It’s definitely not No News November around here! Facebook is rolling out subscriptions in the EU; Google’s experience for EEAT goes in ever-decreasing circles; Newspapers bemoan their lot, ignoring their naughty past; Google’s search secrets are revealed (kinda); and users want to buy from Small Businesses, you just have to remind them to do it.

All that wrapped up in a handy blog post by me, your experienced, expert, JB ;-) Read on!

FB & Insta Offering Pay-to-View In EU

So, Facebook and Instagram finally, finally, have announced plans to make it possible for people in the EU to pay for access to their social media networks and not be served ads in return. This is part of Meta’s long-running dispute with the EU to do with privacy, data retention and usage, and advertising.

Meta is pretty clear it does not want to do this, it sees itself as an advertising-based company primarily, and it is unlikely to be able to sustain user adoption and per-user revenue streams if it has to charge users (shock, horror). Free still has great allure for people, and, of course, if users can only access via payment then that also means there is some potential for economic apartheid as poorer users may not be able to afford the subscription fee.

I’m very much on the fence about this. I think privacy is a basic right. I also think the EU has swung back the other way to “punish” Meta. However, non-targeted ad streams are utterly terrible, full of rubbish gambling, fake product and get rich quick schemes; and user subscriptions lead to economic exclusion rather than inclusions, and that’s not a good thing. Ding ding, Round 37.

Want to chat about managing meta, facebook, instagram and all social media platforms? Talk to me today.

Big Knowledge Graph Update Focused on Experience

Cor. Time to get your big reading boots on to chew through and digest this article on how Google’s Knowledge Graph was updated in mid-2023 and the effect that then had on Helpful Content and the core updates which have rolled out in continual waves since.

So, the basics are that Google expanded E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, Trust) in its Google’s Raters Guidelines to incorporate another nebulous concept of Experience. In order to do that, Google had to update its Knowledge Graph for people (not corporations currently) taking into account new metrics, new ways of doing things. Essentially, it boils down to if you have a Knowledge Graph (or Panel) for you, it’s likely you will be viewed as Experienced. This will not directly impact your ranking as the Rater Guidelines don’t have a direct impact, but you’re likely to be viewed more favourably when sense checked and hence less likely to fall foul of random algorithm changes.

Now, how do you get to be experienced? By having a history of articles, references, hat-tips, nods, winks, and other various incantations. We’re almost back to Authorship structured data. One interesting point to note is that an “author” might also be seen as a website owner, or publisher might be a better term. This is highly gameable and a really silly move from Google, as it shows their inability to truly judge the value of content unless its written by someone who’s viewed as “experienced”. We’ve seen it time and again through history, shifts in thinking, or new knowledge has often come from people who are derided for their experience. Google’s search results are at risk of becoming a cosy club.

For years, Google always said that ranking was down to the URL level, despite plenty of circumstantial evidence to the contrary, domains, or other network-wide factors did not come into their thinking. I wonder if they’d still say that today?

Want a proper Content Strategy to improve your E-E-A-T and your SEO? Let’s chat.

Newsies Gripe About AI & Copyright

Roughly 25 years too late, news publishers are realising the internet may just hang around and they are going to stop those darn-tooting geeks from taking any of their readers. Or something like that. Yup, in the latest instalment of News Publishers Don’t Get The Net, they are belly-aching and pushing back against their precious prose being used to train AI models and engines. Oh my poor sausages. It must be tough to have “rivers of gold” one day and then the next you’ve hawked yourself to Google and Facebook and it turns out neither were your friend. Fool you twice, eh?

I mean, in some ways, there is such little content out in the open non-paywalled internet that it must be a struggle for AI not to believe that every article should read “Subscribe to read more“.

I’d have a little more sympathy for their copyright argument if they didn’t have a long and dark history of ripping off first-edition articles to claim as their own exclusives, rewriting and twisting other people’s content to suit their agendas and just generally not giving a stuff because they were the newspapers and they could print what they liked. Maybe they’re anti-AI because they know just how much money not paying attention to copyright can make?

If you want to talk digital strategy as a VCDO, or technical strategy, then I’m all ears. DMs are open!

State of SEO 2017 Machine Learning and AI

Google’s AntiTrust Shows Just How Basic Google Search Really Is

This is another article to chew on and digest at leisure. It’s an absolute cracker if you are somewhat new to SEO and confirmation of a number of things if you have been around the traps for a while.

Basically, during the recent Google AntiTrust trial several slides, presentations, emails etc have been entered into evidence as Google has sought to show itself the good guy, or the government has sought the opposite. Lots of corporate comms have little interest, but in this case certain elements, like how Google uses user interaction to measure a result’s relevance and usefulness, how the search process works by refinement from users, or even Google’s admission that is cannot really interpret documents and it relies on user interactions to give it a clue.

I think we either directly or secretly knew most of this. Google is just basic about SEO. You can see it the minute you go digging in the weeds of search results, or do an extended query, Google really struggles. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t need Search Quality Raters to give results the once-over and feedback, it wouldn’t need to interpret user interactions as a guide to a result’s quality or not. (Now they have said this, I’d expect people to absolutely game this side of the algorithm.)

Speaking of algorithms, back in the Matt Cutts days, he used to say that if Google wan’t keen on something it would basically add it to the algorithm. It seems the algorithm either got too complex, or Google’s ability to code it got lost somewhere between then and now.

Let’s chat about the impact of SEO in the digital marketing mix.

Xmas Shoppers Would Love To Buy From An SMB

That’s right. They want to buy from a small, local business but then they get hit with the same product from Amazon (or a knock-off) that can be bught for cheaper than the local business can buy it for.

It’s a little bit like those altruism tests, lots of people says they’d like to do the socially acceptable thing, but most don’t when push come to shove.

And it’s a shame because we spent so long in COVID supporting some of the local or small businesses that we should continue to do so.

So, in order to nudge people in this direction Google Business Profiles has also released an attribute to let potential purchasers know you are a small business, so update that profile. And users have also said they’d prefer to hear from small businesses, which means its time to put yourself in front of potential consumers with PPC ads, or social media ads – do that now. You also need to remind your ex-customers you’re alive by emailing / SMSing or using other ways to reach out. And finally, once they have become a customer, you need to do a bit of CRM and email them regularly with news, updates and offers.

Talk to me about Local SEO and Google Business Profiles, PPC & Paid Social and Email & CRM.

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