Penguin 4.0 is still rolling right along – but let’s take a break this week and explore some of the other exciting things happening in the SEO world!
It’s important not to miss the forest by focusing on only one tree, after all. Our members have been sharing stories about Google’s AI, ICANN, Amazon, Facebook, and more.
One story I’m particularly excited to share is about an experiment two of our SEO Chat members have been running. So, without further ado, let’s be off!
Local Facebook Groups will soon be part of the Facebook “Marketplace,” allowing them to buy and sell goods. The Marketplace will be available to everyone over the age of 18. You could compare it to Pinterest’s Buyable Pins, but there’s one weird twist – Facebook doesn’t handle any of the billing or payment processing. WebmasterWorld member keyplyr explains:
“Since the Marketplace is part of the FB app running on Android and iOS, it is possible a deal was made to give exclusive billing to them, at least temporarily.”
There’s another strange twist to this story: it wasn’t long after the Marketplace was launched that local groups selling drugs and guns began cropping up. Some, jokingly I imagine, also offered to sell children. Member mack writes that there are plenty of local groups in their area, but
“If half the things being sold there were to be put on a marketplace endorsed by Facebook, they would really need to have a long hard think how to proceed.”
Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote a blog post about Google’s push to develop stronger, better AI for the future of search this week. You can read the post, and the reactions of our community members, on WebmasterWorld.
“When I look at where computing is heading, I see how machine learning and artificial intelligence are unlocking capabilities that were unthinkable only a few years ago,”
Pichai writes. The blog post seems to imply that Google will be taking AI as one of its core projects, much like they did for mobile optimization. AI seems to be what ties together current projects like the Pixel phone, Google Home, Chromecast, Daydream View, Google Wifi, and more.
Two SEO Chat members, Chedders and ThomasHarvey, are running a very interesting experiment. “Our goal,” they write,
“is to build a platform that provides a quality experience to the user yet we never touch a single specific page.”
It will certainly be a challenge, and they admit as much. It will also be very exciting. They’ve developed a product searching site and have already seen it indexed. It does rank, too, which answers the original question. But there are many more questions and challenges ahead.
Chedders and ThomasHarvey are willing to take suggestions and run tests for anyone who has ideas – so join the thread and post your thoughts! It’s a great opportunity for some community learning.
Heard of Google’s Allo yet? It’s a chat app an AI assistant “that will ultimately replace search,” as martinibuster puts it on his blog. Allo listens to you and eavesdrops on your conversations, learning about your needs and habits over time. The goal is that eventually Allo will know enough about you to be proactive.
For example, if it learns what time you regularly eat dinner, it might recommend a few local restaurants to you at that time every day. It’s a bit scary though – that’s a lot of data for you to give away about yourself! Cre8asiteforums member iamlost writes
“That is all well and good BUT contrary to original statements will harvest, store, and use as they see fit everything you say and everywhere you go and as much of what you do as can be determined. And will share with third parties.”
Read up on the security and privacy concerns in this thread.
Until recently, the U.S. government was the overseer of naming domains on the Internet. That function has now been turned over to ICANN.
I’m sure you could find a lot of paranoid theories about how the U.S. is giving up tremendous power, but as WebmasterWorld member graeme_p writes – nothing has really changed.
“ICANN has been running things anyway. ICANN is not doing a particularly good job, but every attempt to improve things is blocked by someone.”
The test is over! Twitter Moments are here, they’re here to stay, and they’re here for everyone. Moments are a new form of native advertising that Twitter has been testing with a select group of brands.
Now, anyone can use Moments – whether it’s the burger joint down the street or your grandmother up the road. WebmasterWorld member keyplyr thinks that Twitter has ulterior motives for this roll out, though:
“With rumors of a sale, it would make sense to roll out as much as possible for posturing.”
Penguin 4.0 puts the exclamation mark on how much linkbuilding has changed. Most SEOs today will tell you that great content and natural links are the recipe for long-term results and success. Exactly how to get those natural links is the subject of a dirtier debate.
Threadwatch covers a great thread from WebmasterWorld, where members present the idea of building links as building relationships. Member ergophobe writes that their website gets a lot of attention from journalists because they’ve taken the time to establish relationships.
“It’s not a ‘publish and pray’ strategy. It’s more akin to traditional PR…Sometimes it means putting together an event for journalists that might cost thousands of dollars…”
The results aren’t always perfect – the benefits of the old linkbuilding strategies were, back in the day, that everything was under the webmaster’s control. Building relationships means giving some of that control away.
But, as ergophobe says, if you can turn journalists into fans, they’ll link back to you “over and over across several years.”
Reviews are a crucial element of making a purchase for many Amazon shoppers. Of course, sellers have realized this. Just like SEOs create their own links, Amazon sellers have been buying their own reviews. Now Amazon is cracking down – “incentivized reviews” officially violate their community guidelines as of this week.
WebmasterWorld’s admin, engine, shares a story of a junk product he bought based on glowing reviews. When he returned the product and wrote a truthful review of its low quality, it was subsequently gobbled up by new positive reviews!
“…every time a ‘verified buyer’ posted a review that was less than glowing, at least two or three other positive reviews popped up immediately to drop the less glowing review off the top.”
That’s just one example of the scummy tactics that these Amazon sellers make use of with incentivized reviews.
WebmasterWorld members find the name retro and ironic, but it sounds rather catchy to me! Google launched their new blog to house posts about a variety of products. WebmasterWorld member phranque clarifies:
“It’s only blogs for the more ‘public facing’ products…Analytics, Webmaster Central, Adsense, etc are still on googleblog.com.”
When Google changed the “Ad” labels for AdWords advertisements from yellow to green, webmasters around the ‘Net lost their minds.
To them, the green color was too similar to the green URL listed under the meta title. It blended in, making it more difficult for ads to be differentiated from organic search results. Maybe Google heard their accusations and agreed, because they’re now testing a yellow colored “Ad” label again! Get the details on Threadwatch.