BARACK Obama is planning a coup, fluoride is dulling my IQ and five US Presidents were members of the Ku Klux Klan — well, that’s if you believe the “facts” that Google delivers.

The search engine giant has joined Facebook as being a deliverer of fake news, thanks to the reliance of an algorithm which looks for popular results rather than true results.

Generally, Google escapes a lot of the bad press that other tech giants, quite fairly, cop.

Twitter is a place where nameless trolls say inexecutable things while Facebook is the place where ignorant people share their ignorant views in a way that is unreasonably popular. Just ask US President Donald Trump.

But now it’s Google’s term to cop some flak and it’s because the search engine, rather than just deliver results, also seeks to return what Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land calls the “one true answer”.

The reason Google is now a spreader of lies and falsehood comes down to the realisation that we Google things we want an answer to.

Google Inc. headquarters in Mountain View, California. Picture: AP

Google Inc. headquarters in Mountain View, California. Picture: APSource:News Limited 

Want to know “when did World War II” end, you type it into Google. And rather than just get a link to dozens of websites, we also get a box at the top of the screen with the dates of World War II.

You have a question and now you have an answer.

This way of delivering a fact is called a “featured snippet”. It’s been a feature that Google has delivered since 2014 and, generally, people have been happy. But they’re not happy now because Google’s one true answer, in some cases, is total rubbish.

The problem is particularly highlighted with the Google Home speaker, the smart speaker that in some cases has been delivering dumb answers.

Several people have shared videos on YouTube and Twitter of asking Google Home the question: Is Obama planning a coup?

The real answer would be something like “naw mate, he’s living the good life and glad to be doing so”. The answer, according to Google, is yep — he’s in league with the Chinese.

Likewise, according to Google Home, there have been five US presidents who were members of the Ku Klux Klan. Nope, according to more reliable sources, there is no evidence that any US presidents were members of the Klan although some were racists. (Eight US presidents, including George Washington, owned slaves.)

You can keep going down this rabbit hole of misinformation that is not all right-wing conspiracies. According to Google snippets, Obama’s birth certificate is forged, Donald Trump is paranoid and mentally ill and “republicans = Nazis”.


Not all of the false answers are political. There is medical misinformation, including the claim that fluoride will lower your IQ, and it took God six days to create the Earth.

Google has issued a statement blaming the misinformation on the algorithm and says people can click on a feedback button on each boxed fact to report it as incorrect.

The problem Google faces in all of this is the amount of misinformation out there.

The “facts” that it delivers comes from the top ten results for each query. Arguably, Google is the messenger and someone else has created the falsehood and spread it.

Sullivan crunched the numbers to work out how Google might fix it.

It could, for instance, assign a person to check each fact.

But given Google processes 5 billion queries a day and about 15 per cent of them have featured snippets, that would require someone to check nearly 1 billion facts a day.

Or it could drop the feature altogether, but the problem in the age of Apple Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, is that people are now used to asking a device a question and expecting an answer.

Other solutions would be to more obviously source the fact, so that it’s clear that it comes from something that is an unreliable source. Or only deliver snippets if they come from a list of vetted sites — but even that is problematic.

Here is the one real answer. Don’t believe everything you hear — even if the person talking is a smart speaker with artificial intelligence. They’ll say anything.

Source : http://www.news.com.au/technology/gadgets/google-joins-facebook-in-fake-news-cycle-with-algorithm-delivering-false-facts/news-story/1d65166dc1a2ac947aa3c0d10c806721

Categorized in Search Engine

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

Categorized in Search Engine

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