[ARCHIVE - 60RINDGE.COM] Annapurna: a Himalayan cuisine gem in Cambridge

Ok, so gem might be a little too strong considering I am a novice when it comes to Himalayan food, however, Annapurna is definitely a good experience overall.

I live about 2 blocks away, so I have started going here regularly with my roommates and friends.

The atmosphere could be perceived as poor, as the place is often only occupied by one other party and it has little decor.

However, the simplicity of it is also refreshing, so it can be a good place to relax and have a meal with friends (without overbearing music or crowd noise). It is the type of place where you will never have to worry about being thirsty, as there is a strong likelihood of having a 1:1 ratio of staff to patrons (exaggeration…).

The soup and naan served complimentary at the start of the meal are definitely a highlight. For entrees, I have enjoyed the mourgh challow and the mourgh kabab which, in the most basic form of description, are chicken and rice dishes.

For beer drinkers, unless you are a true lager fan, stay clear of the Flying Horse Lager. My roommate and I got extremely hyped when they brought it out as it is labeled as being “for the connoisseur” and we like to pretend. We were likely in over our heads, as it did not resonate with our taste buds.

If you live in Porter or Davis, give this place a try. Peek in first, so you can bring the type of people that will appreciate it.

Here are some additional reviews on yelp (I went with a 3 out of 5).

The location of this restaurant is below:

Annapurna Restaurant


2088 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02140


Side note: LOST premiere tonight? Pretty mind blowing. Follow me on Twitter for more discussions and follow @glue_genie to join the ongoing LOST game. A fun distraction first introduced over at the Adaptive Blue blog. The overall product, Glue, goes well beyond these fun games, and is worth checking out for anyone into networking with people that share similar interests or want to form better online relationships with their current friends. My user name is ‘ChadBurgess’ on glue (follow me if you sign-up).

Top 10 Masks in Movies and TV: Killers, Carvers & Robbers

In honor of Halloween I did a quick list of the ten best masks from film or TV. Let me know what I missed or where you disagree.


 

10. Bank Robbers – Dead Presidents

9. Pig Face – Saw

8. Bank Robbers – The Dark Night

7. Scary Nun Mask  - The Town

6. Michael Myers – Halloween

5. Man in Mask/Murderers – The Strangers

4. The Carver – Nip/Tuck

3. Hockey Mask Jason Voorhees – Friday the 13th (franchise)

2. Guy Fawkes Mask – V for Vendetta

1. Ghostface – Scream

Accidental Noindexation Recovery Strategy and Results

I originally wrote this for Moz when it was SEOmoz: https://moz.com/blog/accidental-noindexation-recovery-strategy-amp-results

"I know before the cards are even turned over..." - Mike McDermott, Rounders

When Mike McD was called by Teddy KGB in a huge No-Limit Hold'em poker pot, he didn't have to see his opponents hand to know that KGB had two aces, the only hand in the deck that could beat his nines full of aces (if you have seen Rounders, feel free to skip over the video below, if not, you probably should get on that). This was the same feeling I had when we got "SERP a DERPd" via accidental noindexation of 9,000 of our most important pages....

  

Contents:

  1. What happens when pages are accidentally noindexed
  2. Tactics for getting pages into the Google index quickly
  3. How noindex impacts SERP rankings

(note that I am focusing on Google in this post) 

Background:

I am an in-house SEO and customer acquisition marketer at SeatGeek.com, a NYC tech startup. Our site is a ticket search engine for sports concerts and theater tickets (i.e. "a Kayak for event tickets").

On Monday 8/1, I was searching Google for 'mets tickets' and saw that SeatGeek had slipped from page 1. Worse, we weren't even on page 2. I tried a few more queries that I knew we should be on page 1 for and still nothing. My heart was beating. Had we been Panda'd? It didn't make sense, but I was panicked. Then it hit me. I opened up our New York Mets page, but, just like Mike Mcd, I knew before I even clicked view source...content="noindex" on all of our product pages.



I have only been doing SEO for ~2 years, so I had never directly experienced an accidental noindex situation. So even as I read reports of these not having an impact on rankings and knew this wasn't as bad as an accidental canonicalization problem, I couldn't help but envision the worst case scenario...9,000 of our most important conversion driving pages would be out of the index for weeks and would not have their same rank when they got back in

What happens when pages are accidentally noindexed

 

This is a chart of incoming organic traffic to one of our key pages right when the noindex hit.

Obviously organic traffic ceased to exist. Interestingly though, Google Analytics still reported some traffic to these pages.

This might be the one instance where having less frequent crawl frequency can be beneficial (assuming bandwidth isn't an issue). The pages that got noindexed are recrawled every 4-6 days, which would have given us a buffer if we caught this sooner. Unfortunately, Google waited until Saturday to crawl these pages and we didn't catch the problem until Monday. 

Reindexation Plan and Tactics:

The first course of action was to remove the noindex tags, which one of our pop star engineers did within five minutes. This was right around the time I sent out my first plan of action email which I have included below in case you ever have to write the same email: 

All, 
So I was doing a daily scan of SERP positions and started noticing team band pages had dropped. At first I thought we got Panda'd, but it looks like the noindex tags that are supposed to be applied to search pages and filtered navigation recently got pushed into production, but because those pages only get reindexed every 3-6 days there was some delay in the traffic impact, which you can see if you filter by team/band pages.
We are currently:

  • Noindex already removed in production
  • Writing blog posts that link to all major sports teams to get these reindexed (more difficult for bands)
  • Launching social media campaigns to support this cause
  • Forcing update on .xml sitemap (hopefully to help with concerts issue)
  • Investigating additional techniques
  • Going to look into the current traffic impact / which pages got impacted the most (hopefully some deeper artist type pages never got recrawled before the fix)

http://www.webmasterworld.com/webmaster/3601620.htm Here's to hoping this is true "My experience is that "noindex" is quite harmless when it comes to ranking. As soon as you change it to "index", the pages should pop up at nearly the same positions in the SERPs as where they were." I will keep you all posted. -Chad 

Even if rankings would come back, we wanted this to happen as quickly as possible. I had a plan, and fortunately some great interns to help me out. So this is what we did (excuse any repetition from the email)...

 

All of the above was completed within one hour of us discovering the issue, except for the guest posts and contest which were done over the next 1-2 days. And then we waited... 

Reindexation Metrics:

It took 1-2 days for our most important pages to get back into the index, which we were really happy with. Some of our deeper / less important pages took up to 5 days to come back or longer in some cases. Fortunately we had followed advice from other Mozzers and introduced multiple XML sitemaps earlier in the year with all our product pages in one XML sitemap we were able to easily track indexation of these pages via Google Webmaster Tools. Indexation and traffic were on their way back up by the next day, but as you can tell from the graph below traffic didn't return to previous levels to about 2-3 days from when the noindex tag was removed.

 

 

Rankings Impact of Noindexation:

 

Now let's look at how this impacted our SERP rankings. The example above, was a truly interesting case because our Mets page returned to the index the night of the fix and I emailed my bosses to check it out as a good example of a recovering page, but by the time we got into work the next morning it had left the index again and I looked like a clown shoe. Fortunately, the page came back (again...) into the index the next day and was back up to its previous ranking by the end of the week. This is an example of a trend I noticed that many pages would come back into the index first and then return to ranking for their target terms a day or so later.

The example below is one where we returned to the index but without the same rank as we had before. There isn't really a way to tell if this was impacted at all by the noindex situation, I suspect it was just a random Google dance related to the more frequent shakeups I have seen in event "tickets" related queries. Overall, our page 1 SERP positions have completely returned to prior levels.

 

Conclusions:

  • If you accidentally noindex pages on your site, of course they will stop getting traffic from organic search, but this will be dependent on the crawl rate of the pages (in our case it took ~5 days for them to drop out of the index) and 2-3 days for them to return to normal levels
  • If you have a blog that gets crawled quickly, use that as a tool to help drive spiders back to the pages that were noindexed with strategic internal linking (of course wait until you have removed the noindex tag)
  • Take advantage of friends & family to help with social shares and pump this up with a social giveaway
  • Use Google Webmaster tools: 1) XML sitemap resubmit 2. Manual 'Submit to Index' 3. Sitemap indexation tracking
  • You should have Multiple XML sitemaps set up into logical buckets for indexation tracking to faciliate the indexation tracking mentioned above
  • Although your rankings might see short-term "dancing", an accidental noindex will not have a negative impact on them
  • Lastly, don't be too worried, just follow some of the tactics above and you should be back in the index with the same rankings (have your boss email me if they are giving you crap - chad@seatgeek.com)

Ok so that was probably too much information for just an accidental noindex situation, but when it happened to me it was scary and there wasn't a solid documentation on what to expect, so I wanted to produce this for the next person in my situation. Thanks for reading. Connect with me on Twitterif you are so inclined.

About chadburgess — I do ''SEO

.edu Links & SEO Authority: See How Your School Ranks

A couple weeks back, one of my colleagues at SeatGeek, Max Fram-Schwartz, was featured in Macalester’s ‘Classroom to Conference Room’ series. This kicked off a discussion in which we were wondering what would be the ideal .edu domain in which to get an inbound link to your site (holding other factors equal), from an SEO perspective. We began to scurry off to our respective college websites and check their domain authority via SEOmoz.org (if you are new to domain authority you can think of it as PageRank, but across an entire domain). The few we checked were fairly close, but still far enough apart to be significant given the logarithmic nature of authority, so my curiosity was immediately spiked and I decided I was going to turn this discussion into a blog post (charts below).

Approach / Thought Process

  • PageRank’s origins are partially derived from the idea of citations in academic papers
  • Papers receiving the most text citations are essentially the most authoritative on a given topic
  • .edu domains are not innately high in authority, but rather tend to be authoritative sources based on how well they generate quality inbound links, produce unique high-level content, etc.
  • I started operating under the assumption that academic studies from top universities such as MIT and Harvard are cited the most often in offline papers
  • From this original assumption, I concluded that the top universities should also be the most authoritative online in terms of SEO domain authority (better university, more links/online citations, more authority…)
  • I looked at the top 50 schools according to US News Best Colleges 2010 – National Universities
  • I documented the SEOmoz domain authority of each, along with the number of inbound links they have generated and linking unique root domains
  • I ran some basic analysis on the rankings and the output is below

SEO and .edu Domains: The SEO Rankings

 

To put the scale of authority in perspective, only the web’s top domains like google.com and yahoo.com are above 90, amazon.com is in the 80s, market leading e-commerce sites tend to be in the 60s or 70s and many well established web-based companies are in the 50s

Notes on the SEO rankings:

  • MIT.edu is the clear stand-out at the top, with a domain authority of 78 and 38.1 million inbound links
  • As a reference point, I looked at a second tier school, Drexel, (solely because that’s where Chiddy Bang went) and Drexel’s domain authority is 56
  • USC.edu is staggeringly low and the clear loser among these top 50 universities (domain authority of 50)
  • USC has a solid number of inbound links from unique domains, so at this point it’s low ranking is a mystery (I will possibly write a future post looking into this and whether or not they are committing serious SEO mistakes)
  • Rounding out the top 5 in domain authority are Texas, UPenn, Carnegie Mellon and Berkeley

I quickly looked into one of the key drivers, number of inbound links, and have charted the 5 colleges with the most inbound links below (note the median number of inbound links is 5.8 million among the top 50 schools). For those that don’t know, inbound links, in their most basic form, function like votes for a website’s credibility/relevance, so a higher number of links (all else equal) will yield better domain authority.

 

Make note of NYU, Harvard and Washington, as their success here will come in to play later when we look at specific SERPs.

Identifying Outliers and Over-achievers

Once I had the Top 50 national universities compiled in a spreadsheet along with their corresponding domain authority ranks, I took the difference between their SEO rank and US News rank to generate a list of what schools were over-performing and under-performing the most from an SEO perspective (i.e. Texas’ SEO rank is 2, while their US News rank is 47, yielding a +45 over-achiever score and a top ranking in the chart). The results are below; a particular focus should be given to the outliers in the top 10 and bottom 10.

 

Notes on SEO Over/Under-achievers

  • Texas ranked at the top with a +45 differential, while Johns Hopkins is at the bottom with -34 differential
  • 8 of the top 10 are public schools, including 5 California public colleges
  • There is trend where public schools perform strongly in terms of SEO rank and will call for follow-up analysis (particularly around school size and graduate program size)
  • Despite the prominence of public universities, Carnegie Mellon (with a student body of in the 5000s) ranks 5th on this list and likely speaks to the strength of tech oriented schools on this metric (note MIT ranks so high for both, that it can’t have a high differential – definitely one flaw in looking at it this way)

Keyword Research

Once I had identified some interesting rankings and trends, I wanted to see how this surfaced itself in real search results. I did some basic keyword research to see the most searched for high-level terms related to colleges (note the brackets indicate these are exact match searches).

 

.edu’s in the SERPs

 

“university” search query notes:

  • NYU (2nd in SERPs) is 3rd in number of inbound links and 5th in number of linking root domains
  • Columbia (3rd in SERPs) is 1st in number of linking root domains (41,548)
  • Harvard (4th in SERPs) is 4th in number of inbound links and 8th in overall domain authority
  • Texas (5th in SERPs) is 2nd in overall domain authority, 2nd in linking root domains (34,732) and 1st in the SEO Rank v. US News Rank differential
  • Washington (6th in SERPs) is 2nd in the SEO Rank v. US News Rank differential and 5th in number of inbound links
  • For the search query,”college”, The City College of New York (6th in SERPs) and Harvard (7th in SERPs) were the only schools on page 1

.edu Links & SEO Conclusions

  • Overall, top schools have really strong domain authority, and this difference really comes in to play when you look at second tier schools (i.e. Drexel at 56)
  • Academically strong public schools perform really well in terms of SEO domain authority and ranking in SERPs
  • Just because a school is large and public, does not mean it will have a high domain authority (Penn State scored a 53  and a sampling of several other public schools ranked in the mid 60s)
  • These are all relative, and almost any link from a .edu domain is going to be solid as I have yet to see a school below a domain authority of 50 and most rank in the 60s or higher

For my next steps, I am going to look deeper at the impact of school size, graduate program size and more statistical correlations between the “goodness” of a school and it’s SEO authority. I will also have to take a look at liberal arts schools, I quickly looked at Williams (often considered to be the best liberal arts school) and they scored a 66.

I know their are probably several unsound assumptions or statements I made along the way here, so feel free to criticize or make suggestions in the comments section.

Known Issues:

  1. Assumption that top colleges receive the most citations in academic papers is not yet validated
  2. The decision to use US News Rankings is somewhat arbitrary and skews the output of the ‘Over/Under-Achievers’
  3. SEO data is only from one source, SEOmoz