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Monday, November 30, 2009

Webmaster and SEO dashboard

UPDATE:

The dashboard below is great but if your trying to do some on-page analysis you need a good SEO Toolbar like my newly released SEO Site Tools to help you with your work... and if you interested in your external anchor text you should defiantly run on over are read about the keyword data I found in Webmaster Tools that is published nowhere else...

i find myself constantly wanting to have one place as a jumping point for me to review all my website stuff and the way chrome does bookmarks makes it where clicking to this post is actually faster(at least for me). but i figure this is one place to start from then i don't have to go looking through all the bookmarks. ill add more items here as i find more tools that i find useful for SEOs and Webmasters


SEO Site Tools is my Google Chrome Extension with over 21,000 users 
im sure you would love it too... try it today

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

google testing a new layout for search

Google seems like they have a new flavor of search that they are testing (im assuming they are doing some A/B test for some percentage of users) and seeing how people like the new version. to see it for yourself go to google.com and paste this javascript into the address bar and refresh...

here is what you should see...

im just speculating but Google has just finished testing the new caffeine version of search so this may go along it. here is what the search feature looks like

aside from a cleaner, revamped logo there are little icons for the different types of search... images,video and news but also the ability to only search blogs or forums.

 the javascript code above saves a cookie so if you want to turn off this new version of search all you have to do is kill the PERF cookie for google.com and it will click back to normal... so thats the new layout they are testing ill be updating this article as i know more :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Awesome Visual View of Google analytics data with Juice Analytics

so i was reading the google analytics blog as i often do and they have this awesome new tool for visualizing your websites analytics data and keywords so lets get into what these way cool tools do (the tool is here but read the article cuz i spent some time on it)


first at the bottom you get a timeline so you can see the volume of traffic your site has been receiving and colorize this ribbon timeline by bounce rate. its cool to be able to see how your content starts being read more or single view articles turn it more red

this is also cool because you can view what pages drive the most traffic and how the bounce rate changes from page to page (if your colorblind thats cool too they got a button to fix the contrast for yall)

you can see a little better here in this shot how the bounce rate changes from page to page and how some pages are much more popular then others. heres the little video that they put out to demonstrate the tool.



then they have this cool keyword visualization tool that shows keywords and how they relate to each other and a few different options to color by. i like either time spent on site or bounce rate to see what words seem to keep peoples interest longer or drive them away faster

you can see how some keywords are red and threw more bounces and then my linkbait for embedding your Google profile social icons and the Google profile badge have green text showing that they had visitors staying for a much longer period (this graph is colored by time on page) and again the cool demo video the juice guys put out



here is the link to the tool i hope you find it useful and liked the article... don't forget to re-tweet about it and let others know!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Twitter's Beta Testing ReTweeting


So i log into twitter the other day and i see this cool message... Im not sure how many people got the Beta of this but i thought id make a post about it and give what little info i know... here is the post twitter made on their blog. Theres been many hints that this is coming (im pretty sure it said something in the api docs) and its really needed i think it solves some of the problems with re-tweeting like usernames taking up space and such
but let me show you how it works...

you select to re-tweet to your followers and then it shows up in your stream like this...


you see this message in your stream with their username and the cool little re-tweet icon. then after you decide you dont like the message you can revert it with the click of a button


its that simple... ill add some more as i know more but i thought you would like the heads up!

edit: i found another site that has a few more screen shots here

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Break a simple image CAPTCHA... its not that hard

CAPTCHA always seemed like it was a kind of one word challenge to me. it stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart and its what is the industry standard to try and keep my bot from scraping your web service or posting dirty comment spam but some are very crazy... even too hard for a human to read... and how hard are they really to break? I have done allot of reading about the theory of the CAPTCHA and tried to break one before (see as far as i got below i stopped at anti-alias rotating but segmentation and cleaning the image was done so i didn't have that much more)

partially broken captcha with rotated image and random lines
points to whoever can tell me where this captcha came from...



so for my second i wanted to choose an easy one. the CAPTCHA i choose had these features

  • image has changing static (easy to filter)
  • no letter rotation
  • fixed width font
  • pattern to solution (letter-number-letter-ect)
fixed width font is the worst offender on this list. it lets you eliminate the hardest part of breaking a test, its called segmentation and its hard, once you get it down to one letter tho OCR is normally accurate to like 97% but these bots are sending literally millions or requests so a captcha is considered broken if it can be solved even half the time. that brings me to the second problem with this test... i can validate my answers. because every phrase follows a letter number letter pattern i can check to see if my bot got the right answer without sending it. This is never good because it lets the attacker check their work but lets get into how i broke this one

The captcha i broke with 94% accuracy
(sample CAPTCHA with mouse-over effects)
the first thing that is meant to mess up a bot is the noise and theirs wasn't so good. first it didn't disrupt the letter that much AND if i requested the image again i got back the same riddle with different static. This let me make a filter to extract only the pixels that occur in both images giving me the clean letters. i have read about neural nets and used examples but never implemented my own so i decided to go with the easy way of guessing the letters. i created templates that represented the perfect symbol and them compared them byte by byte to determine which letter it was most like...

heres one of my templates for the number 5

111111101
110000001
110000101
110111001
111001101
000000111
000000111
110000111
011001101
001111001

heres what the program spits out while solving the test data...
I Guess its a Y with a 97.50 %
I Guess its a 8 with a 98.75 %
I Guess its a L with a 100.00 %
I Guess its a 2 with a 98.75 %
I Guess its a Q with a 100.00 %
I Guess its a 5 with a 100.00 %
I Guess its a G with a 98.75 %
I Guess its a 7 with a 97.50 %
I Guess its a Q with a 97.50 %
I Guess its a 6 with a 98.75 %
I Guess its a O with a 100.00 %
I Guess its a 8 with a 100.00 %
i was right! it was Y8L2Q5G7Q6O8
I Guess its a Y with a 97.50 %
I Guess its a 8 with a 98.75 %
I Guess its a L with a 100.00 %
I Guess its a 2 with a 98.75 %
I Guess its a Q with a 100.00 %
I Guess its a 5 with a 100.00 %
I Guess its a G with a 98.75 %
I Guess its a 7 with a 97.50 %
I Guess its a Q with a 97.50 %
I Guess its a 6 with a 98.75 %
I Guess its a O with a 100.00 %
I Guess its a 8 with a 100.00 %
i was right! it was Y8L2Q5G7Q6O8
(i cut out a bunch of them Google was saying that my site had relevance for the work "guess" oops :)
and at the end

i checked a total of 265 files with a success rate of 94.34 %


im very happy with its accuracy (especially because im not using neural net) below are some more screen shots from the app i made to look at the data and test my solver...


you can see above the program knows where the number 8 is because of fixed width font. this made it easy to extract just the letter to be analyzed

this is the training data input screen. the text box validates the input as valid solutions changing color when the pattern isn't followed so bad training data isn't entered by mistake


this was a very simple test to break and it had very weak security features that let even a simple attack defeat it with great accuracy. if you are interested in other poor captchas you may be interested in my post about text based math captchas and why they are so easy to bypass aswell.

i plan to be doing some more work with captcha breaking (ill probably step it up and take on one that needs a neural net) soon i wrote this code a few month ago and its been just sitting so i thought i would share what i learned and how simple it can be to break one of these. i don't like captchas because they are like locks on doors, they only keep the honest people out. bandwidth is getting cheaper and cheaper you should encourage people and companies to consume your services and learn to monetize the traffic not implement stupid little pictures that a good bot can read anyways that just waste the humans time as they are trying to figure out if its a 0 or a capitol O. id love to hear your thoughts on the subject and will respond if i can help so please take the time to write a comment if you have any questions