The Financial Times says Apple has likely been working for some time on its own search engine in a bid to steal quota from Google, which in many countries has market shares of over 90%, giving it an alternative as its arrangements with the Mountain View company to make its search engine the default option on Apple devices comes under antitrust scrutiny, and backed by the idea of a search option that respects user privacy.

The latest version of the iPhone operating system, iOS 14, displays its own search results by linking directly to web pages when the user types in queries. Add to the equation the hiring, two years ago, of Google’s executive John Giannandrea, and heavy activity recently of the company’s search agent, Applebot, so it could be the rumors, in the midst of an extremely secretive company like Apple, could be well-founded.

Apple has long been committed to privacy as a fundamental human right and as one its products’ differential value. On numerous occasions, CEO Tim Cook has declared his commitment to privacy, attacking what he calls “the industrial data complex”, without specifically mentioning companies such as Google, Facebook and other data brokers, and placing provocative advertisements at industry conventions such as the Las Vegas CES, as well as going so far as to challenge the FBI itself by refusing to provide a back door to obtain information from its devices when investigating terrorism and other major crimes.

What chance would an Apple search engine have in an environment monopolized by Google? Creating a search engine is an extremely complex task: in addition to generating a huge database with an updated copy of all the pages to be indexed, something Google has been constantly innovating for more than 20 years, it is necessary to create an algorithm that develops the concept of relevance. In this case, Google has already been moving away for some time from its original algorithms — which above all, valued social components such as inbound links — to criteria based on the quality of information and the use of machine learning to try to understand what users are really looking for, but undoubtedly has also travelled more road and accumulated data than anyone in the industry.

On the other hand, and in spite of Google’s efforts to offer greater transparency, many people are suspicious of the amount of information the company has about them as a result not only of the use of its search tools, but of others, such as its email, documents, maps, etc.

In previous attempts to compete with Google products, Apple has experienced difficult moments, for example, the disastrous launch of Apple Maps, which led to the departure from the company of one of its vice presidents, Scott Forstall. After that episode, the company’s mapping product was significantly improved with successive redesigns, and it has positioned itself as the third most used mapping application after Google Maps and Waze. However, we should remember that we are talking about a product conditioned by the use of Apple devices, which in many countries is relatively limited, something that would not necessarily be the case with a search engine.

A search engine that respects user privacy could be attractive to a significant part of the market. However, we are talking about deeply rooted use that depends fundamentally on the quality of the results obtained with its use. It could be argued that Google is capable of providing users with better results precisely because of the information it has about us, which wouldn’t apply to Apple. And although the rise of Google in the late 1990s clearly demonstrated the scarce value of loyalty in this area, there is no doubt that it would be difficult to beat the incumbent precisely in the area that it considers the most strategic and definitive.

That said, were Apple to launch its own search engine and take on a giant like Google, there would be huge interest in watching the ensuing fight.

[Source: This article was published in forbes.com By Enrique Dans - Uploaded by the Association Member: Anthony Frank]

Categorized in Search Engine

Identity theft is such a growing problem that it’s become almost routine—Marriott, MyFitness Pal, LinkedIn, Zynga, and even Equifax (of all places) have had high-profile online data breaches in recent years, affecting hundreds of millions of people. To help combat this problem, Experian and other companies are marketing “dark web scans” to prevent data breaches. But what is a dark web scan, and do you need it?

The dark web, explained 

The dark web is a large, hidden network of websites not indexed or found on typical search engines. It’s also a hub of illegal activity, including the buying and selling of stolen financial and personal information. If your information ends up on dark web sites after a data breach, an identity thief could use that data to open credit cards, take out loans, or withdraw money from your bank account.

How dark web scans work 

A dark scan will scan the dark web to see if medical identification info, bank account numbers, and Social Security numbers are being shared. If you get positive results, the dark scan service will suggest that you change your passwords, use stronger ones, or put a credit freeze on your credit profiles with the three major bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). A negative search result doesn’t necessarily mean you haven’t had a data breach, of course, as there’s no way for any company to search the entirety of the dark web.

Many of these services offer you a free scan, but that only covers certain information like phone numbers, passwords, and Social Security numbers. If you want to set up alerts, or search for other information like bank account numbers, passports, or your driver’s license, or have access to credit reports (which are already free) these services will typically charge a monthly fee (Experian offers this service for $9.99 per month after a 30-day free trial).

Is a dark web scan worth paying for?

In an interview for NBC News’ Better, Neal O’Farrell, executive director of the Identify Theft Council, called dark web scanning “a smoke and mirrors deal” that doesn’t “go to the cause of the problem, which is vigilance, awareness, taking care of your own personal information, freezing your credit.”

[Source: This article was published in twocents.lifehacker.com By Mike Winters - Uploaded by the Association Member: Eric Beaudoin]

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Google has been trying to make the search results that people could end up using far more organized for a long time now, and part of this has involved creating headers. This header can help search results into different categories sorted into a wide range of tabs including overview and history, and this can help user get the specific type of information that they might actually have been looking for at that current point in time.

This might also help make these headers seem a bit more prominent rather than just being components of a search card that is shown to you after you have made a particular kind of search all in all. Each header does have a distinct aspect to it when it comes to the specific type of information that it would end up using which means that separating them into unique bubbles might just make it easier for people to realize what these categories are for in the first place. Google is trying to increase engagement in some way, shape or form, and while some may argue that the search engine might be better off pursuing other options other would acknowledge that this is a reasonably effective way to go about things.

[Source: This article was published in digitalinformationworld.com By Zia Muhammad - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jason bourne]

Categorized in Search Engine

Whenever you want to get in touch with your long lost friends or relatives or want to get some information about a person, the best way to do so is online because you can search for anything online.

If you have decided to search for a person online, you must know that there are various things that you must know about online people search. Before searching for people online, you need to follow a few things to get the information about the person you are looking for. 

Searching people online is easy but can be risky because there are chances that you might not get accurate information and contact the wrong person. 

It doesn’t matter whether you are searching for a friend, relative, or want to do a background check on some people working for you or when you are lending your property. There are some essential details that everybody ought to know about online people search.

1. Choose a free source to search online

The first thing you should know is that you will find both free and paid ways to search for someone online. It’s not recommended to directly go for the paid methods to search for someone because you have plenty of freeways. 

There are many people searching websites like CityZor, which allows you to search for anyone for free. Besides such websites, you can use Google, Bing, and other search engines to search for free. 

So, when you have many options to search anyone online without spending a penny, then there’s no need to go for the paid ways. But yes, if you fail to explore using these freeways, then you can use a paid form if you are so dedicated to finding him.

2. You may reveal your identity while searching for someone online

This is the essential thing that everyone must know before they start to find anyone online. When you use people search websites to search for someone’s information, your identity may get revealed to the person you are searching for. 

In simple words, if you are searching for a person using different websites, that person can know that someone is trying to search for his information, or there are chances that the person can get to know who searched for him. 

So, it’s better to use such platforms that give you anonymity, which will help keep all your searches private and confidential; like the CityZor website, it will keep your details private, and no one will know you searched for them. 

It’s always recommended to use these platforms that prevent your identity and keep your searches confidential so that you can search for anyone without revealing your identity.

3. Always use the necessary information to search

When you search people online, you must always use basic information like their name, age, phone number, address, business details, property details, relatives, and more. You can use free sites like Cityzor and Radaris to do unlimited searches on a person by name, phone number, and email. You can also do unlimited reverse address lookup on someone using a people search engine. 

If you’ll use these types of information, then it’s for sure that you will find the most accurate information about the person you are searching for. 

Because when you use unnecessary information, it’ll only increase search results, making your task hectic, mostly when you use search engines like Google to find someone online. So, it’s better to use this essential information while searching for someone online.

4. All online people search platforms use different sites and public records

You ought to know this thing so that every online people search website will give you the details of the person you want to know gathered from different websites. 

You’ll find many websites that gather data from various platforms like social media, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more. Some also compile information from other typical websites and even public records. 

Those people search websites that gather data from available public records will give the most accurate background details. One such website is CityZor, where they have data from over 20 million public records, which increases the chances of giving better quality details of the person you are searching for. 

5. You can get not only necessary background details but also any criminal records as well

When we talk about searching for people online, everyone has this thing in mind that they’ll be able to gather all the necessary information like their current number, address, and more. But you must also know this thing that some people search websites will give you information with which you can even know whether that person has any criminal records. 

This type of information helps you rent or sell your property to someone unknown or hire someone for your organization. You should know that your search is not limited to only necessary background details, but also you can learn many things about that person like their criminal records, marital status, and more. 

6. You may not always get exact information

Everyone and everything can make mistakes, so you should know that these people’s search platforms can also make some mistakes. 

Sometimes you may get wrong information or irrelevant search results, but it’s quite obvious because they can also make some mistakes while giving you the data of people you are searching for. 

There are only very few platforms that will provide the most accurate information. To ensure that you get the most precise information, you should try searching on different websites and search engines and then believe in the most similar information. 


Now that you are at the end of this article, you should know that all these things mentioned above are essential to understand when searching for someone online. Each point has some information and details that everybody ought to know about online people search. If you are not aware of these things, you may reveal your identity, get information about the wrong person, or pay for the information that isn’t correct at all. So, you should know these basic and necessary information about online people search before starting your search.

[Source: This article was published in azbigmedia.com By Barry McMahon - Uploaded by the Association Member: James Gill]

Categorized in Search Engine

With the U.S. presidential race entering its final sprint, a new analysis of conversations on dark web forums shows hackers discussing potential ways to be disruptive with disinformation and attacks on voting infrastructure.

Data circulating on the dark web could give hackers the ammunition they need to target voters and voting infrastructure ahead of election day, a new report claims.

DarkOwl, a company that uses web crawlers to search darknets like Tor, Zeronet, and I2P, released a study Tuesday revealing how bad actors have discussed disrupting electoral processes via cyberattacks and disinformation.

In this digital underworld, some hackers discuss targeting vulnerabilities in ballot tallying machines; others trade voter registration data between themselves. One "prominent malware developer" boasts that his Remote Access Trojans (RATs) could be used to infect election systems using old security flaws.

The company also found ongoing discussions about potential ways to infiltrate three of the most prominent election administration vendors — Election Systems and Software (ES&S), Hart InterCivic, and Dominion Voting — which are responsible for producing a majority of the voting equipment in the country.

At the same time, the potential for bad actors to organize disinformation campaigns within this environment is high, the report shows. There is a "significant ecosystem" for disinformation services within darknets, wherein customers can procure campaigns from disinformation-as-a-service vendors.

These schemes are fueled by a glut of leaked or hacked data circulating online, according to the report. Some of this information comes from freely available sources online, while other information is the result of previous data breaches and leaks. 

In particular, the report makes note of the recent incident involving Tyler Technologies, provider of state and local government election results products, which was hit by ransomware hackers last month. DarkOwl collected some "2,000 corporate e-mail addresses" of Tyler Technologies that were discovered in darknets, the report says. 

Recent reports have also shown some longstanding vulnerabilities may exist in voter registration databases that are currently exploitable. 

The recent research has shown the way that leaked data sets can be valuable underworld capital, "how they're traded, sold, and how those seed disinformation campaigns," a company analyst told Government Technology. 

However, the discussions being had in these forums don't necessarily mean that discussed attacks would be successful. Some of the vulnerabilities that have been discussed are quite old and most companies and agencies would have issued patches by now.

"DarkOwl assesses election officials and technology vendors would very likely patch their systems accordingly well before the general election, thus the successful use of such a threat is highly improbable," the report says. 

Still, the findings troublingly show how aggregated data can be weaponized. Hackers "could leverage voter names, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers to connect with new audiences and market personalize advertisements according to their views on specific topics, propensity to vote and other factors."

Exactly what kind of threat actors are involved in these transactions? It's often impossible to say, but there are some usual suspects worth mentioning. 

"In that world you don't know who is who," said the analyst, though she added: "The Russians are infamous for tapping unaffiliated organizations and criminal groups to do their bidding."

[Source: This article was published in govtech.com By LUCAS ROPEK - Uploaded by the Association Member: Mercedes J. Steinman]

Categorized in Deep Web

Google has admitted to regulators in other jurisdictions that the average share that accrues to the company from ad revenues is roughly 30 percent

A little after the US Department of Justice issued an antitrust action against Search Engine Google's alleged monopolistic behaviour in the web search, there are indications that its advertising practices might also be looked at closely. This would have deep implications in India.

According to a LiveMint report, about 65 to 70 percent of India's digital ad market is controlled by two companies - Google and Facebook.

Google has admitted to regulators in other jurisdictions that the average share that accrues to the company from ad revenues is roughly 30 percent, this is about the percentage that the search engine was to charge as a Play Store fee that found several startups protesting the move.

“Almost every ad that appears on every free app (on the Android ecosystem) has to essentially pass via Google," said Anupam Manur, who studies platform economics at Takshashila Institution, a think tank.

“Google has a near-monopoly on apps that run on Android," Manur said to the paper.

Reports hint that DoJ investigators have been in talks with third-party ad marketers in the US at least since the beginning of this year. The UK and Australia are also looking at Google’s dominance in digital advertising.

As ads become the central driver for the internet economy, the search engine has also seen this reflected in their revenues as it remains the main source of Google's profitability.

From ads, Google has reported $116.3 billion in advertising revenue (85 percent of overall sales) last year, the report said.

According to Smriti Parsheera, a tech policy researcher with the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP), it is clear that Google is a dominant player in both (web) search and search advertising.

"This is an issue that has already been decided by a case before the Competition Commission of India, in which Google was fined (in 2018)," said Parasheera, adding that the question is whether it is using this dominance in anti-competitive ways.

[Source: This article was published in moneycontrol.com - Uploaded by the Association Member: Anthony Frank]

Categorized in Search Engine

Before I became a reporter at NPR, I worked for a few years at tech companies.

One of the companies was in the marketing technology business — the industry that's devoted in part to tracking people and merging their information, so they can be advertised to more effectively.

That tracking happens in multiple senses: physical tracking, because we carry our phones everywhere we go. And virtual tracking, of all the places we go online.

The more I understood how my information was being collected, shared and sold, the more I wanted to protect my privacy. But it's still hard to know which of my efforts is actually effective and which is a waste of time.

So I reached out to experts in digital security and privacy to find out what they do to protect their stuff – and what they recommend most to us regular folks.

Here's what they told me.

1. To protect your accounts, practice good security hygiene.

There are some steps that make sense for almost all of us, says Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Those include using strong passwords, two-factor authentication, and downloading the latest security updates.

She and other experts make a distinction between privacy and security when it comes to your data. Security generally refers to protecting against someone trying to access your stuff — such as stealing your credit card number or hacking your accounts. Privacy is more often used to talk about keeping your movements from being tracked for purposes of advertising or surveillance.

It turns out that the steps to protect your security are more clear-cut than those for privacy — but we'll come back to that.

Use strong passwords or passphrases for your accounts. Longer than a password, passphrases should be strong and unique for each site. Don't use 1234. Bring some randomness and special characters into it. And don't use the same password for different websites: You don't want all your accounts to be compromised just because one gets hacked.

Use a password manager to keep track of your passwords, Galperin says — then all you have to do is remember the passphrase for your password manager.

Turn on two-factor authentication for your important accounts. You've seen this: Usually you're asked to put in your mobile number so that you can receive a text with an additional number you input before you can log in.

That's the most common type of two-factor authentication — but it's not the strongest, Galperin says, because SMS messages can be intercepted by your Internet provider, law enforcement or the government.

If you want to go a step further, Galperin recommends using an application that sends the second factor to an app on your phone, such as Authy or Google Authenticator, as these are harder to intercept. (Full disclosure here: NPR receives funding from Google and Facebook.) You can also use a physical key you carry with you that plugs into your computer's USB port and serves as the second factor.

Download the latest security updates.

Those nudges you get from your computer or phone to install the latest security update? You should download those.

"Most applications, when they're compromised, are not compromised by scary zero-day bugs that nobody knows about," Galperin says. "They are compromised by problems that everybody knows exist that have been publicly reported, and that the company has fixed and they have issued a patch in their security update. But if you do not take the security update, you do not get the benefit of the work of the security engineers at that company."

2. Beware of phishing.

Not all attacks on our security come through malware or hackers invisibly breaking into your account. It's common that we're tricked into handing over our passwords or personal information to bad actors.

These attempts can happen via email, text message or a phone call. And generally they're trying to get your username and password, or perhaps your Social Security number. But there are often signs that these messages aren't legit – spelling or grammar errors, links to websites other than the one it should be linking to, or the email is coming from a weird domain.

If it feels fishy, it might be phishing.

3. Protect what matters most.

Depending on your situation, you might want to take additional precautions to safeguard your privacy and security.

To figure out what steps people should take to safeguard their stuff, Galperin suggests you make a security plan. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a guide to doing this, which starts by asking yourself these questions:

  • What do I want to protect?
  • Whom do I want to protect it from?
  • How bad are the consequences if I don't?
  • How likely is it to need protecting?
  • And how much trouble am I willing to go through to try to protect it?

You can use the answers to those questions to focus your efforts on securing the things that matter most to you.

4. Delete some apps from your phone. Use a browser instead.

Matt Mitchell is a tech fellow at the Ford Foundation, and the founder of CryptoHarlem, an organization that teaches people to protect their privacy, including from surveillance.

Apps can learn a lot about you due to all the different types of data they can access via your phone. Seemingly harmless apps – like say, a flashlight app — could be selling the data they gather from you.

That's why Mitchell recommends "Marie Kondo-ing" your apps: Take a look at your smartphone and delete all the apps you don't really need. For many tasks, you can use a browser on your phone instead of an app.

Privacy-wise, browsers are preferable, because they can't access as much of your information as an app can.

I mentioned to Mitchell that even though I use Facebook and Twitter, I don't have those apps on my phone — partly so that I'll use them less, and partly for privacy reasons. I wanted to know — did I accomplish anything by not having those apps on my phone?

"You've accomplished a lot," he says. He compares it to oil companies turning crude into petrol: Your data can be turned into profit for these companies. "Every time you don't use an app, you're giving them less data, which is less money."

Mitchell says that's true even if you've been on Facebook a long time, and it feels like the company already knows everything about you. He compares it to smoking: It's never too late to cut back or quit — you'll still benefit by giving it less data to harvest.

5. To protect your chats, use an encrypted app for messaging.

If you want the contents of your messages to be secure, it's best to use an app that has end-to-end encryption, such as Signal or WhatsApp. That means you and the recipient can read the message you send — but no one in the middle.

But even though the contents of your messages are protected by encryption in apps such as Signal and WhatsApp, your metadata isn't — and someone could learn a lot about you from your metadata, Galperin warns. She compares it to what you can learn just by looking at the outside of an envelope in the mail: who sent it to whom, when and where it was sent from.

And WhatsApp is owned by Facebook — so when you share your contacts with WhatsApp, Facebook is getting that info, though it can't read the contents of your messages.

If you're on an iPhone, iMessages are encrypted when you're messaging another iOS device — but not when you're messaging an Android phone. Signal offers encrypted messaging on both Android and iPhone.

What about Facebook Messenger? Jen King, director of privacy at Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society, advises against using the Messenger app.

The app "has access to far more info on your phone than using Facebook through a browser," she says, recommending something such as WhatsApp or regular SMS texting instead.

And if encryption matters to you, be careful about backing up your chats to the cloud. If you back up your WhatsApp messages to iCloud or Google Drive, for example, they're no longer encrypted.

"That backup is just a database. And that database is easy for someone to open and read," Mitchell says, if they were able to access your cloud account. To keep your messages from prying eyes, turn off cloud backups and delete existing WhatsApp backups from iCloud or Google Drive.

6. Turn off ad personalization.

Whenever possible, Mitchell recommends going into your settings and turning off ad personalization, which often gives companies permission to do invasive tracking.

Opting Out Of Ad Personalization On Some Major Platforms

Google and Android

Here's a link to limit ad personalization on Google and Android.


This page shows you how to opt out of ad personalization on Apple. As of this writing, it hasn't been updated for iOS 14. If you have updated to iOS 14, go to Settings > Privacy > Apple Advertising > turn off Personalized Ads.


  • On this page, you can go to the ad settings tab and toggle the settings to not allowed.
  • This page has steps to disconnect your activity off Facebook that is shared with Facebook, and clear that history.
  • On the Off-Facebook activity page, under What You Can Do, you can click on More Options > Manage Future Activity > and toggle it to off. (This page has those steps.)


This page explains how to opt out of ad personalization.

He also recommends going to myactivity.google.com and deleting everything you can. On the left, there's a tab that says "Delete activity by." Select "All time." On your My Google Activity page, you can turn off Web & App Activity, Location History and YouTube History.

"It will show you every search term and everything you've ever done, every YouTube video you've ever looked at, all that stuff," he says. "It'll say, are you sure you want to delete this? 'Cause if you delete this, it might affect some stuff." Mitchell says: Delete it.

7. It's difficult to protect your privacy online if there aren't laws to protect your privacy online.

Tighter privacy settings only get you so far without laws that protect your privacy, says Ashkan Soltani, the former chief technologist for the Federal Trade Commission and one of the architects of the 2018 California Consumer Privacy Act.

There are laws around health information and credit and financial information, he explains, and some states have Internet privacy-related laws.

But nationally, the U.S. doesn't have a universal data privacy law safeguarding everyday online privacy.

Soltani says he rarely recommends steps such as using ad blockers or VPNs for most people. They require too much attention and persistence to deliver on privacy, and even then they are limited in their effectiveness.

"The incentives are so high on the other side," Soltani says, "to uniquely identify people and track them that [users] will never have enough motivation and incentive to do it to the degree of this multibillion dollar ad tech industry."

So how do you protect your privacy? Get involved and call your congressperson, he says — tell the policymakers that you care about online privacy.

8. Start small and take it one step at a time.

Faced with this landscape, getting a tighter hold on your digital privacy and security can feel daunting. But Galperin has this sound advice: Just do a little bit at a time.

You don't need to make a list of all of your accounts to integrate into a password manager — you can just do each account as you log into it.

Even just doing the basics — strengthening your passwords, turning on two-factor authentication and watching out for scammers — can make your accounts a lot more secure. Then keep going: There are a lot of other steps you might want to take, depending on your needs.

We're going to be on the Internet for a long time. The more each of us understands how our data are collected and used — and how to keep private what we want to keep private — the better, safer and healthier our digital lives will be.

 [Source: This article was published in npr.org By LAUREL WAMSLEY - Uploaded by the Association Member: Barbara larson]

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Google shares more details about an upcoming change which will allow it to identify individual passages of a web page.

Google’s public Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, shares more detail about an upcoming change that will improve 7% of global queries.

Soon, Google will be able to identify individual passages of a web page, which helps with understanding how relevant a page is to a given query.

This update was announced last week and Search Engine Journal’s Roger Montti has a full write up here:

The forthcoming change has drawn its own series of queries from the SEO community, and Sullivan aims to clear things up in a Twitter thread.

Last week, we shared about how we will soon identify individual passages of a web page to better understand how relevant a page is to a search. This will be a global change improving 7% of queries: blog.google/products/searc In this thread, more about how it works….


How Passage Identification Works

Google traditionally evaluates a web page as a whole to determine how relevant it is to a query.

This gets challenging when it comes to very long web pages, or pages that touch on multiple topics.

A web page with an abundance of content may inadvertently dilute the one part that is especially relevant to a user’s query.

Google’s new technology will allow it to better identify and understand those key passages.

This has the potential to allow pages to get surfaced in search results which previously may not have been seen as relevant to specific queries.

Sullivan says there’s nothing special that SEOs or site owners need to do to prepare for this change.

“It just means in some cases, we may now do a better job of surfacing content, no work required on the part of creators.”

Sullivan emphasizes this update does not mean Google will start indexing individual passages independently of the web pages they belong to.

When this change rolls out, Google will still be indexing single pages and considering entire pages for ranking.

Passages from web pages will become an additional consideration which Google will take into account when ranking pages.

When does this change roll out?

It’s not yet known when Google will roll out this update to search results.

When asked for an estimated timeframe, Sullivan says Google will provide an update when the change goes live.

[Source: This article was published in searchenginejournal.com By Matt Southern - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jeremy Frink]

Categorized in Search Engine

Google published a YouTube content strategy guide for politicians that's useful for web and podcasting content too.

Google published a YouTube strategy guide for politicians. It contains great tips for content planning that’s applicable for non-politicians, including advice that can be applied web and podcasting content as well.

YouTube Content Planning Guide

The guide is organized into three sections

  1. First Steps
  2. Content Planning
  3. Content Creations

First Steps for Content Planning

This part contains three sections:

  1. Find Your Why
  2. Think About Branding
  3. Learn the Formats

Find Your Why

This is about writing down reasons for creating the content. Low quality content that fails to help a site rank is, in my opinion, content that lacks a relevant purpose.

A relevant purpose could be found in identifying goals that the audience may have, problems that need solving.

The kinds of questions one might find in a (competitor’s) Frequently Asked Questions section can give an indication of the kinds of problems and concerns that your readers might need to have addressed in your content.

Goal oriented content can perform well with users because some search queries can have underlying goals and purposes that need addressing.

For example when someone searches for Pancakes they’re probably really asking, “How do I make a pancake?”

So instead of writing an article about Pancake and adding associated phrases like breakfast and pancake batter and synonyms like flapjacks, a content writer can instead focus on writing a web page that directly and unambiguously answers the question,  “How do I make a pancake?”

That’s the difference between writing for keywords and SEO and writing for users. The SEO who misses the point focuses on synonyms and associated phrases. The person who understands the question that is inside the search query will focus on answering the question.

That’s why content that is written in a way that answers a question that underlies a search query is more helpful and useful than content that is written because it needs to contain specific keywords in it.

Learn more about the Latent Question Concept: Search Queries: Search Results Analysis: The Latent Question

This is how Google addressed it in the context of political content:

“To help find your “why,” consider:
– Who is your “ideal viewer”? (e.g. age, demographic, political identity)
– What do you want your audience to get from your content? (e.g. general knowledge, entertainment, understanding of current events)
– What value can you or your organization uniquely offer?
– For inspiration, check out this channel trailer that breaks down the “why?” in compelling fashion””

Answering the above questions can help solve the “What Should I Talk About” dilemma that every content creator faces, regardless if it’s text for a web page, YouTube video or a podcast.


The next section was about branding the YouTube channel so that it has an attractive appearance.

Areas of focus for a YouTube channel:

  • “Channel Banner
  • Channel Avatar
  • Channel Trailer
  • Playlist”

That’s pretty relevant for anyone contemplating a YouTube channel!

Content Formats

The next section is called “Learn the Format(s). This is a reference to different kinds of content. There are different kinds of content that can be cycled through. Having these written down and put on a schedule can be helpful.

These are the content formats that Google suggested:

  • Weekly Coverage
  • Behind the Scenes
  • Interviews
  • Explainers
  • Q&A
  • Listicles
  • Collaborations
  • Live Streams

2. Content Planning

Here Google offers great advice for creating a content schedule. Google advises that it is less important to publish lots of content than it is to publish content on a fixed schedule.

“Consistency doesn’t equal volume. It’s far less important that you post frequently than it is that you post on a reliable schedule.”

Google also advises to not overextend yourself.

“Keep your content manageable. High production videos are great, but can be very difficult to sustain. Find a balance between content quantity and quality that you can maintain over the long term.”

Three Kinds of Content

Google identifies three kinds of content:

  • HERO
  • HUB
  • HELP

That’s a way of conceptualizing different kinds of content, identifying what the purpose of the content so as to fit it into a schedule.

Hero Content

Hero content, outside of YouTube, could be thought of as content that tries to rank for a major keyword phrase or address an important pain point. It’s not limited to evergreen content, it can also be focused on a current event, like a conference or an important announcement.

Here’s how Google explains it in the context of a politician YouTube channel:

“Frequency: Rare. Usually built around a major event, moment, or idea.

Content: Mass appeal topics that lean into increased interest in the general public at a particular time (Ex. Election day, State of the Union address, major legislative vote, etc.).

Audience: Hero Content attempts to cast as wide a net as possible and be accessible to viewers who may be unfamiliar with your organization or content.

Goal: Provide a moment of significant visibility for your content,converting a large amount of casual viewers into long-term subscribers.”

Help Content

Generally, I think all content should be helpful or useful in some way, even an eCommerce product page (with reviews, how-to data, unique product info, etc.).

What Google’s referring to as Help Content is evergreen content. Evergreen content is content that addresses a topic that remains the same every year. Topics like how to boil an egg or how to make a California Roll don’t really change much.

Evergreen content is great for any website because it’s useful and can become a source of steady traffic and links, with only a minor infrequent content touch-up to keep it relevant.

Google’s YouTube guide offers this explanation:

“Frequency: More often than Hero, but less than Hub

Content: Evergreen topics targeted towards specific questions or areas (Ex: What is the NHS, How would “The Green New Deal” work, etc. )

Audience: Broad and targeted appeal, typically this type of content can appeal to more casual viewers who do not normally engage with your channel

Goal: Provide evergreen videos that continuously gain viewership and convert subscribers at a steady rate”

Hub Content

This is the main content that’s produced on a regular basis. This means relying on the content “formats” that Google suggested.

Content Formats

  • Weekly Coverage
  • Behind the Scenes
  • Interviews
  • Explainers
  • Q&A
  • Listicles
  • Collaborations
  • Live Streams

The goal of Hub content is to give regular site visitors and new visitors something to dig into once they discover your YouTube channel, podcast, or website.

An important aspect of Hub content is being timely with current events. Fresh news and content that’s breaking is highly popular and keeps people coming back. I suspect there’s a little fear of missing out (FOMO) involved that keeps visitors returning for more.

Here’s Google’s advice:

“Frequency: Your regular chosen cadence. Think of Hub Content as your channel’s “bread and butter.”

Content: Sustainable, targeted content that appeals directly to your subscribers’ tastes and expectations. (Lean into your formats!)

Audience: Your existing subscriber base, plus those viewers who’ve been watching but haven’t subscribed.

Goal: Keep your audience coming back with steady, consistent content that appeals to their expectations and desires. Secondarily, provide a bank of content for new viewers to explore after subscribing.”

3. Content Creation

This section addresses issues that are directly related to video production.

“Stay accessible…audiences want to see the real, unfiltered you. Personal content is best. Distance and mystique are not your friends here.

Imperfections are your friend. While it may seem counterintuitive, don’t be afraid to keep your videos rough around the edges.

Capture great audio. Good sound can significantly impact how viewers experience your video.”

Creating Great Content Takes Planning

It takes an organized plan to get a content program rolling. Google’s tips for YouTube content are useful for creating a successful content strategy.

[Source: This article was published in searchenginejournal.com By Roger Montti - Uploaded by the Association Member: Patrick Moore]

Categorized in Search Engine

Social media algorithms, artificial intelligence, and our own genetics are among the factors influencing us beyond our awareness. This raises an ancient question: do we have control over our own lives? This article is part of The Conversation’s series on the science of free will.

Have you ever watched a video or movie because YouTube or Netflix recommended it to you? Or added a friend on Facebook from the list of “people you may know”?

And how does Twitter decide which tweets to show you at the top of your feed?

These platforms are driven by algorithms, which rank and recommend content for us based on our data.

Hear directly from the scientists on the latest research.

As Woodrow Hartzog, a professor of law and computer science at Northeastern University, Boston, explains:

If you want to know when social media companies are trying to manipulate you into disclosing information or engaging more, the answer is always.

So if we are making decisions based on what’s shown to us by these algorithms, what does that mean for our ability to make decisions freely?

What we see is tailored for us

An algorithm is a digital recipe: a list of rules for achieving an outcome, using a set of ingredients. Usually, for tech companies, that outcome is to make money by convincing us to buy something or keeping us scrolling in order to show us more advertisements.

The ingredients used are the data we provide through our actions online – knowingly or otherwise. Every time you like a post, watch a video, or buy something, you provide data that can be used to make predictions about your next move.

These algorithms can influence us, even if we’re not aware of it. As the New York Times’ Rabbit Hole podcast explores, YouTube’s recommendation algorithms can drive viewers to increasingly extreme content, potentially leading to online radicalisation.

Facebook’s News Feed algorithm ranks content to keep us engaged on the platform. It can produce a phenomenon called “emotional contagion”, in which seeing positive posts leads us to write positive posts ourselves, and seeing negative posts means we’re more likely to craft negative posts — though this study was controversial partially because the effect sizes were small.

Also, so-called “dark patterns” are designed to trick us into sharing more, or spending more on websites like Amazon. These are tricks of website design such as hiding the unsubscribe button, or showing how many people are buying the product you’re looking at right now. They subconsciously nudge you towards actions the site would like you to take.

You are being profiled

Cambridge Analytica, the company involved in the largest known Facebook data leak to date, claimed to be able to profile your psychology based on your “likes”. These profiles could then be used to target you with political advertising.

“Cookies” are small pieces of data which track us across websites. They are records of actions you’ve taken online (such as links clicked and pages visited) that are stored in the browser. When they are combined with data from multiple sources including from large-scale hacks, this is known as “data enrichment”. It can link our personal data like email addresses to other information such as our education level.

These data are regularly used by tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, and others to build profiles of us and predict our future behaviour.

You are being predicted

So, how much of your behaviour can be predicted by algorithms based on your data?

Our research, published in Nature Human Behaviour last year, explored this question by looking at how much information about you is contained in the posts your friends make on social media.

Using data from Twitter, we estimated how predictable peoples’ tweets were, using only the data from their friends. We found data from eight or nine friends was enough to be able to predict someone’s tweets just as well as if we had downloaded them directly (well over 50% accuracy, see graph below). Indeed, 95% of the potential predictive accuracy that a machine learning algorithm might achieve is obtainable just from friends’ data.

Average predictability from your circle of closest friends (blue line). A value of 50% means getting the next word right half of the time — no mean feat as most people have a vocabulary of around 5,000 words. The curve shows how much an AI algorithm can predict about you from your friends’ data. Roughly 8-9 friends are enough to predict your future posts as accurately as if the algorithm had access to your own data (dashed line). Bagrow, Liu, & Mitchell (2019)

Our results mean that even if you #DeleteFacebook (which trended after the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018), you may still be able to be profiled, due to the social ties that remain. And that’s before we consider the things about Facebook that make it so difficult to delete anyway.We also found it’s possible to build profiles of  — so-called “” — based on their contacts who are on the platform. Even if you have never used Facebook, if your friends do, there is the possibility a shadow profile could be built of you.

On social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, privacy is no longer tied to the individual, but to the network as a whole.

No more free will? Not quite

But all hope is not lost. If you do delete your account, the information contained in your social ties with friends grows stale over time. We found predictability gradually declines to a low level, so your privacy and anonymity will eventually return.

While it may seem like algorithms are eroding our ability to think for ourselves, it’s not necessarily the case. The evidence on the effectiveness of psychological profiling to influence voters is thin.

Most importantly, when it comes to the role of people versus algorithms in things like spreading (mis)information, people are just as important. On Facebook, the extent of your exposure to diverse points of view is more closely related to your social groupings than to the way News Feed presents you with content. And on Twitter, while “fake news” may spread faster than facts, it is primarily people who spread it, rather than bots.

Of course, content creators exploit social media platforms’ algorithms to promote content, on YouTubeReddit and other platforms, not just the other way round.

At the end of the day, underneath all the algorithms are people. And we influence the algorithms just as much as they may influence us.

[Source: This article was published in theconversation.com By Misha Ketchell - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jay Harris]

Categorized in Search Engine


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