Archives for June 2008

Google webmaster chat: tons of fun!

By the way, we had our second webmaster live chat yesterday. I think almost everyone had a good time. It was free for anyone to dial in, and hundreds of people showed up. Thanks to the Google presenters and everyone that asked questions or talked in the chat. I got a chance to answer lots of questions in the written Q&A, and then after the official presentations were over we did a “lightning round” and answered a bunch more questions via audio for 20-25 minutes.

I think we’ll try to get an official recording up soon with answers from the Q&A, but Barry Schwartz has been working hard the last couple days. He was smart and recorded the chat audio as an MP3. He also copy/pasted a raw dump of the Q&A. You can hear/read both over on his post.

If we get a cleaned up version of the Q&A where we have a chance to correct any typos or similar stuff, I’ll add a pointer here. In the mean time though, there’s a huge amount of good information in the Q&A section. It was wild because we had maybe 15 people in one room in Mountain View (and more in Kirkland and Zurich), and a bunch of Googlers were just answering questions as fast as they could.

I thought the chat went really well, so I’ll probably press for us to continue this tradition. 🙂 In the mean time, lots of people have been talking in Google’s webmaster discussion group.

Google Trends for Websites

If you’re a site owner, webmaster, SEO, or otherwise have an interest in website metrics, I think you’re going to like Google Trends for Websites. It’s almost as addictive to me as Google Maps is for, you know, normal people. 🙂 You’re probably familiar with regular Google Trends, which lets you see trends in how people search for difference phrases such as full moon or skiing vs. swimming. Here’s the graph of how often people search for “full moon,” for example:

Trends for full moon

Those spikes correspond nicely to when full moons actually happen. Now you can do similar fun things with sites. Here’s a simple example with my site,

Trends for Websites for

As you can see, Trends will try to estimate the number of visitors to my site over time. (The product is free, but you have to sign in if you want to get estimated numbers — otherwise you see the graph but not the number estimates.) There’s other good info too, though. See the graph below, for example:

Trends for Websites for

This is saying that people who visited also visited and You can “surf” related sites just by clicking around. You can also see what else people searched for. And you can even enter in two sites, separated by commas, to compare the estimated number of visitors between the sites:

Trends for Websites for

It’s a lot of fun, especially if website metrics is your cup of tea. You can read the official blog post or Barry Schwartz did a write-up as well. The comments are pointing out that some sites might not have much/any data. I think that that’s mainly because there’s a minimum threshold of traffic before Trends is willing to show statistics for a site — bear in mind that this is a launch on Google Labs. But you can still do some fun analysis with Trends for Websites, even though it’s in Google Labs. And it is free, so give it a try.

Sign up for our webmaster chat

We’ll be doing a webmaster chat tomorrow at 2 p.m. Pacific time. You need to register in advance for the chat, which you can do with this link.

Last quarter we did a webmaster chat and it was a ton of fun. I spent the entire time responding to people in the live chat. This time I plan to participate again, but I’ll be answering questions in the Q&A section of the session. There will also be a presentation by John Mueller about personalization, plus three other Googlers will do mini-presentations of a few minutes each.

It’s free, so I encourage interested webmasters/site owners/SEOs to sign up!

Review: Furminator Cat Brush

I really like the Furminator cat brush. My cat Emmy loves it, and it pulls a ton of hair off of her. How much hair? Well, not to be gross, but a lot:

A big hairball avoided

Good stuff, at least with my cat.

Happy “Download Firefox” Day!

Most people that read my blog know that I really, really like Firefox. I put on a temporary Firefox tattoo a few months ago:

Firefox tattoo

Firefox 3 just came out today, and they’re trying to set a world record for most software downloads in 24 hours. So now is the time to get it! Tell your friends, email your family, blog about it, even impress your boss with your browser’s svelte memory footprint. 🙂

Go ahead and download Firefox 3 today. After all, how often do you get a chance to take part in a world record just by downloading some software?

Added: I almost forgot that Google just released the Google toolbar for Firefox 3, if you’re interested. This new version adds support for custom buttons, which is one of my favorite features for the IE Google Toolbar. The toolbar also adds a “Send To” feature. The Send To feature lets you share web pages via email.