Monthly Archives: March 2020
We’ve been diligently following the development of virtual worlds, also known as the “metaverse,” on TechCrunch.
Hanging out within the virtual worlds of games has become more popular in recent years with the growth of platforms like Roblox and open-world games like Fortnite, but it still isn’t a mainstream way to socialize outside of the young-adult demographic.
Three weeks ago, TechCrunch media columnist Eric Peckham published an in-depth report that positioned virtual worlds as the next era of social media. In an eight-part series, he looked at the history of virtual worlds and why games are already social networks, why social networks want more gaming, what the next few years looks like for the industry and why isn’t it mainstream already, how these virtual worlds will lead to healthier social relations, what the future of virtual economies will be and which companies are poised for success in this new market.
Given all that has changed in just the last three weeks — who would have thought that large swaths of the knowledge economy would suddenly find themselves entirely interacting virtually? — I wanted to get a sense of what the rising popularity of virtual worlds looks like in the midst of the outbreak of novel coronavirus. Eric and I had a call to discuss this and decided to share our conversation publicly.
Danny Crichton: So let’s talk about timing a bit. You wrote this eight-article series around virtual worlds and then all of a sudden post-publication there is this massive event — the novel coronavirus pandemic — causing a large portion of the human population to stay at home and interact only online. What’s happening now in the space?
Eric Peckham: I wrote my series on the multiverse because I was already seeing a surge of interest, both in terms of consumer demand for open-world MMO games and in terms of social media giants like Facebook and Snap trying to incorporate virtual worlds and social games into their platforms. Large companies are planning for virtual worlds in a way that is actionable and not just a futuristic vision. Over the last couple of years there has also been a lot of VC investment into a handful of startups focused on building next-generation virtual worlds for people to spend time in, virtual worlds with complex societies shaped by users’ contributions.
Talking to founders and investors in the gaming space, there has been a huge increase in usage over the last few weeks as more people hang out at home playing games, whether it’s on the adult side or the kid side.
Most of these next-generation virtual worlds are still in private beta but already popular platforms like Roblox, Minecraft, and Fortnite are getting substantially more use than normal. A large portion of people stuck at home are escaping via the virtual worlds of games.
You wrote this whole analysis before you knew the extent of the pandemic — how has the outlook changed for this industry?
This accelerates the timeline of virtual worlds being a mainstream place to hang out and socialize in daily life. I think people will be at home for multiple months, not just a couple of weeks, and it’s going to change people’s perspectives on socializing and working from home.
That’s a really powerful cultural shift. It’s getting more people beyond the core gaming community excited about spending time in virtual worlds and hanging out with their friends there.
We have seen this most heavily with the youngest generation of internet users. The majority of kids 9-12 years old are users of Minecraft and Roblox who hang out there with friends after school. We’ll see that expand to older demographics more quickly than it was going to before.
One of the complaints that I’ve seen on Twitter is that even though we have one of the largest global human lockdowns of all time, all the VR headsets are basically gone. Is VR a key component of virtual worlds?
Well, you don’t need VR headsets in order to spend meaningful time with others in a virtual space. Hundreds of millions of people already do it through their mobile phones and through PCs and consoles.
This is at the heart of the gaming industry: creating virtual worlds for people to spend time in, both pursuing the mission of whatever a game is designed for but also interacting with others. Among the most popular mobile and PC games last year were massively multiplayer online (MMO) games.
Talking about gaming, one facet of the story that I thought was particularly interesting was the fact that gaming was still not that high in terms of market penetration in the population.
More than two billion people play video games in the context of a year. There’s incredible market penetration in that sense. But, at least for the data I’ve seen for the U.S., the percent of the population who play games on a given day is still much lower than the percent of the population who use social media on a given day.
The more that games become virtual worlds for socializing and hanging out beyond just the mission of the gameplay, the more who will turn to virtual worlds as a social and entertainment outlet when they have five minutes free to do something on their phone. Social media fills these small moments in life. MMO games right now don’t because they are so oriented around the gameplay, which takes time and uninterrupted focus. Virtual worlds in the vein of those on Roblox where you just hang out and explore with friends compete for that time with Instagram more directly.
Theater chains like Regal and AMC announced this week that they are entirely shutting down to wait out the pandemic. Is that going to affect these virtual world companies?
I think they are separate parts of media. Cinema attendance has been declining quite substantially for years, and the way the industry has made up for that is trying to turn cinemas into these premium experiences and increasing ticket prices. Kids are just as likely, if not more likely, to play a game together on a Friday night as they are to go to the cinema. Cinemas are less culturally relevant to young people than they once were.
We’ve seen a massive experiment in work from home, which is a form of virtual world, or at least, a virtual workplace. When it comes to popularizing virtual worlds, is it going to come from the entertainment side or the more productivity-oriented platforms?
It will come from the entertainment side, and from younger people using it to socialize, in part because there’s less fear around cultural etiquette compared to people meeting in a business setting who are worried about a virtual world context not feeling as professional. Over time, as virtual worlds become pervasive in our social lives they will become more natural places to chat with people about business as well.
As more and more people are working online and interacting virtually, a big question is how you get beyond Zoom calls or the technology that’s currently in the market for virtual conferences to something that feels more like walking around and chatting with people in person. It’s tough to do without the ability to walk around a virtual space. You can’t have those unplanned small group or one-on-one interactions with people you don’t know if you’re just boxes within a Zoom call or some other broadcast. It will be interesting to see what develops around virtual business conferences that stems from virtual world technology. I’ve seen a few teams exploring this.
Last question here, but we are looking at a major recession in the economy, and so how does the landscape of people earning money from virtual worlds change with coronavirus?
The second-to-last article in my series is about the virtual economies around virtual worlds. Any virtual world inherently has commerce and people have already been making real-world money from games and from early virtual worlds like Second Life.
Both people staying home amid the coronavirus and the recession that we seem to be entering are pressures that will push more people to look online for ways to make money. That will only increase the activity of virtual economies around some of these worlds, whether those are formally built into the game or they’re happening in a gray or black market around the games (which is more common).
The pen company’s first headphones silence the world as if they’re submerging you in jet black ink.
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This article focuses on how to rank well in search engines through search engine optimization, while also maintaining the quality of your SEO copywriting.
If you’ve ever written for the web, you definitely know that search engines play some role in web copy traffic. SEO copywriting can maximize the number of visitors you receive from search engines, simply because visitors are using the keyword phrase of your article to search for content.
However, while ranking well on search engines does have its benefits, you can’t ignore your readers either. You still need to provide quality content in your SEO web copy to build trust, credibility and keep your readers coming back for more.
What is SEO copywriting for the web?
SEO web copy is web content optimized for search engine bots to increase your rankings on major search engines, like Google. By taking advantage of SEO web content writing tactics, search engines can better categorize your articles.
As your SEO articles climb higher and higher in search engine rankings, the exposure of each article increases and more visitors will see your content. The more traffic you receive, the more money you make, whether you intend to earn it from ads, affiliate sales, a product you created or your own services.
Many entrepreneurs, however, focus a little bit more on SEO, which can be a mistake if their readers are neglected. The purpose of this article is to teach you how to maximize your traffic from search engines, while also satisfying your readers and maintaining quality content.
Finding Keywords for Your SEO Web Copy
For any SEO web copy you write, you’ll need to research potential keywords to include in each article, whether you’re writing for yourself, for another company or client.
Many people use Google’s keyword tool to search for profitable keywords. When using this search tool, you’ll want to find keywords with a decent amount of global monthly search traffic (over 5,000 visitors), since it will be hard to receive much traffic from anything lower than 5,000 visitors if you rank well for the keyword phrase.
You’ll also want to make sure that the keyword phrases you use have few competing websites also trying to rank for those keywords. To do this, determine the Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI), according to Michael Fleischner, marketing professional and author of the ‘book SEO Made Simple’.
What does this really mean?
The KEI or Keyword Effectiveness Index is actually a formula which helps compare the number of searches for the terms or word with the number of competitive pages. This Index points out which keywords have the higher search with lowest ranking competition which can be the most effective for your campaign.
The process is simple
To begin with, find the KEI of a certain keyword by first doing a search for the keyword phrase you want to use in your SEO Web Copy. Then, search for the keyword phrase on a search engine you prefer, whether it is on Google, or any other search engine. Finally, divide the number of global monthly visitors by the number of websites in the search results (these websites are competing for your keyword phrase).
A KEI greater than 1 is a good number, since fewer competitors are trying to rank for the keyword phrase, and you have a good chance of ranking well for the search term. Any keyword phrases with a KEI of less than 1 will be harder to rank well with, and you should find another keyword phrase to use in your SEO article.
Let’s take, for example, a hypothetical number of 300 searches a month for your specific keyword. Google shows 225.400 results based on that keyword. To understand the ratio of competitive pages versus popularity, just take the 300 and divide it by 225,400. The result is 0.0013, such a low KEI meaning that specific keyword is, most likely, NOT a good one for you to go for.
If you’re having trouble finding a good keyword phrase with lesser competition, try breaking up the phrase into smaller categories. For example, instead of using the keyword phrase “dog treats,” try using “cheap dog treats” or “nutritional dog treats”.
Maintaining quality in SEO web copy
As mentioned earlier, you need to write quality articles for the web copy to be any good. After all, why should readers read what you say and buy into the information you provide if you’re only writing for search engines? Put your readers before search engines and make sure that your SEO web copy sounds natural.
A good way to do this is to limit your keyword density to less than five percent. To determine the keyword density, just divide the number of keyword phrases used in the SEO web copy by the number of total words in the entire article. Then, multiply the resulting number by 100 to get the percentage.
According to Brian Clark, founder of CopyBlogger:
“The only way to tell if your repetition of keywords is super or spammy is to measure that frequency against the overall length of the content. A keyword density greater than 5.5% could make you guilty of keyword stuffing and your page could be penalized by Google. You don’t need to mindlessly repeat keywords to optimize. In fact, if you do, you’re likely to achieve the opposite result.”.
Backlinking SEO articles
Major search engines also look at how many links are pointing to your articles, so it’s a good idea to backlink your SEO web copy to increase search engine rankings. To do this, here are some “hints” for linking based on generally accepted best practices:
- Link back to relevant inner pages of your site or other sites.
- Learn from the biggest brands in your industry what kind of anchor texts that work for a long-term perspective …Keep it natural.
- Link “fairly early” back to relevant content in the body copy.
- Link back to relevant webpages approximately every 120 words of content.
You might also receive backlinks naturally if your SEO web copy provides the highest quality content. Natural backlinks are better than backlinks you create since people who are genuinely interested in your content will want to talk about it and share it with others.
These SEO tactics are obviously not the only ones to help increase your traffic, but they are certainly among the well-known to significantly influence the ranking by major search engines and help drive more traffic to your website. Therefore, by considering them, you stand the best chance of considerably optimizing the ranking of your website and build your traffic flow.
Jacob M. is a copywriter, marketing blogger, and inbound marketing consultant.
The post Effective SEO copywriting hints to increase your traffic in 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
While the world continues to hunker down amidst the spread of Covid-19, GDC is already planning for a recovery.
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As society comes to grips with the growing worldwide crisis related to the COVID-19 virus, many companies are stepping up in different ways. Today, two major tech companies — Amazon and IBM — each announced programs to encourage developers to find solutions to a variety of problems related to the pandemic.
For starters, AWS, Amazon’s cloud arm, announced the AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative. It has set aside $ 20 million, which it will distribute in the form of AWS credits and technical support. The program is designed to assist and encourage teams working on COVID-19 diagnostic issues with the goal of developing better diagnostic tooling.
“In our Amazon Web Services (AWS) business, one area where we have heard an urgent need is in the research and development of diagnostics, which consist of rapid, accurate detection and testing of COVID-19. Better diagnostics will help accelerate treatment and containment, and in time, shorten the course of this epidemic,” Teresa Carlson wrote in the company’s Day One blog today.
The program aims to help customers who are working on building diagnostics solutions to bring products to market more quickly, and also encourage teams working on related problems to work together.
The company also announced it was forming an advisory group made up of scientists and health policy experts to assist companies involved with initiative.
Meanwhile, IBM is refocusing its 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge developer contest on not only solving problems related to global climate change, which was this year’s original charter, but also solving issues around the growing virus crisis by building open-source tooling.
“In a very short period of time, COVID-19 has revealed the limits of the systems we take for granted. The 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge will arm you with resources […] to build open source technology solutions that address three main COVID-19 areas: crisis communication during an emergency, ways to improve remote learning, and how to inspire cooperative local communities,” the company wrote in a blog post.
All of these areas are being taxed as more people are forced to stay indoors as we to try to contain the virus. The company hopes to incentivize developers working on these issues to help solve some of these problems.
During a time of extreme social and economic upheaval when all aspects of society are being affected, businesses, academia and governments need to work together to solve the myriad problems related to the virus. These are just a couple of examples of that.
We’re all aware that YouTube’s video consumption grows every year, so it’s kind of obvious that YouTube search engine is huge, possibly being outdone only by Google.
There is also a simple fact: YouTube video content will always have lower competition compared to text.
Still, to rank high, SEO matters. Optimizing for YouTube includes many tasks, and doing them right requires some tools.
From writing the perfect description to looking up what your competition did right, there is SEO software for all aspects of YouTube optimization.
In this list, those tools are organized first by functionality: keyword research, channel audit and competition research — and second by the tools’ complexity.
YouTube SEO tools to choose the perfect keywords and topic
Tool highlights: YouTube Autocomplete, Google Keyword Planner, Rank Tracker, Keywordtool.io, Kparser, Keywords Everywhere.
The topics for your YouTube videos need to be carefully optimized. What you need to do is communicate to the search engine that out of all the videos targeting a particular keyword you are the best one. This is done by filling out your title, description, and tags.
If we’re talking about just getting suggestions for this one YouTube video, we don’t need to go beyond the free tools.
SEO is not always about advanced, expensive software packs. Here, we’ll use what YouTube gives to us by default.
Go right on YouTube and type into the search bar the beginning of the topic you may have vaguely in mind. YouTube will then present you with a list of options, showing what people mostly search for connected to that.
Simply go through a bunch of letters of the alphabet. You’ll get plenty of video ideas that you can then further research and find out if this is your topic.
So while this is free, which is always a bonus, and it doesn’t require you to go anywhere from YouTube, there are still some drawbacks. Like you can only look up one word at a time, and there’s zero info on your results, and so on.
Sure, if all you’re after is creating one video a month, that method could suit you fine.
But if you’re looking to implement YouTube into your marketing strategy fully, it won’t be enough. You’ll need a more convenient SEO tool covering YouTube optimization.
For a full-on video campaign
To go a little more in-depth, turn to Google Keyword Planner. There, you’ll have an easier time putting in a bunch of possible topics and getting some good results in return.
Now, not to be blasphemous. But I was never a fan of Keyword Planner. For example from the screenshot: I searched for “Turkish rap” and the data on searches it gives is “10K to 100K”? There’s a 90K difference in there that really matters.
On top of that, you can only search 10 keywords at a time. And if you’re serious about YouTube SEO, you’ll be looking up dozens of them.
So if what you’re looking for is seriously comprehensive data, turn to Rank Tracker (full disclosure: it’s my project). Since it’s a holistic tool, you’ll get a bunch of things there, but for now, we’re interested in Autocomplete Tools.
There, choose YouTube Autocomplete, and get extended results.
As this is the full-on YouTube rank checker and keyword research solution, suitable for SEO in general also, you will get a whole bunch of info.
A useful feature, among other things, is that you can sort your keywords by their length — this helps you better target those amazing long-tail keywords, which usually bring your videos a lot of clicks.
That said, this is a desktop-based tool, and as such, it takes a download and an installation to actually start using its full functionality.
If you can’t spare the time, Keywordtool.io and Kparser work perfectly for this aspect of YouTube marketing.
The catch with them is just that they are actually freemium-based. You can use them for free, but their functionality then is severely limited.
Both these tools give a good number of keyword suggestions specifically for YouTube. That said, they don’t give any additional information about them. They also aren’t free, and require you to cough up some dough to access their full functionality.
That said, as paid software, it fits a digital marketer working with a campaign of pretty much any volume.
If you’re dead tired of using additional tools in general, look into using a nice free tool, Keywords Everywhere. It functions as a nice and light extension to your browser.
You’ll get a slew of SEO information right in your browser, and will be able to do parts of your research “on the fly”.
What’s important is that you implement your keyword research, not just by adding keywords to your title, but to your description and tags, as well.
Tools for SEO audit of your YouTube channel
Tool highlights: YouTube Analytics, Social Blade, Quintly, TubeBuddy, vidIQ, Tubics.
For any kind of business, an audit is paramount. Running a YouTube channel is no different. You need to keep your hand on the pulse of what does and doesn’t work. You’ll be able to use those insights further on when building your YouTube strategy.
Turn to the very useful YouTube Analytics (YouTube’s native tool) first. You’ll get a bird’s eye view of what’s happening with your channel.
And for a lot of us, YouTube Analytics is actually quite enough.
You get the info about your viewership, and what they prefer watching overall. You get a neat graph with the history of your viewership all laid out.
It’s not super comprehensive, but it gets the job done if all you want is a little statistics.
A good supplementary tool would be Social Blade. Simply enter your channel’s name and get some numbers on your channel.
There’s also a very fun Future Predictions feature available, which will show you how much your videos are projected to grow.
And although quintly is not a specifically YouTube-oriented feature, it works pretty nicely. In addition to data on subscribers, engagement, watch time of your videos, and so on, it provides a convenient reporting feature, useful for anybody managing a larger team.
For a full-on video campaign
Of course, if you want to go deeper, you should look into a tool like TubeBuddy. It is one of the best supplementary tools to YouTube Analytics, and, really, it deserves the hype.
There is an abundance of features presented here:
From suggesting you tags (which, by the way, doesn’t seem to influence your actual SEO rankings much), to translating your video’s title and description, TubeBuddy is one of the best suites on the market right now, and it comes at an affordable price.
From $ 9/mo to $ 49/mo, you’ll get varied functionality. That said, even the free version is good enough to vastly improve your SEO.
Or, maybe you’d like to try something like vidIQ, which is also an all-in-one YouTube SEO solution.
It’ll give you tips on best publishing times, suggest your niche’s influencers to connect with, and so on. A handy browser extension lets you research competitors in the same way.
It also has the bulk editing of end cards for your videos. A small thing, but it’s such a time saver. That’s really the advantage that only those of us working with large-volume video marketing campaigns could appreciate.
Tubics is a similar tool. You get, in the same Swiss army-knife package, instruments for keyword research, and channel audit.
And if you need to check your videos’ and channel’s rankings, you could use a rank tracking tool. The tool can get pricey for a smaller channel, but the trial is free, and if you don’t feel like you’re getting enough out of it, you can just cancel any time.
Research your YouTube competition
Tool highlights: Rival IQ, NoxInfluencer, Socialinsider, Vaizle.
In the exact same way as with more traditional SEO for Google, YouTube SEO includes competition research.
Keeping an eye on what makes your competition’s YouTube content rank is one of the best things you can do for your own SEO.
Here the market leader is definitely a tool called Rival IQ.
With it, you will get a panoramic view of your YouTube competitors and their SEO rankings. Take a close look at what’s been working exceptionally well for their YouTube videos. From the kind of tags they use to title formats, try and learn what the best-ranking people in your niche are doing.
I also found NoxInfluencer to be suitable for competition research. For pretty much any niche or location you’ll see exactly what your biggest competitors’ YouTube profiles are.
There’s also YouTube Competitors Analysis Tool by Socialinsider and Vaizle. They provide a breakdown and comparison of your channel and videos to those of your competition, comparing the frequency of posting, videos’ stats, and more.
In 2020 SEO, businesses and agencies that pursue a holistic YouTube strategy will always be three steps ahead of everyone else. We need to determine every opportunity to create videos that will engage our potential clients.
Creating YouTube videos as part of your marketing campaign is tapping into a huge well of billions upon billions of searches for video content that was previously unavailable to us.
And that’s a well we shouldn’t dismiss out of hand.
Aleh is the Founder and CMO at SEO PowerSuite and Awario. He can be found on Twitter at @ab80.
The post How to grow your YouTube rankings with the right SEO tools appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Get an overview of Google’s attribution, what led us to consider testing a different attribution, what changes you can expect, our results, and advice for future tests.
Read more at PPCHero.com
You don’t have to go far to find someone online downplaying the severity of a global pandemic that’s shut down entire economies and ground everyday life to a halt. Knowing that, Twitter will take extra steps to remove tweets that put people at risk of contracting the novel coronavirus as it rapidly sweeps through communities around the globe.
On Wednesday, Twitter updated its safety policy to prohibit tweets that “could place people at a higher risk of transmitting COVID-19.” The new policy bans tweets denying expert guidance on the virus, encouraging “fake or ineffective treatments, preventions and diagnostic techniques” as well as tweets that mislead users by pretending to be from health authorities or experts.
Content that increases the chance that someone contracts or transmits the virus, including:
– Denial of expert guidance
– Encouragement to use fake or ineffective treatments, preventions, and diagnostic techniques
– Misleading content purporting to be from experts or authorities
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) March 18, 2020
In its blog post, Twitter says that it will “require people to remove Tweets” in these cases and we’ve asked the company for more clarification on what that looks like.
Update: Twitter indicated that it will take context like account history into account in making its enforcement determinations, which it says remain unchanged. As far as having users remove offending tweets, according to the company’s existing guidance “When we determine that a Tweet violated the Twitter Rules, we require the violator to remove it before they can Tweet again.” A user is notified of this via email and given a chance to delete the tweet or make an appeal. While that is happening, the tweet is hidden from view.
Given the new guidelines Twitter has outlined, the platform is going to have its work cut out for it. Under the ruleset, a tweet that claims “social distancing is not effective” would be subject to removal. Twitter will also require users to delete tweets telling followers to do ineffective or dangerous things like drinking bleach, even if the tweet is “made in jest” because that content can prove harmful when taken out of context.
Twitter has also banned tweets that make calls to action encouraging other users to behave in a way counter to what health authorities recommend, with the example tweet of “coronavirus is a fraud and not real – go out and patronize your local bar!!” Some political figures have faced criticism for similar statements in recent days, including Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) who encouraged Fox Business viewers “to just go out… go to your local pub.”
The rules will also ban tweets in which people play armchair doctor and make claims like “if you have a wet cough, it’s not coronavirus — but a dry cough is.” Users will also not be allowed to make coronavirus claims that single out groups of people based on race or nationality, like discouraging followers to eat at Chinese restaurants. Other race-based claims like John McAfee’s tweet that “Coronavirus cannot attack black people” won’t fly either.
Twitter’s new set of coronavirus-related misinformation rules is as thorough as it will be difficult to enforce. Many, many tweets would appear to fall under the deepened policy designed to prevent health misinformation from spreading on the social network.
To meet the unique challenge posed by the pandemic, Twitter said it has put a “content severity triage system” in place so that the most potentially damaging tweets can be identified and removed, with less emphasis on users flagging the tweets themselves. The company previously announced that it would be relying more heavily on automation and machine learning to act on content that violates platform rules, which Twitter admits may lead to mistakes in some cases.
In an effort to rise to the gravity of the situation, Twitter’s policies lay out an aggressive and fluid approach that we don’t always see from social networks. We’ll be following along to see how the platform experiment goes in the coming days and if Twitter can help stem the flow of potentially lethal misinformation as the world wakes up to the global threat of COVID-19.