Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Organic Google search highly trusted with blogging influencing results

December 16, 2008

In a recent report Forrester Research are advocating an end to corporate blogging. This has resulted in a debate with  of . I agree with Richard that  readers develop trust with individual bloggers over time.  Bill Ives discusses can you trust a blogger in detail. However I also agree with Forrester that corporate blogs are struggling to gain traction. What really caught my eye on the Forrester chart (below) was that search is such a highly trusted information source at 50% and personal/corporate blogs so low at 18/16% respectively.

 corp_blog_trust_forrester

The question is then is it worth all the effort to produce blogs with such a low trust rate? Well, blogs and search ranking are highly related. In Google ranking research by Marketing Sherpa and published by Hubspot 75% of search readers click on the organic results and the remaining 25% on the sponsored links. Note that Google has a 70% dominance in search. This Google results page shows an eye-tracking heat map that shows where on the page people look and click on the page of search results.

 page3_goldentriangle
Google’s golden triangle of organic search

One of the best ways to rank highly on organic search is to actively blog and engage with others. I disagree with Forrester’s conclusion. Corporate and personal blogging with a genuine human approach that brings value to the reader can indirectly result in trust  by increasing organic search ranking. 

However it is a major challenge to be in Google’s golden triangle top three position on a popular Google search term. But also consider that most people only read social media with just 1% writing as discussed by Janet Lee Johnson. So if you don’t put in the effort to climb the search ranking engine you’ll never get there.

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“Would the real”…person…”please stand up”

July 11, 2008

I think Malcolm Gladwell (Tipping Point author) is right in his parting comment from his ‘Mismatch Problem’ presentation , “you only know what a person is like when you have worked with them”. Gladwell criticises the recruitment selection process for sportspeople, teachers and lawyers. However he did not put forward an alternative method. Perhaps that’s in his next book! Referring to today’s hiring practices and commenting on Gladwell’s talk, Guy Kawasaki posted: “Guess what: this method doesn’t work. Jobs–of all types–are more complex, and the desire for certainty increases but is manifested in measuring the wrong things. Do you hire people based on the measuring the wrong variables?”

Jim Collins’s classic Good to Great (2001) research refers to the importance of organisational culture in creating an enduring firm, with culture forming from the founders personality, beliefs and the collective employees. Jason Powell of 37 Signals recently posted about the importance of culture in Pixar’s tightknit culture being its edge.

Collins believes that ingrain character attributes of: work ethic; basic intelligence; dedication to fulfil commitments and values are the things to really look out for in potential new employees. Collins goes on to say whilst other attributes including educational background; practical skills; specialized knowledge and work experience, remain important they are all learnable. I think the challenge is that its much easier to select based on education/experience than in identifying the real persons character.

Many of us have been through the various recruitment selection processes to weed out the best knowledge workers, including : hand written applications; panel interviews; psychometric tests (e.g. Myers Briggs) and even team recruitment days. However with practice all of these methods can be learnt, the right answers given and thus real persons character can remain hidden.

If we have not worked with the person or are unable to rely on social networks our only real choice is to very carefully go though the process, check-up on references and trust in your gut instinct. I bet the Pixar team take great care when selecting new employees to maintain their pure culture. The audience at the future of management conference seemed surprised by the significant amount of time senior management time Larry/Sergey and Dr. Eric Schmidt of Google spends on screening up to 80-90 candidates weekly. Interestingly one of Google primary criteria for new recruits is educational background and achievements.

The dangers of bringing people that don’t fit can have a far reaching and significant knock-on impact on employee culture. If the people in the company are really the most important asset then the selection process must also be one of the key priorities for the firm. Perhaps winning the right people is even as important as winning new business.

Does your CEO really believe “our employees are our greatest asset”?

July 4, 2008

Susan Scrupski had some strong words in her post about GenY and the self-serving behaviour of management 1.0:

“we excelled at the selfish art of Machiavellian achievement, in the end it took my generation down a path that led to, well, the S&L scandal, Enron, one-dot-oh greed, and now, the subprime meltdown. Our narcissism is our legacy.”

The caricature Gordon ‘Greed is good’ Gekko has become a real living nightmare reeking havoc on the economy. Is our current management of business now changing with the arrival of the next generation and their affinity with social media?

The social spark of Web2.0 is igniting Enterprise 2.0 and fanning the fire of management change. In addition Gary Hamel is banging the drum of a much needed management change with his trade marked term Management 2.0 and latest book. Many others must be in agreement with Hamel as he’s been propelling to the status of the most influential management guru.

Google has been put on a pedestal by academics such as Hamel because of its innovation model, flat management structure and people centric approach. Hamel recently interviewed Google CEO Eric Schmidt at the future of management conference, it’s long but if you ‘listen’ below there are some insightful pearls of wisdom from a seemingly un-egoistical 2.0 Manager.

Jeffrey Hollender and Keith Sawyer who were both at the event have produced good reports.

The similarities between Google and Opensource are strong. Both are increasingly challenging some of the world’s most profitable software business models and our current approach to organisational management. Neither Google or Opensource has a management hierarchy, they both carefully select the best employees/contributors and then engage and empower them. Interestingly this moves much of the managerial power from the self serving individual to the shared decision making of the collective.

However the Google and Opensource models are not without weaknesses. Most Opensource developers or contributors to projects such as Wikipedia have day jobs which pay them enough so they CAN contribute to a community as a hobby. Interestingly one of the motivations of Opensource developers is based on the ego. As for the Ad model, it breaks down when Ad revenues top out or if Ad’s are strongly rejected by visitors.

As examples the Internet poster child Facebook has been unable to fully capitalise on Ad revenues because of user kick back. In the case of Wikipedia, they are too worried introducing Ad’s in case of alienating their unwaged contributors.

Like the Google and Opensource models the next generation are challenging the norm, however they maybe warn down by management hierarchy and copitulate to make money and progress careers. Like many of us GenYers want to be happy and satisfied at work. They are increasing looking for firms like Google which give them the chance to have a real say in decisions so they can make a difference.


Scott Gavin’s GenY ‘Meet Charlie’ deck is a must see

If firms that embrace fundamental management change gain greater economic performance then most firms, through survival, will evolve this way. It is important to attract talented GenYers but they alone unaided are not going to be able to change a 100 year old engrained management hierarchy. However GenY and the catalyst of Social Media are critical parts of the jigsaw of change.

Refocusing less on numbers and more on quality creation

April 29, 2008

Over the last few weeks I have been discussing, overheard and read about Enterprise 2.0 Return On Investment (ROI). I’m familiar with this term having used it in the past to justify and overcome financial objections when investing in IT technology. ROI is a cost saving measure with the argument being: you invest in this product or service now; you will pay off the initial investment by this date; and then you are left with a reduced operational cost.

Firms invest in IT to reduce costs through increased efficiency or invest to increase revenues by gaining long term competitive advantage. In the 1990’s investing in an email infrastructure was justified on early mover competitive advantage and today email has become so commoditised it is seen as a cost of doing business. Businesses and some suppliers are attempting to put an ROI on Enterprise2.0 tools but history shows ROI does not work with collaborative tools.

Our current management approach to business teamwork projects is woefully ineffective as highlighted by the research in Susan Scrupski excellent blog post. Enterprise2.0 has the potential to bring valuable business benefits through increased team collaboration, however cost saving ROI IT projects are often seen as a more attractive option because of the short term measurable gains.

A typical project to innovate a process or product can be challenging to measure and has a high possibility of failing, let alone delivering an ROI. The result is firms choose not to innovate because of the risk of failure.  Sucessful innovation projects often come from the people on the ground who understand customer problems and needs. Enterprise 2.0 can bring competitive advantage through the firms often most expensive and unique asset, their people.

But how far do we go? Pampering staff seems to be a trend in software development firms such as Google with their free cafe, games rooms and other generous benefits. Compelling benefits are also being used by small firm such as Carsonifeid in the UK offering a Macbook/iphone and 4 day working week for new employees and 37 Signals also on a 4 day week will even  pay for your hobbies.

People are not machines that produce at a constant fixed rate and ROI does not work with them or the tools they use. Making a knowledge worker work at a continual high rate or long hours does not increase the employers return. The focus needs to be on quality and not quantity output. The time management guru Tim Ferriss refers to attention currency and the innate human ability to only have so many quality attention hours. Googles benefits are not just trying to attract the best quality staff, they are also providing an environment where the people have the energy and time to create together.

Knowing the numbers is key to any organization, however if the focus shifts to working overly by the numbers we can lose sight of our people and unhappy staff effect future profits. Because of the perceived long term and unclear returns many firms are unwilling or unable to take a more quality approach on teamwork. This is the challenge in justifying an Enterprise 2.0 management approach and the associated technologies.