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Merging pending tasks …

Posted on April 29, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Its been few months that I have been unsuccessfully trying to find time to go through ‘Head First Design Patterns’ and a blog post is pending from months too, so I have decided to merge both the tasks and to write a blog post for every pattern learned. Looking forward and expecting something positive from the long weekend ahead. ūüôā

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Search Engine Optimization

Posted on July 23, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

In this article I am summarizing my understanding of article for beginners guide to SEO from SEOmoz. For more detailed information, refer original article.

What is SEO?

SEO is the practice of optimizing a website by improving internal and external aspects in order to increase the traffic the site receives from search engines.

Typically, the earlier a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine. This gives a web site web presence.

SEO techniques can be classified into two broad categories: techniques that search engines recommend as part of good design and those techniques of which search engines do not approve.

An SEO technique is considered white hat if it conforms to the search engines’ guidelines and involves no deception. White hat SEO is about ensuring that the content a search engine indexes and subsequently ranks is the same content a user will see. White hat advice is¬†generally summed up as creating content for users, not for search engines, and then making that content easily accessible to the spiders, rather than attempting to trick the algorithm from its intended purpose. White hat SEO is in many ways similar to web development that promotes accessibility.

Black hat SEO attempts to improve rankings in ways that are disapproved of by the search engines, or involve deception. One black hat technique uses text that is hidden, either as text colored similar to the background, in an invisible div, or positioned off screen. Another method gives a different page depending on whether the page is being requested by a human visitor or a search engine.

How can you use it on your website?

Following are the basic guidelines which you can follow to increase traffic to your website.

Accessibility

An accessible site is one that ensures delivery of its content successfully as often as possible.

The biggest problems in accessibility that most sites encounter fit into the following categories. Addressing these issues satisfactorily will avoid problems getting search engines and visitors to and through your site.

Broken Links – If an HTML link is broken, the contents of the linked-to page may never be found. In addition, some surmise that search engines negatively degrade rankings on sites & pages with many broken links.

Valid HTML & CSS – Although arguments exist about the necessity for full validation of HTML and CSS in accordance with W3C guidelines, it is generally agreed that code must meet minimum requirements of functionality and successful display in order to be spidered and cached properly by the search engines.

Functionality of Forms and Applications – If form submissions, select boxes, JavaScript, or other input-required elements block content from being reached via direct hyperlinks, search engines may never find them. Keep data that you want accessible to search engines on pages that can be directly accessed via a link. In a similar vein, the successful functionality and implementation of any of these pieces is critical to a site’s accessibility for visitors. A non-functioning page, form, or code element is unlikely to receive much attention from visitors.

File Size – With the exception of a select few documents that search engines consider to be of exceptional importance, web pages greater than 150K in size are typically not fully cached. This is done to reduce index size, bandwidth, and load on the servers, and is important to anyone building pages with exceptionally large amounts of content. If it’s important that every word and phrase be spidered and indexed, keeping file size under 150K is highly recommended. As with any online endeavor, smaller file size also means faster download speed for users – a worthy metric in its own right.

Downtime & Server Speed – The performance of your site’s server may have an adverse impact on search rankings and visitors if downtime and slow transfer speeds are common. Invest in high quality hosting to prevent this issue.

URLs, Title Tags & Meta Data

The URL of a document should ideally be as descriptive and brief as possible. Individual pages’ URLs should also be descriptive without being overly lengthy, so that a visitor who sees only the URL could have a good idea of what to expect on the page.

In addition to the issues of brevity and clarity, it’s also important to keep URLs limited to as few dynamic parameters as possible. Search engineer representatives have confirmed on numerous occasions that URLs with more than 2 dynamic parameters may not be spidered unless they are perceived as significantly important (i.e. have many, many links pointing to them).

Title tags, in addition to their invaluable use in targeting keyword terms for rankings, also help drive click-through-rates (CTRs) from the results pages. Most of the search engines will use a page’s title tag as the blue link text and headline for a result (see image below), and thus it is important to make them informative and compelling without being overly “salesy”. The best title tags will make the targeted keywords prominent, help brand the site, and be as clear and concise as possible.

Search-Friendly Text

The following are basic rules that apply to optimizing on-page text for search rankings:

Make the primary term/phrase prominent in the document – Measurements like keyword density are useless, but general frequency can help rankings.

Make the text on-topic and high quality – Search engines use sophisticated lexical analysis to help find quality pages, as well as teams of researchers identifying common elements in high quality writing. Thus, great writing can provide benefits to rankings, as well as visitors.

Use an optimized document structure – The best practice is generally to follow a journalistic format wherein the document starts with a description of the content, then flows from broad discussion of the subject to narrow. In addition to SEO value, they provide the most readable and engaging informational document.

Keep text together ‚Äď It is recommended to use CSS rather than table layouts in order to keep the text flow of the document together and prevent the breaking up of text via coding. This can also be achieved with tables – simply make sure that text sections (content, ads, navigation, etc.) flow together inside a single table or row and don’t have too many “nested” tables that make for broken sentences and paragraphs.

Information Architecture

The document and link structure of a website can provide benefits to search rankings when performed properly. The keys to effective architecture are to follow the rules that govern human usability of a site:

Make Use of a Sitemap – It’s wise to have the sitemap page linked to from every other page in the site, or at the least from important high-level category pages and the home page. The sitemap should, ideally, offer links to all of the site’s internal pages. However, if more than 100-150 pages exist on the site, a wiser system is to create a sitemap that will link to all of the category level pages, so that no page in a site is more than 2 clicks from the home page. For exceptionally large sites, this rule can be expanded to 3 clicks from the home page.

Use a Category Structure that Flows from Broad > Narrow – Start with the broadest topics as hierarchical category pages, then expand to deep pages with specific topics. Using the most on-topic structure tells search engines that your site is highly relevant and covers a topic in-depth.

Link Bait

Below are some initial ideas that can help you build the content you need to generate great links.

Free Tools – Automated tools that query data sources, combine information or conduct useful calculations are eminently link worthy. Think along the lines of mortgage calculators and site-checking tools, and then expand into your particular area of business/operation.

Collaborative Work Documents – Working in concert with others is a good way to produce content more quickly and with generally higher quality. If you can get high-profile insiders or several known persons in an industry to collaborate, your chances for developing “link-bait” substantially increase.

Exposes of Nefarious Deeds –¬†Writing a journalistic-style expos√© detailing the misdeeds of others (be they organizations, websites, individuals or companies) can generate a lot of links and traffic if done in a professional manner (and before anyone else). Make sure you’re very careful with these types of actions, however, as the backlash can be worse than the benefit if your actions provoke the wrong type of response.

Top 10 Lists –¬†Numbered lists (of tips, links, resources, etc.), particularly those that rank items, can be a great way to generate buzz. These lists often promote discussion and thus, referencing.

Industry-Related Humor –¬†Even the most serious of industries can use a bit of humor now and again. As with expos√©s, be cautious not to offend (although that too can merit mentions) – use your knowledge of stereotypes and history inside your market to get topical laughs and the links will be yours.

Reviews of Events –¬†Industry gatherings, from pub crawls to conferences to speeches and seminars, can all garner great links with a well-done review. Write professionally, as a journalist, and attempt to use as many full names as possible. It’s also wise to link out to all the folks you mention, as they will see the links in their referral logs and come check you out.

Interviews with Well-Known Insiders –¬†Anyone inside an industry whose name frequently appears in that industry’s internal press is a great candidate for an interview. Even if it’s a few short questions over email, a revealing interview can be a great source of links, and esteemed professionals are likely to answer requests even from smaller sources, as they can benefit from the attention, too.

Surveys or Collections of Data – Offering large collections of industry data culled from polling individuals, an online survey, or simply researching and aggregating data can provide a very link-worthy resource.

Film or Animation – Particularly in industries where video clips or animations are rare (i.e. Geology, not Movie reviews), a high quality, entertaining, or informative video or animation can get more than a few folks interested.

Charts, Graphs, or Spreadsheets –¬†These standard business graphics should certainly include analysis and dissection, but can provide a good source of links if promoted and built properly.

High Profile Criticism –¬†Similar to the expos√© system, well-written critiques of popular products, companies, sites, or individuals in a sector have the ability to pull in quite a few links from folks who agree and disagree.

Contests, Giveaways, and Competitions –¬†Giving away prizes or public awards (even if they’re just website graphics) can get a lot of online folks interested and linking.

Trend-Spotting –¬†Identifying a story ahead of the crowd is commonly called “scooping” in journalism. Do this online, and all (or many) blog posts on the subject will reference your site as the first to “call it.”

Advice from Multiple Experts –¬†If you’re creating an article that offers advice, pulling opinions from the well-known experts in the industry is a great way to make sure links flow your way. The experts themselves will often be inclined to link.

Growing a Site’s Popularity

Community Building –¬†The idea is to develop frequently updated content in the form of a blog, forum, wiki, or other multi-user input system that can become a central reference and gathering point for a significant number of individuals in an industry.

Once a community is established, the input of individual members and coverage of events in these systems are natural sources for incoming links from bloggers and writers in the field, be they members or simply browsers. In addition, many members who run sites of their own will point to the community as their gathering place, creating even greater link value. Community building requires finesse and good online relationship skills, but the rewards are tremendous.

Press Releases and Public Relations –¬†Influencing mainstream or niche press outlets to cover your company or its actions can be a highly effective way to drive attention to your site, which, if link worthy, can earn a fantastic number of links in short order. Optimizing press releases is a unique practice in and of itself – placement of text in the title and in visible headlines, compelling story writing, and proper content structure are all important elements.

Beyond releases, however, is influencing journalists to write editorial news stories about your subject and including a link or mention of your site. The trick is to have content and information so compelling and interesting that journalists would love to cover it. If you have the makings of a great story with a near-perfect fit for your site, email a few journalists whose work you’ve found to be on similar topics.

Link Building Based on Competitive Analysis –¬†Looking at the links obtained by your top competitors and pursuing methods of your own to get listed on those sites/pages is an excellent way to stay competitive in the link building race.

The best source of linkage data is Yahoo! It currently shows the greatest accuracy in numbers of links, and also sorts well, typically placing more valuable links near the top of the results.

Competitive analysis also includes using the top search results themselves as sources for links. If a site or page ranks particularly well for many related searches, a link from that site can send a healthy number of interested surfers to you.

Building Personality & Reputation –¬†The keys to this methodology are to provide honest, intelligent contributions to existing discussions while maintaining a connection between yourself and the communities.

Online forums are great places to start, and can frequently lead to additional venues for the engagement of your colleagues. In building a successful reputation in an online forum, honesty, integrity, and openness provide the best chances to be taken seriously and seen by others as an expert on your subject matter.

One last tip for forums is to use a single link to your site in your signature – ensuring that people identify you with one unique online property, rather than several.

Conclusion

SEO is also a long-term process, both in application and results – those who expect quick rankings after completing a few suggestions in this guide will be deeply disappointed. Search engines can often be frustratingly slow to respond to improvements that will eventually garner significant boosts in traffic.

The best sites adhere strictly to these guidelines:

  1. Unique Content – Something that has never before been offered on the web in terms of depth, quality, or presentation (i.e. a unique value proposition)
  2. Access to an Adoptive Community – Connections or alliances with people/websites in an existing online community that is ready to accept, visit, and promote your offering
  3. Link-Friendly Formatting – Even the best content may be unlikely to be linked to if it displays ads, particularly those that break up the page content or pop-up when a visitor comes to the site. Use discretion in presenting your material and remember that links are one of the most valuable commodities a site/page can get, and they’ll last far longer than a pop-up ad’s revenue.
  4. Monetization Plan – Intelligent systems for monetizing powerful content must exist, or bandwidth, hosting, and development costs will eventually overrun your budget.
  5. Market Awareness – If your site is targeting highly competitive terms, you should make available an online marketing budget, including funds for link buying, and hire or consult with someone experienced in bringing newer sites to the top of the SERPs.
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Unfinished

Posted on February 1, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

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The winner of Human race

Posted on January 29, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I open my eyes…… ah ! the joy of a new day

No matter what comes along….. my happiness will stay

I take a deep breath….. I’m glad I’m alive

The rest of the day is a bonus…. no matter how hard I strive

I’ll go for a walk…. no matter what weather

I’ll walk in the fields…. smell the grass and the heather

I know I’m a winner…. I see in the right vein

To me all of life…. is joy, a gain and a gain

My work is just a game…. I like to play

I love the hunt…. the chase…. the fray

I welcome the challenges…. I’m a smiling gladiator

Impossible to defeat…. a laughing mediator

When everyone says it can’t be done…. just get on with it and do it

When things get loose…. roll up your sleeves and screw it

When things become old hat…. think and new thought to renew it

Remember

There are always two ways…. the hard way or the easy way to do it.

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U+I

Posted on January 29, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Sometimes I wonder who are you,

sometimes I wonder what you are.

You are the one in my dream

and you are the one in my team.

You are the reason for my smile

and walking with me every mile.

You are the one cheering me

and you are the one steering me.

You are the thought in my mind and the feeling in my heart,

I wish together we may stay and never part.

You are my confidence, you are my faith,

You are in every breath that I take.

You are in memories of yesterday

causing the excitement today.

You are the happiness of tomorrow,

You take away all my sorrow.

…………………………………………………..to be continued….

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From Kanpur to ……………

Posted on December 26, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Search is still on……

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To Do list

Posted on December 8, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

1. Bungee jumping in New Zealand

2. Job at ThoughtWorks

3. Job at Google

4. 1k+ problems at SPOJ

5. Room leader after system tests in Div 1 in SRM at TopCoder

6. 100+ problems at SPOJ before going to Kanpur for ACM Regional in 2008 [ Done ūüôā ]

7. Learn guitar ( for my favourite songs ( for atleast 36 of them ) )

8. Visit

    8.1 Disneyland park, Anaheim

    8.2 Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando

9. Board

    9.1 Disney Cruise Line

    9.2 A380

10. Attend at least one of the following

    10.1 ThoughtWorks University

    10.2 Stanford University

    10.3 University of Cambridge

lot more to come…………..

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WO DEKHO EK SOFTWARE ENGINEER JAA RAHA HAI !

Posted on November 20, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

(A tribute to all Software Engineers !!! ) 

Apne Project ke bojh tale daba jaa raha hai, 

Wo dekho ek Software engineer ja raha hai, 

zindagi se hara hua hai, par “Bugs” se haar nahi maanta,¬†

Apne application ki ek ek line ise rati hui hai, 

par aaj kaun se rang ke moje pehne hain , ye nahi janata, 

din par din ek excel file banta ja raha hai 

Wo dekho ek Software engineer ja raha hai, 

das hazaar line ke code main error dhoond lete hain lekin, 

majboor dost ki ankhon ki nami dikhayi nahi deti, 

pc pe hazaar windows khuli hain, par dil ki khidki pe koi dastak sunayi nahi deti, 

satuday-sunday nahata nahi, week days ko naha raha hai, 

Wo dekho ek Software engineer ja raha hai, 

Coding karte karte pata hi nahi chala, bugs ki priority kab maa-baap se high ho gayi, 

kitabon main gulab rakhne wala , cigerette ke dhuyen main kho gaya, 

dil ki zameen se armaanon ki vidayi ho gayi, 

weekends pe daroo peke jo jashna mana raha hai, 

Wo dekho ek Software engineer ja raha hai, 

maze lena ho iske to pooch lo, 

“Salary Increment” ki party kab dila rahe ho,¬†

hansi udana ho to pooch lo, 

“Onsite” kab ja rahe ho?¬†

wo dekho onsite se laute team-mate ki chocolates kha raha hai, 

Wo dekho ek Software engineer ja raha hai, 

kharche badh rahe hain, baal kam ho rahe hain, 

Appraisal ki date aati nahi, Income Tax ke sitam ho rahe hain, 

lo phir se bus choot gayi, Auto se aa raha hai, 

Wo dekho ek Software engineer ja raha hai, 

Pizza gale se nahi utarta, to “Coke” ke sahare nigal liya jata hai,¬†

office ki “Thali” dekh munh hai bigadta,¬†

maa ke hath ka wo khana har baar roz hai yaad aata, 

“Sprout bhel” bani hai phir bhi, free “Evening Snacks” kha raha hai,¬†

Wo dekho ek Software engineer ja raha hai, 

aapne ab tak li hongi bahut si chutikiya, 

Software engg. ke jivan ka sach batati ye akhri kuch panktiyan, 

hazaron ki tankhwah wala, company ki karodon ki jeb bharta hai, 

software engg. wahi ban sakta hai, jo lohe ka jigar rakhta hai, 

hum log jee jee ke marte hain , zindagi hai kuch aisi, 

ek fauj ki naukri, doosri software engg. ki , dono ek jaisi, 

is kavita ka har shabd dil ki gehrayi se aa raha hai, 

 

 

Wo dekho ek Software engineer ja raha hai.

 

This piece of poetry is copied by me.

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From Kollam to Kanpur

Posted on November 10, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Like last year, this year also my team ( including me, Paddy and ASP ) decided to participate in ACM ICPC. Next thing to be decided was which regional to participate at. Usually ACM ICPC regionals in India are in parallel with our university exams but we were lucky last year.

This year, ACM ICPC regional IIT Kanpur is scheduled for 15-16 December and Amritapuri’s regional is on 5-6 December.

Normally theory exams of final year students are in second half of december, so we decided to participate at Amritapuri’s regional. Earlier it was scheduled for 29-30 November, but later postponed to 5-6 December.

Amritapuri’s online contest was at 0930 IST on 2nd November.

Venue of participation was my room but later shifted to ASP’s room. Contest was for 4 hrs consisting of 4 problems. First question that we attempted was about finding a number Y for a given number X such that Y*rev(Y)=X. Our first approach timed out. Before our next attempt, MSEB interrupted. We switched to UC’s laptop. After applying a different approach with some pruning to the same problem we moved onto next. Next problem was finding number of elements in all sub-subsets. We solved it and were waiting for MSEB’s signal to submit both the problems :). It was 1300 and we decided to go to cybercafe to submit both the codes. I and Paddy went to Wadi and submit the codes. The system responded ( positively ūüôā ) to only the second problem’s submission as results were frozen in last 45 minutes of contest.We were happy after solving one of the problems correctly.

Result was announced on 5th November. Our team’s name was on top ūüôā ( the list was ordered randomly ūüėČ ).

Now fate of our trip to Kollam was on PU. PU responded very strangely. Our exams are starting from 26th November and will be over on 12th December.

It was night of 7th November and Kanpur regional’s online contest was scheduled next morning. We were discussing what to do next. Last date for registration at IIT Kanpur was 31 October. We still decided to send an email to organising comittee IIT Kanpur to consider our case.

Our request was forwaded to regional contest Director at IIT Kanpur, who considered it positively.

We received their email containing login and password for online contest at 0904 hrs IST i.e 26 minutes before the contest. Paddy checked his inbox at about 1000 hrs, informed me about it and started solving the problems as MSEB’s cut was scheduled for 1145 hrs.¬†I was not in hostel at that time. I reached Paddy’s room at about 1115 hrs. He solved and submitted 2 problems. Our codes were not being judged during the contest. Judgement was to be carried out later.

On 12th November, first list of selected teams was displayed and our name was third from top ( this list was also in random order ūüôā ).

Today is 18 November and we all are preparing for ACM ICPC regional and our university examz.

Hope to perform well in both.

Will be writing again after coming back from Kanpur ;)…………..

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Hello world!

Posted on November 6, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Hi !

This is my first post, so very confused where to start with. Thinking that I am the best subject to start with ūüėČ

Currently I am a final year engineering student at University of Pune.

I love algorithms, programming, solving puzzles and playing chess.

to be continued………..

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