Posts tagged less

Google Showing Far Less Video Snippets in Search Results

If you use rich snippets to markup your videos, you may want to double check that Google is still showing them. Reports indicate a huge reduction – with estimates as high as 44 percent – in the number of video snippets from Google’s search results.

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Moz Link Building Study: SEOs Spending Less On Link Building?

Moz has published their second annual link building results for 2014, surveying over 300 SEOs on questions around link building. The big question is how are SEOs and agencies changing their link building efforts and spend over this and next year. You’d think with all the penalties, both…



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Yahoo Retires Less Popular Products to Make Room for New Innovation

Yahoo is shutting down a range of its not-so-popular products, in order to focus on its more popular ones. Included in the cull is people search, Xobni, toolbar on Chrome, and Shine.

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SearchCap: Google Webmaster Tools Removal Notices, Panda Slaps Yahoo & Changed Links Less Trusted

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. From Search Engine Land: Panda Strikes Again: Yahoo Voices & The Yahoo Contributor Network Closing Down Yahoo has announced another round of product cuts and changes, all part of…



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Former Googler: Links That Change Are Trusted Less By Google’s Algorithms

A former member of the Google search quality and web spam team, Pedro Dias, said publicly on Twitter yesterday that “Google is less likely to trust a link once it has changed from the first time it was seen.” So if you changed the anchor text or URL path of the link, the value and…



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Gender Bias in Marketing: Women Seen as Less Valuable Than Men [Research]

WordStream released findings of a research study that examined the gender gap that may exist in a business environment where Web marketing clients are serviced by both female and male representatives, and their respective client satisfaction scores.

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Google’s Matt Cutts: Over Time Backlinks Will Become Less Important

Google’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts, said in a video that backlinks, over time, will become a little less important. Matt did say that backlinks in the Google ranking algorithm still have many years left in them. Matt explained that Google is focusing a lot now on working on ways to…



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Help! I Raised My AdWords Bids and Got LESS Traffic!

If you’re a reader of this blog, you’re probably familiar with the basics of the Google AdWords auction. You […]

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Andy Stefano

Contributor at WordStream

The post Help! I Raised My AdWords Bids and Got LESS Traffic! appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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Shadow IT: Far Bigger, Less Manageable And More Important Than You Think

Shadow IT is widely considered to be a significant problem for enterprise IT, yet nobody knows how to fix it, or even measure it. After all, how do you control something that, by its very definition, is designed to evade control?

Shadow IT, which is defined as those systems that are bought or built without enterprise IT’s approval, has been accelerating as business executives demand the flexibility to get things done—and may now dwarf the amount of approved enterprise expenditures on cloud services.

Is it time for the CIO to give up the fight against shadow IT, and simply learn to accept it?

Shadow IT: Bigger Than Cloud?

By some estimates, and as I’ve written before, shadow IT is now 10 times the size of known cloud usage. And while there’s a temptation to assume this is “other companies,” the reality is that your company likely has this problem, too.

At my startup, which I consider to be very well run with several hundred employees, we took an informal poll of the executive team to determine how many systems we were using. There may be wisdom within crowds, but our little crowd was off by roughly five times in our estimates—and those were just the known systems. 

There are almost certainly many other systems that we’re using, some paid and some free, that we simply don’t know about. After all, Skyhigh Networks, which helps companies root out and track Shadow IT, found companies that assume they have ~90 systems actually have over 1,000. That’s a huge disparity. 

That’s why I find these kinds of charts so amusing:

There is simply no way to answer this question. How can anyone report on something that, by definition, they don’t actually know about?

The Cloud Is Much Bigger Than We Think

Cloud adoption, which is already outside the control of the CIO, is likely much, much bigger than we think. Estimates like these are nice, but they’re also almost certainly grossly inaccurate:

While Forrester pegs enterprise adoption of cloud computing at 30%, true adoption is actually much higher than this.

According to a Frost & Sullivan report, 83% of IT workers admit to using non-approved SaaS apps, compared to 81% of line-of-business workers. We’re not talking about isolated incidents here. According to the same report, 26% of IT departments use six or more non-approved SaaS apps; just 7% of business units use that many.

It’s always been this way. Those of us who grew up in open source spent a decade waiting for analysts to recognize that just because open source wasn’t showing up in market share numbers—measured by money spent on licenses—didn’t mean it wasn’t booming. It was, and it wasn’t until nearly five years ago that IDC and others started trying to track the untrackable—at least with regard to trends affecting developers, who by and large don’t spend money on software.

Analysts are a lagging indicator of success in open source and other shades of Shadow IT.

Embrace The Unknown

So what should an enterprise CIO do about the spectre of shadow IT? More than anything else, she needs to embrace her developers. 

It’s not really an option anymore. As Forrester notes in its “Understanding Shifting Technology Acquisition Patterns” research note, lines of business, and the developers who work for them, are assuming a greater role in technology purchasing. The study shows removing IT from purchasing processes will rise over the next two years, while IT-only purchases are expected to fall during that same span. 

Far more encouraging, however, is that the two groups are also collaborating more, with the two groups joined at the hip in technology purchasing. This relationship is expected to remain constant through 2015 as the cloud keeps booming and open source thrives.

Even when lines of business initiate technology purchases, it is increasingly including IT. So for the CIO worried about Shadow IT and the developers that foster it, don’t. Even with the rise of DevOps, those developers more often than not are happy to collaborate with IT in the ongoing maintenance of applications; they simply don’t want to be blocked from starting on such projects. 

CIOs that encourage developers to use open source and the cloud position themselves to assume control as soon as developers move onto the next business-changing application. It may not be the kind of control they want, but it’s the reality of the modern enterprise.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Americans Are Bullish On Technology’s Distant Future, Less So Its Present

Despite the number of popular dystopian novels written over the years, Americans have continually been optimistic when it comes to the future of technology. At least, the distant future of technology. We’re far less sanguine about the technology that threatens to upend our lives today or tomorrow, as a new Pew Research survey suggests.

In 1988, the Los Angeles Times took a break from crushing traffic (no, not really) to anticipate they’d have robotic maids and holographic conference calls in just 25 years. That prediction didn’t come to fruition, but it hasn’t stopped people from dreaming of a distant future where humans can teleport from one place to another, or control the weather, even as we anguish over near-term technological realities of “Glassholes,” inbox overload and more.

Following this trend, Americans are currently bullish on lab-grown organs, computer-generated art and other plausible advances in technology, with 59% expecting that technology will make our lives better.

Why is it that technological advances always look best at a distance?

The Rich And Educated Love Technology’s Future

Especially, that is, if you’re rich, educated and male. Right or wrong, based on Pew’s survey, if you are rich, educated and male, you are more likely to be bullish about technology.

Just 52% of those making under $30,000 feel that technological innovations will make their lives better, while 67% of those making over $75,000 expect those same innovations to improve their lives. In other words, those that make more money tend to feel more optimistic about the future of technology.

For those that have high school degrees and maybe a little college education, 56% of those people see technology improving their lot. That number rises to 66% among those holding a college degree. Perhaps given superior access to technology makes the relatively affluent and educated more bullish on its potential.

Interestingly, while one’s faith in technology tends to correlate with one’s income, it doesn’t correlate with age. Those 65 or older feel roughly the same buoyant feelings about technology’s potential as those under 24, or in between. But if we just look at males with college degrees, suddenly we’re looking at a population in which 79% feel that technological advances will make their lives “mostly better.”

And what does that future look like? Well, given the recent advances in biological engineering, it’s not surprising that we see lab-grown organs as a distinct possibility, even if we can’t quite see a future of “Beam me up, Scotty!” Bizarrely, we seem to be evenly split on whether computers will generate art (novels, paintings, etc.) that rivals what humans produce, with 51% believing this will happen in the next 50 years, while 45% think it will not.

Though apparently Americans already read the sort of drivel that a computer could write. Twilight, anyone?

Not So Bullish On Near-Term Technological Advances

While we seem to be happy about the distant future of technology, we’re ironically much less so about near-term, highly plausible advances. We imagine a future with all the benefits of technology, and none of its downsides.

As Aaron Smith, a senior researcher at Pew and the author of the report, notes:

[We] are especially concerned about developments that have the potential to upend long-standing social norms around things like personal privacy, surveillance, and the nature of social relationships.

To wit, roughly half of Americans think it would be a bad thing if “most people wear implants or other devices that constantly show them information about the world around them,” reflecting a distaste for a future filled with Google Glass. On other probable advances, Americans are even less enthusiastic:

And while Americans may like the idea of a certain technology, the survey suggests they’d prefer someone else try it out first:

In other words, we love technology, but we’re not completely sure if the forthcoming advances are what we actually want.

What is it that we’re looking forward to most? When asked what advancements people would really like to see, the most popular answers included travel improvements like flying cars and bikes, or even personal spacecraft; time travel and health improvements that extend human longevity or cure major diseases.

Given that Google appears most likely to give us self-driving and, perhaps, flying cars—paid for, in part, with our personal data—a conflict is brewing between what we want and what we’ll get.

Why Are We So Bad At Predicting The Future?

That said, we’re pretty poor at predicting the future, anyway. So as much as we want time travel, we’re probably not goign to get it. Not how we expect, anyway. How bad are we at predicting, exactly? Well, Freakonomics co-author Stephen Dubner argues “even experts are only nominally better than a coin flip.” (For those paying attention at home, that’s not very good.)

Harry McCracken nails the reason in commenting on this 1981 cover of Byte magazine:

We tend to think that new products will be a lot like the ones we know. We shoehorn existing concepts where they don’t belong. Oftentimes, we don’t dream big enough.

McCracken then goes on to point out the flaws in our current thinking about smartwatches:

Much of the thinking about smartwatches involves devices that look suspiciously like shrunken smartphones. That’s what we know. But I won’t be the least bit surprised if the first transcendently important wearable device of our era–the iPhone of its category–turns out to have only slightly more in common with a 2014 smartphone than it does with a 1981 computer.

In other words, we fail to predict the future because we’re completely constrained by our past. 

A Future That Looks Like Her?

Whatever our near-term imaginings, like keyboard-less desktops à la Her, the future will likely not be what we expect. In 1988, the Los Angeles Times predicted a future of robotic dogs and supersonic jets as the norm. While some predictions have been close, most were simply wishful thinking based on the immediate problems of the day.

The one thing that likely will remain true, however, is our enduring ability to see technology fixing all our future problems … despite doing a somewhat dismal job of managing this in the present.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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