SEO Articles

Google now showing competitor ads on local business profiles

Google has been slowly ramping local search monetization over time. It introduced local search ads in early 2017, which put ads in local packs, and began putting ads in local Knowledge Panels roughy two years ago. Now, the company is starting to show competitor ads in local business profiles.

A ‘Local Campaign’ placement. Part of Local Campaigns, the ads are designed to drive visits to local businesses and retail locations. These fully automated units run across Google properties, including search, Maps, GDN and YouTube.

Ben Fisher first noticed this development last week. Here’s his smartphone screengrab:

The business listing is for a Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep dealer in California. The ad is for Valley Hi Toyota, approximately an hour away from the Chrysler dealer by car.

I was not able to recreate this example or find another comparable one on my own.

Can’t pay to remove the ad. Discussion about the ad unit on Twitter refers to this as the local Knowledge Panel but it is technically the local business profile. There’s also speculation that Google is gearing up to charge business owners to remove the ad. However I confirmed with Google that businesses will not be asked to nor can they pay to have the ad removed.

In April, Google fielded a survey to business owners, which some agencies also received, asking about potential future features and capabilities for GMB. This was a test and most of these things probably won’t materialize. However, one of the proposed items was “get leads from competitor profiles.”

The ad unit above is not that proposed feature but is consistent with its spirit. Much of local SEO reaction and conversation that follows Fisher’s original Tweet is critical of the move.

People I’ve spoken to about this in the local SEO community feel generally that Google shouldn’t be putting ads for direct competitors on business profiles. Further, some argue it may also be confusing to consumers looking for specific businesses.

Why we should care. There’s a sense that the GMB profile is “owned” by the business. However that’s not correct; it’s Google’s property, just as Facebook owns and controls local Facebook Pages. This is something that businesses should be sober about. However, Google must also be mindful of too-aggressive monetization of local. Some SEOs are saying this is such an example.

It’s probably better that businesses can’t pay to remove these ads because that would be perceived as a form of “extortion,” something Yelp has been accused of — it’s advertisers don’t have competitor ads on their profiles.

The post Google now showing competitor ads on local business profiles appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Read More

The importance of an effective review management workflow

Whether it’s finding accommodation, booking a restaurant, choosing a new car or upgrading software for your business, reviews will impact your purchase decision.

Indeed, nearly 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase, which will have a huge impact on website conversion rates. It’s therefore vital that marketers know how to harness user–generated reviews to their advantage through a proactive review management workflow.

Customers are reading your reviews – don’t ignore them

With the rise of social networks and online review platforms, customers are now more informed than ever before on brands and what others are saying about them. There’s now a plethora of information available to users conducting a quick Google search for “[A BRAND] reviews” which will impact their decision to either get in touch or make a purchase.

Third-party review websites covering various topics are businesses in themselves. Trustpilot, HomeAdvisor, Feefo, Yelp and many more review aggregators make money from businesses who pay a small fee to actively manage what customers are saying about them online. Add to this the fact that most online stores feature customer reviews of any given product and you start to appreciate the impact they can have on customer trust and website conversion rates.

Indeed, 93% of customers are now using reviews to assess the quality of local businesses (BrightLocal), while 72% of customers reportedly don’t take action until they’ve read reviews of a product or service (Testimonial Engine). Instead of leaving review management to your customer service team, reviews should be treated as a marketing conversion lever and managed accordingly.

How then can you keep tabs on what users are saying about your business? All companies are to a certain extent at the mercy of third-party review management sites, so it’s important to monitor and manage this process as best you can. Not forgetting the techniques you can employ on your own web properties to boost trust in your brand through displaying testimonials, client logos and so on.

Create a proactive review management workflow

The review economy relies on consumers willingly sharing their experiences. For customers to write reviews, we need to understand why any consumer would take the time to provide their thoughts on the experience they had with a product or service.

Most reviews are triggered by exceptionally positive or negative customer experiences. These customers will look for a place to share their experiences if they’re not addressed by the company in question to their satisfaction.

Oftentimes, customers just need a gentle push to leave a review. According to BrightLocal, 68% of customers have reportedly left a local business review after being asked to do so. Power Reviews finds approximately 80% of reviews originate from email requests for customer reviews.

Proactively requesting reviews is one way of negating the risk of negative reviews happening in the first place while at the same time encouraging positive customer reviews.

As an example, the following review management workflow could be used to funnel customers into a post-sale or service first-party review process. This means you manage the collection of the ratings as a first step, enabling you to funnel negative customer experiences directly to your customer service team, and encourage customers who have left favorable ratings to go online and spread the word.

One benefit of managing your own review workflow is that you’ll be able to funnel customers toward whichever review platform tends to hold the most weight in your niche, and the platform which gains most visibility when users are searching for your brand name and “review” queries in Google search.

While this type of workflow can be set up at scale using major CRM and email marketing platforms, you can also achieve this using free email tools such as Mailchimp, proving a cost effective method of encouraging customer reviews for small business owners.

Google Alerts

Google alerts is a free tool used to monitor a selection of keywords, which in this case (review and reputation monitoring) would be your brand name.

While it’s not as refined as many paid for reputation management tools, it’s another cost–effective method of keeping on top of what people are saying about your brand online.

Setting up Google Alerts for your business is really simple to do, but don’t forget that you can refine your search terms by using:

  • Quotation marks (“”): Specific words or phrases
  • (Site:): To be notified of new content on specific sites of high value
  • Minus (-): To filter out articles containing certain keywords

Paid tools for reputation management

In addition to the DIY solutions you can create to effectively manage your online reviews, there are a number of paid tools you can utilize if you have the budget.

There are some less expensive tools out there to keep on top of what people are saying about your brand specifically on social media, including Hootsuite and Tweetdeck.

However you decide to monitor your online reviews, ensuring you respond to reviews is vital – 53% of customers expect businesses to reply to their online reviews within seven days (Review Trackers) and your lack of response could have a negative impact on your brand perception, especially on social media.

Sign up to review platforms

As the volume of dedicated review platforms expands, it’s important that you claim and maintain a presence on each of the major platforms in your location and niche.

Major platforms such as Yelp and Google My Business are necessary for all types of businesses and should be claimed and updated as a basic first step for all business owners.

You’ll notice that Google My Business dominates the review landscape for the vast majority of navigational and local queries on Google. Just type your brand and a local keyword into Google and you’ll almost always see Google My Business listings (the “local pack”) complete with reviews returned first.

Remember, your customers will more often than not use Google to search for reviews, so once you’ve worked through the more basic platforms, carry out some research of other review platforms that tend to appear when typing in your brand and “reviews” as well as your service or product and “reviews” search queries into Google.

Displaying reviews and testimonials on your site 

It’s important to not only rely on third party review platforms to help convert your customers. Reviews are an important trust signal that you should utilise wherever possible on your website to boost your conversion rate, and there are a number of different review formats you can utilise to do this:

  • Customer testimonials
  • Case studies
  • Service specific reviews
  • Product specific reviews
  • Third-party reviews and ratings

Don’t forget that 73% of consumers have more trust in a local business after seeing positive reviews, so don’t just rely on off-site reviews, ensure that potential customers have visibility of your reviews directly while browsing your site.

Responding to negative reviews

However well you manage your reviews, inevitably a few poor reviews will make it into the public domain. But don’t fear, the important part is how you respond and manage to them.

Responding to reviews gives the perception that you really care about your customers, and you should be prepared to not only thank customers for their positive reviews, but respond publicly to negative reviews in a proactive manner.

If you’re wondering how to respond to negative reviews, it depends a lot on the severity and nature of the review, but there are some guiding principles:

  1. Never be confrontational
  2. Address the root cause of the issue (listen to what your customers are saying!)
  3. Always respond and apologize
  4. Offer to make things right
  5. Say thanks
  6. Respond in a timely fashion

Conclusion

If you weren’t proactively managing your reviews before reading this post, hopefully some of these stats have changed your mind.

No matter what else you do to attract customers to your website or how much money you spend on advertising, customer reviews will play a role in your customers decision making process, so ignore them at your peril!

The post The importance of an effective review management workflow appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Read More

How to Use Keywords in Your Blogging Strategy

Posted by KameronJenkins

Even though blogging has been around for a while, it looks a lot different today than it did in the early 2000s. In those days, people read your blog because they followed it (anyone else have a few old .blogspot blogs floating around out there?) or subscribed to your RSS feed.

Online behavior has changed since then. While some people might stumble onto a blog they like and subscribe to its email list for updates, many people discover blog content through search engines. With more people searching than ever before, it’s a great time for bloggers to explore using keyword research in their content strategy.

This post was written for those that may be new to blogging, as well as those who have been blogging for some time but are just now starting to explore keyword research.

Ready? It’s time to dive into the beginner’s guide to keyword research for bloggers!

What are keywords?

Keywords are the words someone types (or speaks!) into a search engine.

People use search engines for all sorts of things — things like looking up movie times, seeing what the day’s weather will be like, or getting their local pizza place’s number. Every search is a quest for information, and the goal of search engines like Google is to supply the searcher with a satisfying answer as quickly as possible.

What does this mean for you as a blogger? It means that if you want to write for these searchers, you’ll need to know the questions they’re asking (keywords) and deliver the answer in your blog posts.

How will keywords change my blog strategy?

Blog posts developed on the basis of keyword research are different from other types of blog posts in that they focus on answering an existing question.

Contrast this with something like a blog post about a personal experience, or a post introducing a completely new idea — in both these scenarios, because your content doesn’t answer an existing question, it likely won’t get much traffic from search engines like Google, simply because no one is searching for it.

Does that mean you can only write to answer existing questions? Not at all! Even topics with no search demand could get great engagement and traffic on other channels like Facebook or Twitter, but if you want long-term free traffic, the best place to get it is from Google, and the best way to get Google to send you that traffic is to build your blogs on the foundation of keyword research.

Where do I find keywords?

A keyword research tool like Moz Keyword Explorer will do the trick!

This tool allows you to find new keyword ideas two main ways: by typing in a word or a phrase and getting back related keywords (the “Explore by Keyword” feature):

Gif of someone searching fried tofu recipe by keyword in Keyword Explorer

…or by typing in a page/website and getting back keywords that page or website ranks for (the “Explore by Site” feature):

Gif of someone searching moz.com by root domain in Keyword Explorer

Another great feature is the filter for “are questions” — this allows you to see only keywords that are formatted as questions. Since answering your audience’s questions is such a key component of optimizing your content for search, this is a great tool to give you insight into what your audience wants to know.

What keywords do I pick?

Just because you found a keyword in a keyword research tool doesn’t necessarily mean you should use it in your blogging strategy. Once you have a list of keywords, it’s a good idea to whittle it down. Here’s how.

Choose keywords that match your audience

Knowing your audience is a prerequisite for keyword research because it helps you filter out keywords that, although technically related to your topic, are a mismatch for your audience.

If you haven’t done so yet, document an ideal audience for your blog. For example, if you run a fitness blog, you could write down something as simple as “fitness enthusiasts.” You could also go a bit deeper and create audience personas, full profiles of your ideal audience that include things like age, demographics, and interests.

The deeper your understanding of your ideal audience, the easier it will be to detect which keywords out of the bunch they would have searched for.

Evaluate each keyword’s difficulty score

You may also want to whittle down your keyword list to leave only those with an appropriate Difficulty Score, which Keyword Explorer will assign to every keyword. That score is determined by the strength of the pages that are currently ranking on page 1 for that keyword.

If you’re just getting started blogging and you have a fairly low Domain Authority (which you can check by downloading the MozBar plugin or using the free version of Moz Link Explorer), you may want to start with keywords that have a Difficulty Score in the 20-30 range, or even lower. For more on how to use Difficulty Score in your keyword research, check out this write-up from Rand Fishkin.

Look at each keyword’s search volume

Search volume gives you an estimate of how many people are searching for that keyword every month. It’s great to choose keywords that lots of people are searching for, but remember that quantity doesn’t always equal quality. You may opt for a lower-volume keyword because it’s much more relevant to your audience and your goals.

How do I use the keywords on my page?

When Google’s algorithm was less mature than it is today, it was easy to get your page to rank at the top of search results for certain phrases by repeating that keyword many times on the page.

Over the years though, Google has gotten better at ranking pages that answer the query, rather than just repeat it on the page. This is important to keep in mind because it’s tempting to think that all you have to do with your keyword list is add those words to your pages. To perform well in search engines though, you have to provide an answer to those queries that’s better than anything else out there.

Here are some tips for using keywords to guide your blog content:

  • Keywords are the input. You’re creating the output. Instead of asking yourself “How can I include this keyword on my page?” ask yourself, “How can I answer this question?”
  • You don’t have to have a separate page for every keyword you want to rank for. If you’re writing a blog post about “choosing the best running shoes,” for example, it makes perfect sense to answer multiple questions related to that topic within the same post, such as “road vs. trail running shoes” and “running shoe features.”
  • Check out the pages that are currently ranking for your target keyword and think about how you can create a page better than that.

Where do I go from here?

The best thing to do next is to dive in and try it for yourself! As with most things, keyword research gets easier once you start to apply it.

A huge part of growing your blog effectively is developing a content strategy. There’s a fantastic free video course from HubSpot that walks you through developing your own content strategy, including how to use Moz Keyword Explorer for your keyword research. If you’re a visual learner like me, you should find it helpful!

Take the free course!

The most important thing to remember is that offering the right content tells you what your audience wants to know. As a blogger, this insight is invaluable! Write to answer their questions, and they’ll be more likely to find your content in search engines. 


Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Read More

Google Alternatives

https://vpnandgo.com/google-alternatives/

Complete Guide to Removing Google from Your Life

We are all aware that data collection goes on every time we go on the internet.

From ISP’s to the NSA, data collection is here, and there isn’t much individuals can do about it.

If these two areas are not bad enough, there is Google placed in the middle who collects more data than any other business around the globe.

Everything we do is seen by Google, even if they offer some of the best free services, they are all harvesting snippets of data with each page we visit, or search we make.

Many individuals don’t know there are plenty of opensource alternatives, which we can use as replacements.

Nowadays, there is a vast number of individuals that are fed up with targeted ads, and the intrusion of privacy.

Google is a part of our lives and individuals don’t often realize how much information they hand over to Google subconsciously.

There are countless areas, where their services appear harmless, but underneath, they operate the same as all of their others.

With all this, and more, we will look at how you can rid your life of Google, or at least minimize the impact of their snooping and intrusion of your privacy and use alternatives to Google where possible.

Privacy Concerns

When you look at the list of Google products, it is extensive. From Chrome, Google Maps, Google Docs to name but a few.

These applications and services are everywhere, and are used by millions because of their convenience. One of the more recent additions they include is their Google assistant. Privacy using this will be all but shattered.

With this service, individuals can do anything from ordering pizza, booking flights, or anything else they can think of. Each time a single word is uttered; this can be stored and harvested so a profile of your habits is being directly fed to Google.

Even governments are making a stance against this intrusion, and this can be seen with the European Union’s launch of the General Data Protection Regulations.
Google may have links with the NSA and CIA, while not proven, it is often spoken about.

If this is true, it means the American government agencies have access to the habits of their citizens, as well as habits of anyone who uses the internet.

Users may not be aware, that when they order something online, or use the Google assistant, this online privacy intrusion is now encroaching into their off-line lives as well as.

To reclaim our privacy, we need to be doing what many others are already undertaking.

That is to stop using Google products just because they are convenient, and look for better alternatives, they are out there, and in some cases, they are actually better.

5 Reasons You Should Consider Not Using Google Products

There plenty of Google Privacy Issues all users of the internet should have concerns over. The data harvesting will not get any better, and will only get worse as time goes on.

Here are five reasons users should consider ditching Google products and to look for other alternatives.

1. Tracking

This is the most basic concern, and any user who uses Google search or has a Gmail account will have a profile of their activities. Here, they use their analytics to pull out all relevant information on users.

What makes this worse is this information is given to marketing corporations around the world, so your information is becoming even less private.

Users may not think this goes on, but the company made almost $100 billion in 2017 by selling on user data to marketers.

2. Google Chrome

While this browser enables tracking on a completely different level, there is the concern of all your activities being recorded.

This is the main culprit of all Google products and services that delivers information back to them.

While users can use ad-blockers, Google are even looking at blocking ad-blockers so they can continue targeting ads.

3. Gmail

While this delivers an effective email account. This doesn’t mean it is safe. Not only can they use this to track you and your contacts, hackers are busy gleaning email addresses and information. The service may appear secure, but email accounts or email servers are hacked on an almost daily basis.

4. Data leaks

Users may thing Google Docs is a secure alternative to other online office products.

Nowadays, it may be more secure than it used to be, but a few years ago, there was a big that allowed 0.5% of all the documents stored on the servers to be leaked.

The number of documents stored no compared to then will be significantly more, so if there are bugs in the service now, this number will rise considerably.

5. Google Maps

How will you feel if you knew someone knew where you were every second of the day?

Google maps knows your location, especially if you do searches for other locations. Your starting points are used to calculate distances to a destination. This information can be used by anyone with criminal intent.

In the case of Google, they can see everywhere you stop or go on your route.

Google Search Engine Alternatives

When looking for Google search engine alternatives, you need to understand why this need is there. For one, Google Trackers are in around 75% of the top million or so websites on the internet.

Any search results you find, means there is a likelihood you will be tracked by more than a few occasions.

Aside form this, there is the website tracking which is different to the search terms you are looking for.

There are a few Google search alternatives, and while users may think they don’t deliver good results, they are in some cases better than Google because their results are not manipulated. You will see real world results, and not results that Google wants you to see.

Here are 5 alternatives to Google search that can stop the company logging all your search queries.

DuckDuckGo

For privacy, DuckDuckGo is better than Google. Its reputation as being a privacy centric option is well documented. It doesn’t track any search results, online activity which leads to minimal ads following you around.

It delivers a clean user interface and delivers results from other search engines. There is a DDG extension you can add to your browser to further enhance privacy.

It offers one extra cool feature, you can search sites such as YouTube, Wikipedia and Amazon using an exclamation mark (!w as an example). A drop down allows you to choose from a number of sites using their ‘Bangs’ feature. You can set the default search engine to use this in many browsers.

Qwant

Qwant is a popular search engine that is located in France. The company claims to never harvest user data or record searches for means of targeting ads.

It delivers a feature set similar to DDG such as their Qwick Search Shortcuts which works in the same manner as the ‘Bangs’ shortcuts. Users are presented with a user friendly interface with everything being neatly organised.

When you search, you will be presented with three categories, which comprise News stories, Web and Social.

This search engine has a separate section for music lovers; they can hunt out new music or lyrics which uses the power of AI.

Search Encrypt

Search-Encrypt is a meta-search engine (they extract results of your search from the network of search partners), they make privacy the chief concern to ensure your online safety.

The website claims they keep no user information and uses local encryption to secure searches.

Search Encrypt does its best to prevent custom search filter bubbles. It has over 23 million visitors every day.

The top feature of this alternative to Google search is any local search history will expire, and they remove this every 15 minutes with browser inactivity.

Start Page

Ixquick was an independent search engine besides Google that showed their own results.

Another search engine went into development called Start-Page. This was to include Google best search results but without tracking. In 2009, the two merged and operate under StartPage.

Besides delivering a good number of results for each search query, they offer a proxy service. Users are safe browse securely and anonymously.

To promote the internet with no cookies, users have a custom URL generator. This eliminates any need for cookies. They can save configurations in a privacy focused way.

Additionally, users can change themes. The search engine offers Air (the default), White, Night (Dark mode) and other modes.

Bing

Microsoft’s Bing is the number two most popular search engine. It has a decent market share and is the second largest search engine delivering visual when delivering search engine results.

They deal search results in this high-quality search engine from Yahoo!

The background of the search changes continually to show sports, nature, animals and many other images.

Bing presents ads and services such as conversion, translation, spell checking, sports scores and much more. This is the main Google competitor, and has mobile apps for Android, iOS.

Gmail Alternatives

With close to a billion users, it’s easy to see why Gmail rules the roost of top email clients. Users should never use only one email address, and this is true when it comes from the company which has more information on your than any other organization on the planet.

With claims of email spying in 2013 as a means of better targeting ads, and with this coming, the chance to synch all your email accounts using Gmail, they have a chance to see every email you send or receive.

With this, here are 5 alternatives to Gmail you can use. Using one of these, you will be able to have more than one email client open at once.

Outlook.com

This is closely linked to your Windows operating system. Once you use it, you will find it is one of the best email alternatives to Gmail. It integrates well with Windows and you can synch all your OneDrive, OneNote, contacts, calendar and more.

Outlook.com doesn’t spy on your emails and you can set an expiration period where emails are automatically deleted.

Zoho Mail

Zoho is one of the top CRM packages around. With this, they deliver document storage and another 5 BG of free storage. For business, this can be the best Gmail alternative.

If you have a domain name, it is easy to setup your own email address through Zoho. Features include a simple interface without advertising, great synchronization with notes, documents, calendar, links, and seamless integration with the Zoho mail and CRM side of the online service.

FastMail

FastMail has a reputation of being a feature rich email client. It used to be one of the popular Gmail alternatives when it was a part of the Opera web browser; it was pulled from this and went to a subscription-based service.

With this, business users get an ad free interface that is simple to use along with an antispam feature that is fully customisable. In addition, a calendar app synchs with your email, and thus allows you to send automatic replies.

Tutanota

This email service is based in Germany, and with this, users are presented with end-to-end encryption of their emails.

Being open source, there will be no behind the scenes shenanigans, and it can be the best free email account software for the privacy conscious.

The Android/ iOS app has no links at all with Google, so there is no chance of users being bombarded with ads.

Users can also choose from 5 domain names, get 1GB of free storage, and file transfer sizes of 25 MB.

ProtonMail

This is another encrypted email service that is based in Switzerland where they also have all their servers. Emails are encrypted end to end, and there is not even any personal data needed to setup your email account.

ProtonMail is another opensource app, so nothing is hidden. It is easy to use and comes with a modern inbox design, which is optimized for productivity.

There is a free option, which allows 150 emails per day, and after this, you will need to upgrade which delivers much more on their already excellent service.

Google Calendar Alternatives

There are plenty of people who use the Google Calendar, but this does need a Gmail account to use. For many the Google doc’s calendar does little apart from being a convenience if they have a Gmail account.

Here are 5 great alternatives to this service that will help you manage your time efficiently.

TimeBlocks

TimeBlocks is a cross-platform task and calendar application. It helps users manage time effectively.

It comes with an attractive design, which facilitates the visualization of events. Users can code tasks by colours according to different categories.

One feature is the ability of assigning stickers to a specific day. This helps recognize any events with a quick glance. Users can add Google Photos accounts to search for pictures taken on specific dates.

TimeBlocks is free; however, some features only come when the app comes with a premium subscription.

TimeTree

TimeTree is an excellent free multi-platform calendar application for users who want to keep personal and work calendars separate. Adding to this, they can share and view their calendar easily.

Users can create event calendars in the application. Users may have calendars for different events, but, they can see everything in their daily schedule in the ‘My schedule or Feed tabs’. TimeTree runs on the web, iOS and Android.

Kolab Now

Kolab Now is a group of tools, which is in fact based around a secure email client. It is open- source, so there is no way the source code can be made to do anything it should without anyone noticing.

As well as the email side of things, users can look forward to text messaging, and address book and efficient calendar.

The service is cross-platform so it runs on Windows, Chromebooks, Mac and Linux along with others.

It is easy to access Kolab on the web, as it is to use their Android and iOS apps. All the services to do with this calendar application are based in Switzerland, so users will know it faces strict privacy laws.

Mailbox.org

Mailbox.org is a virtual office that covers all areas. Once you log in, you can see all your tasks on your planner and calendar. It comes with a full featured address book and users can synchronise it across devices.

This app works online or offline and you can invite friends to tasks on your calendar by email.

Mailfence

With the Mailfence calendar, you can integrate plenty of things with no worries about missing any of them.

There is the Mailfence documents, Mailfence contacts and the group chat for collaboration between members.

The service allows you to share with whom you wish even with individuals who don’t have a Mailfenceaccount.

With no tracking and free from government surveillance, users are safe while they are arranging all their tasks and memorable dates.

Google Chrome Alternative

The Google Chrome browser powers many other browser on the market, however, all of these strips out the intrusive parts. It is these parts of Chrome, which relay info back to Google, and is the main area where they get some of their data harvesting from.

Downloaded files, each URL you type, asks users to sign into their Google account, connects to sites in the background without asking for permission.

This is some of the features, and are the areas, which are intrusive. To top all these, the Chrome browser reports home every 30 minutes.

Here are some alternatives to Google Chrome:

Tor Browser

This browser is one of the best ways you can secure your online activities. It is focused on privacy and is based on Firefox.

It uses a separate network, and can be slow. It is mainly used on the desktop, as the Android apps are still net yet fully released.

If you have heard of the dark web, then this is how users access it. If you want privacy, then this Tor browser is the best Google Chrome alternative.

Opera

This is one browser, which is based on Chrome, but it includes its own feature set. It now includes a VPN, although this isn’t fully featured.

Even if it doesn’t work as a full VPN it can be worth enabling it so there is no way Google can trace anything back to you.

It is a good alternative, and users who use it will miss nothing that Chrome offers.

Firefox

The new incarnation of Firefox ‘Quantum’ is as fast as any Google Chrome apk download on Android. It is open-source, so there is no messing with the code, and it is not as harsh on system resources as Chrome.

While many browsers use Chrome as their base, this is built from the ground up and delivers a better experience without tracking in many areas.

Brave

Brave is touted, as being much faster than Chrome, but this isn’t the best features. It has a built in ad-blocker, a tracker blocker so any software, which follows you around the net, will have a hard time.

Like others, which are against the way Chrome reports home, this browser is open-source and was created by the co-founders of the Mozilla, project. These just happen to be the ones who started Firefox.

It can be the best Chrome alternative, but it still lacks as many features without needing to rely on Chrome extensions.

Safari

This browser is for users of macOS or iOS. It is fast and like many Apple software, it is secure. It comes with some solid security features and blocks ads and trackers.

The interface is user friendly and can synch across your devices. There is no risk of it letting your data slip back to Google because Apple isn’t the type of company to let anyone take advantage.

Google Drive Alternatives

Countless individuals use online storage. Google Drive is no different, but is Google Drive secure? From outsiders it is secure.

Data is encrypted when you send it and Google re-encrypt it at their end. However, if you as, is Google Drive Private?

Google scans and analyses everything you upload. While they say it is to protect and offer features, it boils down to seeing how they can make money from you with ads.

Here are some decent Google Drive alternatives:

Sync.com

This Canadian company makes it easy to share and access your documents and files. They use end-to-end encryption so everything is 100% private.

Files of any size can be sent to anyone, and multiple users can access the same sets of folders. You are always in control of your files, and the best is backups are synced automatically.

Mega

While not as capable as some of the cloud services, this is still among one of the best zero-knowledge services.

Users can use private encryption and you can encrypt links to send to other users when sharing files.

While it does allow users to view photos and play videos in a secure manner, it still struggles in the Microsoft office department.

Box

This cloud storage service focuses on security. No matter if you need to comply with any local regulations such as GDPR, there are plenty of tools to help you along the way.

It allows you to automate your workflow in a secure manner. You can set file access and sharing and control any data you have on your cloud-storage.

Everything is encrypted by AES 256-bit encryption that is the same as many VPN’s use. It is a solid Google drive replacement that will not be sharing your data.

pCloud

This online storage solution says even the administration cannot see your files. You can use their pCloud Crypto for this, and only you has the key. Files can be shared on a broad range of devices; they can be shared and worked on.

While it is a paid for service, users can sign up and get 10GB free storage for a single account. Like others, there is file management, sharing, backup and many more.

Dropbox

It was this storage service that really began it all. It is a decent alternative, but even their security and privacy is not the best when you look at others. What it lacks for in security, it makes up for in other features and usability.

Office online is well integrated and delivers very fast data syncing. If you have things, which are not sensitive, then it makes a viable option against Google Drive, but for sensitive data, the above options are a better bet.

Google Docs Alternatives

Google docs are not in fact a suite of applications, they are web pages hosted in your browser. Like many things Google, the company itself can see them.

They do claim they don’t see anything or their web spiders are not allowed to trawl these areas, but you never know.

Here are some Google doc alternatives:

Only Office

This Google doc’s alternative comes with all the same features, and a few more. It has the same collaboration and editing and can be used for personal use.

A business will need to stump up the extra, which delivers many more business centric tools.

You can also integrate a cloud storage account, and from the main dashboard, you can do what you wish with your documents. The one downside is it is only available for Windows and Linux.

Nuclino

With Nuclino, you have a Google docs, photos or other information works in the same way as a website. There is no scrolling through lists, and you can keep organised visually.

The docs themselves are free from bloat and are a pleasure to use compared to the slow Google docs is now.

However, you wish to work with a team, and then Nuclino can help you to achieve this in a safe and secure manner.

Zoho Docs

You may not have heard of the name, but Zoho is a creator of business applications. They deliver secure CRM packages that combine plenty of Google doc alternatives.

It is more than a match for anything Google offers because the company specializes in this kind of software.

It also allows offline working and even a separate desktop app for this.

Office 365

It may appear that Office 365 is Microsoft’s effort at online office. Nevertheless, it is a different beast because it is not free. However, it leaves Google docs in the dust to what it offers, and even language support trounces Google.

Not only this, but with the number of devices it works on, you can see why it is the preferred option. Some users even ditch the full desktop variant for this slimmed down version of the full office suite.

Libre Office

Libre office is another free office suite. It closely follows Microsoft Office because it was seen as a viable alternative. This alone lets you know it is heads above what Google docs can offer.

Device support, customer support and integrations are far ahead. It is a great tool for document creation and it is opensource so there will be no reporting home one every document you create.

Google Photos Alternatives

Although you have the convenience of access with Google photos, there is still the concerns of Google scanning what you upload and store. Not only this, but there are some restrictions on your pictures.

You actually have limited space, which is shared with other Google services, and if your pictures or videos are over a certain size, they will be down sampled. This means you may not be able to store an original quality picture.

Here a few Google Photos alternatives:

Shoebox

This photo service allowed unlimited storage of pictures and free backup. This allows you to have access without any pictures being on your device. It is 100% private and comes with bank-grade encryption.

It did have limitations in picture size, but this was clear. You could also share these pictures with families and friends.

Piwigo

This great Google photos alternative is opensource. Like other apps, there will be no code manipulation.

It has been online for almost 20 years and allows plenty of advanced features. There are themes plugins, batch management and permission control.

It is suitable for individuals, professionals and corporations. You can store medium sized galleries to vast image banks of pictures.

You can store any number of pictures with the same speeds regardless of numbers.

Flickr

Flickr is online photo management tool where you can set the access. You can easily display your work or keep it private with no access.

It allows for short video uploads and will not change any of the quality of your pictures.

You can organise and synch to the cloud in a couple of clicks. To top this, it is nice and secure.

Slidebox

Google uses machine learning to organise your pictures. This means they do know what you are uploading.

Slidebox lets you do this manually. It may sound cumbersome, but you will thank yourself for doing it, and then you can remove Google photos from any devices you have it on.

You can easily create folders and with a swipe on the screen of your iOS or Android device, you can move them where you want or delete them.

Cluster

Cluster is free and acts like a personal and private social media platform. You can take your pictures, shove them in folders, and invite friends or family to view them.

You will see who has looked at them and commented. You can also be invited to contribute to other peoples albums. This service does collect some user data to improve services.

YouTube Alternatives

It might be time to say goodbye YouTube. Although there is lots of content here, you are presented with what Google wants you to choose from.

When you watch one video, your options change. This means they know exactly what you find interesting, and with this, they can bombard you with targeted ads.

Here are some alternatives to YouTube:

Vevo

This is one of the best alternatives to YouTube for music lovers. There is an endless supply of music videos available but it does lack some of the diversity of YouTube so the first couple of times you may be disappointed.

You always find high quality content, and the site is easy to use.

Veoh

This site allows uploading videos of any length, so it can be one of the best alternative YouTube sites.

It delivers a clear user interface and has millions of videos available for users to choose from. You can start some social sharing to build up your popularity before you explode like many YouTubers. All this without the ads.

Bitchute

Bitchute is a P2P video platform. It focuses on people and free speech. It is free to join, and from then you can create your own videos and upload them at your leisure.

As you upload a video, these are decrypted, split into sections and spread around the cloud like torrent files.

This video sharing website pulls the files back together as users want to watch them. Because of this, it is hard to censor or ban any of the videos. It is a YouTube alternative, but it may serve specific sets of individuals.

DailyMotion

This is the best alternative for YouTube. There are tons of options where users can discover sports, music festivals, comedy and video game streams.

The audience is massive and there are over 3.5 billion watched videos each month.

It is as old as YouTube and delivers a pared back experience. The difference being users can upload copyrighted material as well as nudity. This delivers more freedom for creators and uploaders.

Vimeo

Last on the YouTube replacements list is Vimeo. It is not directly trying to compete with YouTube but it is one of the better alternatives. It is home to artistic creators and delivers a great place for them to show off their work.

The downsides are you have limits on the upload limit. This is small by comparison and can be upgraded with a fee.

alternatives to google maps

Google Maps Alternatives

Google maps is useful in a few situations. It can still record everywhere you go and pass this information back to Google. This can build up a lot of information over time.

There are a few Google maps alternative, and some even work offline whereas Google maps doesn’t.

Apple Maps

User experiences can vary between regions, Apple maps can actually deliver better results for directions than Google maps.

It is due a complete overhaul where the mapping data has been captured by Apple itself. It is not one to count out as being a great alternative.

Citymapper

This service comes for iOS and Android. Its focus is urban travel and will include all travel options in its results. This comprises bicycles, ferries, rail and any other means. It also integrates with Uber and Lyft and any local ferries if there are any.

Setting addresses for home and work, you are delivered real-time estimates.

Maps.me

No connection, no problem for this alternative to Google maps. It is not quite as accurate as Google Maps, but using GPS, it means you are never without a mapping application. It is one of those apps you just need for when Google or your connection fails you.

Google Play Store Alternatives

Every app you install on your Android devices, this goes back to Google. If they are paid apps, then this is even worse as your payment details are sent back.

You may not think Google holds data here, but each time you go to your Google Play Dashboard, it knows what apps you installed, removed and what is stored on your device.

Google store tracking can find out more than other areas because you are inputting data directly.

Here are a few Play Store options:

Aptoide

This Android alternative store was built on the same standards as the Play Store. It has an interface that is comparable and has over 700,000 apps for users to choose from. With over 3 billion downloads it is holding its own against the Google offering.

Aptoide comes for phones and tablets along with versions for smart TV’s and set-top boxes. Users can download APK’s directly before installing them. It is safe and easy to use.

Yalp Store

This allows you to download APK’s directly from the play store. These will update and you can search for alternatives.

It also allows you to carry out package manager features such as listing, running or uninstalling apps.

This does still connect to Google services via a built in account. This means you don’t need a Google account to use it.

F-Droid

F-Droid focuses on free and opensource apps. Users may ask is F-Droid safe because of this?

The entire site and store is run by volunteers and because of this and the opensource nature, everything is safe for users.

The apps don’t have reviews so you may need to do some research to find the best F-Droid apps, but it is a great alternative where you may find something different.

Amazon Appstore

This has become one of the best Play Store alternatives free and paid for apps. With over 334,000, there is plenty to choose from.

It also dishes up a free app of the day. This allows users to obtain a premium app for nothing.

Books, music and movies are also available cheaper than on the play store.

APKMirror

This store only hosts free apps. Additionally it is a website only as they don’t have their own Android store app. All apps are tested for malware and guaranteed safe for download.

With a user-friendly interface, users can easily search the many different options.

1AppMarket

This Play Store alternative delivers fast download speeds and ease of use. It only serves free apps and comes with no malware in any of the files.

There may not be as many apps available when users search market apps, but it is still steadily growing, so it will have decent numbers soon.

Google can collect data regarding your activities

In Conclusion…

When you go through all of the above, you can see all the areas where Google can collect data regarding your activities.

It isn’t right that one company can know so much about each individual, and users do need to do something against it.

With all the alternatives listed above, it can be a great start to stop Google from trespassing on your privacy.

The options above are just the tip of the iceberg, and there are many other areas where you can stop google from watching and tracking what you do online.

It can be hard, and it can be difficult for some people, but to regain user privacy, it is something many privacy conscious individuals are either contemplating, are in the process of or have already switched in certain areas.

Read More

Video marketing tops list of marketers’ priorities, voice search ranks low

According to new research which surveyed over 1,000 creative and digital marketing decision-makers, video is the top priority for the remainder of 2019 and into 2020. The Mondo Creative & Digital Trends report revealed that 67% of digital marketers and creatives anticipate video marketing as their first priority. When it comes to search engine marketing, however, respondents indicated that visual and voice search are much lower on the priority list.

Why we should care

The types of video marketing that respondents expect to invest in most include Instagram stories (66%) and newsfeed videos (62%). Gifs (52%), cinemographs (31%), live streaming (28%) and IGTV (28%) were among other top-ranking video types respondents anticipate producing.

Unsurprisingly, the prioritization of Instagram stories and newsfeed videos varied between B2B and B2C marketers; B2B marketers lean towards newsfeed videos, while B2C marketers rank Instagram stories higher.

Beyond video, survey respondents indicated that experiential marketing (31%), micro-moments (28%), motion design (24%), visual search (21%) and voice search (10%) are important to their 2019-2020 marketing efforts.

Voice search did not rank as a top priority for digital marketers, according to Mondo. Only 17% indicated their websites are already optimized for search or have plans to implement changes in the next 12 months. Thirty-five percent have or plan to optimize their websites for visual search.

Digital marketers ranked audience targeting (86%) as the top component informing their paid search strategies in the next year, with keywords (83%) and remarketing (76%) also ranking high on the list of priorities.

While more devices with voice activations continue to enter the market, marketers might not be fully prepared for a shift towards voice search. With video currently sitting at the top of the marketers’ wishlist, we can’t let emerging search trends fall by the wayside.

More on the news

  • GDPR compliance is a high priority for 55% percent of those surveyed.
  • Fourty-one percent of respondents cited artificial intelligence or machine learning technologies.
  • Reactive design was also ranked by 38% of respondents as a high priority in 2019-2020 marketing plans.
  • Earlier this year, the IAB and eMarketer reported that advertisers are expected to dedicate more than half of video budgets to original content this year.

The post Video marketing tops list of marketers’ priorities, voice search ranks low appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Read More

Yoast SEO 11.9: More fixes and enhancements

Are you ready for another exciting release to round up the Yoast SEO 11 cycle? Because we are! In Yoast SEO 11.9, we have improvements for Schema and security, we have bug fixes and updates for Local and News SEO!

Improving Schema once again

With the closing of the Yoast SEO 11 releases we’ve yet again improved Schema in the plugins! The Yoast WooCommerce SEO plugin had a bug showing invalid Schema when a product used the placeholder image, so we fixed that. We’ve also improved Schema output in the News SEO plugin.

With Yoast SEO 12.0 around the corner, you might fear that we think we’re done with Schema output in the Yoast SEO plugins. Fortunately, this is not the case! We’ll continue to improve and work on Schema in future releases as well.

Curious for more Schema? Looking for a way to extend our Schema implementation? Why don’t you dive into our Schema documentation?

Tightening the security of the plugins

Somehow security is something people find not very interesting. But you do lock up your house when you leave it because you don’t want anyone to steal your tv, right? Updating to the latest version of a plugin is essentially locking your website to make sure no one can get in. A criminal does not need an open door, an open window or even thin glass won’t stop them. It’s the same with software: they don’t need a password to maybe do malicious things to your website. That’s why we always give high priority to possible security issues in our plugins. For this release, the incomparable Juliette Reinders -Folmer — helped us improve the security of the plugins to make sure there won’t be possible malicious data.

Local SEO improvements

We’ve updated our Local SEO plugin, because Google went from two different API keys to just one. New users of the Local SEO plugin will see a field in the API key tab where they can enter their API key. Existing users can add their API keys the regular way, but we encourage you to use the new API key.

Local SEO now also gives you notifications when you have set an API key in a constant in your wp-config.php file. In addition, we fixed a bug that caused the map settings tab to show an empty panel without an API key present. It now shows a notification.

News SEO improvements

We gave the News SEO plugin quite some love this release! The add-on now has its own tab in the Yoast SEO meta box.

We’ve also fixed a bug where the @type in the schema output would be NewsArticle instead of Article for articles which were excluded from the news sitemap. And we’ve fixed a bug where news article pages and custom post types included in the news sitemap, would not receive an author in the schema output.

Bug fixes in Yoast SEO 11.9

In Yoast SEO for WordPress, we’ve fixed a bug where the image from the configuration wizard notification was missing an empty alt attribute. No need to read that sentence again, we’ll explain what this means! In absence of an alt attribute, screen readers will try to announce something to you. This means in most cases the screen readers will try to announce a part of the image URL, which is far from ideal. Decorative images need an empty alt and that’s what this fixes!

Another bug we squashed concerned missing translations from the meta box, sidebar, configuration wizard and the help center. We love our translators and it’s much easier to read the information in your native language.

Bug fixes in Yoast SEO Premium

In Yoast SEO Premium, we’ve fixed a bug where multiple redirects would be created when editing taxonomies on a multisite environment. In addition, the social preview forms no longer appears on taxonomies twice. We love social media, but there’s no need to let you fill in those forms multiple times.

Update to Yoast SEO 11.9

That’s it! We’re very proud to deliver the last release of the Yoast SEO 11 cycle. Don’t forget to update!

The post Yoast SEO 11.9: More fixes and enhancements appeared first on Yoast.

Read More

Skip to content