Monthly Archives: August 2014

Google Kills Its Own Experiment

Posted on August 29, 2014 by - Uncategorized

The days of Google Authorship have finally come to an end. The concept started as a way to show you the face and identity behind the content you were reading online. But then users starting clicking on the pretty faces instead of the paid ads, and that’s something not to be tolerated by billion-dollar entities.

So Google officially ended the Rel=Author program.

“Unfortunately, we’ve also observed that this information isn’t as useful to our users as we’d hoped, and can even distract from those results. With this in mind, we’ve made the difficult decision to stop showing authorship in search results,” wrote Google’s John Mueller on his + profile.

Not sure if that’s his personal opinion or just an uninformed guess. Either way, it’s all over.

“We also can’t ignore the impact of the processing power used for this effort. We all like to think that Google has infinite processing power. It doesn’t. If it did have such power, it would use optical character recognition to read text in images, image processing techniques to recognize pictures, speech to text technology to transcribe every video it encounters online, and it would crawl every page on the web every day, and so forth. But it doesn’t,” wrote Eric Enge, obviously hoping to be hired by Google very soon.

Google doesn’t have enough power so they had to end authorship? Glad authorship is gone for Enge, at least.

What’s the next advancement to go?

Blurry Screen? It Might be your Eye

Posted on August 28, 2014 by - Uncategorized

70% of people have reported seeing small, worm-like specs floating in their field of vision. Have you ever noticed one? The floaters/squiggly lines/cobwebs can appear out of nowhere, and device users should be aware of their existence.

Floaters

Let’s start with what exactly the clear worms really are: “Floaters are actually shadows cast by objects suspended in the clear, gel-like substance that makes up the majority of the eye’s interior. This substance is called vitreous and helps to maintain the eye’s round shape. After passing through the lens, focused light has to pass through the vitreous in order to reach the retina at the back of the eye,” reported Justine Alford.

vitreous-detachment-250x250

All too often, with extended use on a desktop computer or mobile device, the shadows will appear, causing the user to refresh their browser, rub their eyes, grab a pair of glasses or to take a break. But for the majority of the cases, however, there’s nothing that can be done.

Yes, floaters can become more pronounced if you look at something pretty bright, but for the most part “floaters are usually just an annoyance that people get used to,” Alford reported.

So before you smash your screen, upgrade your device or lose your mind trying to understand the totality of the human anatomy, relax, it may just be some floaters.

What to learn more crazy facts about the eye? Do you know every human eye has a blind spot? Keep reading here.

Bing Fights On

Posted on August 27, 2014 by - Uncategorized

Just because search is dominated by Google doesn’t mean other companies and web crawlers are giving up and conceding the digital empire. Bing is the perfect example of the little search engine that could.

Bing_logo_(2013).svg

Currently, new interfaces and search engine results page (SERP) layouts are be tested by Bing in hopes that two things will be achieved: one, the user will be able to navigate the web more easily, and two, more people will want to use Bing over other search engine options.

In the test runs, Bing has moved the top navigation below the search box, implemented grey directional arrows and used yellow lines above and on the side of the navigation menus.

“The current design has a solid black top bar with the navigation tucked away there, followed by the search box and then search results. The new design moves that navigation bar down with various interfaces being tested,” reported Barry Schwartz.

For the professionals in the search engine optimization (SEO) world and those associated with digital marketing, these changes are significant. But for the average user, one wonders about the impact. How much does the way display results are shown affect what browser you choose? Are you loyal to one search engine? Do you use whatever is the default? Do you refuse to use a certain web crawler? Please leave your thoughts below.

User Experience Focus of Mobile Search

Posted on August 26, 2014 by - Uncategorized

Almost everyone is aware of how dominant mobile devices have become for accessing and browsing the Internet. There are tons of stats that show the growth, user numbers and influence of the mobile machine. But everyone is well aware by now—mostly because they use a smartphone or similar device every day to get online.

So now the trend is creating the best user experience (UX), since everyone is already online, the key is keeping the user happy while they are viewing your content, products or services. Having a mobile-friendly site isn’t enough if you want to stay ahead of your competition. The site needs to be optimized for easy mobile navigation.

“The mobile web of today reminds me of the regular web in 1999. There are huge brands with little to no presence, poorly executed redirects, outdated copyrights, dangling snippets of code, completely broken page layouts, overzealous ‘features’ that crash the session, lack of adherence to UX conventions, and absurd page load times,” wrote Susan Waldes on the current state of the mobile experience.

The biggest factor is making sure the user has an enjoyable experience on your website. If that’s not the case the mobile user will not return.

“Spanglish” Now OK on Search

Posted on August 22, 2014 by - Uncategorized

Have you ever tried to communicate with another person whose first language isn’t English? (This isn’t an immigration blog and we’re not going down that path.) Whether you are trying to complete a business deal, increase your friendship or have just been caught in the middle of a foreign thread, it can become very hard to communicate if not everyone is on the same vocabulary plane.

370px-Wiktionary-logo.svg

Search engines have been aware of language barriers for a decade. They constantly deal with these types of questions: what happens when you search a song or a movie title in another language? In what language should the results be shown? What if the name is Italian, for example, but the web content is in English?

Strides have been made in an attempt to solve the translation problems. The web crawler may ask, “This page is in German, would you like it translated?” Or you can copy and paste with Google Translate and other similar programs.

Now, Google is giving even more language options.

“But in what I imagine is something of a speech recognition breakthrough, Google’s search app can now understand commands and queries in multiple languages simultaneously,” reported Greg Sterling.

So if you have a friend in, let’s say, Mexico, and you find them speaking “Spanglish” a lot, no problem, Google can understand the message and convey it in a more succinct manner.

Spotting Fake Online Profiles

Posted on August 21, 2014 by - Uncategorized

What’s this, a new friend request? Oh, he or she looks attractive and/or successful; maybe I should accept the request, right?

The easy answer is, no, if you don’t really know the person, don’t accept any social media invitations to connect, join a circle or group, like a page, plus one something, etc. That is the best way to protect yourself from fake profiles and invented people that participate in social media.

Who is really behind that social media profile?

Who is really behind that social media profile?

But it really comes down to what you want out of your online experience. Maybe your “friend count” is the most important, maybe you are fine with communicating and flirting with a person you know probably isn’t really that person, but you enjoy the engagement. Maybe you believe you are too smart to get fooled into thinking someone’s real info is false.

Here are a couple of quick tips to validate (if you so desire) online profiles:

#1: Look at the pictures. Are they all well-produced images? Do they look professionally shot? If there aren’t any “around the house” photos, chances are the pics are ripped from another site. How many pics do they have, only five? With all those “friends,” and no one has tagged him/her, ever?

#2: Search the images. Google has an amazing feature—image search. Copy the profile image, drag it into the search bar, and BAM, you can see every place on the Internet that uses the photo. In the case of females, the less they are wearing the better chance it’s a stolen image from some Eastern European adult site.

#3: What do they post? Is it ad or agenda related? Do they just post more well-produced photos and things that are tied to real people or events?

#4: Whom are their friends? Do you see real interaction, or just a bunch of fans or lonely losers complimenting pics?

Google’s Secret Facility

Posted on August 20, 2014 by - Uncategorized

Never start an article with a quote, the rules of writing say.

“Since 2004, Google has of course made a range of big bets…and recently, many of the amazing long-term projects Google[x] is pursuing,” wrote Google’s head of search Amit Singhal on his + profile.

What’s Google[x]? Oh, only a secret facility outside of Mountain View, California, where Google has gathered an elite team of computer-science maniacs to come up with Sci-Fi and future-based technology ideas that would otherwise be laughed out of the boardroom.

The secrets of Google are hidden in plain sight.

The secrets of Google are hidden in plain sight.

One of Google’s co-founders, Astro Teller, is the head of the department. Teller’s goal is to improve all technology by a power of 10 (hence the name).

Deep inside the facility, inspired by Dr. Emmett Brown and Marty McFly, these creations have been hatched and are now launched:

“Google’s self-driving car, Google Glass eyewear that includes a screen and camera, a wind energy company called Makani Power, Google Contact Lenses that monitor blood glucose levels, Project Loon, which provides internet service via balloons in the stratosphere, an artificial neural network for speech recognition and computer vision; and the web of things,” as compiled by Wiki.

As for the current projects, no one knows. But if Google has publicly announced that they have made over 890 improvements to their search engine in this year alone, one can only imagine what they’ve accomplished behind sealed doors.

Black Hat SEO—A Review

Posted on August 19, 2014 by - Uncategorized

There’s a bit of confusion in the SEO world (after yet another algorithm change from Google, dubbed “Pigeon”) as to what exactly is White Hat SEO and what is Black Hat SEO. Basically, everyone wants to know with what they can get away.

For starters, the Pigeon update was mostly focused on local search results. So if your main concern is beyond having your phone number and address correctly displayed, Pigeon isn’t going to affect you that much. It’s all about the source. If your site provides any kind of information, and that info is pulled from a third party, it better be legit, is the crux of Pigeon.

From where did it come, that’s the question you need to ask yourself with every SEO action you implement on your website.

“Over the weekend, Google has sent out mass link penalty notifications throughout Europe for those sites partaking in specific link networks with the goal of manipulating their rankings in Google,” reported Barry Schwartz.

Black Hat is any practice outlawed by the search engines. It’s that simple. They have a list. Don’t back link, link build, link spam (see a pattern?) and try to trick the crawlers. You will be found if your site has amazing content that is backed by White Hat SEO.

Search Alliance

Posted on August 18, 2014 by - Uncategorized

In the 1980s, when you wanted to make a photocopy of something, it was very common for someone to say, “Xerox it.” It was the same if you need to blow your nose. People would say, “Please pass me a Kleenex.” In 2014, that same concept of using a brand name in place of the noun or action/verb still exists. For example, when people want to find out something from the Internet, the phrase is, “Google it.”

Gbs_yahoo

The other big search engines now wish that people start reverting back to the predominant lexicon that existed before Google, such as saying “search it” and things like that. But much like rooting for the local sports team, people get and stay loyal to the web browser they use.

Yahoo and Bing would like you to re-examine your allegiances, and to not just use Google because you have in the past or because it is simple. Easier said than done.

Last month, Yahoo had 3 percent more searches than the previous month. But that is still only a 10 percent market share. comScore reported that there were 18 billion searches in July and that Google accounted for 12.1 billion of them.

So why do you use the browser that you do? Do you have a Google phone and want everything to be succinct? Has your browser always worked for you, so why change? Do you just use whatever default browser is on whatever machine you are using? We’d love to hear what really powers your browser.

Top Digital Scams to Avoid

Posted on August 15, 2014 by - Uncategorized

We’ve always wondered if a conman added up his/her time—all the planning, research, set up, etc., it takes to scam someone, if you couldn’t probably make more money honestly with the same insight and effort? But alas, here we are. And the scams keep-a-comin’. Here are the hustles that are being used very frequently today:

Law enforcement is always up against new scams.

Law enforcement is always up against new scams.

Grandma Scam: An email (with law enforcement letterhead), smartphone call (from the same area code) or a text is sent to a “grandma.” It is from her grandchild, and guess what, the grandchild is in trouble. She’s in Panama Beach, Florida, or some other trendy vacation spot, and she needs cash fast to get out of a serious jam. “Please don’t tell mom and dad.” On the phone the girl is crying and upset so it’s hard to make out her voice. Confirm the true existence and whereabouts of your grandchild before sending any money.

Negative SEO Extortion: Any website owner can fall victim to this scam. You receive an email that is bluntly blackmail. “We will do NEGATIVE SEO to your website by giving it 20,000 XRumer forum profile backlinks (permanent & mostly dofollow) pointing directly to your website and hence your website will get penalized & knocked off the Google’s Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) forever, if you do not pay us $1,500.00 (payable by Western Union).” Contact local law enforcement if you receive an email like that.

Real Estate Con: You are contacted digitally about the land you own. Doesn’t matter where you live, your land is “worth hundreds of thousands of dollars!” The person contacting you will say they have inside info on a new development that is happening or mineral rights or natural gas or whatever. They send you a check for the property. The catch is that you have to pay closing costs, anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000. Their check bounces, yours does not.

If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Contact your state’s attorney general for more information on trending scams in your area.