Google Mobile-Friendly Update is a Game Changer

Google’s recent announcement in their Webmaster Central Blog, uncovers some details of the Google Mobile-Friendly Update – a major algorithm update to be released on April 21st.

As stated, “…Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

In an effort to ensure that search results are relevant and add value to the user’s search experience, Google periodically makes changes to the algorithm it uses for determining search results rankings. The announced update includes provisions for improving the mobile search experience. The Google Mobile-friendly update changes ensure that results can be accessed on a mobile device and that local options are returned based on information collected by the mobile device.

The new algorithm will have a major impact on mobile users, since the ranking system will detect whether a mobile device is being used and returns results accordingly. In other words, those who are using a mobile device to search with Google will be able to browse results that are ranked by mobile device accessibility. This move towards a mobile-friendly search experience will be applied worldwide. The intended result from this change in the algorithm for mobile devices is that users will be able to easily access the most relevant results specifically optimized for mobile use.

How the Google Mobile-Friendly Update Affects Online Stores

While the change won’t have an impact on rankings for searches performed in desktop-based browsers, it will dramatically change the results returned for users on mobile devices. The change represents a great opportunity for businesses that are already Mobile-Friendly, or that are willing to move forward with adopting the new Mobile Friendly standards.

Traditional mobile stores solutions – including dedicated mobile apps, while allowing shoppers to access your website on-the-go, doesn’t necessarily mean that your website will meet the Google Mobile-Friendly Update requirements.

For many online retailers (especially anyone using an open-source or older solution), transitioning the existing website to a “Responsive Design” might become a challenge, to which the only solution might be investing a large amount of resources, or switching to newer hosted platforms.

Test to See if Your Online Store is Mobile-Friendly

To find out if your Online Store is Mobile-Friendly, Google is providing an Online Tool that can easily help determine if your site meets the requirements.

If you store currently passes this test, you’ll benefit from the changes to come by getting more traffic and increased rankings over your competitor that might not be up to challenge.

To test your site online, visit the Google Mobile Friendly Test page.

Google Mobile-Friendly Update Will Catch Many Online Stores Off Guard

Google’s guidelines for Mobile-Friendly websites are pretty recent, and most websites are not ready for the change.

Online stores that are not Mobile-Friendly are encouraged to begin migrating their current design over to an html5 template system.

For additional details about the upcoming Google Mobile-Friendly Update, check the official Google announcement.

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Marketing Quotes March 2015

Listed below are quotes I actually remembered after reading a promotional eBook by HubSpot called “101 Awesome Marketing Quotes.” 

As you’ll see I could only remember 4 marketing quotes out of 101 so maybe tone down the lists HubSpot…we all got it…customers love lists! 

Enough babble…on to the marketing quotes!

“Clarity trumps persuasion.”

- Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Director at MecLabs

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about.”

- Benjamin Franklin

“Authenticity, honesty, and personal voice underlie much of what’s successful on the Web.”

- Rick Levine, Co-Author The Cluetrain Manifesto

“Those who build and perpetuate mediocrity…are motivated more by the fear of being left behind.”

- Jim Collins, author of Good to Great 

(Personal Addendum: “Good to Great” was one of the first business books I bought on my own and actually read from beginning to end.)

Effective Marketing Quotes

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Clearing Annoying Cookies with Browser Extensions

Browser extensions can help you alleviate the numerous ways Cookies and Browser Cache can build up over time no matter what browser you may use. I have listed two add-ons/extensions that I have found to be very useful for clearing cookies, browser cache, etc.:

Recommended Browser Extensions

Chrome-ClickandCleanClick&Clean is one of the best, free, fast and easiest-to-use Google Chrome Browser Extensions that can be used as a powerful private data Cleaner. It’s one of the top-rated browser extensions in the Chrome Web Store and are actively used by over 400000 home users, small-business owners, everyone who want to protect their browsing history and other private information from third party data collection or snooping.

acm-firefox Browser ExtensionsAdvanced Cookie Manager (Mozilla Forefox): One of the top must have extensions for Web Developers and Testers to Manage and monitor web cookies.

Features List: Add, Delete, Modify, Export / Backup, Import / Restore, Monitor cookies

Browser Extensions – Not the Same as Plug-ins

Note that browser extensions, or add-ons, aren’t the same as browser plug-ins. “Plug-ins” are things like Adobe Flash, Oracle Java, or Microsoft Silverlight. They enable websites to embed and render content like Flash movies, PDFs, or Java applets, for example — that are rendered with the plug-in. Plug-ins are a common target for attackers because websites can load them and exploit bugs in them, while extensions are different. Websites you visit can’t use your extensions to do anything. Essentially, extensions add features you can use, while plug-ins add features websites can use.

If you were hoping to learn about Extensions for Internet Explorer, stop reading this post and download Chrome immediately!

Chrome Browser Extensions | Firefox Extensions

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Develop Strong Relationships as Project Managers

project managersProject Managers know that one of the most important elements in successfully delivering their project is their relationship with your team. Project methodologies, best practices and planning tools are certainly important and are needed for the delivery of successful projects. But they are only two pieces of the total puzzle. The third piece is your relationship with people – and the most important people on your project is your team.

Project Managers are Project Leaders

Strong team relationships are important project manager skills because project managers are project leaders and need the cooperation of their team in order to successfully deliver the project. Without your team and their expertise, you truly will get nowhere. So get your team “on board” through displaying totally commitment and dedication to the project’s goal.

The challenge project managers face is that they often have to share team members with other projects or commitments. For example, I normally have team members that are assigned to my projects for 25% or 50% of their available time. The other 50% or 75% has been assigned to other tasks, like production support (sound familiar?). This puts a lot of strain on the team members as they must constantly multitask in order to get all their assigned tasks completed. Will your project tasks be at the top of their lists of “to dos” today? Well, it depends, doesn’t it? In most cases, if you have built a strong relationship with your team, and received their individual commitments to complete their project tasks, nothing will prevent them from meeting those commitments.

Project Managers Need to Build Strong Team Relationships

It’s very simple. It’s all about Trust, Honesty and Fun. Strong team relationships are built on a foundation of trust:

The team needs to know that you, as a Project Manager will support them, will do what you say you will…when you will (i.e. you have Integrity). This is a great confidence builder. The team needs to have the confidence that their team members will complete the tasks they have been assigned – on time.

The team members must understand that you trust them as well. Think about it – you did pick the right people for the tasks, didn’t you? Well, let them do their jobs. If they feel that you have no confidence in them, then they will perform accordingly.

The team must understand each other to the point where they believe that it is okay to be honest about anything. You as a Project Manager must be the driving force in nurturing this environment. Think of ways in which you can foster an honest, open environment and watch your level of team productivity rise.

And finally, getting to know your team on a social level could be the most powerful and quickest way of breaking down barriers and build strong and productive relationship as project managers.

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Tablets are Popular and Not Going Away

Tablets Best 2014Tablets are one of the most popular gadgets in the present era. From toddlers to old people, everyone these days seems to be obsessed with gadgets, be it a smartphone, a tablet or a laptop. With technological advancements, you can do a number of things with these gadgets that are not anymore wants but needs; and soon they will be a must-have device for everybody.

Tablets have gained immense popularity over the last few years because of their compactness and functionality. They are versatile gadgets and are very popular with people from all age groups. However, tablets are very similar to smartphones and laptops; they are slightly bigger than phones and smaller than laptops and they can perform the functions of both.

Tablets are Useful

Professionals use them for office work, retired people use them to browse the internet and read news and the list goes on…Kids use them to play games, students use them for study purposes. Tablets also guarantee that what used to take a day pack to load the laptop, the mobile phone, calculator, camera and books and probably 20 pounds worth of other stuff, has been made wiped out. Accessing information is simple and the younger generations can have it all through small finger taps. Top of all, Tablets are little and thin, so they fit in back pockets and you don’t have to worry about a thing.

Tablets Don’t Replace Newspapers, they Enhance Content Delivery

Certainly, the tablet is the innovative means towards information technology. It can never be denied that tablets have changed the way people get along with their everyday tasks. People find it very beneficial and convenient to use tablets in their daily commitments, especially for work. Newspapers will be off the market and news dissemination will occur online; magazines will be available with e-readers; and textbooks will no longer be advised because students will soon be required to have their own tablets for easy access on e-books. If tablets are being updated and upgraded over and over again, PCs will also be subjected to development in the same manner.

The top tablets and tablet manufacturers that lead the way: Samsung Tablet, Android Tablets, Kindle Fire Tablet.

Who knows? Today may be the reign of tablets and tomorrow can be the day of PCs again. A closer at the Revolution of tablets look may prove more than just the puzzlement but an ever-present reality.

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Pushing Mint over Quicken

Quicken LogoSeen on prominent benefits company’s site regarding Quicken capabilities:

“Our website is not compatible with Quicken 2014 however, our software apparently communicates with more easily, and the feeling is that is what Intuit (who also does Quicken) is focusing more on as the future, so our developers and management believe that compatibility with makes more sense.”

Mint logo“Therefore, if you care to use, you will find that our website does work with it for pulling information.”

Quicken vs. – My Thoughts

My feedback and ratings:

Quicken: 5 Stars 3 Stars is trendy but sometimes trends stick!


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Big Data – Don’t Judge a Book by It’s Cover

I can’t remember a term so over-hyped in my time in tech as “big data.” But the shift in technologies surrounding data and analytics is very real—and provides true value to organizations who can harness seas of bits to reveal important insights and new knowledge. Here’s the way I think about the evolution towards large data analysis.

Traditional Business Intelligence is Like a Card Catalog

The Big Data Card Catalog

The analogy I like to use is a library—the kind where you check out books. Traditional business intelligence was like the card catalog. As new books arrived, data about the books was summarized, aggregated, and put in a big BI-like filing system. Because databases were traditionally expensive and overtapped, it made tons of sense to pull summary data, put it in a BI “card catalog,” and operate on the data. How many books do we have? How many are mysteries? What is the average-page-count kind of stuff. We make dashboards and reports about the status of books, how many are coming and going, and which get checked out the most. All valuable stuff.

The Shift to Detail – Words on Pages

But soon, people wanted to actually get at the data itself: the pages and the words in ALL the books. It was great to operate on the summaries, but the next level of value was found by analyzing the detail. Were books with more adjectives more or less apt to be checked out? Could we analyze word patterns and understand better what made a really desirable book? Could we cohort books by analyzing the detail more effectively than the human-generated card catalog was doing? This first tier of big data was well served by a new era in analytic databases—scale-out, MPP, column-store, and in-memory made doing this kind of analysis inexpensive and fast. The funny thing is, there weren’t many tools built to go on top of these systems, to allow analysts and end users the ability to really explore these immense and complex datasets. So analysts went back to hand-coding SQL or writing Map Reduce jobs, and building proprietary discovery tools that could harness the power of these new data systems.

The Big Stuff Generated by Machines

So in the library analogy, what could be bigger than analyzing all the words in all the books? That’s where big data moved next. Rather than limit ourselves to the books, what if we extended the analogy into the reader’s realm? What if we started to capture not just the actual books, but all the events surrounding how people used the books? The sphere gets big pretty fast. And results in another giant increase in data size: For every book, how many times was page 54 read? Did people skip to the end or start at the beginning? On average, how long did people read the book in each sitting? All of this data dwarfs the size of the actual book—it could easily be 100 times bigger. Multiply that by all the books and readers in the library and we have a really large bucket of bits. This is the world of machine-generated big data – event logs and click streams.

Where’s the Value in Big Data?

The most important point is that there’s value at every level. And in my humble opinion, we tech professionals have recently focused on machine-generated “big data” to the exclusion of much better access and discovery into data at every level. We have separate big data systems, different transactional systems, and different tools to peer into each. The real value moving forward will be providing analysis across all of this data, big or small.

[Excellent Final Paragraph!!!]

When we join event data with transaction data, we can get answers to some really interesting questions. We could, for example, cohort readers by age (user database), correlating groups who check out books that frequently mention “attention deficit disorder” (detail data analysis) with whether they always skip to the back 5% of the book to see how the story ends (event data analysis).

by Frank Bien, CEO and Lead Looker
Read Full Article

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303 Redirects: Background, Facts and Tips

303 redirects are a redirect-type that will not pass any SEO value or “Juice” and will not remove pages out of a search engine index even if the pages are deleted from a domain’s server. This type of redirect is temporary and easily misinterpreted or misunderstood by older search engines.

Methodology for Handling 303 Redirects

The response to the request can be found under a different URL and SHOULD be retrieved using a GET method on that resource. This method exists primarily to allow the output of a POST-activated script to redirect the user agent to a selected resource. The new URL is not a substitute reference for the originally requested resource. The 303 response Must NOT be cached, but the response to the second (redirected) request might be cacheable.

303 Redirects Satire Ad

Satirical Commentary

Developed to prevent a form from being resubmitted after an HTTP Post request. As an example, a recent SouthWest Airlines issue caused customers to be charged multiple times from a deal they saw presented on their Facebook page. Once the user purchased a ticket, a type of redirect loop came into play, causing multiple credit card charges. 303 redirects are the exact type of redirect to use in this situation to avoid potential problems with technology. Additionally, the response the browser and engines receives comes from the CMS, not the server-level, which decreases page speed.

301 vs 302 Redirect
Over the years the 303 error has become outdated and replaced with the 302 redirect type. The 302 redirect, similar to the 303, also provides no SEO value to the pages involved and will not remove old pages from the search results.

303 redirects – Our Recommendations:

If you use 303 redirects, STOP right now and have someone help you setup the correct, most relevant redirects for your site.

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Article Explains Why Banks Should Target Gen Y Millennials

Excellent article on the facts about Gen Y and why Banks should take a second look at these customers now before other financial institutions gain their trust…and their money:

Full Article by Harland Clarke

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Business Analyst UAT Tasks Part I

User Acceptance TestingUser Acceptance Testing (UAT) is a beast, we all know that, and during this process business analysts execute numerous UAT tasks based on the type of projects, duration and organizational standards.

  1. Solution Validation: Validate that solution meets the Business Requirements
  2. Verify the Organization Readiness: BA should make sure that the end user is ready to use the solution, by checking that the required resources along with relevant tools and training are created and made available
  3. Identification & Validation of Test Case Scenarios: BA should identify test case scenarios that will be tested in UAT Phase and get those scenarios validated by end user
  4. Create Training Plan: BA should create training plan for the engagement of required resources
  5. Create UAT Plan: BA should publish the UAT plan for the required resources
  6. Conduct UAT: UAT should be conducted keeping in mind the objective of UAT, which is to “make sure that solution fulfills the day-to-day transaction of business along with any other known exceptions”
  7. Record the Results: UAT tasks can only be effective if issues are logged religiously
  8. UAT Feedback: BA should confirm from user that solution fulfills the business needs as anticipated by user and update the feedback to related stakeholders
  9. Conduct UAT Signoff (Approval to GO LIVE)

Upcoming Additions to this Article about UAT tasks:

  • UAT Documentation
  • UAT Planning
  • UAT Execution
  • UAT Closure


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