F Shaped Pattern Searching

About 10 years ago there were a lot of articles and pretty graphics (heat maps) illustrating human behavior when searching; how human eyes look at a page specifically, when searching. Around that time is when the term *F Shaped Pattern Searching* (and variations) came to light. In fact this is a great article that’s sited by many when discussing this topic:

F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content
by Jakob Nielsen on April 17, 2006

I was looking at Kindles today on Amazon and found the matrix below, which is of Kindle app icons.

f pattern search

Screenshot taken on Amazon

You can clearly see that there was thought put into the arraignment of the app icons:

F Shapped Searching

F Shaped Pattern Searching

Looks like F-Shaped Pattern Searching is still true today, I’d trust Amazon to do their homework 🙂

Hey, You, Get Off of My Cloud!


Have you ever really thought about Cloud storage? If you are like most people, the very idea of storing something out there somewhere in cyberspace is unsettling at best. In theory, it is a nice thought, as you dream about storing all of your information digitally and knowing that it will remain safe forever. After all, you would no longer have to worry about storing anything on servers or backing up information again and again. It also means you would no longer be designating valuable office space to store a bunch of documents the old fashioned way. Through the Cloud, you could store everything easily with a single click of a button or even without clicking. However, whether or not that remains completely secure is another question altogether.

When it comes to Cloud storage, there are a lot of different options that are available to you. For the most part, your options include the particular system that is being used to store the information, as well as, the level of security that comes with it. Most of the time, security exists in the form of several layers of encryption. Some companies use system that have just a single layer of encryption and others use multiple layers that are password protected. To make things even more secure, these companies usually make sure the passwords change almost constantly. However, there is no guarantee that the information that is stored in the Cloud will not fall into the wrong hands at some point.

The advantages of Cloud storage are also numerous. In truth, a lot of companies choose to store information in this way because they simply do not have the physical space to store hard copies of all of their important documents. Even when information is stored and backed up on a server, the old fashioned way of doing things make sure that you would have to have several disks that were stored at your site in order to retrieve the information. Storing it on the Cloud means that it is completely digital and stored in cyberspace without any hard copy in any form whatsoever. This is a fast and easy way to store information and it takes up absolutely no room on your part. Perhaps the biggest advantage is that someone else manages the information once it is stored in the Cloud. Essentially, it is no longer your problem until you want to retrieve the information yourself.

Of course, there are also disadvantages to everything and this is no exception. The biggest concern that centers around Cloud storage is the possibility that the information could potentially fall into the wrong hands – *think Sony*. People are hacking into systems on a daily basis and if they happen to hack into the system that you use to store information, there is a chance that everything that you have stored could end up in the hands of someone besides the people who need to see it. This can have a number of repercussions, not the least of which is the loss of trust of your clients.

In short, Cloud storage has become so popular that everyone wants to use it and it is quickly becoming something of a game where more and more people are jockeying for position. If you want your own dedicated Cloud storage system where no one else can have access to it, expect to shell out some big bucks. Otherwise, you can expect to share a system with thousands or even tens of thousands of other individuals and take your chances about the level of security that is provided with such a system.

Been Dazed & Confused about GA, but not anymore!

Actually I’ve been doing pretty good with GA since I started using it about a year ago. I’ve created my own dashboards thanks to a tutorial/article by Jill Whalen. I’ve read a lot of information and can finally do a lot of amazing things with GA not only for myself but for my clients. It’s nice to finally use a metrics package on an ECommerce site – joy!

But today I found a period chart of the elements regarding GA. Too cool! Much like the one SEL put out years ago regarding SEO (and they constantly update it), it’s simply amazing.

It was made and published by a certified GA expert by the name of Jeff Sauer @ Jeffalytics. The GA elements have been split into four main categories: Product, Metrics, Reports, and Features. I’m hoping to squeeze more info into my automatically generated reports that are sent out by GA to my clients.

Here’s the one for SEO by SEL.

Such good information! I have so much to do but will probably spend the next hour just absorbing all the information it has.

Here is the full article.

Periodic Table of Google Analytics

Work & Life Balance – Working from Home Tips

One of my most excellent clients Joel Garfinkle, a Job Coach, has been helping me with the transition of working from home vs. working out of the home. I used to do 6 hours out of the house, the rest at home. He’s given me some Work Balance Tips which are some great pointers although I can’t do them overnight, he said my goal is to try to implement a few at a time… it’s a life style change, like a DIEt. Look at it as something that benefits YOU and YOUR WORK and YOUR FAMILY. My jaw dropped as I can’t fathom doing all these things hence him reassuring me I should adopt a few at a time. It’s a great list and makes sense. Hopefully it will help others.
Work Balance

¨ Time off: Take one day off a month

¨ Weekend: No computer, email, cell phone (related to work) on weekend.

¨ Vacations: Schedule two vacations.

¨ Block time: Schedule time for family, friends and partner.

¨ Breaks: Take two scheduled breaks a day.

¨ Hours: Work no more than 40hrs each week

¨ Cell phone: Turn off the cell phone (Blackberry) at 5:30pm.

¨ Exercise: Exercise four days a week.

¨ Home: Work from home two days a week

¨ Lunch break: Have lunch away from desk.

¨ End work: Finish work at 5:30.

¨ Start work: Start work at 9:30am

¨ Meditate: Spend 10 to 15 minutes each work day in quiet contemplation.

¨ Computer: Stop using the computer at 5:30pm (no email at night).

¨ Read: Read one non-work-related book or magazine for each work-related publication you read.

¨ Fun/play: Make time for fun/play (even during work week).

¨ Comp time: If put in more hours a few days, take the time off on another work day.

Good Links, Bad Links, You know I’ve had my Share…

With the Pandas and Penguins running amok… everyone is now going backwards like crazy, going backwards with respect to trying to have their links removed from other sites.

Reciprocal links, begging for links via E-mail, the sneaky “3-way” – we all know about those “tactics”. Now people are asking, pleading and begging for their links to be removed! Another *omg-the-algorithm-has-been-updated-knee-jerk-reaction* – we even have the Disavow tool which some think may harm your site rather than do what you’re wanting the tool to do! I’ve even seen companies that claim they’ll remove links from sites that you (or the company) deem undesirable. We’ve gone a full 180! Didn’t we used to pay companies to add/find (mostly bogus) sites that our link would go on????

I sometimes think the people at Google are sitting back and laughing when they make one of their announcements *do this, do that, no do this… wait that might be bad*. They lead SEO’s around by their ear and make us jump through hoops. I’ve thought for years Google didn’t like “us types” but it depends on who you believe. I have my own thoughts on that but we’re sticking with links for now.

Bad, Bad Links!

When you read about links, the acquisition and quality of, you’d typically think that an unnatural link as a “bad” link. Ok, that makes sense… In my opinion if you’re going out of your way in order to help boost your sites in the search engines, it’s probably not a good practice. Before the PR tool was released, you’d naturally link to a page because it was related to your site content and you were providing your users with additional information. For instance, if I had a site about Siamese cats, I might link to other Siamese cat sites naturally. I wouldn’t ask for a link back as I just wanted to supplement the information I had already provided on my site, just another resource related to my existing topic… Again, since the PR tool was rolled out, it just became mad-crazy with people asking for links, asking for reciprocal linking, 3-way linking, etc. When something gets out of hand with SEO practices Google steps in and deems what’s *good and bad*. That’s when updates like Panda and Penguin starts happening. That’s when people start scrambling around before the dust settles. Ah Google… it’s their sandbox so we play by their rules.

What makes a link bad?

Depends on who you talk to. Links from unrelated sites, links from pages with no related content, links from pages full of unrelated links, link farms. Those would be your top culprits.

I read this today:
Why Do You Want Your Link Removed? – which is a great article. I found this part especially interesting:

Some of the characteristics of links we are trying to get rid of MAY include:

-Links from websites with no contact information.
-Links from websites with no privacy policies.
-Links in content that has been duplicated elsewhere.
-Links with artificial or pointless anchor text that really shouldn’t be there.
-Links from pages that may no longer be indexed by Google.
-Links from websites that we believe may themselves be penalized by Google
-Links from pages that are strictly “sales oriented” and serve no other purpose
-Links that exist merely due to a financial arrangement of any sort.
-Links from websites and pages that may be considered to have “thin content”.
-Links from sites/pages with unnaturally low or no inbound links of their own.
-Links from sites/pages with an unnaturally high number of inbound links.
-Links from sites/pages that are using suspicious “on page” SEO tactics.

I’ve never really been a link builder or explored that avenue. I can’t see sitting all day and acquiring one link for a days work. They’re are people that are masters at this area of Internet Marketing (better them than me!) – let the bullfighter fight the bull!

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