The Real Reason Google Dropped Authorship in SERPs

barry schwartzIf you have been watching the search results from Google over the past few months, you may have noticed a somewhat surprising change. Early this year you would often have seen a small picture of the author under any article in the list. Very rapidly, if you knew that author, you would know whether the article was likely to be useful. Continue reading “The Real Reason Google Dropped Authorship in SERPs”

Are you too intelligent to be wrong

Is he intelligent?Intelligence is always seen as a positive attribute. In a team game selection, it is often the more intelligent players who are selected first.  Most of us would like to be thought as highly intelligent by our friends and colleagues. What could possibly be wrong with that attitude?

 

Well not everyone agrees.  Here are just two opposing views but there are many more: Continue reading “Are you too intelligent to be wrong”

4 Reasons Why You Should Not Use Flash to Build a Website

intel flash website

This article is contributed by Robert Fisher.

Have you decided to use Flash to build your website? If yes, you should rethink and change your decision. It is true that Flash based websites are really attractive and cute.  See the examples to the right and below of what is possible.  if you are planning to build a heavily animated website or one that offers many online games, then it is OK to use Flash. But, if you are building a website to improve your business by increasing traffic to your site, then Flash is not the right choice. Continue reading “4 Reasons Why You Should Not Use Flash to Build a Website”

Google PageRank is Chaff

Almost anyone who owns a website is familiar with the term Google PageRank.  This is a patented measure of a Web page which according to the Google founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, measures the authority of any given Web page.  This measure is one of many elements in the Google search algorithm and many believe it to be perhaps the most important. Continue reading “Google PageRank is Chaff”

Top 10 Myths about Pay Per Click Marketing

This article is contributed by Pat Walton.

PPC marketing is the absolute market leader when it comes to online advertising. The largest and most powerful of the search engines, Google Inc. alone pulls in over $10 billion per year in revenue from their pay per click advertising platform Adwords. With such revenue streams it’s obvious that PPC is very popular and well used amongst many market segments. Continue reading “Top 10 Myths about Pay Per Click Marketing”

The Marshmallow Challenge

marshmallow challenge las vegas

A Marshmallow Challenge might seem to be an unlikely topic for this blog, but it is a topic on today’s Ted Blog that is amusing and stimulating.  It is a talk by Tom Wujec and it is all about collaboration, innovation and creativity.  He is a Fellow at Autodesk and is the creator of the marshmallow challenge.

He describes it as one of the fastest and most powerful techniques for teams to improve their capacity to generate fresh ideas, build rapport, and master the skill of prototyping – all of which lie at the heart of team innovation.

The challenge is disarmingly simple.  The teams get 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of masking tape, one yard of string and one marshmallow.  The rules are straightforward:

  1. Build the Tallest Freestanding Structure: The winning team is the one that has the tallest structure measured from the table top surface to the top of the marshmallow. That means the structure cannot be suspended from a higher structure, like a chair, ceiling or chandelier.
  2. The Marshmallow Must be on Top: The entire marshmallow needs to be on the top of the structure. Cutting or eating part of the marshmallow disqualifies the team.
  3. Use as Much or as Little of the Kit: The team can use as many or as few of the 20 spaghetti sticks, as much or as little of the string or tape. The team cannot use the paper bag as part of their structure.
  4. Break up the Spaghetti, String or Tape: Teams are free to break the spaghetti, cut up the tape and string to create new structures.
  5. The Challenge Lasts 18 minutes: Teams must not be holding on to the structure when the time runs out. Teams holding the structure will be disqualified.

Freelance writing

I hope you enjoyed this article, which is seen by many appreciative visitors. Part of that comes from its visibility in Google keyword searches.

If you would like to have quality articles like this on your website, then my services as a freelance writer are available to you. Click here for more details.

Barry Welford

If you explore the website, you will see some of the creative solutions that teams have used around the world.

The Marshmallow Challenge has produced no less than 390,000 items and the TED blog post today will encourage many more.  It will be interesting to see, given that competition, how high this blog post can rise for a Google search for ‘Marshmallow Challenge’.  We will keep you posted.

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The Google Tango

What image does that Google Tango call to mind?  Perhaps it was of the Google co-founder Sergey Brin ordering three electric Tango vehicles.  Brin and others have been heavy into electric cars recently. Brin is invested in Tesla, the manufacturer of the Tango, and has ordered three Tangos (all the luxury T6000 model, which cost $148,000 each).

tango
Courtesy of Camille Cusumano

What we had in mind was the other Tango.  For those who are not into ballroom dancing, that’s the evocative South American dance with the rhythm, Slow, Slow, Quick, Quick, Slow.  That seemed an appropriate description of Google’s speed of action on a variety of operations.  Of course Google prides itself on delivering search results on complex keyword searches in a fraction of a second. 

Google can also react fast to signals that are sent directly to it.  This means that for blogs, indexing of blog posts can be very fast given that RSS news feeds provide an immediate signal when new posts have been added.

That is a process that Google finds very effective.  That is why Google is pushing for a new system that will allow the Google Index to Go Real Time.

Google is developing a system that will enable web publishers of any size to automatically submit new content to Google for indexing within seconds of that content being published. The PubSubHubbub (PuSH) real time syndication protocol, could be used by Google for indexing the web instead of crawling the links.  PuSH is a syndication system based on the ATOM format whereby a publisher tells the world about a Hub that it will notify every time new content is published. Google would ask every website to declare which Hub they push to at the top of each document.

So much for the Quick, Quick but why the Slow, Slow for Google.  This is because there are some processes that operate on a much slower time cycle. Perhaps one of the most extreme is Google Maps.  Google can partially blame the map database sources it uses. However there are some examples that are almost ludicrous.  The biggest local example of that is hard to miss.  The data for the Golden Ears Bridge across the Fraser River took almost 9 months of operations before Tele Atlas updated its map index as of March 31.  Mapquest picked it up immediately.  At the time of writing some 12 days later, Google Maps still has not picked this up.

The other area where Slow, Slow applies is the speed at which new web pages not included in RSS news feeds get into the Google index. In some cases, this can be measured in months.  Here the enormous and explosively growing size of the Internet limits what is possible.  Even if a URL to a web page is found, it may be some time before the spiders or crawlers can revisit to fully identify what is located at that URL.

In this case, Google had a choice on whether its index should be Big and/or Fast and/or Accurate.  In practice given the Internet dynamics, only two of these are attainable at the same time.  Google has chosen Big and Accurate and the result is as fast as they can make it, which is still very slow. 

We are now promised that a new process, Google Caffeine, is being slowly rolled out.  However this will probably deal with the way search results are developed rather than the way web pages are added to the index.  It seems likely that we must stay satisfied with the Slow, Slow rhythm for the speed at which web pages are included in the index.

Nevertheless Google offers sufficient processes that go at the Quick, Quick pace so must of us will continue to be happy with the Google Tango.

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Logo Designs – the IBM story

This article is contributed by Ben Johnson of Logoinn, custom logo design service provider based in the UK.

Have you ever wondered when and why people felt the need to create logos to stand out from others? The history of logo designing dates back more than 2,000 years when the Ancient Greeks used to have ciphers on their coins. They carved in different designs on different coins just to give them an identity and recognition. This practice proved to be very effective in distinguishing between coins from different regions. The importance of logo designing became even stronger in the pre-industrial era, when many people began to get involved in barter trade. At that time, everything that was sold or bought carried a signature stamp that differentiated one trader from another.

The next evolution was that people expanded their trading activities and set up companies for their trading. Just as traders felt the need to identify themselves, companies also wished to have instant recognition.

Logos have stood the test of time and if anything, there is now an even stronger need for logo designing. IBM is a great case study to see how one company has adopted this idea of creating an identity and instant recognition for itself and how much this logo has been modified over time.

The IBM Story

ibm logo 1888

IBM is perhaps the most recognized name in the field of IT products and services. But, people may not realize that it was not IBM when it started its operations in 1888. Its name then was the International Time Recording Company (ITR), whose major products were mechanical time recorders, invented and patented by William L. Bundy. This is ITR’s initial logo with its initial letters, ITR, inscribed on it.

ibm logo 1891
ibm logo 1911

In 1891, ITR decided to make changes in its logo again and came up with this. The changes they made were quite complex and the logo was not easy to understand at a glance. Nevertheless this logo lasted for 20 years till they made a merger with another company.

Later in 1911, ITR was merged with the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company and as a result the company had to modify the logo. Clearly companies must alter their logos to reflect the changes they are undergoing and the evolving IBM is a really good example. When one company merges with another company, they need to create a new identity to signal the change to the rest of the world.

ibm logo 1924

However, in 1924, the company wished to signal an expanded business role. The ornate, rococo letters that formed the ‘CTR’ logo were replaced by the words ‘International Business Machines’ which were written in more contemporary sans-serif type font. The design of it was arranged to have the look of a globe, which confirmed the company’s intention to be ‘International’.

ibm logo 1947

Over 20 years later in 1947, International Business Machines (IBM) decided to eliminate the globe from its logo. Besides this, they also had a major change in their business; they expanded from the punched-card tabulating business to the new world of computers. The typeface of this logo was called Beton Bold. The logo was cut short to IBM alone.

ibm logo 1956

After 9 years, in 1956, Thomas J. Watson appointed Tom Watson Jr. as the CEO. As soon as he took over, he decided to change the logo of the company. He hired Paul Rand,  who was a famous logo designer. He asked Paul to make subtle changes to the current logo and make it more solid, grounded and balanced. He wanted a logo, which would be an evolution of their logo and not a design which would look entirely different.

ibm logo 1972

So, IBM retained the basic design of their logo and made a subtle change of filling black color in place of white in the letters to give it a solid look. Later Paul Rand decided to design another logo with horizontal stripes on it which depicted ‘Speed and Dynamism’. He also changed the color as well.

ibm logo today

After that the logo has remained basically the same, with just a color change. It was blue previously, and this is now changed to black. However, there have been no design alterations in the logo.

There are several lessons that can be drawn from the evolution of the IBM logo design. There are countless other companies who have also gone through major alterations in their logos. Any business owner must realize that your logo needs to be refreshed from time to time in line with changing business goals and objectives. Only in that way can the world have the best image of your company and what it offers.

The way logos evolve is a fascinating study. If you are struck by other examples of how particular company logos have evolved with time, why not add your thoughts in a comment.

Customer Service From Telecommunications Companies

Customer service should be a key department. It’s where potential customers, or prospects, may get their first impression of the company. It’s also where existing customers may confirm that they have bought from the right company or may get disillusioned. Surprisingly it’s often at the bottom of the totem pole.

You would think that companies in telecommunications should be the best examples of how to do it well. Tom Fishburne was so affected by his experience that he drew a cartoon about it. Yes, customer service can be a joke.

On the other hand, Shep Hyken, an expert in customer service, finds one of his clients is doing customer service as it should be done.

I had the wonderful opportunity to work with Verizon Wireless and their call centers. Their goal is to answer the phone within a surprisingly short period of time, and they usually do. That strategy, along with a focus on “one call resolution” helps create loyal customers. Why? Because, they create a pleasant experience, which creates confidence, and ultimately can lead to customer loyalty.

Freelance writing

I hope you enjoyed this article, which is seen by many appreciative visitors. Part of that comes from its visibility in Google keyword searches.

If you would like to have quality articles like this on your website, then my services as a freelance writer are available to you. Click here for more details.

Barry Welford

How can customer service from telecommunications companies so often be so bad? As Kim Stevenson recounts:

The American Customer Satisfaction Index numbers for 1Q07 were released May 15th. The punch line for telecommunications companies is: cable and satellite TV customer satisfaction remains low. Wireless carriers are improving and at an all time high but remain one of the lowest scoring industries.

Related: Your Call Is Important To Us – Roberto Rocha