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A new Optimize feature to keep your website updated through COVID-19

May 1, 2021 No Comments

As communities around the world respond to COVID-19, we know this time presents unique challenges to your business. We’d like to share a few ways Google Optimize can help you keep your website updated with the latest information.

Last week we introduceda new way for you to quickly post an informational banner at the top of your website. This means you can easily let your customers know if your business hours or services have changed – or even just reinforce that you are still open to serve them – and where they can find more information.

And of course you can still use Optimize to help you update any page of your site, so we’ve included some tips and best practices below to get you started.

Quickly add a message on your website

Once you log into your Optimize account you can add a message to the top of your site by clicking “Add a banner.” You can use our templated banner or customize it by editing the color, size, and text. We recommend you use a color that stands out from the other content on the page. You can also select on which pages of your site the banner should be shown, for example only the homepage or on every page of your site.

Frame 6.png

Use our template to quickly post a banner at the top of your website with an important message.

You can also tailor your message by location. Let’s say you’re a clothing retailer based in San Francisco and are offering expedited shipping to customers located within the city. Optimize can help you display a customized banner that highlights faster shipping just to users located in San Francisco.

Temporarily update your site

You may have updated store hours or services available at this time. Use Optimize to create a personalization to temporarily display a different version of your site to people when they visit. You can end the personalization whenever you like and your site will go back to displaying its original version.

This is helpful if you want to let your customers know about new ways they can purchase from your business. For example, if you’re a restaurant that is now accepting to-go orders over the phone, you can add your phone number to your home page or make it more visible on your site. Or, if you’re a clothing retailer that is now only accepting online orders, you can update your FAQs page to include your new shipping and return policy.

Consider website best practices

We’ve also put together some additional recommendations to consider while updating your website during this time:

  • Reduce distraction on your site. Avoid automatic product carousels or animation on your site. If you have information about how customers can order from you on the same page, the carousel or animation could draw attention away from that message.

  • Adjust your FAQs page. Your frequently asked questions might be different than what they were last year. Make sure this page highlights what is currently top of mind for your customers. If you need to reduce your customer support load, place your contact information below all other sections to allow users to read your FAQs first.

  • Change your message for mobile devices. Adding longer messages to your customers may display fine on desktop but they probably will be too long on mobile devices. Limit your messages on your mobile site to less than 50 characters. And allow users to close the message if they wish.

Normally Optimize users would only be able to run 10 personalizations on their site at the same time. We have temporarily removed this restriction for the next 90 days so that you can make as many updates to your site as you need until July 31, 2020. If you don’t already have an Optimize account, you can create one for free here.


Google Analytics Blog


What five news-SEO experts make of Google’s new, “Full Coverage” feature in mobile search results

March 24, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Google recently rolled out the “Full Coverage” feature for mobile SERPs
  • Will this impact SEO traffic for news sites, SEO best practices, and content strategies?
  • Here’s what in-house SEOs from The LA Times, New York Times, Conde Nast, Wall Street Journal, and prominent agency-side SEOs foresee

Google’s “Full Coverage” update rolled out earlier this month – but what does it really mean for news-SEOs? In-house SEOs from The LA Times, New York Times, Conde Nast, Wall Street Journal, and prominent agency-side SEOs weigh in.

As a news-SEO person myself, I was eager to get my peers’ opinions on: 

  • If this feature will result in greater SEO traffic for news sites?
  • If editorial SEO best practices and content strategies will evolve because of it?
  • If it will result in closer working relationships between SEO and editorial teams?
  • Or, will everything remain “business as usual”?

ICYMI: Google’s new, “Full Coverage” feature in mobile search

Google added the “full coverage”  feature to its mobile search functionality earlier this month – with the aim of making it easier for users to explore content related to developing news stories from a diverse set of publishers, perspectives, and media slants.  

Just below the “Top Stories” carousel, users will now begin seeing the option to tap into “Full Coverage”/“More news on…” for developing news stories. The news stories on this page will be organized in a variety of sub-news topics (versus one running list of stories like we’re used to seeing), such as:

  • Top news
  • Local news
  • Beyond the headlines, and more

Take a look at  in-action, here:

Google's "Full Coverage" feature

Source: Google

While the concept of Google “Full Coverage” was developed back in 2018,  it pertained strictly to the Google News site and app. The technology, temporal co-locality, works by mapping the relationships between entities – and understanding the people, places, and things in a story right as it evolves. And then, organizes it around storylines all in real-time to provide “full coverage” on the topic searched for.

The launch of Google’s new “Full Coverage” feature in mobile search, specifically, is exciting because it takes its technology a step further; able to detect long-running news stories that span many days, like the Super Bowl, to many weeks or months like the pandemic to serve to users.  The feature is currently available to English speakers in the U.S. and will be rolled out to additional languages and locations over the next few months. 

What five news-SEO experts think about “Full Coverage” in mobile search

Lily Ray, Senior Director, SEO & Head of Organic Research at Path Interactive on Google's "Full Coverage" feature
Source: Linkedin

1. Lily Ray, Senior Director, SEO & Head of Organic Research at Path Interactive

Lily Ray is a Senior SEO Director at Path Interactive in New York. She’s a prominent voice within the SEO community (with +15K followers on Twitter), and has been nominated for multiple search marketing awards throughout her career. She is well known for her E-A-T expertise.  Here’s what she had to say:

 

“Full Coverage appears to be another new tool in Google’s arsenal for displaying a diversity of perspectives and viewpoints on recent news and events. It’s a good thing for publisher sites because it represents another opportunity to have news content surfaced organically. It may also serve as a way for niche or local publishers to gain more visibility in organic search, since Google is specifically aiming to show a broader range of viewpoints that may not always come across with the major publications.

Hopefully, Google will allow us to be able to monitor the performance of Full Coverage via either Search Console or Google Analytics, so we can segment out how our articles do in this area compared to in other areas of search.”

Louisa Frahm, SEO Editor at The LA Times on Google's "Full Coverage" feature
Source: LinkedIn

2. Louisa Frahm, SEO Editor at The LA Times

Louisa Frahm currently serves as the SEO Editor at the Los Angeles Times and is also pursuing a master’s degree in communication management at the University of Southern California. Prior to the LA Times, Frahm was an SEO strategist at other high-profile digital publications including Entertainment Weekly, People Magazine, TMZ, Yahoo!, and E! Online. Here’s her take:

“I’ve always liked that element of Google News. It taps into readers (like me!) who are consistently hungry for more information. 

Working in the journalism field, I’m always in favor of readers utilizing a diverse array of news sources. I’m glad that this new update will tap into that. I’m interested to see which stories will fall into the “develop over a period of time” criteria. I could see it working well for extended themes like COVID-19, but big breakout themes like Harry and Meghan could also potentially fit that bill. 

A wide variety of story topics have resulted from that Oprah interview, and fresh angles keep flowing in! As we’re in the thick of 2021 awards season, I could also see the Golden Globes, Grammys, and Oscars playing into this with their respective news cycles before, during, and after the events. 

The long-term aspect of this update inspires me to request more updates from writers on recurring themes, so we can connect with the types of topics this particular feature likes. Though pure breaking news stories with short traffic life cycles will always be important for news SEO, this feature reinforces the additional importance of more evergreen long-term content within a publisher’s content strategy. 

I could see this update providing a traffic boost, since it provides one more way for stories to get in front of readers. We always want as many eyeballs as possible on our content. Happy to add one more element to my news SEO tool kit. Google always keeps us on our toes!”

Barry Adams, Founder of Polemic Digital on Google's "Full Coverage" feature
Source: Linkedin

3. Barry Adams, Founder of Polemic Digital

Barry Adams is the founder of SEO consultancy, Polemic Digital. He has earned numerous search marketing awards throughout his career and has also spoken at several industry conferences. His company has helped news and publishing companies such as – The Guardian, The Sun, FOX News, and Tech Radar to name a few. This is his opinion:

“The introduction of Full Coverage directly into search results will theoretically mean there’s one less click for users to make when trying to find the full breadth of reporting on a news topic. 

Whether this actually results in significantly more traffic for publishers is doubtful. The users who are interested in reading a broad range of sources on a news story will already have adopted such click behaviour via the news tab or directly through Google News. 

This removal of one layer of friction between the SERP and a larger number of news stories seems more intended as a way for Google to emphasize its commitment to showing news from all kinds of publishers – the fact remains that the initial Top Stories box is where the vast majority of clicks happen. This Full Coverage option won’t change that.”

John Shehata, Global VP of Audience Development Strategy at Conde Nast on Google's "Full Coverage" feature
Source: Linkedin

4. John Shehata, Global VP of Audience Development Strategy at Conde Nast, Founder of NewzDash News SEO

John Shehata is the Global VP of Audience Development Strategy at Conde Nast, the media company known for brands such as – Architectural Digest, Allure, Vanity Fair, and Vogue. He’s also the founder of NewzDash News SEO – a News & Editorial SEO tool that helps publishers and news sites boost their visibility and traffic in Google Search. This is his opinion:

“Google has been surfacing more news stories on their SERPs over the past few years, first Top Stories were two-three links then it became a 10-link carousel. Google then started grouping related stories together expanding Top Stories carousel from one to three featuring up 30 news stories. They also introduced local news carousels for some local queries, [and now, this new feature]. It is obvious that Google keeps testing with different formats when it comes to news. One of our top news trends and prediction for 2021 is Google will continue to introduce multiple and different formats in the SERPs beyond Top Stories article formats.

As of the impact on traffic back to publishers, it is a bit early to predict but I do not expect much boost in traffic. Do not get more wrong, this feature provides more chances for more publishers to be seen, the question is how many search users will click. And if users click, Google surfaces over 50 news links plus tweets which makes it even more competitive for publishers to get clicks back to their stories.

I did some quick analysis back in July of last year When Google Search Console started providing News tab data. I found that News Impressions are less than five percent of total web impressions. Not quite sure how is the new “Full Coverage” feature CTR will be and how many users will click! The “full coverage” link placement is better than the tabs, so we might see higher CTR.”

Claudio Cabrera, Deputy Audience Director, News SEO at The New York Times on Google's "Full Coverage" feature
Source: LinkedIn

5. Claudio Cabrera, Deputy Audience Director, News SEO at The New York Times

Claudio Cabrera serves as the Deputy Audience Director of News SEO at the New York Times. He is an award-winning audience development expert, journalist, and educator. Prior to working at The New York Times, he was Director of Social and Search strategy at CBS Local. Here are his thoughts:

“It can be looked at in so many ways. Some brands will look at it as an opportunity to gain more visibility while some will feel their strong foothold may be lost. I think it just encourages better journalism and even better SEO because it forces us to think outside of our playbooks and adjust on some level to what we’re seeing Google provide users. 

From a site traffic perspective, I can’t really comment on whether this has affected us or not but I do know there are so many other areas where sites have done serious research and testing into like Discover where audiences can grow and be picked up if you do see a drop-off. I don’t think the best practices of SEO change too much but I think the relationship between search experts and editors deepens and becomes even closer due to the changes in the algo.”

Conclusion

Google’s new “Full Coverage” feature in mobile search rolled out earlier this month and is an extension of the full coverage function developed for Google News back in 2018. The aim of this new feature is to help users gain a holistic understanding of complex news stories as they develop – by organizing editorial content in such a way that it goes beyond the top headlines and media outlets. In essence, giving users the “full coverage” of the event. 

News-SEO experts seem to be in agreement that this new feature will make it simpler for users to explore – and gain a holistic understanding of – trending news stories. As far as what this new feature means for SEO traffic and strategy, experts can only speculate until more developing news stories emerge and we can analyze impact. 

Elizabeth Lefelstein is an SEO consultant based in Los Angeles, California. She’s worked with a variety of high-profile brands throughout her career and is passionate about technical SEO, editorial SEO, and blogging. She can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter @lefelstein.

The post What five news-SEO experts make of Google’s new, “Full Coverage” feature in mobile search results appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


TikTok launches ‘TikTok Q&A,’ a new feature for creators to engage with viewers’ questions

March 4, 2021 No Comments

Earlier this year, TikTok was spotted testing a new Q&A feature that would allow creators to more directly respond to their audience’s questions using either text or video. Today, the company has announced the feature is now available to all users globally. With the release of TikTok Q&A, as the feature is officially called, creators will be able to designate their comments as Q&A questions, respond to questions with either text comments or video replies, and add a Q&A profile link to their bios, among other things. The feature also works with live videos.

TikTok Q&A grew out of a way that creators were already using the video platform to interact with viewers. Often, after posting a video, viewers would have follow-up questions about the content. Creators would then either respond to those questions in the comments section or, if the response was more involved, they might post a second video instead.

The Q&A feature essentially formalizes this process by making it easier for creators — particularly those with a lot of fans — to identify and answer the most interesting questions.

Image Credits: TikTok

To use Q&A, viewers will first designate their comment as a Q&A question using a new commenting option. To do so, they’ll tap the Q&A icon to the right side of the text entry field in comments. This will also label their comment with the icon and text that says “Asked by” followed by the username of the person asking the question. This makes it easier for creators to see when scanning through a long list of comments on their video.

The feature will also feed the question into the creator’s new Q&A page where all questions and answers are aggregated. Users can browse this page to see all the earlier questions and answers that have already been posted or add a new question of their own.

Creators will respond to a Q&A question with either text or video replies, just as they did before — so there isn’t much new to learn here, in terms of process.

They can also add Q&A comments as stickers in their responses where the new video will link back to the original, where the question was first asked, similar to how they’re using comment stickers today.

The feature will also be available in TikTok LIVE, making it easier for creators to see the incoming questions in the stream’s chat from a separate panel.

Image Credits: TikTok

As a part of this launch, a Q&A profile link can be added to creators’ Profile bios, which directs users to the Q&A page where everything is organized.

During tests, the feature was only made available to creators with public accounts that had more than 10,000 followers and who opted in. Today, TikTok says its available to all users with Creator Accounts.

To enable the feature on your own profile, you’ll go to the privacy page under Settings, then select “Creator,” tap “Q&A” and then “Turn on Q&A.” (If users don’t already have a Creator account, they can enable it for themselves under settings.)

The feature is rolling out to users worldwide in the latest version of the TikTok app now, the company says.

@tiktokYou can now ask and answer any questions on LIVE with the new Q&A feature. Check it out now!

♬ original sound – TikTok


Social – TechCrunch


TikTok launches ‘TikTok Q&A,’ a new feature for creators to engage with viewers’ questions

March 4, 2021 No Comments

Earlier this year, TikTok was spotted testing a new Q&A feature that would allow creators to more directly respond to their audience’s questions using either text or video. Today, the company has announced the feature is now available to all users globally. With the release of TikTok Q&A, as the feature is officially called, creators will be able to designate their comments as Q&A questions, respond to questions with either text comments or video replies, and add a Q&A profile link to their bios, among other things. The feature also works with live videos.

TikTok Q&A grew out of a way that creators were already using the video platform to interact with viewers. Often, after posting a video, viewers would have follow-up questions about the content. Creators would then either respond to those questions in the comments section or, if the response was more involved, they might post a second video instead.

The Q&A feature essentially formalizes this process by making it easier for creators — particularly those with a lot of fans — to identify and answer the most interesting questions.

Image Credits: TikTok

To use Q&A, viewers will first designate their comment as a Q&A question using a new commenting option. To do so, they’ll tap the Q&A icon to the right side of the text entry field in comments. This will also label their comment with the icon and text that says “Asked by” followed by the username of the person asking the question. This makes it easier for creators to see when scanning through a long list of comments on their video.

The feature will also feed the question into the creator’s new Q&A page where all questions and answers are aggregated. Users can browse this page to see all the earlier questions and answers that have already been posted or add a new question of their own.

Creators will respond to a Q&A question with either text or video replies, just as they did before — so there isn’t much new to learn here, in terms of process.

They can also add Q&A comments as stickers in their responses where the new video will link back to the original, where the question was first asked, similar to how they’re using comment stickers today.

The feature will also be available in TikTok LIVE, making it easier for creators to see the incoming questions in the stream’s chat from a separate panel.

Image Credits: TikTok

As a part of this launch, a Q&A profile link can be added to creators’ Profile bios, which directs users to the Q&A page where everything is organized.

During tests, the feature was only made available to creators with public accounts that had more than 10,000 followers and who opted in. Today, TikTok says its available to all users with Creator Accounts.

To enable the feature on your own profile, you’ll go to the privacy page under Settings, then select “Creator,” tap “Q&A” and then “Turn on Q&A.” (If users don’t already have a Creator account, they can enable it for themselves under settings.)

The feature is rolling out to users worldwide in the latest version of the TikTok app now, the company says.

@tiktokYou can now ask and answer any questions on LIVE with the new Q&A feature. Check it out now!

♬ original sound – TikTok

Mobile – TechCrunch


Apple’s Newest Fitness Feature: Celeb-Hosted Outdoor Walks

January 26, 2021 No Comments

The company’s latest subscription product combines outdoor fitness with podcasting, though you’ll need an Apple Watch to enjoy it.
Feed: All Latest


Twitter brings its Stories feature, Fleets, to Japan

November 12, 2020 No Comments

Twitter’s own version of Stories, which it calls “Fleets,” have arrived in Japan. The new feature allows users to post ephemeral content that automatically disappears after 24 hours. Though Fleets previously launched in Brazil, India, Italy and South Korea, Japan is notably Twitter’s second largest market, with some estimated 51.9 million users.

It’s also second in terms of revenues, led by advertising. In Q3 2020, Japan generated $ 132.4 million in revenue, coming in second behind the U.S.’s $ 512.6 million.

Twitter can be experimental when it comes to new features — it even once developed a new way to manage threads with a public prototype, coded alongside user feedback. But not all the features it dabbles with make it to launch.

However, the further expansion of Fleets to Japan signals Twitter’s interest in the product hasn’t diminished over time. It seems it’s now only a matter of time before Fleets arrive in Twitter’s largest market, the U.S.

That said, the U.S. may be the hardest market for Fleets to crack, as here, many users are concerned about how all social media apps are starting to look alike.

Whatever feature becomes a breakout success on one platform soon finds its way to all the others. In the early days, we saw this trend with the “feed” format, modeled after Facebook’s News Feed. The Stories format, popularized by Snapchat, came next. And now apps like Instagram and Snapchat are ripping off TikTok with their own short-form video features.

The result is that apps are losing focus on what makes them unique.

Twitter, for what it’s worth, has historically been slow to copy from other social networks. In fact, it’s one of the last to embrace Stories — a feature that’s now even on LinkedIn, of all places.

Plus, in Twitter’s case, the Stories feature may end up serving a different purpose than on other networks.

Instead of offering users a way to post content of lesser quality — posts that didn’t deserve a more prominent spot in the feed, that is — Fleets may encourage users who haven’t felt comfortable with the platform’s more public nature to begin posting for the first time. Or, at least, it could push users to increase their content output and engagement.

Twitter’s Fleets work much like Stories on other platforms. With a tap on the “+” (plus) button, users can post text, photos, GIFs or videos. Meanwhile, viewers use gestures to navigate the Fleets posted by others. The Stories sit at the top of the app’s home screen, also like on other platforms.

Twitter tells TechCrunch all users in Japan should have Fleets available on their accounts soon, but couldn’t share a time frame for a U.S. launch.


Social – TechCrunch


‘People also ask’ (PAA) feature: Uncovering Google’s hidden gem

October 15, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Signaling rapid growth, PAA boxes are now present across half of all SERPs.
  • With 75% of PAA results appearing within the top three results in Google, the PAA block opens up visibility opportunities for sites that are struggling to make it to the first page of Google’s SERP.
  • The key to PAA success lies in producing PAA-friendly content that meets PAA best practices – from tackling longer search queries to focusing on brevity and including question words.

With the rise of voice assistants and Google’s mission to turn into a “knowledge engine”, we can spot the proliferation of Google’s SERP features that support these shifts. Embracing these trends, SEMrush decided to take an in-depth look at Google’s ‘People also ask’ (PAA) feature and analyze its ins and outs to help businesses get more visibility with PAA boxes.

Presenting the key highlights from a recent SEMrush 2020 ‘People Also Ask’ study that analyzed over one million keywords for the US, this post provides insights into building a PAA-centered SEO and content strategy.

The rise of the ‘People also ask’ feature

According to SEMrush Sensor, the number of SERPs containing a PAA box has grown by 40-42% since the feature was first introduced back in 2015.

PAA appears to be present within half of the search results pages, with a slight increase when looking at mobile search results. In fact, Google is now six times more likely to return a SERP with a PAA box than with a featured snippet result.

People also ask feature vs Google featured snippets

Note: The drop on the chart comes as a result of Google’s March 2020 adjustment

Although remarkable, this trend towards PAA expansion is not consistent across all industries. With the lowest presence of PAA within the Real Estate industry (9.5%), the highest number of PAAs was spotted within the Computer & Electronics category (64.2%).

The full industry breakdown can be found in the study.

The nature of PAA

On average, the initial PAA block includes four questions:

Number of questions in the people also ask (PAA) box

While in 58% of all cases analyzed the PAA box appears after the first organic result – be it a regular blue link or a featured snippet – in 75% of cases, it is featured within the top three results.

Hidden opportunities

Although 13% of sites making it into the PAA box have a top three ranking, 74% aren’t even present within the first page of the SERP. This implies that the PAA feature opens up opportunities for sites that cannot immediately boost their organic rankings to appear on the first page of search results.

To leverage this opportunity, though, they should understand the inherent features of PAA and meet some of the key requirements we managed to spot.

Unleashing the power of ‘People also ask’

To understand how to leverage the PAA feature for your site and overall business, we have to examine which features impact the occurrence of a PAA block and which ‘content factors’ effect Google’s decision to include this or that piece of content within the PAA box.

‘Outside’ factors, or PAA-centered keyword optimization

1. Search query length

PAAs normally get triggered by longer keywords or complex search queries. With a clear correlation between the length of a search query and a PAA, we can see that a 10-word keyword triggers a PAA 72% of the time, while search results for a two-word query only showcase a PAA in 28% of the cases:

Probability of triggering a Featured Snippet together with PAA

2. Search query type

Questions or question-type queries tend to produce SERPs with a PAA block. 86% of the time, search queries starting with question words like “what”, “why”, “when”, “where” and “who” trigger a PAA.

SEMrush PAA Blog Graphics 20200930_Types of Queries That Trigger the 'people also ask' (PAA)

‘Inside’ factors, or PAA-worthy content features

79% of PAA boxes are filled with paragraphs taken from website content, followed by lists (13.8%) and tables (4.3%).

People also ask (PAA) results format

1. Paragraph length

The average number of words within a paragraph featured in PAA stands at 41 words, implying that brevity is a valuable asset when crafting content for a site.

2. List length

Within our dataset, we found no lists that went over 8 items, with the minimum length standing at a mere two items.

3. Table length

A standard PAA box has space for 14 rows and three columns, although we saw tables that only showed one column and two rows. Since the tables are less popular, we couldn’t make any conclusions regarding best practices when it comes to creating tables specifically for PAA.

Action plan for businesses willing to optimize for PAA

If today optimizing for PAA is a matter of wants, tomorrow, it could be a matter of needs, as search is already moving towards providing users with instant answers at their first command, be it voice or text.

The best feature of PAA is that it’s often a quicker win strategy than a more long-term traditional “blue link” ranking optimization.

In a nutshell, PAA optimization comes down to the following key steps:

  • Reviewing existing SERP features, where it all starts with analyzing if your target keywords currently trigger any PAAs.
  • Discovering missing opportunities by exploring whether your or your competitors’ site ranks for the keywords that generate a PAA block within the SERP but do not appear within the PAA box.
  • Uncovering ideas for PAA-worthy content by integrating the keywords within the PAA box into your keyword strategy and using the PAA block as a goldmine for content ideas.
  • Ensuring your content is as SEO optimized as it gets.

Olga Andrienko is SEMrush’s Head of Global Marketing. Olga can be found on Twitter @Olgandrienko.

The post ‘People also ask’ (PAA) feature: Uncovering Google’s hidden gem appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Top five tips to use Twitter’s new Voice Tweets feature

August 25, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Twitter has unveiled a new Voice Tweet feature, an exciting new way for brands to connect with fans and followers by leveraging the power of the human voice.
  • Voice Tweets can add context and nuance that strictly visual language can’t capture.
  • Voices.com’s CEO David Ciccarelli shares five tips for building a strategy that caters to audiences’ ears, not just their eyes, and creating successful Voice Tweets.

In a 2009 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey recalled how the platform got its name. He said the definition for the word “Twitter” was perfect because it “was ‘a short burst of inconsequential information,’ and ‘chirps from birds.’ And that’s exactly what the product was.”

This may have been true then, but Twitter evolved from a website full of inconsequential information to one of the world’s largest news sources. Today, the social media platform broadcasts everyone’s messages, including individuals, Fortune 500 companies, and even global superpowers.

Just as the site itself has grown and changed, its content features have evolved as well. The Twitter team added support for GIFs and videos along the way, and tweets are now 280 characters when they were originally confined to 140. Most recently, Twitter announced its new Voice Tweet feature. Voice Tweets represent the social media giant’s first departure from the visual realm. It’s an exciting opportunity for brands to connect with their fans and followers in a whole new way.

The value of voice

Communication that’s strictly visual can leave out a lot of information. That missing context can often lead to separate interpretations by different readers or viewers, and occasionally those interpretations are decidedly at odds. Voice, on the other hand, allows users to utilize all the nuances and complexities of inflection and tone, letting them convey additional meaning and subtext that eliminates ambiguity and enables deeper connections with the audience.

Twitter’s new auditory feature ergo, Voice Tweets are an exciting opportunity for businesses to enhance their brand touchpoints with platform users by leveraging the power of the human voice. The key is putting in the effort and getting the rollout right the first time.

To build a strategy that caters to your customers’ ears instead of their eyes, follow these five steps when creating Voice Tweets:

1. Appoint an audio ambassador

In addition to the CEO, select or hire one or two people to represent your brand as audio ambassadors. These people (and their voices) will be synonymous with your company, so they should be adept at connecting with audiences. Your ambassadors will be responsible for all audio operations and can assist in accessibility usage for those who are deaf and hard of hearing. In the U.S., 15% of adults 18 and over have some trouble hearing, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Create threads under your original Voice Tweets with transcriptions to improve accessibility and utilize SEO keywords.

2. Be clear on key messaging

To create coherent messaging, you need to clarify both the broad themes and specific details. Being clear on messaging can determine what keywords people associate with your brand and what future searches they’ll make. What words or phrases do you want to be associated with your company? What would you and company leadership consider off-brand? Make a list and distribute it to all parties involved to ensure that the right messaging is top of mind. Then, plan to update your individual messages with audio cues that are specific to each campaign.

3. Define your style

Kantar TNS reports that almost 80% of Twitter users follow one or more brands. That’s a sizable audience that represents a major opportunity, but it also means you’ll need to find a way to stand out from the crowd. Your Voice Tweets should establish an auditory identity while staying consistent with your brand’s style and personality. Define your style by determining your tone (for example, conversational or professional) and preferred word choice.

4. Create high-quality recordings

It may come as a shock, but most voice-over recordings happen in home studios. That’s not just a recent symptom of the COVID-19 pandemic — it’s a trend that’s been happening for the past decade. You don’t need to rent out an expensive recording studio to start publishing your brand’s first Voice Tweets, but you also don’t want to record in a busy home with lots of noise and distractions. Find a quiet space to record — whether it’s a closet or a spare bedroom — in order to improve the audio quality.

5. Listen to audio clips before publication

Have you ever recorded a voicemail greeting and then played it back? If you’re like most people, you probably thought you nailed it on the first take only to listen in horror as you “umm” and “ahh” your way to the end. Voice Tweets should be no different, and your audio ambassador should always listen carefully to ensure that each tweet conveys a simple and coherent message that exemplifies your brand. Before anyone presses publish, verify that the recording is something you’d be comfortable or even proud to hear over and over.

As a nod to the original character limit, Voice Tweets give your brand 140 seconds to get your message across. Before you wax poetics about whatever strikes your fancy, focus on crafting each tweet in a way that builds and supports your brand’s overall auditory identity. Capitalizing on a new feature is a large undertaking, but these five steps should give you a good place to start.

David Ciccarelli is the founder and CEO of Voices.com, the largest marketplace for audio and voice-over products and services in the world with over one million business and voice actor registered users.

The post Top five tips to use Twitter’s new Voice Tweets feature appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Twitter tests a feature that calls you out for RTing without reading the article

June 11, 2020 No Comments

A new Twitter test feature aiming to “promote informed discussion” will nudge users to read before they retweet. The company describes the test as a step to help people be more aware of what they’re sharing in a broader effort to inspire “healthier conversations” on the platform.

The experimental new prompt doesn’t stop a user from resharing a link before clicking to read it, instead just suggesting that they might want to and letting them click through. The limited test feature will only appear for some U.S.-based Android users for now.

Twitter and other social networks are regularly deluged with divisive conspiracy theories and other misleading claims, but misinformation isn’t the only thing driving users apart. Polarization is a baked-in feature in the way social platforms work, where sharing content that confirms existing biases is never more than a single click away. With the test feature, Twitter is tinkering with how to slow that process down by urging users to pause and reflect.

In May, Twitter began testing a prompt that warns users they’re about to tweet a potentially harmful reply, based on the platform’s algorithms recognizing content that looks like stuff often reported as harmful. Facebook tried out a similar test feature last year and reported that its results showed promise.

The idea is that giving users a chance to make different choices rather than forcing them to do so could help reshape some of the unproductive or actively harmful strains of behavior. In the case of the new Twitter test feature, that means nudging them to slow down and read the content of the link they’re about to share. What happens when those links are chock-full of harmful claims or conspiracies remains to be seen, but urging people to slow down on social networks rather than instinctively smashing the retweet button certainly doesn’t sound like a bad thing.


Social – TechCrunch


Google highlights accessible locations with new Maps feature

May 23, 2020 No Comments

Google has announced a new, welcome and no doubt long-asked-for feature to its Maps app: wheelchair accessibility info. Businesses and points of interest featuring accessible entrances, bathrooms and other features will now be prominently marked as such.

Millions, of course, require such accommodations as ramps or automatic doors, from people with limited mobility to people with strollers or other conveyances. Google has been collecting information on locations’ accessibility for a couple years, and this new setting puts it front and center.

The company showed off the feature in a blog post for Global Accessibility Awareness Day. To turn it on, users can go to the “Settings” section of the Maps app, then “Accessibility settings,” then toggle on “Accessible places.”

This will cause any locations searched for or tapped on to display a small wheelchair icon if they have accessible facilities. Drilling down into the details where you find the address and hours will show exactly what’s available. Unfortunately it doesn’t indicate the location of those resources (helpful if someone is trying to figure out where to get dropped off, for instance), but knowing there’s an accessible entrance or restroom at all is a start.

The information isn’t automatically created or sourced from blueprints or anything — like so much on Google, it comes from you, the user. Any registered user can note the presence of accessible facilities the way they’d note things like in-store pickup or quick service. Just go to “About” in a location’s description and hit the “Describe this place” button at the bottom.

Mobile – TechCrunch