Posts tagged Avoid

It’s A Trap! Avoid These 4 Pitfalls In Paid Search

Search engine marketing has improved vastly since its early days, but columnist Jared Del Prete notes that advertisers still make some of the same mistakes.

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Updating Your Website? Avoid These 4 Common SEO Landmines

Whatever the reason and whatever the scope, you’ve decided to update your website and if you’re going to be successful, you’ll need to pay careful attention to your SEO throughout the process.

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Google: Try To Avoid Link Building Because It Can Do More Harm Than Good

Google’s webmaster trends analyst, John Mueller, recommends you do not focus on link building and if you do, it may lead to more harm for your web site than anything good.

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How To Avoid Working For Machines

The machines may be taking over, but not everyone will end up working for them. Indeed, according to recent MIT research, it accomplishes little to rage against the AI machine, Luddite hammer in hand. No, the best way to beat the machines is to complement them with uniquely human skills.

In other words, if you don’t want to work for machines, don’t be a tool.

Honey, The Machines Shrunk My Labor Pool

Ensconced in the bubble-fied atmosphere of Silicon Valley, it’s easy to forget that not everyone views technology as salvific. In fact, many fear their jobs will be automated away, just as they may have once (or still do) felt that their jobs would be off-shored.

Their fears are not misplaced, though technology hasn’t always had its desired effects.

Though technology is meant to boost productivity, John Fernald, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and a noted authority on worker productivity, has found that technological innovations over the past decade have failed to spark productivity gains. Why? Largely because those innovations were focused on the technology industry itself. 

Applied to other areas like the service sector, as the Economist notes, would likely yield much greater gains.

It would also yield significant unemployment for those whose jobs are displaced. The light at the end of the tunnel, the Economist continues, is that “as technology displaces workers from a particular occupation it enriches others, who spend their gains on goods and services that create new employment for the workers whose jobs have been automated away.”

Sounds great, right? Well, not if it’s your job that has been handed to the machines.

Rule #1: Don’t Be A Tool

In their research, however, MIT professors Frank MacCrory, George Westerman and Erik Brynjolfsson, in partnership with Yousef Alhammadi from the Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi, parse data from studies in 2006 and 2014 to show the kind of job skills that have increased in value as technology has taken over. 

In 2006, the seven skills that would get you ahead looked like this:

  • Manual: Dynamic strength, gross body coordination, handling physical objects, manual dexterity, speed of limb movement, stamina
  • Equipment: Equipment maintenance, installation, operation monitoring, repairing, systems analysis, troubleshooting
  • Supervision: Coordinate others’ work, develop/build teams, guide/motivate subordinates, manage financial resources, monitor resources, schedule work or activities
  • Perception: Category flexibility, far vision, perceptual speed, selective attention, speed of closure, visual color discrimination
  • Interpersonal: Adaptability, assisting or caring for others, cooperation, dependability, service orientation, stress tolerance
  • Initiative: Achievement, independence, initiative, tnnovation, persistence
  • Vehicle Operation: Operate vehicles, night vision, peripheral vision, sound localization, spatial orientation

By 2014, the list of desirable skills had narrowed to five:

  • Cognitive: Complex problem solving, critical thinking, deductive reasoning, oral comprehension, speed of closure, written expression
  • Manual: Equipment maintenance, finger dexterity, handling physical objects, multi-limb coordination, reaction time, visual color discrimination
  • Supervision: Coordinate others’ work, develop/build teams, guide/motivate subordinates, manage financial resources, monitor resources, schedule work or activities
  • Interpersonal: Adaptability, assisting or caring for others, cooperation, dependability, service orientation, stress tolerance
  • Initiative: Achievement, independence, initiative, innovation, persistence

By comparing the two, the authors conclude that the skills that continue to drive higher salaries and continued relevance in a technology-fueled marketplace are those that are distinctly human:

More complex interpersonal interactions, such as those in sales, customer service, and supervision, remain the domain of human workers. We can expect that occupations will shift toward those skills in which humans have a relative advantage over machines. Machines have demonstrated limited ability to perform interpersonal tasks, and human customers have a preference for interacting with other humans

Which Is Which?

It’s not always easy, however, to discern between “machine-ready” and “people-oriented.” 

As one example, the  research describes legal contract review as something we may feel only a lawyer can do. (No jokes, please, about the relative humanity of lawyers.) Lawyers, despite a healthy dose of self-respect, deliver a paltry 55-60% success rate at finding problems in a contract, while computers routinely see a much higher success rate of 80-90%.

Contract review is tedious and repetitive (every single review involves haggling over indemnification and limitation of liability, for example), but it seems like a human affair. Not so, apparently.

At any rate, rather than fear that machines will steal our jobs, it’s perhaps time to focus even more on developing our humanity. It’s the one thing computers can never replace.

Photo by spencer cooper

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10 Common Mistakes To Avoid On Local Websites

Avoid the pitfalls that trip up many local business owners with these tips from columnist Greg Gifford.

The post 10 Common Mistakes To Avoid On Local Websites appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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5 Mistakes to Avoid in a Google Shopping Campaign by @Rocco_Zebra_Adv

Google AdWords shopping campaigns are a great way to generate more sales but even the tiniest mistake can make the difference between the campaign being profitable or a waste of money. Some shopping campaigns are already profitable but are missing out on optimization opportunities simply because of the way they are set up. Here are five common Google AdWords shopping campaign mistakes and how to prevent or fix them. 1. Not Backing Up Your Shopping Campaign Backups of your shopping campaign can be useful when a change has been made that is not reversible via the Google AdWords Change History. […]

The post 5 Mistakes to Avoid in a Google Shopping Campaign by @Rocco_Zebra_Adv appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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#9 Most Read Article of 2014: Avoid SEO Hype: Why Small Businesses Should Focus on Return on Investment

If you’re a small business owner, you don’t have time to waste trying to wade through Google’s constantly shifting guidance on SEO tactics. Statistics and analytics will clearly suggest starting with PPC advertising, because it works.

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How To Avoid The Community Of Open Source Jerks

Open source is the new default for many areas of software. But open source is different, and that’s causing some problems for newbies. While some reduce open source to “free software I can download,” open source can be much more. 

To get the most from open-source software, companies and other big organizations must be willing to engage in the projects important to them. This can be a prickly affair, given how unwelcoming some communities can be. And yet, as Bert Hubert highlights, “community is the best predictor of the future of a project.” 

See also: How To Get Started In Open Source

Strong communities build strong software. But finding your way into a community that will welcome not just your adoption but also your contributions can be tricky. Here’s how.

Learning From Linux

First of all, it’s critical to find an open-source project with momentum behind it. But just because a community is large doesn’t mean it’s where you want to set up shop.

 Take Linux, for example. Linus Torvalds, who first released Linux over a decade ago, admits to making a “metric s–tload” of community mistakes in that time. Like, for instance, telling this developer that “*YOU* are full of bulls–t.” Or castigating Red Hat for “adding stupid code to the kernel only to encourage stupidities in other people.”

But it’s not just Torvalds. Other project maintainers can be equally caustic, or merely unwelcoming to would-be contributors. Others, like Docker, have occasional missteps where adversity reveals an undercurrent of antagonism toward community members that don’t fall in line with the project leader’s chosen path.

See also: Want To Start An Open-Source Project? Here’s How

These may be projects where you want to be a net consumer. But there should be other projects where you do more than download and actually give back to the community, thereby helping it to grow.

Your Community Mileage May Vary

To be successful, you need to learn the nuance of how a particular project operates. Linux, for example, is not one community. It is many. So what works for one subsystem won’t work for another.

For example, Greg Kroah-Hartman,  Linux kernel maintainer for the -stable branch, the staging subsystem, and other areas, was asked whether newbies should “make patches to correct superficial things like whitespace, comments, etc.” 

His response? It depends. 

Other subsystem maintainers consider whitespace and spelling fixes to be a waste of their time, and it is, as they don’t want to deal with that type of stuff. So don’t do whitespace fixes for their subsystems, do it in the areas of the kernel where it is encouraged and common. A specific example of that is the drivers/staging/ area of the kernel, I maintain that part and want you to send in whitespace fixes as I know it is a way to get people involved and that is what I want to encourage and do.

Kroah-Hartman wants to encourage new developers. Others do not. Picking the right community to match not only your interests, but also your pain tolerance, becomes critical. 

Learn Your Community

It’s also critical to follow the community before diving in. Even the most welcoming of project leaders will not appreciate someone making a lot of noise without first making the efforts to learn the rules of engagement for that particular community.

That’s always good practice, but in some communities it’s imperative. Take, for example, project lead Howard Chu’s recent message to would-be contributors on the OpenLDAP project:

If you post to this list and your message is deemed off-topic or insufficiently researched, you *will* be chided, mocked, and denigrated. There *is* such a thing as a stupid question. If you don’t read what’s in front of you, if you ignore the list charter, or the text of the welcome message that is sent to every new subscriber, you will be publicly mocked and made unwelcome.”

Chu’s comment leads Hubert to conclude, “Before picking a technology to depend on, investigate how they deal with feature requests, bug reports and questions.” Why? Because “what you will learn is the best predictor of how the project will serve you (and vice versa!) over the coming years.”

In short, not only do you want to piggyback on a solid community, but if you’re going to contribute to that project, you want to make sure it feels like home. If it doesn’t, you need to find a different project. Because ultimately, open source is all about community, not merely code.

Lead photo by Sarah_Ackerman

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Avoid Access Disruption On GitHub By Updating Your Keys

It’s time to update older SSH keys on GitHub—or risk organizations blocking your access to their open source projects.

SSH, or Secure Shell, is a cryptographic protocol for secure data communication. Many projects hosting on GitHub—especially Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) which let a high volume of developers access secure app data—have developers generate SSH keys in order to be granted access to them. Developers can use these keys to ensure their own programs that rely on API data continue to have access.

See also: How To Win Friends And Make Pull Requests On GitHub

Back in February, GitHub made a small but significant change to the way SSH keys work. It made them immutable, or unchangeable, after they’d been generated. Previously developers could change their SSH keys after they’d been created. Since February, however, developers can only create and delete keys, not alter keys that already exist.

Now, GitHub is finalizing that update by ensuring that any keys created before the Feb. 24 announcement will be removed. That means developers using older keys will have to create new ones in order to see uninterrupted access to projects. Otherwise, organizations that maintain open source projects will simply remove their permissions.

GitHub will automatically send an email to any user whose SSH key is deleted by an organization, so developers shouldn’t be surprised if they lose access. However, they can avoid a headache by identifying keys created before February and replacing them now.

Photo by Taki Steve

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Re-Entering the Strike Zone – How to Avoid Panda Relapses and Temporary Recoveries

Temporary Panda recoveries can happen, so it’s important to continually analyze your site through a Panda lens. This post covers five reasons that Panda may return, and includes tips for avoiding Panda relapses.

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