Category: SEO

Yakkay-Fashionable Cycling Helmet Covers for Women

Yakkay-Fashionable Cycling Helmet Covers for Women

Yakkay Fashionable Bicycling Helmet Covers for Women
Yakkay Fashionable Bicycling Helmet Covers for Women

Sick of looking like a cycling dork?

Try one of these bad boys for girls out. Yakkay Brainwear for Smart People Helmets and helmet covers.

I have a hard time getting my wife Laura to wear her bicycle helmet. She is unfortunately stricken with a strange affliction I was clearly inoculated against. She is image-conscious and fashionable. So therefore getting her to put the brain pan on before going for a ride seems to be an uphill battle, if not impossible. So when I spotted the Yakkay Helmets on Boing Boing this morning, I said Eureka!!!

As a cycle commuter and also a cycling enthusiast, I often don’t care what I wear, how I look, or worse (for those around me) how I smell. So while I think image is frivolous in comparison to say weight, durability, and function, I recognize that not everyone feels that way.

Also check out the fit video. (Psst marketing director of Yakkay let me give you the best advice of the year post this on you tube!!!). I’ll take my SEO/M consulting check now thank you.

Integrated Images and Wikipedia entries in Google Maps

Integrated Images and Wikipedia entries in Google Maps

Visual Browsing with Google Maps

Visual Map Search Results

I often daydream by looking at maps, wondering what places look like up close, what it would be like to visit. Web search has existed primarily as a textual experience since my first use of it in 1994 at MSU. I remember using Netscape and a MAC in a computer lab at MSU to search the Ultimate Band List. The web has increasingly become more visual. But search has remained a textual experience. Meaning to find content, the user must type text in a box to receive a textual results set.

William Gibson in his 1984 Novel Neuromancer envisioned a sea of icons and symbols, and 3-d images in cyberspace for hacker cowboys to sift through and interface with. Bobby or Count Zero in the sequel to Neuromancer is barely literate, but he can interpret the hieroglyphs in the net with ease.

Google Maps new feature where the user can view images and Wikipedia entries is a step towards a visual user experience of the web, rather than a textual one. This move, for better or worse, I think represents more closely how the brain works. I think the human brain works closely with a combination of images and places more so than it associates text to results. As most of the user tests indicate that users type very broad search terms to begin with, and then narrow down their search terms as they progress towards a final result set, I think this hypothesis makes sense. If a user had a visual map of the subject of their search, they might be able to find content that is more meaningful with greater ease.

Another good example is the Web MD symptom checker. However it is pretty limited in it’s functionality. Imagine merely opening your browser and using a human body to click on where it hurts, and then narrowing your search based on the visual representation of the anatomical area? In light of my recent injury, searching for the name of the tendon that hurt was painfully awkward. It might have been easier to simply visually navigate to the area that hurt and then narrow down from there. Granted there is no real panacea against text searches, as we are linguistic animals as well as visual ones. But a combination of the two would certainly allow the internet to service varying levels of literacy and search behavior.

As to the functionality itself? I was searching for Grand Island in Lake Superior and found the more tab. I clicked and then watched all of the little icons appear on the map. It’s a good user experience. Wikipedia is obviously a mixed blessing as anyone knows. Whatever users create for that entry is what’s listed for better or worse. The Wikipedia articles open in window and can be easily dismissed. The google image results are from Panoramio. My only head scratcher is wondering if these are the the most relevant, most visited, or specially selected by Google to appear for that location?

I am a huge proponent of literacy, but also a big proponent of usability. Not everyone’s brain works the same way, and the internet should service everyone. Hopefully this tangential development is part of a larger area in Google’s future for vertical and blended search. My other hope is that a non-commercial version of this remains intact with the ability to toggle ads on and off. Despite my occupation, I would hate to see weekend cottage rental advertisements littering a search for information about an island. Context is very, very important.

My favorite part so far is watching the map become sparser and sparser for information as you scroll very far north, or very far south.


Bicycle Maintenance Manifesto and Bicycle Pedal Removal and Installation

Bicycle Maintenance Manifesto and Bicycle Pedal Removal and Installation

I’ve been a sort of lazy mechanic since birth. I’ve usually allowed other people to take care of mechanical problems that I found challenging.

This spring, an unnamed local bike shop, (lbs) sort of hosed me. At the time I was pretty upset about it, but in retrospect I think it was ninety percent my responsibility and ten percent the local bike shop.

I brought my Felt F1X in for a creaky noise on the non-drive side of the crank. I told the mechanic, a good kid who has been super helpful in the past, that my cyclocross bike was making some creaking noises. I wasn’t sure if it was the crank, the pedal, or something else. I left it there for the day, and picked it up at five. The kid said he couldn’t replicate it, but that I might think about replacing the cranks. We talked about a Shimano Dura-Ace upgrade, and a few other ideas, and then I biked home. I took the back way up Westnedge Hill and over some grass through Crane Park. In the tough part of the climb I was head over handlebars pumping uphill when the non-drive side of the crank snapped off the bottom bracket. I went down hitting my man business, (yes the pods) on the seat and then went down in the dirt. I walked the bike home sort of fuming along the way.

I was pretty pissed. I had just brought the bike in to the LBS to have this exact problem looked over. The kid probably didn’t ride it, tried to sell me a dura-ace crank set, ($650) and then sent me on me way. I brought it back to them and explained what happened. They replaced the crank at half cost and then sent me on my way again.

I knew what was wrong with the bike, I ride the bike every day, and my inability to articulate the problem and even attempt a repair had led to the problem. Of course when this happened in October that was not how I felt. But hindsight and all that usual stuff…

I was determined after this to become more self-reliant when it came to my bike maintenance. I attended a bike maintenance class at Breakaway Bikes in Portage Michigan. I’ve tried to pick up a few more tools. Unfortunately I keep putting off buying a real bike stand. I think I can’t put that off any longer.

Tonight with only the Park Tools website , one video I found on Expert Village., and a borrowed pedal wrench I managed to swap out two sets of SPD style pedals. Editor’s Note: both of those sites could use some SEO friendly URLs.

Once I figured out how to get the best mechanical advantage I took a nicer set of Shimano SPD clipless pedals off of my Vintage Trek Elance, and put them on my commuter bike, my Bianchi San Jose. I also attached my pannier rack which has been sitting in the trunk of my Volvo all winter.

All in all this left me with a bike I fixed myself, one scraped knuckle, and a generally manly and satisfied feeling.

XML Sitemap Generator for Google Webmaster Tools

XML Sitemap Generator for Google Webmaster Tools

XML Sitemap Generator for Google Webmaster Tools

I found this site XML Sitemaps for Generating XML sitemaps for Google Webmaster Tools.

The tool is free if you are trying to index a site that has less than 500 pages of content. There is a paid version of the tool for sites with more than 500 pages. The options are fairly clear and I think the XML looks pretty simple. This seems to be a good option for either the lazy or the XML inept.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes. It would seem that for folks who are trying to get some very basic SEO in place an auto-generated Sitemap is not a bad idea. As the search engine will spider the xml sitemap and index it your basic search relevance and ranking is more likely to be elevated.

I’ve just entered mine and will see how it progresses. I may have to replace it in a while after I’ve added more content.

SMX West Search Engine Marketing Expo Santa Clara California

SMX West Search Engine Marketing Expo Santa Clara California

I was fortunate enough to attend the excellent SMX West Conference. The Search Engine Marketing conference was excellent. I met a ton of really excellent people and learned a ton from the conference. I was especially interested in James Lamberti’s talks on Brand Experience and search. My experience with search at this point in my career is less about transactional user activity as it is about users associating broad search terms with familiar brands. Lamberti had a lot of great material on the subject hopefully I will be able to put it to use.

The terms blended or universal search were omnipresent, and it became clear that it local, video, image, and other search categories are still under utilized by most search firms. Our use of it in my current position for our Consumer Package goods clients is not abundant and hopefully I will have a chance to see some changes in this as time goes on.

I came back energized from the experience and feel more humbled than informed. Hopefully as time goes on I will have insights instead of a banal event report to offer.

My big takeaway from the experience is that it’s best to pace yourself when socializing. Two words: google groove.

Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

My photo galleries are available here:

“Picasa Web Galleries”:

bq. I’ve found picasa to be one of the better web galleries out there. The usability on the application is really excellent. They also don’t have the silly bandwidth limitations that Flickr does. I also like the google mapping feature that accompanies each gallery.