reputation

Content Based SEO and Reputation Based ranking

Thumbs up if you got here from a search engine! The debate about the usefulness of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has been going on for a while, there are the positive aspects of it and the downsides. Professionals have been offering clients a service for this and charging lots of money, who doesn’t want to be number one on Google, Yahoo, Bing and the other search engines? I have been nagged by this question and the usefulness of SEO, some people claim that they know the algorithm Google uses for site ranking and they can assure you number one.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results

From Wikipedia

Now enough of background stories let us analyse the SEO aspects with a clear mind. I have nothing against SEO what I have an issue with is the tactics employed. Sometime ago when search engines were a bit more foolish, they would use popularity to rank a website so for instance there was this shop that would sell low quality products and clients would complain over and over on the shops’s website. This meant that the shop was popular and he would get a high rank for that and boast about it.

The other aspect used was that the more other sites link back to you the more “votes” you have and you will rank highly. Though this was generally a correct criteria but look at what it brought, spam spammers spammed and all sorts of useless links flowing all over the web in a bid to get as many backlinks and get ranked highly.

Another tactic was meta data in the markup of the webpages, the main culprit was the keywords meta, some websites can place over 6o phrases on that one tag believing that the Search engine would rank them highly for each of these words. This has  just brought headache to developers especially if the client knows a bit of this criteria used to “boost” ranking. Some webmasters have more keywords than page content this just resulted to search engines -at least some like Google- dropping the meta tag due to abuse. I think generally your keywords should be the least possible around 2 to 4 are ok just touch on the main subject of your webpage.

Now there are some tactics I am ok with, these include:

  • Directory Structured Links – where hierarchy of links is grouped in subjects or categories, the root of each new link has an overview and the rest of the links follow giving a clear impression of the weight of the content in relation to the site. This is of course with the use of clean URLs.
  • Clean page outlines – where the mark-up outline gives the relevance of the topics similar to printed newspapers h1 the main title, h2 subtitles, h3 section titles. Such that the outline from h1 to the p tags provides a clear page description.
  • Separation of CSS and JavaScript from page HTML – where the CSS and JavaScript files are placed in different files and liked to the HTML instead of having the CSS and JavaScript inline with content. This is simply because JavaScript and CSS are not necessary for the spiders or crawlers and used generally for presentation enhancements or dynamic events on the webpage.

 

 Now with that said let me asses the outcomes of SEO. 

If the Search Engine Algorithm went berserk and now ranked websites simply based on how much SEO has been done on the site we would have the most useless Search Engines ever. Simply because when you search for instace for Search Engines and you have one website with so much text and links about Search Engines it would appear ranked above Bing and Google. Again if you were looking for say Social Media Apps you would find the forums on Social Media and news about Social media ranked above Facebook and Twitter. You simply would have stupid and unreliable searches as they would be algorithmic and easily manipulated.

My Take on SEO.

Simply put we do not need to give a false impression of ourselves to the search engines to get highly ranked we should allow the Search engine to place us at the rightful place in the chain and as we develop and get more content we can automatically go up the rank. This would be painful for businesses but why play unfairly after all you can focus on improving in quality first then visibility second.

Content Based SEO and Reputation Based ranking

This is not what many SEO service providers advocate for, some go to the extent of creating and providing software to automatically submit your links to multiple sites very fast for you to get highly ranked. This by all means is an unscrupulous means to get highly ranked.

The idea in “Content based SEO” is that the flesh (content) of your website is what determines your ranking, that way rich content goes on top regardless of  back-links and meta tags and poor content goes all the way down regardless of how many meta-tags or back-links they have. In this case spammers efforts would be useless as they would not accomplish anything by posting their links on your site with the hope of generating traffic on the other hand they will  break their sites reputation which would also drive them further down the page ranking.

I have nothing against other types of SEO but I believe we all want great searches and rich content. The priorities used by Search Engines would simply have to start with content, the richer the better. Next would be the reputation of the website the more reputable the better after this then the general mark-up formats and other factors can be assessed.

First build rich and Unique content then maintain a high reputation.

The Content Based SEO  will cause web creators to create unique content for which to get the best ranking and then maintain a high reputation to stay relevant. We all want traffic and maximum hits but we need to be unique and creative and above all honest with ourselves.

Search engines like Google maintain a record of your sites reputation and use it for your ranking this is not new and I also think that they have revised the algorithm for back-links or “votes” to detect spam back-links.

I receive so much  robot generated spam and if we had been honest we would not have SEO as a set of tactics to get highly ranked above more content richer sites . We can improve visibility honestly and to quote from Google:

Design your website for the users not for the Search Engine

Thank you for reading this next time you hear of SEO please think along these lines we want to have a useful web rich in content and creativity not a bunch of poor robot sites with nothing new to offer.

eclipse-pdt

Boost your PHP Development with Eclipse PDT

I had some wonderful boost to my development in php. If you ask me what editor I used I would answer you without flinching Notepad++. Well this is weird for a developer to be using such a tool for full scale development but I know why I prefered this editor over many others.

Many people love dreamweaver I also loved and adored it but some shortcomings especially lack of bracket matching for PHP was a big problem and also loading the external files and taking time to open were just some aspects I would not cope with. Notepad ++ has the advantage of being light and has perfect bracket matching capabilities, code highlighting and string delimiters recognition especially for PHP where variables can be thrown directly into a string. What Notepad ++ lacks would be the power to outline methods, auto-complete PHP code with parameter matching and listing. Though with the lightness comes the power to work with multiple documents especially where you need to search for a line of code within a folder of files, you simply drag the folder in Notepad++ and do a global find and replace and if it was creation of a new module with the same functionality this ability will save you a night of coding.

Sorry I went to details of my love for Notepad++ as this is not the topic today, I heard Iron sharpens Iron and two heads are better than one but today I saw the practicality of this statement. I have two coding friends one uses Netbeans another Eclipse, as much as I loved Netbeans I would find it too heavy for PHP projects but eclipse, I needed to find out if the same applies. Seeing the simplified version of eclipse specifically meant for PHP without bundling other non PHP details I felt I found my new partner.

Netbeans had an issue with display of line numbers for PHP projects, with that I cannot work with as line numbers are core to easy code debugging, for eclipse it was light and free find it on http://www.zend.com/pdt. PDT stands for PHP Development Tools, the good thing with this package is that it gives you a similar debugging interface as eclipse gives to java, errors in code are automatically highlighted and methods, parameters and variables are automagically autocompleted. This bundle saves you months of coding and debugging. You fall in love with this great package immediately, some advantages of this package is that it does not need installation simply extract and run, again it does not interfere with existing eclipse versions so you separate your php projects from your java and android projects that use another instance of eclipse.

Now I feel my development has a super boost I can easily build my logic and write clean well formatted and bug free code at a break neck speed. Here you have it get your php projects into auto-pilot move to an editor meant for the leaders of the pack. Its free, plug and play and a tool every developer cannot ignore.

I am also aware there are some plugins you can add to Notepad++ to assist in such and also that Dreamweaver CS5 may have upgraded their web editors but nothing will beat Eclipse PDT. For me it is the PHP development all in one life saver.

CodeIgniter and Zend

Pulling Zend Framework Libraries into CodeIgniter Seamlessly

You have probable met one if not the two PHP Frameworks whose differences are great to say the least. For codeigniter it is much easier to learn with flowing documentation a small footprint and fun to use. The requirements for codeigniter are simple just place it in a folder on your document root much the same way you do for a CMS and you are ready to go. For Zend Framework you have to know how to configure your PHP to accept command line arguments, edit your php.ini to add the library folder to the include_path, set up virtual host to map the public directory of your zend application as the server root and scratch the hairs off your head trying to switch the default sqlite connections to work with mysql. Zend could be very powerful but to a starter it is a rough way to go.

Now to my reason for this blog post. You can have much of what you like in Zend Framework inside your CodeIgniter. Now that sounds interesting, is it? You can have your controllers within codeigniter run GData, Web Services, Cloud Services, Generate PDfs and all that bad stuff you miss from Zend Framework.

The reason this is possible is due to the loose MVC in Zend Framework. For the Zend Framework you can have your controllers not linked to a database, — eeh CodeIgniter is much loose than that — which allows you to call Zend Library classes from your CodeIgniter and do what you want.

What you need to understand is that for Zend Framework Libraries to work you need to add the library folder for Zend Framework to your include_path and thats it. This can be done from php.ini if your Server API is CGI or Fast CGI or via .htaccess if on Apache 2.0 handler.

The neat logic that works here is that for CodeIgniter everything goes via index.php. This is how most CMS systems work and taking that every controller you have runs as if it was in the root of your site you can easily access all the resources via a path relative to the root of your application.This means that you can set the include_path just once on the root on your php.ini and that will work for the whole application if you are using CGI server API.

items as $item) {

			echo "
"; echo "

" . $item->title() . "

"; echo "Permalink
"; echo "

".$item->description() . "

"; echo "

"; } } }

Why your session variables fail in Codeigniter: How to fix them

If you are familiar with codeigniter and have done a full application using it you will find it a bit weird that the session class does not actually create a session. What do I mean? Yes I mean that the session class saves the data in browser cookies you can prove that by trying to print the session variables and you may get some very crazy errors.

print_r($_SESSION);

You may get a PHP error notice: variable _SESSION not initialized or something close to that and you go checking if your session library is loaded which i is and you wonder where did the session variables go.

Someone may ask why do you need the sessions is the session class not very great and useful? Well I have a practical scenario:
Take a case where you want to force the users to enter a valid captcha for your forms and you do not want to use the barbaric methods of codeigniter of storing captchas and want to use a great captcha generator such as cool captcha in your forms.

The challenge is simple the captcha generator stores the text of the image captcha in a session variable and during validation in codeigniter you would need your callback validator method to access the session variable to perform validation.

Now in this case you create your form and your captcha creates a cool image but you cannot access the session information and so you cannot validate the input. If you canno validate the captcha the form would be useless as any robot can have fun.

Now for the fix:

The fix is really easy. If you have used some codeigniter CMS systems such casino as PyroCMS you will notice that you do not get such problems so how do we fix it?

To start with since codeigniter does not use the real php sessions you can assume that a session is never started. This being the case you simply need to add the line below to the constructor of the Class you need to use sesssions and voila! All your sessions will work perfectly.

session_start();

I was mad the first time I got this error I thought codeigniter was clearing the session variable which if it did would cause me much trouble and I would be moving away from codeigniter. Thanks to all who share ideas the problem was simply back to basics of php.

To all you codeigniter lovers high five for creating applications with the easiest php framework around that is fully documented and light.

Easy Full PHP Backup tool Script for Zipping Fiolders and MySQL Database

The easy way to do backup is to place a backup script at the root of your files where you want to base your backup and add the files and folders(including all their contents) in an archive and then download that archive created to a safe place.

Obviously you will then make sure that only users with the correct previleges can perform the backup otherwise a crook can fill up your server or take your application as his own if you are not careful in concealing the details of your backup scripts.

The small code below is very powerful in creating a backup of the files.

open($filename, ZIPARCHIVE::CREATE) !== TRUE) {
    die ("Could not open archive");
}

/************************************
* REPEAT TTHIS BLOCK FOR ALL FOLDERS YOU WANT TO ZIP IN CURRENT FOLDER
************************/
//BACKUP SYSTEM DIRECTRORY MOST CRUCIAL
// initialize an iterator
// pass it the directory to be processed
$iterator = new RecursiveIteratorIterator(new RecursiveDirectoryIterator("system/"));

// iterate over the directory
// add each file found to the archive
foreach ($iterator as $key=>$value) {
    $zip->addFile(realpath($key), $key) or die ("ERROR: Could not add file: $key");        
}
/************ END OF FOLDER BLOCK  SET system to names of your folders ***************/


/*******************************************
*	REPEAT THIS BLOCK FOR ALL FILES YOU WANT TO ZIP IN CURRENT DIRECTORY
**********************************************/
// add index.php file
$zip->addFile('index.php');  

/******** SET index.php TO THE FILENAMES OF EACH OF YOUR FILES *******/

//add this backup file   
$zip->addFile('backup.php'); 

// close and save archive
$zip->close();
//echo "Archive created successfully.";    
?>

Now that you have all your files as you wanted all in an archive you now want to have a bckup of your whole database. I will not paste code for this but rather just provide the link to the script.
I have decide to redo the script for the database to make it more usable and to remove the depreciated PHP methods and add a compression method to make the process much better. Here is the backup script for your database just set the configs at the top of the script and you are good to go. I have tested the script on a wordpress database and it works like clockwork. Want to try it? I will never dissapoint so here we go!

open($filename.'.zip', ZIPARCHIVE::CREATE) !== TRUE) {
			die ("Could not open archive");
		}
		//add this backup file   
		$zip->addFromString($filename.'.sql',$return); 
		// close and save archive
		$zip->close();
	}

}

I will not stop guys who wish to use the older version available from the link below:

http://davidwalsh.name/backup-mysql-database-php

 

With simple coordination you can set up a cron to create new backups and replace old backups to save space and alert you to download them on a regular basis that way you always have your application or website safe.

I have tested both scripts and they work fine. In fact you can run the database backup first so that you can add the database backup file into the final zip.

Now you have a full backup of PHP files and your MySQL database that easily. So no more groaning when your client asks you to create a backup module for the website or application just copy paste and do necessary tuning for your application.

The Google+ Project

Google Plus Circles are Round Sparks are Hot, Huddle in Hangouts and Upload them Instantly

Google Plus comes to Us with this tagline Real-life sharing,redesigned for the web.
The Project for the fancy loving and and creative new breed of Internet Users
The new internet users need more than just static pages and with a project like this we will have more terms to talk about you can name them: A circle will have more meaning than its round shape as now we are heading for social circles to group our vast array of social mates more like Facebook’s friend-lists but way bigger better and useable. I must be waiting to see my friends faces and avatars going round and round in my circles so for my friends a circle now has a plus.

Read more »

outraiderbegins

Welcome to the Planet

The outraider’s planet is our place for projects involving code and lots of it web designs, photography and imagery, videos and animation, tutorials hints and cheat sheets, gaming and inspiration and professional growth.

This was created for those who enjoy having fun, who can spend their entire weekends drunk in code and snippets. If you look at the world in terms of shapes and objects if you want to have your own universe with your own design then we share a great deal of similarities.

The different aspects of our minds are in the issue of focus and domination. Your mind decides and you have no power to control it.

Well now this is a planet with nothing but some great will and potential without looking back we are going to the task of starting on our first project.

For now nothing is lost we are all fine and ready to battle to takeover our livelihoods and achieve our dreams in this world we rule and have absolute power extinction here is not an option neither is idleness next post after post growing stronger and gaining ground a territory is nothing without the power to defend it we define the system.

If you have suggestions they are welcome just leave a comment for now back to the pits to look for trouble a few hints coming randomly we can explore:

  • Graphics
  • Online Systems
  • Mobile Applications
  • Destiny

I am not going to break them down for you lest you get too much interested for now it is time for the hard work and yep! the story has began, the planet will soon be full of life as a creator it is all in your mind and up to you to use your imagination and make it all a reality.

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