Today we discuss the client/customer who’s never happy, no matter what you do. And we get interrupted about half way through by a phone call from my Mom. Stay tuned! Also, happy Thanksgiving, everyone! We hope you’re having a safe and wonderfully awkward family dinner with that one aunt that no one likes. You know the one.
Google Algorithm Update “Medic” Wreaks Havoc On The Medical Industry
Most people aren’t aware that Google is constantly changing stuff behind the scenes, making your search experience easier and search results more relevant. To that end, we wanted to let you know about the most recent update, labeled “Medic.”
The label “Medic” was given to this latest change because it primarily targets health industry websites. Although, other sites were affected by the most recent changes, as well, the health and medical industry were the primary focus because of the uptick in recent “gray” area websites that could be seen as more of a scam than a legitimate business or company.
Your Money or Your Life
Another area affected is YMYL, or Your Money or Your Life; websites about banking, wellness, insurance, etc. Google gives some guidelines for YMYL sites, but I’ll paraphrase.
Basically it’s any site that asks for personally identifiable information (driver’s license, bank account, etc), pages that allow purchases (any page that lets you buy something), pages that give medical information that could impact your well-being, pages that give advice on major life decisions (like parenting, buying a house or car, etc.), and pages that offer advice on major life issues (like legal or financial advice).
When asked, Google said that if your website was affected, there isn’t anything you can do to immediately change the shift in search position.
If you were shifted up, it was because your website was seen to give more value than the sites that were shifted below you. If you were shifted down, it was to give sites that were previously overlooked more prominence, since they were “previously under-rewarded,” according to Google.
“What can I do if I was pushed down?!”
I hear you crying out. If you’re already putting out quality content on a regular basis, then you’re already doing it. Google says that over time, your site may rise relative to other pages if it proves to be more authoritative than the rest.
If you’re not currently producing quality content (blog posts, podcasts, or video), I’d suggest you start. By producing content about your business, you’ll be more likely to be pushed to the top of Google search results. Just don’t expect changes overnight. Search engine optimization is a long game.
If you’re not sure if you’ve been affected and want to find out, give us a call at (256) 585-6425 x 101 or schedule a time to chat at https://purpletieguys.com/book .
For a more in-depth analysis of the algorithm update, check out Search Engine Land’s article.
Guys and gals, we’re still trying to hash out this whole Mac Mini situation. And we detail portions of it in this episode. We also obtusely discuss the scammer situation in the after market sales arena. To sum it up for you here: It’s bad. Like, real bad. To the point that I ended up just taking my listings down because I never got any legitimate offers from actual local people. So, beware scammers when trying to sell your used items.
We discussed Apple. Again. A lot. Sorry not sorry.
And we bought a Chromebox! Having a full fledged, fully functional browser on your TV is kind of surreal. Something that pre-teen me would have salivated over.
It’s interesting when you’re trying to purchase a used Apple product. People tend to have an overblown sense of what the price should be for something. A 6 year old computer, even an Apple computer, isn’t worth several hundred dollars. But I digress.
We get off to a great start complaining about a review for the Mac Mini. And we made some truly insightful things about the Mac products gained through this terrible review.
There’s a brief discussion about why you’ll never see Mac OS X available for purchase without Mac hardware.
Later we also talked about the differences between Microsoft’s business model versus Apple’s business model.
Speak: How Voice Search is Changing the Way we Ask and Answer Questions Online
It seems that human consciousness has been making another shift between written and verbal languages in the field of technology. And it is no surprise really. After all, cave drawings most likely came before speech in the prehistoric world. And oral story tradition had been the primary method of storytelling before the mass production methods of the printing press. It would make sense that speech would ebb back into the sphere of human influence. Especially since texting became a huge technological movement with cell phones over the last two decades.
But, part of me wonders, what does this mean for computer algorithms and search engines?
Also, what does it mean for the world of SEO? And how does that translate to how web-based businesses are trying to be seen (or heard )organically on search engines.
Well, computer scientists, mathematicians, and coders are already laying out the foundations for the implementation of this new movement.
How A Computer Can Recognize a Voice
- The first is simple matching, where a word is recognized in its entirety, and it is compared to similar sound stored in the memory. However, since it relies only on the specific sounds stored in its memory, there is a wide margin of error.
2. With this flaw in mind, the second form of speech recognition came to be, pattern and feature analysis. In this form of analysis, each word is broken into bits that are recognized from key features, like vowels, and other phenomes.
However, various languages use different phenomes. For instance, English uses about 46 phenomes while Spanish used only 26.
If a company wanted to sell speech recognition software internationally it would need to know what variables to keep and what to drop per user.
3. This lead to the third approach to speech recognition software, language modeling.
In language modeling, knowledge of grammar and the likelihood of certain sounds or words to follow each other is used to improve the accuracy and speed of voice recognition. It’s like the predictive text of your cell phone. If you curse a lot, use slang, or antiquated vocabulary words, the predictive text and speech will pick up on your patterns.
However, there was still a problem with voice search and recognition software. The programs still didn’t know how to distinguish background noise and how to shut them out specifically. What’s more, there was still a strong chance for accuracy to suffer overall.
4. The solution to that was to take the best model we knew for learning and recognizing human speech, our brains, and convert it to voice search software in the form of artificial neural networks.
If you want to learn more about it, Click here. It’s fascinating stuff.
How Many People are Using Voice Search Now?
We know how it works, but do we have any proof that this is an actual trend. Yes, actually.
According to current data from both the NPR and Edison Research, “One-in-six Americans (16%) own a voice-activated smart-speaker.” It has also been shaping our current e-commerce marketplace. According to that same study, “22% of U.S. smart speaker owners have purchased something using their devices.” And the numbers are projected to rise drastically by 2022.
It is very tempting to take the information and to utilize this trending towards your business for fun and profit.
However, the very last thing I want to do is to contribute to another dotcom crash. Instead of telling you to do something foolhardy like invest in stocks that have no guarantee of returns, why don’t I tell you how you can set up your website for voice search software. It can increase awareness of your business all around. Mainly, by modestly working as part of a passive portion of your overall advertising and marketing portfolio.
How to Optimize your Website for Voice Search SEO
Thankfully, it is not all that difficult for you to optimize your website for voice search. Mainly, because of a lot of the steps for basic website SEO run are mostly the same steps that you would take for regular SEO. This includes making sure you are properly listed on Google maps and creating engaging content on your website. However, there is one notable difference that needs to be addressed if you are going to optimize your website for voice search.
It is keywords.
See, when it comes to speaking, and writing, people have different habits overall.
When a person is typing something up on Google, they have learned to treat it like a library index. People expect to type in a word or three before they hit the search button and look at the front page.
When a person is asking a question organically, they speak in a complete question, as if talking to another person. So if you want to optimize your keywords for voice recognition, the best way for you to go about it is to write down relevant questions as your keywords.
Why is that?
It is my personal hypothesis that it is because the act of typing and keyboarding was only stressed as a marketable skill for a few decades at best. The act of talking and socialization, however, has been a marketable skill for as long as public speaking existed in ancient civilizations. What’s more, people feel comfortable personifying things like inanimate objects and animals, because it gives people a chance to relate to something alien to them. So why should it be a stretch that we talk to our voice recognition software like we would another person?
As technology marches on, we continue to lean on both the written and spoken word. Who knows what will be in store for us by the year 2050. Until then, let’s learn to speak the language of voice search technology.
Well, we managed to squeeze another podcast out this week. This one is all about the Apple Keynote that dropped on Oct. 30th. They introduced a new MacBook Air, a new Mac Mini, and a new iPad Pro. All with impressive hardware spec bumps.
We get into a bit of a discussion about a YouTube reviewer who reviewed the keynote, claiming that the new iPad is for the 1%. We also discuss the futility of upgrading your Mac products.
Let’s get this out of the way. I was wrong about a lot of stuff on the Palm Phone off the bat. The cameras and storage, specifically. Here’s a link to a review by The Verge. If you’re interested in getting this extremely small smartphone, and you’re already on Verizon, and you’ve already got a data plan and phone service with them, here’s a link to the product page for the (snicker) Palm Companion Device.
We also discussed Google’s G Suite of products, specifically the email service. It’s leaps and bounds better than the C-Panel email we’d been using before. If you have been thinking about moving your email servers away from your web host, DO IT! What’s keeping you! Do it, now! And used Google’s G Suite.
Digital Marketing: Billboards
Have you seen the two-hundred-foot-long billboards in the country beyond town? Did you know that once billboards were only twenty feet long? But cars started rushing by so quickly they had to stretch the advertising out so it would last.”- Clarisse, Farenheight 451
While we haven’t gotten a fire department that would be starting fires, as opposed to putting them out, one of the major themes that the book Farenheight 451 predicted was the rapid growth of technology. It also unwittingly predicted the detachment of personal connections that come with the increase of technology, and the gymnastics advertisers and marketers have to make to catch up.
But their future didn’t shape exactly the same way as our present. Instead of fast cars, large screens taking up the entirety of the walls, and violent teenagers, we have rising gas prices, little electronic screens that take up our lives, and teenagers that are too lazy to go outside to get in said violent fights. Not too bad a tradeoff.
The point I am making, however, is that while our billboards are still 20 ft long, the landscape of billboard advertising has changed to match our current technological landscape.
We can now debut our advertising electronically, along with public service announcements, the time, and even the temperature.
But what makes it a legitimate form of digital advertising? Is it too dangerous to invest in?
So, we are going to be talking about the history of the digital billboard, its progress, and the progress it has made for advertising.
The Birth of the Digital Billboard
There is no definitive timestamp for the launching of the first digital billboard. However, I can tell you what I found based on my research, and you can decide for yourself when that was.
Unofficially, Daktronics, a South Dakota based advertising company claimed on their official site that they were the ones to have at least been the first to integrate the idea of digital display on outdoor billboard advertising. According to them,
“Some of the first “digital billboards” we sold were not 100% LED displays. Before manufacturing full LED displays, we sold products to billboard companies here and there, but most of these consisted of static displays with a simple message center integrated into the campaign displaying messages or time and temperature displays. Full LED displays were simply too expensive for billboard operators to justify purchasing. When we began attending tradeshows for the billboard market, we were practically unknown. In the year 2000, this began to change, and we started to get interest from outdoor companies.”
This digital billboard was sort of a visual hybrid with a 2/3rd to 1/3rd ratio between a digital and traditional format. The pixel quality was low and it was an expensive endeavor at the time, but the concept was intriguing enough for Lamar’s Outdoor Services to try it out.
Daktronics claimed that it wouldn’t further catch on until 2004-2007.
According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, the first digital billboard was erected in 2005. While the suggested timeline matches Daktronics, there was no mention of them by the OAAA, which leads to some confusion about when the first digital billboard was launched.
The job of any billboard on the road is to capture the attention of the passersby in traffic. That much is obvious. But when it came time to focus on the possibility of safety regulations, some people were worried about the potential damage that Digital Billboards could cause drivers.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, (AASHTO), conducted a study in 2009, regarding that issue.
“Although some such signs use scrolling characters across a screen, and others use rotating
panels (called Tri-Vision or Roller-Bar signs), it is the LED technology that has the
greatest potential for capturing attention, and therefore, distracting the driver.”
This caused enough of a concern for highway beautification interest groups enough to bring it up in court. The Department of Transportation provided their own data and determined that this was not a problem.
The study concluded that while drivers certainly paid more attention to electronic billboards more than their nonelectronic counterparts, it was only by about 30 more milliseconds. It was not enough time to cause a drastic increase in accidents.
” The results were both well below the “currently accepted threshold of 2,000 milliseconds,” the study said.
A Conclusion to Part 1
So, we know how they came to be and how it affects the safety of drivers. This demonstrates that digital billboards are certainly a legitimate form of advertising with little ethical issue involved. But what sort of businesses are best for the electronic billboard format? Who responds to a billboard advertisement the best and what added advantages does the digital format have in comparison to its analog counterpart? The answers to these questions will come at a later date. Next week we will we look more at the” marketing” aspect of “digital marketing”. We will also examine the most effective ways digital billboards work for companies.
In our premiere episode, Robert and I talk about getting started in business together, our lives before entreprenuership, and everything in between (without going into too much detail).
Join us as we go through the trials and tribulations of being business owners in our brand new podcast, The Purple Tie Show!
The Benefits of Using Citations
The written rules of grammar can be flexible. There are times when you can end a sentence with a preposition, use contractions, and use slang, and it is perfectly acceptable. And it makes sense. These rules change depending on the context and placement of what you are trying to accomplish. However, there are some rules in grammar and by extension, blogging that is absolutely sacrosanct. You always start your sentence with a capital letter, and you always end it with a punctuation mark. So, where does the rule of citing your sources fall on the basic rules of writing and grammar?
When it comes to blogging, citing your sources is not only common courtesy, it is considered an absolute imperative. Especially if you are trying to create content that is both relevant and accurate. Penalties for copying and pasting other people’s content can range from being buried by search engine algorithms to possibly getting sued by the original content creator.
However, there is more to citations than simply protecting your website and dodging legal trouble. There are some actual benefits that come with citing your sources and giving credit to other contributors.
You Appear More Credible to Others
Have you ever gotten into an argument with someone at 3 AM on Facebook over something that was clearly in the wrong with their political information? Have you ever needed to write a convincing essay or blog post about something you were passionate about? What would be the one thing that you could do to solidify an argument? You cite a source.
People spread useful information for means of survival. When people spread certain information to other people, they are trusting that information to have a benefit for everyone who is able to hear it.
So, when multiple people point to a single source of information as something reliable, they are giving it credibility.
When you point to where you can get your information, and combine it with an authoritative tone, you are far more likely to win the trust, or at the least begrudging respect, of your opposition. That is because you have clearly shown that you took the time to research and understand your position before you try to establish it in an argument. People don’t respect others who don’t know what they are talking about. Especially when it comes to debate over serious and controversial topics.
You Can Make Connections
When you are crediting the people who research the topic you are writing about, you are essentially doing them a couple of favors. For starters, everyone loves recognition. Everybody, in some way, shape or form, likes the idea of their work deserving credit That sort of recognition gives people a little ego boost, and who doesn’t need that from time to time when it comes to their own accomplishments?
Also, it helps reinforce the credibility of the source you just cited.
The one thing that people love more than a small amount of recognition, is a larger amount of recognition. When you reinforce the credibility of another person’s research and hard work, you are elevating them to a standard of important knowledge. So, people will feel more than flattered when you cite them as a source.
If you get in contact with the people you cite, it can also give you a chance to establish personal connections over something you are both passionate about. Who knows? Maybe if you keep crediting and contacting your sources, you might very well land a career out of something you blogged about?
It Boosts your Web Visibility
Getting your blog/business website indexed on a search engine is the fastest way to getting it seen. However, there is a laundry list of rules and regulations that these search engines go by that determine what is relevant, and what is not. There are a few things you can do to your site to make it count towards your favor. For instance, you can format your site so it is mobile friendly. Or you can blog at least once a day for five days a week to increase your activity count. And while that alone might work, that does nothing to draw other people towards your site.
This is where citation will help you out the most. When you link out to other sites and have them link back to you as a citation, more people will naturally find your website.
Not to mention, the algorithm for search engines like Google or Yahoo will reward you for it. When it sees you linking out to other pages both outside and inside your website, that gives them a trail to follow. When you give them a trail to follow, they will take notice and see it as credibility.
How To Cite a Source
Citing a source is ridiculously easy. All you need to do is create a link to what you are talking about. So, If I was talking about Huntsville, Alabama, I would link it and it will send you to a page that will talk about the city in length. Just make sure you keep it relevant and occasionally talk about the experts who you researched in the first place, and it will be smooth sailing from there.