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Donald Trump on Wednesday revived an old conspiracy that Google is in the tank for Hillary Clinton. 

 

“The Google poll has us leading Hillary Clinton by two points nationwide, and that’s despite the fact that Google search engine was suppressing the bad news about Hillary Clinton,” the Republican presidential nominee said in Wisconsin Wednesday, according to the New York Times. “How about that?”

It's an old theory — and one that has been debunked. Google was accused of suppressing negative news about the Democratic presidential nominee in June after the conservative site SourceFed posted a video about Google's autocorrect feature. Google's autofilled results, the video claimed, didn't complete "Hillary Clinton cr" with "Hillary Clinton criminal investigation," for example. Search engines Bing and Yahoo had different results. 

Mashable tested the claims against Google's autofill and search features in June and found that the search engine didn't seem to suppress anything. 

A test of Google's autocomplete in June.

Trump's claims this week also confused Google search results with its autocomplete option. Even if Google's autocomplete doesn't offer to search for "Hillary Clinton criminal investigation," that wouldn't suppress any information for that search term. 

"Autocomplete predictions aren’t search results and don’t limit what you can search for," Google's VP of product management for search, Tamar Yehoshua, wrote in a blog post in response to the claims in June. "You can still perform whatever search you want to, and of course, regardless of what you search for, we always strive to deliver the most relevant results from across the web."

In response to the claims about autocomplete in particular, a Google spokesperson at that time told Mashable

"Google Autocomplete does not favor any candidate or cause. Claims to the contrary simply misunderstand how Autocomplete works. Our Autocomplete algorithm will not show a predicted query that is offensive or disparaging when displayed in conjunction with a person's name. More generally, our autocomplete predictions are produced based on a number of factors including the popularity of search terms." 

Trump's reference to the Google autocomplete conspiracy was included in his prepared remarks Wednesday, according to the New York Times

 

Source : http://mashable.com

Categorized in News & Politics

Many of us have changed our reading habits from hardcopy newspapers and magazines to digital and online services from social media and news aggregators. In the process the original writer, journalist or newspaper owner who developed the content has been lost, ignored and deprived of income due.

The digital reading habits have led to broader audiences, but have also impacted advertising revenue for the newsprint operators and made the licensing and enforcement of the rights in these publications increasingly difficult.

The European Commission, earlier this month, released its draft updated copyright rules in an attempt to regulate the digital economy and ensure rights are properly attributed and protected.

The new EU copyright rules recognise the important role press publishers play in investing in and creating quality journalistic content.

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However, not everyone welcomes the proposals, with US tech giants such as Google among those most concerned.

The main meat of the Commission’s vision of copyright reform, an expanded publisher ancillary right for online content, has been dubbed a ‘Google news tax’, or more accurately a ‘link tax’.

The idea is that news aggregators, including Google news, should pay publishers for the content on their search engine — the headlines and article snippets that are displayed.

The scope and the enforcement of copyright in the digital environment have been among the most complex and controversial issues for lawmakers for the last decade.

Due to the ubiquitous use of digital technology, modern regulation of copyright inherently touches upon various areas of law and social and economic policy, including communications privacy as well as Internet governance.

In June, India’s finance minister Arun Jaitley announced in his budget speech the introduction of an equalisation levy on international digital services provided by the likes of Google and Facebook.

The idea is to indirectly tax internet giants for the money they make from Indian advertisers’ content by imposing a levy of 6% on the payments these advertisers make. The tax has been aimed at technology companies that make money via online advertisements but make no corporation tax returns in India.

Whereas the EU has not said it will introduce an equalisation levy, there is considerable concern that India’s first step to tax the digital economy may be followed by individual EU member states who have individual tax regulatory control within their own countries.

In the case of the equalisation tax in India, it remains to be seen whether the foreign company will stand to bear the loss by simply accepting lower margins because of the new tax or hike the advertising rate taking the new tax into account.

But Google may play hardball, as it did when Spain introduced strict copyright rules in January 2015, which made it impossible for individual publishers to waive their rights to remuneration.

Google shut down its news service in Spain and removed all Spanish publishers from its global newsfeeds, saying it could not afford the significant costs the law created for something that generated no advertising revenue.

A link tax could be bad news for all publishers, but particularly for smaller publishers that will find that this is not the way to address falling revenues from traditional print sales.

It must be recognised that news aggregators deliver huge traffic to publishers’ websites.

Also, very few young people get their news from one source anymore. News aggregators are the way they find out what content is available, before going on to buying access to those articles that are behind paywalls.

More than ever before, consumers are enjoying the freedom of news from multiple sources and, thereby, delivering advertising revenue to many different publishers.

And, yes, we need copyright laws in Europe that recognise the reality of the Internet, but they should be capable of being enforced without a damaging levy or linked taxation system.

Source : http://www.irishexaminer.com/http://www.irishexaminer.com/

Categorized in Internet Ethics

Google has rolled out its new algorithm Google Penguin 4.0. Michael Jenkins explains how these changes will affect your website and what you can do to avoid being penalised.

It’s been a two-year wait for SEO tragics – Google’s anticipated Penguin 4.0 started rolling out over the weekend and while it’s too soon to see the full impact here’s what you need to know.michael jenkins - ceo - shout agency

What is Google Penguin?

In a nutshell Penguin is the name for a Google algorithm designed to catch websites that are spamming search results. The first iteration launched in 2012, the last update to the algorithm was in 2014 and now Penguin 4.0 landed on the weekend.

Tell me more about Penguin 4.0

Penguin 4.0, dubbed the ‘real time update’, has targeted over-optimised sites. Over-optimisation is two-fold. Firstly, when there is an overuse of keywords that are unnaturally placed second is the over optimisation of link profiles, so if you have too many links from external sites pointing to the same keywords on your page, it’s time to update your disavow file before you get penalised.

Moving forward, there’s one thing that’s for certain – use keywords to write for your audience, not for search engine rankings as you will get found out quicker than ever!Happy chinstrap Penguin

How exactly will sites be affected?

The two key changes are:

  1. You will start to see considerable fluctuations in Google rankings from now as real-time updates will occur as updates are made to a site.
  2. Penguin 4.0 is more granular and penalises specific pages on a site. In the past it was a domain wide penalty.

Pros

  • Penguin is real-time! When a webmaster updates or optimises their website Google will now recognize these changes quickly; and rankings will change accordingly – no more lag time!
  • Penguin 4.0 penalises competitors sites that aren’t doing things by the book and taking short cuts for short term rankings. If you have been doing things well and building genuine authority in your marketplace online then it’s likely to see a positive effect on rankings.

Cons

  • Penguin is real-time. I hear you – I’ve named it as a ‘pro’ but it is also a watch out. You need to ensure your site is being optimized and updated correctly – Google will now notice errors faster than ever that can quickly alter your ranking.
  • SEO is becoming much more sophisticated over time and Google is getting faster at seeing unnatural tactics. Regularly updating your SEO strategy and keeping constant monitor on your websites back links is essential to remain compliant with Penguin 4.0

How can I make the most out of Penguin 4.0?

Marketers should always keep an eye on back links and perform regular checks using the Google disavows tool. The main difference between good and bad backlinks depends on the quality of the website they are on. Bad backlinks will see your site penalised.

If you have noticed fluctuations in rankings there are a few steps you can take to help:

  • Clean out hazardous links
  • Review keyword density on site. Is the keyword repetition natural?
  • Create some branded links. The fastest way to do this is though citation building

Watch this space.

Penguin 4.0 has literally just landed we’re bound to learn more in the coming week as it rolls out. Keep your eye out for more insights.

Source : https://mumbrella.com.au

Categorized in Science & Tech

Google's upcoming October 4 event- 'Made by Google' is around the corner where the search engine giant is expected to introduce the latest Pixel smartphones and home-automation products, along with other new product upgrades. The Pixel and Pixel XL are rumoured to be Google's upcoming flagship smartphones, which will mark the end of company's popular 'Nexus' series devices. The other possible products in the list includes Daydream VR, third-generation Chromecast device and some other smart home products.

 However, the biggest announcement of the upcoming event might be the merger of Google's Android and Chrome OS that will start a new chapter in the world of mobile products from the search engine giant. Let's find out more about it. Stay tuned to GizBot for more updates!

 The fusion of Android and Chrome OS

We have been hearing about Google‘s plan to merge Android and Chrome OS into a single OS since last one year. It was in October 2015 when we heard that Google has a team of engineers working on this project of merging its mobile OS and Chrome Book platform together. We believe this might be the time that the search engine giant finally reveals the new OS to world, along with Pixel flagship smartphones. Additionally, the tweet by Senior VP of Android, Google Play, and Chrome Hiroshi Lockheimer saying- ‘I have a feeling 8 years from now we'll be talking about Oct 4', further clears the air about the possible official launch.

 Welcome Andromeda

Sources suggest that the marriage of Android and Chrome OS will give the world a new OS, which will go by the name- Andromeda. The merged OS wouldn't be ready until 2017, however a working prototype of new OS is definitely going to see the light of day on October 4

One OS for multiple devices

Andromeda is supposed to bring uniformity and will work on phones, tablets, and even laptops and 2-in-1s. This will give Google the power to target a larger base of audience who will be able to work seamlessly on an array of devices under Google's ecosystem. That said, the upcoming October 4 seems to be an event of historical significance for the search engine giant after the launch of Android OS in September 2008. Stay tuned to GizBot for more updates!

Source : http://www.gizbot.com/

Categorized in Search Engine

When a journalist gets their first job, or switches role to a new area or specialism, they need to quickly work out where to find useful leads. This often involves the use of feeds, email alerts, and social networks. In this post I’m going to explain a range of search techniques for finding useful sources across a range of platforms.

Search techniques for finding news and blog sources

Let’s get the obvious things out of the way first, starting with Google.

Aside from the main search engine, remember that there’s a specific News search option. Within that, you can also specify you want to search within blogs.

google-blog-search

But what about all those local websites and blogs that aren’t listed on Google News? Try using a normal Google search with site:blogspot.com or site:wix.com and your particular keywords to limit results to those hosted on Blogger or Wix.

If you are looking for a place which also exists elsewhere (such as Cambridge, Massachusetts or Birmigham, Alabama), use Search tools to specify you only want results from your country. This isn’t perfect: it will still include wrong results and exclude right ones, but it’s worth trying.

Search tools: specify country

You can also exclude irrelevant results by using the minus operator immediately before keywords in results you want to exclude, e.g. Birmingham -Alabama or Cambridge -Massachusetts

Finding email newsletters in your field

You can search for email newsletters by using your keyword with intitle:subscribe andintitle:email or intitle:newsletter.

Search box: birmingham intitle:subscribe intitle:email

Use an RSS reader instead of email alerts

RSS readers are much easier to read than email alerts: these pull in a range of feeds into one place. Widely used RSS readers include FeedlyNetvibes (where you can share or publish dashboards) and Flipboard (which gives you a magazine-like interface).If you think social media has taken over the role of RSS readers, you aren’t using RSS as much as you could. Here are some examples which you won’t find on social media…

You can get updated on new results by using Google Alerts. Use this on Chrome and you should be able to choose to receive results by email or by RSS.

WordPress has its own search engine, and results can be subscribed to using RSS so you get updated whenever a new post is published mentioning your keyword. Look for the ‘related topics’  box on the right, too: this links to tag pages on WordPress which are also useful.

wordpress search results

Look out for other places where you can find RSS feeds or email alerts for new search results For example TheyWorkForYou’s search page and WhatDoTheyKnow provide both for what MPs are saying and FOI requests respectively.

Consultation websites also typically offer RSS feeds: Transport for London’s has separate feeds for forthcoming, open, and closed consultations, but it will also give you a feed for searches.Here’s their guide to using RSS. Most government departments and local councils use the same system: here’s Leicester’s and here’s DEFRA’s.

The Gov.uk website’s Publications section also offers both RSS feeds and email alerts for new results matching any search you conduct.

Finding events in your area

Meetup, Eventbrite and Lanyrd are all useful for finding events in a particular area.

Meetup is good for regular and more informal events. You can search by location and radius, and get a calendar of upcoming events that meet your criteria.

meetup calendar view

Use the calendar view on Meetup to see upcoming events in your area

Joining a meetup group doesn’t mean you have to attend any – it’s more like joining a group on Facebook. The more you join, the more Meetup will suggest to you.

You can get an RSS feed of meetups you’ve signed up to, and you can add any individual meetup URL to an RSS reader to get an RSS feed of that meetup group’s updates. But you can’t get RSS feeds for areas or searches.

You can subscribe to emails on Meetup about groups you’ve joined, and to be alerted to new groups which may be of interest. New groups being set up is of course often a news story in itself, and an excuse to contact the organiser to interview them about it.

Eventbrite tends to be used for less regular events but also bigger ones. Again you can search by location and get a calendar of forthcoming events (remember to sort by date, not relevance).eventbrite birmingham events

Each event on Eventbrite has an organiser. Click on their profile to see more events. Sadly Eventbrite doesn’t seem to have any RSS feeds but there does appear to be a workaround using Zapier.

Lanyrd, which is owned by Eventbrite, is useful for finding conferences. You can search by keyword, and you can also try to find the URL for particular locations. This tends to begin withlanyrd.com/places/ followed by a place name, for example lanyrd.com/places/liverpool.

lanyrd events in Birmingham

Usefully, places on Lanyrd do have their own RSS feed, so you can receive updates on all events in that location on an RSS reader. You can also add them directly to your calendar. Both options are in the right hand column.The site also has a speaker directory, useful for finding experts in a particular field.

Your own specialist or local search engine

If you need to regularly search within a particular group of sites, consider setting up a personalised search engine using Google Custom Search.For example: you might make a list of local public body websites such as those for all local hospitals, the police and fire services, and local authority.

Reddit

Chances are that Reddit has a number of forums related to the area you’re interested in. For example there are two Birmingham subreddits (r/brum and r/Birmingham) but also subreddits for local football teams and universities. All will have RSS feeds that can be added to an RSS reader.

Using Facebook lists to create multiple newsfeed channels

Most people know about Twitter lists, but fewer people know you can create lists in Facebook.

Like Twitter lists, these can be useful for following a specific group of people (for example those in a particular industry, organisation or area) and ensuring you can check those updates regularly: remember that most updates from your connections are never shown in your news feed, so this is a way of taking control.

facebook-friends-lists

Remember to bookmark your friends list once you’ve created it, as otherwise you’ll still have to access it through the Friends menu in Facebook.

Finding people on Facebook based on location or employer

Now, how do you find those people to add to your Facebook lists? If you go to Facebook’s friend requests page you will see a series of search boxes on the right hand side. These allow you to search for people by various criteria, but the most useful are where they live now and their current employer. Look for people who live and work in relevant areas.

facebook friends search boxes

Finding useful pages and groups for journalists on Facebook: Graph Search

How do you find relevant pages and groups on Facebook? Facebook’s Graph Search allows you to identify groups and pages liked or joined by people who live in a particular area, or who have liked or joined other pages or groups.

That sounds complicated as a sentence, so here’s a picture which should be a lot clearer:

Pages liked by people who live in Birmingham

To do this you need to conduct a search in Facebook using a particular sentence structure.

If you type pages liked by people who live in and then start typing a location, Facebook should start to suggest locations that it recognises. Choose the one you mean and Facebook should show your pages that match.

By default results are shown across all types of results (people, groups, pages). So make sure  that you switch to the Pages tab to see all the results.

Another phrase is pages liked by people who like followed by the name of a page. Again, start typing that name and then select one that Facebook suggests.

pages liked by people who like Aston Villa

To find groups use the phrase Groups joined by people who joined, followed by the name of a relevant group. You can also use Groups joined by people who liked, followed by the name of a relevant page, or Groups joined by people who live in followed by a location.

People joined by people who joined Birmingham Freshers 2016

LinkedIn for journalists

LinkedIn has a number of useful features for journalists. One of these is the ability to search specifically for companies. First, make sure you select Companies from the drop-down menu to the left of the search box, then press enter (don’t type any criteria):

Select the Companies option from the drop down menu

You’ll get some initial search results for all companies on LinkedIn. You can now filter those results further by using the Location option on the left. Click + Add and start typing your location until the right one appears to select.

linkedin-company-search-by-location

Use the Companies filter and set the Location filter to get companies near you

It is generally not good practice to send contact requests to individuals on LinkedIn unless you know them. However, as you do build your personal contacts it is useful to add them on LinkedIn because you can choose to receive updates when your contacts are mentioned online:

LinkedIn: Connections in the news

Instagram

It’s easy to underestimate Instagram, but many people find it easier or more natural to use than text-based social networks. It may be the first place that someone shares a newsworthy image or experience.

Obviously the primary way of navigating Instagram is through hashtags. These can be searched on the app, but you can also browse them online by adding your tag to the end of the URLinstagram.com/explore/tags/ e.g. instagram.com/explore/tags/manchester

A second way of finding useful accounts, however, is geotagging. A much higher proportion of instagram updates are geotagged compared to posts on other social media platforms.Worldcam allows you to find updates – and therefore users – by location.

instagram-search

Snapchat

Snapchat is another social platform which is being used by an increasingly broader range of people, including politicians and celebrities. I’ve written previously about 5 techniques for finding people on Snapchat here.

Twitter search: snapchat followed by the list name

Twitter

I’ve probably written more about finding people on Twitter, and managing Twitter feeds, than any other social platform. Here are a selection of previous posts covering that:

Source : https://onlinejournalismblog.com

Categorized in Search Techniques

It’s incredible that it took just 18 years for Google -- the company reached this milestone of adulthood on Sept. 27 -- to create a market capitalization of more than $530 billion. It’s perhaps even more amazing to recall how the search engine has changed life as we know it.

Google, now a unit of holding parent company Alphabet Inc., began in Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s Stanford University dorm in 1998 before campus officials asked them to find a real office after the Stanford IT department complained Page and Brin’s were sucking up all the university’s bandwidth.

By the time I joined the company in November of 2001, it was apparent that we were changing the world. As an early employee at Google -- the second attorney hired there -- there were times when shivers ran up my spine thinking about what we were building. Democratizing access to information, and bringing the real world online -- it was an inspiring place to be.

Having grown up in a working class neighborhood, I had to travel to an affluent neighborhood to access a good public library, spending countless Saturday afternoons with volumes of reference books to learn how to apply for financial aid to attend college. In those pre-Internet days, a good library and a kind-hearted librarian were my keys to advancement.

After the printing press, the first major democratization of access to information had been driven a century ago by steel baron Andrew Carnegie. He became the world’s richest man in the late 19th century and then gave it all away, donating $60 million to fund 1,689 public libraries across the United States. To my mind, Google took Carnegie’s vision of putting information in the hands of the general public and put it on steroids, creating a virtual library akin to those found only in sci-fi movies in 1998.

Google indexed the internet extraordinarily well without human intervention, unlike previously curated outlets such as Yahoo! or LexisNexis, and in such a way that the user did not have to know how to use the index or Boolean search methods. Google enabled free searches of words or terms, making all manner of information instantly retrievable even if you did not know where it was housed. With Google, you could find any needle in any haystack at any time. Unlocking that data has indeed been a great equalizer: any individual can arm him or herself with relevant information before seeing a doctor or applying for government assistance, housing or a job.

Getting archives online

Soon, Google could trivially retrieve any piece of data on the World Wide Web. Crucially, Google started indexing information that was previously offline, such as far-flung archives (imagine a very old text in a tower in Salamanca) to make that knowledge searchable. People’s photos and videos followed. Then, of course, Google cars began cruising and mapping our streets. That paired with GPS granted us all a new superpower -- being able to find our way in almost any small town or big city in the world.

Now Google is a global archive storing our history as it is made. It is as though a virtual world is being created right alongside our real world, a simulation of reality that grows more robust by the day. Because of Google, the creation and storage of information itself has expanded exponentially as people and scholars have access to information that enables them to make new discoveries. Those discoveries, in turn, are shared with the world thanks to the culture of sharing that has been central to the internet and Google’s philosophy. All this has sped the pace of discovery.

Of course, there have been casualties. Google has changed the business of newspapers forever and virtually single-handedly run most publishers of maps out of business. It transformed advertising, using and perfecting A/B testing to understanding our tastes and what makes a person click on an ad. Sometimes I worry that technology companies have become almost too good at this, building upon and applying these lessons to other ways of collectively sucking us into our devices more and more.

This access to information without the curation of trained journalists carries other costs too, leading to an internet rife with misinformation and untruth. Nowhere is that more evident today than in our rancorous U.S. presidential election, where it seems little value is placed on objectivity, making organizations such asfactcheck.org essential reading. The growth of Google and the diminution of the role of the established media in our society at such crucial moments might cause Alexis de Tocqueville, who believed newspapers “ maintain civilization,” to turn in his grave.

One thing’s for sure: With Google, the future will bring the unexpected and sometimes delightful. Autonomous cars, robots, gesture-sensing fabrics, hands-free controls, modular cell phones and reimagined cities are among the projects that lie ahead for the search giant that even as it is one of the world’s largest companies, has maintained a startup culture at its offices, which now employmore than 61,000 people.

In breaking out beyond the constraints of the online world into the physical universe, Google has made us believe (and even expect) that when one is inspired by some great purpose, we can transcend limitations. Anything becomes possible.

Source : http://www.foxnews.com/

Categorized in Search Engine

Dive Brief

  • Google has updated four-year-old Penguin, which penalizes sites involved in artificially boosting search rankings via poor-quality links, and made it a part of the search engine's core algorithm, the company said in a blog post
  • The key changes, which are among the top requests from website developers, include making Penguin real-time, meaning any changes in rankings will be visible more quickly.
  • Penguin is also more granular, adjusting rankings based on spam signals rather than affecting the ranking of the entire site.

Dive Insight:

As the leading search engine, one of Google’s goals is to ensure strong user experiences. Penguin, which was first introduced in 2012 and last updated in 2014, is the company’s way of weeding out site pages filled with links to unrelated content in an attempt to boost search rankings.

While paid search is Google’s biggest source of revenue, search engine optimization, which Penguin addresses, is important for brands and marketers. With content marketing gaining steam as more consumers spend time online researching and reading about topics of interest, a strong SEO strategy is one of the ways that marketers can drive success for these programs.

Over the past few years, Google has been testing and developing Penguin and now feels it is ready to be part of its core algorithm. In the past, the list of sites affected by Penguin was periodically refreshed. As a result, when sites were improved with an eye toward removing bad links, website developers had to wait until the next refresh before any changes were taken into account by Google’s web crawlers.

Source : http://www.marketingdive.com/

Categorized in Search Engine

Google has removed the search tool that allows users to change their geo-location. Columnist Clay Cazier documents four ways to get around this restriction and emulate a search from any city. 

In late November 2015, Google removed the location search filter from the (shrinking) list of search tools available to refine queries. As search results have become increasingly localized, this significantly limits consumers’ ability to see results for any other location than their own.

Whether you’re a search pro who needs to see clients’ search results as returned within different localities or a normal consumer who wants to see results localized to your next travel destination, the removal of this search tool significantly limits the ability to see the SERP world beyond your own city or country.

Today’s post will provide ways to show localized search results despite Google’s removal of the search tool.

What Does Google Say?

As Google told Search Engine Land, the company maintains that the location search filter “was getting very little usage,” so they removed it. Could it be they removed the search tool but retained the ability via an advanced search screen or something similar? A quick search for “change Google search location” may give you a little hope; there’s an answer box, and even a support articleentitled, “Change your location on Google.” Problem solved? Unfortunately, no.

Google’s idea of being helpful is telling you how to change the auto-detected search location (usually by IP) to a “more precise” location they select for you, usually based on search history. For me, that meant my location changed from New York City (by corporate IP address) to Columbia, SC (my actual location). But I need to see how my Dallas, TX, client is showing in SERPs localized tothat area.

Following are four ways to show localized Google Search results.

1. Google AdPreview

It may be intended for use by Google AdWords participants, but Google’s AdPreview tool is actually available whether you’re logged in or out, regardless of whether or not you have a Google AdWords account.

In my opinion, this is the easiest and most accurate way to emulate a search from a locality other than your own but also emulate from different devices, languages and countries.

GoogleAdPreview-790x600

2. ISearchFrom.com

Another simple method is to use the www.isearchfrom.com website. It works a lot like Google’s AdPreview tool but allows a few additional search parameters like Safe Search settings (and a few others that don’t seem to make a difference in the results).

The site’s footer does say it is not actively maintained, so who knows how long this utility will work.

isearchfrom

3. Location Emulation In Google Chrome

There is a feature within Google Chrome’s Developer Tools that allows you to emulate any latitude and longitude. Hat tip to the Digital Inspiration blog for this method:

  1. Open the Chrome browser.
  2. Press [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+I to open Developer Tools.
  3. Click “Console” and then the “Emulation” tab. If you do not see the Emulation tab while in the Console, press the [ESC] key and it will appear.
  4. Within the Emulation tab’s navigation, choose “Sensors.”
  5. Check the box next to “Emulate geolocation coordinates.”
  6. Open a new tab with a utility like http://www.latlong.net/ to look up the precise latitude and longitude for a locality.
  7. Copy and paste the latitude and longitude over to the “Emulate geolocation coordinates” input boxes.
  8. Go to Google.com and submit your query to get results that match those you’d get if you were actually in that locality.

GoogleChromeEmulateGeolocation

4. The &near= Search Parameter

There is a URL parameter you can append to your Google search to return results near a certain location — just add &near=cityname to your query string, where cityname is your desired locality.

For example, after searching for “cowboy boots,” add &near=Dallas to the query URL, like so:https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=cowboy+boots&near=Dallas. There’s actually abookmarklet available online to make this even easier.

With that said, I have noticed the organic search results are slightly different when using the &near=parameter than when using AdPreview and Google Chrome Location Emulation. I don’t totally trust this method.

Final Thoughts

So there you go — four ways to show localized Google search results even though the search tool has been retired. I think it’s clear the AdPreview tool is the easiest, most accurate option, but perhaps you have a method you’d like to share?

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

Source : http://searchengineland.com/ 

Categorized in Science & Tech

In part two of a three-part series on app indexing, contributors Emily Grossman and Cindy Krum explore how Google indexes deep app content and explains what marketers can do to promote their app content in Google search.

In this article, you’ll learn how Google is surfacing deep app content and how SEOs can prepare iOS and Android deep app screens for Google’s index. Google is making significant moves to close the gap between app and Web content to make mobile interaction more seamless, and that theme will reappear throughout the analysis.

This is the second installment in a three-part series about app indexing strategies and deep linking opportunities. The first article focused on Apple’s new Search API for iOS 9, which encourages and incentivizes an app-centric mobile experience.

Today’s column, co-authored with Cindy Krum, will focus on how Google indexes deep app screens and what marketers can do to promote their app content in Google search. Google’s app indexing strategies differ significantly from Apple’s, and it’s important for marketers to understand the distinctions.

The third article in this series will focus on future app indexing challenges we will face with the growth of wearables and other non-standard device apps and device indexes.

App Indexing In Google

Historically, app landing pages on websites have been in the Google index — but actual apps andinternal app screens have not. Because crawling and indexing in-app content was impossible untilrecently, users had to discover new apps via an app store (Google Play or iTunes), which surfaces apps according to app meta data and editorial groupings instead of in-app content. For digital marketers, internal app content has been unavailable for search — part of what Marshall Simmonds calls “dark search.”

This situation has created a two-fold problem for Google:

  1. App stores had trained users away from using Google for app discovery; and
  2. App developers were historically not incentivized to optimize internal app data for search. This limited Google’s mission to collect and organize the world’s data, which in turn limited its ability to make money.

Now that Google is indexing both app landing pages and deep screens in apps, Google’s app rankings fall into two basic categories, App Packs and App Deep Links. App Packs are much more like the app search results that SEOs are used to, because they link to app download pages in Google Play or the App Store, depending on the device that you are searching from. (App Packs will only show apps that are compatible with your device’s OS.)

Ranking in an App Pack (and also in the Apps Universal, under Google’s top-navigation drop-down in the mobile search results) relies heavily on the app title, description, star ratings and reviews, and it will differ greatly from the internal app store rankings, as well as in-app indexing strategies described in the rest of this article.

Deep links are different because they link to specific deep screens within an app. Google has displayed deep links in search results in a variety of ways since it started app indexing, but there are a couple of standard deep link displays (shown below) that seem more common than others. Some deep-linked results look no different from traditional blue links for websites, while other deep link search results contain more attractive visual elements like colored “install” buttons, app icons and star ratings.

google-deep-link-types-serps.jpg

We believe that the most common deep link in the future will display the app icon and a small “open on domain.com” button because that allows users to choose between the deep app link and the Web link without an additional dialogue screen. (Currently, the dialogue screen from other types of deep links comes from the bottom of the browser window and says, “Would you like to open this in Chrome or in the [Brand Name] app?”)

It is important to note that aspects of the search context, like the mobile browser, can limit the visibility of deep links. For example, Google only supports app indexing on iOS inside the Google and Chrome apps, not in Mobile Safari, the default Web browser on iOS. It seems likely that Safari will be updated to allow for Google’s deep linking behaviors as part of the iOS 9 update, but it is not confirmed.

Similarly, Google has been experimenting with a “Basic” mobile search results view that omits rich content for searchers with slow carrier connections. “Basic” search results do not include App Packs at all (since downloading an app would not be attractive to people with slow connections), and deep link results will only show as inline blue links, without images, star ratings, icons or buttons.

These are important stipulations to keep in mind as we allocate time and budget to optimizing app indexing, but the benefits of Google app indexing are not limited to surfacing deep app screens in Google search results.

Why Is App Indexing Important For SEO?

Without apps in its index, Google was missing a huge piece of the world’s data. The new ability to index iOS and Android apps has fundamentally changed app discovery and dramatically changed mobile SEO strategies.

Now that Google’s search engine can process and surface deep app content in a similar fashion to the way it does Web content, Google search has a significant advantage over the app stores. It is still the #1 Search Engine in the world, so it can easily expose content to more potential customers than any app store could, but it can also integrate this new app content with other Google properties like Google Now, Inbox/Gmail and Google Maps.

This change has also added a whole new host of competitors to the mobile search result pages. Now, not only can app landing pages rank, but internal app screens can also compete for the same rankings.

Google’s official position at the moment is that Web parity is necessary for deep app indexing (i.e., crawlable Web content that matched the indexable app content), but at Google I/O, the company clarified that they are working on a non-parity app indexing solution. They have even started promoting an “app only interest form,” and recent live testing has reinforced the idea that apps without parity will soon be added to the index (if they haven’t been already).5457989_app-indexing--the-new-frontier-of-seo_tf23002f4.jpg

This is a big deal, so SEOs should be wary of underestimating the potential market implications of Google indexing apps without Web parity. For marketers and SEOs, it means that mobile search results could soon be flooded with new and attractive competition on a massive scale — content that they never have had to compete with before.

Let’s do a bit of math to really understand the implications.

We’ll start with a broad assumption that there are roughly 24,000 travel apps, a third of which lack Web parity. If each app contains an average of just 1,000 screens (and travel apps often include many more than that), we’re looking at roughly 8,000,000 new search results with which travel websites must compete — and that’s in the travel industry alone. That is huge!

Games, the biggest app category in both stores, promises to create an even bigger disruption in mobile search results, as it is a category that has a very high instance of apps without Web parity.

Another subtle indication of the importance of app indexing is the name change from “Google Webmaster Tools” to “Google Search Console.” Historically, webmasters and SEOs have used Google Webmaster Tools to manage and submit website URLs to Google’s index. We believe the renamed Google Search Console will eventually do the same things for both Web and apps (and possibly absorb the Google Play Console, where Android apps have been managed). In light of that, removing the “Web” reference from the old “Webmaster Tools” name makes a lot of sense.

A similar sentiment by John Mueller, from Google, is noted below, and possibly hints at the larger plan:

John-Mueller-on-Google-Plus.jpg

How Does Google Rank Deep Links?

Like everything else, Google has an algorithm to determine how an indexed deep link should rank in search results. As usual, much about Google’s ranking algorithm is unknown, but we’ve pieced together some of the signals they have announced and inferred a few others. Here’s what we currently believe to be true about how Google is ranking deep links in Google Search:

Known Positive Ranking Factors

  • Installation Status. Android apps are more prominently featured in Google search results when they are installed on a user’s device or have been in the past. Rather than checking the device, Google keeps track of app downloads in their cloud-based user history, so this only affects searchers when they are signed into Google.
  • Proper Technical Implementation. The best way app publishers can drive rankings,according to Mariya Moeva of Google, is to “ensure that the technical implementation of App Indexing is correct and that your content is worth it.” She later elaborated in a YouTube video, explaining that app screens with technical implementation errors will not be indexed at all. (So start befriending the app development team!)
  • Website Signals (title tags, description tags). Traditional SEO elements in the <head> tag of the associated Web page will display in deep link search results, and thus are also likely ranking factors for the deep links. In fact, good SEO on corresponding Web pages is critical, since Google considers the desktop Web version of the page as the canonical indexing of the content.

Known Negative Ranking Factors

  • Content Mismatch. Google will not index app screens that claim to correspond with a Web page but don’t provide enough of the same information. Google will report these “mismatch errors” in Google Search Console, so you can determine which screens need to be better aligned with their corresponding Web pages.
  • Interstitials. Interstitials are JavaScript banners that appear over the content of a website, similar to pop-ups but without generating a new browser window. The same experience can be included in apps (most often for advertisements), but this has been discouraged by both Apple and Google. In her recent Q&A with Stone Temple Consulting, Mariya Moeva implied that app interstitials are a negative ranking factor for deep links (and said to stay tuned for more information soon). Interstitials can also prevent Google from matching your app screen content to your Web page content, which could cause “Content Mismatch Errors” that prevent Google from indexing the app screen entirely. In either case, app and Web developers should stay away from interstitials and instead, opt for banners that just move content down on the screen. Both Apple and Google have endorsed their own form of app install banners and even offer app banner code templates that can be used to promote a particular app from the corresponding mobile website.

Apart from ranking on their own, app deep links can also provide an SEO benefit for websites. Google has said that indexed app deep links are a positive ranking factor for their associated Web pages, and preliminary studies have shown that Web pages can expect an average site-wide lift of .29 positions when deep link markup is in place.

Also, App Packs and App Carousels tend to float to the top of a mobile SERP (likely ranking as a group rather than ranking independently). Presence in these results increases exposure and eliminates a position that a competitor could occupy lower down in the organic rankings, since these “Packs” and “Carousels” take up spaces that would be previously held by websites.

Indexed Android apps will also get added exposure in the next release of the Android operating system, Android M. It includes a feature called “Now on Tap,” which represents a deeper integration of Google Now with the rest of the Android phone functionality. Android M allows Google to scan text on an Android user’s screen while in any app, then interpret a “context” from the on-screen text, infer potential queries and automatically display mobile applications that could assist the user with those inferred queries.

For example, a WhatsApp conversation about dinner plans could pull up a “Now on Tap” interface that suggests deep links to specific screens in OpenTable, Google Maps and Yelp. This only works for deep-linked app screens in Google’s index, but for those apps, it will likely drive significantly higher engagement and potentially more installs. From a strategic perspective, this adds another potential location to surface your content, beyond the mobile search results.

While Google will only surface apps they have indexed, they plan on crawling on-screen text inall apps, trying to perceive context for “Now on Tap.” Google doesn’t provide any opt-in mechanism, so Android apps that are not indexed for Google search can still be crawled to trigger a “Now on Tap” experience. This means that Google is essentially reserving the right to send users away from your app to a different app that has relevant screens in the index, but also that Google is allowing your app to “steal” users away from other apps if your app screens are in the index.

This could provide nearly limitless opportunities for “Now on Tap” to suggest apps to Android users, and the “rogue crawling” aspect of it reinforces our prediction that Google will soon be crawling, indexing and surfacing app screens that don’t have Web parity. This will make Google’s app indexing an even more important strategy for Android apps, especially once Android M is widely adopted.

The app rankings advantage is pushed to the next level when you understand that Google is intentionally giving preference to app results for certain queries. In some cases, being an indexed app may be the only way to rank at the top in mobile Google search. Keywords like “games” and “editor” are a common trigger for App Packs and App Carousels, but Google is also prominently surfacing apps for queries that seem to be associated with utilities or verbs (e.g., “flight tracker,” “restaurant finder,” or “watch tv”). And when the App Packs or Carousels appear, they often push the blue links below the fold (and sometimes way below the fold).

At the end of the day, for some queries, a blue link may not ever beat the “Packs” — in which case, the best strategy may be to focus on App Pack listings over deep links.

How Can I Get Deep App Screens Indexed For Google Search?

Setting up app indexing for Android and iOS Apps is pretty straightforward and well-documented by Google. Conceptually, it is a three-part process:

  1. Enable your app to handle deep links.
  2. Add code to your corresponding Web pages that references deep links.
  3. Optimize for private indexing.

These steps can be taken out of order if the app is still in development, but the second step iscrucial; without it, your app will be set up with deep links but will not be set up for Google indexing, so the deep links will not show up in Google Search.

NOTE: iOS app indexing is still in limited release with Google, so there is a special form submission and approval process even after you have added all the technical elements to your iOS app. That being said, the technical implementations take some time. By the time your company has finished, Google may have opened up indexing to all iOS apps, and this cumbersome approval process may be a thing of the past.

Following are the steps for Google deep-link indexing. (For a PDF version of the instructions, click here.)

Step 1: Add Code To Your App That Establishes The Deep Links

A. Pick A URL Scheme To Use When Referencing Deep Screens In Your App

App URL schemes are simply a systematic way to reference the deep linked screens within an app, much like a Web URL references a specific page on a website.

In iOS, developers are currently limited to using Custom URL Schemes, which are formatted in a way that is more natural for app design but different from Web.

In Android, you can choose from either HTTP URL schemes (which look almost exactly like Web URLs) or Custom URL Schemes, or you can use both. If you have a choice and can only support one type of URL Scheme on Android, choose HTTP.

app-URL-scheme-deep-links-800x247

B. Support That App’s URL Schemes In The App

Since iOS and Android apps are built in different frameworks, different code must be added to the app to enable the deep link URL Schemes to work within the specific framework.

support-app-URL-schemes-800x438

C. Set Up CocoaPods

CocoaPods is a dependency management tool for iOS. It acts as a translation layer between iOS apps and the Google SDKs, so it is only necessary in iOS apps. Google has moved all its libraries to CocoaPods, and this will now be the only supported way to source them in an iOS app.

set-up-cocoapods-800x139

NOTE: Developers who have never worked with CocoaPods may have to rework how they currently handle all dependent libraries in the app, because once CocoaPods is installed, it is harder and more complicated to handle other non-CocoaPods libraries. There are some iOS developers who favor CocoaPods and have been using them for some time, so your app may already be working with CocoaPods. If that’s true, prepping for iOS app indexing will be much easier.

D. Enable The Back Bar

iOS devices don’t come equipped with a hardware or persistent software “back” button, so Apple and Google have built workarounds to make inter-app back navigation easier. Google requires that iOS apps recognize an additional GSD Custom URL Scheme (that was set up in Step 1B). Google only uses this to trigger a “back” bar in the iOS app.

Google will generate the GSD Custom URLs automatically when someone clicks on an iOS deep link from a search result page, so we don’t need to generate new GSD deep links for every screen; we just need to support the format in the Info.plist file and add code that will communicate with the “GoogleAppIndexing” Pod when a GSD link is received by the app.

enable-back-bar

NOTE: Google’s solution is similar to Apple’s iOS 9 “Back to Search” buttons that display in the upper left portion of the phone’s Status Bar, but when it is triggered, it appears as a blue “Back Bar” that hovers over the entire phone Status Bar. The Back Bar will disappear after a short period of time if the user does not tap on it. This “disappearing” behavior also represents a unique experience for iOS deep linking in Google, since after a certain period of time, there won’t be a way for iOS users to get back to the Google Search results without switching apps manually, by clicking through the home screen. Developers compensate by adopting more tactics that pull users deeper into the app, eat up time, and distract the user from going back to Google Search until the bar disappears.

E. Set Up Robots & Google Play/Google Search Consoles

In some cases, it may make sense to generate deep links for an app screen but prevent it from showing up in search results. In Android, Google allows us to provide instructions about which screens we would like indexed for search and which we would not, but no similar mechanism is available for iOS.

Digital marketers and SEOs should use the Google Play Console and the Google Search Console to help connect your app to your website and manage app indexation. Also, double check that your website’s robots.txt file allows access to Googlebot, since it will be looking for the Web aspect of the deep links in its normal crawls.

set-up-robots-google-play

Step 2: Add Code To Your Website That References The URL Schemes You Set Up In The App

A. Format & Validate Web Deep Links For The Appropriate App Store

Google’s current app indexing process relies on Googlebot to discover and index deep links from a website crawl. Code must be added to each Web page that references a corresponding app screen.

When marking up your website, a special deep link format must be used to encode the app screen URL, along with all of the other information Google needs to open a deep link in your app. The required formatting varies slightly for Android and iOS apps and is slightly different from the URL Schemes used in the app code, but they do have some elements in common.

The {scheme} part of the link always refers to the URL scheme set up in your app in Step 1, and the {host_path} is the part of the deep link that identifies the specific app screen being referenced, like the tail of a URL. Other elements vary, as shown below:

validate-web-deep-link

B. Add Web Deep Links To Web Pages With Corresponding App Screens

Internal app screens can be indexed when Googlebot finds deep app links in any of the following locations on your website:

  • In a rel=”alternate” in the HTML <head>
  • In a rel=”alternate” in the XML sitemap
  • In Schema.org ViewAction markup

Sample code formatting for each of those indexing options is included below:

rel-sample-code

xml-sitemap-sample-code-800x416

schema-sample-code-800x355

Step 3: Optimize For Private Indexing

Both Google and Apple have a “Private” indexing feature that allows individual user behaviors to be associated with specific screens in an app. App activity that is specific to one user can be indexed on that users’ phone, for private consumption only (e.g., a WhatsApp message you’ve viewed or an email you’ve opened in Mailbox).

Activities that are Privately indexed do not generate deep links that can surface in a public Google search result, but instead generate deep links that surface in other search contexts. For Android apps, this is in Chrome’s autocomplete and Google Now; for iOS, this is in Spotlight, Siri, or Safari’s Spotlight Suggest results.

optimize-private-indexing-800x294

NOTE: Google’s documentation seems to indicate that Activities are only used for private indexing, but Google may also use them as a measurement of engagement for more global evaluations of an app (as Apple does with NSUserActivities in Apple Search). Google has not highlighted their private indexing feature as vocally as Apple, and a user’s private index can be accessed from the Phone icon in the bottom navigation of the Google Now app on Android and iOS. Currently, only Google’s apps (like Gmail) are able to surface privately indexed content in organic Google search results, but we suspect this will be opened up to third-party apps in the future.

Concluding Remarks

App indexing and deep linking are changing the digital marketing landscape and dramatically altering the makeup of organic mobile search results. They are emerging from the world of “dark search” and becoming a force to be reckoned with in SEO.

Marketers and SEOs can either look at these changes as a threat — another hurdle to overcome — or a new opportunity to get a leg up over the competition. Those who wish to stay on the cutting edge of digital marketing will take heed and learn how to optimize non-HTML content like apps in all of the formats and locations where they surface.

That being said, relying on app deep links alone to drive Google search engine traffic is still not an option. Traditional SEO and mobile SEO are still hugely important for securing a presence in Google’s mobile searches. Google still considers desktop websites the ultimate canonical for keyword crawling and indexing, and the search engine relies heavily on website parity because its strength is still crawling and indexing Web content.

The next big app indexing questions are all about apps that lack Web parity. Google does not currently use a roaming app crawler to discover deep links themselves, but we feel confident that this will change. Google’s App Indexing API currently only helps surface Android apps in autocomplete, but we believe in the future, it will help surface apps that don’t have Web parity.

Calling the system an “App Indexing API” seems to allude to a richer functionality than just adding app auto-complete functionality — and Google’s original app indexing documentation from April also indicated a more robust plan.

As shown in the diagram below, the original documentation explained that developers could use the App Indexing API (also referred to here as “Search Suggest,” which is different from the Search Suggest API) to notify Google of deep links “with or without corresponding Web pages.” That line has since been removed from the documentation, but the implication is clear: Google is paving the way for indexing apps without Web parity. Until that happens, traditional website optimization will remain a key component of optimizing app content for Google search, but when app screens can be indexed without Web parity, there will be a whole new set of ranking factors to consider and optimize for.

App-Indexing-Documentation-800x369

As we charge into this new frontier, the immediate benefits of app indexing are clear, but the newness may require a small leap of faith for more traditional marketers and SEOs.

Some may be left suspicious, with many questions: How long will Google provide a ranking benefit for deep-linked content? Will this be perceived as a “bait and switch,” like the Mobile Friendly update? Will app ranking factors evolve to include more traditional Web page ranking factors (like links and social signals)? Will Google begin to crawl app content more indiscriminately, using deep app links like Web links? Will Google develop a new app-specific crawler, or was the algorithm change on April 21 (aka “Mobilegeddon“) really this — that apps are already being crawled, rendered and evaluated by the smartphone crawler, just the same as Web?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

Source : http://searchengineland.com/

Categorized in Search Engine

A new Google pilot program now allows publishers to describe CSV and other tabular datasets for scientific and government data.

 Google added a new structured data type named Science datasets. This is a new markup, which technically can be used by Google for rich cards/rich snippets in the Google search results interface.

Science data sets are “specialized repositories for datasets in many scientific domains: life sciences, earth sciences, material sciences, and more,” Google said. Google added, “Many governments maintain repositories of civic and government data,” which can be used for this as well.

Here is the example Google gave:

For example, consider this dataset that describes historical snow levels in the Northern Hemisphere. This page contains basic information about the data, like spatial coverage and units. Other pages on the site contain additional metadata: who produces the dataset, how to download it, and the license for using the data. With structured data markup, these pages can be more easily discovered by other scientists searching for climate data in that subject area.

This specific schema is not something that Google will show in the search results today. Google said this is something they are experimenting with: “Dataset markup is available for you to experiment with before it’s released to general availability.” Google explained you should be able to see the “previews in the Structured Data Testing Tools,” but “you won’t, however, see your datasets appear in Search.”

Here are the data sets that qualify for this markup:

  • a table or a CSV file with some data;
  • a file in a proprietary format that contains data;
  • a collection of files that together constitute some meaningful dataset;
  • a structured object with data in some other format that you might want to load into a special tool for processing;
  • images capturing the data; and
  • anything that looks like a dat aset to you.

Aaron Bradley seemed to first spot this and said “with [a] pilot program, Google now allows publishers to describe CSV and other tabular datasets.”

Source : http://searchengineland.com/

Categorized in Search Engine

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