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Industry News

Catch up on interesting new discussion and industry news.

    Google's New Head Of Search Quality Is Me

    by rustybrick
    Apr 1, 2015 at 5:45 AM
    This is not easy for me to announce, being that I've been covering Google and search quality here for well over ten years. It is both sad as well as exciting for me to tell you the news --- I am going to be taking over the role of Google's head of search quality today...

    My next project: AutoSEO

    by MattCutts
    Mar 31, 2015 at 5:23 PM
    I’ve been working really hard with some friends on a project to handle SEO automatically. Now we’re ready to take the wraps off it over at seo.ninja.

    One of the ideas that helped the World Wide Web succeed was that it separated presentation and content. You could write your text and decouple it from the problem of how the text looked. AutoSEO takes that to the next stage with search engines, so you don’t have to think about things like redirects.

    How much would you pay to never have to...

    Don’t stop believing (in user research)

    by Rian van der Merwe
    Mar 31, 2015 at 8:37 AM
    I’m having a hard time with Alex Schleifer’s (Airbnb’s head of design) proclamations in Why Airbnb’s New Head of Design Believes ‘Design-Led’ Companies Don’t Work. There are a lot of sweeping generalizations in the article, but I’ll focus on one specific part — user-centered design. First, this:

    The solution Schleifer and CEO Brian Chesky devised actually deemphasizes the designers. The point, Schleifer says, isn’t to create a “design-led culture,” because that tends to tell anyone...

    Did Wikipedia Take An Organic Hit In Google Search?

    by rustybrick
    Mar 31, 2015 at 5:52 AM
    Wikipedia has historically dominated Google's search results - no one would argue with that.
    But now with the knowledge graph, does Google have a need to rank Wikipedia at the top, when instead

    Usability testing and agile, together

    by Rian van der Merwe
    Mar 30, 2015 at 4:51 PM
    I really like the approach described in Jen McGinn and Ana Ramírez Chang’s RITE+Krug: A Combination of Usability Test Methods for Agile Design. It’s a dense paper, but worth your time. Here’s a key part (my emphasis added):

    Prior to using the RITE+Krug combination, the user research process and results had been divorced from the Agile processes, which resulted in the findings coming too late to be acted on. Because of this issue, we integrated the user research with the rest of the...

    Google AdWords Fixed The Quality Score Bug Yesterday

    by rustybrick
    Mar 30, 2015 at 4:52 AM
    On Friday morning we were the first to report widespread panic around Google AdWords quality score drops. It turned out, as expected...

    Big data and big statistical mistakes

    by Rian van der Merwe
    Mar 27, 2015 at 8:46 AM
    Tim Harford has an excellent critique of the statistical issues with the “big data” trend in Big data: are we making a big mistake? First, there’s this:

    But the “big data” that interests many companies is what we might call “found data”, the digital exhaust of web searches, credit card payments and mobiles pinging the nearest phone mast.

    I still love the term “digital exhaust”. I first saw Frank Chimero use it in the context of social media when he said (in a post that’s now gone...

    Google: The Changes In The Search Results Are Normal Fluctuations

    by rustybrick
    Mar 27, 2015 at 5:37 AM
    I am still seeing massive chatter around Google's search results changing both in terms of Webmaster Tools showing changes in rankings...

    What Does an SEO Do In Their Day-to-Day Work - Whiteboard Friday

    Mar 26, 2015
    There's a common misconception that SEO is a "one and done" task -- that you clean up and optimize a site, and once that's done, you can focus your efforts elsewhere. There's so much more to the day-to-day work of an SEO, though, and in today's Whiteboard Friday, Rand walks us through those ongoing parts of the job.

    For reference, here's a still of this week's whiteboard!...

    How to write perfect software

    by Rian van der Merwe
    Mar 26, 2015
    Charles Fishman’s They Write the Right Stuff is an incredible profile of the engineers who write software for NASA’s space shuttle missions:

    How do they write the right stuff?

    The answer is, it’s the process. The group’s most important creation is not the perfect software they write — it’s the process they invented that writes the perfect software.

    It’s the process that allows them to live normal lives, to set deadlines they actually meet, to stay on budget, to deliver...