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English Wikipedia Blackouts in SOPA/PIPA Protest

Wondering why the English Wikipedia has blacked out?

Starting at midnight January 18th, the English Wikipedia will be down for 24 hours in protest to potential legislation regarding SOPA and PIPA. English Wikipedia Blackouts in SOPA/PIPA Protest

Rather than having access to the vast online encyclopedia, users will see a message that is destined to raise awareness about SOPA and PIPA. It's a powerful move that will be recognized by millions.

What Exactly are SOPA and PIPA?

The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate are considering two bills in congress called SOPA and PIPA. SOPA represents the "Stop Online Piracy Act," and PIPA stands for the "Protect IP Act," with IP standing for the common initials for "Intellectual Property."

The objective behind these bills is to stop copyright infringement, particularly targeting infringement committed by foreign websites. Although these bills are set for protection measures, both risk the open, free environment that makes the Internet so powerful.

Wikipedia's temporary revoke of its English encyclopedia will bring further awareness and support of the righteous opposition against SOPA and PIPA. These two bills will not only inflict on the freedoms of the Internet, but may also cross into areas concerning the freedoms set by the U.S. Constitution.

To learn more about the detrimental impact of SOPA and PIPA, and to take further action yourself, visit this webpage by the EFF.

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Google AdWords Update: Now See Organic and PPC Query Data Side-by-Side

Google AdWords UpdateThe most recent Google AdWords update has brought about a new angle in search marketing and advertising. As a well-liked update amongst the community of Google AdWords users, this new feature provides side-by-side keyword query data from both organic search and paid search (PPC advertising) exposure.

In short, this update enables search marketers to better perform keyword analysis for ongoing improvements. Additionally, this update allows users to better employ other Google Tools like the Keyword Planner and Traffic Estimator.

This new update in Google AdWords can be best employed by opening a specific ad group. Under the "Dimensions" tab, view the "Paid & organic" option in the drop down list.

This Google AdWords update is also important when it comes to estimating costs and performance based on search exposure. As a result, marketers can aid in preparation of trial budgets before making your final budget. This gives advertisers the ability to see organic and PPC keyword query data (side-by-side) for the purpose of analysis. Another use for this Google AdWords update is that it makes it possible to use imported data in your account without entering it manually from other search tools.

In order to use this keyword analysis, you need to have a Google AdWords account. However, it does not require you to be continually running ads as your organic keyword planning will continue displaying. Organic data is pulled from Google Analytics or Google Webmasters Tools, so a given AdWords campaign needs to be properly linked with one of the latter platforms.

As a result, the non users of Google Analytics can benefit from the keyword planner. To make this active for use, you need to link the Google AdWords update with the accounts of the webmaster tools. This will enable the AdWords to work effectively. It does not matter what your budget is, you can still display ads on Google whereby you only pay when people click on the displayed ads.

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What's Up, Google? No PageRank Update in Over 6 Months?

Google PageRank UpdateAs we all know, the Google PageRank has a very significant importance for all the websites owners and developers, as it measures the importance of their websites and it ranks them depending on their popularity. Usually, the Google PageRank is updated every two or three months, but it has been approximately six months since the last PageRank update occurred.

What is actually happening with the Google Toolbar PageRank Update? Although there were several attempts of contacting the Google team, the team refused to comment about this problem and let everyone confused. Additionally, the search results in Google have lost some of their relevance and therefore some SEO efforts using the PageRank tool have diminshed.

Thus, there are many websites and web pages which have not a higher PageRank although their importance has increased at a very great deal during the last six months. When is it going to be the next Google PageRank update? Although the last one occurred in early February 2013 and the next one was supposed to occur in July 2013, there was no sign of update until the present moment.

Is it anything wrong with the Google PageRank Update? Many web developers thought about a possible bug in the system, but given that the PageRank is verified by a human being and it is not completely an algorithm, this would be impossible. It is said that the next update will come during later September, but what is it going to happen?

Google do not offer any further details about this matter and apparently we will not find out anything regarding it until the next Google PageRank update occurs – the question is: when will it occur? Is it going to be late this month as well or not? What will happen with the millions of websites on the Internet and what will be their future in the end? What should we expect? All these questions will remain unanswered until the Google Toolbar PageRank is updated.

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Google Survey Reveals Intriguing Survey Data About Mobile Search

Google MobileIt is true that PC search behaviors have extended into mobile phones. Google has sponsored research which reveals that 74% of smartphone users are using search engines on their mobile devices. Yet most people find mobile search rather awkward and harder to use as compared to using search online.

These are some of the results that came up as a result of a survey carried out by Search Engine Land and SurveyMonkey.

As to the behavior that most people showed while conducting online results using their smartphones, the following were ascertained.

  • That 52.5% of the people use search engines just like on the desktop.
  • That 21.1% of them used their smartphone totally for online research.
  • That 10.6% of them relied on apps and mobile search equally.
  • That 8.3% of them use search engine only when an app cannot find what they are looking for.
  • That 7.6% of them use mobile apps primarily.

(These figures have been rounded off and thus may not make up a hundred percent.)

The survey revealed that slightly more than half (52.5 percent) of the mobile audience made use of search engine just like desktop. However over 63%, to some extent, engaged with mobile search. 10.6% of the people past the 52% mark, used apps and search equally. The population which had replaced the search with apps appears to be quite small.

As to the experience of the users, the following were ascertained.

  • That 61.4% of the people found carrying out a search using a mobile phone proved to be quite harder as compared to using the PC.
  • That 18.5% of them concluded that searching using a mobile phone is relatively easier because it incorporates the use of voice search.
  • That 10.6% of them preferred using apps as compared to searching the web using their mobile phones.
  • That 9.6% of them do not use search completely on their phones.

(These figures have been rounded off and thus may not make up a hundred percent.)

While the majority of the smartphone users prefer searching using their mobile phones, 61% find it harder compared to using the PC. Less than 20% on the other hand attributed their easy search while using mobile to voice search. Slightly over 10% revealed that they liked using apps more than mobile search engines.

This survey was carried out by Marketing Land and SurveyMonkey, between 21st and 22nd November 2013. These results were arrived at using a confidence interval of 95% and a margin of error of 5% from over four hundred Americans by the use of SurveyMonkey Audience.

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Google Panda 4.0 Update: A Briefing for the SEO Community

Google Panda 4.0Since the first launch of Google Panda in February 2011, the name of this algorithm update became a nightmare for many SEO's and website owners, including huge names in the industry.

The new Google Panda 4.0 update was no different then the first. The main objective is to support websites that have high quality content while penalizing sites that have duplicate, meaningless, and spammy content.

Website owners who only optimize their content for ranking high in search engine results without providing something valuable to visitors will lose, because the update aims to prioritize the usefulness of high quality websites for readers.

The new update had some negative consequences on reputed businesses, such as eBay, History.com, Ask.com, biography.com and many others.

On the other hand, some popular websites had a lot to gain from this and good examples can be buzzfeed.com, glassdoor.com, medterms.com, etc.

These websites are known for their high quality, original, unique and useful articles. According to what SEO's are saying, it is quite difficult to know if your site has been penalized or not. But, you can still be successful if you do things right.

The Future Moving Forward

It is not known when this series of updates for Google Panda will end, but until it will, many websites will continue to be destroyed. Content that has already been posted thousands of times will not be considered unique even if it is written a bit differently, so you will have to create really original articles for Google to consider them reliable.

It can be hard to do that, but with enough practice and work, it can be achieved. This is for a greater good, as in the long term sites with awesome content that really deserve to be well ranked will have a lot to gain. If your websites have that originality, there is nothing to fear of, because Google will notice your work and rank it accordingly.

To stay abreast the latest on Google Panda, visist SearchEngineLand.com's Panda News section and keep up to speed.

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Precise Keyword Targeting No More for AdWords PPC Advertisers?

Google AdWordsGoogle has recently announced that starting late September 2014, PPC advertisers using AdWords will be left with no ability to de-select close variants for keyword targeting. Previously, PPC advertisers could opt-out from having their ads displayed with close variant searches, but it seems that all campaigns will now include them.

One of the advantages of exact and phrase match was the ability to track when a searcher used a specific phrase that triggered an ad. This will not be possible anymore in the new all-variant AdWords.

What Close Variants Means to PPC Advertisers

Close variants are a feature of Google AdWords that allow matching of keywords on close iterations or on misspellings. The tool is useful for those who want to save time, not miss important queries, and gather more coverage. Until now every advertising campaign with Google AdWords has this setting on by default, but it was possible to be turned off on the campaign settings page.

Some campaigns have currently this setting turned off in order to save some money on PPC advertising. They prefer to know on what keywords they are spending their ad budget on. If their budget is constrained, by turning off the setting for close variants advertisers have an opportunity for a lower cost click.

The problem with automatic close variants is that many matches may be only close in spelling, but very different in meaning. For advertisers who enjoy having full control over their campaigns the announcement of Google is not good news. It will not be possible anymore to know exactly where the ads are displayed by Google.

No More Precision Keyword Targeting

That option for precision will be unfortunately removed in late September. Removing the ability to opt out of close variants affects the ability of strict targeting. Advertisers will lose the possibility to instruct Google to spend on specific terms.

The consequence of this change in the way Google AdWords will work from September is that those users who preferred to not use close variants will likely have more work to do. They will have to cut analyze the keyword ?details’ reports in order to evaluate the spending on variants.

PPC advertisers will also have to add many more negative keywords and they will not be able to use anymore those old exact match ad campaigns. Those advertisers who will want to bid differently on singular versus plural will need to create multiple ad groups and negative out the opposite plurality.

However, the change will also have some benefits. Those who used to opt off from close variants will be forced now to stop chasing exact matches with lower efficiency and start focus on the big picture. They will migrate from tactics to strategy. And it is well known that it is the strategy that can drive the bigger profits.

For example, just from landing page optimization the gains can be three or even five times more. A top ad copy can bring six times more gains. The change in AdWords will force advertisers to focus on these strategic means of driving up profits instead of basing their advertising campaigns on exact matches and compiling excessive keyword lists. The recent Hummingbird Google update already pushed a shift towards a "keywordless" world and a more object based advertising campaigns.

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Google News: Mobile-Friendly Sites to Rank Better in Mobile Search

Mobile Friendly WebsiteThe time for mobile-friendly sites to get better ranking in Google's mobile search results is soon to come, at least according to Google's newest search algorithm changes. The leading search engine will soon introduce algorithm changes that will include usability factors and app indexing to give mobile-friendly sites higher rankings in mobile search results.

In essence, this means that after Google introduces the search engine feature in April 21, 2015, making your site mobile-friendly friendly will be more important than ever before.

The new mobile ranking algorithm will be an improvement on the mobile ranking demotion algorithm Google launched in 2013. In addition to other capabilities, the new algorithm will determine whether your site is mobile-friendly, and determine whether it should rank better on the basis of this important determination. The changes will affect all languages in the world, but most of all, they will cause substantial changes in the way mobile search results are displayed.

Among the benefits Google hopes users will get from this improvement in search technology is the fact that you will have a much easier time getting relevant and high quality results that are also optimized for your mobile device.

Why, then, does Google have to wait until April to introduce this revolutionary technology? After all, Google is known for introducing drastic algorithm changes overnight. Apparently, the few months prior to the launch of the mobile-friendly search engine algorithm update should give site owners time to their sites mobile-friendly. As a matter of fact, you can use Google's mobile friendly testing tool and mobile usability reports to see how well your site is likely to fair once the new algorithm goes live.

Additionally, apps already indexed through Google's App Indexing feature will do better in mobile search results. However, this will initially only work for Android apps, since it will only work for signed-in users who have the app already installed on their mobile devices.

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Hackers Attack WordPress' Yoast SEO Plugin

Yoast SEOYou probably never would have thought that hackers would do a blind SQL injection on the ever-popular Yoast WordPress SEO plugin. And yet, just recently hackers have successfully penetrated the security system of the top-rated Yoast SEO plugin, which is used by over 14 million WordPress sites on the internet.

If you are a Yoast SEO plugin users, you are urged to update your plugin as soon as possible for them not to expose and make you lose important data on your web pages. Hackers can do a blind SQL injection on popular WordPress SEO plugins that are not updated. A blind SQL injection is a kind of SQL injection attack that asks the database true or false questions and usually determines the answers based on the applications feedback.

In most cases this attack is used in configured web applications to show generic error messages, but has not mitigated the code that is vulnerable to SQL injection. The attack can also be used to insert an SQL query into the site’s database to extract, modify or delete data. This makes it a very important tool that should not land on the hands of your business enemies through hacking. Blind SQL injections are habitually used to insert unauthorized spam links on websites or more practically the attack can be used in installing malware/adware on your web pages.

Protecting Your WordPress Site

WordPress users can fix the problem by upgrading to Yoast SEO plugin version 1.7.4 with immediate effect. This new version is documented to be a security fix that will protect hackers from interfering with any of your WordPress data. Here some top features of the 1.7.4 version security fix.

  • Fixed possible CSRF and blind SQL injection vulnerabilities in bulk editor
  • Added strict sanitation to order by and order parameters
  • Added extra nonce checks on requests sending additional parameters
  • Minimal capability needed to access the bulk editor

Your WordPress sites are highly vulnerable to hackers if you have not installed the new version. Update your Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin today to avoid hackers from infiltrating your web content and important site data on the WordPress blogs.

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Google Tests Twitter Content in Search Results

Twitter LogoSince Google has risen to the top of the rankings in terms of most frequently used search engines, a lot has changed. Google is constantly making adjustments on both the front end and the back end. But lately, the biggest changes with Google surround social integration - namely, with Twitter.

Earlier this year in February, Google reached an agreement with the social media powerhouse of Twitter. The deal is centered on making Twitter posts, which are mini-posts and updates comprised of up to 140 characters called tweets, more accessible via Google searches. The deal would also afford Google increased access to Twitter’s database, allowing for tweets to be featured as results when certain topics are searched.

Initially, tweets will be included more frequently in the list of results that are provided regarding highly trending topics. For example, the likelihood of tweets popping up in the results for the search of "civil unrest in Baltimore" is much higher than the likelihood of tweets coming about in the results for the search of "best ballpoint pens."

Executives at Twitter claimed that the Twitter-Google fusion initiative would be rolled out in May and they kept their word. Some developers claim that it is only on a test basis, but we are now seeing more and more Twitter information coming up alongside the other information that Google provides in its search results. Both companies have been relatively tight-lipped about the process and we can only wait and see what happens.

This deal speaks volumes regarding the integration of social media and socially influenced knowledge translation into the online information environment. It shows us that there is an increasing value being placed on trends in news information, media information, and so much more that individuals are seeking via Google.

In the business sector, so many companies are looking to social media as components of market research and they are able to gain significant insight into the general thought patterns and ideals of the population. Social media also provides information regarding general attitudes and perceptions in a variety of different markets and by having one of the largest social media networks woven into the framework of Google’s widespread influence, the opportunities presented to businesses engaged in search marketing are endless.

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An Inside Look at Google's New "Customer Match" Ad Targeting

"Customer Match" is now the buzzword for the advertisers as Google announced its release just last week. It is a new dawn for AdWords advertisers as Customer Match is designed to enable advertisers to upload email lists, match them with Gmail users, Search as well as YouTube.

Google Customer Match

In short, Customer Match uses a Facebook targeting style. The new AdWords advertising capabilities will be rolled out in a few weeks time. It is a great step that Google has made for the advertisers. The uploaded emails by the advertisers will be matched against the emails available in the Google’s database.

Overcoming Regulatory Hurdles

Before, Facebook has been offering a similar service of letting advertisers run their campaigns basing on the information available in the customer’s database. The strategy seems to have been delayed by Google, and this is deemed to be due to the scrutiny regulatory reasons.

Google, the giant search competitor in the market, has now made it official. It is going to be a more powerful technique particularly with the ability to set bids as well as creating copies based on the advertiser’s customer data. Perhaps, it is far much better compared to typical manipulation of the on-site customer behavior and experience.

Greater Ad Efficacy

Customer Match will enable advertisers have the real customer insight, monitor their interactions with the products offered both online and offline is a great step ahead in making ad fun and simple. In fact, it is a better way one can use in administering personalization something that never existed before in the giant Google world.

The release of Customer Match is a way that Google has furnished it large network in promoting search and other apps. Google had uncovered the initiative of taking this step back in May this year during the I/O Developers’ Conference. Fundamentally, this is a new AdWords product that is targeting users of apps across different networks. A majority has viewed this step as a way of Google rivaling other platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

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