Those Facebook lives from space are not what they seem

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A Facebook Live video allegedly showing a live feed of the International Space Station (ISS) is going viral on social media though there are several doubts on its authenticity.  

The alleged live footage was posted by several media outlets and pages, including UNILAD, Viral USA and INTERESTINATE, gathering an insane amount of views and likes. 

The video on Viral USA's Facebook page has been going on for three hours and has got more than 2 million likes, 400k shares and 280k views. High figures were also recorded by UNILAD, which tagged the International Space Station in the caption. 

However, there is no mention of a Facebook live from the ISS on the official NASA website or Facebook page.  Read more...

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A Brief History of Search & SEO

history of seo.png

Tracing the history of SEO is kind of like trying to trace the history of the handshake. We all know it exists, and we know it’s an important part of business. But we don’t spend a ton of time thinking about its origins -- we’re mostly concerned with how we use it day-to-day.

But unlike the handshake, SEO is fairly young, and changes frequently. Quite appropriately, it appears to be a millennial -- its birth is predicted to fall somewhere around 1991.

And in its relatively short life, it’s matured and evolved rather quickly -- just look at how many changes Google’s algorithm alone has gone through. Download our free planner to learn how to step up your SEO traffic in just 30  days.

So where did SEO begin, and how did it become so darn important? Join us, as we step back in time and try to figure this out -- as it turns out, it’s quite a story.

But First, a Look Back at Search Engines

Google Beta

Source: Wayback Machine

The first idea for creating a common archive for all the world’s data came to fruition in 1945. That July, Dr. Vannevar Bush -- then director of the now-defunct Office of Scientific Research and Development -- published a piece in The Atlantic proposing a “collection of data and observations, the extraction of parallel material from the existing record, and the final insertion of new material into the general body of the common record.” In other words, we believe, today’s Google.

Several decades later, in 1990, McGill University student Alan Emtage created Archie, which some say was the very first search engine -- though that remains up for debate, according to research from Bill Slawski, president and founder of SEO by the Sea. However, Archie was what Slawski called the “best way to find information from other servers around the internet at the time,” and is actually still (very primitive) operation.

The next decade saw several pivotal developments, with the more commercial versions of search engines we might recognize today taking shape.

  • February 1993: Six Stanford students create Architext, which would later become the search engine Excite. Some, like Search Engine Land (SEL), say that Excite “revolutionized how information was cataloged,” making it easier to find information “by sorting results based on keywords found within content and backend optimization.”
  • June 1993: Matthew Gray debuts World Wide Web Wanderer, which later became known as Wandex.
  • October 1993: Martijn Koster introduces ALIWEB, which allows site owners to submit their own pages (unbeknownst, sadly, to many site owners).
  • December 1993: At least three “bot-fed” search engines exist -- JumpStation, RBSE spider and World Wide Web Worm -- which likely means they were powered by web robots to crawl both servers and site content to produce results.
  • 1994: Alta Vista, Infoseek, Lycos, and Yahoo search engines all come to fruition.
  • 1996: Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin begin building a search engine that they initially call BackRub.
  • April 1997: AskJeeves is introduced, later becoming Ask.com.
  • September 1997: Google.com is registered as a domain name.

It’s worth noting that nearly twelve years later, in June 2009, Microsoft released Bing -- its previous editions were also known as Live Search, Windows Live Search, and MSN Search.

But here’s where SEO itself comes in. As search engines became more mainstream and widely used, site owners started to get wise. As SEO community Moz puts it, “It was discovered that by taking some rather simple actions, search engine results could be manipulated and money could be made from the internet.”

Those results, though, weren’t exactly quality ones. And that, dear readers, is where the SEO story begins.

A Brief History of Search & SEO

The ‘90s

90s Internet

Source: The Daily Dot

With search engines becoming household names and more families becoming connected to the Internet, finding information came with greater ease. The problem, as noted above, was the quality of that information.

While search engine results matched words from user queries, it was usually limited to just that, as an overwhelming amount of site owners took to keyword stuffing -- repeating keywords over and over again in the text -- to improve rankings (for which there was no criteria), drive traffic to their pages and produce attractive numbers for potential advertisers.

There was also a bit of collusion going on. In addition to the keyword stuffing, people were using excessive and “spammy backlinks,” according to SEL, to improve their authorities. Not only were there no ranking criteria at the time -- but by the time search engines fixed algorithms accordingly, there were already new black hat SEO practices taking place that the fixes didn’t address.

But then, two kids at Stanford got an idea.

Google_Founders.png

Source: Stanford InfoLab

When Page and Brin set out to create Google, that was one of the problems they wanted to solve. In 1998, the pair published a paper at Stanford titled “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine,” where they wrote:

...the predominant business model for commercial search engines is advertising. The goals of the advertising business model do not always correspond to providing quality search to users.”

It was in that same paper that Page and Brin first mentioned PageRank, the technology that Google uses to help rank search results based on quality, and not keywords alone. Some might say that thesis cleared the path for SEO as we know it today.

The Early 2000s

Early 2000s

Source: Wayback Machine

The early 2000s saw the beginning of the Google takeover. In the process of making search engine technology less advertising-centric, Google began to provide guidelines for white hat SEO -- the kind that the “good guys” stick to -- to help webmasters rank without any of the common fishy behavior from the 90s.

2000-2002

But according to Moz, the guidelines didn’t yet have an actual impact on ranking, so people didn’t bother following them. That’s partially because PageRank was based on the number of inbound links to a given page -- the more of those, the higher the ranking. But there wasn’t yet a way to measure the authenticity of those links -- for the early part of the 2000s, Marketing Technology Blog says it was still possible to use these backlinking techniques to rank pages that weren't even related to search criteria.

But in 2001, Brin and Page appeared on "Charlie Rose," when the host asked them, "Why does it work so well?" As part of his answer, Brin emphasized that -- at the time -- Google was a search engine and nothing else, and was looking at "the web as a whole, and not just which words occur on each page." It set the tone for some of the initial major algorithm updates that would begin to more closely examine those words. Have a look at the full interview:

 

 

Source: Charlie Rose

2003-2004

This approach to the web being about more than just words really began taking shape in November 2003, with the “Florida” update to Google’s algorithm. Enough sites lost their ranking for Search Engine Watch to call the response to Florida a massive “outcry,” but careful to note that many sites benefitted from the change, too. It was the first major instance of sites receiving penalties for things like keyword stuffing, signaling Google’s emphasis on solving for the user first -- mainly with quality content.

In 2004, one of the more primitive versions of Google's voice search existed, in what the New York Times called a half-finished experiment. And while the technology was somewhat infantile at the time -- just check out what the instructions looked like at first -- it was also a signal to the future importance of mobile in SEO. (Stay tuned -- more on that later.)

Google Voice primitive

Source: Wayback Machine

 

2005: A big year for SEO

One of the biggest years in the search engine world was 2005. That January, Google united with Yahoo and MSN for the Nofollow Attribute, which was created in part to decrease the amount of spammy links and comments on websites, especially blogs. Then, in June, Google debuted personalized search, which used someone’s search and browsing history to make results more relevant.

That November, Google Analytics launched, which is still used today to measure traffic and campaign ROI. Check out its baby photo:

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 11.35.29 AM.png

Source: Wayback Machine

2009: SEO shakeups

In 2009, the search engine world saw a bit of a shakeup. Bing premiered that June, with Microsoft aggressively marketing it as the search engine that would produce noticeably better results than Google. But as SEL predicted, it was no “Google-killer,” nor did its advice for optimizing content significantly contrast Google’s. In fact, according to Search Engine Journal, the only noticeable difference was Bing’s tendency to give priority to keywords in URLs, as well as favoring capitalized words and “pages from large sites.”

That same year, in August, Google provided a preview of the Caffeine algorithm change, requesting the public’s help to test the “next-generation infrastructure” that Moz says was “designed to speed crawling, expand the index, and integrate indexation and ranking in nearly real-time.”

Caffeine wasn’t fully introduced until nearly a year later -- when it also improved the search engine’s speed -- but in December of 2009, a tangible real-time search was released, with Google search results including things like tweets and breaking news. It was a move that confirmed SEO wasn’t just for webmasters anymore -- from that moment forward, journalists, web copywriters and even social community managers would have to optimize content for search engines.

Here's Matt Cutts, Google's head of webspam, discussing Caffeine in August 2009:

 

 

Source: Wayback Machine // WebProNews

2010-Present

Google_Logo_History.png

Source:Wayback Machine // Google

When you’re typing in a search query into Google, it’s kind of fun to see what its suggestions are. That’s thanks to the Google Instant technology, which rolled out in September 2010. At first, Moz says, it made SEOs “combust,” until they realized that it didn’t really have any result on ranking.

But Google Instant, along with the evolution of SEO from 2010 on, was just another phase of the search engine’s mission to solve for the user -- despite some controversy along the way around pages whose rankings were actually improved by negative online reviews. The algorithm, Google said, was eventually adjusted to penalize sites using such tactics.

More on Google Instant, circa 2010:

 

 

That year also saw a growing importance of social media content in SEO. In December 2010, both Google and Bing added "social signals," which first displayed any written Facebook posts, for example, from your own network that matched your query. But it also began to give PageRank to Twitter profiles that were linked to with some frequency. The importance of Twitter in SEO didn't end there -- stay tuned.

2011: The year of the panda

The trend of punishing sites for unfairly gaming Google’s algorithm would continue. Some of these incidents were more public than others, including one with Overstock.com in 2011. At the time, according to Wall Street Journal, domains ending with .edu generally had a higher authority in Google’s eyes. Overstock used that to its advantage by asking educational institutions to link to its site -- and use keywords like “vacuum cleaners” and “bunk beds” -- offering discounts for students and faculty in return. Those inbound links would improve Overstock’s rankings for queries with such keywords, until Overstock discontinued the practice in 2011 and Google penalizing them soon after.

It was also the year of Panda, which first rolled out that February -- the algorithm update that cracked down on content farms. Those were sites with huge quantities of frequently updated, low-quality content that was written with the sole purpose of driving search engine results. They also tend to have a high ad-to-content ratios, which Panda was trained to sniff out.

Panda itself has undergone several updates -- so many that in its timeline of changes to Google’s algorithm, Moz declined to list any that weren’t major after 2011. Even with that exclusion, the timeline still lists twenty-eight panda updates -- for most of which the impact was difficult to measure -- through July of 2015.

2012: Along came a penguin

In April 2012, Google took what it called “another step to reward high-quality sites” with the first of many Penguin updates -- and, in the process of announcing it, acknowledged Bing’s month-earlier blog post on the changing face of SEO. Penguin targeted sites that more subtly used non-white hat SEO tactics; for example, those with content that might be mostly informative, but was also sprinkled with spammy hyperlinks that had nothing to do with the page’s H1, like in this example:

Google_Logo_History.png

Source: Google

It's worth noting that 2012 also saw a throwback to Google's original anti-ad-heavy thesis with the "Above The Fold" update, which began to lower the rankings of sites with heavy ad-space above the "fold," or the top half of the page.

Eventually, Google would go beyond targeting spammy content itself. The Payday Loan algorithm update -- which was hinted at in June 2013 and officially rolled out the following May -- actually focused more on queries that were more likely to produce spammy results. Those were typically searches for things like, well, payday loans, and other things that might make your mother blush. Google adjusted its ranking system to help keep spam out of those results, and while it didn’t necessarily impact the SEO efforts of legitimate sites, it displayed efforts to keep search results authentic.

Google goes local

Keeping with the tradition of animal-named algorithm updates, Google released "Pigeon" (dubbed so by SEL) in 2014, which carried quite an impact on local search results. At the time, it seems to have been designed to improve Maps queries, which began to be treated with some of the same technology that was applied to its other search functions, like "Knowledge Graph, spelling correction, synonyms". Local searches were going to become a big deal -- and it will only continue to do so, as you'll see in a bit.

Then, in 2015...

The biggest post-2010 SEO announcement might have been Google’s mobile update of April 2015, when non-mobile-friendly websites would start getting lower rankings. That meant SEO was no longer about keywords and content -- responsive design mattered, too.

Google announced that change in advance, in February 2015, with a mobile-friendly test that allowed webmasters to view potential issues and make changes before the rollout. It wasn’t the last of Google’s mobile updates -- in August 2016, it announced a crackdown on mobile pop-ups.

What’s Next?

It might be hard to believe, but it looks like even more change is on the horizon.

To mobile and beyond

As mobile usage is on the rise -- 51% percent of digital media is consumed that way, versus 42% on desktop -- it makes sense that SEO will continue leaning in that direction.

That's already apparent with Google’s favorability toward a mobile-friendly user experience. We predict that a future wave of SEO will largely pertain to voice search. That has its own complex history and is on the rise -- 20% of Google searches are currently done by voice, as are 25% of Bing’s. And it's compounded by the rise of such voice-powered digital personal assistants, like Amazon’s Alexa.

While there might not be a clear-cut way to optimize for voice search yet -- largely due to a lack of analytics in that area -- we anticipate that those resources will become available, creating yet another critical pillar of SEO.

Going local

But that brings up the issue of localization in SEO, and optimizing results to be regionally relevant. That’s especially true in the realm of voice search -- Yelp and other business aggregators are used to answer voice queries about what’s nearby, for example. That’s an SEO opportunity for local businesses, by making sure their listings are “comprehensive, accurate and optimized to be referenced” on a third party site.

Getting Social

While the 2009 introduction of Google's real-time search had some social ramifications, social media is becoming a more pivotal piece of SEO strategy. When the search engine began indexing tweets in 2011, for example, it hinted toward a future in which users seek information on social media in the same way that they do via search. In fact, this indexing might be Google's version of future-proofing -- if you can imagine it -- for a time when people no longer use search engines the way we do now.

For example, type in the name of any celebrity -- say, Charlie Rose, whose video we shared earlier. The first page of search results for his name includes his Facebook and Twitter profiles. Plus, check out the biographical sidebar to the right -- there are social icons with links to his various networks there, too. When users search for a person, that's one of the first things they want to see.

Charlie Rose google search

Source: Google

In any case, it’s clear why SEO has become a full-time job. Its history will only continue evolving. Executing it well requires a high level of skill, ethics, and upkeep on technology.

But we know that, sometimes, it’s not possible to have a single person dedicated to it, which is why we continue to create the best SEO learning resources we can. Check out some of our favorites:

What are your favorite pieces of SEO history? Let us know in the comments.

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Google’s Dart programming language returns to the spotlight

Darted Once upon a time, Google’s Dart programming language seemed ready to take on JavaScript as the default language of the web. Google was even going to give it equal billing with JavaScript in its Chrome browser. But by the time Dart was ready for prime time, JavaScript — and the massive ecosystem around it — was already miles ahead. About a year and a half ago, Google gave up… Read More

5 Legal Mistakes Your Agency is Making in the Pursuit of New Business (And How to Fix Them)

New business is simultaneously exciting and stressful for agencies.

While your team is focused on the thrill of a profitable win, they're also stressed about meeting deadlines, impressing the prospect, and maintaining current client relationships. It can all be a lot to handle -- and there's no room for legal mistakes.

You didn't go into marketing to deal with legal issues. But while you're navigating agency new business at warp speed, it's easy to make an oversight or misstep that could cause negative legal consequences or financial loss for the agency. Subscribe to HubSpot's Agency newsletter today.

To reduce your risk of running into legal trouble, it's important to be aware of the most common legal mistakes agencies make during their new business efforts, and how to fix (or avoid) them.

5 Common Legal Mistakes Agencies Make

1) You don't protect your agency's intellectual property during a pitch or discovery session, or in your proposal.

How to fix it: Sometimes it's a valid business decision to allow the client to own IP in pitch materials, spec creative or proposals -- either because the agency negotiated payment for it, or because it’s a required "ticket" to participate in the opportunity. But make it an intentional decision.

Unless you've agreed with a prospective client that it will own the agency's pre-engagement IP, consider a Nondisclosure Agreement that protects the agency's ownership position. Absent that, at a minimum include IP ownership clauses in your proposal and pitch assets, and use copyright ownership notices on these materials and any spec creative produced.

2) You accept the client's services contract without a legal review, or without pushing back on terms that are unattractive for the agency.

How to fix it: A proposed contract form is a suggestion, not a requirement. First, make sure you fully review the client's contract (and related documents, like a Nondisclosure Agreement) and, if needed, have it vetted by legal counsel.

Second, be aware of the legally "unattractive" provisions that are most likely to be in the client’s form and -- of course -- drafted in favor of the client, such as: immediate IP ownership, restrictive covenants on the agency, extended work acceptance processes, or unreasonable invoicing timelines.

You can -- and should -- push back on the provisions that are unfair or don't work for your Agency; You'll never have better leverage than at the beginning of the engagement. You can also learn a lot about the client by the way they respond to your concerns.

3) Your agency recreates the legal paper trail every time it engages a new client.

How to fix it: The main reason many agencies create a "fire drill-style” experience every time they sign a new client and need to legally document the relationship is a lack of process -- either having no consistent forms or language to use, or the absence of a lead person or department to handle the contract issues.

Avoid having inconsistent client service contracts, legal terms and conditions, nondisclosure agreements, IP ownership legends, and the like, by having a standard set of agency-approved contract documents and, where possible, a central person, department or procedure dedicated to the process. Then use those documents, and follow that process consistently.

4) Your agency transfers its intellectual property rights in the work to the client too soon, or gives away too much of its intellectual property to the client.

How to fix it: In many situations, everyone agrees that the client will own intellectual property in the agency’s work at some point -- the question is when.

The common point of difference is that the client will want to own it immediately upon creation, while it's in the agency's best interest not to transfer those rights until it has been paid

Additionally, the agency may have pre-existing assets (creative, technology, process) that end up incorporated into the client’s work, but to which the Agency intends to retain ownership and only license to the client. The place to resolve these issues is in the Client’s Agency Services Contract or Legal Terms and Conditions (see Mistake #3).

5) You're insufficiently protected from contingencies like late payments, non-payment, or legal liability for claims such as false advertising, IP infringement, or ad regulation compliance.

How to fix it: If the Agency is operating without Errors & Omissions insurance coverage, reconsider. The enhanced liability protection is easy to underrate until you have an issue or claim.

Additionally, give careful thought to the liability and indemnification language in your contracts to make sure that the agency's liability is limited to the things actually within its control (for example, not for a product feature or claim provided by the Client).

Finally, review the payment terms in your contracts, making sure they properly incentivize the client to pay in a reasonable amount of time. Remedies like late fees, interest, and attorney fee or collection cost recovery will not be available to you unless they are in a written agreement signed by both parties.

New business is challenging enough for agencies without having to worry about the potential legal pitfalls that it creates. Sharon Toerek will be speaking on this topic at INBOUND 2016. Learn more about INBOUND.

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Facebook’s experimental app uses AI to turn live video into fine art

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LAGUNA BEACH, California — Facebook just gave an early look into an experimental camera app that uses artificial intelligence to make live video look like art.

Speaking Tuesday at the Wall Street Journal's WSJD Live conference, Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox demoed the app, which he said offered a look at how the social network is investing in augmented reality. 

The application aims to recreate the look of famous artwork in real-time within the camera using a technology called "style transfer." It's a bit like the app Prisma, except that the effects are created within the camera live, not after you shoot a photo or video.  Read more...

More about Prisma, Augmented Reality, Facebook, Apps And Software, and Tech

The Weather Company enters the chatbot game for Facebook Messenger

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When IBM bought The Weather Channel for $2 billion in 2015, analysts were fairly uniform in their responses: What are they thinking?

Now, IBM is beginning to make clear how it is using this vast amount of weather and climate data that the company has collected for years on a second-by-second, worldwide basis. 

On Tuesday, IBM announced that The Weather Channel has launched a Watson-powered "cognitive weather bot" for Facebook Messenger. 

The Weather Channel bot gives users a new way to access and share personalized weather content including current conditions, severe weather alerts and five-day forecasts.  Read more...

More about Facebook Messenger, Facebook, Chatbots, Climate, and Artificial Intelligence

You’ll soon be able to take online journalism courses on Facebook

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The days of using Facebook to procrastinate could soon be behind you.

In a blog post on Tuesday morning, Aine Kerr, Manager of Journalism Partnerships for Facebook announced that the social network is launching a series of online training courses for journalists.

What will the courses focus on? Well, as Facebook continues to make inroads in the media industry, the company is offering users a crash course in how to perfect their social media skills to survive online journalism in 2016. 

While the courses may seem completely unnecessary to many millennial users who live and breathe Facebook, if you're wondering how to achieve that beautiful, blue verification check mark on your account or looking to ensure no one from work sees those embarrassing pictures from your weekend in Vegas, you might consider giving them a try. Read more...

More about Business, Social Meda, Education, Online, and Facebook

You are definitely not alone in being worn out by this election

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You're not the only one sick of seeing posts about Trump on Facebook. 

More than one-third of social media users are worn out by seeing political posts in their feeds, according to a new report from Pew Research Center.

Somehow, twenty percent of those polled liked seeing political posts, and 41 percent didn't feel strongly one way or the other. 

The election is also pushing people to be less social on social media. Thirty-nine percent of users said they have blocked, muted or changed settings to see less from someone because of their political posts.  Read more...

More about Election 2016, Hillary Clinton, Trump, Politics, and Twitter

Google gets into the whiteboard business

Google Jamboard Google, it seems, is still capable of surprising. A few weeks after launching a pair of handsets, a smart home hub and a virtual reality headset, the company is back with one of its most left-field hardware launches in recent memory. After all a big push into consumer mobile, the software giant is pursuing, of all things, the whiteboard. The Jamboard is an unlikely launch for the company,… Read More

The 2016-17 @NBA season is happening on Twitter

Here we go, hoops fans… the @NBA season is finally here! How to #GoLive with the NBA during the 2016-17 season.

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