December 10, 2017

Blogging and social media updates: Mosul Eye blogger comes in open, Mother Mushroom gets jail, AIM goes down...

Blogger Omar's sustained blog posts open Mosul to the world in the face of death


Omar Mohammed, 31, is no longer the anonymous blogger who ran Mosul Eye for over three years, exposing IS atrocities in this historical city to the outside world.

Mosul Eye blog
Omar began his blogging journey with a Facebook page and then started a regular blog, MosulEye, on Wordpress in June 2014. He was one of the most credible voices reporting on ISIS atrocities in Mosul, and to escape IS wrath he had to remain anonymous. He has chosen to come in the open, now that Mosul has been salvaged from IS.

Assoiated Press reports this on his blogging adventure: He would wander the streets of occupied Mosul by day, chatting with shopkeepers and Islamic State fighters, visiting friends who worked at the hospital, swapping scraps of information. He grew out his hair and his beard and wore the shortened trousers required by the extremists. He forced himself to witness the beheadings and stonings, so he could hear killers call out the names of the condemned and their supposed crimes... By night, anonymously from his darkened room, Mosul Eye told the world what was happening. If caught, he too would be killed.
   

Vietnamese blogger sentenced to 10 year imprisonment

One year back, we carried this story on how 'Mother Mushroom', a popular blogger was booked in Vietnam for being vocal on the issue of corruption.

Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, 37, now gets a 10-year jail term for propaganda against the state, after an appeal court upheld the sentence by a lower court.
  

Tumblr founder leaves the blogging platform

Tumblr founder, David Karp, is leaving his platform. He founded this very simple blogging platform in 2007, which was taken over by Yahoo! in 2013 for $1.1 billion. Karp was retained as CEO at a reported sum of $81 million for four years.

Now that Verizone has acquired Yahoo! and is streamlining its working in its own corporate way, Karp has announced that he'd leave the company soon.
 

AIM to shut down next week!

AOL Instant Messaging (AIM) is shutting down this 15th, after serving for 20 years as a chat application. In the 90's it was a rage in the US in the 90's and everybody would use it for communication with 'buddies'. Due to competition from other contemporary chat apps, then SMSs and finally the modern chat apps, its base had shrunk to a few millions and not being a mobile application it would die in any case even if AOL didn't close it.

Many in the US and elsewhere would say Adieu to AIM with a sad heart, but let the best technology prevail!
  

Netflix leaves pay channels behind in the US

Data provided by Statista on cable television and Netfix streaming videos shows that in terms of number of subscribers per quarter, the latter has surpassed cable TV first time in 2017. The trend shows that Netflix would keep the pace in fututure. Major cable TV providers did not lose much in terms of lost connections, which means people with cable TV are subscribing to Netflix more and more.

Of course, with higher viewing time per visit, users still are consuming more content on pay TV than Netflix.

With Netflix expanding its wings to many countries worldwide (220 by the latest count), and many social media platforms promoting video streaming, television viewing seems to be undergoing a big change.

Footprint of Netflix
   

Is the Russian 'disinformation' on US politics more subtle than thought earlier?

If you believe this article on Wired, Russians were active in quite subtle ways to influence US public opinion during the last elections. Taking a close look at three Twitter accounts and associated blogs, the article comes to the conclusion that though Russian state might not be involved, there is more to the language and content of political articles on these social media spaces. It says, "Russia's disinformation campaign around the US election spread well beyond Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. They were also blogging."

December 6, 2017

Why canonicalization is good SEO and how to implement it?

     

What does "canonical" mean?

   
In simple English, canonical means what is according to canon or rule. That means what is authoritative.

Canonical URL is more equal among equals.
In website/ search engine optimization terms, canonical has a similar connotation: the URL that you take as most authoritative out of many that point to the same web page.For example, the following URLs may refer to the same website: www.xyz.com, xyz.com, xyz.com/index.html, xyz.com/home.asp, xyz.com/index.htm, www.xyz.com/, https://www.xyz.com. In addition, one could be maintaining two websites with similar content but differing in some respects; in this case there would be two distinct URLs but with same content. Modern websites that are dynamic/ code-driven create a variety of URL paths, all referring to the same webpage, that result in dozens of URLs. 


Why is canonicalization necessary?

   
When the same website can be reached in different ways, it is not an issue as far as visitors are concerned. But that creates an issue with search engines. When a search engine finds same type of content in two or more webpages, it gets alerted that the content has been copy-pasted at two places (duplicate content alert) and thus sees it as an undesirable activity. Search engines also scoff at multiple URLs for the same page because this artificially bloats web-links and other references arising out of that page. As website owner, you lose in terms of poor SEO due to penalties from search engines.

In addition, when you have two websites with same content (arising dynamically or manually),  people visiting site 'A' might link or bookmark site 'A' while others visiting site 'B' might link site 'B'. Only part of the links are thus counted by Google or other search engines, depending upon which site is indexed by their bots.

The coding that is done to tell search engines about the canonical (=authoritative, preferred) URL out of more than one URLs is called canonicalization


How to implement canonicalization?

  
This is damn simple! You need to put this HTML element to all your websites that should redirect to your canonical URL: rel=canonical

1.  Decide which one of the alternate URLs suits you the best (e.g. which one is likely to be used most by visitors).

2. Go to <head> section of the homepage of each website and add this code, including on the canonical site:
<link rel="canonical" href="http://xyz.com"> 

(There used to be different opinions about using the HTML element given above on the canonical site itself also; it is now settled that this is rather useful than bad.)

3. Go to your Google Search Console (earlier 'Webmaster Tools') account if you have one; tell which is the canonical URL for a particular website.


Canonicalization on Wordpress and Blogger platforms

  
At present, blogs on Blogger platform are automatically given a canonical URL out of www and without www versions of the site URL. This applies to independent domains mapped to Blogger blogs also. For other versions, you can put the above given HTML expression in the code of the website(s).

In the case of Wordpress free blogs, canonicalization is not automatic. You have to implement that with the help of a SEO plugin. If you do not want to invest in that, the least you can do is to open a Google Search Console account, and canonicalize the website URL.