Conversation Bots Does Not Equal Optimization

We remember the first chat bots that were on websites. They looked strange and out of place. Then Zendesk came along and made it all seem so beautiful. Boldchat and other chat technologies that weren’t that interesting have been trumped by newer smarter AI and CRM integration offerings like Drift.com.

While they don’t help nor hinder the online optimization process, they do help engage users and while remarketing was always SEO best friends for keeping those newly found users coming back to a site, the conversational applications now have users ready to use them (client and customer).

This month Microsoft acquired Semantic Machines to build upon new approaches to building conversational Artificial Intelligence technology for language interfaces that can better handle natural language interactions.

So we are just at the beginning of the generation where technology is starting to help people more based on their requests. Kind of makes you want to scream for joy right!Screen Shot 2018-05-26 at 9.39.58 PM

 

The dirty little secret about XML SiteMaps

Submitting a list of URLs to a search engine is a good moment for any website developer. It means you’ve arrived at a point where the site or application is ready for prime time and pushing it into ‘the wild’ for everyone to see it is a cause for an mental high five. Or is it?

While submitting URLs via Google Search Console is easy enough using free XML Sitemap generators, dropping the file onto the root directory of the website server and then verifying it inside Google Search Console, the hard part is waiting for the indexation to occur and managing client reporting.

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Enter Pro-SiteMaps that host the XML SiteMap. Their real time dashboard gives extra comfort beyond Google as you can see daily movements of URLs being indexed as the sitemaps are constantly being generated from their servers. Initially we were concerned about having duplicate sitemaps yet Oleg, the founder of Pro-SiteMaps, confirmed that multiple sitemaps isn’t deemed to be falling foul of Google’s indexation policies. There’s no rule book on this yet from what we can tell over dozens of clients, multiple sitemaps using both 3rd party services and Google Search Console is acceptable.

Facebook Data & Identity Optimization

If you didn’t know, Facebook Ads are much lower than Adwords because you can target by psychographics. Cambridge Analytica made that global news this week. We in the online industry in Menlo Park have known it since Facebook had their Beacon program settlement.

What everyone failed to realize about Facebook is that just because my friend likes something, doesn’t mean I am going to like something, believe what they do, go where they go, eat what they eat. I mean at what point didn’t high school online reunions and long lost friends using Facebook realize they were going to be taken advantage of by ‘bad actors’.

This isn’t a data breach, it’s a full scale assault using Facebook on democracy and individual freedom. That’s why I’ve never been a Facebook user.

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50,258 Twitter accounts ID’d as Russian Linked During US Elections

Finally. Twitter announces publicly “50,258 automated accounts that we identified as Russian-linked and Tweeting election-related content during the election period.”
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Twitter also said “we are emailing notifications to 677,775 people in the United States who followed one of these accounts or retweeted or liked a Tweet from these accounts during the election period.”

More at https://blog.twitter.com/official/en_us/topics/company/2018/2016-election-update.html

At SearchForecast, our clients over the years have included ThreatMetrix, Skybox Security, Brkt.com and Menlo Security. We are now live in a world where information cyber security software is paramount. While Facebook announced they are scaling back news and corporate posts in their feed and allowing users to rank news sources that they see as the most credible and trustworthy, this isn’t going to help the spread of ‘fake news’. A social network based on groups of friends ranking news is irrefutably at odds with editorial objectivity.

Why Artificial Intelligence won’t replace humans

Many people theorize that artificial intelligence will make jobs redundant. Sure there will be some structural changes like all employment sectors go through as economies mature yet human’s will not be replaced. With over 7 billion people on the planet growing to around 10 billion by 2050, it’s important we understand that artificial intelligence is about giving computers a set of tools, a problem to solve and they find the solution, not giving computers step by step instructions to do human work.

While you might want to read about the threat population growth has to our planet which Thomas Robert Malthus predicted in his Essay on the Principal of Population, there is also a case for taking into account the future of space exploration and how that may help solve the ultimate resource issues of planet earth. So does artificial intelligence hold the answer?

Some technologist are looking beyond autonomous vehicles and in the book ‘No Higher Ground‘ by author Roman Godzich helps us understand how exploration has it’s reward and pitfalls.

Google Analytics Spam ‘Vote for Trump’

Happy Halloween 2017!

On the back of Facebook announcing  that Russia-based operatives published about 80,000 posts on the social network over a two-year period in an effort to sway U.S. politics and that about 126 million Americans may have seen the posts during that time, we decided to audit our clients Google Analytics accounts to detect any foreign abnormal activities.

And look what we found in one of our client accounts under “Audience > Geo > Language”. Now that is VERY SCARY!

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SnapChat SEO

My learned colleague Joshua Lowcock shared with me today that Snapchat has added an important feature – the ability to share links natively within iOS. This may not seem like a big deal, but it may reveal if Snap is able to drive traffic to websites organically within the platform. An interesting thing for clients to keep an eye on, to see if their sites or product pages are getting traffic from Snapchat (this is all the more interesting given Facebook’s no publisher feed tests).

Being a big Snapchat fan (mainly for the geofilters), we’ll keep and eye on it and help publish any findings on whether there is an Snapchat referrers found inside Google Analytics across our 80 client accounts.

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What Artificial Intelligence really means

It’s getting ridiculous. My Uber driver today was telling me how AI is changing the world. I just wish they knew how to change lanes safely. See below. That’s how you should think about Artificial Intelligence.

The core of AI is data and and statistics. Somehow that got manifested or redefined into Data Mining (the proceed of retrieval and extraction/ collection) then analysis (statistics, pattern recognition) and then machine learning. So many buzz words. This information is stored in databases and that is often referred to as knowledge discovery in databases (KDD) … then AI came around to bamboozle investors thinking there was some secret sauce beyond Data Mining and Machine Learning.  This graphic is a good one to I like to share. AI is just an extension of all these core ingredients.

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The Google My Business Matrix

There’s a saying in technology here in Silicon Valley that ‘hardware’ is hard. So when we speak to our clients for which we manage over 3,200 Google My Business pages, we often start by explaining that Google My Business is inextricably linked to Google Maps and Google StreetView.

You’ve seen Streetview when looking at external pictures attached to the Google Map listing on Google results pages. The pictures are taken from a high lense 360 degree camera perched on top of a Google tech car. A few weeks ago in Palo Alto, I took a ride in one to preview the new camera’s, robotic arms and computer tracking systems.

One of the biggest issues clients have is the correct latitude and longitude ‘Map Pin’ to show their address. Often the picture taken by these Google Cars don’t show the actual location of the business intended but the gas station on the corner next door, the empty lot on the corner or the brick wall of the building where the shop is located in. So how do you fix these along with all the other issues of Google My Business.

It’s a little bit like the Matrix movie. You have to step inside of it and wonder around to discover it. There are no manuals Google provides, its constantly evolving and takes experts to drive correct citation listings, image management and measurement.

If you are not receiving reporting for  Return on Investment of Search Queries, Map Queries, Driving Direction Requests and Phone Calls Made from Google My Business Pages, you are not being properly serviced.

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What David Beckham can learn from Rank Brain

Yesterday in New York City, the team got together for a late lunch at Balthazar for a steak and chips. Simple no fuss. Until the David Beckham circus arrived along with paparazzi and disturbed a casual late lunch for all those dining. We were told that Beckham phoned ahead signalling the photographers to crush the diners trying to get in and out. That’s technically off line spamming.

If “Becks” understood Google rank brain, he would have already realized that it would have been better to slide into the restaurant with a pair of loafers and shades surprising diners who would have surely taken photos and shared them on social media. Let Google’s new machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithm take hold of the # hashtags and geo-locations of phones used to take pictures to promote presence on social media.

Fortunately, we were able to find some good Cannoli in Little Italy.

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