Barbara Larson

Barbara Larson

Thursday, 08 December 2016 09:07

Google’s Possum Algorithm

It’s a zoo out there. For marketers and advertisers alike, it’s hard to control your organic search rankings with all the Google updates; Pandas, Penguins, Pigeons and Hummingbirds to keep track of. We know it’s important, but why?

In a 2015 study done by Eli Swartz, Google dominated other search engines like Yahoo, Bing and Duck Duck Go by a landslide. Seventy-five percent of responders to a survey stated that Google was their primary search engine, and in 2016 the percentage is only rising.

So what does that mean for local and organic search, or search in general? For one, it means that SEO has to continue to abide by the rules each algorithm puts forth during their updates. It also means search engine marketers have to take into account Google’s new local algorithm update, Possum. Here’s why.

About Possum

You may not have seen a drastic change in your local organic listings in September, but a recent study shows that Google’s Possum Algorithm changed sixty-four percent of local SERPs. The debut of Possum in September impacted website rankings in the local 3-pack and Local Finder. The biggest impact Possum currently has on search results is filtering your business out if it has a duplicate, similar or second listing. This update runs separately from organic SERPs, and affects the following types of businesses:

  1. Businesses outside of city limits.
  2. Separate businesses location at the same address as a similar business.
  3. Two or more businesses owned by the same company.

Playing Possum Outside of City Limits

One of the biggest and most beneficial changes seen for the new Possum update are rankings for businesses outside of their own city limits. With the algorithm in place, businesses that are attempting to rank in the local 3-pack or Local Finder for the town over are having an easier time doing so, and may have already seen rankings in those areas increase drastically. With Possum in place, there is a need now more than ever for all search engine marketers to do more to go local with their SEO campaigns. Going local with your SEO will help to increase traffic and revenue to your site, as well as improve local rankings and authority in the SERPs.

Separate Business Locations at the same Address as a Similar Business

This is where Possum comes into full-effect. Businesses of similar industries located in the same building will begin to be filtered out and ultimately won’t show up for the same search. Keyword variation plays a more important role as this algorithm continues to make its way across search. That means that attorneys, lawyers, dentists, and chiropractors located in the same building will rank locally for different keywords than a similar or competitive businesses at the same location.

One Algorithm, One Parent Company and Two Businesses

Although not as apparent as the other two listings, Possum’s update has also affected separate businesses owned by one company. One business remains filtered out in all searches for certain keyword terms while the other business continues to show up in the search results. While there isn’t a way around the filter (yet), we’re trusting Google to test, tweak and update their newest algorithm to differentiate the two businesses as separate rooftops, even if they have the same parent company.

Streams Kick Start Step: If you haven’t already invested in link building, you should start. Google still views quality links that point to your website as a vote of confidence. The more local, quality and authoritative links you have pointing back to your site, the more likely you are to rank in the local SERPs.

Taking Action

While Google seems to still be working out and testing their newest algorithm, it’s always a good idea to stay ahead of the next update. In order to take action, one thing that is extremely beneficial for your local SEO strategy is to start incorporating local content and putting a heavy focus on off-page SEO if you haven’t already. When incorporating local and off-page SEO, you have a recipe for success to maintain and improve your local rankings.

Take SEO a step further. Download this FREE SEO Checklist to learn 17 ways to improve your organic search results, where to start with a link building strategy and steps to integrating content into your SEO campaign.

Source : http://www.business2community.com/

Auhtor : Keisha James

IF YOU GOT an Amazon Echo or Google Home voice assistant, welcome to a life of luxurious convenience. You’ll be asking for the weather, the news, and your favorite songs without having to poke around on your phone. You’ll be turning off lights and requesting videos from bed. The world is yours.

But you know what? That little talking cylinder is always listening to you. And not just listening, but recording and saving many of the things you say. Should you freak out? Not if you’re comfortable with Google and Amazon logging your normal web activity, which they’ve done for years. Hell, many other sites have also done it for years. Echo and Home simply continue the trend of saving a crumb trail of queries, except with snippets of your voice.

However, it’s still a reasonable concern for anyone worried about privacy. If you only use Chrome in “Incognito Mode,” put tape over your laptop camera, and worry about snoops sniffing your packets, a web-connected microphone in your home seems risky. It’s a fair thing to be unsettled about. But recording your voice is a major part of how voice assistants work. Here’s how devices like Echo and Home record your voice, why they do it, what they do with the data, and how to scrub those recordings.

How In-Home Voice Assistants Work

Whenever you make a voice request, Google Home and Alexa-enabled devices record or stream audio clips of what you say. Those files are sent to a server—the real brains of the operation—to process the audio and formulate a response. The recorded clips are associated to your user account, and that process is enabled by default.

Because their brains are located miles away, Echo and Home need an internet connection to work. They do have a very rudimentary education, though: The only spoken commands they understand on their own are “wake words” or “activation phrases,” things like “Alexa” or “OK Google.” Once you say those magic words, the voice assistants jump to life, capture your voice request, and sling it to their disembodied cloud brains over Wi-Fi.

That means their mics are listening to you even when you’re not requesting things from Alexa or Google. But those ambient conversations—the things you say before “Alexa” or “OK Google”—aren’t stored or sent over a network.

Why Do They Need to Eavesdrop?

Listening to what you say before a wake word is essential to the entire concept of wake words. The process borrows a page from the pre-buffer on many cameras’ burst modes, which capture a few frames before you press the shutter button. This just does it with your voice.

With a camera, the pre-buffer ensures you don’t miss a shot due to a slow shutter finger. In the case of voice assistants, audio pre-recording helps systems handle requests instantly. Without a perked ear for that “Alexa,” “OK Google,” or “Siri,” these assistants would need activation buttons.

In fact, if you’re really freaked out by the concept of something always listening to you in your home, your best bet is a push-button voice assistant. Things like the Amazon Tap, the Alexa remote for Fire TV, or your phone with its “always listening” mode turned off.

Is This Secure? Can Hackers Tap In and Listen To Me?

Nothing is impossible, but Amazon and Google both have security measures that prevent snoops from wiretapping your home. The audio zipping from your home to Amazon and Google’s data centers is encrypted, so even if your home network is compromised, it’s unlikely that the gadgets can be used as listening devices. A bigger risk is someone getting hold of your Amazon or Google password and seeing a log of your interactions online.

There are also simple measures you can take to prevent Echo and Home from listening to you when you don’t want them to. Each device has a physical mute button, which cuts off the mic completely.

What About Siri?

Siri records your queries too, but she doesn’t catalog them or provide access to the running list of requests. You can’t listen to your history of Siri interactions in Apple’s app universe.

While Apple logs and stores Siri queries, they’re tied to a random string of numbers for each user instead of an Apple ID or email address. Apple deletes the association between those queries and those numerical codes after six months. Your Amazon and Google histories, on the other hand, stay there until you decide to delete them.

Well, How About Cortana?

Microsoft’s Cortana voice assistant on Windows 10 works a bit differently, but it still mirrors some of your personal information on servers. To customize your experience, Cortana uses a combination of cloud-stored data and on-device data.

To see and manage the data stored on your machine, jump into the Start Menu, select Cortana, and click the rectangle with a circle inside it in the left sidebar. From there, you can view and delete entries in Cortana’s “Notebook,” a running list of all the information Microsoft’s voice helper knows about you. That Notebook and your cloud-stored info is synced, and you can check your Bing personalization hub to see what’s stored on Redmond’s servers.

Your Cortana-management controls are really granular, so it’s best to follow Microsoft’s deeper tutorial on how to manage your personal info.

What Happens To Your Recorded Audio Clips?

If you feel like revisiting past queries, you can listen to short clips of yourself asking to translate “shoehorn” into Italian or whether you should wear galoshes today. Alexa users can find a running list of their queries in the Alexa app in Settings > History. If a user has several Alexa devices in their arsenal, each one has its own listenable queue of requests.

Google users can find everything they’ve asked for by visiting myactivity.google.com while they’re logged into their account. This query museum doesn’t just include voice requests. It also includes any Google searches, YouTube videos, and apps you’ve launched on Android, among other things. It’s all presented in a neat, searchable chronological stack.

There are user benefits to these personal audio catalogs. For cases where spoken-word answers aren’t very useful—recipes and search results, for example—Amazon and Google provide links to written content in the Alexa and Home apps. Both companies say these audio databases help each system serve up personalized content and learn the intricacies of your Maine accent.

The semi-good news is that you have a bit of control over whether audio clips are saved or recorded at all. There are two big caveats, though. Disabling recording is only an option in Google Home, and when you do it, the device basically doesn’t work. And while you can delete your log of audio clips for both Alexa and Google Home, it’s unclear whether the data survives on servers after you delete it from the queue in your account.

How to Stop and Delete Voice Recordings in Google Home

There’s a hardware and a software way to silence Home’s microphone. The easy hardware method is to just tap the “Mute” button on the back of the device. Of course, the Assistant won’t record (or hear) your voice queries while mute is enabled. Just hit the mute button again to have Home start listening again—and recording and sending audio snippets again, too.

How about if you want Google Home to work without recording you, like an “Incognito Mode” for voice search? Unfortunately, there’s no way to do that right now. You can disable voice recording and audio logging at myactivity.google.com, but there’s a whale of a catch: Doing so makes Google Home a temporary paperweight.

At least it’s a paperweight that talks to you. Whenever you say “OK Google” and ask for anything, the speaker says “Actually, there are some basic settings that need your permission first.” And of course, it’s referring to turning voice-recording right back on again.

If you want to pause it anyway, visit myactivity.google.com, tap the three vertical dots on the top left of the page, select “Activity Controls,” and slide the “Voice & Audio Activity” slider to the left to pause it. Keep in mind that this doesn’t just disable Google Home, it also deactivates the Assistant on Android phones.

While you’re stuck with recording and logging audio snippets, you can delete saved audio clips after the fact. To do that, go to myactivity.google.com, tap the three vertical dots in the “My Activity” title bar, and select “Delete activity by” in the drop-down menu. Click the “All Products” drop-down menu, choose “Voice & Audio,” and click delete. Google says this may affect some of Google Home’s personalization features, because it essentially wipes its memory.

How to Stop and Delete Voice Recordings in Alexa

Amazon’s Alexa app doesn’t let you stop recordings altogether, but just like Google Home, there’s a mute button on its Echo devices for temporary privacy. Amazon’s push-to-talk products, such as Tap and the Alexa-enabled remote for Fire TV, still record your requests. However, you have to manually engage a button to make Alexa listen, so you have direct control over when the devices are listening to you.

You can delete your long list of recordings in the Alexa app, but the app only lets you do that one entry at a time. To do a bulk-delete, you’ll need to visit amazon.com/myx, click the “Your Devices” tab, select your Alexa device, and click “Manage voice recordings.” A pop-up message should appear, and clicking “Delete” will wipe out your saved clips.

Source : https://www.wired.com/


Saturday, 03 December 2016 21:30

Searching for Work in the Digital Era

The internet is an essential employment resource for many of today’s job seekers, according to a new survey by Pew Research Center. A majority of U.S. adults (54%) have gone online to look for job information, 45% have applied for a job online, and job-seeking Americans are just as likely to have turned to the internet during their most recent employment search as to their personal or professional networks.

Yet even as the internet has taken on a central role in how people find and apply for work, a minority of Americans would find it difficult to engage in many digital job seeking behaviors – such as creating a professional resume, searching job listings online, or following up via email with potential employers. And while many of today’s job seekers are enlisting their smartphones to browse jobs or communicate with potential employers, others are using their mobile devices for far more complex and challenging tasks, from writing a resume to filling out an online job application.

Among the key findings:

The internet is a top resource for many of today’s job hunters: Among Americans who have looked for work in the last two years, 79% utilized online resources in their most recent job search and 34% say these online resources were the most important tool available to them

Roughly one-third of recent job seekers say the internet was the most important resource available to them during their most recent employment search

Online employment resources now rival personal and professional networks as a top source of job information for Americans who are looking for work. Roughly one-third of Americans have looked for a new job in the last two years, and 79% of these job seekers utilized online resources in their most recent search for employment. That is higher than the proportion who made use of close personal connections (66%) or professional contacts (63%) and more than twice the proportion who utilized employment agencies, print advertisements, or jobs fairs and other events. Taken together, 80% of recent job seekers made use of professional contacts, close friends or family, and/or more distant personal connections in their most recent search for employment – nearly identical to the 79% who utilized resources and information they found online.

Indeed, 34% of these job seekers say resources and information they found online were the most important resource available to them in their most recent job search, which places the internet just behind personal and professional networks of all types on the list of Americans’ most important job resources. In total, 45% of recent job seekers indicate that personal or professional contacts of any kind were the most important resource they utilized in their last search for employment: 20% cite close personal connections as their most important source of assistance, 17% cite professional or work contacts, and 7% cite more distant personal acquaintances.

Like many other aspects of life, job seeking is going mobile: 28% of Americans have used a smartphone as part of a job search, and half of these “smartphone job seekers” have used their smartphone to fill out a job application

Americans increasingly reach for a smartphone when they need to accomplish a variety of online tasks and looking for work is no exception. Some 28% of Americans – including 53% of 18- to 29-year-olds – have used a smartphone in one way or another as part of a job search.1

  • 94% of smartphone job seekers (representing 26% of all American adults) have used their smartphone to browse or research job listings.
  • 87% (representing 24% of all adults) have called a potential employer on the phone using their smartphone.
  • 74% (representing 20% of all adults) have used their smartphone to email someone about a job they were applying for.

At the same time, many are using their phones for much more complex tasks:

  • 50% of smartphone job seekers (representing 14% of all adults) have used their smartphone to fill out an online job application.
  • 23% (representing 6% of all adults) have used their smartphone to create a resume or cover letter.

Smartphone job seekers with lower education levels are much more likely to use their phone to fill out a job application or create a resume or cover letter

Americans with relatively low levels of educational attainment tend to lean heavily on their smartphonesfor online access in general, and this also play out in the ways members of this group utilize their smartphones while looking for employment. Among Americans who have used a smartphone in some part of a job search, those with higher education levels are more likely to use their phone for basic logistical activities – such as calling a potential employer on the phone or emailing someone about a job. On the other hand, smartphone job seekers who have not attended college are substantially more likely to have used their phone for more advanced tasks, such as filling out an online job application or creating a resume or cover letter.

Smartphone job seekers encounter a range of problems navigating online employment resources

Overall, 47% of smartphone job seekers say their phone is “very important” in helping them look for job and career resources, and an additional 37% describe it as “somewhat important.” But despite the overall significance of smartphones to these users, many of them have encountered challenges navigating the job search process on a mobile device. Nearly half of smartphone job seekers have had problems accessing job-related content because it wasn’t displaying properly on their phone or had difficulty reading the text in a job posting because it was not designed for a mobile device. And more than one-in-three have had trouble entering a large amount of text needed for a job application or had difficulty submitting the files or other supporting documents needed to apply for a job.

Even as digital job seeking skills have become increasingly important, a minority of Americans would find it challenging to engage in tasks such as creating a professional resume, using email to contact potential employers, or filling out a job application online

Most Americans are relatively confident in their digital job-seeking skills, but a minority would find it challenging to accomplish tasks such as building a professional resume

Despite the importance of digital resources when it comes to looking for work today, a minority of Americans would find it difficult to engage in a variety of digital job-seeking behaviors.

Building a professional resume is among the most prominent of these challenges: Some 17% of Americans (not including those who are retired and/or disabled) indicate that it would not be easy to create a professional resume if they needed to do so. Another 21% say that it would not be easy to highlight their employment skills using a personal website or social media profile. Roughly one-in-ten indicate that it would be difficult for them to go online to find lists of available jobs (12%); fill out a job application online (12%); use email to contact or follow up with a potential employer (11%); or look up online services available to assist job seekers (10%).

In many cases, Americans who might benefit the most from being able to perform these behaviors effectively – such as those with relatively low levels of educational attainment – are the ones who find them most challenging. For instance, 30% of those with a high school diploma or less would have trouble creating a professional resume (compared with just 6% of college graduates), as would 28% of those who are currently not employed (double the 14% of employed Americans who would find it difficult to do this).

Many Americans now use social media to look for and research jobs, share employment opportunities with friends, and highlight their skills to potential employers; 13% of social media users say their social media presence has helped them find a job

Nearly two-thirds of Americans now use social media platforms of some kind, and a substantial number of social media users are utilizing these platforms to look for work – and also to pass along employment tips to their own friend networks. Some 35% of social media users have utilized social media to look for or research jobs, while 21% have applied for a job they first found out about through social media, and 34% have used social media to inform their friends about available jobs at their own place of employment. In addition, 13% of social media users say information that they have posted on social media has helped them get a job.

Social media users from a range of age groups use these platforms for employment-related purposes

Younger users are especially active at utilizing these platforms for employment-related purposes, but many older users are taking advantage of social media when looking for work as well. Roughly one-quarter of social media users ages 50 and older have used these platforms to look for work or to let their friends know about job openings, and 11% of older social media users have applied for a job they first found out about on social media.

1. The internet and job seeking

The state of the job market consistently ranks among Americans’ top policy priorities, and access to online resources has long been viewed – by policymakers and the public alike – as an essential tool to help Americans find and apply for jobs. The FCC’s National Broadband Plan cited expanded access to jobs and training as a key benefit of increased broadband adoption, and a 2010 Pew Research Center survey found that two-thirds of Americans believe people without broadband are at a disadvantage when it comes to finding out about job opportunities or learning new career skills. Other studies have found that the internet is especially important to the job seeking habits of certain demographic groups, such as African Americans.

This report, based on a nationally representative survey of 2,001 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, documents the current state of digital job seeking in America. It first examines the basic contours of this issue – how many people have looked or applied for a job online, how the internet stacks up to other sources of job information in terms of overall importance, and how confident Americans feel in their own digital job-seeking skills. After that, the report examines the specific role smartphones and social media platforms are playing in Americans’ job seeking habits.

The internet is a near-universal resource among those who have looked for work recently

Researching and applying for jobs online is nearly universal among recent job seekers

Digital resources are now more important than ever to Americans’ ability to research and apply for jobs. A majority of Americans (54%) have gone online to look for information about a job, and nearly as many (45%) have applied for a job online. The proportion of Americans who research jobs online has doubled in the last 10 years: In a Pew Research Center survey conducted in early 2005, 26% of Americans had used the internet to look for job information.

Demographics of online job seeking

Notably, these figures are based on the entire public – many of whom are retired, not in the job market, or have simply not had a reason to look for a job recently. Narrowing the focus to the 34% of Americans who have actually looked for a new job in the last two years, fully 90% of these recent job seekers have ever used the internet to research jobs, and 84% have applied to a job online.

Not surprisingly, young adults are the demographic group most likely to engage in these online job seeking behaviors. Roughly eight-in-ten Americans ages 18 to 29 have researched (83%) as well as applied for a job (79%) online. However, a substantial majority of those ages 30 to 49 (and a sizeable minority of those ages 50 to 64) have engaged in these behaviors as well.

Along with these differences related to age, African Americans are more likely than whites to engage in online job-seeking behaviors; urban and suburban residents are more likely to do so than those living in rural areas; and Americans with higher levels of income and educational attainment are more likely to do so than those with lower income and education levels.

Online employment resources now rival personal and professional networks as a top source of job information

Clearly, the vast majority of American job seekers have utilized online resources at one time or another to look for and apply for jobs – but the internet is just one resource that job seekers might take advantage of when looking for work. How do online resources stack up to the many other ways of looking for and finding employment, whether online or offline?

To examine this question more deeply, the survey asked a series of questions about the resources recent job seekers took advantage of in their most recent search for employment. These findings illustrate that Americans utilize a wide range of resources when looking for work – but online resources, along with personal and professional networks, are especially important when it comes to finding employment in America today.

Roughly one-third of recent job seekers say the internet was the most important resource available to them during their most recent employment search

Roughly one-third of Americans (34%) indicate that they have looked for a new job at some point in the last two years, and 79% of these job seekers utilized resources or information they found online as part of their most recent employment search. By comparison, 66% of these recent job seekers turned to personal connections with close friends or family members, 63% turned to professional or work connections, and 55% sought assistance from acquaintances or friends-of-friends. Taken together, 80% of recent job seekers used professional contacts, close personal connections, and/or more distant personal connections in their most recent search for employment – nearly identical to the 79% who used online resources and information.

Several other resources are used by a substantial minority of recent job seekers: 32% utilized government or private employment agencies in their most recent job search, 32% utilized ads in print publications, and 28% utilized events such as conferences or job fairs.

Job seekers in a range of demographic groups rely heavily on the internet as an employment resource, but Americans with high levels of educational attainment are especially likely to do so. Some 88% of college graduates utilized online resources and information as part of their most recent job search, compared with 77% of those who have attended but not graduated from college, and 69% of those who have not attended college at all.

Educational attainment has long been a strong predictor of whether or not Americans go online or not, but the differences noted here are not merely the result of higher rates of internet adoption by Americans with relatively high education levels. Even when non-internet users are excluded from this analysis, job seekers who have attended or graduated from college are substantially more likely to rely on online resources compared with job seekers with only a high school education.

These better-educated job seekers are also more likely than job seekers with lower education levels to have relied on professional connections (but not close personal connections or friends-of-friends) in their most recent job search. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of college graduates utilized professional connections in their most recent job search, compared with 59% of those who have attended but not graduated from college, and 57% of those who have not attended college at all.

34% of job seekers point to resources and information they found online as he most important source of information in their most recent job search

Americans today typically incorporate a number of different information sources into their hunt for employment: Fully 52% of recent job seekers indicate that they utilized four or more resources (out of a total of seven) in their most recent employment search, while just 11% indicate that they used only one resource. But although job seekers tend to leave few stones unturned when searching for employment, a small number of resources – including those found online – stand out as being especially important to a large number of Americans.

In addition to asking which resources they utilized in any way during their most recent job search, the survey also asked these job seekers to indicate the resource they consider to be the single most important in helping them look for work. Roughly one-third of job seekers (34%) say resources and information they found online were the most important resource they used in their last job search; 20% cite close personal connections, and 17% cite professional or work contacts as their most important resource.

Relatively modest numbers of job seekers point towards other types of resources as their most important source of assistance during their most recent job search: 7% cite connections with acquaintances or friends-of-friends, 5% cite employment agencies, 5% cite events such as job fairs, and 4% cite ads in print publications.

There are relatively few demographic differences when it comes to the resources job seekers rely on most heavily when looking for work. Younger job seekers and those who have not attended college were a bit more likely to say personal connections with friends or family members were most important when they were looking for work, while college graduates and older job seekers tend to indicate they relied more heavily on professional or work contacts.

Minority of Americans lack confidence in digital job-seeking skills

Many who are not currently employed lack confidence in their digital job-seeking skills

As job-related services and information increasingly move online, most Americans feel fairly confident in their ability to navigate various aspects of the digital job hunt. But at the same time, a minority lack confidence in their ability to perform even relatively basic tasks such as emailing potential employers or finding lists of available jobs online. This is especially true among those who have not attended college and those who are not currently employed for pay.

The survey asked Americans (not including those who indicate that they are either retired or disabled when asked for their employment status) how easy it would be for them to perform a number of tasks in the event they needed to look for a new job and found that:

  • 87% say it would be easy to look up online services and programs available to job seekers, with 58% saying this would be “very easy.”
  • 86% say it would be easy to contact and follow up with potential employers via email, with 70% saying this would be “very easy.”
  • 86% say it would be easy to fill out a job application online, with 65% saying this would be “very easy.”
  • 85% say it would be easy to go online to find lists of available jobs, with 63% saying this would be “very easy.”
  • 80% say it would be easy to create a professional resume, with 54% saying this would be “very easy.”
  • 74% say it would be easy to highlight their employment skills using a personal website or social media profile, with 45% saying this would be “very easy.”

Clearly, the ability to engage in these behaviors might be especially useful for people who are not currently employed – and yet, Americans who are not employed for pay are much more likely than those who are to indicate that they would have a difficult time performing these tasks. For instance, 28% of Americans who are currently not employed indicate that it would not be easy to create a professional resume if they needed to do so (compared with 14% of those who currently have a job); 22% would have a hard time filling out an online job application (compared with 10% of those who are currently employed); and 19% would have a hard time contacting employers via email, finding lists of jobs online, or looking up services available to job seekers.

Many who have not attended college would find it difficult to look for a job digitally

Americans who have not attended college also indicate that they would have a particularly difficult time performing many of these tasks. Roughly one-in-five adults with a high school diploma or less indicate that it would not be easy to contact a potential employer via email, find programs online that help job seekers, fill out an online job application, or find lists online of available jobs in their local area. And nearly one-in-three who haven’t attended college indicate that it would be not be easy for them to create a professional resume or use social media to highlight their job skills. In each case, Americans who have attended and/or graduated from college are significantly more comfortable with these aspects of the modern job seeking process.

2. Job seeking in the era of smartphones and social media

As the internet has become an increasingly important resource for finding and applying for jobs, significant disparities persist when it comes to the devices and tools that job seekers have available to access these resources. As home broadband adoption has slowed in recent years, smartphones have become a key source of online access for as many as one-in-five Americans. And out of choice or necessity, many job seekers are now incorporating mobile devices into various aspects of their search for employment – despite the fact that these devices might not be ideal for tasks such as building a resume or cover letter.

In addition to the growing relevance of mobile devices, a substantial majority of working-age Americans now use at least one social media platform. Social media potentially offers a place for job seekers to tap into their networks for help finding work, alert their friends when they hear of jobs availabilities, or promote their own skills in a way that is publicly visible to potential employers. On the other hand, the public nature of these platforms puts potential job seekers at risk that something they say on social media could be used against them when applying for a job.

This chapter takes a closer look at the use and impact of smartphones and social media on job seeking in America today.

28% of Americans – and half of young adults – have used a smartphone during a job search

53% of 18- to 29-year-olds have used a smartphone as part of a job search

Some 68% of American adults now own a smartphone, and 41% of these smartphone owners have used their mobile phone in some aspect of a job search. That works out to 28% of all Americans (including smartphone owners, as well as non-owners) who have utilized a smartphone as part of a job search in some way or another. In the analysis that follows, we refer to this 28% of the public as “smartphone job seekers.”

Young adults are especially likely to use their smartphones to look for work: 53% of 18- to 29-year-olds have used a smartphone as part of a search for employment. This behavior is not limited to just the youngest job seekers, as 37% of 30- to 49-year-olds have done so as well. African Americans also tend to rely heavily on smartphones when looking for employment: 38% are smartphone job seekers, compared with 24% of whites.

Americans with high levels of income and educational attainment often have a number of devices and access options to choose from when they wish to go online. Yet interestingly, these Americans are actually more likely than those with lower income and education levels to use a smartphone when looking for work. For example, some 35% of college graduates (and 33% of those who have attended but not graduated college) are smartphone job seekers, compared with 18% of those who have not attended college.

When asked about the overall impact of their smartphone on their ability to look for work and access career resources, fully 47% of smartphone job seekers say that their phone is “very important” to them and an additional 37% describe it as “somewhat important.” Fewer than one-in-five smartphone job seekers describe their phone as either “not too important” (13%) or “not at all important” (3%) when it comes to their ability to look for jobs. And a substantial majority of smartphone job seekers describe their phone as “very” or “somewhat” important across various age, income and educational categories.

Roughly one-quarter of “smartphone job seekers” have used their phone to create a resume or cover letter

Half of smartphone job seekers have filled out a job application using their phone; nearly one-quarter have used a smartphone to create a resume or cover letter

When asked about specific ways in which they have used their phones during a job search, these smartphone job seekers report utilizing their mobile devices for a wide range of purposes. Three relatively basic job-seeking behaviors – browsing job listings, calling or emailing potential employers – stand out as particularly widespread:

  • 94% of smartphone job seekers have used their smartphone to browse or research jobs online.
  • 87% have used their smartphone to call a potential employer on the phone.
  • 74% have used their smartphone to email someone about a job they were applying for.

More complex activities – such as filling out a job application or creating a resume on one’s smartphone – are less common, but are still done by a relatively substantial proportion of smartphone job seekers:

  • 50% of smartphone job seekers have used their smartphone to fill out an online job application.
  • 23% have used their smartphone to create a resume or cover letter.

As noted above, college graduates are more likely than Americans who have not attended college to incorporate their smartphone into a job search in one way or another. However, there are substantial differences between those with lower and higher levels of educational attainment when it comes to the specific ways that each group uses their mobile devices for job seeking.

Smartphone job seekers with lower education levels are much more likely to use their phone to fill out a job application or to create a resume or cover letter

Overall, college graduates who use their smartphone during a job search are more likely to use it for basic communication tasks. For example, they are more likely to have used their smartphone to call a potential employer on the phone (90% have used their phone in this way, compared with 78% of those who have not attended college) or to email someone about a job in which they were interested (80% vs. 64%).

On the other hand, smartphone job seekers lacking college experience are substantially more likely to have used their phone for relatively advanced tasks, such as filling out an online job application (61% vs. 37% among college graduates). They are also three times as likely to have used their phone to create a resume or cover letter – fully 33% of smartphone job seekers with a high school diploma or less have created a resume or cover letter using their phone, compared with just 10% of those with a college degree. And while the survey did not specifically probe people’s reasons for using their phones in this way, the availability of more traditional access options (or lack thereof) looms large: Among Americans who have used their smartphone as part of a job search, those who have not attended college are around three times as likely as college graduates to say that they do not currently have broadband service at home.

Many smartphone job seekers have encountered challenges using their phones during job search

Even as many smartphone owners are using their phones in various aspects of the job seeking process, the experience of navigating that process on a small screen lacking a dedicated keyboard can be a challenge for many users.

Nearly half of smartphone job seekers have had problems accessing or reading job-related content on their smartphone

The survey asked about a number of problems or challenges smartphone job seekers might encounter while using their mobile devices and found that problems reading or accessing job-related content are among the most prominent. Some 47% of smartphone job seekers have had problems accessing job-related content because it wasn’t displaying properly on their phone, and an identical 47% have had problems reading the text in a job posting because it was not designed for a mobile device.

Many smartphone job seekers have also encountered problems with text entry or with being able to submit the required documents necessary to apply for a job. Some 38% of smartphone job seekers have had problems entering a large amount of text on their smartphone while searching for a job, while 37% have had problems submitting the files or other supporting documents needed to apply for a job. An additional 23% have had problems saving or bookmarking jobs on their phone so they could go back and apply for them later.

Social media has become an important venue for today’s job seekers

Some 65% of Americans now use social media platforms, and for many users these sites offer a venue for highlighting professional accomplishments to prospective employers, finding jobs through one’s networks and alerting friends to available employment opportunities.

Social media users from many age groups use these platforms for employment-related purposes

Among Americans who use social media:

  • 35% have used social media to look for or research a job.
  • 34% have used social media to inform their friends of an available job at their place of employment.
  • 21% have applied for a job they initially found out about through their social media contacts.

Younger social media users are especially active when it comes to using these platforms to look for employment and alert their networks about available jobs, but this behavior is in no way limited to these younger users alone. Social media users ages 30 to 49 are just as likely as younger users to engage in each of these behaviors, and roughly one-quarter of social media users ages 50 and older have used these platforms to look for work and let their friends know about job openings at their own company.

African Americans are especially likely to use social media for job-seeking

African American social media users also report using these platforms for job-related purposes at higher rates relative to whites. This is particularly true when it comes to alerting one’s friend networks about available jobs via social media – fully 53% of African American social media users have done this, compared with 31% of whites.

Along with serving as a venue for finding and researching jobs, prospective job seekers can also use their social media presence to highlight relevant skills to prospective employers. Just over one-in-ten social media users (13%) say information that they have posted on social media has helped them to get a job.

On the other hand, information posted on social media can also have negative employment consequences, although the frequency is more limited: Some 2% of social media users say information they’ve posted on social media has caused them to lose a job or not get hired for a job they were applying for.

The analysis in this report is based on a Pew Research Center survey conducted June 10-July 12, 2015, among a national sample of 2,001 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Fully 701 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone and 1,300 were interviewed on a cellphone, including 749 who had no landline telephone. The survey was conducted by interviewers at Princeton Data Source under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International. A combination of landline and cellphone random digit dial samples were used; both samples were provided by Survey Sampling International. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. Respondents in the landline sample were selected by randomly asking for the youngest adult male or female who is at home. Interviews in the cell sample were conducted with the person who answered the phone, if that person was an adult 18 years of age or older. For detailed information about our survey methodology, see http://www.pewresearch.org/methodology/u-s-survey-research/

The combined landline and cellphone sample are weighted using an iterative technique that matches gender, age, education, race, Hispanic origin and nativity, and region to parameters from the 2013 Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and population density to parameters from the Decennial Census. The sample also is weighted to match current patterns of telephone status (landline only, cellphone only, or both landline and cellphone) based on extrapolations from the 2014 National Health Interview Survey. The weighting procedure also accounts for the fact that respondents with both landline and cellphones have a greater probability of being included in the combined sample and adjusts for household size among respondents with a landline phone. The margins of error reported and statistical tests of significance are adjusted to account for the survey’s design effect, a measure of how much efficiency is lost from the weighting procedures.

The following table shows the unweighted sample sizes and the error attributable to sampling that would be expected at the 95% level of confidence for different groups in the survey:


Sample sizes and sampling errors for other subgroups are available upon request.

In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.ical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

Pew Research Center is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization and a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its primary funder.


Source:  http://www.pewinternet.org/

A promotion and raise are years away in your current job, and you’ve decided to speed up that process by looking for a role in a new company. Or perhaps you can’t take any more of your toxic co-worker or unpredictable boss, and you’re finally heading for the door. If you’re like most people, you’re continuing to work while you start your job search, since a few months without a steady income is a no-go.

In fact, starting a job search while you still have your current gig is a smart choice, if you go about it the right way. “Companies want to hire the best of the best and [those people] are usually employed,” Sara Menke, the founder and chief executive of Premier, a boutique staffing firm in San Francisco, told Forbes. What’s more, continuing in your current job gives you more bargaining power. You won’t give off an air of desperation, and you’ll be able to use your existing role to your advantage. On the flip side, quitting before you have another job lined up can be a red flag to potential employers.

“If you don’t currently have a job, it raises a lot of questions and puts you in a defensive position, and you won’t be coming at them from a position of strength,” Andy Teach, a corporate veteran and author of From Graduation to Corporation: The Practical Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder One Rung at a Time, told Forbes.

Job hopping is now an acceptable way to climb the career ladder, and plenty of people are on the job search while they’re still reporting for their original 9-to-5. The only trick is make sure you’re doing so while remaining professional and not giving yourself away before you planned to. Here are the rules for job searching on the job.

1 Watch your body language

Watch your body language

A general rule of thumb is to keep your job search very, very quiet at work. You might trust a co-worker with most information, but this news is best kept to yourself until you’ve accepted another offer. As soon as you mentally decide to look for new opportunities, you’ll have to keep a close eye on how you’re portraying yourself in the office. The wrong body language can destroy your chances in a job interview, but it can also give your boss a heads-up that you might be on the way out. Slumping in your chair, lacking interest in activities you used to be excited about, and a change in your overall behavior could tip your hand too early.

Your behaviors might hint at your intentions, but a drastic change in your outward appearance will be like waving a giant red flag. If you typically wear casual clothes but show up one day in a suit, it’s going to alert your co-workers that something is amiss. U.S. News & World Report suggests changing at an off-site location for an interview if necessary.

2 Don’t neglect your current duties

Dont neglect your current duties

You might already be thinking of the most efficient way to pack up your office, but it’s important that you stick to your role until your last day at the old job. Not only will this keep you in good graces with your boss and colleagues, but it will prevent potentially damaging consequences.

“… If you let yourself slack off, not only will your boss and co-workers notice, you could wind up with a demotion, on probation or possibly even fired. Then you’ll have to explain to prospective employers why you are no longer employed, and that could set your search back even further,” CareerBuilder explains. When possible, it might even be a good idea to take on extra assignments — even if you’re not mentally excited about them. “You want to make sure that there’s no visible sign that, internally, your heart’s not in it,” Patti Johnson, ceo and founder of PeopleResults, a Texas-based human resources firm, told U.S. News.

3 Apply outside of work hours

Apply outside of work hours

If you’ve spent any amount of time looking for a new job, you know it can take as many hours as your full-time gig. Still, resist the temptation to search on LinkedIn on your company laptop. There’s There's a time and place for using your work email, and a job search isn’t one of them.

If you’re found out, your boss has a valid accusation of time theft, since you’re literally punching a clock to look for new ways to get a paycheck. Though this is mostly an ethical decision, chances are searching for a new job at work won’t yield successful results anyway. If you’re paranoid about being found out, you’re less likely to make any real headway in the first place, Jaime Petkanics, a career adviser and founder of The Prepary, told U.S. News. “I think all aspects of the job search require focus, and if you’re worried about someone coming by, or pausing to pick up a phone call, or complete a task, you’re not going to give searching, resume updating (or whatever else) the attention it deserves,” Petkanics said.

4 Direct calls to your cellphone

Direct calls to your cellphone

You want to avoid taking job search-related calls in the office, where your co-workers might be in earshot. Using your  cellphone and personal email account for job searches is key, and be prepared to duck out for an extended lunch or quick break to return those inquiries.

Confidentiality is key here. In addition to keeping your news quiet on your end, make sure that you ask potential employers to respect your situation as whell. Provide references from previous jobs instead of your current one, PayScale recommends, and ask that they allow you to break the news yourself. When you’ve accepted a job offer, you can always follow up with references from your current employer.

5 Take a personal day for interviews

Take a personal day for interviews

In an ideal world, you would be able to schedule your job interviews on off-work hours, but your schedule might not allow that to happen. If you’re worried about being too obvious with job interviews, consider taking a vacation or personal day to fully prepare and have the interview. Whatever you do, don’t take a sick day for time off.

The reason is this: If your interviewer asks about how you were available, you can honestly say you took a personal day for the meeting. Personal days can be used for any purpose at the last minute, even if they’re somewhat inconvenient for your current employer. That will look better than saying you took a sick day. If you’re outright lying to your current boss, why should a potential new manager trust you to be completely ethical moving forward?

6 Remain professional after giving your notice

Remain professional after giving your notice

If you do find a new job, make sure to remain professional during the transition period. You might need to rely on your current colleagues for references down the road, so don’t burn bridges at the last minute. Two weeks’ notice is generally acceptable, during which you’ll need to stay on top of your duties and perhaps train your replacement.

What happens if you get caught midway through the process? You have a few options. U.S. News suggests coming completely clean if your boss asks about your job search activity. That way, you can maintain your credibility and hopefully retain them as a contact in the future.

However, that might put your current position at risk — especially if you don’t find a new job quickly. If you’re worried about that possibility, Job-Hunt.org suggests a different tactic. Try saying something along the lines of, “I occasionally compare my current opportunity with the rest of the world, and I’m still here.” You can add why you like your current position and explain if you’re looking for additional responsibilities. If you truly like your current job, that might lead to a way to advance without switching at all. If you’re still looking for a new job, it gives you a diplomatic way to address the issue without answering the question head-on.

Author:  Nikelle Murphy

Source:  http://www.cheatsheet.com/

Jessica Lee Star/Digital Trends

Everyone likes free apps, but sometimes the best ones are a bit expensive. Now and then, developers put paid apps on sale for free for a limited time, but you have to snatch them up while you have the chance. Here are the latest and greatest apps on sale in the iOS App Store.

These apps normally cost money and this sale lasts for a limited time only. If you go to the App Store and it says the app costs money, that means the deal has expired and you will be charged. 



Nanotech Notes is a simple but effective way to take notes and sketch out quick ideas and concepts. Your notes are seamlessly synced to all your devices, and are available for offline viewing and editing.

Available on:




Wonderoom is a full-featured, powerful photo editor with a clean interface, designed for quick editing. Always put your best photo forward.

Available on:




Anticipating a special event? With this app, you can count down the days left until you have no more left to count.

Available on:



Author:  Lulu Chang

Source:  https://www.yahoo.com

iOS 10 is one of the biggest upgrades Apple has made to their mobile operating system. If you’re overwhelmed by all the new and upgraded features in iOS 10 you’re certainly not alone–but have no fear, we’ve been playing with it for months, and we’re happy to highlight all the really great features you should be using right now.

Lock Screen: So Long Swiping, Hello Widgets

Let’s start with the first thing you’ll bump into after updating: the new lock screen.

When Apple introduced the iPhone and its clever swipe-to-unlock mechanism in 2007, the world was pretty impressed. Now, nearly ten years later, they’re so over swiping to unlock. Now, you use the Home button to unlock your phone (though if you preferred the way Touch ID worked in iOS 9, we’ve got you covered).

You can still swipe left and right on the lock screen, but instead of unlocking, you’ll find a couple new features. In iOS 9, you could access your camera by swiping up from the lower right corner of the screen (a maneuver that was a wee bit frustrating since it was easy to miss and open the Control Center instead). Now, you swipe left with one big unmistakable motion to open up the camera. It took us a day or so to get used to this tiny-on-paper but huge-in-real-life improvement.

That’s nothing compared to the biggest lock screen change, though: widgets. Now, if you swipe right in that old familiar unlock-the-phone motion, you’ll bring up a whole panel of app widgets, similar to the ones in iOS 9’s notification panel. At a glance, you can see the current weather, your to-do list, or any number of items. Never paid much attention to the widgets? Now would be the time to start. App widgets are more useful than ever in iOS 10, and we’ve got a handy tutorial to help you customize which widgets appear on your lock screen.

iMessage: Now With Tapbacks, Stickers, Invisible Ink, and More

Of any single app, iMessage got the biggest overhaul. What used to be a relatively spartan application is now a veritable Swiss Army knife of superficial and practical additions. What was once an enhanced version of text messaging is now a full out communication app loaded with bells and whistles. In short: move over Snapchat, here comes iMessage.

Bigger emojis? Huge emojis.

One of the first changes that, literally, pops out at you the first time you use it is the change the emojis. If you send a message that consists only of one to three emojis, they will show up three times larger.

It doesn’t stop there, either. iMessage now includes the ability to slap stickers on your messages, when emojis just won’t do. You can also doodle on the photos you send, send doodles and sketches (much like Apple Watch users), and you can embed animated GIF files in your messages. Don’t worry if you don’t have GIFs handy, there’s a built-in GIF search engine for all your meme and kitten needs. Note the icons you use to access these new features in the screenshots above: the heart icon summons the doodle pad, the little App Store button gives you access to the image search (included by default) and the Mario stickers, also accessed via the App Store button, are a free add-on feature we’ll get to in a moment.

If you threw up in your mouth a little at the Lisa Frank-esque idea of slapping stickers and GIFs all over your iMessages, don’t despair. There are also some really practical improvements in iMessage, like Invisible Ink.

You can obscure a text message or photo by long pressing on the blue arrow icon in the text message box and then selecting “Send with invisible ink” from the pop-up menu. The message is blurred until your recipient taps on it, then after a moment it becomes obscured again. Finally, a way to send your secret Harry Potter cosplay photos with a modicum of privacy.

iMessage takes an almost Facebook-like approach to messages with the addition of tapbacks, a simple way to respond to a message. Just tap a message you’ve received and then attach a small icon to it like a thumbs up or a question mark–perfect for those times where all you would have typed was “OK” or “what?” in response. We’ll admit to being put off by it at first (as it seemed horribly lazy) but after using iOS 10 beta for some time, we’re actually fond of it.

By far the most practical improvement to iMessage, however, is the camera functionality. Some features are gimmicky, like the ability to send a “live” photo from the iPhone 6S or better (which is really just a tiny video clip). But iMessage has also made vast improvements in capturing and sending photos. In iOS 9, when you wanted to take a new photo, like a selfie, it would kick you out of iMessage and into the actual camera app. Likewise, sending a photo you’d already taken would open up the Photos app and you’d scroll about looking for it.

Now, however, it all happens right in iMessage, as seen above. Tap on the camera icon and you get a live preview (where you can snap photo right away and use it, without leaving iMessage) or you can swipe left and immediately scroll through your camera roll. It’s one of those fantastic improvements that makes you question why it wasn’t always that way. You can still access the full camera and photo roll (just swipe slightly right to reveal the icons next to the live photo preview) but the new speedy in-app camera function means you’ll hardly ever need to.

Finally–and this is the single biggest change in the app yet–iMessage now has apps. You may have noticed that there is a little tiny App Store icon in your message bar. Tap it, and you’ll see the default Apple iMessage apps (like the handwriting app and the aforementioned images app where you can search for GIFs). Tape on the icon, which looks like four ovals, and you’ll load a little mini App Store filled with apps customized just for use in iMessage. Want to send a weather forecast right in iMessage to your friend? You can do that now. Play a game with them? You can do that too. Download custom stickers? Oh there’s plenty of sticker packs–just like the Super Mario one we showed off at the beginning of this section. It’s a brave new world for iMessage and that world is filled with apps, apps, and more apps.

Remove Apple’s Built-In Apps: So Long Tips ‘n Friends

If you read through the last section and you couldn’t care less about stickers, sparkles, invisible ink, or apps in your iMessage, then you deserve the joy this next feature brings. We all deserve the joy this next feature brings. You can finally remove Apple’s built-in applications from your home screen.

No more shoving all the apps you don’t use–like Stocks and Tips–into an “Apple Junk” folder. No more moving them to the last home screen panel to ignore them. You can finally banish them. Go ahead, just press and hold on one to delete it like you’d delete any other application and you can remove it from the home screen.

There’s a catch, of course. They’re not actually deleted, they’re merely hidden. But we’re not about to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Maps: Apple’s Most Improved Player

Apple’s stock Maps app has been bad for a long time–truly, remarkably, awful. Don’t take our word for it though. Back in 2012, Apple CEO Tim Cook himself encouraged people to download Google Maps because Apple Maps was so bad.

Fortunately, the iOS 10 version of Maps distances itself from the blunders of previous releases in a wonderful way. Not only is the new version of Maps simply more polished overall–it’s brighter and cleaner looking, you can zoom without fussing with using multitouch pinch, and the menus are easier to access and more numerous–but it includes a host of big improvements that make it an app you’ll actually want to use.

Maps now remembers where you parked(with no input from you, at that). The search is also significantly improved. Although it still pulls from the Yelp database, the interface is new, and allows you to quickly drill down through categories to find exactly what you want.

If you simply must have Dunkin’ Donuts brand coffee, for example, you can now search for brands–in this case you’d click on Drinks > Coffee Shops and if Dunkin’ Donuts wasn’t already in the list of results, you could pick it from the list of company names displayed along the banner at the bottom of the search panel.

Most importantly, of course, the actual mapping and navigation is improved. It might not quite be at Waze levels of direction giving and on-the-fly ninja routing calculations, but it’s now a very solid navigation tool that most people can happily use without resorting to a third party solution.

Control Center: Freshly Rearranged With New Friends

The Control Center was one of iOS’ biggest improvements in recent years, and iOS 10 has made it even better. In iOS 9, the music controls were tucked right in the first Control Center panel, between the two tiers of shortcut buttons. Now, the music controls are on their own panel just to the right of the main panel. If you loved everything in one place, you’ll dislike this change. If you longed for bigger space for your music controls, it’s a pretty sweet upgrade.

In addition, there’s a perk for those smarthome early adopters out there: swipe all the way right and there’s a dedicated panel for your smart home accessories and scenes. Toggle individual devices and call up lighting or automation scenes right from the Control Panel with ease. For a closer look at everything new in the iOS 10 control panel, check out our detailed look at it here.

Camera and Photos: Minor Camera Tweaks, Major Photos Overhaul

The changes to the Camera app are subtle, but welcome. Like always, it has some general improvements (it loads faster, changing functions within the app seems much smoother, etc.) but there’s also some very concrete tweaks worth noting. First, that weird quirk in iOS 9 where opening the camera app would pause your music is gone (though the music will still pause during video recording).

In addition, Apple moved zhe camera switch button (aka the selfie button) from the top of the camera interface to right down next to the camera button. That’s a tiny but very useful interface improvement–it was awkward and impractical to try and switch from the front-facing to back-facing camera with one hand before.

If you’re a fan of the Live Photos feature, there are two new perks: you can apply photo filters and image stabilization to Live Photos.

Finally, for the power users among us (and those who want to take advantage of the improved physical cameras in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus), the Camera app can now record RAW photos–you get exactly what the camera sees, perfect for later retouching, without any filtering or jpeg compression applied.

Bigger than the Camera tweaks, however, are the changes to the Photos app. Now, instead of simply cataloging your photos by date (and possibly by album if you took the time to organize them), the Photos app can now recognize faces and organize your friends automatically into albums as well as automatically organize your photos in “Memories” that group similar photos around a given event like all the pictures you took over Labor Day weekend.

Health and Sleep Tracking: Better Identification and Logging Your ZZZs

Although the Health app isn’t new by any means, Apple’s clearly getting serious about people using it. The Health app not only sports a much simpler and easy-to-navigate interface, but it includes better focus on primary health areas: activity, mindfulness, nutrition, and sleep, as well as new categories to track like reproductive health. What used to be a very dense and not particularly user-friendly part of the iOS experience is now very easy to navigate and understand.

Speaking of sleep, the iOS 10 clock got a tune-up. Now instead of simply setting an alarm for the morning, you can use the Bedtime feature that includes a host of handy tools. Bedtime will give you a reminder when it’s close to your bedtime (based on how many hours of sleep a night you’re trying to pack in) and it will try to wake you at an optimum time instead of simply blaring out an alarm at a fixed time. Better yet, all that data is fed over to the Health app so you can easily track your sleep over time and see how more sleep (or sleep deprivation) is affecting you. As we note in our detailed overview of the feature, it’s not the most sophisticated sleep tracking tool around at the moment but it’s a really nice improvement.

As a final note on the Health app, it now prompts you to fill out emergency contact information and organ donor wishes (which are then shared with a non-profit registry of organ donors). Lots of people think about signing up for organ donation but never get around to it–now the Health app makes it trivially easy to do so.

Found a new iOS 10 feature you love but that we didn’t mention here? Hop over to the discussion on our forums and share your iOS 10 discovery with the world.

Source : http://www.howtogeek.com

After Samsung's global recall of their Galaxy Note 7, we thought stories of exploding phones were a thing of the past. 

Now, the world's most iconic phone, the iPhone seems to be experiencing similar issues according to user stories with its 7 and 7 Plus variants .

iPhone 7 blew up

According to a report by GizmoChina, an iPhone 7 Plus exploded when it hit the ground. 

The impact, after a 1.6 foot fall, reportedly caused the phone's battery to catch fire, and the iPhone began vibrating and emitting smoke. The phone's display completely detached, and was so damaged it doesn't seem repairable.

iPhone 7 blew up  2

Recently, an Australian surfing instructor claimed that his phone caught fire and set his car ablaze after he left it in car.

Apple iPhone7 sets car on fire

He'd bought the phone only a week ago, and not used it with any accessories not include with the phone.

In August this year, an Australian man suffered grievous burn injuries when his iPhone 6 exploded in his back pocket, melting both his shorts and two layers of skin in the process. OUCH!

Author:  Kunal Anand

Source:  indiatimes.com

Gartner, Inc.

Increasingly, the world is becoming an intelligent, digitally enabled mesh of people, things and services. Technology will be embedded in everything in the digital business of the future, and ordinary people will experience a digitally-enabled world where the lines between what is real and what is digital blur.

Rich digital services will be delivered to everything, and intelligence will be embedded in everything behind the scenes. We call this mesh of people, devices, content and services the intelligent digital mesh, and this forms the basis for our Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2017.

Gartners Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends For 2017


Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning have reached a critical tipping point and will increasingly augment and extend virtually every technology enabled service, thing or application. Creating intelligent systems that learn, adapt and potentially act autonomously rather than simply execute predefined instructions is primarily battleground for technology vendors through at least 2020.

Trend No. 1: AI & Advanced Machine Learning

AI and machine learning, which include technologies such as deep learningneural networks and natural-language processing, can also encompass more advanced systems that understand, learn, predict, adapt and potentially operate autonomously. Systems can learn and change future behavior, leading to the creation of more intelligent devices and programs.  The combination of extensive parallel processing power, advanced algorithms and massive data sets to feed the algorithms has unleased this new era.

In banking, you could use AI and machine-learning techniques to model current real-time transactions, as well as predictive models of transactions based on their likelihood of being fraudulent. Organizations seeking to drive digital innovation with this trend should evaluate a number of business scenarios in which AI and machine learning could drive clear and specific business value and consider experimenting with one or two high-impact scenarios.

Trend No. 2: Intelligent Apps

Intelligent apps, which include technologies like virtual personal assistants (VPAs), have the potential to transform the workplace by making everyday tasks easier (prioritizing emails) and its users more effective (highlighting important content and interactions). However, intelligent apps are not limited to new digital assistants – every existing software category from security tooling to enterprise applications such as marketing or enterprise resource planning (ERP) will be infused with AI enabled capabilities. Using AI, technology providers will focus on three areas — advanced analytics, AI-powered and increasingly autonomous business processes and AI-powered immersive, conversational and continuous interfaces. By 2018, Gartner expects most of the world’s largest 200 companies to exploit intelligent apps and utilize the full toolkit of big data and analytics tools to refine their offers and improve customer experience.

Trend No. 3: Intelligent Things

New intelligent things generally fall into three categories: robots, drones and autonomous vehicles. Each of these areas will evolve to impact a larger segment of the market and support a new phase of digital business but these represent only one facet of intelligent things. Existing things including Internet of Things (IoT) devices will become intelligent things delivering the power of AI enabled systems everywhere including the home, office, factory floor, and medical facility.

As intelligent things evolve and become more popular, they will shift from a stand-alone to a collaborative model in which intelligent things communicate with one another and act in concert to accomplish tasks. However, nontechnical issues such as liability and privacy, along with the complexity of creating highly specialized assistants, will slow embedded intelligence in some scenarios.


The lines between the digital and physical world continue to blur creating new opportunities for digital businesses. Look for the digital world to be an increasingly detailed reflection of the physical world and the digital world to appear as part of the physical world creating fertile ground for new business models and digitally enabled ecosystems.

Trend No. 4: Virtual & Augmented Reality

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) transform the way individuals interact with each other and with software systems creating an immersive environment. For example, VR can be used for training scenarios and remote experiences. AR, which enables a blending of the real and virtual worlds, means businesses can overlay graphics onto real-world objects, such as hidden wires on the image of a wall. Immersive experiences with AR and VR are reaching tipping points in terms of price and capability but will not replace other interface models. Over time AR and VR expand beyond visual immersion to include all human senses. Enterprises should look for targeted applications of VR and AR through 2020.

Trend No. 5: Digital Twin

Within three to five years, billions of things will be represented by digital twins, a dynamic software model of a physical thing or system. Using physics data on how the components of a thing operate and respond to the environment, as well as data provided by sensors in the physical world, a digital twin can be used to analyze and simulate real world conditions, responds to changes, improve operations and add value.

Author:  David Cearley

Source:  http://www.forbes.com

Friday, 18 November 2016 10:27

7 SEO Tools We’re Thankful For

I know what it’s like running a business.

There’s always a thousand and one things to attend to. And when it comes to SEO, make that a thousand and one.

Of course, don’t forget that’s without keeping on top of the subject matter and learning all the new techniques and updates. SEO can be complex; it seems like every day there is some new SEO strategy to be learned and 100 more articles to read.

It can be overwhelming and often, force it to the back burner. I know so many business owners who have found it can be too time-consuming to get enough of the skills and knowledge to dive in and optimize for SEO on their sites.

That’s where systems come into play. And systems run better when they’re automated.

The good news?

There are plenty of tools out there that can help you dramatically improve your SEO while saving you time and energy by automating the process. The problem for many is trying to figure out which of those tools are going to let you work smarter and get great results.

Here, you’ll find a number of incredible SEO tools that we’ve used in our business and have helped us create a system to improve our rankings.

Keyword Research

SEMRush – From $69.95/mo and up

Keyword research is at the heart of any successful SEO campaign. If you don’t know which keywords are the best for you to target, then chances are, you’re going to be in trouble before you even get started.

That’s where SEMRush becomes a great tool. As a tool for keyword research, it offers a number of options that will let you find the best keywords for both paid and organic campaigns, find keyword matches as well as related keywords, and highlight those long tail keywords that can often be ignored.

Keyword Research

SEMRush also has a “keyword difficulty” tool that is specifically designed to highlight those keywords that have less competition, and alternative options for keywords that are notoriously difficult to rank.

Alternative tool: For a free option, it never hurts to turn to Google’s Keyword Planner. While it won’t give you the in-depth reports and information that SEMRush does, if you’re looking for a quick and easy tool that can help with basic keyword research, this works.

Ranking Analysis

Authority Labs – From $99/mo and up

Rank tracking can get complicated; it’s something that you do want to pay attention to but the biggest problem is that keeping track of rankings can be incredibly time-consuming.

The good thing is there is a tool that makes it very simple: Authority Labs. With Authority Labs they offer a very easy to use and reliable tool to get the job done automatically. That means you get all of your daily tracking results in one report. This is going to allow you to be able to pivot quickly and see how your campaigns are doing.

Ranking Analysis

Another big benefit of Authority Labs is it’s really developed for Local SEO as well. It also has options to track results based on zip codes and includes Google+ rankings as well.

Alternative Tool: Google Search Console has replaced what the old Google Webmasters Tools was and offers a suite of options for SEO for free. Use the Search Analytics tool to find out where your websites are ranking.

Content Intel

MozBar – Free

When it comes to search engine optimization, it’s not enough to just look at your own sites; it’s also important to pay attention to what your competitors are doing as well. This is why so many consider MozBar to be such a valuable tool.

Quick and easy to use, MozBar is a Google Chrome plugin that will give you instant and accurate information on a number of key metrics of any website you’re on. While the free version will work well enough for many, if you’re looking to upgrade your intel with the best information out there, MozBar Pro starts at $99/mo.

Content Intel

MozBar has a bunch of features that will help you improve your own SEO by collecting important intel. Some of the most important include social metric tracking, custom searches, data export and on page highlighting to check specific types of links.

Alternative Tool: For quite a few SEO experts, SpyFu is up there as one of the best competitor intel tools out there. Use it to track competitor’s keywords, which can help improve your own strategy. Pricing starts from $79/mo.

Content Optimization

Yoast – Free

One of the biggest ways to immediately improve your own rankings and see some small SEO wins is to optimize your content. Most people don’t realize that they are missing some opportunities on their home pages and within blog posts.

One amazing tool to help change that is Yoast. This is a free WordPress plugin that is the go-to tool for SEO on blogs and other sites. In fact, it is the #1 top ranked SEO WordPress plugin, so it’s pretty clear it works.

Content Optimization

Once installed, Yoast is incredibly easy to use. It allows you to pick a keyword for each page, create a meta tag, and it monitors the content itself to let you know of any potential problems and opportunities to improve.

Alternative Tool: Another good tool to use to monitor content is Seobility, which bills itself as a site auditor. What’s really helpful is it digs deep into your site and can highlight links that are useful but have been buried and help you rank them better.

Link Building

BuzzStream – From $24/mo and up

One component of SEO that is very important is link building. There are a number of ways to approach link building. Unfortunately, many brands ( especially small businesses) just don’t have the time or the human resources to devote to it productively.

That’s where a tool like BuzzStream can make the process feel almost automated, saving you and your time a lot of time and effort. BuzzStream was built to let you easily find and connect with influencers to create relationships with people and brands that will get your site placed on quality sites.

Link Building

Once you’ve got BuzzStream up and running, you’ll find it’s where you can do all your outreach and potential link building in one place. Use it to make lists, contact influencers, and keep track of projects all at the same time.

Alternative Tool: A lot of sites run into issues with broken links when trying to improve their SEO. LinkMiner can help solve that. This tool is a free Chrome extension that highlights broken links so they can be fixed.

Backlink Analysis

Ahrefs – From $99/mo and up

Getting high-quality backlinks is an essential building block of good search engine optimization. In fact, a number of SEO experts cite that when it comes to getting high rankings, it’s important to have at least a few high-quality backlinks pointing back to your site.

One of the best tools out on the marketing for backlink analysis is Ahrefs. It has two big benefits going for it: first, the site has an index of over 12 trillion links, and second, it is incredibly easy to use for such a powerful tool.

Backlink Analysis

Their reports let you see a number of details on any backlink including the anchor terms that are being used for it, it’s ranking, referring pages, the content that it is being linked to, and how strong the backlinks are. In addition, they have an alert system that will notify you if you’ve gained or lost a backlink on your own site.

Alternative Tool: Open Site Explorer is an alternative tool that can be used as well and is part of the Moz Pro bundle of SEO tools. It helps you find backlink opportunities, discover any potentially damaging links, and researches backlinks, too.


Ninja Outreach – From $49/mo and up

Outreach has always been an important piece of any SEO improvement strategy, but over the past few years, it’s been a much bigger part for many successful brands. Much of that has to do with influencer marketing.

Ninja Outreach is a tool that was specifically created exactly for this situation. It helps brands find the biggest influencers in their particular niche or market and then connect with them directly.

Ninja Outreach

What makes Ninja Outreach special is that it provides a treasure trove of information on influencers in one place. You can find links to content they have written, social media shares, and SEO metrics. This data lets you see who can really give your brand a boost.

Alternative Tool: Are you tired of wasting hours scanning the web for link building possibilities? If so, Link Prospector is another great tool. It scours the internet for blogs, guest posts, and resources pages, for new outreach opportunities.


Let’s face it, when it comes to SEO there are a lot of tools out there. Fortunately, these can help really bring your SEO to the next level without having to devote much time and energy to the cause.

As you continue to build your brand, being able to effectively and efficiently improve your search engine rankings and results is going to be a key part of that strategy. That’s why having the right tools to get the job done is so important.

Source : searchenginejournal.com

Building a cohesive search strategy can be difficult. There are a lot of factors to consider, including new search methods that are becoming increasingly popular such as altered reality and voice search and AI. But, other lesser known search strategies have the potential to increase engagement.

Learn more about overlooked search strategies you can use to get that much-needed boost in conversions.

The Benefits of Bing for Consumers and Advertisers

At Pubcon 2016 in Las Vegas, Brent Csutoras, SEJ’s Chief Social Media Strategist, sat down with Christi Olson of Microsoft to talk about the benefits of Bing for consumers and advertisers.

Here Are Some Key Takeaways from Her Interview:

  • Bing is finding ways to create a search results page that helps consumers take action right away. It’s not just about the links on the page anymore. It’s about what users are trying to do, the intent behind their query, and helping them get to their intended action quickly.
  • Bing presents more information and context based on user search behavior — what they’ve looked at in the past, how they’ve clicked, and how they engage with the search engine. A machine learning algorithm looks at user behavior over time. So, if you’re looking for your ad and do the same query repeatedly, your ad might not appear in search results because you’re not clicking on it. This teaches the algorithm that you’re not engaging with the ad so you might not be interested in it.
  • Bing’s audience skews slightly older than Google average audience (25 years old and up). Bing has also seen a 20% growth with its integration into Microsoft products, where it powers search on a user’s machine as well as across the internet.
  • The search engine also presents video in search results. Outside of text-based links, results that get good engagement include local search and shopping campaigns. Bing has a 30% market share, which means that one in three searches happens in Bing today. This opens up opportunities for advertisers.

Tips on Structuring Mobile Advertising Campaigns

In this interview at Pubcon 2016 in Las Vegas, Optmyzr CEO Frederick Vallaeys, shares a few strategies for structuring your mobile advertising campaigns.

Here Are Some Key Takeaways from the Interview:

  • The majority of search is now happening on mobile devices, so you must optimize for mobile search.
  • Google has created different bid modifiers for different devices: mobile bid modifier, tablet bid modifier, and desktop/computer bid modifier. If you want to advertise only on mobile, turn off your desktop traffic or set a different bid modifier for desktop traffic.
  • You can also create different landing pages. You can even have a mobile-preferred landing page. However, Google has taken away the ability to have a mobile-preferred ad.
  • Expanded text ads no longer have a mobile-preferred option. One way to get around this is using ad customizers to create mobile-preferred ads. Because of these new controls, you can think about account structure in completely new ways and you can reinvent it in a way that works best for you.

How On-Site Search Helps Boost Engagement and Conversions

JP Sherman of Red Hat discusses how on-site search can help boost engagement and conversions in this interview at Pubcon 2016 in Las Vegas.

Here Are Some Key Takeaways from His Interview:

  • People who are searching on your site are more likely to convert, since they’re already engaged and might even be looking for something you’re actually selling. Based on this, you can use on-site search as a force multiplier for conversion. On-site search is a way to establish brand identity, helping people remember who you are and encouraging return visits.
  • On-site search can help improve user experience based on the types of products you have, what your customers are looking at, and how they consume that information. Searching on your site is a way for people to get to your products so you need to understand what they’re actually looking for.
  • Key matches in on-site search can be seen as a stripped-down version of Google AdWords. It’s a way to promote something to the top of search results based on a keyword.

Source:  searchenginejournal.com

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