YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft Agree To Censor EU “Hate Speech”

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In a disturbing agreement from the perspective of free speech advocates Tuesday, the European Commission and U.S. based social media companies Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft agreed to a “Code of Conduct” on “hate speech”. It’s pretext is to stop terrorist related propaganda on social media, but reading the announcement from the EU it looks to also be a way to censor opposition to negative news about Muslims. The EU describes it this way:

The IT Companies support the European Commission and EU Member States in the effort to respond to the challenge of ensuring that online platforms do not offer opportunities for illegal online hate speech to spread virally. They share, together with other platforms and social media companies, a collective responsibility and pride in promoting and facilitating freedom of expression throughout the online world. However, the Commission and the IT Companies recognise that the spread of illegal hate speech online not only negatively affects the groups or individuals that it targets, it also negatively impacts those who speak out for freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination in our open societies and has a chilling effect on the democratic discourse on online platforms.

The EU further describes the purpose for the new rules as follows:

In order to prevent the spread of illegal hate speech, it is essential to ensure that relevant national laws transposing the Council Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia are fully enforced by Member States in the online as well as the in the offline environment. While the effective application of provisions criminalising hate speech is dependent on a robust system of enforcement of criminal law sanctions against the individual perpetrators of hate speech, this work must be complemented with actions geared at ensuring that illegal hate speech online is expeditiously reviewed by online intermediaries and social media platforms, upon receipt of a valid notification, in an appropriate time-frame. To be considered valid in this respect, a notification should not be insufficiently precise or inadequately substantiated.

The problem is what is hate speech? It’s well known that the EU has often twisted the idea of hate speech from a battle with Islamic extremists and terrorists to a fight to stop the speech of those opposing their extreme positions. For instance, is it hate to draw a political cartoon of Mohammed as the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo did which resulted in the murder of 12 members of its staff by radical Islamic extremists. By Western standards of free speech, obviously not. But from the EU’s point of view maybe.

Many see these new rules as Orwellian and distressing that US based social media companies would agree to censorship of views the EU doesn’t agree with. From Breitbart:

Janice Atkinson MEP told Breitbart London: “It’s Orwellian. Anyone who has read 1984 sees it’s very re-enactment live.

“The Commission has been itching to shut down free speech in the Parliament and now they’re attacking social media. We have already seen Facebook ‘policing’ so-called right-wing postings.

“If an MEP, such as the centre-right Hungarians, the Danish People’s Party, the Finns, the Swedish Democrats, the Austrian FPO, say no to migration quotas because they cannot cope with the cultural and religious requirements of Muslims across the Middle East who are seeking refugee status, is that a hate crime? And what is their punishment? It’s a frightening path to totalitarianism.”

UKIP’s Justice and Home Affairs spokeswoman Diane James MEP told Breitbart London:

“This legislation is so vague that it is the thin end of the wedge not just curb hate speech but free speech as well.

“Different people and cultures across Europe have different ways of communicating. The Liberal tradition in Britain for instance is more open and very different from that of dictatorial former Communist countries in the East.

“The EU was sold to people as a Common Market, it became a political union and now wishes to decide and compromise our civil liberties as a people. This is unacceptable to a free people who have a right to know where all this legislation is leading to.

“In my opinion, if the EU still allows to me have an opinion, I believe this matter should be decided by national parliaments rather than the unelected European Commission.“

In response the these new restrictive rules on speech by the EU and American social media companies the European Digital Rights (EDRi) announced that is pulling out of future discussions with the Commission:

Faced with this lamentable outcome, and with no possibility to provide meaningful input to this process, the Commission has left us with no other choice but to withdraw from the discussion,

said Estelle Massé, EU Policy Analyst at Access Now.

It is ironic that the Commission is threatening to take Member States to court for failing to implement EU law on racism and xenophobia while it is persuading companies like Google and Facebook to sweep offences under the carpet,

added Joe McNamee, Executive Director at European Digital Rights.

In a release, the EDRi explains why they have a problem with this new Code of Conduct agreement:

What is in today’s code of conduct?

– an explicit statement that companies will “take the lead” in policing controversial speech online, which means that law enforcement authorities will not be taking the lead;

– an undertaking that IT companies will ban content that should already be legally banned;

– an undertaking to review notifications against company terms of service first and then, “if necessary” to review them against the law. In practice, this means that the legal procedures for testing the legality of content against the law will never be used as the code of conduct asks for illegal content to be banned by terms of service.

In short, the “code of conduct” downgrades the law to a second-class status, behind the “leading role” of private companies that are being asked to arbitrarily implement their terms of service. This process, established outside an accountable democratic framework, exploits unclear liability rules for companies. It also creates serious risks for freedom of expression as legal but controversial content may well be deleted as a result of this voluntary and unaccountable take down mechanism.

This means that this “agreement” between only a handful of companies and the European Commission is likely in breach of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, under which restrictions on fundamental rights should be provided for by law. It will, in practical terms, overturn case law of the European Court of Human Rights on the defense of legal speech.

The post YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft Agree To Censor EU “Hate Speech” appeared first on WebProNews.

Wasting our technology surplus

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When someone handed you a calculator for the first time, it meant that long division was never going to be required of you ever again. A huge savings in time, a decrease in the cognitive load of decision making.

Now what?

You can use that surplus to play video games and hang out.

Or you can use that surplus to go learn how to do something that can’t be done by someone merely because she has a calculator.

Either way, your career as a long-divisionator was over.

Entire professions and industries are disrupted by the free work and shortcuts that are produced by the connection economy, by access to information, by robots. Significant parts of your job are almost certainly among them.

Now that we can get what you used to do really quickly and cheaply from someone else, you can either insist that you still get to do that for us at the same fee you used to charge, or you can move up the ladder and do something we can’t do without you.

       
May 31st 2016 Uncategorized

Report: Social Media Examiner 2016 State of Social Media Marketing

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state-of-social-media-marketing

It can be easy to get caught up in the buzz of new social media marketing platforms and content types (live video ring a bell?). But what are today’s marketers implementing the most and experiencing the most success with? The answers might surprise you.

Social Media Examiner recently released their 2016 State of Social Media Marketing Industry Report which dives into the responses of over 5,000 marketers who share their top priorities, successes, failures and outlooks for social media marketing.  This post will dive into a few of the highlights that I found most interesting from this year’s report.

#1 – Not All Marketers Implementing Social Media Analyze Success & Measure ROI

Social media marketing still seems to hold a mystery for a lot of marketers. Of those surveyed in this report, only 19% strongly agree that they regularly analyze their social media activities. Additionally, only 41% say that they are able to measure the ROI for their social media activities.

In order for marketers to be effective with any aspect of their digital marketing approach, a close eye to the data is essential. By closely watching this information, marketers are better able to adapt and evolve their strategies to meet customer need.

#2 – Some Marketers Are Facing Declines in Website Traffic via Facebook

Social media can be a great source for referring traffic to a brand’s website. But just like those above that are not measuring the ROI of their social media, many aren’t sure if referral traffic from Facebook has declined or not. However, 23% have noticed a decline in traffic in the past 12 months.

#3 – Social Media Marketing is Becoming More Difficult

Social media is a quickly evolving beast. Platforms are constantly changing algorithms, releasing new features and “changing the rules”. That requires marketers to think on their feet and quickly adapt their approach at the drop of a hat. According to this survey, 40% of marketers believe that social media has become increasingly difficult in the past 12 months.

#4 – Many Marketers Are Spending Under 6 Hours a Week on Social Media

A successful social media marketing strategy requires commitment. Building an audience in general, let alone one that is engaged and interacts with your brand takes time, and an ongoing investment of both time and often budget.

However, 37% of marketers are spending a maximum of five hours per week on their social media efforts. That means, at most they are spending 1 hour a day managing their social media accounts.

Today’s customers expect swift responses from the brands they follow and interact with online which would be extremely difficult to master in only 5 hours a week.

#5 – The Top Reported Benefits of Social Media Marketing Might Surprise You

Increased exposure for the business is listed as the top benefit of social media marketing by an 89% of respondents. The other benefits that made the top of the list include:

  • Increased Traffic 75%
  • Developed Loyal Fans 68%
  • Provided Marketplace Insight 666
  • Generated Leads 66%

#6 – The Super 3 Still Reign Supreme

Even with the increasingly popular use of platforms like Snapchat and vine for brands across the globe, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are still the most commonly used social media platforms by marketers. From 2015 to 2016, both Twitter and LinkedIn faced a slight decline while Instagram gained a few points.

#7 – The Outlook for Paid Social Media

Many social networks are increasingly making it more difficult for brands to maintain the organic reach that they used to. That change has required an investment in paid social media to become more of a necessity than a luxury.

An overwhelming 87% of marketers invest their budgets in Facebook ads versus the next platforms coming in at 39% (Google ads), 18% (Twitter ads) and 17% (LinkedIn ads).

#8 – The Difference Between B2B & B2C

One of the biggest contrasts within this report is the importance of different social networks for B2B and B2C marketers. The top three social networks (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) both rank high for both types of marketers, but the order of importance is vastly different.

What Does the Future Hold for Social Media Marketing?

Next year, we may begin to see some of these responses shift as more and more marketers begin adopting the use of platforms like Snapchat and SlideShare. We cannot be certain what the future will hold for social media marketing, but we do know that marketers are finding it to be a value tool for interacting with and engaging their audience. Social media marketing is here to stay.

If you’re like to read the full report, visit Social Media Examiner.

2016 Social Media Marketing Report

 


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May 31st 2016 Social Media

Four Stories: A Decade of Writing Occam’s Razor!

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An off-topic post this week, to celebrate this incredible outpost you've helped create on the web, Occam's Razor.

This month my beloved blog is ten years old. T. E. N!

It feels more like five. But, I've already celebrated the blog being five years old!

I have to admit life has been a tad bit busy lately, and it took a note from a reader to remind me of the birthday. Her note read: "…. and it is pretty impressive that you've managed to stay relevant for a decade, it is a very long time in digital years…"

It gave me a pause. I had to go check how long I've been at this.

My very first post was audaciously titled Traditional Web Analytics is Dead (05/15/06). Given that title, it is amazing that the whole thing has lasted a decade! 🙂

What is frankly shocking is how topical the content seems to be. Five minutes ago, 05/30/06, in my stream I saw a tweet by Christian Bartens referencing a post I'd written on 05/19/06! The 10 / 90 Rule for Magnificent Web Analytics Success.

So today, a little bit of reporting back to you how things have been, a little reflecting my sense of pride on the journey, and an invitation to you to contribute a little story about your experience with my beloved blog. Would you please add it to the comment below? Where are you, how long have you been reading it, what value have you found in it?

The Story In Numbers.

You'll see in a moment just how much you have been a part of my success, I have actual numbers! 🙂 I'll share below my journey over the last decade, what it took, I think, to keep Occam's Razor at such high quality, and the decisions big and small it took to stay relevant and keep the brand of the blog so pure.

But, first, the numbers.

Here's the Google Analytics trend for Sessions, or Visits as they used to be called back in the day. 🙂 A nice and steady increase in traffic until 2013, then then a flattening out.

occams razor traffic

What's interesting is that I started the blog, very deliberately, only writing two posts a week. It was quite abnormal as most people blogged multiple times a day. Then as I grew busy after the first book, Web Analytics: An Hour A Day was published, June 2007, I started writing once a week to keep the quality high. I'd switched jobs by now and after the second book, Web Analytics 2.0, Oct 2009, I started writing every other week. Then once every three weeks, then, as you start to see the curve flatten after 2013, once a month.

What is pretty surprising is that traffic that stayed loyal kept increasing. I have 80k RSS Subscribers on Feedburner (what, it is still around!). And, there is also a feed available via Feedly, which currently has 39k Subscribers.

feedly occams razor subscribers

My rough estimation is that 200k people read the blog's content each month.

I have always been a bit surprised about this because I only write once a month now. But, having analyzed the data in Google Analytics, it turns out a whole bunch of that traffic is reading older content.

And, people engage! There are 28 comments awaiting moderation right now, eight of them are on posts prior to 2010.

Speaking of which…

You are a massive part of my this blog is successful.

Not counting this post, I've written 913,661 words in ten years (I still can't believe it has been ten years!). And, you all have contributed 939,657 words on comments!!

raw author contribution occam's razor

Honestly, it is simply unbelievable.

I'll admit that encouraging comments, getting you to engage was a very deliberate part of my blogging strategy. I would reply personally to every single person who wrote a comment (I still do). And, it would be thoughtful. I would reply on the blog in a timely manner. Etc.

But this is well beyond my wildest imagination.

Here's a comparison of you and myself…

conversation rate full stats occam's razor

27 comments on average per post. It used to be much bigger, but like on other blogs the comments have been impacted by social media's evolution.

Thank you for being such an engaged audience. I will honestly tell you that when the going has gotten tough, your engagement, your questions, your kind words have been a huge motivator. Merci!

Speaking of which… One number I'm very proud of is the result of the decision my wife and I made when we published the two books. We decided that since this blog is a labor of love, that rather than me making money on it, we would donate all the proceeds we make from the book to charity.

web analytics 2

As of today, that number is slightly north of $320,000.

It is an unbelievable amount of money, I don't think I could possibly donate that much from my other earnings. It has gone to three charities: Doctors Without Borders, The Smile Train and Ekal Vidyalaya. Of all the things that I do with this blog, this is the one I'm most proud of.

Thank you again for helping me do it.

The Story Of My Decade.

I was the Director of Research & Analytics at Intuit when I started this blog (LinkedIn). Writing was a delicate balancing act between doing a full-time job, being responsible for a team and writing in the night. I could not imagine how I did it. (And, it only got crazier and crazier!)

I then did a year of consulting, via my company ZQ Insights, with a few companies like Dell and AOL, and a little entity called Google. At the end of that year, I accepted a full-time job at Google as an Analytics Evangelist. Brett deserves my eternal gratitude for creating this wonderful position for me. My second job at Google was to as the Digital Marketing Evangelist – primarily as a result of me realizing that data was not the problem, in fact it was not even fifth on the list and I wanted to go solve the real strategic problems for the largest companies on the planet.

Avinash Kaushik

My current job at Google is perhaps my most exciting yet, leading a group of storytellers who use data and strategic business frameworks as the bedrock to do something hard and magical: Changing minds.

Along the way, I've been on the board of advisors of four companies (two successful exits!). It was an amazing experience each time, and as you know what does not kill you makes you stronger.

I also started Market Motive to transform education for digital disciplines with my friend John and Michael. Selling it recently to Simplilearn was a thrill, we are all so excited for the hockey stick growth that we expect MM to have now.

Market Motive was fantastic as I was also the Faculty for Web Analytics. This meant Live Class every week, new videos of the latest content, engaging with students on most days, grading their final dissertations, constantly trying to solve for the higher order bit… I cannot share how influential this was in forcing me to be not just current but two steps ahead.

A source of deep satisfaction during this decade has been the ability to influence analytics products. There are parts of Google Analytics I can point to and feel a sense of gratification that I had the privilege of working on it or initiating the creation of. There have been other tools at Google like the Keyword Tool or Webmaster Tools or even goo.gl etc. I feel so happy that, literally, millions of people in the world use something I had the privilege of working on. Beyond Google, I've advised, for free, many startups on their work, many of you use these tools today, bringing me great joy. Posts from this blog have also influenced many metrics, reports, and dashboards you see in other tools. In one case at least, TrueSocialMetrics, the entire tool and company started from one blog post (Best Social Media Metrics). Money cannot buy the sense of pride I feel.

The whole time, there were keynotes to be delivered around the world, new audiences to engage, deep diving into different countries, business environments, hunting for the good an the not-good, all in a constant to be the most memorable and valuable speaker for every audience! That is how you end up with more than a million miles flown in less than ten years (just on United).

Having three jobs at the same time means seventy-hour work weeks (and no keeping up with the kardashians). It was been absolutely unbelievable, an amount of professional growth, powered by curiosity I express every day to come back to you on this blog with something incredible and of value.

The Story Of Three Early Choices.

Here are some decisions that, in hindsight, had a huge impact on me and the blog.

1. I'd decided early on that I would not have any advertising on the blog, in fact I would never ask people to hire me as a consultant or speaker or anything else. I never wanted to directly make any money from the blog, that gave me the freedom to focus just on teaching by sharing my knowledge as I accumulated it.

The only commercial stuff here are the links to Market Motive or my books in the side nav. I rarely, if ever, ask you to buy either.

I think this was huge for me because I never had to pimp, and that always pollutes intent, and it brought focus. It also became easy to say yes or no to things that lead to commercial things. Guest posts. Pimping other people's stuff. Getting you to show up at my events. Etc. Etc.

All of this made it easier to see the knowledge here is in the purest way it was intended.

2. I also decided that I would only write if I had something incredible and of value to share. Else. Shut up and post nothing.

This allowed me to serve the God of Quality beyond all else. As I got busier, I kept posting less because it would compromise quality. It also meant that I had to be very good at things before I could write about them (forcing me to be amongst the first in the industry to get into things that were not yet mainstream – mobile, social, analytics evolutions, marketing, competitive intelligence, decision making challenges etc. etc.).

This was huge for me because the reason people came, and kept coming, is because they were a little more than reasonably guaranteed to get fantastic, bleeding edge thinking in a non-pimpy environment. This is also the reason that I've managed to have three jobs at one time and evolve in each of them (to an extent that web analytics itself forms a much smaller part of my core).

3. I deliberately decided not to syndicate the content on this blog. This was hard for me because I know that I am lot less famous because I've refused to have the content of this blog on the HBS blog or one of the industry blogs or Huff Po or LinkedIn or so many other places. They are all glorious places where there is a ton of traffic and it would have benefited me.

But, the upside for me is that you can only find my content here. And, if you want to be intelligent about analytics and marketing, you'll have to come here. My house. My terms. My customer (you!). This has turned up to be a great strategy because my presence is not fragmented all over the web and I'm not at the mercy of sites becoming famous or dying for the attention of my precious audience.

There are many other choices I've made, big and small, along the way. But these three have had a huge impact, and I hope as you think of your own platform (and you should have one) you'll find them to be of value.

The Story Of Benefits To Me.

So, so, so, so many.

I have made so many brilliant friends. People out there that inspire me, Thomas and Mitch and Seth and Bryan and so many others. People that make me so happy when I see them around the world, like Marco when I visit Germany or Zoli when I'm in Hungary. My circle is huge. For an introvert to have so many people to know and to care for and engage in an exchange of ideas is an immense gift.

The blog has helped me be "famous." As I tell my kids, medium-sized fish in a small fish-bowl. 🙂 This has brought with it so many benefits, indirectly financial and otherwise.

The blog has helped me build a unique brand for myself. For the fifth year anniversary, I'd asked folks in Social Media what three words come to mind when they think about "Brand Avinash," this is the resulting tag cloud…

brand tag cloud non-analytics avinash kaushik-big[1]

Could a person ask for anything more? Such a gift from you all, from this blog, that I get to read those words. I was deeply touched.

But above and beyond all else, my absolute favourite benefit is the stories strangers tell me when I see them after my keynotes around the world, or in the emails they send to me.

Here's an example:

Hello Avinash! I wanted to pass along a big thank you for your blog posts and newsletters. I enjoy reading and more importantly, learning from your experiences. I have yet to read a post from you that did'nt simultaneously educate and entertain me.

I am particularly digging your comparison of own vs. rent in the context of platforms. I am also really pleased with your recent newsletter approach.

THANK YOU for being awesome! I look forward to learning more from you in the future.

How very kind is that?

And people are so wonderful to write. Here's another one:

Hi Avinash,

Just wanted to let you know that every time I visit your blog I spend somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes reading your articles… and 3 or 4 hours with crippling self-doubt about my own way of doing stuff.

It means you write excellent stuff and I'm actually learning something.

Cheers!

I literally LOLed! I loved that someone out there was filled with three to four hours of self-doubt. 🙂 I wrote back to check if they were back to normal after that. He said, I end up in a new and better place. 🙂

Some of my absolute favourite emails have this spirit in them…

Avinash.

You are a huge inspiration and have contributed to the intellectual, financial and emotional well being of many.

When I started reading your blog, I was living below the poverty line, and carrying the financial responsibility for my family. With the traditional world view, I had little chance of success in the job environment because I didn't have fancy degrees nor a valuable skill set and I had entered the workforce in my mid to late 30s.

Reading your blog and books taught me to think intelligently and cut through a lot of years of work otherwise required to gain experience. It also inspired me to pursue excellence and a whole lot more.

I am sharing this with you so you can see the impact you have on lives. I know there are thousands reading your blog and many of their lives are impacted. In little ways and big ways.

I know you get a ton of email. No response needed. Just sharing parts of the story so you have visibility on the huge impact your work has on many lives.

Keep shining!

Every kind email touches me with the generosity of the words strangers write, emails like this one move me deeply.

I write because I love writing and I want to share what little I know. To learn that it has a material impact on someone gives the kind of meaning to my work that money, fame or anything else simply can't buy. In those moments, you all make me realize that I will do a lot in my life, my kids will be my biggest legacy, but that this decade spent writing close to a million words have had an impact that I could never have imagined. Beyond a doubt a huge impact on me, and some impact on you.

In my wildest dreams on May 15th 2006 I could not have imagined that I would end up here a decade later. Not in my wildest dreams.

Thank you for your kindness. Thank you for your loyalty. Thank you for your encouragement.

I am beyond grateful.

And, I'm going to keep trying, keep learning and keep sharing. My email newsletter, I'm the last human to get into newsletters (!), The Marketing – Analytics Intersect, is the latest iteration of this.

Thank you again.

As always (!!), it is your turn now.

How long have you been reading the blog? Which post was/is your favourite? If you had to describe "brand Avinash" in three words, what would be your three words? Why do you think this blog has been successful, or relevant, for a decade?

I would love to hear from you. Merci.

Four Stories: A Decade of Writing Occam's Razor! is a post from: Occam's Razor by Avinash Kaushik

May 31st 2016 Uncategorized

Links for 2016-05-30 [del.icio.us]

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May 31st 2016 Uncategorized

Affiliate Marketing in June: Dads and Grads

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Although the lazy days of the summer ‘sales slump’ are just about upon us come June, don’t give up your affiliate marketing efforts too soon.

dads-grads
June is the time to pick up revenue from Father’s Day, graduation season sales and other holidays.

Holiday Observances in June 2016 include:

  • 1 Dare Day
  • 1 Flip a Coin Day
  • 2 National Bubba Day
  • 2 National Rocky Road Day
  • 3 National Doughnut Day always the first Friday in June
  • 3 Repeat Day (I said “Repeat Day”)
  • 4 Applesauce Cake Day
  • 4 Hug Your Cat Day
  • 4 National Trails Day First Saturday in June
  • 4 Old Maid’s Day
  • 5 World Environment Day
  • 6 National Gardening Exercise Day- Get out and exercise with your plants.
  • 6 National Yo-Yo Day
  • 6 Ramadan – date varies
  • 7 National Chocolate Ice Cream Day
  • 8 Best Friends Day
  • 8 Name Your Poison Day
  • 9 Donald Duck Day
  • 10 Iced Tea Day
  • 11 National Corn on the Cob Day
  • 12 Red Rose Day
  • 13 Sewing Machine Day
  • 14 Flag Day
  • 15 Smile Power Day
  • 16 Fresh Veggies Day
  • TBD Nursing Assistants Day – First day of National Nursing Assistants Week
  • 17 Eat Your Vegetables Day
  • 18 Go Fishing Day
  • 18 International Panic Day
  • 18 International Picnic Day
  • 18 National Hollerin’ Contest Day – third Saturday in June
  • 18 National Splurge Day – Oh yeah!!
  • 18 World Juggler’s Day – Saturday closest to June 17th
  • 19 Father’s Day – third Sunday
  • 19 National Kissing Day
  • 19 World Sauntering Day
  • 20 Finally Summer Day- Summer Solstice, date varies
  • 20 Ice Cream Soda Day
  • 21 Go Skate Day
  • 21 International Yoga Day
  • 22 National Chocolate Eclair Day
  • 23 National Columnists Day
  • 23 National Pink Day
  • 24 Swim a Lap Day
  • 24 Take Your Dog to Work Day Friday after Father’s Day
  • 25 Log Cabin Day
  • 25 National Catfish Day
  • 26 Beautician’s Day
  • 26 Forgiveness Day
  • 27 Sun Glasses Day
  • 28 Insurance Awareness Day – Now who do you think invented that!?!
  • 28 Paul Bunyan Day
  • 29 Camera Day
  • 29 Hug Holiday
  • 29 Internatioal Mud Day
  • 29 Waffle Iron Day
  • 30 Meteor Day

From years past, here is a list of topic ideas and titles to consider in June:

  • Top gifts for Grads
  • Top gifts for Dads
  • (Merchant name) Offers Smart Gifts for Dads and Grads
  • Dads and Grads June Special
  • Celebrate Dads and Grads
  • Top Tech Gifts for Dads and Grads (or just Dad, or just Grads)
  • Top 10 (product) for College Students (think laptops, cellphones, etc.)
  • Top 10 Tools for Dad in 2011
  • 10 Excellent (product type) Gifts for Your Dad or Grad
  • Dad’s and Grad’s Gift Guide
  • Greener Gifts for Dads and Grads
  • Personalized Gifts for Dads and Grads
  • Unusual Gifts for Dads and Grads in (year)

My personal preference is always to promote the unusual as well as stuff folks really want, and here’s my list of gifts suggestions for Dads and Grads this year. :-)

  1. Microbrewed Beer Delivered Every Month
  2. Salsa of the Month Club
  3. Pizza of the Month Club
  4. Beer of the Month Club
  5. The Roll Up Drum Kit.
  6. BBQ Sauce of the Month Club
  7. Multiple-Gadget Charging Stations
  8. The Stainless Steel Wallet.
  9. Gaming Chairs
  10. Emergency Roadside Kits
  11. 1,000 Places to See Before You Die (I LOVE this book!)
  12. Fogless Shaving Mirrors
  13. MP3 Speakers & Docks
  14. Leatherman Multi-Tools
  15. BBQ Tools
  16. MBA Degree in a Box
  17. Life.doc: Your Life Buttoned Up
  18. MOVA Globe

OK, so maybe that’s MY list of wants. :-) Actually, I have the MOVA Clouds Satellite globe in my office and it’s too cool. It rotates without batteries or wires. Of course, it sits beside my Sony Digital Photo Frame that flashes pictures of all the places in the world that I’ve visited over the past half century (plus). :-)

Tips for Promoting Grads and Dads

Promote the 2 separately if your niche allows it. With different needs and interests, it’s best to target the markets separately.

In the USA, UK and Canada – Fathers’ Day is celebrated on the 3rd Sunday in June since being made a national holiday in 1966. In Australia and New Zealand, fathers are honored the first Sunday in September. Other countries celebrate fathers throughout the year.

Graduation ceremonies typically are held throughout the month of June in North America.

Make your blog and email subject lines enticing, i.e. “No shipping fees for Graduation gift purchases.” NOTE: Avoid the word “Free” in your subject line to make sure your message doesn’t get caught in a spam filter.

Speak to your potential buyers – not recipients. If you are addressing parents of graduates, avoid ‘hip’ terminology.

Present an array of options. If your niche is fishing, promote everything from cheaper lures to boats. Don’t underestimate the willingness of people to spend big money online.

In 2010, Internet Retailer reported that among the consumers celebrating Father’s Day:

  • 36% will spend less than $25 on a Father’s Day gift.
  • 27% will spend between $25 and $49.
  • 15% will spend between $50 and $74.
  • 22% will spend $75 or more.

The top three Father’s Day gifts are hobby-related items for golf, running and baseball (43%), entertainment gifts such as music, video games and movies (30%), and outdoor items such as barbecue tools (26%).

Last but not least, give your readers the option of purchasing a gift certificate, in case the buyer isn’t sure what the dad or grad will like.

Did you find this post informative and useful? If so, please share it with others! If you have a comment, question or suggestion, please leave a comment below!

Cheers,
sig-ros

The post Affiliate Marketing in June: Dads and Grads appeared first on RosalindGardner.com.

May 31st 2016 affiliate marketing

Title Tag Length Guidelines: 2016 Edition

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Posted by Dr-Pete

[Estimated read time: 5 minutes]

For the past couple of weeks, Google has been testing a major change to the width of the left-hand column, expanding containers from 512 pixels to 600 (a 17% increase). Along with this change, Google has increased the available length of result titles:

This naturally begs the question — how many characters can we fit into a display title now? When Google redesigned SERPs in 2014, I recommended a limit of 55 characters. Does a 17% bigger container mean we’ve got 9 more characters to work with?

Not so fast, my friend…

This is where things get messy. It’d be great if we could just count the characters and be done with it, but things are never quite that easy. We’ve got three complications to consider:

(1) Character widths vary

Google uses the Arial font for result titles, and Arial is proportional. In other words, different characters occupy different amounts of space. A lower- case ‘l’ is going to occupy much less space than an upper-case ‘W’. The total width is measured in pixels, not characters, and the maximum amount you can fit in that space depends on what you’re trying to say.

In our 10,000-keyword tracking set, the title below is the longest cut or uncut display title we measured, clocking in at 77 characters:

This title has 14 i’s and lowercase l’s, 10 lowercase t’s, and 3 narrow punctuation marks, creating a character count bonanza. To count this title and say that yours can be 77 characters would be dangerously misleading.

(2) Titles break at whole words

Prior to this change, Google was breaking words at whatever point the cut-off happened. Now, they seem to be breaking titles at whole words. If the cut happens in the middle of a long word, the remaining length might be considerably shorter. For example, here’s a word that’s just not going to fit into your display title twice, and so the cut comes well short of the full width:

(3) Google is appending brands

In some cases, Google is cutting off titles and then appending the brand to the end. Unfortunately, this auto-appended brand text still occupies space and counts against your total allowance. This was the shortest truncated display title in our data set, measuring only 34 characters pre-cut:

The brand text “- The Homestead” was appended by Google and is not part of the sites <TITLE> tag. The next word in the title was “Accommodations”, so the combination of the brand add-on and long word made for a very truncated title.

Data from 10,000 searches

Examples can be misleading, so we wanted to take a deeper dive. We pulled all of the page-1 display titles from the 10,000-keyword MozCast tracking set, which ends up being just shy of 90,000 titles. Uncut titles don’t tell us much, since they can be very short in some cases. So, let’s focus on the titles that got cut. Here are the character lengths (not counting ” …”) of the cut titles:

We’ve got a fairly normal distribution (skewed a little to the left) with both a mean and median right around 63. So, is 63 our magic number? Not quite. Roughly half the cut titles in our data set had less than 63 characters, so that’s still a fairly risky length.

The trick is to pick a number where we feel fairly confident that the title won’t be cut off, on average (a guaranteed safe zone for all titles would be far too restrictive). Here are a few select percentages of truncated titles that were above a certain character length:

  • 55% of cut titles >= 63 (+2) characters
  • 91% of cut titles >= 57 (+2) characters
  • 95% of cut titles >= 55 (+2) characters
  • 99% of cut titles >= 48 (+2) characters

In research, we might stick to a 95% or 99% confidence level (note: this isn’t technically a confidence interval, but the rationale is similar), but I think 90% confidence is a decent practical level. If we factor in the ” …”, that gives us about +2 characters. So, my recommendation is to keep your titles under 60 characters (57+2 = 59).

Keep in mind, of course, that cut-offs aren’t always bad. A well placed “…” might actually increase click-through rates on some titles. A fortuitous cut-off could create suspense, if you trust your fortunes to Google:

Now that titles are cut at whole words, we also don’t have to worry about text getting cut off at confusing or unfortunate spots. Take, for example, the dangerous predicament of The International Association of Assemblages of Assassin Assets:

Prior to the redesign, their titles were a minefield. Yes, that contributed nothing to this post, but once I had started down that road, it was already too late.

So, that’s it then, right?

Well, no. As Google evolves and adapts to a wider range of devices, we can expect them to continue to adjust and test display titles. In fact, they’re currently test a new, card-style format for desktop SERPs where each result is boxed and looks like this:

We’re not even entirely sure that the current change is permanent. The narrower format is still appearing for some people under some conditions. If this design sticks, then I’m comfortable saying that keeping your title length under 60 characters will prevent the majority of cut-offs.

Note: People have been asking when we’ll update our title tag tool. We’re waiting to make sure that this design change is permanent, but will try to provide an update ASAP. Updates and a link to that tool will appear in this post when we make a final decision.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

May 31st 2016 Uncategorized

3 Ways You Can Boost Your Brand Online

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When it comes to gaining visibility online, gaining traffic shouldn’t be the only goal. Sure, you can choose a few select keywords to implement in your campaign and get your site ranked. But, actually getting your brand name out there so that it resonates with the message you want to send, that takes a lot of work to do.

In addition to doing the basic SEO on-page steps such as including your brand in title tags, and using brand keywords in your blogposts, you also need to list your company on relevant directories, create branded social media posts, conduct product giveaways for your audiences, and the list goes on.

Ranking for a brand isn’t new. In 2009, Google released the Vince update which produced ranking for brands.  It wasn’t that Google was favouring big brands over small businesses. Google used the most common searched terms as basis for ranking sites and big name brands happen to be mentioned in most user queries which helped propel these brand’s places in search engines when the update happened.

With this in mind, it’s important that you begin building on your brand visibility right now. In this article, I will outline three steps to help you out so you can gain better visibility for your company’s name and get more people talking about you.

1. Take advantage of PPC

Take advantage of PPC

They say content is king but when it comes to brand awareness, one of the fastest ways to get your brand out there is through paid search ads. With these, you don’t need to get organic rankings for your site to appear on top. With the right keywords, bid, and headline, together with a reliable digital marketing company, you’ll have your brand name on top of the results.

PPC gets you quick visibility that is not available in other methods. Searchers don’t even have to click on your site. As long as they see your brand name, then you have already won. So when crafting copy for your PPC ads, make sure that they look catchy but friendly at the same time. No fluff, just important information.

PPC allows your brand to appear in front of the pages of your different target customers including those who are interested in your brand and those who already have purchasing power but just don’t have any idea of your brand yet. Manage your PPC wisely and target it towards brand keywords. This should help get your brand name out there in no time.

2. Get on social media

Get on social media

Find out where your customers are hanging out and post content that they will like. Social media presents brands with a very big opportunity to get their name in front of people’s mobile device screens. Facebook alone has 1.5 billion active users followed by Instagram which has 300 million and Twitter which was over 284 million.

This doesn’t mean you should just jump in on all three. There are more social platforms you can explore. The number of users is important but what matters more is the people that are hanging out in it. Research the platforms your target customers are using and build content according to their needs and interests. The more you post great content on social media, the more likely it is that people will remember your brand and will return to your site since they now associate you with quality content.

Work on your local SEO

Work on your local SEO

In April 2016, Google released an updated guide for Google My Business which gave everyone a chance, whether it’s small or big businesses, to rank in search engines. If you own a small business, take this opportunity to get your brand name to your local audiences.

The update’s help page outlines the steps you can take to improve your local rankings. The first step is to get your brand’s name in at least three listings. Make sure that the listings where you post your business are relevant to your niche and that the name, phone, and address are consistent.

Collect as many reviews from previous clients and respond to them accordingly. This helps Google define your business better and as a result, rank you for the keywords you are targeting.

Those are the three main steps you need to take in order to get better brand awareness for your business. Both ads and social media have become so closely embedded in our lives that it’s impossible not to yield results from the strategies we have listed above. And Google knows it too! Both ads and social engagement belong to Google’s long list of factors for ranking a site.

Any thoughts? Let us know in the comments.

The post 3 Ways You Can Boost Your Brand Online appeared first on SEO Chat.

May 31st 2016 Google, Keywords, PPC

Daily Search Forum Recap: May 30, 2016

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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:

Other Great Search Forum Threads:

May 31st 2016 Uncategorized

RT @frank_chimero: should designers be…

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should designers be coders?nshould design coder?nhould des codernhou des odernhoudesoernhodesornhodor

May 31st 2016 personal