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Eric Enge
Works at Stone Temple Consulting, Content Marketing, SEO, Link Building
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+David Amerland's Sunday Read for this week focuses on the dangers of the polarization we see both here in the US and in Europe.

A thought provoking commentary on world events!
 
The Pendulum Effect

This past week two events could not have been further apart in either history or effect. The US celebrated America Independence Day with the customary 4th of July celebrations and Greece entered a watershed moment in European history: http://goo.gl/zzXg9C.   

Considering the broad complexity of what social critic Anna Deavere Smith would call “the American character” (https://goo.gl/CV3sCD) and the far from clear, emergence of a European identity: http://goo.gl/l3rJI3, it would be inconceivable to think (http://goo.gl/PP8BQb) that there is anything but the most abstract of connections between the two peoples, divided by an ocean and living in different continents. 

Yet, both are in the grip of a devolution of sorts, their sense of solidarity waning (http://goo.gl/I8U2B4) as each withdraws into an increased polarization of views (https://goo.gl/7UalmA) based upon ideology, rather than practicality or, even, common sense. 

In a world where ‘conversation’ is a constant and narrative is seen as something that can be analyzed and discussed, polarization, a communication issue (https://goo.gl/4LYrnv) appears to be winning. The inevitable “why?” may be answered with, perhaps, the issue of identity: http://goo.gl/PP8BQb which is as core to the European problems as it is to the American ones: http://goo.gl/V8KFgx. It seems counter-intuitive to suggest that after a good, sound, discussion we all end up having wackier notions and ideas than before: http://goo.gl/F12pO6, but that seems to be exactly what’s happening. 

There are several important points here. When polarization occurs, politics becomes more entrenched (https://goo.gl/Z4hyMl) and its effects more severe: http://goo.gl/tdm2X5. The middle ground, moderation, becomes no-man’s land, with fewer and fewer people tending to stray there (http://goo.gl/4cvIXz), and each camp, launches upon an escalating trajectory of vilification of the other until the perception that remains is that of the chasm dividing each side, rather than the similarities that might bring them together. 

Those of us who inhabit the digital space may think we are above all that. Politics and ideologies matter less to us than the commonality of the human condition and our willingness to listen to others’ points of view, but that is not entirely true. Politics, in the 21st century, touches everywhere. Points of view on subjects that may appear to be ideological and therefore abstract, translate themselves into actions (http://goo.gl/W8VT2b) that have real-world impact. 

And that’s just it. In the real-world no one lives in a vacuum even if geographic distances and context may differ sufficiently to impact upon what is only important to each group: http://goo.gl/EFhMtp. What each of us does defines the world we want to see and the world we deserve to get for everyone else. In a connected world we’ve all become each other’s keeper and it’s happened as part of the unintended consequences of connection and interdependency, rather than planning. 

It would be great, at this stage, to think that there is a path that’s clear to us. That there is a course of action we can embark upon that will help dispel all fears and provide us with a black & white playbook we can uniformly apply to every situation. Unfortunately as we move across countries, cultures and even socio-economic groups it is our differences, rather than similarities that seem to come to our attention as social psychologist Alana Conner says: https://goo.gl/F0TPC2.  

G+ sometimes seems to be such an anomaly in its ability to allow so many of us from so many parts of the world to get together and interact without much friction that hardly anyone outside it knows what to make of its culture and its impact. What this social network has mostly done is provided us with the space to engage, learn and grow and the means to do it at our own pace. Empathy, and our ability to learn it:
http://goo.gl/4jSuTS is not something we automatically employ every time we encounter differences and conflict. Increasingly, however, we are learning, by degrees, to be smarter. And in smarts lies power. 

Former Liberal Democrats leader Paddy Ashdown (https://goo.gl/eh1Z3z) in a riveting TED Talk that opens with Houseman’s poem of Shropshire Lad (http://goo.gl/HqZu7l) explains this shift in power from local (where it is clearly understood and historically regulated) to global (where the rules of the game are still pretty vague). This transition comes with turbulence. Turbulence is what’s experienced in the polarization of US politics and European nationhood. Turbulence is experienced in the lack of empathy and the apparent shrinking of the middle ground of moderation, globally. 

We’re experiencing an unusual combination of shifts. We’re ever more powerful and yet more afraid. Ever more capable and yet more uncertain. Ever more connected and yet struggling to understand others. But in our direct experience of turbulence there is also hope. The hope that as turbulence is normal in the context we experience it, so is its opposite. Polarization itself is part of the pendulum effect where, eventually, the sense of ideologies that guide us will have us return to a swing towards consensus, cooperation, greater understanding and empathy. How soon that happens, how well, is really dependent upon us. All of us. Each of us. The effort we’re prepared to make and the thinking we’re ready to do. And the time is now.

I hope you’ve managed to plan ahead. Coffee, chocolate cake, croissants, cookies and donuts are what power Sundays. I am beginning to think that should we fail to get all these provisions we may well adversely affect the health of the confectionery industry and the well-being of coffee growers everywhere. Have one awesome Sunday, wherever you are. 

For regular Sunday Read updates subscribe to the Collection: https://goo.gl/qFWeXk
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+Eric Enge thank you for sharing this. Let's hope common sense kicks in everywhere at some point. 
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More on Proper HTTPS Implementation

There is a companion protocol called HSTS (HTTPS Strict Transport Security) that you should use in HTTPS implementations.  It instructs the browser to only use HTTPS when communicating with your site.

If you are going to use HTTPS then you should also implement HSTS as well.

However, per the +Barry Schwartz article shared below, +Gary Illyes warns to never implement HSTS without actually having HTTPS on your site.
Last night, Google's Matt Cutts posted on Twitter about HSTS, a protocol that tells web browsers to use HTTPS instead of the HTTP URLs to access your web pages.But shortly after that, Gary Illyes from
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The Evolution of the Google SERPs

This is the output from a Twitter Chat +Mark Traphagen and I did last week with the great team over at +SEMrush!
 
The Evolution of Google SERPs & How to Benefit From It
And 10 Google Search Predictions From Experts!

Get valuable advice from our special guests +Eric Enge and +Mark Traphagen of +Stone Temple Consulting , as well as hundreds of participants.

Questions:
Q1: What are the potential benefits of having your content appear in answer boxes? 
Q2: How can SEOs rock local search in a post-Pigeon era, and what are the best strategies you've seen so far? 
Q3: The evolution of paid search: what works today? 
Q4: What are the benefits of implementing structured data, and how can it affect your rankings? 
Q5: How will SERPs evolve in the future? What are your predictions for the second half of 2015? 
Q6: What was the hardest Google update for you, and what SEO strategy did you use to improve your rankings? 
Q7: What’s one SEO “pro tip” or best practice you would like to share?

Tips by +Eric Enge +Mark Traphagen +Bill Slawski +Sergio Redondo +Marianne Sweeny +Tim Capper +Thomas J. Armitage +Chris Bell +Brandify +Joe Martinez - Milwaukee PPC +Adam Dince +Larry Prevost +"Professor Jenny" - Local SEO Specialist +Sarah Schager +Rachel Howe +Mark Chalcraft +Omi Sido +Edwin Jonk +Jesse Stoler +Martin Kelly SEO +ThinkSEM Consulting, LLC +Jeff Riddall +Tara Clapper +Peter Starr Northrop and others!

#googlesearcg #seo #seotips #semrushchat  
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Thank you so much for joining our chat last week and sharing all the awesome tips! :) 
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The Race to Being the Best Digital Assistant

Great outline here from +Martin Brossman - there is so much at stake in this battle.  All the heavyweights are in this fight - Apple, Microsoft, and Google, and no one has ceded this battle to Google just yet.
 
The Race to Be Our Best Digital Assistant is ON! 
Including Apple Siri, Google Voice, Microsoft Cortana and even Amazon Echo.

Including in the article for discussion: 
My perspective on the Evolution of Digital Assistants now and in the future...

In the early stage the “assistant” was just text based and was basically a pattern recognition system. (The steps are not necessarily in required order, just organized to give a general progression.)

1. Text pattern matching: This evolved to recognizing simple basic questions and delivering content from a digital search or taking a specific action like “lights on.”

2. Basic speech recognition: The next level was “understanding” natural speech. Able to break down full sentences and identify what we are taking about and what we are wanting. 

3. Anticipating future questions and understanding context: Next was the anticipating ahead of what we want just as we do consciously as humans.  Even Google Voice search has evolved to this level. Google is able to anticipate and understand the context if it has enough info about both us and the topic. The assistant is at a “self-learning” stage, the basic level where Google search is now. Apple Siri just keeps getting better and better at responding like a favorite friend. For example, my friend asked Siri, “Siri find me a steakhouse” and Siri ‘s response was “The only possibility I found is (Name of place), which averages 2 stars and is moderately priced.” 

4. Understanding our emotional tone and facial expressions: This upcoming next step is attempting to understand the emotional tone of the question and responding. This is where we as humans get easily hooked even if this is partly simulated. Once we think the digital assistant is beginning to understand us emotionally, even if it is not fully doing this, we will project more human qualities onto to it than the digital assistant had earned. 

5. Full ongoing dialogue: Next level will be having an ongoing dialogue where it asks for more information and initiates expected and unexpected comments--the ability to have an extended conversation. Maybe even the digital assistant initiating a conversation that it computes would be appreciated at that time. For example a digital assistant noticing that our driving pattern is showing up like something is wrong and asking if we may need to take a break from driving. 

6. Beginning of self-awareness: One definition of self-aware is the digital assistant is aware of itself in relationship to other things around it, perceived from different perspectives. This would be like the a home robot that identifies a distorted reflection of itself in a shiny bowl as itself. Step 5 and 6 may happen in different order. This was depicted in the 2013 movie “Her”, set sometime in the near future where a man falls in love with a new artificially intelligent operating system called OS1 (I will let you decide if “Her” should be under 6 or 7 if you see the move). 

7. Technological singularity: Last would be digital assistants reaching technological singularity which by that time digital assistants would be fully integrated into autonomous robots. At the level of technology singularity, computers would theoretically be capable of recursive self-improvement (redesigning themselves), or of designing and building computers or robots better than themselves. This is what Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk say we need to be prepared for so they don’t make us into house pets. I think we are a good way off from that but being prepared is not a bad idea.  Of course Kurzweil sees it more as part of our own evolution. I am ready and hope to see it in our future since I sometimes find myself, after watching the news, asking if there's intelligent life on earth to start with.



Thanks to +Janelle Vadnais +Cramer Gallimore +David Amerland +Eric Enge and may others for their strong resources / help used in this article. 

#Digitalassistants   #AmazonEcho   #GoogleVoice   #AppleSiri  
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Thanks +Eric Enge for sharing my article and for the great insights  you contributed to it from you talk. 
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Get Your Mobile App Indexing Questions Answered by a Googler!

Advanced Headsup! Tomorrow TODAY at just after 11am Eastern I'll be publishing an in-depth Q&A with a Google Webmaster Trends Analyst at our +Stone Temple Consulting blog. Watch here for when it goes live.

BONUS! The post will include a link to a form where you can submit your questions about how Google is indexing mobile apps and their content to have them answered by the Googler!

If you know anyone who is creating mobile apps for their site or even thinking about doing so, please alert them to this post coming tomorrow!
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+Søren Bo Steendahl  take a look here ;)
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+Yonatan Zunger Marks 4 Years on Google+ With his Thoughts

Worth a read for many reasons, as it captures the scope of Google+. Of particular note, is his excitement for what the next 4 years will bring - and I am sure it will bring lots of things!
 
I just thought I would mark today with a post I made four years ago, welcoming everyone on board just a few minutes after we flipped the switch and launched Google+. 

Over the course of the week that followed, I decided to try something a bit crazy and not really "traditional Google:" I spent lots of time running around the service, talking to everyone I encountered, and welcoming them aboard. What I found was that there were tremendous numbers of people out there who wanted to talk: not just about the service, but about all the things they cared about in their lives, from their pets to geopolitics. And the results changed my life.

It's been an amazing four years here: I've seen the project grow from a crazy idea to a giant, thriving community, spread around the world.  I've had so many conversations on so many subjects, and learned so much in the process, that I can't even count. I've learned to write much more effectively, and what it is to have a real conversation about incredibly sensitive subjects where people nonetheless treat each other with respect and seriousness. I've made an amazing group of friends here, people I love and trust and talk to every day. And I even met the love of my life, my brilliant and beloved wife, through the service.

So looking back on four years of what we've built here, I can say: this is going really well. I'm exceptionally glad to have met all of you, and to have had some part in building this community we share, and I'm looking forward to seeing where the next four years take us!
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+Eric Enge Agreed. Those who say it is only give us a competitive advantage...
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Yahoo Testing Google Search to Power Their Results

Fascinating that they are doing this. Note that Yahoo does indicate that this is just a small test.  Their current relationship does allow them to do this type of testing. Interesting to see what will come of this.

Full story on +Search Engine Land 

http://searchengineland.com/yahoo-search-testing-google-powered-search-results-224394 
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Instead of Googlezon we get Googlehoo in 2015?
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Is HTTPS Becoming a Requirement?

Great question! +NOD3x asked this question in the post shared below, and +John Dietrich pinged me into the discussion.

Almost certainly, Google intends to dial up the intensity of this signal over time. My measurements indicate that the number of HTTPS pages in the top 10 are increasing, and that's being driven by two things:

1. More people are converting. This is definitely true.

2. Google may be weighting it more. We can't confirm that this has in fact happened yet, but you can be sure that it will over time.

At this point in time, the use of HTTPS as a ranking signal will remain weak. The reason it's still a weak signal is that they can't afford to devalue sites in the search results that are in high demand by end users just because they have not converted yet.

However, imagine what happens when we get to the point that 80% of the sites on the web, including the great majority of the big brands, have converted to HTTPS - you start to get to a tipping point where they can turn up that signal in a more material way.

And, for the record, the people at Google believe that this is going to happen (that all sites will eventually convert).

Care to comment +Gary Illyes?
 
Does your site now need HTTPS to rank well in Google search?

+B2C just released an article that suggests you may need to consider using HTTPS. Recently, they've seen a large increase in the number of HTTPS results on page 1 of Google search. This means one of two things:

1. "Google’s algorithm updated to a point where HTTPS is now considered a lot more important to page ranking or"
2. "A massive movement of one or more popular domains from HTTP to HTTPS."

We'd love to hear from +Eric Enge of +Stone Temple Consulting and or +Bruce Clay, Inc. for their expert input on this one.

Link to article for further details: http://clk.ie/FkWSDq

#SEO   #googlesearch  
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Looking forward to that one +Eric Enge! You're in my notify circle, so I'll be sure to see when that is going to happen :) 
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LIVE: Google's Mariya Moeva Answers Your Questions About Mobile App Indexing!

I recently got +Mariya Moeva, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, to answer a number of questions about how Google is indexing mobile apps and their content and presenting them as results in Google search.

Find out how this works and how you can get your apps indexed.

BONUS! In the post you'll find a link to a form for you to submit your mobile app indexing questions directly to Mariya!

Read and Share NOW at http://stonet.co/googleappindexing
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+Eric Enge thanks for doing this interview, as mobile overtakes ever more of what we (and our customers) do. 
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State of the State for Mobile SEO

Come to the webinar I will participate in tomorrow at Noon ET with +Bryson Meunier and  +Michael King, and we are going to be 100% focused on Mobile SEO. The event is hosted by +SEMrush, and they do a great job with these events.

Come join us!
 
Many marketers have started to pay attention to mobile SEO since Google announced that mobile usability would affect smartphone rankings, but my sense is that many companies are still just doing what's required. If you want to take it to the next level, be sure to register for this +SEMrush webinar happening tomorrow afternoon with me and two giants of Internet marketing and SEO: +Eric Enge and +Michael King 
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Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience with our audience, Eric! - Olga 
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What Triggers Answer Boxes

Patent dug up by +Bill Slawski that talks about how Google might do this,.
 
Why Do Answer Boxes Show Up at Google?

A Newly published Google patent application explores how Answer Boxes might be triggered in search results in response an a search result that can be associated with an answer box topic. The patent application was published  a couple of weeks ago, so this is potentially a fairly new technique to Google
A Google patent application describes how Google may identify search results for a query that are associated with an answer box topic in response to those results to decide what to show in an answerbox for that query.
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How Machines Can Take Away Our Humanity

Excellent share here by +Gideon Rosenblatt that I've taken in a slightly different direction.

The story is about how Amazon is considering paying Kindle authors by the page, and therefore what authors might do to maximize that - by writing shallow, easily consumed content that will maximize pages read.

To me this is one of the things that is dangerous about machine algorithms, and the way they train us as humans to think differently.

Of course, it's a story of how machines can use our base motivations (in this case, money), to take away who we are as writers of content.

But treat it as a warning shot. If I can be rewarded for being shallow and potentially valueless in my writing, then you are asking me to be something that I am not. What other ways will machines want to reward us in the future to do something that does not fit who I prefer to be?

I don't think I will look forward to changes of this kind.
 
Algorithms train us to behave in particular ways by creating behavior modification feedback. Give us lots of likes or a plusses for certain types of social media posts, and we'll generally start churning out more of those kinds of posts. Now Amazon is proposing a new compensation system for its Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners' Lending Library: one that rewards authors based on how much of their books are actually read: 

https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A156OS90J7RDN

Like all systems, this one has its rules, rules that will undoubtedly impact the way that published content now gets generated, and this is one of the dangers of the current fusion now underway between writing and technology. 

Ursula K. Le Guin put it well recently when she noted that: "Right now, I think we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art." 
http://www.yesmagazine.org/happiness/ursula-k-le-guin-calls-on-sci-fi-and-fantasy-writers-to-envision-alternatives-to-capitalism

In the meantime, Nicholas Carr bitingly breaks down for us, how to maximize your returns per word if you're an author. Oh, and yeah, goodbye poetry. You're too dense. 

When I first heard that Amazon was going to start paying its Kindle Unlimited authors according to the number of pages in their books that actually get read, I wondered whether there might be an opportunity for an apocalyptic intra-Amazon arbitrage scheme that would allow me to game the system and drain Jeff Bezos’s bank account. I thought I might be able to start publishing long books of computer-generated gibberish and then use Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service to pay Third World readers to scroll through the pages at a pace that would register each page as having been read. If I could pay the Turkers a fraction of a penny less to look at a page than Amazon paid me for the “read” page, I’d be able to get really rich and launch my own space exploration company.

Now, turning to prose, where the prospects are brighter, it’s pretty clear that the key is to keep the reader engaged without challenging the reader in any way. To maximize earnings, you need to ensure that the reader moves through your pages at a good, crisp, unbroken clip. You want shallow immersion. Any kind of complication or complexity that slows a reader down is going to take an immediate bite out of your wallet. What you most want to avoid is anything that encourages the reader to go back and re-read a passage. Remember: you only get paid the first time a page gets read. If you inspire the reader to read any of your pages more than once, you’re basically burning cash.

#publishing   #writing   #amazon   #kindle  
When I first heard that Amazon was going to start paying its Kindle Unlimited authors according to the number of pages in their books that actually get read, I wondered whether there might be an op...
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+Mark Traphagen of course, I do check to see what resonates with the audiences where I write, but, I could modify my behavior more than I do, and increase my audience more than I have.
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  • Stone Temple Consulting, Content Marketing, SEO, Link Building
    CEO, 1997 - present
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Digital Marketing Excellence
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CEO of Stone Temple Consulting, Author Art of SEO, Speaker at dozens of conferences per year, Contributor to Forbes, Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, Search Engine Watch, Copyblogger, and Social Media Today. Host of two live video broadcasts every week: The Digital Marketing Excellence Show and The Digital Marketing Answers Show.
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    Electrical Engineering, 1978 - 1982
  • University of Massachusetts
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