Firstly, accessibility. All sorts of people benefit from captioned / subtitled videos, not just deaf people says Ahmed Khalifa: non-native speakers, people watching with the sound off, when the speakers’ accents aren’t clear (think Glaswegian :) … and some people just like to read along. Automatic captions need to be corrected. Machines simply cannot get everything right (especially the scene directions and ambiance descriptions). Apparently, professionals can write captions almost in real time, including descriptions about background noise. I personally hadn’t thought about how important that can be for context. It’s not just what we say, but the context in which we say it.
Ahmed is deaf, and relies on captions. But all sorts of people benefit from captioned videos… Of course, we get onto Glaswegian accents. Heads up Craig Campbell. Auto captioning is far from perfect. It needs to be corrected. Then we get onto pushing that to transcripts and adapted transcripts. Apparently, professionals can write captions almost in real time, including descriptions about background noise. Guess who hadn’t thought about how important that can be for context. It’s not just what we say, but the context in which we say it. I speak too much without engaging my brain. Ahmed saves the day and makes me sound intelligent. Phew !
What is Microsoft’s Business Model? Gennaro Cuofano
Gennaro Looks at financials. He likes numbers. Microsoft has survived almost 50 years and ridden all the innovation waves (unlike many other large corporations). Microsoft are making $110 billion – almost as much as Google. But with a more varied and balanced business model – Office, Windows, Cloud, Gaming, Search and digital platforms. They have a lot of work to do to retain their existing clients, especially in Office. Their key worry with Office and Windows is how to stop their client-base shrinking. Investments such as LinkedIn are part of a strategy to expand their customer base. In both cases, they are dealing with very different demographics. And looking to the future… LinkedIn is making almost as much money as Bing advertising, but it still hasn’t paid for itself… but is key to their future because it hooks into so many other of their products.
Paul talks about the rarity of tech startups that actually survive… and the even more rare case of one that succeeds. Part of that is educating the audience for a new innovative product they didn’t know they needed. In this space, the new product is often the solution a company created to a problem they had… and then open it up to the wider world. Once out to market, the product often needs to adapt. You start with your core market. But then once investors come in, many startups expand the functionality of the product to try to reach a wider client base in order to please the investors. Not always a good idea. Knowing how to pivot is vital. Paul talks me through how SEPO tools have pivoted. And points out the irony that we are amazed that people are talking to their phones, given that Alexander Graham Bell invented it for exactly that purpose.
Jim explains how he identifies the patterns that link buying and PBNs create. Anyone who is selling links is creating a network that can be mapped (because they are using a Rolodex, apparently). There is no safe way to buy links, says Jim. And don’t expect natural links into your product page. They will be to your content pages, so use the internal linking to benefit your product pages. When you create that linkworthy content, then spend time promoting it using the 80/20 rule. Jim is happy to stand by the idea that links are still the biggest thing, and will be for a long time to come. Jim is a content creator who happens to get links rather than a linkbuilder who happens to create content.
The father of SEO – he’s been in the industry for almost a quarter of a century. He started with Infoseek. Then I say Google and my phone joins in the conversation. He then goes into the details of the 19 major search engines of the early years. And the tiny numbers we were using at the time. And how simple it was to rank, and yet complicated at the same time. Then the power of human intuition. And the glory of Macromedia Flash (that’s me, not Bruce). Rumour has it that only 10% of companies have even done any active SEO. Bruce suggests that there is an 80/20 half life of evolving SEO strategies. Lastly onto E-A-T – expertise is your onpage content, authority is that peers agree with you and trust is a reflection of the sentiment / praise of your users. Ends with a delightful Einstein SEO quote.
AOL were very very big and were going to dominate the world. Did the CD work? Yes it did. At one point, for 2 weeks, no other CDs were produced in the world. Simon was doing SEO for TechCrunch, but the journalists didn’t want to listen. So he took them out to lunch and charmed them into submission. Problem solved! Both Simon and AOL were precursors. They had a two-pronged approach – copywriting and tech. Then onto examples of extreme preciceness, then the vagueness in queries and results… and how queries change with story evolution (and articles must change too). Play on people’s vanity to get them to do what you want. Sounds very creepy, but is less so than it sounds.
We start with a chat about talking to every single person at UnGagged. Pamela suggests that we have relationships with brands… and that brand can be our friend. We need to build relationships through connections. Then I get over-excited about entities and relationships and memory. Then onto brand personality (Pamela uses the official term – brand awareness). Vanilla is not bland (have a listen and you’ll know why). Then brands have personality and need to maintain that – meaning HR is really important. ALso, please DO have a branded Google Ads campaign. Finally, use the 7 points of contact to get rid of the churners (Kate Toon !), and don’t waste your ad budget on them. Finally, one of the more delightful out-takes with Pamela, Dexter (the videographer) and Hal (the photographer). Ace.
Google Colaboratory is like Google Sheets on steroids. Use it to save bucketloads of time and be terribly productive. Gerry White got very excited about the 6 use-cases Hamlet gave in his talk. For example automating duplication, writing meta titles automatically, Andrea Volpini’s dance with machines, mapping redirects, writing alt tags, finding content gaps
We start with the ‘soy sauce secret of sumptuous speech’. When you produce a piece of content, create it for everyone. SOme people learn visually, some auditively, some through reading. So one piece of content should be video, audio and text. Make a video, create an audio file and a transcript. And probably a good idea to adapt the transcript to be readable (as opposed to speakable). SEJ make an effort to format for Google with lists and QA etc etc. We get onto baseball and cricket – watching TV but listening to the radio. Then onto repurposing content across media (but the site is always the hub). Loren shares a neat trick to segment your email audience by learning-type. Then onto cartoons – Loren is Wreck it Ralph. ANd guess what film Loren describes as ‘Goodfellas and Ralph Breaks the Internet Combined’. AT the end, I have left the short (and fun) UnGagged interview.
Cindy and I discuss an awful lot of stuff in a lovely, meandering and super informative chat. Starting with Fraggles, and how powerful they are (top middle and bottom)… Plus some experiments we have done, the risks for Google and the possibilities for the future. And onto Darwinism in search, onSERP SEO, local SEO, not needing a website, branding, offline SEO, ranking without an URL, the new EU directive, social metas. Crumbs. That’s a lot.