Dec 152017
 

Further to my previous blog posts on inappropriate results in Google search, some further studies have been made.It appears to be a robots.txt file exploitation! The contents of the robots.txt file on site www.sunnydaysandlovelyways.com has been analyzed, and found to contain the code as shown in the file below (as on 12/15/2017 11.00PM IST):


CCNA 200-125 Practice Exam-no-links


The hyperlinks in the file have been removed for obvious reasons. However, the robots.txt file contains all the links in the format as shown below:

h??p://www.sunnydaysandlovelyways.com/?htm=exam-details/ccna.htm

(replace h??p with http)

Whole of home page code has been copied to the robots.txt file followed by a couple of most visited pages.

The result: The result is there to see. For most keywords the website sunnydaysandlovelyways.com is showing up in the google results. Please see my previous posts referenced below:

Content is the King – But you need a Queen to protect & promote!

Most Irrelevant Results in Google Search – Contd..

Most Irrelevant Results in Google Search – A Case Study

 

It was also observed that the hacker cleverly disabled forwarding to topdump . com for known user agents. For example, we could only see the forwarding when using a VPN to hide the actual IP address and the geography. Otherwise, the site is not forwarding to topdump . com

It was probably achieved by using htaccess file or the config file of the web server hosting the domain sunnydaysandlovelyways.

If the argument is true, it appears to be a serious security flaw on part of search engine algo and needs to be fixed.

Disclaimer: This is only in the opinion of the author with the evidences as presented in respective blog articles. anandsoft.com is not responsible for the accuracy or correctness of the authors post.

Post Author: Vijay Anand may be reached on vyadla at anandsoft.com

Dec 132017
 

A former Facebook executive, Chamath Palihapitiya, has presented to an audience at Stanford Graduate School of Business and says he feels “tremendous guilt about to company he helped develop. Check out the full discussion here:

https://www.webmasterworld.com/webmaster_business_issues/4880457.htm

Dec 062017
 

We often hear seo experts say that “content is the king”, meaning that you produce unique and valuable content, and every thing else is taken care of! Nothing could be more wrong than this! We discuss a few cases as to how it could be wrong here:

1. Assume that you had created a unique and worthy content for your thing of interest. It was well researched and produced after a thorough work and published on your web page. Now, two things could happen: One is that no search engine could find your content at all, remember that there are millions of websites and billions of web pages and your unique content might be some where deep inside the Internet. Second thing that could happen is that the search engines found your unique content, but tagged them as “duplicate” content and probably penalized the web page for publishing duplicate content, and the silver lining is that you would never knew that the content was penalized by major search engines such as Google, simply because no one is going to tell you about it!

2. There is what is known as black hat SEO, which uses dubious means of techniques to attain first place (or say, first page) in search engine rankings. If you just take care of your web resources with strong passwords and dedicated servers, it may not be sufficient. The irony is that a website could be hacked even without breaking into the website! Yes, it is called off-page SEO techniques. In other words, some one can break the seo ranking of your web page or even get it black listed by using off-page  black hat SEO, and even Google can’t find it! A couple of examples are given earlier in the blog and the links are provided below for the reference of the readers:

Most Irrelevant Results in Google Search – A Case Study

Most Irrelevant Results in Google Search – Contd..

If you had thought that Google is mightier and no one can possibly break it, you had mistaken just like me! After a long study, I painfully understood, black hat seo webmasters routinely game search engines, including Google! It is also quite possible, you wouldn’t be knowing it at all!

So, what is the fix now?

Simple: The King requires a Queen! As in famous Indian-origin game of chess, a queen with multitude of skills is required to protect and to promote the king. What are the skills required by the Queen? These skills are briefly listed below:

  • On-page SEO
    • Development of responsive web pages, so that the web pages render properly on various devices using different operating systems and screen sizes, and browsers using different versions.
    • Proper meta tags like title, description, canonical, etc
    • Incorporation of analytics such as Google analytics
    • Elimination or identification of duplicate content with proper care
    • Configuring htaccess, robots.txt, sitemap, etc. to ensure that the content is delivered properly to the users.
    • Hardening of the server and the website resources
  • Off-page SEO
    • According to Moz.com, “Off-site SEO” (also called “off-page SEO”) refers to actions taken outside of your own website to impact your rankings within search engine results pages (SERPs)”. Off page SEO has become quite important these days, just as the on-page seo. With the advent of social signals and black-hat SEO, off-page SEO could not be ignored. Important off-site SEO techniques are given below:
      • Backlink building to your web page from other related domain sites
      • Press releases and article submissions to PR and articles sites
      • Blogging on your blog site or on related blog sites
      • Social signals, like posting on your or friends facebook page, or G+ page or twitter, etc.
    • Now, it is also important that you monitor your backlinks! Many search engines like Google may penalize for unnatural back links to the extent, that your web page might become non-existant for all practical purposes! To attend to this, you may need to do the following:
      • Use Google Webmaster Tools (GMT) regularly to see who is linking to your site (or web page) and ensure that it’s a genuine link (contextual) and not spammy (through the eyes of search engines).
      • Get the backlinks removed by requesting the offending websites’ owners to remove your linkbacks, and if it fails, requesting a disavow via GWT (short for Google Webmaster Tools)
      • Regularly checking for duplicate content on the Internet and reporting the same to Google and/or other search engines as required
      • Ensuring that your website is indexed properly and monitoring the same for consistency from time to time

The above are to mention a few, and just Google for more comprehensive list of activities. Obviously, it’s not something that one individual could do while managing his/her primary activity (that of writing your own content).

The need for capable SEO specialists has become most demanding with recent advances in search results ranking, and marketing.

Dec 032017
 

This is in continuation of the previous blog article Most irrelevant Results in Google Search – A Case Study ,  I have done a more detailed research into what’s happening with the Google search results. The following aspects have been considered in this study:

  1. How exactly the third party site (say site B) has been linking to the hacked site (site A, we are using the term hacked site, though it has been off-site)
  2. What are the Title and Description of the attacker’s site(site b)  and the page that it is forwarding the visitor when he clicks on the search result
  3. Whether site B, which was considered to be the attacker’s site is itself a victim? It is very much possible that the hacker used site B to redirect traffic to site C (the ultimate beneficiary?)

Now, going to point #1, it was observed that the following code had been used to link to victim site (backlink URL):

http://www.sunnydaysandlovelyways.com/?htm=LabSim/network-lab-simulator.htm
In the above backlink, if we replace the domain name and the “?htm”, it exactly corresponds to the victim site URL, which is

http://www.site-A.com/LabSim/network-lab-simulator.htm

Note: Domain name has been changed to site-A.com.

It was observed by going through the set of backlinks, almost entire site had been reconstructed by the spammer with a different domain name, but with same link structure. Point #2. The meta tags like Title and Description appear to have been duplicated. For example, the search result for key word “ccna exam” is given below:

In the above search result, the title is “CCNA 200-125 Practice Exam” and the description is “200-125 ccna practice exam consists of 425+ questions with flashcard explanation”. The  site A webpage corresponding to this result has the same exact Title and Description. On clicking on this search result, you will find that the destination page has nothing to do with the search term.

Result: Effectively, another irrelevant website (site B) has taken the place of Site A without having to hack site A. It was also observed that the webpage that matches the Title and Description shown above, had been delisted and doesn’t show in indexed list of web pages.

As per point#3, it was observed that when clicked on the site B’s link, it had been redirected to another site (site C) intermittently, resulting in suspecting that site B is an intermediary to final beneficiary website.

The results, though for a sample site, have far reaching ramifications. Just assume that this hacking has been done on a broader scale (hopefully, it is not so as of now), the whole search results become more or less irrelevant for the user.

It is very surprising that the search algo could not detect this kind of site hacking which is external to the victim’s website. It also points out to the fact that the search engine “memory” is not deep enough to remember the history of the web page, as new pages (weeks or months old) which are duplicates of the original pages (several years old pages, in this case 10+ years for the URL and the core  content of the page has not changed) are showing up in the results.

Will it continue? It appears so. The only solution is to have deep memory combined with processing power for the search algo which may not be possible due to reasons like huge processing overhead, update schedules, and delivery of the search results. Even if the algo is modified to fix one hack, another form of hack may surface due to above limitations.

Though in this case, one particular search engine results were taken, it is possible that similar hacks might happen with other search engines like bing as the mechanisms of hacking are the same. It necessitates that webmasters assess the web metrics such as keywords, backlinks, ranking, etc. continually and do the maintenance on a continual basis!!

So, now what happens to what some major search engine FAQs that say: “Just concentrate on your web pages and create value to your website visitors.” It is partly true, as the webmasters now have to really work through web metrics like keywords, ranking, backlinks, analysis of backlinks, various types of possible off-site hacks, removal of backlinks, reporting of spam sites to respective search engines, etc. And this is a specialized work, and one needs a professional to do this work, and not many individuals, and small businesses could afford it. As a result, it is possible that most of these sites are going to vanish from major search engine results over a period of time, unless there is more heuristic approach to search mechanisms.

Disclaimer: This is in the opinion of the author and does not represent Anand Software and Training’s view.

Author: Vijay Anand

Dec 012017
 

This is a case study, where in, the Google search results were analyzed for any inconstancy and possible susceptibility to hacking. The study is confined to a few search terms that we have been working with, and it is suggested to enlarge the scope of the study for wider ramifications.

The following search terms were considered for this purpose:

  1. simulation exams
  2. ccna exam
  3. ccna details

The results for all the three search terms were analyzed and discussed with relevant snap shots.

  1. simulation exams: The website at no.2 place is totally not related to the term as can be seen by going through the result.

simulation exams
The second result in the search results, with title CCNA 200-125 Practice Exam is totally irrelevant. Don’t get misled by the title (though Google did). The link sunnydaysandlovelyways is leading to a website that is totally in another category not nothing to do with exams or simulations. A screenshot of this site as you click on the link is given below:

sunnydays
It was also observed, at times (randomly) the click is getting forwarded to the website topdum  .  com, dump website as shown in the screenshot below:

topdump
It appears to be an illegal dump site. The redirect is not consistent, it forwards to topdump . com at times, but not always.

Now, lets move to another search term that shows up in Google search results.

2. CCNA exam:

This is a popular search term for CCNA exam, CCNA stands for Cisco Certified Network Associate, one of the most popular networking cert offered by Cisco.

ccna exam
Heree again, the website ranks third for this keyword. As may be seen, the website has nothing to do with exams, let alone CCNA exam. A pure misplacement by Google search.

3. CCNA detail:

Now, we move on to the third search term, ccna detail. A screenshot of the same is shown below:

ccna detail
As can be seen, the website sunnydaysandlovelyways has ranked 5th in the Google results. however, as mentioned before, it has nothing to do with CCNA or exam. The website some times (but not always) forwarding to topdump . com.

There are a few possibilities for the above results:

  1. The website sunnydaysandlovelyways has been changed. or
  2. The website sunnydaysandlovelyways has been hacked

The first possibility may be ruled out by looking at the history. The second possibility means that the site has been hacked and ranking high in the google (or black hat seo). However, it is surprising that google ranking some random site so high in search results. The hacker appears to have beaten google search algo at least for a few weeks 9particularly, the Christmas weeks). This is likely to break some businesses, because the slot actually belongs to a credible web site, but taken over by an irrelevant and probably spammy or hacked site.

This is really some thing that one can’t expect, as even bing and yahoo are not showing this particular site for the given search terms in the first 100 pages!

ISRO Launches GSLV Mark ii Rocket Successfully

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May 062017
 

Indian Space Research Organization ISRO today launched GSLV Mark 2 satellite launch vehicle to put South Asean Satellite in to the Geosynchronous orbit. The satellite weighs a little over 2 tons. Another GSLV launch is due in June this year that is capable of place 4 ton satelline in the geosynchronous orbit and the launcher is categorized as GSLV mark iii satellite launch vehicle.

Looking forward to the Mark iii satellite laucher..all the best ISRO!

Yogi Adityanath is the CM of UP (India)

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Mar 272017
 

UP, India: Yogi Adityanath has been elected as the CM of Utter Pradesh state after recent landslide win by the BJP in state assembly elections. Given below are the decisions made by the CM during the first few days of his taking the position:
1. Strict implementation of ban on illegal slaughter houses. – Checked unhygienic conditions in dense market places,
2. Police officials are putting in extra hours in the streets of UP – No eve-teasing and improved law and order situation in the state.
3. Installation of biometric attendance at government offices – Improved attendance.
4. Ban on use of pan masala at government offices – Improved cleanliness in government complexes.
5. State roads to be pot hole free by June 15 – yet to see the results
6. Installation of cctv cameras in government offices – improved attandence
7. Both male and female police officers to be present in every police station – Confidence in public particularly female.
8. Officials not to take any files home, should clear files only in office, during office hours – a drive towards anti corruption in the state.

The above are a few to mention, and surely the state is going in the right direction.

Very best to the CM and all.

China Is About To Fly It’s First Commercial Aircraft in April 2017!

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Mar 182017
 

C919 AirPlane of China

COMAC Air Plane 2017

China, in continuation of it’s most aggressive industrialization is all set for the first trial run of its 168-seater commercial aircraft, challenging the monopoly being enjoyed by Airbus and Boeing.

According to Philippe Petitcolin, chief executive officer of Safran SA, an aircraft engine maker.

Any problems with taxi trials may alter the schedule, Petitcolin said in an interview in Paris. The Chinese C919 aircraft will be powered by the LEAP engine, made by CFM International, an equal joint venture between Safran and General Electric Co.

COMAC functions as the main vehicle in implementing large passenger aircraft programs in China. COMAC is the acronym of the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd. The basic version of C919 is designed to cover a range of 4,075 km

Wish them all the best with the endeavor!!

Demonetization of Indian Currency – A Success or Failure?

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Dec 242016
 

On Nov. 8 th 2016, the Indian prime minister had announced demonetization of Rs.500 and Rs.1000 notes that constitute 86% of the Indian currency. The move, though hailed as a bold step to root out black money, was later criticized by the media. The opposition parties have been criticizing the move from day one. The points that contributed to the perception that the move was not good are:

  1. All the money that was demonetized has reached banks, leaving no room for the government to own any money that had not been deposited to banks. Earlier, it was expected at least 3-4 lakh crores of rupees would not be finding its way to banks, thus providing a fillip to use unaccounted money for welfare schemes.
  2. The problems associated with refurbishing the economy with new currency are innumerable. There were long queues outside ATMs for money withdrawals even after  45 days of demonetization. This has led to slower growth as people don’t have money to spend though it was possible to pay any amount of money using cashless payments such as credit card, cheque, wire transfer, etc.
  3. Several small businesses, such as restaurants, petty shops had tough time during this period as some businesses collapsed or resorted to staff retrenchments. Pensioners were not able to draw monthly pensions, etc.
  4. The government spent huge money in way of printing new currency, waiving of road toll fees (due to lack of change and long queues), and fee waiver on electronic form of payments.

However, the benefits may be noted as below:

  1. All the money (500 and 1000 notes) has been deposited in the banks, providing a fillip of Rupees 14 lakh crores to banks. Only about INR 5 lakh crores has been disbursed as on 22nd Dec 2016. Even if another 5 lakh crore is withdrawn for making the economy cash sufficient, it leaves another 4 lakh crore with the banks. There is a possibility of reducing the interest rates which, in turn increase investments and industry.
  2. By going through the money trail, the govt agencies, post demonetization, are able to identify several tax evaders and initiate steps in accounting the black money.
  3. The gold imports have been reduced to record lows, as the govt is keen on identifying people holding inordinate amounts of gold.
  4. The Indian government is trying to go through the bank accounts of the depositors to find tax evasion, and impose taxes and penalty, which may be substantial.

The general opinion is that the government could have done the same with less inconvenience to the public. One needs to wait another 2-3 months to see full impact of demonetization.

India – Withdrawal of 500 and 1000 Currency Notes by the Govt.

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Nov 092016
 

India (PM Modi Ji) announced that the Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 denomination currency will be dicontinued from 00.00 hours on 9th Nov. 2016. This is considered by noted economists as a major step towards bringing out un-accounted money in India.

Update as on 13/11/2016: As much as Rs. 50,000 Crore has been deposited in SBI (State Bank of India) alone. Cumulative deposits (in all banks) during first five days said to be around 4 lakh crore rupees.

Update 2: As on 18/11/2016, 5,44,000 crores has been deposited in banks.

There is huge support for PM Modi in favor of demonitization. Surprisingly, all opposition parties are rallying against the move, where as majority of the people are behind Modi.

Checkout Modi’s app: http://www.narendramodi.in/downloadapp

 Posted by at 5:58 pm