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The end of Google+ after a data breach and how it affects us

73 0 17 Oct 2018

Google has decided to shut down Google+ after discovering a data breach. How should we react to the news?

Not many of us were surprised to hear that Google+ will stop existing in a few months. The only surprise came in the way the news was revealed with Google announcing a data breach that led them to this decision.

Google has published a blog post last week mentioning that they discovered a bug in the API for Google+ that allowed third-party developers to access data of 500,000 users with unauthorized permission.

What’s interesting is that they didn’t disclose the breach back in March when they discovered it and they only brought it to the public after The Wall Street Journal covered it in a post.

The story became so big that Google knew that they had to respond to it.

They’ve provided more details in their recent blog post about the bug:

Underlining this, as part of our Project Strobe audit, we discovered a bug in one of the Google+ People APIs:

  • Users can grant access to their Profile data, and the public Profile information of their friends, to Google+ apps, via the API.
  • The bug meant that apps also had access to Profile fields that were shared with the user, but not marked as public.
  • This data is limited to static, optional Google+ Profile fields including name, email address, occupation, gender and age. (See the full list on our developer site.) It does not include any other data you may have posted or connected to Google+ or any other service, like Google+ posts, messages, Google account data, phone numbers or G Suite content.
  • We discovered and immediately patched this bug in March 2018. We believe it occurred after launch as a result of the API’s interaction with a subsequent Google+ code change.
  • We made Google+ with privacy in mind and therefore keep this API’s log data for only two weeks. That means we cannot confirm which users were impacted by this bug. However, we ran a detailed analysis over the two weeks prior to patching the bug, and from that analysis, the Profiles of up to 500,000 Google+ accounts were potentially affected. Our analysis showed that up to 438 applications may have used this API.
  • We found no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any Profile data was misused.

They seem to use the word ‘bug’ making it clear that there is no evidence that there was a misuse of the data.

There was also an action to reassure users with the launch of more granular Google Account permissions through the individual dialog boxes.

Still, it seemed like the best time to shut down Google+, one of their least popular products the last few years.

The end of Google+

When was the last time you used Google+?

Not many of us can remember the last time we’ve had a meaningful interaction on Google+ or used it as part of our social media (or search) ROI.

Google’s attempt to launch its own social network was ambitious but the problem was that it never clicked with its audience.

The stats speak on their own and they come from Google’s latest blog post:

“The consumer version of Google+ currently has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds.”

Thus, users are only accessing Google+ by mistake or they simply find no reason to stay engaged.

On the contrary, there seemed to be a fit for enterprises using Google+ and they might even find new features to benefit from it:

“At the same time, we have many enterprise customers who are finding great value in using Google+ within their companies. Our review showed that Google+ is better suited as an enterprise product where co-workers can engage in internal discussions on a secure corporate social network. Enterprise customers can set common access rules, and use central controls, for their entire organization. We’ve decided to focus on our enterprise efforts and will be launching new features purpose-built for businesses. We will share more information in the coming days.”

Hence, the end of the consumer use may not necessarily mean the end of its enterprise users.

When will the platform shut down then for consumers then?

Google mentioned that there will be a 10-month period that you can still access the social network until it shuts down. This means that we will all say the final goodbye to Google+ at the end of August 2019.

What do all these mean?

Dr Ben Marder, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at University Edinburgh Business School was skeptical from the beginning of Google’s endeavor and the problem started from the network’s positioning:

“Google + was created with a promise that it would solve the ‘multiple audience problems’ an issue that has been shown to cause anxiety within network members as the content is consumed beyond those it is undesired. An issue that Facebook was highly criticized for. Though I commend the effort of Google, unfortunately, I believe it was these arguably good intentions that killed it before it was even born.

People will say that they want to keep their various different social circles separate, no doubt this was what was reported in market research when Google was designing their network. However, what people are reluctant to say is a key component of what makes social media so fascinating is seeing the posts maybe you shouldn’t have, the kind of posts that would spark interest and may be gossiped about. Google+ is best described, like a person you would rather not have a second date with, ‘nice but boring’. At least LinkedIn knows it is boring, but fulfills a specific niche, Google + was essentially a dull jack-of-all trades.”

You may be indifferent about Google+ as a user but you may have used it in the past as part of your marketing or SEO strategy. There used to be a time that Google+ was still relevant for professional reasons and it even brought some sort of ROI for some businesses, especially in niche industries and communities.

What does this change mean for marketers then?

Chances are that you haven’t used Google+ for at least a couple of years. However, it’s still interesting to explore how the social media landscape is evolving. Even Google’s power wasn’t enough to convince users to use its social platform.

It’s a lesson for all of us not to rely on one platform for our marketing strategy, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube, as you can’t predict what the future holds.

It’s always a good idea to look into the future to ensure that your strategy is adapting to the changing consumer habits.

Moreover, another data breach, whether it’s called a breach or a bug, is a matter of concern for users who lose their trust on big tech giants. This is important when creating your next marketing campaigns to ensure that your brand and your messages comply with the audience’s needs. Trust will become key on social networks and we cannot ignore it anymore, especially after a year of multiple data breach scandals.

And what does this change mean for SEO professionals?

Social media and SEO can still make great allies. Google+ used to help companies boost their SEO with social playing as a useful ranking signal. Although it has never been an official ranking signal, it still contributed to online authority. However, as Google+ started losing its audience, it didn’t affect SEO even if it was Google’s own network.

YouTube can still impact your search rankings and of course, your popularity on other social channels can still affect your position in SERPs.

Still, social media is not the most important factor to your SEO strategy and Google+ certainly won’t be missed in 2018.

If you want to check your Google+ data you can visit Google’s Takeout where you can download the data from Google’s services.

Google will also provide more details soon on how you can both download and migrate all your Google+ data.

Original source: https://searchenginewatch.com/2018/10/14/the-end-of-google-after-a-data-breach-and-how-it-affects-us/

7 common SEO mistakes most WordPress bloggers make

58 0 17 Oct 2018

WordPress initially started out as a ‘blog-only’ platform and now that it has extended as a full-fledged Content Management System, it remains a popular blogging platform. WordPress.com blogs have over 409 million monthly viewers who looked at 22.4 billion pages per month this past year.

This standalone fact is enough to justify the popularity of WordPress as people’s favorite blogging platform.  

WordPress does provide a lot of helpful features for blogging enthusiasts who are looking to start their own blogging website. However, inexperienced bloggers do commit some mistakes in spite of all the online help available. In this blog post, we will review the most common SEO WordPress mistakes that bloggers commit out of either ignorance or sheer carelessness. Regardless of the reason, these mistakes affect the search engine ranking of their blogs and even their online reputation. 

So, let’s explore seven of the most common SEO mistakes made by WordPress bloggers. 

1. Not using the right SEO optimized blogging theme 

If you are new to blogging, you might have missed out on the information that WordPress offers SEO optimized themes for your blogs which are highly helpful when it comes to the quest of online rankings. If you are not using an SEO optimized blogging theme, you are obviously a step behind than the others who are relying on them. There are a lot of SEO optimized blogging themes for WordPress that you could choose from such as DiviMagPlusJevelin etc.  

2. Missing on an SEO optimized contact form 

Even if your WordPress blog is in its initial phase, it needs to provide a point of contact to its followers, even if they are less in the count than expected. A contact form serves the purpose just right. Your contact form is a conversion driver and optimizing it for the right SEO keywords will help your visitors easily find your blog, hence amplifying the traffic. 

3. Not buying a domain 

Are you running your free blog using WordPress with the default blog address you were allotted with? If the answer is ‘Yes’, you might not be pleased with what we are about to tell you. A blog or even a website runs well only when it runs as per the need of its target audience. A proper domain name provides an identity to your blog and prepares a path for the visitors to lay their expectations. Not buying a domain can damage the traffic expectations of your blog and kill its overall Search engine ranking. 

4. Not optimizing blog images 

A great blog comes to being only when its relevant content is paired with original and high-quality images. However, a lot of WordPress blog and website owners forget to tap the optimization of these images. It is very important to optimize the images you use in your WordPress blog. It helps your site load faster and even enhances your Google PageSpeed score. 

To optimize your blog images, you can seek help from WordPress image optimization plugins such as Smush ItEWWW Image Optimizer, and TinyPNG. These plugins will help you compress your images without affecting their resolution and also take care of their SEO optimization. 

5. Choosing the wrong keyword 

Your blog’s reachability depends entirely on the Keyword chosen by you for its Search Engine Optimization. Keyword Research might be a very extensive concept but it can do wonders for your blog’s SEO if done in the right manner. 

You have to work on an SEO Keyword strategy for your blog in a manner that you are using  Keywords that define the subject of your content, are low in competition yet are commonly used by visitors for finding the information they are looking for. Finding Keywords that fit the bill for all these requirements can be quite a task and might overwhelm certain users. As demanding they might be, they require your focus or the attention if you are looking to rank your blog well.  

6. Not focusing on loading speed 

Your online blog’s loading time will highly affect the traffic on it and also the site abandonment ratio that follows if your blog takes a lot of time to load for its visitors. A loading time above 2-3 seconds can lead to a lot of visitors abandoning your blog.

If you really are serious about your blog’s loading speed, you must get a Caching plugin for your blogs such as W3 Total CacheWP Fastest Cache or WP Super Cache. These plugins are easy to use and they make your WordPress blog speedy as well. You must also not refrain from investing in a reliable web hosting service because they tackle your blogging website’s server side issues and have their fair share towards your blog’s overall performance and speed.  

7. Not focusing on content and readability 

Probably one of the most important aspects of your blog is the content that you push through it. It needs to be of a top-notch quality when you are looking to commit no SEO mistakes in and around it. Make sure the following things about your blog’s your content: 

  • Create original content that is relevant as per the audience. 
  • Make sure that this content is readable and provides a ‘takeaway’ for the target audience. 
  • Blogging consistently will help you have a stable traffic on your blog. Use plugins like the Editorial Calendar to blog regularly. 

Conclusion

A lot of experienced blog owners do commit technical and onsite SEO errors and then look for SEO agencies and content marketers to take care of their blog’s SEO. However, the most common mistakes can be easily avoided by creating a checklist of the must-haves. 

Analyze your WordPress blog today and see if you are committing any of the mistakes mentioned above. Hopefully, you’ll be able to tackle them and remove them from your blog at the earliest. Once you have a solid SEO content strategy and a perfect plan of action for your blog’s SEO, you will definitely be able to refine and improve the overall SEO performance of your WordPress blog.

Original source: https://searchenginewatch.com/common-seo-mistakes-wordpress-bloggers-make

Developing a schema strategy for local business: An interview with Schema App’s Martha van Berkel

58 0 17 Oct 2018

Semantic markup offers the most clear-cut opportunity to tell search engines about your small business website. Discover the benefits and learn how you can get started.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Google Ads Report Editor gets two new landing page reports

54 0 17 Oct 2018

New columns are available with an update to what was the final URL report.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

SearchCap: Schema strategies, Google Shopping Insights, Google Cache

57 0 17 Oct 2018

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

YouTube now counts ‘engagement’ for YouTube for action ads at 10 seconds, not 30

68 0 16 Oct 2018

Google says the new attribution will better reflect the role of video in the customer journey, but it also changes the way advertisers are charged for views.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

SearchCap: Google Discover ads, YouTube engagement metric & PPC tools

68 0 16 Oct 2018

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Why Google Cache lies to you and what to do about it (if anything)

86 0 16 Oct 2018

You shouldn’t panic if you see weirdness in the Google Cache. Still, it’s worth investigating in case an odd display is a sign of a bigger problem.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

SearchCap: Google Ads recording calls, Sitelinks snippets & Google Easter Eggs

72 0 15 Oct 2018

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Moz acquires STAT Search Analytics

94 0 15 Oct 2018

The SEO tools maker plans to bolster its enterprise offerings by integrating STAT’s ranking and analytics features.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


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