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Ian M Rountree
Professional Writer, MMO Guild Leader, Hack Statistician
Professional Writer, MMO Guild Leader, Hack Statistician

Ian M's posts

It's been some time, but I am now open to new clients!

For the last 18 months, I've been working with a great agency here in Winnipeg, but the call to work with diverse clients to create great reading material has not waned, and it's time to make that side of my work a priority again.

If you need to create meaning through text, let me know! I'm here to help.

Chances are, you remember where you were and what you were doing this time today 14 years ago.

I certainly do.

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Happy to Announce the Release of Search Engine Ranking Factors 2015 by +Moz

I'm excited to announce the results of Moz's biannual Search Engine Ranking Correlation Study and Expert Survey, a.k.a. Ranking Factors.

This is the largest study of this kind we've ever undertaken, including our Expert Survey of over 150 professional search marketers, and a ranking correlation survey of over 17,000 keywords.

In addition to the classic signals we've studied in the past, this time we worked with 3 data partners including +SimilarWeb +Ahrefs and +DomainTools to study additional correlations.

The Expert Survey also includes valuable insight into Google's broad algorithm, negative ranking factors, and the future of search.

Take a look, let us know what you think!

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Well, this'll change... Probably nothing, for a while, then a lot of things in small ways that some fancy math will convince us are a big deal.

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Reading this as a Mea Culpa would be a mistake. Google Accounts and G+ being divided makes all kinds of sense. It also provides an important note about how major pivots worm in big organisations.
Everything in Its Right Place

It’s been a little more than a quarter since I took on leadership of a newly formed team, which we’ve christened SPS: Streams, Photos, and Sharing.

In that short time, I’ve had some time to reflect on the products we’ve built over the last few years, and also the opportunity to oversee the launch of our new Google Photos product. I’ve concluded that it’s time for a “pivot”... or more precisely time to talk more openly about a pivot that’s been underway for some time (and in fact is reflected in the name of the new team). We're going to continue focusing Google+ on helping users connect around the interest they love, and retire it as the mechanism by which people share and engage within other Google products.

Four years ago when we conceived of the “Google+ Project”, we made it clear that our goals were always two-fold: Google+ aspired to be both a “platform layer that unified Google’s sharing models”, and a product / stream / app in its own right.

This was a well-intentioned goal, but as realized it led to some product experiences that users sometimes found confusing. For instance, and perhaps most controversially, integration with YouTube implied that leaving a comment on YouTube (something users had obviously been doing successfully for years) suddenly and unexpectedly required “joining Google+.”

We decided it’s time to fix this, not only in YouTube, but across a user’s entire experience at Google. We want to formally retire the notion that a Google+ membership is required for anything at Google… other than using Google+ itself.  

Some of the consequences of this shift in thinking have already been deployed. Others we’re rolling out as fast as possible (e.g. the changes to YouTube we referenced today). And many more will roll out over the rest of the year.

What does this mean for Google+ the product? Relieved of the notion of integrating with every other product at Google, Google+ can now focus on doing what it’s already doing quite well: helping millions of users around the world connect around the interest they love. Aspects of the product that don’t serve this agenda have been, or will be, retired. But you’ll also see a slew of improvements that make this use case shine (like the recent launch of Collections -

It’s been incredibly gratifying to see how this strategy has played out as realized in the recent Google Photos launch, a product which in many ways embodies and telegraphs the changes discussed above. Google Photos not only doesn’t require a Google+ account, but as much of the functionality as possible doesn’t even require an account at all. It was important to me that when we launched Google Photos, we stressed the product implements sharing by any means a user prefers… without compromise or agenda. This is the right thing for users and the feedback and usage has been extremely validating.

I’m excited to share this strategy with the world, excited about what it means for Google+, and most of all for all of Google’s users.

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With bigger platforms like LinkedIn and Medium becoming stronger as publishing hubs, this is an increasingly important issue.
The original version of this post was published on November 28, 2012. We’re republishing it today to remind you how to protect your digital marketing efforts as social media sites continue to encourage you to publish original content on their platforms — platforms you don’t own.

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WordCamp 2015 at Red River Collage today!

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"If you’re not embarrassed when you ship your first version you waited too long."

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Finally putting the +Hello Websites whiteboard wall through its paces. Blocking out IA structures and user paths is satisfying, but tiring (top of the board is about 8ft up.)

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End of the first week downtown.
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