Welcome to episode 47 of This Week Online Today, where I will be talking to you about the big online news that has been happening this week today to make sure that you are ahead of the game when it comes to running your online brand successfully.
And at the end of the show, I will also be giving you a bonus tip of the week to help you further.
In this episode of This Week Online Today, I talk about the following:
- The outrage of data abuse by Cambridge Analytica on Facebook
- Twitter’s new rule about multiple tweetings
- New changes to the ordering of your Instagram feed
- Instagram Shopping has launched in 8 more countries
- Google has stopped experimenting with the result-free search result…for now
- The secret filming of Cambridge Analytica by Channel 4 news
- Mark Zuckerberg’s statement on Facebook
- Twitter’s blog post about their new rules on automation and multiple tweeting
- Instagram’s statement on making changes to your post feeds
- Instagram’s announcement on launching Shopping in 8 more countries
- Tweet by Google employee on Google stopping their experiment on result-free search results
Ahmed Khalifa: Welcome to This Week Online Today podcast with your host, Ahmed Khalifa, where I’ll be talking to you about the big online news that has been happening this week today to make sure that you are ahead of the game when it comes to running your online brand successfully.
At the end of the show, I’ll also be giving you a bonus tip of the week to help you further. Let’s get straight onto the show.
What’s up everyone? I am Ahmed Khalifa and this is episode 47 of This Week Online Today. What a week. There’s so many things going on that you could talk for hours, but we don’t have hours. Let’s get straight into it.
The outrage of data abuse by Cambridge Analytica on Facebook
Of course, the big news of the week is about Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. I feel like I don’t need to explain what happened. It’s been in the news so much, mainstream news and the tech news. I don’t really need to go into detail what happened.
Long story short is that Channel 4 News have done an investigation. Cambridge Analytica have been harvesting tens of millions of data, Facebook data, from the users using it and using it to their advantage, using it for political strategy. Apparently, they’ve been using it for the Donald Trump campaign and the Brexit campaign and even other political campaigns abroad. They’ve been caught with undercover cameras. It’s kind of a big deal, kind of major. On top of that, there’s been some investigation about a quiz being used to harvest data as well on Facebook.
Then, what happened was after that, it’s been a few days of quietness and stuff like that. Been waiting for a statement from Mark Zuckerberg, and he has been a bit quiet. Then, he released a statement post on Facebook, of course. He said he’d been quiet because of trying to get as much information as possible instead of being a knee-jerk reaction.
It’s not an apology as such. It doesn’t sound like an apology. He did admit that there have been problems, that there have been mistakes and there have been issues that they need to deal with. After the investigation, they noticed that a few people have been going against the terms and conditions that Facebook has. Cambridge Analytica is one of them.
You’re using Facebook and you’re using these quiz and all these games that you can do there, you’re using Google and everything else alongside it, they take your data. They learn a lot from you and they use that. That’s what we have to accept. This is what we get for using their products for free is that they use our data, and they use it for advertising to get money, of course.
It’s something that you just have to accept if you want to be on their back garden, as such. That’s how it works. I say online, if you want to protect your data, don’t go online. Even offline, same thing happens. If you have insurance or if you have medical records and stuff like that, someone’s holding those data somewhere. It’s very, very hard to not give out your data, personal data, to anyone, online and offline. I don’t know whether you can prevent that from happen. If you live in a forest in the middle of nowhere with no access to anything and that is the only way you can do it.
I think people need to be aware that yes, it’s a big deal that they’ve been taking your data without your consent against the terms and conditions. Your data is being used everywhere across the web. When you visit website, people know about who you are, what browser are you using, where are you browsing from, all that kind of stuff. That’s just how it works.
As much as I said it’s a big news and stuff like that, I think there’s been a lot of outcry, rightly so, but I think people also need to understand that data is being gathered from almost every single website you can think of.
Just think about that next time you visit a website. Think about that next time you want to play these quiz that you see, like what Game of Thrones character am I? If you play these games, then obviously they’re not only doing it for engagement. They’re doing it for data gathering as well.
Big news. Big news this week. If you haven’t seen the Channel 4 investigation, the undercover operation, then check it out. It’s quite creepy in a way actually. I’ll put the link in the show notes about that.
In the meantime, it’s up to you what you want to do online. If you want to keep using Facebook, that’s up to you. If you want to keep using Google, that’s up to you. Just remember that they get something out of you using it as well.
Twitter’s new rule about multiple tweetings
The next big news, which is really confusing everyone, is about Twitter. Back in February, they’ve released a blog post about your use of scheduling tool and these automated scheduling tool that you send out your tweets on. Basically what they’re saying is that they want to crack down on bots and improve the quality of the feeds on Twitter. The problem is when people do multiple tweets from multiple accounts at the same time, then it looks kind of rubbish on the feeds. Twitter acknowledged that, and they’re finally cracking down on bots.
It’s a very, very confusing story because there’s not really a clear answer of what you can and can’t do. The general thing that you can’t do anymore is that you can’t publish a tweet from multiple accounts at the same time. If you use all these scheduling tools and you have multiple accounts and you publish tweet all at once, you can’t do that anymore. It’s against their terms and conditions now
I say now, actually from the time of recording today, 23rd of March 2018, that is when the new rule has been enforced. They notified everyone back in February. Today is when the new rule is now live and active kind of thing.
It’s a very confusing one because people have been asking questions about, “So can I use automation tools, scheduling tools, or not? Can I maybe spread out my tweets from multiple accounts or not?” There’s a lot of questions people are asking nobody knows the answer to. People want answers from Twitter. We still don’t get that, so it’s a weird one.
The long story short is that whether you’re recycling your tweets across multiple Twitter accounts or even just one, it’s against the rule. You can’t even do it in one account. Apparently, you have to mix it up kind of thing or you have to maybe spread it out, and maybe spreading it out is okay. I say maybe because some people believe that’s okay, but there’s not really a definite answer to that.
It also begs the question of what about these automation scheduling tools? I mean does that mean you don’t use them anymore? I don’t think that’s the case. I think they will find a way to get around it or they will try to find a way to be a bit more creative about sending tweets and Facebook posts and all these things. I don’t think they’re gone. Definitely not. They’ve been around for a while. They had to go through a number of changes in social media rules and they get by. Here’s just another one.
What I suggest is that keep an eye on what your tools are saying. How are they going to get around it? Not get around it in a shady way, but get around it in a way that okay, let’s be creative and do it in a different way. It’s a very confusing rule. Everyone’s confused about it.
There’s so many posts and videos and all these things about it. Just from now on, be careful about doing multiple tweets of the exact same tweets, whether it’s on different accounts or on just one. You can’t do that anymore. It’s becoming very, very strict.
I think in the long-term, I think it actually is a good thing. Then, you get less of these bots tweeting the same thing over and over again. They are very annoying. They’re very, very annoying. In the long-term, it’s good. I just wish that Twitter would make it simpler and easier for everyone to understand, and just list criteria of when and when you can’t do certain things.
They’re not doing that, so it’s up to us to understand the new rules. Just find out what your scheduling tools are doing, and take it from there.
New changes to the ordering of your Instagram feed
I’ve got a couple of Instagram news that’s been happening this week. One of them is something that people have been crying out for, but they not necessarily implement it. They just get around it and kind of provide a little bit of that request that you wanted. Years ago, they have taken away the chronological order of your feeds. When you see things in order in timeline, that’s what people have been begging for the return of. It happened in the past. They’ve taken that away, so that they can focus on what they say is more relevant Instagram posts and more engaged Instagram posts as well for you. They’re doing that to help you.
People have questioned that. They don’t like it, and a lot of people are actually complaining about it. So much so that people have been … The hashtag, I think, is like boycott Instagram. I was talking about that in the past, and they’ve moved to the so-called new social media called Vero. People have been complaining about that.
This week, Instagram have updated their algorithm so that you have more control over your feed and your post, the posts that you see, are more timely.
It’s not exactly the return of the chronological order of the Instagram posts. What they’re saying is that you are going to be seeing your newer posts more likely to appear first in the feed. Your feed will look more refreshed and it will look more relevant to you.
I’ve talked about in the past about how, for example, on Christmas Day, everyone’s tweeting Christmas Day. Or not tweeting, Instagram posts about Christmas Day, Happy Christmas. Then, a few days later, four days later, you still see that post saying, “Merry Christmas,” and stuff like that. That’s not relevant. You want it to be about what’s happening today on most occasions, but maybe recent events that’s been happening as well.
Instagram have been updating their algorithm, their feed, to make it more enjoyable apparently, and just to make sure that the newer posts are going to appear first. What they said, and I quote, “With these changes, your feed will feel more fresh. You won’t miss the moments that you care about.” That’s what people are annoyed about is that because it’s not in chronological order, they’re missing the important posts that they want to see, whether from friends and family or stuff like that.
That is interesting. I guess maybe they gave into the pressure of the demand for the old feed. Whether that’s going to make any difference or not, we don’t know yet because it’s only been 24 hours since they’ve announced that algorithm change. We’ll see how that works. I’m curious to know whether it has made any difference to you at all. Let’s see how that works out.
Instagram Shopping has launched in 8 more countries
Then, the other Instagram news is about their shopping experience. They’ve been testing in the US where you can, as a business, you can tag your products in your organic posts. It links to your product page or it’s like an e-commerce product link kind of thing. They’ve been testing that out in the US for quite a while actually. I’m not sure how long, but it’s been there. Just to make shopping more of an experience via Instagram as well. For example, if you see an outfit someone’s wearing and they tagged it and you want to buy that, you can click on it. It will take you to the store.
Now, they are rolling out the same experience to Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK as well. Just to give people more of a shopping experience on Instagram. I think obviously if you’re in the e-commerce industry, if you have products, physical products, that you are selling, this might be useful for you. Make sure for the summer, you have your business account, in terms of the one that you’re using for Instagram, it should be under the Instagram Business Account. Not just a generic Instagram account, which is what everyone uses. You need to have that.
It might give you an opportunity to show off your products even more. I think you should give it a shot. You could see how that works out for you, especially for those who are in, I don’t know, the fashion industry or the jewellery or maybe even stuff like cosmetics industry or even anything physical, bikes maybe. I don’t know. It could be anything like that. Give that a try and see how that works out for you.
Google has stopped experimenting with the result-free search result…for now
Finally, I want to talk about a news that I’ve mentioned last week in episode 46. If you remember, I talked about how Google has been testing the result-free search result. That is when you search, for example, time in London or time in New York and you get time straightaway on a search result, but they’ve been removing all the relevant search result below it, the blue links that you see below it, to click on it and take you to the website. They’ve been removing that.
At that time, they were saying like, “It’s a test, an experiment.” They’ve been getting loads of feedback from people, whether it’s on Twitter or on the search result as well. The latest news about that is they have kind of stopped the experiment for now. A tweet by a guy working there called Danny Sullivan, and he said, “We have enough data and feedback, which is appreciated, to conclude that the condensed view experiment should stop for now.” I think the key is for now. You just don’t know what’s going to happen next.
Update! We have enough data and feedback — which is appreciated — to conclude that the condensed view experiment should stop for now. The team will look at improving when and how it appears.
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) March 20, 2018
End of the day, Google’s always experimenting and testing things just to see what works better for the users.
It’s an interesting one. Whether they’re coming back or not, we just don’t know. I guess people are … It’s two sides of the story. One is that it makes sense. If you Google time in London and you see the result there, what’s the point of visiting the website? You’ve got the answer right there and then. On the other hand, people are complaining that it’s not fair for those who are working hard on websites and they will never appear on search result.
On top of that, where do you draw the line? Where do you stop? Are they going to continue providing result-free search result for other keywords, for other queries? Like maybe flights to Madrid or something like that, and they just show it themself, based on your local area. Where do they draw the line? Where are they going to stop? That’s the complaint that people have been talking about as well.
I don’t know. I’m not sure if I agree with it or not. I’m kind of indifferent about it. From Google’s perspective as well is that they’re saying that it’s good for user experience and also for the speed of result. You just present quickly instead of loading everything that you need.
I’m not sure what’s the numbers, but someone said that it saves them half a second. Half a second does not sound like much for us, for anybody. For Google, it could mean a lot. It could save them a lot of money in terms of, how can I describe it, in terms of a server processing power.
They have so much power behind the scene to obviously power Google. They need a lot of energy to do that. If the search result is slow, if the website is slow, then it takes a bit more energy to power the search result. It takes more time, which means that will cost more money as well. On top of that, if it takes more time and stuff like that, then the advertising will not appear as quickly. They want the advertising to appear so that’s how they get their money. There’s definitely a monetary value for Google to…there’s no doubt about it.
I mean, yes, they talk about it’s for the users, but they get a lot of out it as well. Even if it’s half a second, that could mean, who knows? It could mean tens of millions of dollars across the world, in terms of how much they save from powering their search result. Again, the keyword is they’ve stopped it for now.
We’ll see what happens next, but it’s been interesting, Google. Been very, very interesting.
Bonus Tip of the Week
Now, it’s time for the bonus tip of the week. One thing this week that I’ve been discussing it a lot with a few people is about how you should make sure that you are not targeting the same keyword across a number of different pages. What I mean by that, if you have one page that is targeting one keyword and then you have another page that is targeting the same keyword, then you’re kind of competing against yourself.
You’re not only making it difficult for yourself and your users, but it’s also making it difficult for Google to understand where are you going with this? What page should I be focusing on?
In the end, Google could maybe just not bother. They think, you know what? It’s too much, too confusing. I don’t know which page to focus on. I’m just going to move on and maybe get someone else to have … Maybe they have better content, maybe they have better result and they show that instead of showing yours, because you’re clashing.
It’s really, really important that you do that. This applies to anything. It can apply from blog posts. If you have the same keywords on your blog across two or more different posts, then you’re making it difficult for everyone.
Same thing on your product page. For example, if you have a product that is about, I don’t know, black Adidas trainers, a particular model, and you have another product page that has the same title, same everything. Then, you’re making it difficult for yourself. There have been times in the past where I’ve seen e-commerce website that have two different products, but the title is exactly the same because they look the same.
For example, if you have Adidas trainers, they’re different models, different ranges. You don’t have to have the same title, but you need to make it different.
That’s where I’ve seen people go wrong a lot of time. That’s where they suffer from that because, in the end, they’re not going to get that organic traffic to their pages. Short and sweet, short and simple, when you have pages, make sure it doesn’t compete directly with another page.
Make sure that you don’t have two or more pages targeting exactly the same keyword. At the end of the day, you’re just competing against yourself and you’re going to miss out on potential organic traffic. Go back to your posts, go back to all your e-commerce products, and fix them up.
Thank you for listening to this episode of This Week Online Today. I really do appreciate it, and I hope you found it useful. If you have enjoyed the show, please do leave a review on iTunes. It would mean the world to me. I really would appreciate that.
Thank you again, you rock. One more thing, I just want to remind you to do your thing because it matters.
I’ll see you next week.
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