RankBrain and the Rise of Artificial Intelligence

Don’t worry, we aren’t going to be attacked by lucid, malicious robots anytime in the near future (hopefully).  We aren’t going to be controlled and pushed to extinction by mechanical sentient beings controlled by a central hub called “SkyNet”.  However, we are going to have a big part of our day controlled by artifical intelligence, at least now that Google has released “RankBrain”, the machine learning engine that is now powering their search results.

What is AI and Machine Learning?

Machine learning is what it’s name suggests, a machine (in this case computer software) that takes in information and makes decisions.  It can then use those decisions to further process decisions, as it incorporates it into it’s inner workings (similar to how humans learn things progressively, starting with the simple and building to the more complex).

Artificial Intelligence comes in a few different forms (supervised and unsupervised are the two largest groups), but let’s not get bogged down in the technical stuff here.  The simple fact of the matter is that Google is now letting a machine decided what search results are good, based upon what they previously have determined to be good (like showing a kid a good drawing, and then showing them 10 other drawing and having them pick which one is also “good”).

To be fair, this isn’t a new development, it’s just a new development at Google.  Their VP of Search, Amit Singhal, had always been philosophically opposed to machine learning, but recently that has changed and now they have implemented RankBrain.  However, AI has been part of marketing campaigns and other technical endeavors for years.  There is the famous story of Target predicting that a young woman was pregnant (and sending her coupons for baby clothes) before she had even told her father (and this drew an angry response from the father, which is why it made the news).

All Target was doing in that case was analyzing her spending habits and comparing it with those of other customers.  They could easily see that other customers with her spending habits went ahead and purchased baby clothes in the proceeding months.  They then strategically sent out coupons so as to encourage the customer to shop at Target.  It’s smart.

So that’s what Google is doing, basically feeding into the system a bunch of search results that they know are good ones (whatever that means) and letting the “brain” decide which search results look just as good.

What Does This Mean For Webmasters

The short answer is: Not much.  We asked around and got some feedback from Internet Marketers, one such response was from Steve who runs the best seo company in Bournemouth (I checked, it’s true) and he gave us a perfect quote:

“SEOs cannot know how RankBrain will turn out.  By definition, Google doesn’t even know how it’s going to turn out, because a computer program is going off to play on it’s own.  Only time will tell, but we should be prepared to react when that time comes”.

He’s right, there is no way to really know how the machine learning will start processing results pages.  It could get very, very weird.

Top Tips For Servicing Your Own PC

Whether you’re a student, a gamer, teacher, whatever: it doesn’t matter.  If you use your computer on a daily basis, which most people do, you should be proactive with keeping your computer problem free instead of being passive and waiting for a problem to creep up that may cost you hundreds of dollars, time, and lost work!


There are definitely some things you can do on your own that can help your computer live a longer life and run efficiently:

  • Run Real Time Virus Protection Program! All the time that you spend on the internet? Well, guess what? You can infect your computer any time while surfing online. There are free, effective programs like the Avast Anti-Virus that you can register and use–yes, for free.
  • Uninstall Programs You Don’t Need! There is a good reason for this. Unnecessary programs may be taking up resources (on your hard drive and memory) and are probably slowing down your computer. At first, it may not seem like much but you should make routine of this at least once or twice a year. So many people don’t! Just imagine how many useless programs one can gather with so much out there. For some people, this can add up to quite a lot.
  • Defragment Your Hard Drive! So, what does it mean to defragment your hard drive ? The more you use your computer, the more the resources or files on your computer can become “fragmented”. Overtime, new files are written on your hard drive and old ones are deleted. When this happens, there are “gaps” in your hard drive in the way the files are left. Fragments of data are everywhere now, hence “fragmented”. To better organize the files on your drive, you can “defrag” your hard drive. It’s relatively easy to do and all it requires is a little bit of time and patience (you have to leave your computer alone during this process!) On your windows computer, you can search for the “disk defragmenter” program and just… run it. Easy as pie!
  • Make SURE Your Programs Are Updated! Again, this sounds basic but makes a huge difference. With so many applications and programs being released, there are a lot that are updated on the regular. A lot of programs can contain bugs that get sorted out through updates. This is typical of most programs. If you don’t update them, they can lead to vulnerabilities on your computer and open it up to harm, potentially. Always update your programs as soon as they are released and you are notified!

If it’s already too late and you can handle an issue, then contact computer repairs Brisbane wide. They have been quick, timely, and are well established in Brisbane, all over.

Technical and Practical Implications of Industrial Safety

Computer technicians and network engineers have to worry about technical problems when it comes to safety, like information security and proper authentication, disaster recovery and repair, or hardware failures.  These are all common and worthwhile concerns on the scale of a computer network or information system, but when you switch over to the scale of massive industrial undertaking, the concerns become much more pronounced.  Actual physical danger to workers and the technicians themselves is a very real threat, so we no longer are dealing with peoples’ livelihoods, we are dealing with peoples lives.

FukoShima and the Need for Industrial Safety

Radioactive Nuclear Meltdown at Fukushima, Japan
The Meltdown at Fukushima. Radiation levels in the area are still at dangerous levels.

In 2011 the Nuclear Power Plant in Fukoshima, Japan had a severe meltdown following a tsunami that damaged its systems.  While the Japanese officials tried to downplay the extent of the damage, it is believed to still be affecting that area of Japan as well as the entire section of Pacific Ocean and circulates near it.  High radiation levels were seen as far away as California beaches, as well as in Tuna caught in the pacific.  The full extent of the damage cannot be known for certain but it is clear it will take years for it to clear up.

This speaks to the massive scale of industrial safety, it can affect our ecosystem as well as the lives and livelihoods of millions of people.  While computer security experts need to worry about peoples bank accounts, industrial safety experts need to worry about peoples actual lives.  It’s for this reason that industrial safety products as well as proper planning and disaster preparedness have become top of mind for many officials, activists and regular citizens.

Recall the scare at 3-mile island, which threatened to affect nearly 20 million people in the greater NY area.  Thankfully we did not see a full meltdown, but the possibility was very real, prompting many citizens to call for greater oversight of the facility.

Full Circle – Cyber Safety Meets Industrial Safety

We’ve spoke about how cyber safety, such as computer network security, can pail in comparison with industrial safety at the largest scales.  This is however a bit of a falsity, because in today’s interconnected world, our industrial systems are increasingly connected via the Internet and other computer networks, making them prime targets for hackers and other cyber criminals.

This is even true at the scale of international espionage.  It was reported that Iran’s nuclear facilities were hacked by international hackers in order to disable and destroy equipment that had the potential for creating nuclear weapons.  While most people would think this is probably a good thing, the potential for adverse affects of this, should it be undertaken by the wrong people, is tremendous.

Take for example, electrical grids in countries throughout the world.  These grids were built nearly 100 years ago and still have essentially the same infrastructure.  A cyber-criminal with evil intentions could potential wreak havoc on the entire system, causing massive damage.  So both practical safety concerns and cyber-safety concerns are a real priority in today’s day and age.




Tips for Link Building and Climbing the Google Rankings

There are some things you can do periodically to help with getting more links and improve your website’s rankings on search engines. There are also some things you can do on a daily basis to help ensure you get more links and rankings. Ultimately though you need to remember that you won’t get the results you wish for overnight. It takes time to get quality links and rank among the top pages on search engines unless of course you opt for the easy route which means paying lots of money and probably ending up with penalties from search engines since the methods used are not considered legitimate by the search engine.

What you can do to guarantee more links and higher rankings:

  • Provide fresh content
    You might not have the time or feel the need of adding one article a day or week to your website, but this can help improve your links and rankings. In case you are unable to write the article(s) by yourself, then you can hire someone to do the same. As long as your content is fresh and unique, you stand greater chances of driving more traffic to your website.

    Put your focus on creating high quality, unique articles that are relevant and watch the traffic flow to your website.

  • Make use of social media platforms
    Since so many people are turning to social media for entertainment and information, it is important that you make use of these platforms to help bring attention to your website. Ensure that you post links to articles on your website from these platforms to ensure you get the much needed traffic.
  • Don’t forget to interact with guests or other users.

As you strive to gain more traffic to your site, don’t forget to interact with guests or other users. This means being active on forums and replying to comments on social media platforms.

How to successfully build links

Link building may be time consuming, confusing and ultimately frustrating but it is essential in helping with search engine rankings. There are a number of good ways to help build links, some of which include:

  • Don’t use just words; make them easy to read by creating lists. List-type of articles not only get the most attention but they are also easy on the eye.
  • In case you don’t have a lot of time to do so, hire help. Be careful though not to hire a company or individual that is going to provide you with bogus links that could ultimately get you penalized on search engines!
  • Make use of Pay per click campaigns to help with the link building process. As long as you get relevant traffic, your link building process should be as seamless as possible.
  • Start a blog and populate it with useful authority content. Remember to post regularly and keep the content interestingly fresh.
  • Give out some free stuff. For example, you can hold a contest or give away some samples.
  • Make social media your friend since a number of people are attracted to social media platforms. Ensure that the platform you choose can help positively enhance your business or website.

Ways to improve search engine rankings

There are a number of things that do contribute to site engine rankings some of which include;

  • Ensuring that the title tag of your page is not only relevant to the topic at hand but also contains keywords relevant to the topic or website.
  • Ensuring that you make use of the most commonly searched for keywords.
  • Remembering to place ALT text on images. The ALT test is a brief description of what the picture you are about to use shows.
  • Create authority content with strong links in-between pages. Remember to fix any broken pages and optimize and share content on forums or social media platforms.

Don’t expect to build links successfully overnight. It may be a gradual and systematic process but if done right can help your website reap positively. You need to come up with a details link building plan that will help ensure you stay on the right track as you go about building links t your website and improving rankings on search engines.

Don’t forget to do some on-Page optimization if you wish to improve your rankings. This doesn’t stop at backlinks rather, it goes further to cover unique content and optimizing the site’s content to target keywords.

Is Video the New King of Content?

“Content is King” has been touted for nearly a decade as the one axiom to obey when it comes to online publishing. However as time progresses and technology evolves, exactly what type of content is best suited for this job comes into question. For year it was basic text content, such as news, whitepapers, guides, articles and other informative writing. This still remains true in the large majority of cases, but it is started to be encroached by another, more visual, means of content.

Video the New King?

Video content has become more and more prominent on the web. Youtube is now known as the worlds second largest search engine (right behind Google). Viral videos have long been a source of tremendous amounts of traffic and exposure, as well as sources for news reports (take for example, the Arab Spring, with its use of social media and camera phones, and the recent riots in Missouri and protests throughout the USA).

It makes sense that video would be a new medium, since it has only been in recent years that people have had the capability to consume video content with handheld devices. This has made the spread of the medium much more pronounced, and much more quickly, then in years past. The advent of 4G mobile internet has also made this change very pronounced. One has to think that a purely text based media, with all of today’s advanced data technology, has to become sidelined to make way for more visual, data intensive transmission.

Of course, this all has caveats. Surely video will not take over every medium, but for certain cases it seems to make more sense, such as news reports and online education. This brings us to our next point:

Video Lessons and Lectures – The Online Education Takeover

Online education used to be a punch line. It was looked down upon for being inferior to brick-and-mortar institution. People doubted whether online learning could be as effective and face-to-face instruction. However now it is poised to be a 20 Billion dollar industry by 2016, and renowned institutes such as Harvard, Columbia and MIT have funded studies to look into long term online education as a viable option for American academia.

Video is a key part of the online education experience. Video lectures can be done which mimic, and some would argue improve upon, the class lecture of colleges and Universities. In addition, video lessons are now making their way into other learning avenues, such as music education (video guitar lessons are one key example which have seen growth in the past years). Khan university exploded into a worldwide phenomena simply by using Youtube and lesson plans to tutor students and help provide free education.


Video is a powerful tool. It’s not going to replace textual content all across the web, that would be ridiculous. However it stands to reason that it will become a much more prominent method for information transmission, news, and education in the coming years. As mobile Internet bandwidth increases and the access to informative videos, lessons and news clips become more widely available, it’s no question that video will become more prominent.

Tips for the Plymouth Small Business SEO

Marketing a small business is difficult, and sometimes it’s difficult to know how to handle your marketing campaign, especially on a local scale.  Many of the tips and tricks you may see advertised on bigger sites like Entrepreneur.com or Moz.com might only be applicable to a larger, national or multi-national business.  What is the small-medium sized business to do when they need to market themselves, grow there business and attract/retain more customers?  Hopefully this article will give you a bit of a head start on the competition, and provide you with some helpful advice as to how to go about getting started.

For this article we are focusing on one moderately sized local market, Plymouth, England.  It is a good example because it is not too large that it would start becoming a national problem, and it is not too small as to warrant being disregarded as not worth marketing to.  You can see these types of examples all across the globe, and with the rise of mobile Internet usage, more people are finding and interacting with local business through online mediums.  This makes local Internet marketing one of the most important and potentially lucrative avenues of approach when it comes to growing your small business.

Local Directories

One tip for all local companies is to make sure they saturate their business information across all local directories.  You may be surprised at how much these things are used by locals to find something they need.  Not only do they usually all offer free listings, but they also can provide welcome and needed traffic, as well as potential benefits for your website when it comes to the Google algorithm.

Local SEO Companies

Following our Plymouth example, the next step the local business would do would be to find an seo service company plymouth and start consulting with them on a strategy.  Hopefully your site is already in a decent standing to start receiving some organic traffic, but even if you’ve done everything right, you will still probably need a skilled hand to guide your site to the top of the rankings.  SEO companies do this for a living, so it may be best to consult with one of them before trying it on your own.

They can also usually hook you up with graphic designers or content writers for you site.  It may sometimes seem like an afterthought, but proper design and content is pretty crucial to a good SEO campaign, and if you are just getting started it may be helpful to go with an SEO for these fronts as well.  I’ve seen several examples where a site needed to be completely redesigned in order to make it suitable.

Go Old School, Word of Mouth

This may seem counter-intuitive for an Internet marketing article, but going old-school and getting some good traction with word-of-mouth can be the most useful and effective way of generating and keeping business.  Sure, the web accounts for billions of searches a day, but nothing beats the trust established when someone recommends a company to a friend.

Set up some incentive programs for current customers, so that they can get rewarded if they bring in new clients.  Dentists do this all the time, and I’ve personally gotten leads on a very good dentist in my hometown.  This may have happened anyway if they hadn’t given some incentive for doing so, but it doesn’t hurt to grease the wheels a bit :)

So I hope this has provided a little bit of value to you.  Hopefully this year sees your small business grow to be a much larger one…

Growth for Chicago Economy Hinges on Small Tech Companies

Chicago is American’s third largest city, often loving called the “Second City” because it usually plays second fiddle to NYC.  Nonetheless it is an increasingly important aspect of the overall economy of the US. Recent worries have started to surface about Chicago’s economic future, and this is paired with a bit of optimism about tech companies in general.  This article details some of the intricacies of Chicago’s technical outlook and potential future endeavors.

With the recent “recovery” from the fallout of the financial crisis in 2008, tech companies have largely been the driver of growth, and many of those technology companies are of the smaller variety.  Larger companies (the mega goliath, titans of industry types) have recently been falling victim to corporate mergers and are quickly being eat up and conglomerated by foreign forces.  This is a scary prospect for local interests, and as such many have rested their hopes of economic growth on the smaller tech-savvy business of the midwest.

This makes sense, since smaller companies have always been the driver of economic activity in the country and through-out the world.  It also makes sense because the future will most certainly be comprised and controlled by a few innovated and motivated smaller companies that eventually make it big.  At one time, Microsoft was a small start up out of Seattle, now, decades later, they remain Seattle’s 4th largest employer.  It’s sort of like prospecting for gold, or venture capital, you have to hedge your bets on the future, and smaller companies on where to do this.

Increased Need for IT Support

Computer IT ServicesWith this increase in hope and rise in the popularity of local tech companies comes the increased need for local tech support services and IT support.  Companies like SolveMyPC IT services have taken to providing for these services for both companies and residential customers.  The increased economic activity in Chicago and the surrounding areas has made the past few years extremely active for the niche, and it doesn’t show any real signs of slowing.

Computer help desks and other services are in high demand, and there is an increasing trend of “re-shoring”, i.e. bringing services back from overseas.  The new tech support services are largely found here at home, and local companies providing service for the local community is a trend that most everyone can get behind (it is the main source of economic activity for most all cities in the U.S.)

The Future is Now

For nearly 100 years the world has worked on paper and mechanical devices, but that started to shift with the advent of the computer and, more prominently, with the advent of the Internet.  As the older generation wanes and the newer generation comes into dominance, we are started to see the final shift to a tech savvy culture.

The future is now, as it were.  Tech has started to come into full blossom and the years ahead will see a cementing of the Internet and high tech products into the ecosystem of the American economy.  The older folk that have been the head of the resistance movement are moving into retirement and old-age, and the younger generation is fully comfortable with more high tech devices.  This means that sooner, rather than later, nearly 100% of the population will be interacting with each other and performed purchases and other economic activity with computers, tables and other devices.  This means that the need for IT support and technical expertise is going to grow right along with it.


UK Watch

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