Monthly Archives: May 2013

Everything You Need To Recover From Google Panda & Penguin [Tips & Resources]


If you’re an SEO then you probably know that Google Panda is two years old. The first Google Panda Update (or farmer update) was on February 24, 2011 targeting content farms (and those made for search engine sites) and it was a nightmare for webmasters. And then there were more updates to penalize websites that were over-optimized (Google Penguin), using  exact match domains, pages with too many above the fold ads, etc.

I love all these updates as it improves the search experience of users and that’s obviously the goal of a search engine. That said, Google is STILL far away from that “perfect” search engine definition.

So I’m going to focus on all major updates by Google with their recovery tips that I collected from various sources. From all this research, I can easily conclude that if you haven’t violated any Google’s Webmaster Guidelines then you shouldn’t worry about any Google updates.

I guess Google became obsessed with penalty starting with Overstock and JCPenney. In 2011, Google penalized and (popular e-commerce websites) for artificially inflating rankings on Google search result pages. Then they came up with several updates in an effort to improve the search results and the latest manual penalty being (yet another e-commerce site that got hit for bad SEO practices).

Google Algorithm Updates That Matters (Panda Era)

Google Algorithms

I haven’t included ALL the updates as some of them were regular updates and others were “feature” updates like Social Signals, Local, Google +1, Knowledge Graph, etc. I suggest you to check out Google Algorithm Change History by SEOmoz to track ALL updates since 2000.

Each year, Google changes its search algorithm up to 500 – 600 times. While most of these changes are minor, every few months Google rolls out a “major” algorithmic update that affect search results in significant ways.

  • Google Panda (Farmer) — February 23, 2011
  • Freshness Update — November 3, 2011
  • Page Layout Algorithm (Ads Above The Fold) — January 19, 2012
  • Google Penguin (Over-optimization penalty) — April 24, 2012
  • DMCA Penalty — August 10, 2012
  • Exact-Match Domain (EMD) Update — September 27, 2012
  • AuthorRank — ???

Credits: SEOmoz

How To Know If You’re Hit By Google Panda, Penguin, Page Layout, etc.


In order to recover from Google Panda, Penguin or whatever update you have to confirm the exact date you got hit. Go to Google Analytics – Reporting > Traffic Sources > Sources > All Traffic > google / organic and use the web analytics to identify the issue.

If you noticed a sudden drop in traffic then you’re probably hit. And you should also check the analytics to see if it was a side wide penalty or a page specific one. It’s possible that you can lose good amount of traffic if you lost the ranking of a top keyword.

If you have suddenly noticed a huge traffic drop after a specific date then you can compare that date with various Google algorithm updates For example, if there was a massive traffic drop on April 24th then it obviously means that your site was hit by Google Penguin.

And don’t forget Google dances as Google uses over 200 ranking signals to rank pages so as they deploy various other changes you’ll see traffic drop/increase.

Google Panda

Google Panda was announced on February 23, 2011. It was a major algorithmic update by Google that impacted 12% of all search queries. Though the primary target of Panda update was content farms (and hence the name farmer update) it also affected websites with low quality content (thin content), made for AdSense websites, and others. After the Google Panda update, Google gave more guidance about what counts as a high quality website.

  • What Is “High Quality Content” According To Google?
  • How To Stop The Panic Before Asking Have I Been Panda Slapped?
  • How To Recover From Google Panda Update Traffic Loss
  • How To Recover After The Google Panda And Penguin Update?
  • 6 Months With Panda: A Story Of Complacency, Hard Decisions, And Recovery

Freshness Update

On November 3, 2011, Google announced Freshness Update by saying that their search result pages will contain more fresh content. It impacted 35% of all searches (compared to just 11% impact by Panda update).

Page Layout Algorithm (Ads Above The Fold)

On January 19, 2012, Google improved the Page Layout Algorithm so as to penalize web pages with too many ads above the fold.

“Rather than scrolling down the page past a slew of ads, users want to see content right away. So sites that don’t have much content “above-the-fold” can be affected by this change.”

It means that if you click on a search result and the landing page is full of ads then it might be penalized as that’s not a good search experience for a user.

If you got hit by this update then you need to revamp the whole website by changing its architecture, design, and page loading speed. Google also says that:

“If you decide to update your page layout, the page layout algorithm will automatically reflect the changes as we re-crawl and process enough pages from your site to assess the changes. How long that takes will depend on several factors, including the number of pages on your site and how efficiently Googlebot can crawl the content. On a typical website, it can take several weeks for Googlebot to crawl and process enough pages to reflect layout changes on the site.”

Google Penguin (Over-optimization Penalty)

Google announced the Penguin update on April 24, 2012 as another step to reward high-quality sites after Google Panda and Page Layout Algorithm update. Google Penguin is also known as over-optimization penalty or a “webspam update” as it targeted websites that were involved in black hat SEO tactics to manipulate search rankings. Since it’s a “link” related issue you can make use of Disavow Links tool.

Google Penguin Recovery Tips

  • Google Penguin Update Recovery Tips & Advice
  • Strategies For Diagnosing Penguin And Recovering
  • Bad Link Building Recovery After Google Penguin
  • How To Clean Your Site After The Google Penguin Update

Link Building Tactics – Post Penguin

  • Link Building Strategies Post Penguin Era
  • 79 Link Building Resources For 2013

Case Studies

  • How Recovered From The Penguin Update
  • A Penguin Recovery During a Panda Update, And The Disavow Tool Works

DMCA Update

Google introduced DMCA Penalty on August 10, 2012 by saying that:

“…we will begin taking into account a new signal in our rankings: the number of valid copyright removal notices we receive for any given site.”

It means that if Google received multiple DMCA Notices against your website then your web pages will appear lower on search result pages. It can be difficult to recover from this kind of penalty as copyright violations are serious. So just make sure that you don’t copy content from other sites and if you ever receive a DMCA Notice by a webmaster then you should do the needful by responding promptly.

Exact-Match Domain (EMD) Update

Google released Exact Match Domain (EMD) Update on September 27, 2012 by tweeting that:

“Minor weather report: small upcoming Google algo change will reduce low-quality “exact-match” domains in search results.”

And it basically means that low quality keyword rich domains will be penalized and will be ranked lower on search results. Google historically ranked domain names (even those spammy sites) with keywords higher.

If you’re hit by EMD update then it probably means that the web pages are of low quality. In that case you have no other choice but to improve the quality of your content. You may also move the site to a new branded domain name (use 301 redirect) so that you won’t be hit again and make your website social media friendly.

  • The Exact Match Domain Playbook: A Guide And Best Practices For EMDs
  • Your Guide To Google’s EMD Algorithm Update

Site Speed

I haven’t included the “Site Speed” update that Google incorporated in 2010. Ever since that update, Google began to use “site speed” as a ranking signal. It means that sites that load faster will be ranked higher than those pages that are slow.

Google announced that “We encourage you to start looking at your site’s speed — not only to improve your ranking in search engines, but also to improve everyone’s experience on the Internet.

  • How Load Time Affects Google Rankings [Infographic]
  • The Only 7 Tools You’ll Ever Need To Check Page Speed Performance
  • 15 Tips To Speed Up Your Website
  • How To Make Your Site Insanely Fast

10 Tips For The Perfect Google Reconsideration Request

Popular Indian blogger Amit Agarwal’s was labeled as a “Content Farm” by Google when the first Google Panda was launched. And he recovered eventually as his blog never violated any webmaster guidelines and moreover it’s not a content farm. It’s a real blog with original ideas, reviews, tech tips, etc. that never hired any writers.

Amit wrote that,

“…what makes me more sad is the fact that Google algorithms have labeled Digital Inspiration as a ‘content farm’ despite having tons of high-quality and original articles. And there’s little I can do about it.”

I can fully understand his feeling as I know that he never used any writers and has never published a guest post. I assume that the penalty was due to “thin-posts” as he used to write blog posts with 100-300 words as well. But it does hurt especially when those posts were expressing the author’s thoughts on a topic.

What You Should Know About Reconsideration Requests

Google Scolding Webmasters

Okay, now based on various sources, articles, and videos I’ve sorted 10 tips that should help you to submit that perfect Google reconsideration request.

1. Reconsideration Requests Are Read By Real People

A user asked on Google Webmaster Help Forums whether reconsideration requests are read by real people. And Matt Cutts confirmed that 100% of reconsideration requests are read by a real person unless there’s no manual action by the web spam team.

It means that if your website was penalized manually by Google then they will read and respond to your reconsideration request if necessary.

2. Google Won’t Tell You Exactly Why Your Site Was Penalized

Google also confirmed that they don’t reply to your reconsideration request with tons of details but only with the exact reason why your site was penalized.

3. Admit That You Made A Mistake

Now let’s say you have violated few webmaster guidelines and got a manual penalty. In that case it’s really important to admit the mistakes you’ve made so that you can fix those issues and let them know that you made all the necessary changes.

For example, if the manual penalty is due to “paid links” then you can remove all the links that you have bought and then admit in your reconsideration request that you did violate webmaster guidelines by involving in paid links and you’ve removed them.

4. Don’t Just Reply That You Comply With Google Guidelines

When you send the reconsideration request you need to give as much details as possible. Google says that sometimes they get reconsideration requests from people that say “My site adheres to the guidelines now“. That really won’t help as they need as much information as possible from your side so that they’ll know exactly what you have done to fix the possible issues.

5. Read Google Webmaster Guidelines

If you’re not sure about why your site was penalized then you can read the complete Google webmaster guidelines before sending the reconsideration request as the reason could be unknown to you. If you don’t know where to start then you can begin with Google Webmaster & SEO Guidelines where I explored Google’s webmaster and SEO guidelines for you.

6. Get Help From Google Webmaster Forum

If you were unable to figure out the problems then you can seek help from other webmasters and Google employees who are active at Google Webmaster Forum.

7. You Are Allowed To Send The Reconsideration Request Again

When you get a notice of “Manual Spam Action” by Google then you should analyze your website and analytics. And once you identify the possible issues and improved things by making all the changes (so that you comply with webmaster guidelines) then you can always do another reconsideration request.

8. Don’t Try To Fool Google

Google uses sophisticated tools internally and “real” people are actually looking at your reports. So if you try to fool them with misleading information then they will disregard your request for reconsideration.

9. Don’t Spam With Multiple Requests

There’s no need to submit the reconsideration requests several times. All you need to do is submit ONE request with detailed information. As all requests are reviewed, you’ll get a response in few weeks.

10. Make Sure That You Don’t Repeat The Mistakes

You can also give some kind of assurance by saying that you have stopped violating quality guidelines and you’ll never repeat the mistakes that you have done.



Speed up your PHP with XHProf


I’ll admit it, I’m doing performance-intensive code in PHP. I started my career writing demos in hand-coded assembler, but the need for development speed has pushed me towards using a scripting language. Part of making fast progress is reducing dependencies, which has meant sticking with PHP for the whole system, even for back-end analysis where another language might be more expected.

That’s left me desperate to get more information on where the time is going when things slow down. My first weapon of choice is a simple pair of timing functions that I wrap around code to tell how long a whole block is taking. That’s quick and easy, (and I’ve included my code below) but it doesn’t give you any information about which parts of it are taking all the time.

For that you need a profiler, and if you do a search for php profiling, almost every result talks about XDebug. Unfortunately, as a profiler, it’s a great debugger. You need to edit php.ini and restart the server, or pass in a URL input, you can only profile an entire script rather than just portions, and once you have generated the file you need to transfer them to one of several klunky desktop applications to explore the results.

After abandoning XDebug as too unwieldy, I spent some time searching for other solutions. I finally came across XHProf, and I’m loving it. It was developed as an internal tool for Facebook and open-sourced in March, and you can tell it’s been written by people who actually use it. It took a little bit of fiddling to install it, I couldn’t get it going through PECL and ended up downloading the source and manually compiling. It was a dream to use after that. It let me trigger the profling programatically around the code I cared about, and then browse the results through a web interface.

There’s a couple of caveats, it’s missing a few advanced features I’m used to from advanced desktop profilers like detailed information on the full call stack for functions rather than the immediate parents and timing for individual lines of code rather than functions, but in practice it’s got all the features I need to diagnose performance problems. I was able to speed up my IMAP email importing dramatically, largely by removing the use of a global variable in an inner loop, it turned out to be far faster to pass the object as a function argument! That’s the sort of problem that would have taken me far longer to find without XHProf.

Here’s the primitive timing functions I mentioned at the start:

$g_start_time = 0;
$g_end_time = 0;

function pete_start_timer()
global $g_start_time;
list($usec, $sec) = explode(‘ ‘,microtime());
$g_start_time = ((float)$usec + (float)$sec);

function pete_end_timer($dolog=true)
global $g_start_time;
global $g_end_time;
list($usec, $sec) = explode(‘ ‘,microtime());
$g_end_time = ((float)$usec + (float)$sec);
$duration = ($g_end_time – $g_start_time);

if ($dolog)
$durationstring = ‘pete_timer: %01.4f sec’;
error_log(sprintf($durationstring, $duration));

return $duration;



iOS 6.1.4 on iPhone 5 Review

Last week, we took a first look at the latest iOS update for the iPhone 5 which arrived in the form of iOS 6.1.4, a small update that arrived only for owners of Apple’s latest iPhone model. Now, after spending a few days with the new software, it’s time to take a final in-depth look at Apple’s latest piece of mobile software in our iOS 6.1.4 on iPhone 5 review.

Over the course of 2013, Apple has released a grand total of five updates to its iOS 6 software which first emerged alongside the iPhone 5 back in September of last year. The first of those updates, iOS 6.1, represented the biggest update thus far to the iOS 6 operating system as it brought along a number of new features including the new lock screen music controls.

Read: iOS 6.1.4 on iPhone 5 Review: Impressions and Performance.

iOS 6.1.4 is the latest iOS 6 update from Apple.

iOS 6.1.4 is the latest iOS 6 update from Apple.

However, as iPhone owners soon learned, it also brought along a number of new bugs, bugs that Apple has been addressing over the course of the last several months in which it has unleashed a number of updates to its iOS 6 software.

The first of those updates came in the form of iOS 6.1.1 which was for iPhone 4 owners only and tackled a 3G connectivity issue that they had been experiencing shortly after installing the new software. Shortly after that, Apple rolled out iOS 6.1.2 which was meant to eradicate a pesky Exchange calendar bug that was seemingly draining the battery life on not only iPhones but iPad as well.

Also introduced were a number of lock screen bugs that allowed unwanted users access to Contact information and Photos. There were also complaints about smaller issues, issues that owners hoped would be taken care of with future updates.

iOS 6.1.3 arrived to take care of the lock screen issues but as we pointed out, there were still iPhone owners experiencing problems with Exchange and an assortment of other issues. And while many had hope that Apple would roll out an update between then and the release of iOS 7, there was certainly no guarantee.

Fortunately, Apple had at least one more update in store for iOS 6 and iOS 6.1 which arrived last week and rolled out to iPhone 5 owners as iOS 6.1.4, the fourth update to iOS 6.1.

Last week, we took an initial look at the performance and quality of the iOS 6.1.4 update for the iPhone 5 and now, it’s time to take a final look at iOS 6.1.4, its performance, whether its worth updating, and what’s next for the iPhone 5 as we get closer to the arrival of iOS 7.

iOS 6.1.4 Is Good, So Far

The iPhone 5 gets the iOS 6.1.4 update.

So far, so good with iOS 6.1.4.

So far, the overall experience with iOS 6.1.4 on the iPhone 5 has been a good one. I haven’t discovered any significant bugs, which is important given the amount of bugs that previous iOS 6.1 updates have brought with them, and we haven’t noticed a significant drop off in performance of the iPhone 5, something else that is extremely important to iPhone 5 owners trying to decide whether to update or not.

As I’ve said many times, I’m generally apprehensive about installing new iOS software. Not because I’ve experienced terrible issues in the past, but because I also own an Android phone that has been decimated by incremental updates. So I am always a bit weary about installing something that appears to be a small update but may have harmful side effects.

iOS 6.1.4, at least on my iPhone 5, has been a good update with my experience not changing much from iOS 6.1.3, the previous version of iOS 6.1. Of course, I should also point out that the update hasn’t really bestowed any benefits upon my iPhone 5 either (the update mentioned something to do with the speakerphone but my speaker phone is performing as well as it ever has) making it, well, making it a bit of a strange 11.5MB update.

iOS 6.1.4 Battery Life

Maybe the biggest concern from iPhone owners before choosing to install a new iOS update is whether it has any significant battery life issues. With iOS 6.1, we saw the Exchange calendar bug wreck havoc on the battery life of many iPhone 5 owners and so it’s clear that while battery life concerns are almost always raised after installing an update, sometimes they can be on point.

With iOS 6.1.4, I myself haven’t experienced any battery life issues. My battery life, day-to-day, remains extremely solid and about on par with what it was for iOS 6.1.3. As I’ve pointed out numerous times, battery life is going to differ from person to person so I can’t speak for everyone, but my iPhone 5 still gives me a solid day of use. Keep in mind, I am not glued to my phone as some people are.


As we pointed out after the arrival of iOS 6.1.3, there were some owners experiencing battery life issues thanks to Exchange. However, we have yet to hear about any problems from those owners after iOS 6.1.4 and we haven’t seen any furor on any forums about any persisting issues. So it may finally be that the issues with Exchange have been fixed.

At the very least, my iPhone 5, which doesn’t use Exchange, is working as normal with a solid charge, solid standby battery life, and a happy owner.

iOS 6.1.4 Performance

Of course, battery life isn’t the only thing that iPhone owners are concerned about prior to installing an update. Performance is big as well with everything from Wi-Fi to 4G LTE connectivity being heavily scrutinized, and for good reason. Here is how iOS 6.1.4 breaks down performance wise. Spoiler: it’s working pretty well.

4G LTE Remains Strong

My iPhone 5 4G LTE connection remains strong.

My iPhone 5 4G LTE connection remains strong.

As I’ve noted in the past, my AT&T iPhone 5 once had some issues with the trade-off from Wi-Fi to LTE wherein the connection would simply be non-existent after leaving the radius of my Wi-Fi connection. Fortunately, that issue has not plagued my phone after the past two updates and I’ve been pleased with how my phone handles going from Wi-Fi to 4G LTE.

I should also note that my 4G LTE signal remains strong both in the Bay Area and in Southern California and I often find it to be faster than my home Wi-Fi network. It’s that good.

No Wi-FI Issues

One of the biggest complaints from iPhone 5 owners since its release back in September has been about Wi-Fi connectivity issues wherein connections are simply dead, slow, or the Wi-Fi option as a whole is grayed out. To date, I’ve only had issues with the first two, both of which were seemingly killed off by a previous iOS 6 update.

Since then, my Wi-Fi connections have been stable, even when connecting into a Wi-Fi network that is public. That was an area where my iPhone 5 struggled in the past. Speeds on my home network remain fast and stable as well.

I’m not hearing about any major issues with Wi-Fi with iOS 6.1.4 and as always, I advise those having problems to seek out advice in this lengthy forum post that has accumulated many possible fixes since its inception many months ago.

UI Is Smooth

When I owned an iPhone 3GS, one of my biggest fears when it came to installing an iOS update was whether it would slow down the user interface on my device. I still am a little bit weary, even though I own the latest and greatest iPhone, as I’ve had some problems with UI sluggishness in the past.

So far, with iOS 6.1.4, things are good. The UI zips as it should and I haven’t run into any distinct sluggishness after using the phone extensively over the past few days.

One other thing to note is that I haven’t noticed any problems with my apps either. They seem to be behaving as they should with only a few crashes here and there, most of which have likely been due to issues with Chrome and not iOS.

iMessage Issues Have Died Down

iMessage has improved, but is still causing problems.

iMessage has improved, but is still causing problems.

In addition to general sluggishness, I’ve also experienced issues with iMessage where in my iPhone 5 would lock up, become extremely slow, and sometimes become unusable for a number of minutes after receiving an iMessage and particularly one with an MMS. As I’ve pointed out, this often happened when I had the app open on my laptop at the same time.

What’s more is that my phone would buzz with apparent messages when I was on the phone, only, those messages weren’t new and were instead from hours ago.

So far in iOS 6.1.4, I’ve still experienced some slow down when my laptop and phone get a message at the same time, but the issues aren’t as frequent as they were prior to updating.

Whether or not it improves or gets worse in the days ahead is unclear but for now, the issue does remain.

Should You Install?

At this point, I have two words of advice. Those who aren’t looking to jailbreak can install this software and hope that it irons out some of the smaller bugs that you’ve been having. Often there are unadvertised fixes on board iOS updates and iOS 6.1.4 could have them. It’s also perfectly acceptable to skip this update as it doesn’t add much to the table. Ultimately, it’s going to be up to you.

How to evasi0n iOS 6.1 Jailbreak - iPhone 5 - 5

If you want to jailbreak your iPhone 5, don’t install iOS 6.1.4 or iOS 6.1.3.

What I can say definitely is that those jailbreaking should not install this software as it will kill off any chance of a jailbreak. Those who wish to jailbreak should be on iOS 6.1.2 as iOS 6.1.3 and iOS 6.1.4 will likely never get support.

What’s Next for the iPhone 5?

The iOS 7 overhaul would land on the iPhone, iPad, iPad mini and iPod touch.

iOS 7 could be next for the iPhone 5.

Honestly, I didn’t see an iOS 6.1.4 update coming for the iPhone 5 given the close proximity of iOS 7 and the fact that there weren’t any major issues on board the software. However, as Apple has proven, iOS 6.1 is an unpredictable piece of software when it comes to updates so I can’t say if there will or won’t be an iOS 6.1.5 at this point.

My guess is that there might be, especially if iOS 7 isn’t coming until the fall. If there is, don’t expect it to be anything significant though as iOS 6.1.4 issues don’t seem to be prevalent.

Source :-

Android – The highly acclaimed mobile application development platform

Android is a popular mobile application development platform that runs on the powerful Linux operating system. It is the brainchild of Open Handset Alliance, a cluster of organizations that was led by Google. The group comprised of mobile operators, handset manufacturers, software solutions providers, components manufacturers and lot more. What’s interesting is that Android is an open source platform that allows android application developers to churn out interactive, dynamic and user friendly android applications. The Android Mobile Application Development platform is backed by an active community of developers which constantly comes up with new versions of Android, which have improved features and fixes for bugs.

Android SDK contains an operating system, middleware and key applications. It acts as a guideline for android apps developers to develop applications based on the Java programming language. In case you are not a technical expert and would like to have an android application for business or personal purpose, all you need to do is hire android application developer from a professional android application development company and your job will be done in quick time. Outsourcing android application development is another great option which you can prefer.
Features of android platform

  • Support for physical and virtual keyboards
  • 100% customizable home screen having excellent widgets
  • Live Folders in display common data items, for e.g. favourite apps, contacts email messages, playlists, bookmarks, RSS feeds, and much more
  • Support for Picasa image uploading
  • Voice search
  • Android automatically checks and repairs the file system on SD cards

The Google Android Application Development platform supports flash. In case you want to have flash videos, then android is the development platform you should go for. Further, businesses benefit as Android mobile application development allows these to integrate Google Calendar and Gmail with Android. This results in saving of time and increased productivity for businesses. Android can be used to develop a range of applications such as business, communications, utilities, entertainment and even gaming.

Android Custom Application Development helps businesses expand through online marketing. Thanks to its amazing features and functionalities. Android application developers can easily customize mobile apps for routine business operations and help organizations improve efficiency. Custom Android applications also help in managing, and tracking data that is useful for decision making. One can also track reports using Custom Android Application Development solutions. Advanced integration is another benefit offered by Android Application Development platform. It helps in different kinds of inter-application integration wherein several programs can be integrated for boosting diverse business aspects.

Need the best android mobile development solutions?

Consult Yandroid, an expert android application development services provider. We offer complete android mobile application development solutions including development, customization, application consulting and maintenance.


BlackBerry Q10 review

BlackBerry has undergone a great number of transitions in a short few years, not all of them good. The company was once synonymous with suited business types, due to push email and full physical Qwerty keyboards on handsets. The low price of BlackBerry Messenger — the subscription-based, unlimited messaging service — meant, however, that BlackBerry phones found their way into the pockets of teens who could chat on the cheap.

The rise of touchscreen phones on rival platforms, along with messaging services like iMessage and WhatsApp, well and truly rubbed the shine off BlackBerry and its keyboards, though. Its big refresh came in the form of the Z10, which sports a full-touchscreen interface.

With its full Qwerty keyboard perched on the bottom, the Q10 is a return to the classic BlackBerry design. Match that with the latest BB10 software, a 3.1-inch Super AMOLED screen, a dual-core processor and an 8-megapixel camera and you’ve got a recipe for a great return to form. But is it worth the astonishing £580 price tag?

Should I buy the BlackBerry Q10?

If you really, really want a phone with a physical keyboard on it then yes. The Q10 is the best keyboard-toting phone around. That’s not really saying much though — there’s just very little competition in this area. There hasn’t been a good Android keyboard phone basically ever, and BlackBerry’s last efforts weren’t much to speak of.

The Q10 packs some good treats. Its keyboard is comfortable, the AMOLED screen is bright and bold and the unified inbox, BlackBerry Hub, is handy. It’s let down however by the same software annoyances found on the Z10. While none exactly make the phone unusable, they add up to a less than satisfactory experience.

It also suffers from a pitifully stocked app store. If you like grabbing the latest games and bragging about your high scores when you’re supposed to be in meetings, the Q10 won’t be for you.

With so little competition, the Q10 is the best model in what might be a dying category. If the keyboard is your main concern then it’s worth taking a look at, but for the same money you can get some seriously impressive Android phones. I’d recommend trying to get to grips with a touchscreen alternative first as you’ll find the rest of the phone much more pleasant to use.


The headline feature of the Q10 is of course its full Qwerty keyboard. If you’ve been waiting for a new BlackBerry with physical keys to hammer on all day, this is the phone for you.

Unlike previous models, the keys are arranged in straight lines, rather than curved. The keys go right up to the edge of the phone too which helps make the most of the available space. While not huge, the keys are big enough to be comfortable to press, even if you have quite big fingers. The metal frets between each row makes it easier to differentiate between keys at speed.

BlackBerry Q10

BlackBerry’s famous keyboard is more attractive than ever.

The layout is the same as you’ll find on older models so existing BB users won’t need to spend too much time getting used to things. If you’re moving to the Q10 after spending time with a smart phone with a touchscreen, however, you might find things a little slow going.

The main problem is that a physical keyboard isn’t able to change based on the context of task. For example, typing in a phone number into a website’s box will allow software keyboards to automatically show a number panel. On the Q10, that’s not possible, instead forcing you to press the ‘Alt’ key every time you want to use a number or punctuation mark.

Some of you might find typing on the physical keyboard quicker — it’s certainly more tactile than hitting a flat screen. Needing to hit an extra key when you want to use a full stop or comma does make things more clunky when you’re writing long messages though. The autocorrect software will help out to a certain extent, sliding apostrophes into “there’s” and “it’s” when necessary, but it was far from perfect.

When I accidentally typed “I’m hoping thst” flagged “thst” as an incorrect word, but wasn’t able to automatically correct it to “that” — something that I’m used to taking place using SwiftKey on Android phones. It also didn’t correctly capitalise the “i” in “I’m” which quickly became annoying.

BlackBerry Q10

The keyboard’s autocorrect was good at correcting some mistakes, but it left many glaring errors in place.

If you’ve only ever used BlackBerry keyboards then you’ll no doubt appreciate the extra space and be well used to its idiosyncrasies. If, like me, you’re more used to the intuitive, adaptable software-based keyboards on touchscreen smart phones then you’re likely to find it cumbersome, slow and often quite irritating.

Design and build quality

With the physical keyboard taking up the bottom third of the phone, the Q10 instantly looks like a classic BlackBerry device. There’s no question it’s come from a similar mould to the Bold and Curve phones. It has a candybar design, so unlike the chunky Torch, you don’t need to slide the screen up to access the keys.

It’s 120mm long and 67mm wide, which is quite a bit bigger than last year’s Bold 9790 and the Curve 9320. It’s hardly massive though — especially when you compare it to the giant smart phones like theSamsung Galaxy S4. It’s easy to hold in one hand and you don’t need to stretch your thumbs too much to hit all the keys. If you have very small hands, give it a try in a shop first to make sure you can use it comfortably.

BlackBerry Q10

The Q10 might just be the most handsome and elegant BlackBerry we’ve seen yet.

The Q10 runs on the latest BlackBerry 10 software, which I’ll talk about in more detail later on. It relies heavily on touch-based gestures, so you won’t find any physical navigation keys — or those tiny trackpads — between the keyboard and screen.

The back panel is made from woven kevlar, with a rubberised finish. Kevlar is the same stuff stab vests are made from. While the Q10 is unlikely going to protect you from knives — and I don’t suggest you test that — it will do a good job of resisting scratches from keys in your pocket.

It’s far from perfect though. The back case slides off much too easily — even a small amount of pressure is enough to unhook the clips. It’s so easy to do, that even taking it out of the bundled sleeve caused it to come off. That’s going to be a huge problem if you’re outside in the rain and it falls off into a muddy puddle.

It’s a real shame, as elsewhere the phone seems pretty well put together. The keys are comfortable and responsive, the side buttons don’t have any annoying rattle and the metal frets across the keyboard are a pleasingly luxurious touch. It looks much more like a expensive product that some of BlackBerry’s previous phones. It’ll pair well with an expensive tailored suit and won’t look out of place on the table in the British Airways airport lounge.

Ports and storage

Around the sides you’ll find a micro-USB port for both charging and data transfer between a computer and an HDMI-out port. Having HDMI out allows you to hook your phone up to a bigger screen or, more likely, a projector. It worked perfectly in my test, mirroring everything that was currently on the phone’s screen. If you need to show off apps or Web pages to an office meeting, this will come in very handy.

BlackBerry Q10

There are a tonne of ports, and even expandable storage.

The Q10 comes with 16GB of storage built in as standard which should be enough for your essential apps and a few photos of Keith from accounts sitting bare-bottomed on the photocopier. If you need more space though, you’ll find a microSD card slot under the back panel.


By ditching the physical navigation buttons between the screen and keyboard, the Q10 is able to make room for a 3.1-inch display, without making the handset bulge to gargantuan proportions. It’s a 720×720-pixel affair, meaning that it has a square aspect ratio.

The BB10 software fits well on a square screen, displaying a 4×4 grid of multi-tasking tiles or a 4×3 grid of app icons. It looks neat and the bright and bold Super AMOLED display does a good job of making everything pop. The aspect ratio isn’t brilliant when it comes to playing back videos though, as whichever way you hold it, you’ll still get big black bars.

It’s also awkward when you hook it up to a projector or big screen to present something. If your screen has a more common 16:9 aspect ratio then your phone’s screen will simply show in a window, with a lot of wasted space around it. It doesn’t look brilliant, so try to use square projector screens if you’re giving an important presentation.

BlackBerry 10 software

Like the Z10, the Q10 comes running the latest software from BlackBerry, known simply as BlackBerry 10. It might be the latest, greatest interface from BB’s magical developing factories, but if you’re looking for the slickest, most easy to use software around, you’d be better off looking towards iOS or Android.

On the surface it starts out fairly well. App icons are laid out in an easy to read grid, similar to iOS’s layout, and recent apps are displayed in a multitasking panel, making it simple to flick back into previous tasks. There are no live widgets, so Android fanatics can look away, but that does result in a simple, visually appealing interface.

BlackBerry Q10

The BlackBerry 10 interface is quite slick to look at.

Once you start to dive deeper though, a few annoyances start to crop up. For one, there’s no proper homescreen. The default screen is the multitasking panel that you’ll return to when you close an app.

Swipe across to the right and you’ll see all your installed apps. When you click on one, it’ll whizz you back to the multitasking page before opening it up. It’s only a small animation, but it slows down the time it takes to load the app for seemingly no good reason — why not just load the app from the screen you’re on?

When you turn the phone on from sleep, you’ll be met with whatever page you were last on, rather than a standard homescreen. It’s perhaps a system you’d get used to eventually, but I found it a little awkward to get to grips with.

To exit an app, you swipe up on the screen from below which puts the app down in the multitasking panel. That panel can keep up to eight apps running at once, but no more. Once you open a ninth, it’ll kill the first app, along with any data it was holding at the time. You’re perhaps unlikely to need more than eight apps open at once, but it’s worth bearing in mind.

Swipe over to the far left and you’ll find the BlackBerry Hub. It’s a universal inbox, showing message and updates from your email, Facebook, Twitter and BlackBerry Messenger accounts, as well as SMS messages. It shows only messages and notifications specific to you, rather than all your friends’ updates, which is handy for quickly replying to messages.

BlackBerry Q10

You can quickly ‘peek’ at the Hub when you’re in another app to look at what’s new.

The plain white interface doesn’t look particularly good though — especially compared to the slick interface elsewhere — and it has its own foibles that can start to grate after a while. When you’re in an app, you can swipe up and drag the app a little to the right to ‘peek’ at your inbox underneath without leaving the app. It’s a quick way of checking for new messages, but you’re only able to peek at whatever Hub panel you left it on — if you opened the settings box before you left, you’ll be met with that when you peek.

BlackBerry Q10

Leave the settings open in the Hub and that’s all you’ll see when you try and peek in.

You also can’t easily mark all messages as read. If you’ve already seen your Facebook or Twitter notifications on your PC, it won’t sync that back to the phone. Instead, you’ll have to go through, reading them again to get rid of the unread count.

BlackBerry Q10

Start typing “Facebook” and you can post an update right from the homescreen.

A neat feature for the Q10 though is the ability to Tweet, post to Facebook or search through all your phone from the homescreens. Start typing “Tweet”, for example followed by your message and hit send to post it to Twitter. Typing normally will allow you to search for a word or phrase within apps or in your messages. If you need to get a Tweet up about your food as quick as humanly possible, it’s slightly easier than finding and loading up the app.

BlackBerry apps

If a smart phone hopes to make its way into pockets of phone fans the world over, it’s going to need to have access to an app store that’s stocked to the gills with the latest games and services. Both Android and iOS boast hundreds of thousands of titles in its stores and even Windows Phone 8 is steadily catching up.

While BlackBerry has managed to get some big name titles in its store, it’s miserably stocked compared to its rivals. At the time of writing, titles like Netflix, Spotify, Instagram, Snapseed and Evernote were all missing from the shelves, and Skype had only just found a home there. Worse still, some apps that are available on the store on the Z10 aren’t available on the Q10.

BlackBerry Q10

The app store is miserably stocked compared to its competitors.

There’s the odd nugget of comfort to be found — Angry Birds Star Wars is there, for example — but browsing the store will likely leave you feeling cold and unloved. Naturally, none of the Google apps for Gmail, Maps or Drive that you’ll find on other devices are on offer here. If your BlackBerry is just a tool for work use then this might not be a big issue but if you like chatting to your mates about a new game or a new app that’s shaved 10 minutes off your morning routine then you won’t be happy.

You’ll find app icons for YouTube and BBC iPlayer on the homescreen. BlackBerry is cheating a bit here as these are just links to the websites. Click on YouTube and you’ll simply find the browser loading on the YouTube mobile page. Hardly impressive.

Performance and battery life

Under the hood of the Q10 is a 1.5GHz dual-core processor along with a hearty 2GB of RAM. You might be disappointed not to see a quad-core chip on board like the other smart phone elite — the Samsung Galaxy S4, SonyXperia Z and HTC One all rock quad-core chips — but a dual-core processor can still give a strong serving of power.

Indeed, I found it to be perfectly swift for anything you’re likely to throw at it. Navigating around the BB10 interface was nippy and responsive, with no real lag when swiping through menus or ‘peeking’ at the Hub. It coped very well with 3D racer Riptide GP, giving high frame rates for smooth gameplay. The browser too remained responsive even with numerous tabs open.

BlackBerry Q10

Riptide GP played fine, but there’s not a lot you can download that really taxes the phone.

It has more than enough power to handle all of the tasks you’re likely to throw at it on a day-to-day basis. As there isn’t really anything you can challenge it with from the BlackBerry app store, there’s no point in worrying that it’s not got the same straight line speed as the quad-core beasts.

The battery is a 2,100mAh affair, which is quite capacious. BB reckons you can get around 13.5 hours of 3G talk time, which is pretty ambitious but not too far from the truth. I found it was able to put up with video streaming, gaming and other demanding tasks pretty well.

If you really tax it then you’ll still want to give it a top-up mid-afternoon when you get back to your desk, but you shouldn’t struggle to get a full day’s use out of it. If you’re scared of missing an important call in the afternoon and want to eke out the best battery life, keep your brightness turned down, Wi-Fi turned off and stay away from power-sapping tasks like gaming.


On the back of the Q10 is an 8-megapixel camera. Its smaller screen means it’s perhaps not the best phone to use as a photography tool, particularly as you only see images in 1:1 aspect ratio. If you’re viewing those classic Instagram shots it’d be perfect, but there’s no Instagram app for the Q10 yet, so you’ll just have to pretend.

BlackBerry Q10 camera test

Results from the camera were acceptable, but far from impressive, especially when you consider the price (click image to enlarge).

The Q10 will take photos in 1:1 aspect ratio as default, but you can select different cropping options once you dive into the menus. Results are fair, but not exactly impressive. In my indoor shot, the camera was able to capture a decent amount of detail, with an even exposure, but colours were cold and there’s a general haziness to the image that makes it less clear than snaps I’ve seen from other phones.

You can shoot in a variety of scene modes as well as make use of HDR and burst modes. The HDR mode did a decent job of capturing London’s Shard building in the bright sunlight, but again, I wasn’t bowled over by its colours or its clarity.

BlackBerry Q10 camera test

Outside, the HDR settings helped keep exposure even, but colours weren’t brilliant and it didn’t have the sort of clarity I’d hope to see (click image to enlarge).

If photography prowess is your number one concern then this isn’t the phone for you. Look instead towards the Sony Xperia Z or the Samsung Galaxy S4. For quick snaps of your new office, or to brag about your hotel suite, it’ll do the job well enough.


If you’re dead set on having a phone with a physical keyboard, the Q10 is the one to get. That’s not strictly speaking a compliment though — there’s so little competition that it comes out on top by default. It’s not a bad phone in general — the keyboard is comfortable, the screen is bold and it has decent battery life. It’s still haunted by some of the software niggles present on the Z10 though and the app store needs some serious love and attention.

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5 Advanced Social Media Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

Social media marketing and the businesses that utilize it have become more sophisticated. More small businesses are beginning to understand how to best leverage online tools to build a community and recognize that engagement and interaction are the foundations of social marketing, but most don’t know what’s next.What follows are five advanced strategies for small businesses that may already have small online communities and understand how to create an online presence, but don’t know what to do next.

What Is An Advanced Strategy?

The definition of an advanced social strategy is a technique that goes beyond the normal social media presence. It introduces or reinforces a marketing message while pushing a user to another profile or business site. Before moving forward with an advanced strategy, it’s important that your business understands social marketing, has experience engaging consumers, and that you possess a basic understanding of online marketing.

Strategy 1: Multimedia Usage

The term “A picture is worth a thousand words” has never been truer. Consumers are now using the web to look for product pictures and videos; they want more information and want to see what they’re considering buying. The good news is that it’s easy for a company to create and publish videos and pictures.

In addition to taking photos of products, you can also take pictures at office events as a way to highlight company culture. This not only helps convince others to work with you or to buy from you (consumers see that you are down to earth and one of them, instead of a stuffy company), it also helps your HR department recruit new employees. Who doesn’t want to work for a company that celebrates birthdays and has a good time?

Videos are useful for explaining complex how-tos or concepts. Showing step by step directions can have a greater impact than even the most well written article. Businesses don’t have to invest huge sums of money to create good videos, either. I highly recommend the relatively cheap Flip camcorder, which takes great videos and is easy for even a non-technical marketer to use.

Multimedia can break down the faceless business-to-consumer sales flow and make your company appear friendlier. Use videos and images to show that your business is fun, you care about your employees, and most importantly, that you care about your customers.

Example:, an online retailer of musical instruments and accessories, has usedYouTube to build a strong online community. Their channel has built over 7,000 subscribers and has over 260,000 views.


Strategy 2: Integrate Offline and Online Advertising

Many small businesses do some sort of offline advertising, whether it be radio, print, or cable. Social marketing allows a business to extend their offline sales pitch.

Including your Facebook Page or blog URL in offline ads act as social proof, inviting potential consumers to see your community and increase trust in your business. Not only can integrating online and offline advertising help the conversion process, but it can also help build your community. Introducing potential consumers to your social profiles means they may join your community now and buy later.

integrate advertising image

Strategy 3: Message Adaptation

As businesses start to become more sophisticated with social media they are starting to leverage more online platforms. However, most deliver the same message over multiple platforms instead of tailoring communications for each individual site.

Social platforms each have an ecosystem of their own. What might be acceptable on Tumblrmight be considered spam on Facebook. A specific style of writing might spread on Twitter but fail on FriendFeed. Understanding that each site is different and then customizing your message ensures they do well on each respective site.

Not only does customizing messages across sites help the message spread but it keeps users from receiving multiple identical communications. Be sure to maximize your potential by sending a user that follows the business on Twitter and Facebook two different messages, instead of the same thing.

message adaptation image

Strategy 4: Local Social Networks, Beyond Yelp

For a small business, local search can be a big win. Being visible to consumers looking for a business in their area is extremely important. Make sure your site is included in local business directories in order to help ensure that consumers find you when they need you. Sometimes finding that many sites can be difficult, however.

First, make sure you check your competitors. Where are they listed? Check their inbound links to check for business directories you can add yourself to. Also, make sure your business has been added to Google Maps, using the Local Business Center.

Take the time to include all the information you can and update any old news. For many consumers, this will be their first interaction with the business.

Example: Bella Napoli in New York

Bella Napoli is a small pizzeria in New York that has done a great job of making sure they appear in as many local searches as possible.


Strategy 5: Contests and Discounts

Building a community is only the first part of social marketing. Using that community to drive sales, propagate marketing, or crowdsource operations is the true power of social media. One way to excite the community is to collectively do something to create a contest or offer an exclusive discount (i.e., the contest can create competition between users). Not only does a contest build buzz organically but if contestants need to, for example, publish an article that gets the most comments in order to win, the contest itself becomes viral.

A good social media contest should include some sort of sharing or virality as a requirement for winning.

Discounts are also a great way to connect with your community. By giving exclusive coupons to your social community, you’re rewarding and reminding them that you are not only a brand to engage with, but also to buy from.

Example: decided to make it easier to register a domain by allowing people to do it via Twitter. Those who participated or spread the word by tweeting, were also entered into a prize drawing.



Creating a basic social media presence is easy enough, getting your community to actually dosomething is more difficult. Taking advantage of these strategies can help you build your community, make your marketing more effective, and incentivize buying.


Think About Word Press Integration

The first step to starting a Word Press blog is to sign up for a domain name with a website host. There are several major websites that give you the option to buy, host, and even set up an email account for your new domain. The host is up to you, but there are a few companies that offer easy Word Press setup. Some online research will quickly give you the name of some hosts that offer easy integration.

Use your domain name hosting service to download Word Press and install it to your computer. You will immediately be emailed log in details, including a URL that lets you access your new blogging software. Now that you’ve setup and accessed your blog, the real fun can begin! Simply click the link and log in to start building your website.

Which points make Word press favorable?

Various utility based features of Word Press makes it the most favored as a blog publishing platform.

Word Press Themes – Numerous Themes can be found on Word Press website and if they don’t suit your aspirations, then you can custom create Word Press themes. This option to customize wordpress theme development makes Word Press attractive.

Word Press Plug-ins – As a matter of fact, it is the most appealing feature of Word Press that allows increasing the functionality of your blog or website. There are thousands of Plug-ins currently available to select from.

Upgrades Notification – Word Press notifies its users of any recent upgrades that it introduces and provides links to install the updates.

User Friendly CMS – A user need not be an expert as it is easy to understand Word Press. Thus anyone can start using it after a brief learning period.

Beneficial from SEO Point of View – As WordPress development is primarily concerned with managing content and has inbuilt features that support SEO, moreover it offers a number of SEO plug-ins with advanced features to make your blog/site SEO friendly. It enables good ranking in search engines like Google and Yahoo.

Having seen that Word Press can fulfill all the requirements create a perfect blog, those wishing to create a blog site or integrate to the existing site, can opt for PSD to WordPress Integration and experience a fun filled blogging experience with no room for hassles. There are several other advantages of Word Press. Not only blogs, but highly functional websites too can be developed with Word Press.

PSD to Word Press Integration entails the following benefits:

• W3C valid HTML/XHTML/ CSS codes

• Search engine friendly word press theme

• Incorporation of desired features in the Blog

• Spam protection