Tag Archive | "home"

SearchCap: Google Home is really smart, Google pronounce & Congress

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.



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Google Home wins smart speaker IQ test but Siri beats Alexa and Cortana

Alexa had the most noticeable improvement according to the test results, nearly matching Google for general information queries.



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SearchCap: Google mobile first indexing rolling, YouTube ads & Google Home for local

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.



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Will Google Home Hub ever become a useful local search tool?

Just a few modest improvements would make Home and Home Hub more effective for local search.



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Followerwonk Is Moving On to a New, Loving Home

Posted by adamf

We have exciting news to share with you about our Twitter analytics tool, Followerwonk! For a while now we’ve been looking for a new home for the tool. We’re very pleased to announce that Marc Mims, one of the tool’s original developers, formed a company to acquire it and will continue to operate the popular service under the Followerwonk brand.

A little history

In August 2016, we announced our intention to sell Followerwonk. It’s a useful and powerful application, but since acquiring it in 2012, we discovered that the overlap between users of Followerwonk and users of our core SEO products was smaller than we anticipated. To address that problem, in 2015 we offered it as a separate subscription — part of a larger strategy to extend our services beyond SEO. Last year we made some hard choices, ultimately deciding to refocus our efforts on our SEO core. It was then that we decided to seek a better home for our Twitter analytics tool.

Marc and Followerwonk go way back. As an engineer on the team that originally built and launched the tool, he came on board at Moz in 2012 when Moz first acquired it. He spent his first year on the Moz engineering team working on Followerwonk, and then a year working on Open Site Explorer, after which he returned to Followerwonk to help us relaunch it as a standalone product. In August 2016 we put Followerwonk in a holding pattern while we sought a buyer; during this time, Marc stayed on as a contractor to keep it healthy and operational for existing customers.

When Marc made an offer to acquire the product, it was like everything had come full circle; we were delighted to know Followerwonk will continue in good hands. There are only a few buyers in the world who could bring Marc’s knowledge and passion for Followerwonk to the table.

In the months since August 2016, Marc spent his time making improvements and optimizations to the backend. He has quietly deployed 52 releases of Followerwonk in that time, improving performance and stability. He’s excited to be able to start adding new features now, too.

What does this mean for existing customers?

It means you can expect continued service from the product you love and the addition of new features and capabilities in the future. Moz will continue to host Followerwonk during a transition period while Marc prepares it to run on its own infrastructure. During that time, you can continue to use Followerwonk as you always have.

As Marc and Moz work together to transfer the service, Followerwonk customers should not notice much change; most of the work will be happening behind the scenes. Accounts will be transferred securely, and we will communicate directly with customers if any actions are required.

If you have legacy access to Followerwonk as part of your Moz Pro subscription from before its 2015 relaunch as a separate service, you will continue to have uninterrupted access to the tool through the transition period. Near the end of that period, Marc and Moz will jointly make a special offer allowing you to subscribe to Followerwonk and continue using it after the tool has left Moz’s infrastructure.

The transition period should take between three and six months. During that time, you can access the tool through your Moz login at https://moz.com/followerwonk. Afterwards, you’ll find it at https://followerwonk.com.

We’ll be sure to reach out to all customers and those with legacy access to provide more details well before any changes occur.

Final thoughts

In our hearts and minds, this is absolutely the best possible outcome for Followerwonk. It continues in the hands of a strong engineer, a beloved and respected member of the Moz team, an incredibly TAGFEE person, and someone who knows Followerwonk inside and out. Please join us in wishing Marc great success as he builds a team and a business around Followerwonk, giving it the love and attention it richly deserves.


If you’ve got any questions, would like a few more details, or simply wish to congratulate Marc in person, head over to the Q&A post he authored here and join the conversation!

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3 Simple Ways to Overcome Surprising Challenges of Working from Home

“Wow, you have the best job ever, getting to work from home.” “You’re so lucky. I wish I had that option.” Those are some of the comments I hear when I mention to others I work from home. Typically, I just nod and say, “Yes, it’s awesome.” I love working from home because I get
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SearchCap: Google AdWords interface, Google Home listens & Apple Search Ads expands

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: Google AdWords interface, Google Home listens & Apple Search Ads expands appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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SearchCap: Google AdWords addiction ads, Bing on links & Google Home mini

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: Google AdWords addiction ads, Bing on links & Google Home mini appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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How to Rank on Google Home

Posted by Dr-Pete

Google Home, Google’s latest digital assistant, is part of a broader market experiment in voice-only search. While the hardware is new, Google has been building toward this future for a while, and one of the clearest examples is the introduction of featured snippets to answer questions in search. For example, if I ask Google: “What is a moonshot in business?” I get this answer…

In desktop search, Google also returns a set of traditional organic results, and, in some cases, ads, news results, Knowledge Panels, and other features. Featured snippets weren’t designed for desktop, though — they were designed for devices that only have room to display a small number of results (such as mobile phones) or even a single result.

Google Home is a single-result search device, and featured snippets were designed for exactly this purpose. The good news is that, if we can optimize for featured snippets, we can optimize for voice. Below are six examples that explore how featured snippets become answers on Google Home.


“How many people have walked on the moon?”

Here’s a question that should have a factual answer, but, for whatever reason, that answer is not available in Google’s Knowledge Graph. So, the answer is extracted from Wikipedia and presented as a featured snippet. It’s interesting to note that the answer (twelve) is pulled out of the paragraph and presented on its own…

How does this two-part answer “appear” on Google Home? Let’s find out…

Google Home starts with the short answer: “Twelve”. Then, it moves on to attribution: “According to Wikipedia…”. Finally, the device reads the snippet, but only the first sentence in this case. As we’ll see, Google may choose to cut off the featured snippet, but the logic of when and where isn’t perfectly clear.


“Who has walked on the moon?”

Let’s move on to the natural follow-up question — who are these people? This question returns a more typical, paragraph-based featured snippet…

Here’s how it sounds on Google Home.

In this case, we get attribution first (“According to Universe Today…”), followed by the full snippet. Even though this snippet is fairly long, Google Home chooses to read the full contents.


“How do I get to the moon?”

Hey, I’d like to be one of those people — how do I get in on this whole moon thing? I’m feeling starved for glory. Here, Google returns a list-based format. I’ve purposely chosen a messy example (notice how Google presents an ordered list but then repeats the numbering, e.g. “1. Step 1.”) to see how Google Home will handle it…

How will Home deal with an ordered list that includes a bit of mess? Let’s find out…

First, notice the attribution is different: “According to some information I found on Live Science…”. This may just be for variety’s sake, but I’m not entirely sure. Google Home then proceeds through the steps, but some are truncated. Step 1, for example, becomes simply: “Assemble the Pieces.” We’re left a bit unclear what we’re assembling the pieces of (the moon?). Google also reads the odd syntax (“1. Step 1.”) verbatim, but this is more of a problem with the featured snippet algorithm than Google Home itself.


“List all the moons.”

Let’s try a longer list, and a slightly different format. This isn’t a question so much as a command, but featured snippets handle it well enough…

What happens to the longer list on Google Home? Here’s what we get…

Google Home skips a couple of words in the list and pauses oddly in one spot, before finally ending the list with “…and more.” Clearly, there’s a length limit to the spoken answer, but that limit isn’t entirely consistent and seems to depend on the format of the answer.


“What kind of cheese is the moon made of?”

This one’s just for fun. We all know what kind of cheese the moon is made of…

Here’s the snippet on Google Home, which is structured just like our first example…


“List of ISS missions.”

Occasionally, Google formats a featured snippet as a table, generally extracting it from tabular data in the source page. Here’s an example…

Interestingly, this same search returns no results on Google Home. I tried a handful of tabular featured snippets, and either they returned no results or Google substituted a paragraph-based snippet. Obviously, translating a table into a voice answer is tricky business, and it appears that Google hasn’t worked out how best to solve that problem.


“What is Page Authority?”

How does this help you and your brand? Obviously, we’re not all in the moon business. While featured snippets are naturally focused on informational queries, questions are relevant to many aspects of our business and even our branded properties. For example, if I search Google for “What is Page Authority?”, one of Moz’s own proprietary metrics, I’m rewarded with a featured snippet…

Obviously, this isn’t a household term or particularly high-volume search, and yet there’s still opportunity to be had. Is the same question answered by Google Home? Yes, it is…

Google Home needs a little work on its pronunciation, but we do get back the full snippet and are even rewarded with “According to Moz…” and a bit of a brand boost.


“Where do we go from here?”

This is one question Google Home definitely can’t answer. The direct translation of featured snippets into voice answers means that Google Home does present clear search marketing opportunities. At the moment, though, it’s very difficult to measure the extent or the impact of those opportunities. How does a voice answer help us without a corresponding click? How will we measure voice answers? How will Google monetize voice? I don’t think even Google knows the answers to these questions yet.

For now, it’s worth exploring ranking for voice if only because winning featured snippets also positions you well in desktop and mobile search. As voice evolves, we can expect to see more interplay between devices, where a voice search saves a link in an app (Amazon Echo’s app already does this with Bing searches) or opens a page directly on a linked device. Our investments now will create opportunities over the next few years as the market for voice search grows.

Remember, Moz Pro can help you find and track featured snippets, as well as flag opportunities where you might be in a position to win a snippet. If you can rank in position #0, you can rank for voice and on Google Home.

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5 Lessons Learned from a SaaS Home Run

laura roeder - a customer-first approach to software

Laura Roeder is known for putting together agile companies that put the customer first — including her current hit, Edgar, a SaaS (software as a service) product that hit a million dollars in revenue in its first year in business.

She excels at “keeping it simple” — maybe because she ran ultra-successful online education companies for five years. She turned around and put those lessons into a software business — and she’s crushing it.

Laura leapt out on her own as a freelancer at 22, without giving it a lot of thought. As she laughingly put it in her Unemployable interview with Brian Clark, it was:

“… probably the worst way to do it.”

You can find that interview here: From Freelance Designer to SaaS Superstar

She hadn’t done any prep, she hadn’t lined up any clients … she didn’t even know what a proposal was.

Lesson #1: You learn by doing

While I don’t particularly recommend that approach for most of us, it underlies a key principle of starting a business:

You learn the real lessons by doing.

(If you’re looking for a lower-risk way to learn those lessons, the “side hustle” — a part-time business you can run in your spare time — is a fantastic middle road.)

Educating yourself is important — and you can find lots of techniques and strategies here on Copyblogger and our sister site, Digital Commerce Institute.

But education is the initial, back-of-the-envelope sketch. It’s when you actually start building a project, product, and business that you really make that learning come to life.

And you can start small — with experimental products and services that don’t require you to “bet the farm.”

Speaking of which, that leads us to one of the most common misperceptions about people who launch businesses …

Is it true that entrepreneurs are extreme risk-takers?

Laura definitely has a bold, optimistic personality — it’s what led her to take that leap at 22.

But there’s a big difference between “bold” and “foolhardy.”

Smart digital entrepreneurs launch controlled, low-risk offerings, sometimes called the minimum viable product model, until they find the perfect mix of product and market.

Laura’s software business, Edgar, grew out of the needs of her online education company. And unlike a lot of software development (raise millions of dollars, spend a year writing code, then see if you can get some buyers), she was able to deploy Edgar quickly to find out if it would interest her market.

Her development costs were light enough that the tool was worth developing even if they only ever used it in-house. But instead, Edgar turned out to be a home run.

Lesson #2: Reduce risk through experimentation

One of the things that makes business interesting is the need to constantly pay attention to shifting landscapes and patterns. And that allows you to notice what’s working — even if it’s subtle — and to figure out how to do more of it.

It also helps you notice what isn’t working, so you can correct the issue.

It sounds simple, and sometimes it is, but of course that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. But this type of careful observation is the best business teacher around.

Lesson #3: Look for the bigger picture

“At our company … one of the things we [ask employees] is, ‘Are you killing it?’”– Laura Roeder, from her interview on Hack the Entrepreneur

Laura values ownership in her company, giving each team member the information they need to make smart decisions without a lot of micromanagement.

How do they decide which decisions are smart? The ones that contribute to growth and excellent user experience — recognizing that success comes from the combined efforts of multiple teams and roles.

Rather than focus on one or two “KPIs” (key performance indicators) for each position, Laura recognizes that selling online is a matter of creating smart customer paths — and that requires a more holistic way of looking at teams and how they work together.

Her question to employees — Are you killing it? — makes room for a wider view of how the business is working.

Lesson #4: Focus on what you’re excellent at

Most founders, particularly in the early days, think of themselves as “chief cook and bottle washer.” In other words, they try to fill every single role in the company.

Laura, on the other hand, has always been strongly aware of her weak spots … which has allowed her to leverage her strengths.

As she said in her Hack the Entrepreneur interview:

“Something that I’m especially bad at is customer service.”

But rather than allowing that to create an expensive blind spot that “customer service isn’t that important,” it led her to value her support team that much more.

In fact, Laura wrote a fascinating article with that point of view here: Stop Insulting Your Team by Making Everyone Do Customer Service.

A key aspect of entrepreneurial creativity is figuring out how you’re going to work with the gaps of your own weaknesses — whether that’s by hiring someone, partnering, or some other creative solution.

Lesson #5: Think like a marketer

Because of Laura’s background, she thinks like a marketer — which gives her a monster advantage as a business owner.

She’s open to new ideas, but she doesn’t fall in love with them — until she sees how they can serve the needs of her audience and expand out into a wider market.

That lets her start planning a new product, project, or company with the right question:

What audience problem is this going to solve? How will this delight the audience I’ve pulled together?

This customer-first thinking is the cornerstone for most successful business, and it’s an antidote to what I call “Inventor’s Syndrome” — grinding away to push an interesting technical idea that buyers just don’t share your enthusiasm for.

Her million-dollar business Edgar came out of an education product called Social Brilliant, which taught Laura’s methodology for social media.

Edgar was a natural evolution that came at the intersection of what Social Brilliant was doing well (advice on social media strategy) and the audience’s needs (better, simpler tools to implement the techniques).

Keeping her eyes open and her attention focused, she realized the need — then discovered from her Ruby-on-Rails programmer fiancé that creating an automation tool was totally doable.

(His assertion that “I can do that in a week” did turn out to be a bit overoptimistic. Welcome to software development!)

Hear more about Laura’s journey to SaaS founder

We’re excited that Laura will be joining us this October at our live Digital Commerce Summit in Denver, Colorado on October 13-14.

Laura’s going to spill the beans about her journey, starting as that cocky 22-year-old freelancer, becoming a high-profile information entrepreneur, and now heading a hot SaaS that hit the million-dollar revenue mark its first year in business.

Her talk is called Leveling Up: How I Went From Infoproducts to SaaS, and will take you behind the scenes to see exactly how a non-technical marketing mind used the skills she developed in online courses to quickly become a major player in a whole new industry.

Join us for a focused, single-track curriculum that will teach you how to level up to the next phase of your business — and will load you up with action steps that you can start moving on before you even get on the plane home.

Claim your spot and get the best price on tickets here.

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