📺 The Future of SEO is on the SERP | Rand Fishkin | BrightonSEO 2018 | YouTube

Watched The Future of SEO is on the SERP | BrightonSEO 2018 by Rand Fishkin from YouTube

The good news is: the number of searches on Google keeps growing. The bad news is: decreasing clickthrough rates on organic results ( especially in mobile), fewer big companies dominating the world’s Google search results and more results answered entirely in Google’s SERPs.

As Google answers a higher and higher percent of queries in the results themselves and refers out less traffic to websites, we’re all gonna have to think about how we influence search audiences through what Google shows rather than just focusing on driving traffic to our own sites.

A big part of SEO’s future will be on the SERP rather than driving traffic to websites.

Rand Fishkin is the founder of SparkToro - https://sparktoro.com/-and was previously co-founder of Moz and Inbound.org. He’s dedicated his professional life to helping people do better marketing through the Whiteboard Friday video series, his blog, and his book, Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World.

About BrightonSEO
BrightonSEO – is a major search marketing event in the UK. One of our favourite events of the year, This is a superb conference for search marketing professionals, novice or expert. BrightonSEO - https://www.brightonseo.com/ - is a chance to learn from some of the best minds in search, and then rub shoulders with them at one of the friendliest, and largest, gatherings of Digital Marketers in Europe.

Some interesting perspective on the future of the internet from an SEO-related perspective.

While a lot of the net is going to mobile first and the rise of the assistants (Google Home and Amazon Alexa) are taking a lot of eyeballs, I’m curious if the move toward immediate answers is more for the “I don’t have time for more in-depth search because I just want a quick answer” versus buyers and people looking for more depth that are going to prefer desktop or sit-back experiences where they’ll spend some time browsing and/or reading. Are the numbers in this presentation specific to this phenomenon or indicative of something much worse as is predicted in the video?

#1. It’s never been harder to earn organic traffic from the web’s major players.  

#2. It’s never been more important to make your website (and email list)–rather than someone else’s property–the center of your campaigns.  

The second slide point is directly from the video with the “rather than someone else’s property” part quoted and inserted from the audio portion. I love that this is a direct incarnation of the IndieWeb philosophy for business use cases. Earlier this morning I actually heard a radio advertisement use the phrase, “or find us on our socials” with word socials being indicative of a generic term for ubiquitous social media platforms which would presumably include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Perhaps the fact that companies aren’t directly differentiating social silos in their advertising anymore means that some better social readers would portend a more IndieWeb-first approach? Eventually companies are going to find that maintaining dozens of presences on multiple sites isn’t as cost-effective as just maintaining their one site and perhaps the market drops back to a more distributed web approach?

👓 Just a Thought: Searching vs. Browsing | Powazek

Read Just a Thought: Searching vs. Browsing by Derek Powazek (powazek.com)

Think about these two words for a moment: "Search" and "Browse." They're words that are used frequently to describe things we do on computers. But consider their traditional associations:

Browsing is shopping, strolling, flipping through a magazine. Browsing is fun, casual, entertaining.

Searching is mechanical, trial and error, frustrating. Searching is work.

There's a powerful emotional difference between the two. Now let's talk about tags.

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Some ideas about tags, categories, and metadata for online commonplace books and search

Earlier this morning I was reading The Difference Between Good and Bad Tags and the discussion of topics versus objects got me thinking about semantics on my website in general.

People often ask why WordPress has both a Category and a Tag functionality, and to some extent it would seem to be just for this thing–differentiating between topics and objects–or at least it’s how I have used it and perceived others doing so as well. (Incidentally from a functionality perspective categories in the WordPress taxonomy also have a hierarchy while tags do not.) I find that I don’t always do a great job at differentiating between them nor do I do so cleanly every time. Typically it’s more apparent when I go searching for something and have a difficult time in finding it as a result. Usually the problem is getting back too many results instead of a smaller desired subset. In some sense I also look at categories as things which might be more interesting for others to subscribe to or follow via RSS from my site, though I also have RSS feeds for tags as well as for post types/kinds as well.

I also find that I have a subtle differentiation using singular versus plural tags which I think I’m generally using to differentiate between the idea of “mine” versus “others”. Thus the (singular) tag for “commonplace book” should be a reference to my particular commonplace book versus the (plural) tag “commonplace books” which I use to reference either the generic idea or the specific commonplace books of others. Sadly I don’t think I apply this “rule” consistently either, but hope to do so in the future.

I’ve also been playing around with some more technical tags like math.NT (standing for number theory), following the lead of arXiv.org. While I would generally have used a tag “number theory”, I’ve been toying around with the idea of using the math.XX format for more technical related research on my site and the more human readable “number theory” for the more generic popular press related material. I still have some more playing around with the idea to see what shakes out. I’ve noticed in passing that Terence Tao uses these same designations on his site, but he does them at the category level rather than the tag level.

Now that I’m several years into such a system, I should probably spend some time going back and broadening out the topic categories (I arbitrarily attempt to keep the list small–in part for public display/vanity reasons, but it’s relatively easy to limit what shows to the public in my category list view.) Then I ought to do a bit of clean up within the tags themselves which have gotten unwieldy and often have spelling mistakes which cause searches to potentially fail. I also find that some of my auto-tagging processes by importing tags from the original sources’ pages could be cleaned up as well, though those are generally stored in a different location on my website, so it’s not as big a deal to me.

Naturally I find myself also thinking about the ontogeny/phylogeny problems of how I do these things versus how others at large do them as well, so feel free to chime in with your ideas, especially if you take tags/categories for your commonplace book/website seriously. I’d like to ultimately circle back around on this with regard to the more generic tagging done from a web-standards perspective within the IndieWeb and Microformats communities. I notice almost immediately that the “tag” and “category” pages on the IndieWeb wiki redirect to the same page yet there are various microformats including u-tag-of and u-category which are related but have slightly different meanings on first blush. (There is in fact an example on the IndieWeb “tag” page which includes both of these classes neither of which seems to be counter-documented at the Microformats site.) I should also dig around to see what Kevin Marks or the crew at Technorati must surely have written a decade or more ago on the topic.


cc: Greg McVerry, Aaron Davis, Ian O’Byrne, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Jeremy Cherfas

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📺 EDU 522 Daily Update: RSS and WordPress | YouTube

Watched EDU 522 Daily Update: RSS and WordPress from YouTube

I’ve recently learned that even searches on WordPress websites can have their own feeds. This way if the author doesn’t provide reliable tags or categories and they publish a lot (like I tend to), you can create custom RSS feed for any search term on their site using the format

http://example.com/?s=searchterm&feed=rss2

👓 A Close Look at How Facebook’s Retreat From the News Has Hurt One Particular Website—Ours | Slate

Read A Close Look at How Facebook’s Retreat From the News Has Hurt One Particular Website—Ours by Will Oremus (Slate Magazine)
New data shows the impact of Facebook’s pullback from an industry it had dominated (and distorted).

(Roose, who has since deleted his tweet as part of a routine purge of tweets older than 30 days, told me it was intended simply as an observation, not a full analysis of the trends.)

Another example of someone regularly deleting their tweets at regular intervals. I’ve seem a few examples of this in academia.


It’s worth noting that there’s a difference between NewsWhip’s engagement stats, which are public, and referrals—that is, people actually clicking on stories and visiting publishers’ sites. The two have generally correlated, historically, and Facebook told me that its own data suggests that continues to be the case. But two social media professionals interviewed for this story, including one who consults for a number of different publications, told me that the engagement on Facebook posts has led to less relative traffic. This means publications could theoretically be seeing less ad revenue from Facebook even if their public engagement stats are holding steady.


From Slate’s perspective, a comment on a Slate story you see on Facebook is great, but it does nothing for the site’s bottom line.


(Remember when every news site published the piece, “What Time Is the Super Bowl?”)

This is a great instance for Google’s box that simply provides the factual answer instead of requiring a click through.


fickle audiences available on social platforms.

Here’s where feed readers without algorithms could provide more stability for news.

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👓 Rare hashtags | Matt Maldre

Read Rare hashtags by Matt Maldre (Matt Maldre)
It’s funny to find hashtags on Instagram that are rarely used. When commenting on a photo, I’ll often combine two words together into a hashtag. And then I click on the hashtag to see if there any other photos. Apparently is the first Instagram photo with the hashtag: #comiccompilations in the comments No photo has ever …

Matt makes an interesting point about the ability to use and search some social silos.

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Feature Idea: UI code to create an original-of page and/or widget

Filed an Issue Syndication Links Plugin for WordPress (dshanske/syndication-links) (GitHub)
Add and Display Syndication Links https://wordpress.org/plugins/syndication-links/

I noticed that Kartik has an an original-of page at https://kartikprabhu.com/original-of which may have inspired the original-of URL functionality for use in Syndication Links.

For improved UI, is there a code snippet that could be created (or which already exists?) that could be added to a custom page to allow the creation for a simple search for such things the way Kartik has done? I’m thinking of something along the lines of <?php get_search_form(); ?> which can be added to 404 page templates to allow the addition of a search box on such a page to get the user moving in the right direction.

This type of original-of search functionality could also be added to a simple widget as well so that one doesn’t need an entire page for it. Suggested verbiage: “Have a social media permalink for a piece of content? Use it here to search for the original version on this site.”

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To AMP, or Not To AMP, That is the Question: Whether ’tis Nobler in the Mind to Bookmarklet

“Hi. My name is Chris and I’m a web browser bookmarklet junkie.”

Accelerated Mobile Pages

I’ve been following most of the (Google) Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) discussion (most would say debate) through episodes of This Week in Google where Leo Laporte plays an interesting foil to Jeff Jarvis over the issue. The other day I came across a bookmark from Jeremy Keith entitled Need to Catch Up on the AMP Debate? which is a good catch up by CSS-Tricks. It got me thinking about creating a bookmarklet to strip out the canonical URL for AMP pages (the spec requires them to exist in markup) to make them easier to bookmark and share across social media. In addition to social sites wrapping their URLs with short URLs (which often die or disappear as the result of linkrot) or needing to physically exit platforms (I’m looking at you Facebook with your three extra life-sucking clicks meant to protect your walled garden) to properly bookmark canonical URLs for later consumption, I’ve run across several Google prepended URLs which I’d rather not share in lieu of the real ones.

Apparently I wasn’t the first to think of such a thing, nor am I the second. Last night I came across a bit of research and genius by Kevin Marks who referenced a bookmarklet by Alan Storm back in January for switching to an AMP’d version of a web page (in an effort to cut down on the large JavaScript and advertising payloads that come along with most modern web pages). Naturally there was also a bookmarklet to switch back to the canonical (and non-Google) URL included for those who want to share an original.

Clean and Simple URLs

Kevin then took it a step further and included a JavaScript bookmarklet that shortens URLs down to their pure essence.

As an example, his canonical bookmarklet will take something ugly like
http://mashable.com/2017/03/26/dog-chasing-hockey-puck-joy/?utm_cid=mash-com-Tw-main-link#xvCRlgf_vsqY
and strip it down to its most basic
http://mashable.com/2017/03/26/dog-chasing-hockey-puck-joy
so that if you want to share it, it will remove all of the tracking cruft that comes along for the ride.

Even worse offenders like
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/24/opinion/sunday/chinas-communists-embrace-religion.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region&region=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region&_r=0
suddenly become cleaner and clearer
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/24/opinion/sunday/chinas-communists-embrace-religion.html

These examples almost remind me of the days of forwarding chain letter emails where friends couldn’t be bothered to cut out the 10 pages of all the blockquoted portions of forwards or the annoying

>  > >>  >>
>  > >>  >>
>  > >>  >>

nonesense before they sent it to you… The only person who gets a pass on this anymore is Grandpa, and even he’s skating on thin ice.

Remember, friends don’t let friends share ridiculous URLs…

So in that spirit, here are the three bookmarklets that you can easily drag and drop into the bookmark bar on your browser:

🔲 To AMP

🔳 Not to AMP

✁ Base URL

The code for the three follow respectively for those who prefer to view the code prior to use, or who wish to fashion their own bookmarklets:

As a bonus tip, Kevin Marks’ post briefly describes how one can use their Chrome browser on mobile to utilize these synced bookmarklets more readily.

Alternatives

Of course, if you want the AMP version of pages just for their clean appearance, then perhaps you may appreciate the Mercury Reader for Chrome. There isn’t a bookmarklet for it (yet?), but it’ll do roughly the same job, but without the mobile view sizing on desktop. And then while looking that link up, I also notice Mercury also has a one line of code AMP solution too, though I recommend you brush up on what AMP is, what it does, and do you really want it before adding it.

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