WordPress and Tech News, August 31, 2017

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Senior management in your corporation are keen to eliminate your job in the near future.

 

WordPress and Tech News, August 2, 2017

WordPress and Tech News, July 24, 2017

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How Do You Feel About the New Google News Look?

We are a but undecided after our initial encounter with the new design for Google News. In our design world, you try not to break things that have made your website, app or service successful. As news media people, we liked how Google News would provide access to articles on any given search query from thousands of sources, often grouping them by the most current cluster of stories.

Other folks are starting to chime in, like Josh Constine over at Techcrunch:

Google’s brave new friendless feed

Our longstanding beef with Google News is its arbitrary decisions about which news services to not include in their indexing and results, which penalize independent media. Like it or not, Google serves as a gatekeeper to the Internet. Most Internet users find content via Google’s search services. When Google decides that a news service or publication doesn’t qualify for inclusion, it is exercising de facto censorship over that content.

One of the news services we volunteer with happens to be one of the oldest online news services (online for 23 years). It has been included in Google News in the past, then was delisted and re-instated after appeal. Three years ago, after a website re-design, Google News dropped the service and has refused our appeals. While Google may be penalizing the site for being a mixture of news aggregation and original stories, being shut out by Google News (and Facebook’s censorship) make it difficult for the site to find readers who will fund more original journalism, which is our goal.

Your Google Search Results May Not Be As Good As They Look

We sometimes talk to small business clients who tell us that their search results on Google are good for their industry or compared to their local competition. That may be truly the case, but it’s possible that you are seeing results that don’t reflect what everybody else gets based on the same searches. Most people don’t understand how search engines work. These days search engines customize results based on factors such as your location and your past search history. The search engines do this because they know that most people want search results that are more precise because of these factors.

If you are a small business or organization and want to really understand how people are finding your site this personalization doesn’t help you see what other people are getting for search results. Search engine personalization is interfering in the following ways:

  • Geolocation — The search engine delivers results based on what it knows about your location. It knows fairly precisely where you are when you search from your office or home computer. If you search via a mobile device, it knows even more precisely thanks to GPS. If you run a Mexican restaurant, for example, the search engine may display your restaurant website higher in the search results, if you happen to be searching from a location close to the restaurant. Meanwhile, similar restaurants may be appearing higher for most potential customers in your city, but you can’t see this if the search engine is delivering results based on your location.
  • Past search history – Search engines also will deliver results based on your past search history, based on the idea that you are interested in sites that you’ve already visited in the past. If you are also visiting your own website often, this will be reflected in the search results.

So, how do you get a more accurate take on how your website is faring in searches?

  • Test your searches from a public location, such as a coffee shop or public library. So many people will have searched for similar things from those locations that you should get a better handle on where your website is appearing in searches.
  • Ask a friend or family member to search on your website (or keywords) from their computers (and mobile devices). Have them report where your website is appearing in search results. You might want to consider asking a friend in another city to the same thing.

Talk to your web developer about strategies to improve your search engine results.