One of the mistakes that some webmasters have made already is to hit the panic button and attack their existing content. There is really no need to go through your entire site making changes to content or anchor text to reflect a “How To…” overhaul in order to attract Hummingbird’s attention. The only thing that this can lead to is disaster.
If you have good, original content, revamping it may only make matters worse. You open the door to mistakes and may only ruin perfectly good content. The best thing to do is balance your content moving forward, making sure to be creative while adding some “How To” articles and blog posts liberally. You can tweak your website content to a small degree; just don’t be too obvious about it.
Claim authorship if you have not done so already. If you need to ask what authorship is, you are already behind in the game and need to start doing a little bit of catch up. Here is the deal… Google loves Google. If your website and corresponding blog is not already tied to your Google+ account, it needs to be.
Tying your efforts to Google+ allows your content efforts to be seen in the work section of your plus account by everyone in your circles, which should be half of the planet’s population. Check out this link for details on how you can take control of your Google authorship.
Do not do anything that would appear to be an overt move to take advantage of any new Google rollout. Think about this for a moment: Google rolls out a new algorithm, the largest single change since 2001, and adds nothing to prevent smart and sly webmasters from taking advantage of it. That is very doubtful.
Do not do anything foolish such as suddenly hiring a link building service that uses less than desired tactics to load you up with how to links or who knows what. Google will surely have a watchdog program for that. Keep it natural and have your company message associated with good quality content. When my clients ask about the core of their marketing plan, I always end up explaining content marketing. This is what everyone should focus on. Simply ask yourself what if Google didn’t exist?
It is always a good idea to take advantage of any and all of the numerous Google services that are offered, mostly free of charge, that will help you to improve your website and blog. Video links on Google owned YouTube.com that teach or answer important questions are a perfect example of taking advantage of Google’s generosity and putting your business website squarely on Google’s Hummingbird map. Interviews with experts in your niche also are a wonderful idea since they are already composed in the question and answer format. Here are some other things that can help:
Comprehensive FAQ page
Q&A blog category
How to posts (in moderation)
Ask the expert (Are you an expert? Do something with it. Google will love you more.)
At the close of September 2013, during the same week that Google stripped keyword data from Google Analytics accounts, it announced the Hummingbird update.
But Hummingbird was no mere algorithm change. It was an entirely new algorithm, a new way for Google to pull search results from its vast database of information on the web.
Hummingbird affected 90 percent of search results. That’s a big deal, especially if you consider when Google Panda (another algorithm update) was released in 2011, it “reportedly affected the rankings of almost 12 percent of all search results,” according to Wired magazine.
Hummingbird Is a Shift from Keywords to Questions
The search-engine-optimization terminology for this is that Hummingbird is a shift from keyword-based search to semantic search. “Semantic” refers to the meanings of words. Understanding just this one aspect of Hummingbird creates a long list of implications for content marketers.
If you could only choose one focal length of lens for the rest of your photographic endeavors, what would it be? For me, the answer is simple. I love wide-angle lenses, and my favorite lens is a 20mm.
I see the world as a big vista, a meeting of earth and sky and everything in between. I have trouble seeing things in isolated patches, it is a big world and I want to capture it all. That’s the trouble with wide-angle lenses: photography is about deconstruction, about eliminating unwanted elements and simplifying the composition to just a few key ingredients. A wide-angle lens is like a kid curious about everything in the world but unable to concentrate well on just one chore. Wide-angle lenses are the hardest lenses to use effectively because we constantly need to wrestle with its inherent “I want it all” attitude.
Color Look Up Adjustment Layers offer efficient options for altering an image
Have you heard about Color Look Up Tables? They’re a fairly recent addition to the photographic workflow, having been added to Photoshop in version CS6. But the premise behind color look up tables (sometimes called CLUTs or LUTs) has been around a lot longer than that as a method of transforming colors. For example, in the profile adjustment of a computer monitor, or in “grading” the look of film and video, LUTs have always played a vital role. A look up table essentially says “this color should actually be rendered like that color,” remapping one set of colors into another. Converting colorful hues into many grayscale tonal values, for instance, or simply converting one palette into a slightly warmer or cooler version of itself. You can imagine how this would be useful for the wholesale changing of colors, rather than doing it selectively, pixel by pixel, frame by frame, time after time.
The addition of CLUTs to Photoshop’s image editing capabilities is especially useful, though, because with a Color Look Up Table applied to an image as an adjustment layer you’ve got a whole new way to change the entire look of an image without permanently affecting a single pixel. That can be a subtle adjustment (like a warmer image with lower contrast) or a total off-the-wall overhaul (like a color negative or cross processing effect). Color look up tables as adjustment layers become, essentially, one-click picture styles that can do really great things for your photographs—and your videos. And because the changes are made on an adjustment layer they can be easily modified, masked and even eliminated without affecting the pixels on the layers below.
Windows/Mac/Linux: Adobe Lightroom might be the professional photographer’s photo management tool of choice, but you can save $149 and download free and open source LightZone instead.
The program lets you quickly manipulate a batch of photos, with great effects and styles and finely adjustable tools. Instead of layers (a la Adobe), color masks, and masks, LightZone divides an image into 16 “zones”. Each zone varies in brightness from the ones next to them by 50%, and you can easily manipulate the zones to change brightness and contrast. You can also change parts of an image by drawing a vector shape.
LightZone also can instantly “relight” an image so it appears as if you took it under different lighting conditions.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve discovered how easy it is to use Paypal. Everyone understands it now (after many years of it being around), and people “get” that they can make a payment even if they don’t have a Paypal account. So maybe you’ve set up an e-commerce solution and linked it to Paypal. Maybe you’ve used it for a small non-profit to accept donations. Maybe you’ve noticed that a lot of plugins support it – especially those membership ones that you want to use on your member-based, content-protected site. Well, the good news is it’s easy and everywhere.
There’s bad news coming, right?
In order for Paypal to put money into my account, it also has to have the right to take money out of my account. I get that. You get that. We all get that. But there’s some basic logic to the process, right? Take money out when I want to pay for something. Put money in when I am paid for something. It all seems so basic. But from the beginning of Paypal’s history, they were dealing with fraud.
So logically, they implemented a feature that lets them put a hold on your funds for a period of time in case there are refund requests. I get that. I don’t love it. But I get that. They hold a portion of the funds for 90 days and then it’s yours.
But what happens when that portion isn’t small? What happens when it impacts your business? You get a little bit screwed. I know, crass language, but hey, it’s not a nice feeling.
Wait, does it get worse?
If frozen funds is all that was going on, I’d be unhappy with Paypal, but I wouldn’t hate them. But it gets worse – way worse.
This past December, on a family trip to Disneyland of all places, a full week after someone had paid me for services rendered (not the sale of a refundable product), Paypal decided it wanted some of my money.
This was after they’d already put it into my account. So what did they do?
They went into my checking account and grabbed 70% of the funds that had been paid to me. Yes, $700 dollars were yanked out. Without notice or approval. Without complaint from the customer.
Apparently Paypal wanted more funds in their accounts for the holidays.
The number of images generated on social media is staggering. Between Facebook and Instagram, consumers post nearly 2.5 billion images every week, according to Engadget, the tech blog. While Facebook has revamped its feed to make it more image-oriented, it’s hardly the most visual of social media platforms. That honor goes to Pinterest.
Pinterest is an image-driven social media platform. You “pin” something interesting — hence the name — and share an image and a link to the original content you found online. You can pin just about anything you can find on the Internet. You can also create collections of “Pinboards” — like tagging. The site is arranged by categories for the convenience of visitors and followers. Pinterest users can repin your pins, and whenever someone does this, that pin will show up in the newsfeeds of all the Pinterest users following the user who repinned it.
Advantages of Pinterest to Businesses
Pinterest offers businesses the following advantages.
User engagement. Many social sites are about getting followers. Pinterest users are almost self-engaging because the Pinterest usage model revolves around finding content and sharing it with small groups. Pinterest users are strongly interested in what’s new and trending — a tendency they share with the rest of the Internet but which they exhibit to an unusual degree. That’s behavior that translates into the kind of influencer that marketers want to attract, and it means the legions of followers who don’t actually engagement that you find on Facebook and Twitter, are a lot less likely on Pinterest.
Industry trend tracking. Pinterest is a great way to find out what’s about to be big. Since Pinterest users are usually more concerned than the rest of the internet with both quality and freshness, the site functions as a future barometer of online taste. For designers who want to make and sell products, or for marketers, Pinterest is a good place to start looking for pointers. Businesses that stand to gain the most out of Pinterest are visual and creative disciplines like:
Writers and bloggers
Consultative businesses that thrive on Pinterest publish educative illustrations and Infographics that simplify and explain complex processes.
Branding style. Just being on Pinterest makes your brand look more modern and aware. But what you do with your Pinterest presence projects the image you want for your brand . And if you successfully generate engagement on Pinterest, you could see people liking and repinning your content, creating their own conversations about your brand.
Visual link building. Links built through images are among the best when it comes to engagement. Pinterest images automatically link back to their origin, meaning images you pin from your website lead straight back to you, creating visual links.
Local search engine optimization. Local links are what local businesses love the most and marketers are learning to embed these in the descriptions and comments. That way Pinterest pulls in local customers, as well as engagement across a wider geographic area.
More than 2 million passwords for some of the most popular spots on the Internet — including Facebook, Twitter and Google — are now a matter of public record, according to a fresh report from SpiderLabs, a research arm from security firm Trustwave.
SpiderLabs says it uncovered the bounty of potentially valuable (and often ridiculously simple) log-ins during its latest Internet sweep for the Pony botnet controller, a malware-spreading set of programs which the researchers say they’re increasingly encountering online. This means the passwords were not leaked by Facebook and the like, but from thousands of infected computers that collected the data when users logged onto their accounts.
Whether or not the passwords are current or out-dated is unknown, but the attack appears to be “fairly global,” SpiderLabs reports. “At least some of the victims are scattered all over the world.”
Shooting Stars Admit it, you are enamored by certain stars; you follow and keep track of all of their movements. I’m a sucker for stars too, but more of the celestial type. There is a certain magic to shooting at night and capturing what can’t be seen with the naked eye. Hopefully these tips will inspire or help you improve your night visions.
The Right Stuff In order to successfully capture the night I would recommend a digital camera from the last 2-3 years, a sturdy tripod, and a cable release. I tend to shoot wide, 18mm-21mm, to include more of the sky. However when shooting wide, it is very important to incorporate an interesting foreground. Trees, rocks, and structures will add more dimension and scale against the night sky.
Get Out Of Town Get away from all the light pollution of the city to better capture the starry skies. If you can’t see the stars, then neither can your camera. This shot was taken 40 minutes north of NYC, at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. The three crosses shot (later in the blog) was taken in the remote town of Las Cruces, Baja – and revealed more stars than I had ever seen or imagined.
The 500 Rule For Better Celestial Skies
There are two ways to interpret stars – either as star points or star trails. Digital capture has made photographing star points, or celestial skies, easier than ever. A good starting point for capturing a celestial sky is a 25 second shutter speed, ISO 3200, at f/4. That was the exposure details of the Milky Way shot over Independence, California.
How do we figure out our exposure?
The most important factor is time. The earth rotates and when we capture star trails we are actually capturing the rotation of the earth – the stars remain constant.
There is a simple equation that will tell us how long we can expose until the stars start to trail. It was originally called the 600 Rule, which is probably safe for viewing on the web. But if you want to print or view the images at 100%, I recommend using the 500 Rule, where you divide 500 by the focal length of your lens.
500/24mm = 20 seconds
500/50mm = 10 seconds
The more telephoto the lens, the more it will zoom in and magnify the movement of the stars.
Now comes the balance of ISO and Aperture. The two factors to consider is how fast and sharp your lens is wide open and how high can your camera’s ISO safely go? I typically like to stop my lens down at least one stop – so from f/2.8 to f/4, and there is often a big difference between the noise at 3200 ISO and 6400 ISO.
As a fledgling photographer I began looking at other’s work, specifically the headshot industry here in New York. I saw one thing that was repeated over and over again. Blank lifeless images with absolutely no juice coming towards the camera. Why didn’t I see the same thing when I looked at celebrities in magazines? Was it the photographer or the celebrity that made the difference in those shots? I believe now that it’s a bit of both, but it was then and there that I decided it was my mission to create interesting expressions for my clients.
That’s right, I had to create it for them. I couldn’t leave it up to my clients to do it on their own. It was my work and I was going to infuse it with life if it was the last thing I did. It became my responsibly, so no matter how stiff or uncomfortable anyone was, they weren’t leaving my studio without what I considered a Peter Hurley headshot. No way, no how. This was my domain and my biggest weapon became the squinch.
My biggest fear was that other photographers would find out about the squinch.