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 Joe.
1. SEO is dead
Did you know that, according to new data, more than half of searches on Google end without a click to other content?
The ‘zero click’ phenomenon has been on the rise for several years, but this is the first data that I have seen which indicates the 50% barrier has been broken.
There is, of course, a very strong argument that satisfying the search intent of users as quickly as possible should be the main focus of Google. Why should you need to click off to another website if it is perfectly possible to answer your question on Google itself?
On the other hand, the rapid growth of zero click searches, which are even more likely on mobile devices, has some web publishers in a panic as they are concerned about dwindling traffic and a reduced ability to capture data on their own websites.
Does this mean that SEO is dead? Of course not. Whilst there is no doubt that traffic numbers can take a hit, there is plenty of opportunity to promote your brand on the SERPs. Featured snippets, in particular, present an excellent opportunity to expose your brand to an audience that is actively seeking information. Whilst they may not visit your site, I am sure they will be eternally grateful to you for helping them with their search.
A bigger challenge is measuring the success of SERP visibility. The big irony is that rank reports, assuming that your platform of choice tracks snippets and other aspects of the SERPs, are back on the agenda. Whilst I have hated rank reports for years, there is no denying that they can now help to measure a brand’s visibility online.
I am not sure if I have been living in a cave, but I discovered the mighty what3words app this week, thanks to an article on the bbc website.
Such a simple idea but the best ones always are. Who would have known that it would be possible to cover 57 trillion 3m by 3m squares with a combination of just three words selected from a total of 40,000? Very satisfying for the inner maths geek…
As the article shows, it can actually be more than just a bit of tech fun and, in some cases, a life saver so hats off to Chris Sheldrick and his team for a fantastic solution to solve the complexities of identifying where you are.
P.S. ‘screen.boil.menswear’ is what3words speak for one of my favourite 3m x 3m squares in the world.
3. Why mice are Donald Trump’s best friends
Donald Trump is not a fan of fake news. I can only imagine how much he must loathe deepfakes.
Fear not @POTUS, scientists at the University of Oregon’s Institute of Neuroscience have found that mice are natural masters of detecting irregularities within speech and hold the key to unlocking the ability to spot artificial content.
It feels as though this should be a story for 1st April, but it is a real thing and mice have been trained to differentiate between a ‘buh’ sound and a ‘guy’ sound. They are supposedly incredibly accurate at doing this and the hope is that mice will ultimately help develop algorithms that will be able to automatically spot deepfake material.
4. Political correctness gone mad?
In a week when Caroline Lucas announced her plans for a “cabinet of women” (only inviting white women?!) as well as reporting Arron Banks for an ill-judged tweet, I was somewhat disappointed by the news that Philadelphia and VW ads have been banned for gender stereotyping. The ads are the first ads to be banned under new UK gender stereotyping rules, which came into force in June this year.
I am the first to admit that I am not always the most politically correct individual. I support the concept of avoiding widespread offence and we must strive, as a society, to be inclusive and welcoming but am I the only one who had not even considered the potential ‘gender stereotyping’ messages contained in the ads?
Not for one second did I feel aggrieved that men were being made to appear incapable of looking after a child. Would it have been OK to have filmed the ad with a woman and a man both being distracted by the food? One tick for avoiding gender stereotyping, but what about offending same sex partners? You cannot win.
My fear is that we are going to stifle any sense of creativity and fun with such strict rules. These bans will have a financial impact, although maybe the extra publicity will compensate for the lack of air time? In a risk averse world, the natural conclusion will be endless politically correct and extremely tedious ad campaigns.
What do you think? Am I guilty of being old fashioned or is this an example of political correctness gone mad?
5. National parallel parking day
I confess – it is not national parallel parking day. At least, not to my knowledge.
If it was, my social media travels this week highlighted the perfect device to help get in those tight spots:
I just wonder how you open the back door?
Have a great weekend.