Sudan emergency court sentences 3 protesters to jail: lawyer

A Sudanese court on Wednesday sentenced three protesters, including two female university students, to six months in jail for taking part in a banned demonstration earlier in the day, their lawyer said.

The authorities have set up special emergency courts to investigate violations of a nationwide state of emergency imposed by President Omar al-Bashir on February 22 to end widespread demonstrations that erupted against his iron-fisted rule in December.

As part of the state of emergency, Bashir has issued a slew of tough measures that include banning unauthorised rallies.

The three protesters were sentenced by an emergency court in the capital’s twin city of Omdurman, defence lawyer Enaam Atieg told AFP.

They included two female students of Khartoum’s Ahfad University for Women, and were arrested earlier in the day for participating in a protest in Omdurman, she added.

“We will file an appeal for the three protesters tomorrow,” she said.

The Democratic Lawyers Alliance, a lawyers’ group that is part of the protest movement confirmed the sentencing, which it slammed as an “aggressive punishment”.

Groups of protesters had staged a rally in Omdurman on Wednesday but were quickly dispersed by riot police, witnesses said.

Bashir had initially announced that any violations to the state of emergency, especially participating in banned rallies, were punishable with a jail term of up to 10 years.

But he later issued an order that the maximum jail term for such violations would be six months.

On Sunday, six other protesters were each sentenced to six months in jail for violating the state of emergency.

Protests initially erupted on December 19 in the central town of Atbara in response to a government decision to triple the price of bread.

They swiftly escalated into nationwide demonstrations calling for an end to Bashir’s three-decade rule.

Protesters accuse his administration of mismanaging the economy, causing food prices to soar and creating shortages of fuel and foreign currency.

Bashir has remained defiant, imposing the state of emergency after an initial crackdown failed to quell the protests.

The veteran leader had initially declared a year-long state of emergency, but parliament cut it to six months.

Officials say 31 people have died in protest-related violence, but Human Rights Watch has put the death toll at 51, including children and medics.

Ahrefs Announces Plan for New Search Engine by @martinibuster

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Ahrefs CEO Dmitry Gerasimenko announced a plan to create a search engine that supports content creators and protects users privacy. Dmitry laid out his proposal for a more free and open web, one that rewards content creators directly from search revenue with a 90/10 split in favor of publishers.

Goal for New Search Engine

Dmitry seeks to correct several trends at Google that he feels are bad for users and publishers. The two problems he seeks to solve is privacy, followed by addressing the monetization crisis felt by publishers big and small.

1. Believes Google is Hoarding Site Visitors

Dmitry tweeted that Google is increasingly keeping site visitors to itself, resulting in less traffic to the content creators.

“Google is showing scraped content on search results page more and more so that you don’t even need to visit a website in many cases, which reduces content authors’ opportunity to monetize.”

2. Seeks to Pry the Web from Privatized Access and Control

Gatekeepers to web content (such as Google and Facebook) exercise control over what kinds of content is allowed to reach people. The gatekeepers shape how content is produced and monetized. He seeks to wrest the monetization incentive away from the gatekeepers and put it back into the hands of publishers, to encourage more innovation and better content.

“Naturally such a vast resource, especially free, attracts countless efforts to tap into it, privatize and control access, each player pulling away their part, tearing holes in the tender fabric of this unique phenomena.”

3. Believes Google’s Model is Unfair

Dmitry noted that Google’s business model is Unfair to content creators. By sharing search revenue, sites like Wikipedia wouldn’t have to go begging for money.

He then described how his search engine would benefit content publishers and users:

“Remember that banner on Wikipedia asking for donation every year? Wikipedia would probably get few billions from its content in profit share model. And could pay people who polish articles a decent salary.”

4. States that a Search Engine Should Encourage Publishers and Innovation

Dmitry stated that a search engine’s job of imposing structure to the chaos of the web should be one that encourages the growth of quality content, like plant a support that holds a vine up allowing it to consume more sunlight and grow.

“…structure wielded upon chaos should not be rigid and containing as a glass box around a venomous serpent, but rather supporting and spreading as a scaffolding for the vine, allowing it to flourish and grow new exciting fruits for humanity to grok and cherish. ”

For chaos needs structure to not get torn apart by its own internal forces, and structure needs chaos as a sampling pool of ideas to keep evolution rolling.”

Reaction to Announcement

The reaction on Twitter was positive.

Russ Jones of Moz tweeted:

Screenshot of a tweet by Russ Jones of Moz.com

Screenshot of a tweet by Russ Jones of Moz.com

Several industry leaders generously offered their opinions.

Jon Henshaw

Jon Henshaw (@henshaw) is Senior SEO Analyst at CBSi ( CBS, GameSpot, and Metacritic) and founder of Coywolf.marketing, a digital marketing resource. He offered this assessment:

“I appreciate the sentiment and reasons for why Dmitry wants to build a search engine that competes with Google. A potential flaw in the entire plan has to do with searchers themselves.

Giving 90% of profit to content creators does not motivate the other 99% of searchers that are just looking for relevant answers quickly. Even if you were to offer incentives to the average searcher, it wouldn’t work. Bing and other search engines have tried that over the past several years, and they have all failed.

The only thing that will compete with Google is a search engine that provides better results than Google. I would not bet my money on Ahrefs being able to do what nobody else in the industry has been able to do thus far.”

Ryan Jones

Ryan Jones (@RyanJones), is a search marketer who also publishes WTFSEO.com said:

“This sounds like an engine focused on websites not users. So why would users use it?

There is a massive incentive to spam here, and it will be tough to control when the focus is on the spammer not the user.

It’s great for publishers, but without a user-centric focus or better user experience than Google, the philanthropy won’t be enough to get people to switch.”

Tony Wright

Tony Wright (@tonynwright) of search marketing agency WrightIMC shared a similar concern about getting users on board. An enthusiastic user base is what makes any online venture succeed.

“It’s an interesting idea, especially in light of the passage of Article 13 in the EU yesterday.

However, I think that without proper capitalization, it’s most likely to be a failed effort. This isn’t the early 2000’s.

The results will have to be as good or better than Google to gain traction, and even then, getting enough traction to make if economically feasible will be a giant hurdle.

I like the idea of compensating publishers, but I think policing the scammers on a platform like this will most likely be the biggest cost – even bigger than infrastructure.

It’s certainly an ambitious play, and I’ll be rooting for it. But based on just the tweets, it seems like it may be a bit too ambitious without significant capitalization.”

Announcement Gives Voice to Complaints About Google

The announcement captures many complaints by publishers who feel they are struggling. The news industry has been in crisis mode for over a decade trying to find a way to monetize in the digital world. AdSense publishers have been complaining for years of dwindling earnings.

Those complaints are set against the backdrop of Google earning estimates of $16.5 million dollars per hour from search advertising while everyone else is left behind.

Whether this search engine lifts off remains to be seen. The announcement however does give voice to many complaints about Google.

When publishers ask how to improve earnings and traffic, Google’s encouragement to “be awesome” has increasingly acquired a tone of “Let them eat cake.”

A perception has set in that the entire online search ecosystem is struggling except for Google.

The desire for a new search engine has been around for several years. This is why DuckDuckGo has been received so favorably the search marketing community. This announcement gives voice to long simmering complaints about Google.

The reaction on Twitter was almost cathartic and generally enthusiastic because of longstanding perception that Google is not adequately supporting the content creators upon which Google earns billions.

Will this New Search Engine Happen?

No release date has been announced. The scale of this project is huge. It’s almost the online equivalent of going to the moon.

Read the Twitter announcement here.

More Resources

Images by Shutterstock, Modified by Author
Screenshots by Author, Modified by Author

Spotify acquires Parcast storytelling podcast studio

Spotify announced Tuesday that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Parcast, a storytelling-driven podcast studio. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“The addition of Parcast to our growing roster of podcast content will advance our goal of becoming the world’s leading audio platform,” said Dawn Ostroff, Spotify Chief Content Officer.

Parcast runs 18 high-quality scripted, story-driven podcast series including Serial Killers, Unsolved Murders, Cults and Conspiracy Theories and the studio’s first fiction series, Mind’s Eye. These genres are particularly appealing to women, according to Spotify. Over seventy-five percent of the Parcast audience is female.

“In three years, we have created a production house that has grown exponentially and hit a chord with mystery and true-crime fans, especially women, across all 50 states and around the world,” said Ostroff.

Parcast will continue to develop its own stories. In addition to the podcast series Parcast currently runs, the studio is developing more than twenty new scripted shows focused on topics like crimes of passion, the justice system, and the world’s most resilient survivors which Spotify plans to launch by the end of 2019.

Why you should care

The podcast industry as a whole is growing, and Spotify considers itself the second biggest podcasting platform in the world, behind Apple. The acquisition further bolsters both Spotify’s competitive edge and podcast advertising revenues.

The IAB and PwC forecast that podcasting ad revenue will more than double to $659 million by 2020.

While Spotify doesn’t play ads to Premium subscribers, some podcasts might have third-party ads within their episodes. For some marketers trying to reach certain demographics, podcast advertising could prove to be a effective channel. Whitepapers like the IAB’s Podcast Playbook: A Guide for Marketers are a good starting point for marketers interested in exploring more about the opportunity. Spotify’s Ad Studio program also offers extensive resources and tools for advertisers.

More about the deal

  • Spotify has said it plans to spend up to $500 million on podcast start-ups this year.
  • In February, Spotify spent $337 million to acquire the Gimlet Media podcast network and production house Anchor.
  • Spotify claims more than 200 million global users, far behind Apple’s nearly 1 billion users.

About The Author

How to discover & suggest Google-selected canonical URLs for your pages

Sometimes a web page can be reached by using more than one URL. In such cases, Google tries to determine the best URL to display in search and to use in other ways. We call this the “canonical URL.” There are ways site owners can help us better determine what should be the canonical URLs for their content.

If you suspect we’ve not selected the best canonical URL for your content, you can check by entering your page’s address into the URL Inspection tool within Search Console. It will show you the Google-selected canonical. If you believe there’s a better canonical that should be used, follow the steps on our duplicate URLs help page on how to suggest a preferred choice for consideration.

Please be aware that if you search using the site: or inurl: commands, you will be shown the domain you specified in those, even if these aren’t the Google-selected canonical. This happens because we’re fulfilling the exact request entered. Behind-the-scenes, we still use the Google-selected canonical, including for when people see pages without using the site: or inurl: commands.

We’ve also changed URL Inspection tool so that it will display any Google-selected canonical for a URL, not just those for properties you manage in Search Console. With this change, we’re also retiring the info: command. This was an alternative way of discovering canonicals. It was relatively underused, and URL Inspection tool provides a more comprehensive solution to help publishers with URLs.

10 on-page SEO essentials: Crafting the perfect piece of content

on-page SEO essentials

You are now living in the midst of a tantalizing revolution as the great minds of user experience (UX) and search engine optimization (SEO) finally converge to produce beautiful on-page content designed to rank in search results AND engage or educate the user.

Gone are the days of plugging in keyword phrases into your blog posts to get the density just right and building landing page after landing page targeted at keyword variations like, “automobiles for sale”, “cars for sale” and “trucks for sale”.

Since the introduction of RankBrain, the machine-learning component of Google’s Core Algorithm, in late 2015, Google has moved farther away from a simple question and answer engine and has become a truly intelligent source of information matching the user’s intent — not just the user’s query.

Crafting compelling content is tough, especially in such a competitive landscape. How can you avoid vomiting up a 1,500-word blog post that will meet the deadline but fall very short of the user’s expectations? If you follow these 10 on-page essential elements, your brand will be on the right track to provide a rich content experience designed to resonate with your audience for months to come.

The basics:

Title Tag

Always seen in the <head> block or the beginning of a web page’s source code, the title tag is text wrapped in the <title> HTML tag. Visible as the headline of the search listing on results pages, on the user’s browser tab, and sometimes in social media applications when an Open Graph Tag is not present, this text is intended to describe the overarching intent of the page and the type of content a user can expect to see when browsing.

What I mean by “intent” can be illustrated with the following example. Say my title tag for a product page was Beef for Dogs | Brand Name. As a user, I would not expect to find a product page, but rather, information about whether I can feed beef to my dogs.

A better title tag to accurately match my users’ intent would be Beef Jerky Dog Treats | Brand Name.

Query = “beef for dogs”

Query = “beef jerky dog treats”

How do I know what the title tag of my page is?

Identifying what has been set as the title tag or meta description of your pages can be done URL-by-URL or at scale for many URLs. There are distinct uses for each discovery method, and it is always important to remember that Google may choose to display another headline for your page in search results if it feels that its title is a better representation for the user. Here are a few great online tools to get you started:

URL-by-URL inspection:
At scale:

NOTE: If you are one that prefers to “live in the moment”, you can also view the page source of the page you are currently on and search for “<title>” in the code to determine what should be output in search results. Lifewire produced this handy guide on viewing the source code of a webpage, regardless of the internet browser you are using.

Are there guidelines for crafting the perfect title tag?

Yes. The optimal title tag is designed to fit the width of the devices it’s displayed upon. In my experience, the sweet spot for most screens is between 50-60 characters. In addition, a page title should:

  • Be descriptive and concise
  • Be on-brand
  • Avoid keyword stuffing
  • Avoid templated/boilerplate content

Meta Description

Though the text below the headline of your search result, also known as the meta description, does not influence the ranking of your business’ URL in search results, this text is still important for providing a summary of the webpage. The meta description is your chance to correctly set a potential user’s expectations and engage them to click-through to the website.

How do I build the perfect meta description?

Pay close attention to three things when crafting a great meta description for each of your website’s pages: branding, user-intent, and what’s working well in the vertical (competitive landscape). These 150-160 characters are a special opportunity for your page to stand out from the crowd.

Do your page descriptions look and sound like they are templated? Investing time in describing the page in a unique way that answers user’s questions before they get to the website can go a long way in delighting customers and improving search performance.

Take for example the following product page for the Outdoor Products Multi-Purpose Poncho. The top listing for this product page is via Amazon.com, with a very obviously templated meta description. The only information provided is the product name, aggregate rating, and an indication of free delivery.

While not the top listing, the following result from REI Co-op clearly includes the product name, breadcrumbs, aggregate rating, price, availability, and a unique non-templated meta description. The standout feature of this meta description is that it does not copy the manufacturer’s text, provides some product differentiators like “easy to pull out of your bag” and “great travel item” that speak to user questions about portability.

The meta description plays an important role in complementing other elements of a well defined rich result, and it is often overlooked when retail businesses are using rich results to improve the ecommerce search experience specifically. That said, the same considerations apply to information focused pages as well.

Section Headings

Section heading elements (H1-H6) were originally intended to resize text on a webpage, with the H1 being used to style the primary title of a document as the largest text on the page. With the advent of Cascading Styling Sheets (CSS) in the late 90’s, this element had has less effect. CSS started being used for much of this functionality, and HTML tags acted as more of a  “table of contents” for a variety of user-agents (i.e. Googlebot) and users alike.

For this reason, the primary header (h1) and subheaders (h2-h6) can be important in helping search engines understand the organization of and context around a particular page of written content. Users do not want to read through a huge brick of text and neither do search engines. Organizing written words into smaller entities (sections) will help digestion and lead to better organic results, as seen in the example below:

In the example above, the primary topic (How to Teach a Child to Ride a Bike) is marked-up with an H1 tag, indicating that it is the primary topic of the information to follow. The next section “Getting Ready to Ride” is marked-up with an H2 tag, indicating that it’s a secondary topic. Subsequent sections are marked up with <h3> tags. As a result of carefully crafted headings, which organize the content in a digestible way and supporting written content (among other factors), this particular page boasts 1,400 search listings in the top 100 positions on Google  —  with only 1,400 words.

Over 92% of long-tail (greater than 3 words) keyword phrases get less than 10 searches per month, but they are more likely to convert users than their head term counterparts.

Focus on providing your potential users with answers to the search questions about a particular topic, rather than granular keyword phrases, will lead to a more authentic reading experience, more engaged readers, and more chances of capturing the plethora of long-tail phrases popping up by the minute.

Internal Linking

Internal links are hyperlinks in your piece of content that point back to a page on your own website. What is important to note here is that one should not create a link in a piece simply to provide a link pathway for SEO success. This is an old practice, and it will lead to a poor user experience. Instead, focus on providing a link to a supplemental resource if it will genuinely help a user answer a question or learn more about a specific topic.

A great example of helpful internal linking can be found above. In this article about “How to Ride a Bike”, the author has linked the text “Braking” to an article about types of bicycle brakes and more specifically how to adjust each type for optimal performance.

If there is supplemental information on your own website to substantiate your claims or provide further education to the reader in the article at hand, link to this content. If this doesn’t exist or there’s a better source of information on a particular topic, link out to this external content. There’s no harm in linking out to 3rd parties and in many if not all cases, this will serve as a citation of sorts, making your content more legitimate and credible in the user’s eyes.

External Linking

Linking to sources outside your own domain, also known as external linking, is often seen as one of the major ranking factors in organic search. External entities linking to your content are similar to calling someone you live next to a good neighbor, with a credibility effect similar to the citations you put in a term paper or an article on Wikipedia.

When writing a post or crafting a page for your own website, consider the following:

  1. How can I substantiate my statistics or claims?
  2. Why should my users believe what I have to say?
  3. Can anyone (customers or companies) back up my thoughts?

If you are crafting the best user experience, you will want to take special care in building an authentic, data-driven relationship with your past and present customers.

There are no magic rules or hacks in how you link to external sources. As the SEO industry evolves, you will realize professionals are simply “internet custodial engineers,” cleaning up the manipulations of the past (part of the reasons for Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird, and less notable algorithm changes by Google) and promoting the creation of expert-driven, authoritative, and accurate (E.A.T.) content on the web.

For more information on E.A.T., check out Google’s Official Quality Raters Guidelines.

Getting Fancy:

SEO-friendly images

Now more than ever, visual search as an alternative to text search is becoming a reality. In fact, even Pinterest’s CEO Silbermann said, “the future of search will be about pictures rather than keywords.” Seen below is data from Jumpshot compiled by Rand Fishkin at SparkToro that confirms Google Image Search now makes up more than 20% of web searches as of February 2018. As a result, including images in your content has some unique benefits as it relates to search engine optimization (SEO):

  1. Images break up large blocks of text with useful visuals,
  2. Alternate text embedded within an image can provide more context to search engines about the object, place, or person it is representing. This can help to improve your rankings in this medium.
  3. According to a study by Clutch in 2017, written articles, videos, and images are the three most engaging types of content on social media. Adding images to your text can improve a piece’s shareability.

A great example of using varying types of content to break up a topic can be seen below. In the article titled, “How to Tie the Windsor Knot”, the author has provided an informative primary header (h1) based on the functional query and also included video content (in case the user prefers this method of consumption), origin information, a comparison of this knot to others, and an explanatory graphic to walk anyone through the entire process.

By providing an abundance of detail and multimedia, not only can your business realize the additional search opportunities in the form of video object structured data and alternate text on the images, but meet the E.A.T. standards that will delight your potential users and drive performance.

Open Graph Tags

Developed by Facebook in 2007, with inspiration from Microformats and RDFa, the Open Graph protocol is one element of your page that can be easily forgotten because it’s often built into popular content management systems. Forgetting to review how your shared content will display on popular social networks can kill productivity as you race to add an image, name, description post-publishing. A lack of “OG Tags” can also hurt the shareability of the piece, decreasing the chances for its promotion to be successful.

“OG Tags” as they are commonly referred to are similar to other forms of structured data but are specifically relevant to social media sharing. They can act as a failsafe when a page title is not available, as Google commonly looks to this field when it cannot find text between the <title> elements.

How can I construct and validate open graph tags on my website?

Unless your content management system automatically generates Open Graph tags for you, you will have to build a few snippets of code to populate this information for those sharing your posts. You can find a few tools to help you out below:

Documentation:
Code snippet generators:
Code snippet validation:

Meta Robots Tags

The content your team produces will never get the success it deserves in organic search if no one can find it. While a powerful tool for ensuring search results stay nice and tidy, the meta robots tag can also be a content marketers worst enemy. Similar to the robots.txt file, it is designed to provide crawlers information about how to treat a certain singular URL in the search engine results and following it’s contained links, a single line of code can make your page or post disappear.

Where can I find the meta robots instructions?

This specific tag (if your website contains one) is generally contained within the <head> section of the HTML document and may appear to look similar to the following:

<META NAME=”ROBOTS” CONTENT=”NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW”>

What instructions can I provide to crawlers via the meta robots tag?

At bare minimum, your URL will need to be eligible for indexing by Google or other search engines. This can be accomplished with an INDEX directive in the content field above.

Note: It is still up to the search engine’s discretion if your URL is worthy and high-quality enough to include in search results.

In addition to the INDEX directive, you can also pass the following instructions via the meta robots tag:

NOINDEX – Tells a search engine crawler to exclude this page from their index

NOFOLLOW – Instructs the crawler to ignore following any links on the given page

NOARCHIVE – Excludes the particular page from being cached in search results

NOSNIPPET – Prevents a description from displaying below the headline in search results

NOODP – Blocks the usage of the Open Directory Project description from search results.

NONE – Acts as a NOFOLLOW, NO INDEX tag.

If you are taking the time to produce a high-quality article, make sure the world can see it with ease! Competing against yourself with duplicate articles and/or pages can lead to index bloat, and your search performance will not live up to its true potential.

Canonical Tags

The canonicalization and the canonical tag can be a tricky subject, but it is one that should not be taken lightly. Duplicate content can be the root of many unforeseen problems with your business’ organic search efforts.

What does a canonical tag (rel=”canonical”) do?

In simple terms, utilizing a canonical tag is a way of indicating to search engines that the destination URL noted in this tag is the “master copy” or the “single point of truth” that is worthy of being included in the search index. When implemented correctly, this should prevent multiple URLs with the same information or identical wording from being indexed and competing against each other on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Can my canonical tag be self-referential?

Absolutely. If it’s the best version of a page, do not leave it up to a search engine to decide this. Wear the “single source of truth” badge with pride and potentially prevent the incorrect implementation of canonical tags on other pages that are identical or similar.

Page Speed Test

Last but not least, we can’t forget about page speed on individual pages of a business’ website. While the elements listed above are great for helping search engines and users better understand the context around a piece of content, page speed is important for ensuring the user gets a quality technical experience.

The entire premise of using a search engine is centered around getting a quick answer for a particular question or topic search. Delivering a slow page to a user will likely lead to them leaving your website all together. According to a study from Google across multiple verticals, increasing page load time from 1 to 5 seconds increases the probability of a bounce by 90%. That could be a huge loss in revenue for a business.

Source: Google/SOASTA Research, 2017.

Tools for testing page speed:

Page by page:
At scale:

Crafting the perfect piece of content is more than simply understanding your audience and what they want to read about online. There are many technical elements outlined above that can make or break your success in organic search or many other marketing mediums. As you think about producing a blog, an informational guide, or even a product page, consider all of the information a user needs to take the desired next step.

(All screenshots were taken by the author for the purpose of this article.)

Cooper Hollmaier is Associate Program Manager, SEO at REI.

Related reading

content formats proven to maximize link acquisition for digital pr

visual design cues for ecommerce

Backlinks vs social shares How to make your content rank for different SEO metrics

Effortless 404 and site migration redirects with Fuzzy Lookup

Daily Search Forum Recap: March 26, 2019

Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:

  • Revealing The Google March 2019 Core Update Survey Results
    About ten days ago we began collecting data from you all around the Google March 2019 core update that touched down on March 12th. We collected over 500 responses and I wanted to share the results with you all.
  • Google: Accents In URLs Work Fine For Google
    Google’s John Mueller said on Twitter that having URLs with accents are perfectly fine for Google. John said “Accents in URLs are no problem — feel free to use them.”
  • Having Both Mobile URLs & Responsive Design Can Confuse Google
    Google’s John Mueller said that if you have a web site that deploys both a separate mobile URL and also has a responsive design, it can lead to confusing Google. He said on Twitter “We’d probably get confused – which one should we show when? It’s unclear.”
  • Google: Schema Still Not Required For Featured Snippets
    Google’s John Mueller said once again that schema is not required for having featured snippets. Back in 2015 he said schema may help get you featured snippets but then shortly after Gary Illyes said Google does not use schema or structured data for featured snippets. Here, a few years later, John is saying it is not required.
  • Google AMP & Mobile Friendly Tests Adds Code Editing
    Yesterday Google added the ability to edit code inline within both the AMP test and the mobile-friendly test. So you can run the tools on your URLs and then make code changes in the tool’s code editor, rerun the test and see the outcome.
  • Google New York Has Grassy Benches
    You don’t see much grass in New York City, so the city tries to put grass wherever they think they can. Here is a bench at the Google NYC office with grass on it. I am not sure if it is real grass o

Other Great Search Forum Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Promotion Building

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Search Features

Other Search

European Commission suggests countries cooperate on cybersecurity

US has been pushing to drop Huawei from EU networks The US pressure was discussed in a recent Digital Journal article: “The US upped pressure on Europe Wednesday to avoid turning to Huawei for 5G telecom infrastructure, with a top commander saying NATO forces would cease communicating with their German colleagues if Berlin teams up with the Chinese firm.” Another recent Digital Journal article discusses in detail, with competing views, the issue of Huawei as a security threat and how the risk can be handled. Exclusion of companies from 5G left to individual countriesThe Commission’s report suggests merely that the various EU countries carry out their own risk assessments and these would then be used to form an EU-wide assessment. However, the decision whether to exclude Huawei or others on national security grounds would be left to each country. The US has already branded Huawei as a potential security threat claiming the company could be used by the Chinese government for espionage. It has already banned Huawei equipment from being used by the federal government. This has led to Huawei filing a lawsuit against the US government. The Commission report puts a new obstacle in the way of the US campaign. Huawei has pointed out that the US has not produced any hard evidence of any wrongdoing by the country. The company by the way is not owned by the Chinese state but in a complex way by its workers. Commission vice president statement The vice president of the commission, Andrus Ansip said: ”5G technology will transform our economy and society and open massive opportunities for people and businesses. But we cannot accept this happening without full security built in It is therefore essential that 5G infrastructures in the EU are resilient and fully secure from technical or legal backdoors.” The European Commission Wikipedia describes the European Commission as follows: “The European Commission (EC) is an institution of the European Union, responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU.[2] Commissioners swear an oath at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg City, pledging to respect the treaties and to be completely independent in carrying out their duties during their mandate.[3] Unlike in the Council of the European Union, where members are directly and indirectly elected, and the European Parliament, where members are directly elected, the Commissioners are proposed by the Council of the European Union, on the basis of suggestions made by the national governments, and then appointed by the European Council after the approval of the European Parliament.”

Google Search Console Now Shows Google-Selected Canonical URLs by @MattGSouthern

Google Search Console will now show site owners which URL has been selected as the canonical version.

This information can be found by entering a page’s address in the URL Inspection tool.

Google just rolled the update out this morning:

When running a URL through the inspection tool, Google will show what it has selected as the canonical for that specific page.

This is important information for site owners to be aware of because Google will sometimes ignore rel=canonical markup.

So the URL that’s actually showing up in search results may be different from what you intended.

If you believe Google has not selected the best canonical URL for a particular page, there are ways you can suggest a different one. Please see our article on how to deal with similar content.

Search Console’s URL inspection tool is now the most comprehensive solution for discovering what Google has selected as the canonical URL.

Google notes that using the ‘site:’ or ‘inurl:’ commands are not efficient ways of discovering the Google-selected canonical.

“Please be aware that if you search using the site: or inurl: commands, you will be shown the domain you specified in those, even if these aren’t the Google-selected canonical. This happens because we’re fulfilling the exact request entered.”

With this update, you can find out the Google-selected canonical for any URL, not just those for the properties you manage in Search Console.

Google has decided to retire the ‘info:’ command, which was an alternative (and underused) way of discovering canonicals.

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Apple’s big service launches hold few opportunities for marketers

Apple CEO Tim Cook explains how new service offerings will work hand in hand with the company’s hardware and software

While Apple’s big event Monday didn’t disappoint when it came to glitz, glamour or even new offerings, services like Apple News+, Apple Card, Apple Arcade and Apple TV+ will be largely, if not wholly, ad-free. Marketers looking for new distribution and subscription revenue for their magazines, games or video content may have come away pleased, however.

Privacy reigns. Mostly, though, the announcements were marketer-unfriendly, with the biggest spates of applause coming for privacy-focused (and data-stingy) lines like when CEO Tim Cook explained the mechanism behind the personalization of Apple News and Apple News+ — the company’s new $9.99/month subscription offering that bundles content from around 300 magazines, three newspapers and a few web publishers.

“Sometimes people ask us how we recommend the best articles for you without compromising your privacy. The answer is we download groups of articles from our servers, and then we use on-device intelligence to make recommendations,” Cook said. “And that means we don’t know what you read. And in addition to that, we don’t allow advertisers to track. So what you read about on Apple News will not follow you across the web.”

Apple VP of Applications Roger Rosner, explains one of the value propositions of Apple News

That said, Apple News+ may be a boon for publishers seeking new distribution and to supplement their current revenue streams with additional subscription dollars. Yet, there’s also the possibility of it cannibalizing current subscription revenue, as it bundles a great volume of existing paywalled content — like the Wall Street Journal — and only costs the end user $9.99/month. The WSJ’s current annual commitment plan comes in at $15.60/month. No word on how the takings will be divvied up among the publishers, but the terms must not be terrible as Apple has managed to collect a substantial number of participants — though not the New York Times or Washington Post, it should be noted.

A new kind of credit card. Even one of marketers’ most treasured sources of data — a credit card — will be very different in Apple’s new incarnation, the Apple Card.

“We created a unique architecture for Apple Card, where Apple doesn’t know what you bought, where you bought it or how much you paid for it,” said Jennifer Bailey, Vice President of Apple Pay, speaking at the event. “So features like spend tracking and categorization all happen using ondevice intelligence, not on Apple servers. And for Apple Card, Goldman Sachs will never share or sell your data to third parties for marketing or advertising.”

Jennifer Bailey, VP of Apple Pay

Apple Arcade and Apple TV+, the company’s new subscription services for games and video content, respectively, will be coming out this fall, the company said. Each will be subscription-based destinations for original and exclusive content, but it’s hard to predict how well they’re likely to catch on given that pricing information has not yet been released.

Why marketers should care. If Google is the epitome of the advertising-supported model, Apple is clearly positioning itself as the anti-Google, seeking to distinguish itself from the search giant at every opportunity. So, besides the opportunities for distribution and subscription revenue for content creators, Apple’s announcements’ greatest significance may be what they say about where the market is going.

If consumers flock to paid services and perform all their content searching, browsing and viewing (not to mention paying with the Apple Card) behind the company’s privacy fence, marketers’ ability to analyze data for insights will be the poorer for it.

More about the news

  • The new Apple TV app aims to be a one-stop shop for video content, where users can access their cable TV and subscription services in one place. It will be available not only on the Apple TV device, but also on smart TVs and streaming devices like the Roku and Fire TV. A la carte subscriptions to premium channels like HBO and Showtime will be a part of the offering, as well.

Peter Stern, VP of Services at Apple, explains Apple TV and Apple TV channels

  • Apple’s announcement of its original video content ambitions (Apple TV+) was particularly star-studded, with everyone from Jennifer Aniston to Steven Spielberg represented and several new shows promised. Oprah capped off the event promising a wealth of collaboration through documentaries and even an interactive version of her book club. “I have joined forces with Apple because there’s a company that has reimagined how we communicate,” said Winfrey. “I’ve joined in order to serve this moment, as the Apple platform allows me to do what I do in a whole new way — to take everything I’ve learned about connecting to people to the next level.”

About The Author

Pamela Parker is Content Manager at Marketing Land, MarTech Today and Search Engine Land. She’s a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since 1998. She’s a former managing editor of ClickZ, and worked on the business side helping independent publishers monetize their sites at Federated Media Publishing.