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Thursday, December 19, 2013

How Google will know if you're lying

Sibylline Sisterhood Soothsayer - the one who actually saw the Tardis
A Soothsayer from the Sibylline Sisterhood was the first of her Sisterhood to see the TARDIS


The value of any piece of information is only as good as its truthfulness. Data that’s out of date, inaccurate or just plain false is next to useless. Worse than that it can lead to seriously flawed decisions based upon it.
The Roman Emperors knew that which is why they kept Soothsayers from the Sibylline Sisterhood around (rejoice Dr Who fans for the reference) who guided them in their choices.

We don’t have Soothsayers around anymore but we have Google and its semantic search engine. Semantic search is a Big Data solution to the problem of ever increasing amounts of information accumulating on the web. As such its success is defined, precisely, by its ability to deal with the four Big Data vectors:
  • Volume
  • Velocity
  • Variety
  • Veracity
The sheer amount of information being pumped out (Volume), its spread across the web (Velocity) and its ability to be repurposed (Variety) are signals in their own right. Each piece of information, each data point, each node, experiences these vectors in a unique combination that also makes the digital identity of that piece of information unique. What they all have in common however is the “yes” or “no” answer that’s provided by the fourth Big Data vector: Veracity.

Veracity is a measure of the truthfulness or provenance of the information you find on the web and the ability of the computationally driven, answer engine of semantic search to gain our trust, rests completely upon it.

How Veracity Works

A new patent awarded to Google shows that the mechanics through which this process is carried out rely upon the connections of semantic relationships which themselves have a very specific meaning and intent. Google ascribes a trustworthiness value to each connection and a total value to the semantic network of connections. If more than one semantic network is involved in the calculation of the answer Google ascribes a trustworthiness value to each of them.

The moment a conflict is detected between two pieces of data Google uses a trustworthy algorithm to determine which is the correct one, updates the obsolete or inaccurate document on the fly and presents the results to the end user both with the correct version and the annotated inaccurate version.

The description of Google’s patent on Veracity detection says:
With existing search mechanisms, a user search for the product will include web page documents that contain the original release date of the product, without providing any indication in these returned documents that the release date has changed. Thus, the user may be presented with erroneous information. In contrast, the annotation mechanism in the illustrative embodiments identifies obsolete data within a web page document, annotates the document with up-to-date information to override the obsolete data in the document, and returns the annotated document in the search results to the user. Thus, when a user clicks on the annotated document, the obsolete data is annotated in the document with up-to-date data also obtained from the repository. When a document comprises data whose veracity is in question due to the existence of conflicting data in other documents within the repository, a “trustworthiness” algorithm is used to dictate which data source contains the correct or most reliable data. Any data that is deemed to be incorrect or unreliable on the displayed web page is annotated automatically. In an alternative embodiment, rather than determining which data is correct via a trustworthiness algorithm, a link may be provided in the annotation which provides a summary of all the conflicting data, along with sources of the conflicting data. In this case, users may determine for themselves which data source is most reliable.

In plain English Google will determine whether a piece of data is true and will:
A. Display an answer (based upon it)
B. Display the correct web page and the incorrect, annotated one
C. Display the conflict regarding a web page’s truthfulness and then provide a link to all the sources that the search engine has determined create the conflict so that the end user can decide.

Which will appear is most probably determined by the complexity of the search query and the degree of conflict experienced.

‘Simple’ Questions Have Complicated Answers

To illustrate just how important this is consider the ‘simple’ question of “Can a Hippopotamus Swim?” or “Can a Kiwi bird fly?”. As the image below shows, Google’s semantic search right now (December 2013) simply doesn’t know.

A simple Google search that Google cannot answer yet

The reason that this is not an easy question for search to answer lies in the knowledge necessary to actually determine this from the page. In the traditional Boolean search a webpage that states: “The hippopotamus, a creature indigenous to parts of Africa, is the only mammal that cannot swim. It is also the only mammal that does not have hair.” has the same opportunity to come up in search as one that says: “There are a number of animals in the Edinburgh zoo, including penguins, zebras, and hippopotamuses. Visitors can feed the penguins, but they cannot swim in the penguin pool.”

There is simply insufficient information for search to distinguish the correct page. The keyword occurrence and frequency is the same. Thanks to this new approach however, Google applies a relevancy algorithm that creates a semantic network out of the content of the page that looks a little like this:

Semantic Network created to analyse the value of edges and deliver a trust verdict

The image shows the breakdown of the semantic relationships with words being nodes (i.e. data points) and connections being edges. It becomes evident that from this break down through the relevancy algorithm the answer begins to emerge, especially if the same break down now occurs on the web page that Boolean search would have marked as identical:

Semantic Network created by Google to analyse edge connections in response to a search query

So, What Have We Learnt About Semantic Search?

A few things: first that Google uses a layering of algorithms to arrive at its answer. In this example alone it would have to create a semantic network out of each web page and then use: A Relevancy Algorithm – to determine the relevancy and meaning of connections (nodes) within the semantic network
  • A Trustworthiness Algorithm – to compare data between two documents with similar but conflicting information.
  • A Deductive Reasoning Algorithm – if an outright answer is warranted in search.
  • An Annotation Engine – that would enable Google search to annotate and correct wrong information on the fly and display the changes.

How Is This Applied?

Well, think of a major event that is heavily publicised by your company that gets reblogged about and mentioned everywhere across the web. Then just a few days before the event, for whatever reason, the date has to change. While changing the information on your company website is easy, changing it across the web is next to impossible. There is no way you can realistically identify and then chase to change, all the websites where the original date of the event appears.

Google can now actually do that right at the search page, updating the out of date event with the correct date and showing what’s changed.

There are wider implications: As information across the web scales (and we pump out more and more data each day) Google can begin to examine the semantic networks in its storage and determine the correctness of the information presented on the search page. This makes it a natural filter of false or incorrect information which will begin to transform Google from a search engine to a Truth Engine.

As semantic search scales across the web Google search will start to become the go-to place for verifying information just like now it has become the world’s favourite means of spell-checking.

In the age of semantic search the Sibylline Sisterhood would be out of a job. The Soothsayers in need of retraining.
What You Missed

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How to increase Organic Social Traffic by on page SEO & SMO

Imagine, the news which you read yesterday, the same is being delivered today and may be the same will be delivered tomorrow. Would you enjoy or take interest in reading it like you enjoyed yesterday? Obviously no! We all like to read new, fresh and useful content. This means the base of website traffic is usefulness and freshness. It also means users read, share and like useful and relevant content over one that has no substance.
If your article is not upto the guidelines set by search engines it won’t get much traffic.  Today, optimization involves both SEO and SMO. Webmasters must ensure both these tools are properly and proportionately utilized to earn maximum traffic.
How to Increase Website Traffic?
On the internet, writing is perishable. Since, several details come in every second, and users prefer article or website that is up-to-date. Therefore, it is important for webmasters to upload unique and fresh content frequently.
Additionally, if you are a blogger you should update your blog regularly with latest and fresh content. Make sure you serve your readers properly. Don’t fool your readers by re-posting stuff that is already posted last week or month or year. All these points might increase your website traffic.
How to be Unique on Page Search Engine Optimization?
While handling On Page SEO, webmasters should know and employ following points, compulsorily.
  • Your page title should be catchy and interesting, as your title communicates what is inside the page. It should not exceed 66 characters.
  • Your content should be audience-specific. Always keep your target audience in mind while writing.
  • Focus on completeness. Do not provide incomplete information, as no one including you would like eating half-cooked food.
  • Try to avoid long sentences. A paragraph of not more than 2-4 lines should be created.
  • Meta description is mandatory. However, it should not exceed 150 characters. Also, including keywords in Meta description is not compulsory. Users read description therefore write perfectly and attractively.
  • Don’t forget to give suggestions in your content (depending upon the need of your write-up). Also, don’t forget to add conclusion in the end.
How to Be Unique on Social Media Optimization?
In order to promote your website socially and want people to share your work, webmasters should know and use the following points.
  • Internet users spend less time on one site, and in that minimum time they want to learn more about the portal. Therefore you have to work really hard to engage users. Make use of info graphics, sub headings and videos to convey your thoughts and services.
  • If you are using info graphics, try to be unique, add watermark.
  • Use sharing button of top social media sites like Pinterest, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Readers use these buttons to share your content online.
  • The more you socialize the more ranking you’ll get. Be active on social media sites, reply comments and clarify doubts. This sends a positive signal about your brand in the minds of people.
  • Appreciation is very important here. Value your readers and appreciate their thoughts and comments.
  • Develop engaging status post every alternate day.
The Bottom Line
SEO and SMO go hand in hand. Developing original content is of no use, unless you promote it socially and people share, comment, and read it. Fresh content is for users, but optimization is for search engines. Therefore, the webmasters should know how to impress readers and search engines.
In case you are not following the above tips, start doing it now. As they say ‘it is never too late to start something useful.’ Write, post, share and earn!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Overcoming the fear of blogging

Overcoming the Fear of the Blog

headache

“Blogs require freedom, companies are often afraid of controversy which is why their blogs tend to be boring. Blogs also require newsworthy items; companies don’t have news every day. In the end, not all companies need blogs, especially when what you write has to be approved by several people. Who needs that drama? Leave blogs to those worthy of them.” –S.V.
Here is our response to a comment about the value of a company blog:
While companies may not “need” a blog, most could definitely benefit from one. Here are my answers to those who are hesitant to maintain a company blog…How they can overcome their Fear of the Blog.
Blogs do not have to be controversial.
Blogs should have a point of view. And when new ideas are presented or alternatives discussed the interest of viewers in a company may be piqued, causing them to read more – or better yet, join the conversation.
Blogs do not always have to be “newsworthy.”
News about a company can be used, but blogs are not newsletters or press releases.  Interesting or inspiring stories about the company or its employees can be written. However, the stories don’t always have to be about the company. Things going on within the industry, the community, the country or even the world are all topics that can be explored through the “company lens.”
Blogs can generate more leads – and more business.
One of the main reasons to have a blog is to help SEO.  Fresh content with relevant keywords that answers the right questions can give any company a “leg up” on its competition. And the statistics are impressive. 92% of companies who blog often have acquired a customer from their blog. (Source: HubSpot). B2B marketers who use blogs generate 67% more leads than those who do not. (Source:InsideView)
Blogs can save money.
Most times, a question asked by one customer is also on the mind of others.  Keeping an archive of blog posts answering common questions or explaining a product or service will save time for customer service reps. Customers, who are able to find good answers to their questions without a call to a company will be grateful – which may spark future sales.
Posting articles about the benefits of the products and services offered by a company can shorten the time it takes to close the deal.  When the sales person can point a prospect to the company blog, where they can “read more,” and even find out answers to questions they didn’t know they had – it increases goodwill towards the company and saves time.
By the way, leads from content marketing are about 60% less expensive those those from traditional marketing.
Blogs can speed up a purchasing decision
According to Google’s Zero Moment of Truth Report, the average consumer checks 10.4 sources of information before making a purchase decision. The more information that is published about a company’s products or services, the better the chance that the company will become the vendor of choice.
Also consider that 61% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog. (Source: BlogHer)
When marketers and content creators are able to help company leaders understand the value of a blog, they may be less afraid to have one … and more open to hiring a professional to write it.
Author:  Laura Donovan
Summary

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Why are you not Blogging?

How Google is changing the question from Why Blog? to Why Aren’t You Blogging?

Changing the Question Why Blog
Changes in technology continue unabated. Recently Google announced a release of their new Hummingbird algorithm that will forever change the question for businesses from “Why blog” to “Why aren’t you blogging?”
For years companies have looked at SEO as some type of mystical behind the scenes technical work that was going to deliver “Top Rank On Google”.  In fact, if you search online for that phrase you get 177,000,000 results. With that many results, how come every business isn’t “ranked number one” in search?  Because the simple truth is technical SEO is not enough. On top of this with each new algorithm release, Google makes the technical tricks less important, and increases the importance of your website providing real value for your customers and prospective customers.
A key highlight of the Hummingbird announcement focused on how the new algorithm allows Google to more quickly parse full questions. This means that instead of providing search results based on a few keywords, they will be able to provide results based on the searchers intent in their full question.
Think about the difference of traditional short-tail vs. long-tail keywords and multiply by 10.  For those not familiar with terms short-tail or long-tail here’s a quick definition.
  • A short-tail keyword is a phrase of three words or less (ie. Schwinn bicycle)
  • A long-tail keyword is a phrase of more than three words. (ie. Schwinn bicyle with a banana seat)

So why blog you ask?

Studies have shown that companies that blog effectively generate more 5X traffic to their website and most importantly they generate 67% more leads for their business over those companies that don’t blog.
The best company blogs are those that provide helpful information for their customers and prospective customers. They focus on answering questions that their customers are online researching. See a pattern with the Hummingbird update?
What are some other reasons on why blog for your business? Well start with your buyer and why they’re reading blogs online. A few of the top reasons include:
  • 23% are reading blogs to inspire a purchase
  • 21% to decide on a product or service
  • 19% to refine choices

So final question: Tell me again why you aren’t blogging for your business?



*Article by Shade Wilson
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Friday, July 19, 2013

5 Reasons why your business should have a Google Plus local page

If you own a local business, have a storefront, and people can actually visit and step foot inside your establishment, I am hereby requiring you to create a business listing on Google Plus Local Pages. If you don’t currently have any kind of Google Local listing for your business, you are missing out on a HUGE (and simple) opportunity to increase awareness for your business.
Some of you may be aware, the new Google Plus Local Pages have officially replaced Google Places (although you can still get started with a general listing and manage your already created Google Places account from there). Simply a directory type, location based listing; Google Places has been replaced with Google Plus Local Pages in order to increase capabilities for search, social, engagement, and functionality.
First let me answer your question of what are Google Plus Local Pages? Simply: location based search results in Google that contain directory style info. Name, address, phone number, hours, details, AND some other great features that i’ll get into below.
Now, I’ll dive into the 5 reasons I am forcing every local business owner reading this article to immediately go create a listing on Google Plus Local Pages for their business (after they’re finished reading, of course.)

#1) Google Plus Local Pages Create a Listing in Search Results

First: Did you know that 43% of Google searches are location based? Or that 1 in 3 searches on mobile devices have local intent?
What does that really mean? Essentially, your customers are typing general (“sandwiches in pacific beach”) or specific (“EZ-J’s Sandwich shop pacific beach”) search queries into Google in hopes of finding what they are looking for, close to their current location. If you have a local storefront, clearly you want to show up here. 
As you’ve probably noticed from personal searches, Google loves to put location-based results at the top, because they deem them to be the most relevant to the person. Remember, Google rules the world internet. When Google tells you something is important to increase the chances of your success in organic search, just do it.
**Side note: Google Plus local pages also integrate with Google Maps and show up as listings on the maps tab.
For example, below I typed a general, location-based search query (“sandwiches in pacific beach”) into Google. Notice that the entire top portion of results are Google Plus Local Pages for local sandwich shops in PB. Fitting, right?

Google Plus Local Pages Listing

Then, let’s say I choose to click on “EZ-J’s Sandwich shop” to find out more. Automatically, the entire page will update with info about EZ-J’s, still with the Google Plus Local Page at the top of the results.

Google Plus Local Pages Listing
 Once I choose to click on the EZ-J’s Google Plus Local Page, it will contain all of the info i’ll need to help make my final decision on whether or not I will visit this location.

#2) Google Plus Local Pages Support the SoLoMoCo Revolution

What’s SoLoMoCo you ask? Social, Local, Mobile, Commerce.
Understanding the SoLoMoCo revolution is going to become a must for online marketers of both B2B and B2C brands. Google Plus local pages will be essential in your mastery of the “local” inside of “SoLoMoCo”.  It will be the most important platform you can use to market your local business.

#3) Google Plus Local Pages Integrate Social Recommendations

Google Places, as mentioned above, was a directory style informational listing of your local business. Google Plus local pages take the listing a step further to integrate features that will increase awareness for your brand, on a personal level.
With features that allow for recommendations, “+1’s”, and follows, your Google Plus local business listing will become a relevant search result for a person who’s friend has recommended and “+1’d” your business. Once the page is set up, these functions run on their own and provide immense value to you and your visitors. Why wouldn’t you want to let your customers rave about you, recommend you, and help their friends find you?

Google Plus Local Business Page

#4) Google Plus Local Pages are Easy to Create and Manage

Google Plus Local Pages will take you a maximum of 15 minutes to create.
Visit: https://plus.google.com/pages/create -> click on “Local”
 Create a Google Plus Local Page
Follow the step-by-step instructions, fill out your business info, add some pictures (highly recommended), and viola –that’s it.
Do keep in mind that there is some verification that must take place in order to get your page fully up and running; but again, it’s all very simple.

#5) Google Plus Local Pages are FREE

Reasons #1-4 should be enough to convince you to go create a Google Plus local page, but if not…how about the fact that it can do the following without investing any money:
  • market your business
  • increase your rankings in organic search results (without paying an SEO expert)
  • acceptable replacement for a website if you can’t afford one
There are really only benefits to creating a Google Plus local business page. All you have to invest is a little bit of time, and the aftermath is all good.
Are you convinced? Have you clicked out of this article and started creating your page yet?

*This is a great article I came across written by Sydney De Bear.  Hope you enjoy it.  
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

10 Commandments of Blogging

Author:  Julia Rosien 

*Very good article so I wanted to share.  

Saturday, June 8, 2013

To Blog or not to Blog?


Hello, I’m Jim Glover, That Branding Guy, for Once a Day Marketing™. Today is DigitalFridayand I’m going to encourage you to think about blogging if you aren’t already.
Blogging requires a consistent time commitment and may not be right for ever brand. You have to create relevant content that resonates with your customers. Blogging for the sake of blogging isn’t going to add value if no one cares about the content or follows you. Here are my top 5 reasons to blog.
1) Continuously seeking new content keeps you on top of your game. Creating a blog and presenting it to your audience requires you to stay current and be an expert on your subject matter.
2) Blogging positions you as a content expert because people are following the blog and relyingon your information.
3) It creates an inbound marketing campaign. We’ve talked about the importance of thisin previous blogs. You are creating a presence on the internet and competing against other businesses that are also mounting inbound marketing campaigns. SEO loves blogs and the chance of customers discovering your work increase as you place more content online.
4) Blogs arevery useful tools in other ways as well. When I engage potential clients I often send them pertinent links from my own branding videos. The blogsbecome powerful salestool in my marketing tool kit.
5) You are able to engage your followers. They will comment, share likes and dislikes and you have the opportunity to respond and develop a relationship.
Blogging does create attention for your brand. The simple fact that you are reading this blog proves my point.

*This is an article from branding/marketing guy named Jim Glover but he really hits on the point of why you should be blogging.  

Monday, May 20, 2013

Role of Social Networking Websites in Blogging


Role of Social Networking Websites in Blogging

Blog Button
Blogging is an easy way to express your views and reach out to the world. People usually connect with blogs and their content as they do not preach. The language of blogs is mostly in simple English and easy going which further helps people to connect with the blog content easily. Another form of social media is social networking websites. These websites help you to build social network, connect with new friends, keep in touch with old friends, build social relations among people, etc.
Nowadays social networking sites not only help you connect with other people but they also help in various other business and non-business related matters. These sites also have a role to play in blogging. So let’s learn how can social networking sites help you in blogging and what is the role of social networking sites in blogging.
1) Make your blog visible
As a new (or even experienced) blogger you would need to make people aware of your blog. You would need some way, route, or source to make people notice your blog. Social networking sites help you do just that. These sites make your blog visible to the web world.
2) Promote your blog content
Visibility or awareness of a blog’s existence is not sufficient always. It might not always get you the desired result and make your blog successful. You need to promote your blog to people. Social networking sites allow you to promote your blog. Some sites allow you to post blog entries by which your blog gets more exposure. You can also choose and promote to the desired public only.
3) Drive traffic to your blog
Your blog may not be very SEO friendly and you may not see much traffic directed to your blog through search engines. This is when social networking sites can help you drive traffic to your blog. You can build links in your networking profile which will direct traffic to your blog thus helping to increase traffic in your blog.
4) Increase your page rank in Search Engines
Social networking sites allow you to build quality links to your blog in their own site. These links can make your blog more SEO friendly and can help increase your page rank in search engines. This in turn increases traffic in your blog as traffic is directed through the search engines to your blog.
5) Reach out to your existing and potential followers
Social networking sites can help you reach out to people who have been following your blogs and have been interested and appreciative of your blogging. You can also get in touch with a big number of people who can turn into followers of your blog through these networking sites.
Social networking sites have become an important part of our lives as they help us to remain connected with people and events as well as many other things. Hence, these sites can have a major role to play in making your blog a success and turning you into a successful and popular blogger.

*This blog was written by me but by a woman who gets it.  I found it very interesting and wanted to share.