Why You Should Outsource Your IT Department

Why You Should Outsource Your IT Department

 

Information Technology or IT is the use of computers and software to manage information. In some companies, this is called Management Information Services (MIS), or just Information Services (IS). The IT department of a large company is responsible for storing information as necessary, then later retrieving it when needed.

 

Today’s IT Departments

In order to perform the complex functions that modern IT departments are required to perform they need to use computers, servers, database management systems and cryptography. The department is made up of several System Administrators, Database Administrators and at least one Information Technology Manager. The whole group usually reports to the Chief Information Officer (CIO).

 

Why outsource IT if your employees are handling it just fine?

When it comes to your company’s technology, your current employees may be handling things without a problem. However, the question is will they be able to handle things in the future. You need to consider how much time your employees are spending with tech issues, instead of focusing on their own jobs. You also need to realize that technology is constantly changing from year to year. It takes a lot of time, effort and money to stay on top of the latest advancements in IT and to train your employees.

 

Main reason to outsource IT

The main reason for outsourcing your company’s IT is cost. Outsourcing can help save a company money in the form of not having to hire additional employees, not having to increase the hours your employees are currently working and not having to buy new software with every advancement. Outsourcing can also provide better productivity and allow you to supply your customers with a better and more efficient product or service.

 

What is the cost savings for outsourcing IT?

Cost savings benefits will differ for every company. The expected Return on Investment (ROI) is 30%, on average in cost reductions and increased productivity. It takes time to solve technical problems. Time that your employees can use to focus on the operation of the company and the goals to increase operations.

 

Will you lose control of the IT department if you outsource?

For business owners that prefer to have regular involvement in every area of their company, outsourcing their IT department may make them initially feel like they have lost control over the company’s operations. However, this doesn’t have to be the result of outsourcing. An owner can choose to receive regular updates and have input into the process and decision making. Outsourcing will free up the owner to focus more on the operations of the company and the long term direction of the business.

 

Importance of Cloud Computing and Storage

Cloud computing and storage has become increasingly popular in the last few years offering several possible business applications. This is another area where it is better and more efficient to outsource your IT department because even though Cloud Computing makes a business more effective and efficient it isn’t an easy process to implement.

 

Complete Integration

It is no longer enough for a Major Service Provider (MSP) to only provide one basic service. Along with the expectations of a partnership when it comes to long-term goals, integrating a process is now also a requirement. The latest trends of outsourcing in vertical integration means that one department will manage everything. This makes an MSP an excellent option. All business services need to work together in sync, ensuring your company never has to worry about who is in charge of which area.

 

Business computer services are now held to a higher standard, one that requires an IT department to be more conscience of the future. Businesses now require more complex service that cover all aspects of the company and follows an international standard.

 

The future of IT

In a world where the economy works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week where business transactions move at the speed of light, efficiency is the most prized commodity. Today businesses want to do more with less. The future of IT is a focus in a more mobile and tech-savvy business environment.

 

Choosing the right IT partner

When looking for the best IT partner for your business make sure you ask about how the IT Services provider plans to measure its success. Your IT partner should have specific goals to fulfil your company’s needs. A good IT Support provider will already have an accountability plan of their own in place.

 

More and more companies are outsourcing their IT needs and this will continue to increase in the future, which makes this an ever evolving field that will continue to be a part of most businesses. With this in mind you owe it to your business to give IT outsourcing serious thought.

How Google+ Impacts Search Results

 

Google+ is a social networking and identity service which is owned and operated by Google. Google+ has been described, by Google, as a “social layer” that enhances many of its online properties, and it is not simply a social networking website, but also an authorship tool that associates web-content directly with its owner/author.

 

Second only to Facebook, Google+ is the second largest social networking site in the world. Google counted 540 million monthly active users on the identity service side, of this number 300 million users are active in “the stream”.

 

In a 2013 survey, 30% of surveyed smartphone users used the Google Plus app at least once a month. Another survey stated that, in August 2013, 92% of US smartphone users had visited a Google website or app.

 

How Google+ impacts search ranking

Since Google started “Search Plus Your World”, most Google Search users have witnessed results that add more emphasis to sites shared on Google+.

 

TastyPlacement, a search engine marketing firm, conducted a study to determine just how much of an effect Google+ promotion has on search rankings. As it turned out, having Google+ followers boost the ranking the most, while a “+1” still does way more for your search ranking than Facebook or Twitter.

 

There has been a pretty heated debate going on as to the relationship between Google+ and high ranking search results. Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, has actively denied that Google directly uses +1s as an input for its algorithm. What can’t be denied is that webmasters using Google+ have much higher ranking websites than those who don’t.

 

Google goes to great lengths to assure users that this is search ranking has nothing to do with Google+. They have also drawn parallels between the situation and that of Facebook “likes,” with Matt Cutts claiming, “If you make good content, people will link to it, like it, share it on Facebook, +1 it, etc. But that doesn’t mean that Google is using those signals in our ranking. Rather than chasing +1s of content, your time is much better spent making great content.”

 

In SEO, correlation is a lot of times mistaken for causation. As the precise details of Google’s search algorithm are unknown, people have typically offered an educated guess on how to improve a website’s ranking. A good example of this are all of the studies published on search engine ranking factors, which show the common elements of high ranking pages.

 

The main subject for debate is whether +1s cause a website to rank higher, or if high ranking websites have +1s for other reasons. Google claims it is because of other reasons, and that this is a simple case of people misinterpreting the relationship between +1s and PageRank.

 

However, since we don’t have access to Google’s algorithm, it is impossible for anyone to know all the “other reasons” high ranking websites may have +1s.  Until this information is made available, people are likely to continue the debates, because without it, Google’s claims need to be taken at face value because after all, the search engine is a part of their business.

 

Eric Enge, for Stone Temple Consulting, conducted an incredibly detailed study to determine the relationship between Google+ and search results. His interpretation of the findings supports Matt Cutts’ claims that the tendency of Google+ pages to receive high rankings is a case of correlation. While he believes that Google+ leads to quick crawling of content, he does not believe this same speed is applied to indexing. When he created test pages provided with +1s, Enge monitored the outcome and found no “material evidence of Google Plus Shares driving rankings movement.”

 

In his analysis, Enge found that Google+ still has value for SEO. He also felt that the correct use of Google+ can be a fantastic strategic tool for optimisation practices. Enge finds that use of Google+ encourages both the discovery and indexing of content.

 

After Enge submitted the first batch of Google+ web pages, there was an almost immediate crawl of the content by GoogleBot. GoogleBot also completes additional crawls of the website every time that it receives another batch. Enge also made note of a small quote by Google made on its developers’ page, that states;

 

“By using a Google+ button, Publishers give Google permission to utilize an automated software program, often called a “web crawler,” to retrieve and analyse websites associated with a Google+ button.”

 

 

This statement alone would imply that the use of Google+ drives website discovery by the search engine. As a result, websites using Google+ are likely to be found faster than those that don’t.

 

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Canonical URLs & Preventing Duplicate Content

A canonical link is an HTML element that helps webmasters prevent issues with duplicate content. The canonical URL tells search engines which version of a URL to index. One page may be associated with many different URLs. A search engine will attempt to identify the canonical, or authoritative URL for each page. Unlike duplicate content, canonical URL issues happen only within a site and not between separate sites.

 

In 2009, Google, Yahoo and Bing announced support for the canonical link element, which can be used to prevent a loss of search engine ranking due to duplicate site pages. Google stated that the canonical link element is not considered to be a directive, but a hint that the web crawler will “honor strongly”.

 

While the canonical link element has its benefits, Matt Cutts, leader of Google’s webspam team, has claimed that the search engine prefers the use of 301 redirects. Cutts stated the preference for redirects is because Google’s spiders can choose to ignore a canonical link element if they feel it is more beneficial to do so.

 

There are many different forms of duplicate content, but the major reason is multiple URLs that point to the same page. This happens for a lot of different reasons. An ecommerce site may allow various options for sorting a page. An example of this would be by lowest price, highest rating, etc., the marketing department might want tracking codes added to URLs for analytics. This may lead to a hundred pages with 10 URLs for each page, creating 1,000 URLs for the search engine to sort through.

 

This causes problems because:

 

  • Less of the site may get crawled. Search engine crawlers use a limited amount of bandwidth on each site. If the crawler is only able to crawl 100 pages of your site in a single visit, you want those pages to be unique pages, rather than 10 pages being crawled 10 times.
  • Each page may not get full link credit. If a page has 10 URLs that point to it, then other sites can link to it 10 different ways. One link to each URL lowers the value that the page could have if all 10 links pointed to a single URL.

 

Using a new canonical tag

Specify the canonical version using a tag in the head section of the page as follows:

<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.example.com/product.php?item=swed

 

You can only use the tag on pages within a single site including subdomains and subfolders. You can also either use relative or absolute links, however, search engines recommend absolute links.

 

This tag will operate in a similar way to a 301 redirect for all URLs that display the page with the tag. Links to all URLs will be consolidated to the one specified as canonical. Search engines will consider this URL the one to crawl and index.

 

Best practices for a canonical URL

The search engines are more likely to use this process if the URLs use some best practices including:

 

  • The content rendered for each URL is very similar or exact
  • The canonical URL is the shortest version
  • The URL uses easy to understand parameter patterns, as in the case of ? and %

 

Matt Cutts of Google claims, when asked if this process can be used by spammers, that the same safeguards that prevent abuse by other methods (such as redirects) are in place here as well, and that Google reserves the right to take action against sites that are using the tag to manipulate search engines and violate search engine guidelines.

 

This tag will only work with very similar or identical content, so you can’t use it to send all of the link value from the less important pages of your site to the more important ones.

 

If there is a conflict between tags, for example, if they point to each other as canonical, the URL specified as canonical redirects to a non-canonical version or the page specified as canonical doesn’t exist search engines will handle them as they do any other pages, and will determine which URL they think is the best canonical version.
The canonical tag won’t completely solve duplicate issues on the web, but it does help make things a lot easier especially for ecommerce sites. Site owners need all the help they can get to stay ahead of the pack in search rankings.

Why Are Many Google Analytics Keywords “Not Provided”?

In September of last year Google made a change to their search engine process that encrypted all search activity except for clicks on ads.

 

When asked about this change, Google confirmed the change, saying:

 

“We added SSL encryption for our signed-in search users in 2011, as well as searches from the Chrome omnibox earlier this year. We’re now working to bring this extra protection to more users who are not signed in.”

 

What this all means is that marketers won’t even be able to get keyword data for searches conducted by users who aren’t signed into Google.

 

Why the change

Google claims, the reason for the change is to provide “extra protection” for searchers. However, many suspect that Google may also be attempting to block NSA spying activity, since Google was accused of giving the National Security Agency access to its search data back in June, which it strongly has denied. Another popular theory is that since Google is encrypting all search activity for everything but ad clicks, this is a move to get more people to use Google AdWords.

 

What this means to users

Back in October 2011, Google announced, under reasons of privacy, it would start encrypting search result for logged-in Google users. This also included any products owned by Google like YouTube, Google+, Gmail, etc. This meant that marketers were no longer able to identify which keywords a person who was logged into Google searched before they arrived at your website, even if they were using a web or marketing analytics platform like HubSpot. Without this keyword information, marketers would have a much tougher time knowing which keywords to target to achieve greater visibility in searches.

 

Google initially claimed this implementation would impact less than 10% of all searches conducted. However, this percentage quickly rose. In November 2011, experts said, HubSpot’s customers recorded that more than 11% of organic search traffic was affected. By January the following year it was stated, for the HubSpot website specifically, about 55% of the organic searches was encrypted. This number rose steadily by an estimated 4 percentage points each month.

 

Other webmasters were reporting similar numbers. The site, Not Provided Count, which tracks 60 sites to chart the rise of the keyword “(not provided)”, has been reporting on the effects of encrypted keywords over time. As of the publish date of this article, 80.15% of search terms are being encrypted.

 

What should marketers do

This question is hard to answer, in terms of preventing Google from making this, there is most likely nothing marketers can do.

 

SEO professionals have historically used a combination of ranking, traffic and conversion metrics as the primary KPIs to measure SEO performance.

 

The following metrics are still available, even with the Google change:

 

  • Overall Organic Search Traffic By Engine
  • Total conversions from Organic Traffic / By URL
  • Search Rankings for Critical Terms
  • Search Rankings by Page Tags / Types
  • Search Rankings by Keyword Tag

 

These are no longer available:

 

  • Year-Over-Year Brand / Non Brand Total SEO Traffic
  • Year-Over-Year SEO Traffic by Keyword Tag
  • Conversions by Keyword / Keyword Tag
  • Keyword Traffic Patterns by URL
  • Long-Tail Keyword Traffic Patterns

 

Here are some ways you can still measure and use search data:

 

  • It is still possible to tell how much traffic your website is getting from organic search. Although you may not know the exact keywords, you can still correlate the work you do to optimize your site and create content to the increase or decrease in organic search.
  • Other search engines like Bing and Yahoo continue to provide keyword data. According to comScore, currently, Google.com has about 67% of the search market share, Bing has 18%, and Yahoo has 11%. Although this will not provide the full picture, analytics tools like HubSpot can continue to show keywords for the 33% of searches that come from search engines like Bing, Yahoo, AOL, Ask.com, etc. This data will give marketers at least some indication of which keywords are the most useful.
  • If you use Google AdWords for pay-per-click marketing, connect your company’s AdWords account to your Google Analytics account and use that data for keyword research, which is suggested by Larry Kim of Wordstream.
  • Rank will continue to play a role in helping measure the results of search engine optimization and content creation.