Five things worth sharing from the last week or so, brought to you by a different member of the Browser Media team every Friday.
This week’s My Five is by Ali.
1. Google updates its core algorithm
Google updated its algorithm last week and the SEO world has been abuzz with commentary ever since. This seems to have been a core update to the main body of the algorithm rather than a small tweak in a particular area but as usual with these updates, the SEO community is largely in the dark until the update has rolled out and we can analyse the results.
A Google spokesperson said that the update is designed to ‘reward unrewarded sites’ and that if the update has had a negative effect, then just keep working on making your site and link profile better – it does not indicate a penalty. This means that if your site has been bumped down rankings or is receiving less traffic, it doesn’t mean that you’ve been specifically black marked but that Google, in all its wisdom, believes that other sites are more deserving than yours.
There will probably be lessons learned over the coming weeks but in short, nothing has changed: sites that perform SEO activities well will always do better in the long term, and your competitors will always be hot on your heels. A lack of good SEO/digital activity isn’t just treading water, as some companies will have found – after an algorithm update, it can actually hurt.
2. Bali switches off the internet
The Indonesian island of Bali switched off all mobile internet services for one day to mark the celebration of Nyepi – the Day of Silence. In the Hindu calendar, the population is encouraged to take some time for self-reflection and introspection and the powers that be decided that smartphones detracted from this activity.
Private internet connections remained available as did Wifi in hotels, and connection was still available for services that required it (hospitals, aviation, security etc.) but the government hoped that people would get behind the idea of an annual day spent without accessing the internet at all.
The idea was proposed by religious and civil rights group last year but was initially denied. It will continue to be the norm from now on.
3. Blogger fakes holiday
Newsflash: it’s not the first time a blogger has faked anything (or at least blurred the lines of reality) on Instagram but this time it made headlines.
Caroline Stritch, a blogger with circa 200k followers faked a holiday to Disneyland, California, for no other reason really than because she could.
She blogged that she was treating herself to a mini break for her 22nd birthday (she’s 32!). In fact, she stayed at home and edited photographs, placing herself in front of Sleeping Beauty’s iconic castle.
Strich said the idea came to her when she downloaded FaceApp and uploaded a heavily edited picture of herself that no-one questioned – not even her Mum. She wanted to remind her followers that nothing is quite as it seems on social media and in particular, Instagram’s glossy, magazine-perfect images are rarely the real deal.
Of course, no consideration would have been given to the increase in followers she might receive following such a stunt!
4. The spoken web reaching far and wide
Talking to yourself was once considered a sign of madness but in today’s world that probably doesn’t apply – you’re probably just chatting to a device or personal assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri.
However, for those who are blind or partially sighted then the possibilities of accessing the internet via voice search are looking a lot rosier these days than just a few years ago.
Take that a stage further, to a community who are largely illiterate: Ghana is a country with an extremely low literacy rate and therefore the country’s farmers are struggling to access information on the web that would put them in a better commercial position.
More specifically, they struggle to predict the weather and therefore don’t always know when to sow or harvest their crops – and they are also less aware of current prevailing prices.
Tamale’s Savanna Agricultural Research Institute is trialling a system where the weather forecast is downloaded and converted into speech and made available via telephone for farmers to listen to. Unfortunately, the language spoken in the area, Dagbani, isn’t served by Google translate yet but it just goes to highlight the potential of the internet and voice technology, beyond downloading films and pictures of cats and babies!
5. ASOS turns blunder into banter
We’ve all been there – proofreading something so many times that you just start seeing letters instead of fully formed words – it happens to the best of us.
ASOS did exactly that this week printing 17,000 bags with the word ‘onilne’ instead of ‘online’.
Ok, so we *may* have printed 17,000 bags with a typo. We’re calling it a limited edition. pic.twitter.com/wTpKNid4V5
— ASOS (@ASOS) March 21, 2018
In a moment of genius though and very much aligned with the brand, it owned up to the error and joked on social media that the bags would be ‘limited editions’.