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Google Authorship Dead In 2014?

Written by Kyler Patterson

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

authorship-featured
If you’ve searched for anything on Google in the last month or so (who hasn’t?), you may have noticed slight changes in the results. First, the author pictures next to the results conspicuously disappeared. Then, videos started to vanish for most results (except those of YouTube and other sources where video is a primary source of content). Now, author names have disappeared. According to John Mueller from Google’s Webmaster Analytics team, Authorship has indeed been removed from your search results.

Is Google Authorship Dead

A few months ago, the same search would have displayed the associated Google+ profile picture and related information, as shown in the image below from our prior Authorship blog post:

What Authorship Looked Like

 

Now the posts are stripped down to provide you the content that you’re looking for without the fluff.

 

Why Was Authorship Removed?

If you ever set up authorship, then you know it was not the easiest process to start with. There were several steps involved, including an update your site’s code to add the markup. If you were using a CMS like WordPress, the markup wasn’t too hard, but HTML sites were a little harder to modify. Since the entire ordeal wasn’t an easy 1-2 step process, it had a low adoption rate.

As stated in Mueller’s post, and speculated by many, Authorship simply did not have any direct impact to an increase in clicks or rankings. A direct quote from the post:

“If you’re curious — in our tests, removing authorship generally does not seem to reduce traffic to sites. Nor does it increase clicks on ads. We make these kinds of changes to improve our users’ experience.”
 

Is Authorship Completely Dead?

From search results, it appears to be mostly (though not entirely) gone. As explained by Mueller, search queries will still show relevant posts from your Google+ connections with their information. So if you were connected with an author and searched for information pertaining to them, then you may see something like this:

The Google Authorship Update

Keep in mind, the rel=author markup didn’t just affect search; social media displays this information as well. With Pinterest, you can stand out with rich pins. As you see in the picture below, you will still see the author markup:

Pinterest-Tips-Tricks

 
You can also see it on Twitter with Twitter cards as shown below. If you’re able to edit the author Twitter handle, you’ll also get another spot in the author section.

 

Conclusion

Although authorship has been mostly removed from Google search, it still does serve a purpose and cannot be entirely considered dead.. perhaps undead… zombie(?). You don’t necessarily need to go through the process adding the authorship through Google+ to include the rel=author tag, but who wouldn’t want a good branded back link on a Google product?

What do you think? Is authorship just dead and should never be touched again or will you still be including it on your blog? Let us know in the comments!

How Archive As A Service Lets You Lose Those Information Silos

Written by Natalie Lehrer

Monday, September 15th, 2014

3 Archives

There are a number of things that cloud storage services can do well. They can offer affordable resources, whether you’re starting out or extending from an existing setup. They can make those resources highly reliable and almost infinitely scalable (let’s just say, you’re unlikely to ever bump up against any limits.) And, last but by no means least; they can bring different parts of an organization together. With many enterprises still struggling to break down the barriers that prevent proper information flow, cloud storage services can be a boon for that reason alone. Archive as a Service offers additional “anti-information silo” features that become increasingly important as a company grows.

 

Demonstrating Compliance: Everybody’s Headache

To a greater or lesser degree, every business is bound by regulations and a need to practice and demonstrate compliance with those regulations. If you’re operating as a sole trader, then to start with you’ll need to keep records for taxes. If your business has employees, departments, branch offices, then you can look forward to accounting, health and safety, traceability, consumer protection, medical confidentiality and more, according to the sector in which you operate. Trying to get each department to conform to compliance regulations is a challenge in itself. Trying to check that each one has done its duty can be even more difficult.

 

Cloud Archival as Your Aspirin

The first thing that Archive as a Service does is to federate all those otherwise isolated initiatives to conserve historical and compliance data. As an added bonus, the central storage not only guarantees data is kept safely, but Archive as a Service can also prevent any tampering with or unauthorized destruction of data, whether by accident or by design. By combining cloud archiving with cloud backup services you can extend that protection, store different versions with their individual timestamps and be ready for disaster recovery if required.

 

No More Capital Outlay

Private archival systems can get expensive, fast. They require more and more capacity, as more and more data accumulates and regulations become increasingly demanding. Cloud-based Archive as a Service obviates the need for laying out large hunks of cash. It provides the capacity you need for smaller monthly fees and lets you scale up smoothly, instead of having to buy a complete new archival server each time. More than this however, you can let the service provider do the work on making sure that the systems remain up to date and properly maintained. When you consider that archiving can last for years or decades, not having to worry about hardware refreshes in between can be a big help.

 

Retention Policies, Discovery and Beyond

Archiving is done so that information can be found again if required. But not all information should be archived or kept beyond a certain time limit. Archive as a Service lets you define and apply enterprise-wide policies for how long different types of data are retained and when information can or should be deleted. You can also search across the whole organization, which is important too for any legal requirements to comply with data sharing or discovery. And once you’ve got your different departments all ‘singing from the same song sheet’ for archiving, you can turn your attention to breaking down any other information silos that exist: for example, in your supply chain or leveraging innovative ideas. Archive as a Service maybe the end destination for much of your information, but that doesn’t stop it from being the starting point for a more unified, efficient and effective organization.

 

*****

Author Bio:
Natalie Lehrer is a senior contributor for CloudWedge. In her spare time, Natalie enjoys exploring all things cloud and is a music enthusiast. Follow Natalie’s daily posts on Google Plus, Twitter @Cloudwedge, or on Facebook.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kulturarvsprojektet/6498637005/in/photolist-aUgdnB-aUghg6-7MD3dV-6zikYQ-8uDviZ-dSNCNT-G7hwY-FeWvD-fmtgQn-2XevxG-Mhc6R-Mhc7n-bH8xmk-5a4ToF-8JPib7-c5eEWw-fApYgF-cmXzG-aUg8cx-Mh1of-Mh1pq-8BFk82-aUg5p6-epa4xw-3nsq5E-jqCNfw-dYsB4V-8uGuMb-Mh1oQ-epa7My-epa5HW-epa8d5-epa5rC-eodUdx-eodTmp-epa6K5-jL2Khe-dYSxB1-Mh1om-4uZkio-EfQVB-aAyYzA-eLz2Kp-3nQM8v-3nVgnY-fvGq3x-6tqxy2-cXkMNS-itgAn2-mhCYtN

Boost Sales With Effective Product Photography

Written by Jeremy Jensen

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Product Photography

The United States has seen a rising trend in digital buyers from 136.9million in 2010, to what should be nearly 170 million next year in 2015. That’s over half the country now shopping in eCommerce stores. As consumers, we can’t get enough of the attractive images drawing our eyes towards a potential purchase because online a sale often comes down to how well we can perceive the product.

Ideally, you’d want to hire a professional photographer to undertake such an important task, but these days with all of the additional costs small businesses are facing some budgets just won’t allow for it. That’s why we have created a guide for the most important characteristics pertaining to an effective product photo.

Follow the tips below in order to capture images your customers will respond to.

 

Get set up with consumer-grade equipment

There’s a big difference in consumer and professional equipment, and usually it comes down to the cost. Camera manufacturers are putting out new consumer models every 6-8 months, all of which are capable of delivering fantastic imagery for a fraction of the cost of what a professional-grade camera would run you.

I recommend looking into a DSLR and lens that costs no more than $1,000 if you’re going to be running an eCommerce site with frequent updates and product variations. Mirrorless cameras are also quite the bang for your buck, coming in compact sizes and with built in lenses that capture wonderful macro and detailed product shots.

 

Taking one photo is not enough

The biggest difference in eCommerce shopping is that your customer won’t have the opportunity to handle and evaluate the physical attributes of your product. As you’re probably familiar with this process, you can understand no matter how good the deal is being offered, you probably won’t commit to a purchase until you feel you’ve grasped it visually.

The trick: put yourself into the mind of your shoppers.

Taking multiple product photos will often eliminate any doubts associated with loss in sales. Try and make these details very clear:

  • The size and scale relative to the products functionality
  • Are there additional items that will come packed inside?
  • Does it require assembly?
  • How it looks at all angles

The last bullet point is probably the most important. Larger companies have product windows with 360 degree viewing software, so in order to replicate that assurance make sure there is not an angle missing that may be deterring sales.

shoe ad
 

Background, Lighting and Environment

angels

Just like we need to see the product at all angles, the look should feel like it would in real life. Often photographers will construct what’s called an ‘infinity curve’ to give the background a look as though the product were floating in infinite white space.

This can be as simple as using a roll of paper on the ground as pictured above. The reason behind this is it leaves very little room for aesthetic distractions while customers are browsing your items and won’t confuse anyone as to what is being sold.

It’s always best to try and find natural lighting if you aren’t experienced in lighting a studio. While the illumination of soft boxes can be very enticing, mixing different light temperatures and angles can often make a photo more unattractive. Here’s a great resource for setting up a studio from home.

Last, try and include objects that will help it relate to real life. For example, jewelry makers have been shown to have much better success by photographing items being worn, while also having some shots of the item by itself. This is a great trick for translating what the item will look like on your customers.

 

The power is in the details

Like any attractive advertisement you want customers to see the fine features that define your products’ quality. Often times this means using a shallow depth of field, or one of the macro features built into your camera to truly focus in on the textures, materials and details that make the item worth purchasing.

*Try selecting the flower setting or aperture priority to really sharpen the image.

 

Edit and Post

Rarely do professional photographers just take an image off the camera and upload it. After you’ve gone through the capturing process it’s important you’ll also be able to adjust the lighting, color and clarity to truly portray your items attractively.

If you’re not looking to get a subscription to Photoshop, here are some free software options for PC and Mac.

Photography can be a lifelong pursuit to reach perfection, but if you follow these steps you’ll be much more likely to convert sales knowing how to properly showcase your products.

 

Image Sources:

https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0004/7131/dune_quick_view-blog-full.png

http://cjchampion.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/product21.jpg

https://arqspin.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/dslr-360-product-photography.jpg

Email: Unlimited vs. Infinite

Written by Ryan Evans

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

full mail inbox

Email is one of those little things that you can easily forget about. You read it, maybe even type out a response and click send… but then you go on about your day, likely paying no mind at all to the fact that the little email actually does take up physical space on a hard drive within a server. This can lead to some major issues in the long run, however. Like personal fitness, it is something that you need to keep tabs on and do daily. Left unchecked, an inbox full of old email and spam can ultimately lead to detrimental issues.

 

What Unlimited Really Means

It’s easy to think that unlimited does actually mean infinite, but the reality is that physical limitations do exist; there will always be a finite amount of space, be it in your office or on a server. Every single file takes up space, even if just a miniscule amount, but those teeny-tiny amounts do add up when left unchecked!

This is most definitely applicable with email. If you don’t go through and remove old emails and spam from time to time it can really add up, just like cholesterol in your veins. Overtime, the blockage can grow to become a serious issue.

Despite its name, an inode isn’t some new flashy Apple product, it’s a data structure used to keep information about a file on your hosting account. Things on your hosting account like emails, files, folders, or literally anything else stored on your server consumes a relative amount of inodes. There is a set limit of how many inodes you can utilize at any given time, which is the literal physical limitation that people may start to bump up against. A HostGator shared server imposes a limit of 250,000 inodes, and while that sounds like a lot it can easily be consumed by an unkempt inbox.

 

Easy Solutions

Although it’s easy to lose track of the situation and let it get out of hand, it’s actually quite as easy to nip it in the bud. Put aside some time every day to go through your inbox and trim the fat, deleting old emails or even just attachments that are no longer relevant. Every little bit helps. Don’t forget to empty your trash and spam folders too!

Another solution might be to use an offsite mail fetch service such as Google. This will help reduce the use of Disk space and inodes, leaving you more leg room to work with.

This hygienic practice should also extend to any 3rd party email services as well like Gmail and Yahoo. Remember, it’s important to keep your inbox clutter free, not only for the health of your server but for the health of your business too!

 

Image source:http://www.beautyprpro.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/full-mailbox.jpg

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