added it to my signature on forum on half a dozen posts. Did NOT get any links counted..

Test case 3. Added 1 external link from a blog in the 10th position on a group of 27 links. Appeared with one link counted internally and externally.

Test case 4. MD. Added 1 external link from a blog in the 12th position on a group of 27 links and rewrote page with very original text. Do NOT get any links counted..

Test case 5. MA. Added 1 external link from a blog in the 13th position on a group of 27 links. Used pingler to notify all it's clients about the page. Did not NOT get any links counted..

Test case 6. MI. Added 1 external link from a blog in the 14th position on a group of 27 links. Used pingomatic to notify all it's clients about the page. Did not NOT get any links counted..

Test case 7. NJ. Added 1 external link from a blog in the 15th position on a group of 27 links plus side bar links on other blogs that already link a lot to the target site. Appeared in both lists of links with 71 external links!

Test case 8. NY. Added 1 external link from a blog in the 16th position on a group of 27 links plus side bar links on another blog that already links a lot to the target site. Appeared in both lists of links with 105 external links!

Test case 9

. RI. Added 1 external link from a blog in the 19th position on a group of 27 links plus inside a few week old blog post on one of the blogs tha worked for 7 & 8. Did not NOT get any links counted.

Test case 10. SC Added 1 external link from a blog in the 20th position on a group of 27 links plus inside a few week old forum posts. Did not NOT get any links counted.

Test case 11. VT. Added 1 external link from a blog in the 20th position on a group of 27 links. Did not NOT get any links counted.

Test case 12. WV. Added 1 external link from a blog in the 21st position on a group of 27 links. Added a no follow link on a new blog. Showed up with two external links counted, one from the group above and one somewhat randomly from an unrelated site that is using algorithmic linking to many sites by topic and seems to have scooped up this page. Weird.


On a list of links from a page, the first ones count more. This explains test case 1.
The side bars of blogs really count a lot. They worked everytime.
Old posts in blogs and forums work sometimes.
Changing content did not work.
The six links from my signature at digitalforums did not succeed.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Education News Sources

I had three contacts this week which stimulated my imagination and thinking about different approaches to news aggregation and article rating.
1. I talked to and looked at the DailyMe service.  DailyMe is an algorithmic based news aggregator with innovations in getting access to, organizing, and delivering news-based articles. I ran some tests with them using terms like homeschool and education to see how they might contribute to community sites that I'm planning.

2. In prototyping the community sites, I'm looking at a range of social networking tools where users can vote up (digg, stumbleupon, technorati etc) articles or sites.

3.  In my pursuit of an Ender-like net environment (if you haven't read Enders Game, you should), I've just found about Pligg which I'm reading about on the beta site.  Pligg is a web application that allows articles to be submitted, reviewed, rated, and viewed by a community using popularity to promote articles from unpublished to higher levels of visibility.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Supplementary Index - The Plot continues...

I'm determined to find a way to locate my pages that are in the supplementary index to analyse them.

Is there a way that I can get a list of my indexed pages by URL. Also, I want by URL the list of pages that are in the main index.
I'm trying to figure out which of my pages are only in the supplementary index. But, when I do these searches, and* , I get results ten per page. To the analysis I want, I only want the URLs.
Is there a way to do that?

I've also started doing some analysis by hand. I went to webmaster tools, links, pages with external links and downloaded the list. Then, I did the same with the pages that have internal links.

I have 237 pages with external links and 256 pages with internal links. I have heard that the pages listed with no internal or external links are the ones that Google has relegated to the supplementary index. As background,

Search: "" Total listing: 560
Search: "*" Main listing: 367
Subtract to get the supplementary listing: 193

So how does this 237 or 256 pages with links relate to the 367 pages in the main index?


Saturday, January 03, 2009

Supplementary Index Issues

Oh, and what else have I learned about supplementary index stuff.....

Here's how to find pages (and the total number) that Google knows about (example site
(don't use the quotes)
Search: "" Total listing: 560
Search: "*" Main listing: 367
Subtract to get the supplementary listing: 193
(You can get the math done for you by the mapelli tool)

Next question. Any simple method or tool for sorting thru the google results to find the 193 pages that aren't in the main index?

Conceptually, I see two approaches to finding out which of my pages are in the supplementary index:

1. I take the total listing and copy them into a document. But, since Google returns results 10 at a time, I will have to do this 56 times. Then, I'll take the main listing results and one by one, remove them from my list until I find the 193 that are left.

2. The webmaster tool can be used to find the pages that have zero internal or external links. While these pages might actually have links, this is google's way of communicating that these pages have been put into the supplementary index.

Once I know which pages are in the index, I imagine I'll see why they are in the index. They might be:
- duplicate or nearly duplicate pages
- pages with no link support
- pages with no text content (all graphics or flash)


SEO Principles for us

The obvious shortcuts to building links are overused and obsolete. There are techniques that we do NOT use. Specifically:

1. Ezines and article submissions work. First off, article submission may be useful, not for SEO, but for website promotion, if those articles are submitted to high traffic sites that actually drive traffic. However, most article submission services and article submission directories are simply spamfests. They accept any odd rubbish, and then websites owners, hundreds of them, place those rubbish articles on their rubbish sites in an lame attempt to pick up "long tail" keyword searches. So says John Scott of V7N.

2. More pages is better. Here's a quote from Matt Cutts which is second hand and badly out of context. Still ... lots of pages, and potentially less PageRank for each of those pages. So trying to surface an entire large catalog of pages would mean less PageRank for each page, which could lead to those pages being less likely to be included in our main web index.

3. Buying links is a quick cheap way to get ahead. This is a honey pot. A trap. Google knows who sells links and which links are bought. They not only discount these links but they put everyone involved (sellers for sure, buyers maybe) on their shit list.

General Site Upgrades to consider

There are many things that we could do to monitor or improve our website. Would any of these make any difference?
Many people have little logos that show that their site is compliant with the latest W3C web standards. Is this worthwhile? Is it even possible to fix all the html errors that show up?

Link checking. We don't do much link checking of our sites. Should we?

What about a service to check if our site has been stolen? There is copyscape and Pagelock.

What about a monitoring service that tells us if our website is up and fully functioning?
Then, from a human point of view, we could:
- review each page for grammar and sense and quality
- review each page from an SEO point of view (are the tags and titles and everything right?)

Friday, January 02, 2009

SEO Resources, Directions, Issues

The last five months have for this blog and a number of related sites, been a Google SEO disaster. I have many examples of it. For instance, this blog had a page rank of 4 as of August 2008. This rank and the associated SERP had been systematically earned over three years as I wrote, build relationships with other bloggers, and got cited. This fall/ winter, my PR dropped to Zero. Why? Did I lose links? Does it now take a lot more links to do well? More likely, I've done something wrong. I transgressed. Woops. But.....

What have I done wrong? Where have I done anything that's not strictly kosher? Below are my two best guesses of why this blog was dinged. I'll go fix them immediately and see if in the next round of updates, Google forgives or reinstates me.

1. I experimented with parking domains. And on this blog, on an array of posts, I documented that I had parked domains (at Godaddy, TrafficClub, and Namedrive) and I linked to them. It had a dodgy feel to it for me. I knew that I probably shouldn't have. But even Google has some sort of parking service so I thought it would be OK. I have two choices of how to clean this up:
A Go thru all my old posts and remove or "no follow" the links.
B. Unpark all my domains and just forward them to other domains.

2. I recently learned that you are not supposed to share any info about your adsense account. I had not known this (YES, I should have actually read the T&Cs of the Adsense service agreement when I signed up and reviewed them periodically). I learned this when I was chatting with a lady and asked her about her clickthru rate and she said, "I wouldn't mind sharing the info with you but Google strictly forbids it.". Seemed weird at the time but now that I'm looking at a PR move from 4 to 0, I wonder if what I've done wrong is that I actually blogged about my Adsense rates. It seemed harmless but Google has many many eyes and a big big big big stick. I'll find these mentions and delete them. I promise. I only hope it was on this blog and not some forum some place.

Is there someway to ask Google? Sadly not especially since this blog doesn't have the webmaster or analytics tools installed. If I did, I might find a hint in there. Instead, I start with a big info disadvantage.

Reading to Research this stuff
1 Matt Cutts. Esepcially his Google/SEO category. His PageRank post
2. Google's official stuff: Analytics, Webmaster blog, etc
3. Spinn .

Googles Free SEO Tools
SEO Harvester


Thursday, January 01, 2009

Google's Supplemental Index?

I don't want my pages in the supplemental index. I want to be in the main index.
- What pages are in the supplemental index? I need to figure out how to know. I might find out that it's my hint pages which are almost all flash or some other page of that sort.
- I need to study these pages and see if they are repetitive or whats going on
- Maybe I should take them out of the google index entirely with robots .txt file....

Supplemental Index Ratio Calculator
Supplemental Ratio for
Google has a total of 552 pages indexed from
365 are in the main index
187 are in the supplemental index

What is the Supplemental Index Ratio?
Google has a secondary index containing pages pages considered of less importance.This pages are considered supplemental results, and returned in SERPs only if there are no pages from the main index matching the given search term(s).
The Supplemental Index Ratio tells you what percentage of pages indexed from your website are supplemental results.The lower your Supplemental Index Ratio is, the better.
How Can I Lower My Supplemental Index Ratio?
The primary solution is to get more relevant inbound links… but this is the solution of 90% of SEO problems.Some other suggested solutions are
- Avoid duplicate content
- Write long posts
- Avoid linking at bad neighborhood
- Avoid excessive reciprocal links
How Does Supplemental Index Ratio Calculator Works?
Basically it:
Finds the total number of pages indexed by Google from your website with
Finds the total number of pages in the main index with
Does some math to find the percentage

Thanks to Mapelli for this tool and info.
I found this info by following links from the great article on free seo tools.

Here are two good, but old articles, on breaking out of supplemental. Matt McGee's and SEO Book. The latter had some info to see what results are in the supplemental index.

If you want to view ONLY your supplemental results you can use this command *** -sljktf. I don't think this worked for me.

I'll now (or when I get back to it) try looking at the data and difference between: