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Patrick Moore

Patrick Moore

Saturday, 22 October 2016 11:17

How the Internet helps spread 2016 falsehoods

(CNN)UPDATE: Both Donald Trump and his campaign staffer Dan Scavino have deleted their tweets.

"A lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on," London preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon said in 1855, well before the invention of the Internet.
    A case in point just popped up.
    Let's explore.
    1) GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump tweeted at 2:28 pm ET Tuesday: "Unreal! Highly respected Senator Tom Coburn- said this about Cruz: https://t.co/2WswDhyPQD"
    Trump repeated the comments during an event in South Carolina as well.
    "Did you see the senator from Oklahoma that just came out with a statement? He came out with such a strong statement that Ted Cruz is dishonest -- he's a Republican! I've never seen a human being that lies so much," Trump said.
    2) What was the quote? Trump provided a link to a tweet stating the following: "He is, without a doubt, one of the most dishonest people in DC." @TomCoburn on Ted Cruz bit.ly/1oGZqI6Scavino
    It should be noted: that 12:21 pm ET tweet is from Dan Scavino, the Trump campaign's director of social media.
     
    3) Here's where it gets shaky: Scavino provided a link to a story on a liberal website "Forward Progressives" from October 18, 2015.
    In that story, a progressive writer pens the following: "I've made no secret of my total disdain for Sen. Ted Cruz. He epitomizes everything that's wrong with the Republican party. He is, without a doubt, one of the most dishonest people in Washington and, in my opinion, a complete sociopath."
    THIS is where the "one of the most dishonest people in DC" quote comes from -- not from former Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma.
    4) Let us now, just for kicks, see where this all originated.
    The liberal writer quotes former Sen. Tom Coburn and links to a story in the Dallas Morning Newsfrom October 16, 2015.
    5) The Dallas Morning News had taken the quotes from BuzzFeed from October 15, 2015.
    6) BuzzFeed took it from Coburn in an interview with Pete Dominick on Sirius XM talking about the "Cruz Effect." Coburn criticized Cruz for "creat(ing) greater disappointment in the hinterlands" in terms of pledging to stop Obamacare, etc, "because you gave them a false hope, knowing that you couldn't accomplish it, but it was about yelling, and screaming, and waving the flag."
    At no point during any of this did Coburn say the initial quote about Cruz.
    The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    Source : edition

    It’s no secret that social media is a global phenomenon. But, with so many of these online communication tools that do a variety of tasks, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

    If you’re just starting out with social media and need some help in order to grow your personal presence, here is the best way to figure out which network is right for you and how to accomplish that goal.

    Know your networks

    There are a lot of social networks out there. Figuring which platform to use can get intimidating. So, the first place to start is to get a general understanding of the most popular social media sites.

    • Facebook shouldn’t need an introduction. With more than 1.59 billion monthly active users in the world, this is the social network. Since almost everyone has a Facebook account, it’s a great medium for anyone to connect and share information with others.YouTube has a billion users. Don't count this search engine out because you haven't figured out how to market on this site yet. Acquired by Google in 2006, and the fifth most popular social site, it focuses on video content of almost every type.Twitter is the second-most-popular social media site with around 320 million active monthly users. Twitter is unique because users can only use 140 characters for their posts. This makes it an excellent platform for breaking news and sharing links.LinkedIn is the most popular professional networking site in the world. If you want to advance your career or network with industry professionals, you have to create a LinkedIn profile. This is more business oriented and professional.Believe it or not, Google+ has over 418 active million users. Having a profile allows people to easily locate you if they conduct a search inquiry on the most popular search engine in the world.Pinterest allows users to create bulletin boards, so it’s perfect for creating and sharing visual content like crafts and recipes. This community is filled with passionate women (primarily) that are very crafty.
    • Instagram is another social network that focuses on visual content. It’s owned by Facebook, so it’s not surprising that 95% of its 400 million users share their content on Facebook as well. People spend a surprising amount of time on this platform.
    • Tumblr is essentially a microblog network where users share content ranging from quotes to videos. It's very popular.
    • Flickr is yet another platform where you can share photos and videos. It’s been found that 1 million images are shared daily. If you're a photographer, you need to be here as well as several other niche photography sites.
    • Reddit is a social and entertainment network where users can ask questions and share links. Users actually vote on submissions, so this determines the popularity of the precise content on the site.
    • Snapchat has become one of the most-buzzed about networks around. It’s simply an image messaging app where photos disappear seconds after opened by the recipient.
    • WhatsApp is an extremely popular messaging app, at present, that allows you to send texts, images and videos to other users.
    • Quora is a question-and-answer website with more than 80 million monthly unique visitors. This is great because you can get answers to questions that can't necessarily be found online.
    • Vine lets users share 6-second video clips with each other. Share it on Twitter and your views will skyrocket.
    • Periscope is a live-streaming app that was acquired by Twitter. Though there are not a ton of fans live daily, those that are live are very passionate.
    • StumbleUpon is a discovery engine that discovers and recommends content for its 25 million users.
    • Medium has been one that I've recently been working on. I was able to get over 55k followers to my personal brand in a matter of months by publishing good content.

    At the very least, you should start out with the big four - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Having a profile on these sites is crucial in establishing your personal presence.

    After that, consider your niche. For example, if you enjoy cooking, then visual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are recommended.

    Also keep in mind that there are hundreds of other niche social networks. Do a little homework and find the sites that will tap into your interests and hobbies. Also, make sure you're using the right tools to help you best work with each network.

    Figure out what you want to get out of social media

    Next, you will want to ask yourself, “What do I want and expect to get out of my Social Media efforts?”

    This will guide you in determining which social media networks you should join. If you merely want to stay in-touch with friends and family, then Facebook is essential. If you want to keep up with the latest news and trends then Twitter, Reddit, and StumbleUpon deserve your attention. If you want to network with like-minded individuals, then selecting a niche site based on your interests and activities is the way to go, such as the above cooking example.

    Where are your connections hanging out?

    After determining what you want to get out of social media, you also have to consider where your connections are spending their time.

    In the business word, you probably would have to conduct a lot of research to determine this. For you personally, knowing where your audience spends most of their time is based on common sense and your interests.

    For my personal invoicing company, I've found that the majority of my followers are on Twitter and Medium. When I was just a freelancer, it was very different.

    Until you teach your elder family members the ins, outs, and benefits, of Snapchat - understand that it takes a little while for them to "get it." You, yourself, will probably have to sign them up for their Snapchat account, and it is not feasible for you to do this "setup" for the entire world. But, it’s a safe bet that this demographic is on Facebook. So if you’re goal was to keep in-touch with these family members, then it wouldn’t make sense to devote a whole lot of time on Snapchat until they catch on.

    If you enjoy photography as a hobby, then the visual platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Flickr are the places where other photographers or fans are going to be spending most of their time.

    What are your resources?

    Updating your Facebook or Twitter account doesn’t take a whole of time or money. Creating a YouTube video, however, requires you to film a video, edit it, and post it to the site. While everyone has a camera on the phones these days, it requires more time and resources. If those are in limited supply, then it may be advisable that you stay away from those type of networks.

    Grow your online presence

    Now that you’ve narrowed down your list of social networks, it’s time to create your create and start growing your presence by following these types:

    • Optimize your account by including a real photo of yourself, writing a profile description that describes who you are, and include a link to your website or blog if you have one.
    • Get to know the community. Follow popular users so that you can learn the ropes and jargon. (note: influencers aren't made overnight)
    • Become an active member of the community by sharing awesome content and following others.
    • Learn to become an influencer in your newly found community.
    • Always be genuine, authentic, and positive.

    Source : http://mashable.com/2016/08/26/which-social-network-is-right-for-your-personal-presence/#.FTt4Uo9Taq1

    For years, Yahoo has been criticized for failing to understand what it really is.

    Is it a search engine? A web portal? A news site? An advertising tech company? All of the above?

    Well, based on how Yahoo describes its competition in itslatest quarterly filing, it looks like Yahoo still has no clue what it really wants to be.

    Here's what it says:

    "We face significant competition from online search engines, sites offering integrated internet products and services, social media and networking sites, e-commerce sites, companies providing analytics, monetization and marketing tools for mobile and desktop developers, and digital, broadcast and print media.

    In a number of international markets, especially those in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America, we face substantial competition from local Internet service providers and other entities that offer search, communications, and other commercial services."

    What does that mean? It means Yahoo's competing in all of these areas one way or another:

    - Online search

    - Internet services, like email

    - Social media

    - E-commerce

    - Data analytics

    - Marketing and advertising technology

    - Messaging

    - Media

    For a company that generates about $5 billion a year, that's a lot of different areas to be in. Yahoo's scattershot approach is also pretty interesting when you compare the language to how other companies describe their competition.

    Here's what Google says:

    "We have many competitors in different industries, including general purpose search engines and information services, vertical search engines and e-commerce websites, social networks, providers of online products and services, other forms of advertising and online advertising platforms and networks, other operating systems, and wireless mobile device companies...Our competitors are constantly developing innovations in search, online advertising, wireless mobile devices, operating systems, and many other web-based products and services."

    Here's Facebook:

    "We face significant competition in every aspect of our business, including from companies that provide tools to facilitate communication and the sharing of information, companies that enable marketers to display advertising and companies that provide development platforms for applications developers."

    Here's Twitter:

    "Although we have developed a global platform for public self-expression and conversation in real time, we face strong competition in our business. We compete against many companies to attract and engage users, including companies which have greater financial resources and substantially larger user bases, such as Facebook (including Instagram and WhatsApp), Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft and Yahoo, which offer a variety of Internet and mobile device-based products, services and content."

    And Amazon:

    "Our businesses are rapidly evolving and intensely competitive, and we have many competitors in different industries, including retail, e-commerce services, digital content and electronic devices, and web and infrastructure computing services."

    At least Yahoo is now under a restructuring plan that will narrow its focus to three platforms (search, email, Tumblr) and four content verticals (news, finance, sports, and lifestyle), as well as its Gemini and Brightroll ad offerings. And with its sale to Verizon, it's likely Yahoo will be a much more focused company. Still, it's an interesting reminder that spreading a company's resources too thinly across many different areas often don't work.

    Source : http://www.businessinsider.com/yahoo-still-has-no-idea-what-it-is-2016-8

    Thursday, 18 August 2016 10:15

    Facebook Gives Users Control Of Ads They See

    The State of Facebook Advertising

    Social media has become the pillar of the online experience. With over 1.55 billion monthly active users, hundreds of millions of people are interacting and engaging on Facebook. For Facebook advertisers, this represents a huge pool of potential customers. Read our report to understand current Facebook trends based on the Marin Global Online Advertising Index.

    Get the report today.

    In addition to making sure you never miss posts from friends and family, Facebook wants to make sure you never miss another ad.

    The social network has announced plans to make life harder for ad blockers that let desktop users view Facebook without seeing irrelevant advertising.

    Goodbye, Ad Blockers

    Facebook has revealed a change that will use new technology to make ad blocking software less effective. Facebook is changing how it loads advertising onto its desktop site to make its harder for ad blockers to detect their ad units.

    “Some ad blocking companies accept money in exchange for showing ads that they previously blocked – a practice that is at best confusing to people and that reduces the funding needed to support the journalism and other free services that we enjoy on the web,” Facebook wrote in a blog post. “Facebook is one of those free services, and ads support our mission of giving people the power to share and making the world more open and connected.”

    This change won’t impact mobile, which accounted for 84 percent of Facebook’s $6.2 billion in advertising revenue in Q2.

    New Advertising Controls For Users

    What about users who want an ad-free experience on Facebook? Well, Facebook doesn’t want that. But the company says it will give users “more control” over the ads they see.

    “If you don’t want to see ads about a certain interest like travel or cats, you can remove the interest from your ad preferences,” Facebook said. “We also heard that people want to be able to stop seeing ads from businesses or organizations who have added them to their customer lists, and so we are adding tools that allow people to do this.”

    Estimates of how many people actually use ad blockers varies by country and by which company is putting out their own report. But most estimates land somewhere between a quarter and a third of Internet users. Facebook didn’t indicate how many of its users use ad blockers.

    What do you think of Facebook’s move to block ad blockers?

    Source : https://www.searchenginejournal.com/facebook-stops-ad-blockers/170494/

    Swiss-based semantic search company Hulbee, which launched a consumer search engine in the U.S. this August, has closed a $9 million angel funding.

    The investors are not being disclosed beyond the firm saying one is a serial entrepreneur from Switzerland and the other is a business person from Canada.

    Hulbee is positioning its consumer search offering as a pro-privacy alternative to mainstream search engines like Google, with a pledge that unlike those guys it does not track users. So it’s competing with other search players in the pro-privacy space, such as DuckDuckGo.

    Although, unlike DDG, it has its own (semantic) search tech too — which it’s touting as another differentiator, along with a “clean interface”, and search results supplemented by a word cloud of related themes/content that allow users to narrow their search with a few considered clicks. Hulbee

    It also has its own ad system, rather than bolting on a third party ad network. And again here it’s taking a non-tracking approach. Ads on Hulbee are targeted based on the search query, according to CEO Andreas Wiebe, so there’s no geotargeting or cumulative tracking. (Although users can specify their region in order to ensure more relevant search results, so it may have basic country data. And once you step off Hulbee and onto whatever website you were trying to find chances are their ad networks will start tracking you, unless you’re running an ad blocker…)

    “Unlike Google’s offering, Hulbee doesn’t fall back on surveillance, so there’s no geotargeting. For Hulbee, the user is completely invisible,” says Wiebe. “Hulbee only focuses on the search query, and definitely doesn’t know where it’s from or who entered it.”

    “The fundamental idea… is to win over consumers who prioritize ownership of their data. We recognize that most consumers do not want to be tracked,” he adds.

    Such a partial view of the user does not lend itself to highly targeted ‘interest-based advertising’ — so Hulbee is also focusing on touting a brand-building proposition to advertisers (hence the Coca-Cola graphic in the word cloud, above right).

    “Unlike traditional search engines, we don’t focus on highly focused targeting, but instead specialize in ‘mass informing’ of our visitors, including image, brand name, event advertising. Thus, we obviously will be interested, for example, in global companies launching a new brand or product, such as the film industry promoting the new movies or an event tie-in,” says Wiebe.

    “We’re dealing with fairly sophisticated visitors. Although we do not track and don’t ‘know’ our visitors, we can say with certainty that our user is a person following modern trends in such areas as information security, privacy, etc. That user is concerned about their own privacy, weighing the aspects of their web activity and understanding the consequences and risks of certain actions.”

    As well as aiming to appeal to individuals with concerns about their privacy, the search engine is being targeted at parents with concerns about the kind of content their kids might be exposed to online — given it has a built-in filter for violent and pornographic content.

    Hulbee is not a startup, having spent 15 years working on semantic search for the b2b space, and selling enterprise-grade search and data analytics to European companies. But it is relatively new to the consumer space — launching a Swiss search engine, called Swisscows.ch, in June 2014 as a first step.

    In these post-Snowden tech times, it reckons there’s a fresh opportunity to differentiate on privacy and security grounds vs dominant consumer search players (Google has a circa 90 per cent share of the search market in Europe). And notes, for instance, that its servers are located in Switzerland, so away from the prying eyes of the NSA — or indeed the European Union.

    The angel funding will specifically be used to expand its consumer search engine, according to Wiebe. “We have a big mountain to climb with a lot of competitors,” he admits. “[We’ll use the] money to continue to building and develop our search engine for consumers.”

    After launching its consumer search engine in the U.S. this summer it added 30 more markets in September, and is now available in 60 countries. It’s not breaking out user data at this stage but says Swisscows.ch is processing more than five million queries per month, while Hulbee.com is processing more than eight million search queries monthly.

    The company is also planning to step up its enterprise search activity, with the launch of an enterprise search product specifically targeted at medium and small companies planned for this later month, and an enterprise search engine that aims to compete with Microsoft, Google and HP slated for November.

    https://techcrunch.com/2015/10/07/hulbee-angel-round/

    Donald Trump was omitted from a Google search of presidential candidates earlier this week because of a "technical bug" in the search engine's information mapping system used for filtering top results.

    "We found a technical bug in 'Search' where only the presidential candidates participating in an active primary election were appearing in a Knowledge Graph result," a Google spokesman told Snopes.com on Wednesday. "Because the Republican and Libertarian primaries have ended, those candidates did not appear.

    Special: Trump's Plan to Build a Wall – AGREE or DISAGREE?

    "This bug was resolved early this morning."

    Internet users searching the term "presidential candidates" on Thursday found that the results produced text and pictures of Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Snopes reported.

    No information on Trump or Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson came up in the search.
    Latest News Update

    However, the Snopes report includes a screenshot of similar search results that was taken by Stein on July 17, after she petitioned Google to be included in the results.

    Special: 4 Jaw-Dropping Cards Charging 0% Interest Until 2018

    That screenshot included both Trump and Johnson, according to the report.

    Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination last Thursday. The last primaries were held on June 7.

    Twitter erupted with angry Google users slamming the search engine for excluding Trump.

    In recent months, Google and Facebook have been among the Silicon Valley companies that have been accused of bias toward conservatives and similar news organizations.

    Google has long insisted that it does not favor any political ideology.

    Special: Jim Rogers Warns: Coming Collapse Will Be Worst 'We Have Ever Seen in Recorded History'

    The company's CEO, Eric Schmidt, has been on the Democratic National Committee's Democratic Victory Task Force since 2014, The Daily Caller reports.

    © 2016 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

    http://www.newsmax.com/Politics/google-technical-bug-omit-trump/2016/07/28/id/741077/

    Big changes are coming to Facebook Live. The social network will let broadcasts run for up to four hours – or even continuously in some cases. Plus, you can now hide reactions and comments, view livestreams in full-screen, and restrict who sees your broadcast.

    Here’s a quick roundup of all the changes coming to Facebook Live that marketers need to know.

    1. 4 Hour Live Streams

    Since Facebook Live launched, livestreams have been limited to 90 minutes. Now Facebook is more than doubling that.

    Yes, broadcasters are now restricted to a mere four hours for users when broadcasting via the Facebook app or using the Live API.

    2. Hide Reactions & Comments

    Don’t want to see comments and reactions while you’re broadcasting or watching? Facebook will now let you hide both in a video-only mode.

    All you have to do is swipe right to hide comments and reactions. Swipe left to bring them back.

    In theory, this will help reduce distractions and help keep viewers focused on the broadcast.

    3. Full-Screen Live

    One significant change that is more geared toward viewers than broadcasters is that viewers can now watch broadcasts in full-screen mode, rather than as a square we’ve become used to over the past several months.

    Although Android users will have to wait for full-screen mode until summer, iOS users can enjoy this new feature right away. Full-screen will work with both landscape and portrait viewing when fully rolled out.

    4. Continuous Live

    Want to go live indefinitely on Facebook? Now you can.

    Continuous live video was actually added a couple months ago, but this one slipped under the radar of many marketers. “Some great use cases for continuous live include live feeds of aquariums, museums, and zoos,” according to Facebook.

    The catch with continuous live? Your followers won’t receive a notification that you’re live. Also, once you end broadcasting, it’s gone forever. Your followers have to literally watch it when it’s live – there’s no rewinding or reliving it.

    5. Geogating

    Want only men to watch your livestream? Or people who are located in certain places?

    New audience restrictions, what Facebook calls “geogating,” were added to the Live API at the same time as continuous streaming. Now you can target or exclude people by:

    Location – country, state, city, or ZIP code.
    Age – you can specify a minimum and maximum age.
    Gender

    https://www.searchenginejournal.com/facebook-live-update/169111/

    The “Internet of Things” is here and has more data on you than you may know. The significant cultural and technological shift of this deep embedment into our lives, bodies, homes and almost everything else we touch has allowed for efficiency, flexibility and convenience with our day-to-day lives. That connectivity is an incredible thing, but one major question remains within the burgeoning IoT industry: how do companies secure the data collected on you?

    Consider the information at stake. Your Wi-Fi-enabled security cameras can give real-time information about when and if you’re home. Same with your Internet-connected alarm system. Even a smart TV has valuable information; it’s connected to your Netflix or Amazon account. Any account information on these accounts can lead to a credit card or identity details. Of course, the mother of all identity concerns comes from the smartphone: it’s a centralized resource of account information that can connect with almost all smart devices, your smart home and even your car — something that becomes even more vulnerable as the age of self-driving cars approaches.

    Recently, a CBS 60 Minutes story demonstrated the multitude of capabilities of a hacker that only has a person’s phone number.It’s clear that the IoT age presents security concerns in ways that seemed unthinkable just a decade ago. The solution, though, may stem from one of the most unique innovations of the digital era: the blockchain.

    Originally developed as part of the Bitcoin digital currency platform, the open blockchain model has inherent transparency and permanence. These are essential to creating a secure means of direct authentication between smart devices. The model currently used for Bitcoin can be propagated into other applications — any industry that requires archival integrity can adopt the blockchain. For the IoT industry, a blockchain can be created to manage device identity to prevent a spoofing attack where a malicious party impersonates another device to launch an attack to steal data or cause some other mayhem. Blockchain identity chains will enable two or more devices to be able to communicate directly without going through a third-party intermediary and in effect make spoofing more cost prohibitive.

    Regarding this type of authentication, the model allows users to synchronize multiple devices against a single system of authority that is distributed and censorship resistant. This would apply to an open blockchain, not permissioned or private. The identity chain, created for each device is a permanent record. Through cryptography, only validated devices receive access. As new devices are added, their identity records become part of the blockchain for permanent reference. Any change to a device configuration will be registered and authenticated in the context of the blockchain validation model, ensuring that any falsified records can be caught and ignored.

    This is a new technology and will take some time to move from testing into our everyday lives. Many industry leaders and governments will begin testing this year. Beyond whether or not the tech works, many stakeholders will need to get on board. An industry conglomerate that agrees on a blockchain design would be helpful. Having all the IoT devices write to the same source or have systems that are interoperable will be critical. It’s not necessarily that every IoT device manufacturer or software developer write data to the same blockchain; instead, it could go further upstream and be an agreement between OEM manufacturers of essential components that are used in the authentication process flow.

    In addition to baseline authentication (device model, serial number, etc.), the blockchain can create records of any data it generates — for example, a smart front door lock can have a transaction log of video activation when someone exits/enters the home or unlocks it remotely. Each item in the history creates another historical link in its respective identity chain that can provide further data to use for authentication matching. If someone with malicious intent was to try and change the protocol of the door lock without the correct credentials or there was a change in the configuration, the blockchain validation model would not allow for the door lock to be changed.

    An important component of the blockchain’s effectiveness comes from its standing as a public record, with user nodes all auditing the same record. Of course, with a public record, there will always be privacy concerns over sensitive data. However, the blockchain protects against this through the use of one-way hashes. In the blockchain world, a cryptographic hash function is a mathematical algorithm that maps data and shortens its size to a bit string, “a hash function,” which is also designed to be one-way and infeasible to invert. This means it is nearly and practically impossible to obtain the content of a hash without the source data.

    The Internet of Things is still a new industry, one that will become more pervasive and significant as our technological innovations turn science fiction into our everyday lives. At this early stage, it’s critical to establish a scalable solution that will push the industry forward as the volume of connected devices grows exponentially. The blockchain represents a unique type of solution, one that is established as a secure means of protecting financial data but flexible enough to be applied to any high-stakes record keeping. With the IoT age demonstrating the ability to connect just about every aspect of a person’s life, it truly doesn’t get any more high stakes than that.

    Source:  http://internetofthingsagenda.techtarget.com/blog/IoT-Agenda/Blockchain-Defender-of-the-Internet-of-Things

    Saturday, 21 May 2016 11:58

    How Google RankBrain is Humanizing SEO

    Since the end of 2015, Google has been using an artificial intelligence system called RankBrain to process search results and inform its core algorithm to deliver more relevant organic search results. But, we still don’t know much about how Google RankBrain works, and according to Google itself, they don’t really know either.

    What we have ascertained so far about how RankBrain impacts SEO is pivotal, and it means we need to start taking an even more human-first approach to search engine optimization.

    Google RankBrain is Not Itself an Algorithm, but it is Integral to One:

    Google describes RankBrain as a key “signal” within its core search algorithm. Essentially, RankBrain is the part of the algorithm that is used to “understand” the meaning of billions of web pages and help Google’s algorithm return the ones that users will find the most relevant to their search queries.

    While there are potentially hundreds of (or more) ranking signals and sub-signals within Google’s algorithm, Google has confirmed that RankBrain is one of the three top signals that inform search results, along with links and content. It’s kind of like the Holy Trinity of Google, with RankBrain becoming the biggest and most influential of the three.

    That’s because for the queries it is responding to, RankBrain is informing Google’s algorithm not just about which links and content are best, but how it should interpret these types of signals in the future. This is incredibly important, because Google no longer has to make guesses about what it believes something means based on disparate factors like keywords and links, but is instead beginning to interpret data much like a person would.

    What this means: Although Google talks about RankBrain, content, and links as they are three parts of the same pie, rather, they all work together and inform one another. These signals (and their sub-signals) don’t each operate in a silo, so you shouldn’t treat them as such when it comes to your SEO strategy.

    In the same way, there are many parts — like your website’s technical structure, content, offsite presence, and more — that work together to determine your site’s performance for specific searches. So, make sure you are not just executing all the necessary tactics, but that all the pieces of your website and web presence are consistent and connected, and relevant to the actual users of your content.

    RankBrain is Learning How People Search (and What They Want)

    Unlike relying on simple connections between words or concepts, Google RankBrain uses mathematical processes and language semantics (understanding what something means rather than simply the words that are used) to understand complex search queries. RankBrain’s unique combination of machine learning and artificial intelligence allows it to look beyond basic language markers like “stemming” (variations of a word, like “searching” for “search”), synonyms, (like “company” and “business”), and basic conceptual understanding, (like knowing you’re searching for Michelangelo the artist and not Michelangelo the Ninja Turtle) that previously limited search engine capabilities.

    In the below example, you can see that Google relates “water heaters for sale” and “water heater repair” to the search term “who replaces water heaters.” While this is not a stretch, over time, Google RankBrain will learn even more about how people search (such as by asking questions) and the results they engage with, and apply those behaviors to inform future search results.

    Essentially, RankBrain is allowing Google to leverage human-like understanding and interpretation as a more effective way to identify content that people will respond to most in search results. This is, after all, what its algorithm has always been trying to achieve. But, thanks to advancements in machine learning and AI, Google is closer than ever to accomplishing this.

    What this means: This represents a critical shift in how we think about SEO long term. No longer is simply gaming the math of an algorithm a way to find yourself at the top of search results. Google continues to make enhancements that reward content and experiences that people use and find valuable.

    RankBrain is an integral way it’s able to do this more effectively than ever before. As people evolve in the ways they search and the phrases they use, Google’s algorithm is quickly adapting. We’ve already seen updates that positively reward sites that are mobile-friendly that contain high-quality content, and provide locally-relevant information in the search results – all factors that human users value highly. As RankBrain learns what makes searchers respond to certain pages in the search results over others, it will continue to change how Google’s algorithm interprets websites and determines a site’s search rank for each query – and reward the factors that actual people are responding to best.

    Organic Search Results Relevant to Search

    RankBrain Further Restricts Exact-Match Approaches to SEO

    Because it is helping Google’s algorithm look more holistically at the complexity of factors involved in the way people search, RankBrain represents a huge shift away from a time when the algorithm focused more on factors like keyword match.

    In fact, Google RankBrain interprets search queries and helps find web pages that enable Google to return higher quality results for complex or long-tail search queries – not necessarily those which contain an exact keyword or phrase match. RankBrain is especially useful because it applies meaning to searches for terms or concepts that Google doesn’t already have context for. Because it understands the semantics of a user’s search query, like in the above example “Who replaces water heaters in Seattle?” RankBrain is continuing Google’s path to deemphasizing the importance of exact keyword matches and relying on natural language when determining SEO rank and results.

    What this means: The content on your website and the way users engage with it is critical to your SEO strategy and how Google displays your site in search results. Although RankBrain isn’t the end-all-be-all of Google’s search algorithm, Google’s goal continues to provide the most relevant and useful results possible to searchers. So, it’s important that your website content is easy to understand, clearly formatted, and helpful for your target audience. Because soon, there won’t be much difference between how people read your site and how Google does.

    Final Thoughts

    SEO has always been an ongoing process that requires continual attention to search engine changes to get traffic from search results. With Google RankBrain, it’s even more important for businesses and website owners to understand the reasons behind search engine updates and recommendations, and to respond to them swiftly and with expertise to stay relevant in organic search

    In fact, Google is taking even greater steps to shift away from a system that can be gamed through outdated tactics such as keyword-stuffing and paving the way for a more human-like approach to delivering great content and experiences to users via its search results. By making sure your website is designed and written for real people and the way they like to consume your content— and not for gaming search engines — your site will be more prepared for any changes Google throws your way.

    Source: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-rankbrain-humanizing-seo/162663/

    Flash's death has been slow and painful, and now Google is planning to deal it another blow. Google has detailed plans to start blocking most Flash content with Chrome, with the change targeted toward the end of this year.

     

    Under its current vision, nearly every website would have Flash content blocked by default. Visitors would still be able to enable Flash content on a site-by-site basis, but they would have to specifically choose to do so. Chrome would display a prompt offering to enable Flash; if chosen, Chrome would remember to run Flash on that site for all future visits.

     

     

    Only 10 sites would have Flash enabled by default — the "top 10 domains using Flash," to avoid annoying people with too many prompts. Those include YouTube, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitch, and Amazon. But they'll only have a one year exemption. After that, it sounds like they'll have Flash blocked by default, just like everyone else.

     

    Of course, this change still doesn't fully remove Flash from Chrome. It's still in there and still able to be widely run, so long as people keep giving it permission. Even so, disabling it by default still offers protections against unwanted and potentially malicious content. And it encourages web developers to make the switch to HTML5, so that people aren't discouraged from leaving their site.

     

    To further encourage that change, Chrome won't simply be blocking Flash — it'll be pretending like Flash isn't even installed. So if a website has a backup HTML5 player, people using Chrome will see that, rather than a prompt to enable Flash.

    Specifics of Google's plan could still change. But the proposal notes that "the tone and spirit should remain fairly consistent," even if details are altered here and there.

     

     

     

    Google began enabling Flash blocking on a very limited scale a year ago, when it started "intelligently" pausing unnecessary content as a way to preserve battery life. That's the default setting right now; this plan pushing things much further.

     

    If you're interested, you can already enable the settings that Google is planning to switch over to. Buried inside of Chrome's preferences page (under privacy and then content settings), you can find an option called "let me choose when to run plugin content." It'll block all Flash content until you right click on it and choose to have it enabled.

     

    Even Adobe doesn't think people should use Flash any longer, so there likely won't be a huge amount of pushback on Chrome's changes. Flash is a menace on battery life and is continually found to have serious security flaws, so its eventual disappearance will be celebrated at every step.

     

    Source:  http://www.theverge.com/2016/5/15/11679394/chrome-to-block-flash-later-2016

     

     

     

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