Firefox Makes Googling (and SEO) Easier

Update (12-10-2010) – So today I’m not the Firefox fanboy I used to be.  I’ve moved into Chrome.  Check out Chrome Extensions That Make SEO Easier.

The Firefox browser is an amazing, innovative browser.  It’s fun watching IE copy its features (well, as many as its architecture can allow, which isn’t many – MS doesn’t rebuild, so Firefox should be enjoying their notoriety for a long time to come).  I was an early adopter, but it’s pretty amazing how many people use this browser now – it’s not just advanced web surfers anymore.  I was helping my 60 year old mother install a webcam and saw the Firefox browser.  Impressed, I asked her how she heard about it.  She said, “well, I don’t want Spyware.”  Wow.

For those who still don’t use Firefox, here’s some reasons you should take the plunge.  If you’re a traditional IE user, believe me, learning this browser is a piece of cake.

  1. Download Manager makes controlling and revisiting your downloads easier
  2. Faster – uses less computer resources
  3. Smart Location Bar – this makes entering URLs easier
  4. Great privacy controls
  5. Security!!!!!!!!! <- reason enough to choose Firefox over IE
  6. Better webpage rendering
  7. Zoom in on text and images (cntrl +/-)
  8. HUGELY customizable

That last one is a big one (and the reason for this post).  With hundreds of homemade Firefox extensions on the web, you can customize your browser to make your internet life easier.  If you’re a web developer, there are extensions to help you locate and analyze code, view pages in cross-browser emulation, disable style codes or JavaScript, and a lot more.  If you are a social media fanatic, there are extensions that make your browser interact with your favorite sites more naturally.  It’s pretty addictive to search for these extensions, especially if you’re a tinkerer like me.  Here’s a bunch including ad blockers, tab controllers, image viewers, and cool ways to save pages for easier use later (I haven’t used my browsers bookmark function in a while thanks to some of these plugins).

How does Firefox help Googling?

Greasemonkey is a Firefox Extension that allows for sub-extensions (called scripts, also found by Googling ‘greasemonkey scripts’ or something similiar).  Search Engine Journal just posted 14 Essential Greasemonkey Scripts for Google Searching, and had a few I didn’t know about.  Some of these scripts are useful to the average searcher.  They do a great job of summarizing each script, so take a look.

To use these scripts, you just have to install the Greasmonkey extension first, then go to the script pages and click INSTALL.  That couldn’t be easier.

How does Firefox help SEO?

There are plenty of Firefox extensions for search engine optimization, allowing for quick site audits, spider emulation, NoFollow checkers, user-agent switchers (view a site as Google), and code viewers.

Again, these sites do a great job describing and sending you to the tools.  Tackle these after lunch for an hour, and I guarantee the web will look a lot better.  Enjoy –

http://seo2.0.onreact.com/top-10-firefox-extensions-for-search-website-optimization-and-seo-i-use

http://tips.webdesign10.com/firefox-seo-extensions

http://www.automaticable.com/2008-04-29/the-top-12-seo-firefox-extensions/

Surfwax – A Meta Engine You Might Like

Hey all – been taking a vacation from the blog for a while, sorting out some personal issues.  Wanted to bring up a cool meta search engine that I’ve been getting back into.  It’s not new, but it’s a cool way to search when your old standby’s aren’t doing the job.

A meta-search engine is a search engine that sends user requests to several other search engines and/or databases and aggregates the results into …
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meta_search_engine

Check Out Surfwax – Meta Search Engine

SERPs Customized for Philadelphia Metro Area? Thanks, I guess.

Screenshot of Customized Google search
note: image was altered to fit the width of my blog

“Customized for the metro Philly area”, eh?  Interesting, except my actual location this time was outside of Philadelphia, in Reading, Pennsylvania – Berks County, not Philadelphia.  I’m not exactly sure how the geo-tracking works in this case (I’ll have to look into that), but when I checked my IP path, I’m not running through Philly.  Why not choose Harrisburg then?  I’m equally close.

SEO and IP aside, I just started to wonder about whether this was a good idea at all.

I wasn’t logged in.  I wasn’t asking for personalized search.  What if I didn’t want an art program in the Philadelphia area, but rather an art program like Photoshop?  Why would I want a customized “local” search?  Or, what if I was open to any location?  Granted, these results really didn’t seem that customized to Philly this time around, but how far can Google take this?

I’d prefer some parametric buttons that would let me choose customized results to my location, instead of just having it be “on”.

Video Tour Of Google’s Social Search Interface

Update!

This is now in full release on Google.  You need to be logged into Google to see it.  It’s called SearchWiki.  Google reps have said that your personal reordering of listings doesn’t affect the natural search at this time.  This is valuable user data though, so I would expect Google to start considering this.  Google doesn’t work as hard as they do to collect user data, only to not eventually use it in their products!  What better product than Google search?  They just need to figure out how to keep it from being artificially manipulated by black-hats and spammers.

________

A few posts ago I talked about the lucky coworker who got the Google social search beta.  Well, today the Google fairies smiled upon me.  I created a new Google account for a project I was working on, and a webmaster central account, and BOOM… there it was in all its glory.

I quickly downloaded some screen capture software and put together this video.  Sorry, no sound, but I don’t think you’ll really need it to see what this cool Google interface is all about.

Search Engines You Never Knew Existed

As a search engine junkie, I’m always pulling for the little guy with a good idea. I love competition in the marketplace, especially when they introduce some new ideas.

Yahoo and MSN are very concerned about the future of their properties, despite aggressive roadmap announcements. They’re prime targets for a Cuil-type overtaking.  Google may rule, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I break their mindshare (or mind control? Hmm…) more often in the future.  I’ll happily switch to non-traditional search engines or platform engines – that is, if I find them effective. Unique results speak for themselves.

Here’s a few engines I found – few of which I use (I admit).  But maybe the next winner comes from this list.  What do you think? Shopping, meta, social, and vertical engines abound…

[…]

Google, Yahoo now read Flash – so is Progressive Enhancement obsolete?

With the surprise news that Adobe hooked Google and Yahoo up with a special reader for the spiders (which allows the engines to parse the .swf files and index/follow deeper content), does that mean the SEO’s PE special weapon can be abandoned?

I’m still going to stick with it for a while for my SEO blog and my clients’ sites. Google is adopting the reader first, and has technically been lightly reading some flash files already, but anyone who’s been in the game long enough knows that a lot of these properties launch with half-powered products all the time. Their track record isn’t stellar, so why not a ‘better safe than sorry’ approach?   I don’t think I would consider dropping PE until at least a few more months after MSN jumps aboard.  I’m not sure I would cease building products for the PE method (depending on the cost vs. value), and simple on-page coding is so easy – it seems like a no-brainer.

What about the other engines that will never be this advanced?  Do you care about them?  In preperation for vertical and social searching, I think it’s wise to consider what they could become.   I think this news is going to spark a huge influx of flash sites, but I’m thinking this still seems like a bad idea.

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