Facebook's media arms race

on Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Is the social platform protecting its rights or taking away others' in the new battle on ad blockers?

Image Courtesy : Al Jazeera

Facebook has declared war against ad blockers and says that protecting revenues for media outlets was a key motivating factor.

Recently, millions of Facebook users who have applied ad blocker systems have found their feeds littered with advertisements they had already opted out of seeing. 

Facebook was behind this action, blocking the ad blockers in order for these ads to appear once again on user feeds. 

With $6.4bn in revenue in the first quarter of 2016, it is clear to see why Facebook is invested in this cat-and-mouse game with the ad blockers and the open-source community that supports them.

Facebook released a statement regarding the ad blocker situation, claiming "user experience" and not much else as a reponse to why blockers have been overruled.

However, some might argue that the lack of transparency regarding the platform's social media streams may have been echoed by the ad blockers themselves.

With ad blockers using "white listing", that is a payment by publishers to keep ads unblocked, is this media battle truly a matter of moral fabric or simply a series of business decisions? 

We take a look at what the Facebook vs the ad blocker battle really means for users, publishers and for Facebook's own business model.

Talking us through the story are: Ben Williams, PR manager, Adblock Plus; Justin Schlosberg, lecturer in journalism and media at Birkbeck University; Lara O'Reilly, senior editor at Business Insider; and Raghav Bahl, founder of Quintillion Media.

Source: Al Jazeera

Black Hat SEO Tactics to avoid

on Tuesday, 2 August 2016
In search engine optimization (SEO) terminology, black hat SEO refers to the use of aggressive SEO strategies, techniques and tactics that focus only on search engines and not a human audience, and usually does not obey search engines guidelines.

Image Courtesy : positionly.com

These practices are against the search engine's terms of service and can result in the site being banned from the search engine and affiliate sites. A list of tactics and strategies employed by black hat SEO practitioners have been openly denounced on Google's Webmaster Guidelines and Bing's Webmaster Guidelines.

"Is the work that I'm doing adding value to the user or am I just doing this for search engines to see?" is a litmus test on whether an SEO tactic would go against a search engine's webmaster guideline. If no value is added to the user, but rankings are likely to increase, then your decisions are highly likely to be black hat. The same test can be applied to to paid search practices to determine whether an activity is considered black hat ppc.

Black Hat SEO Tactics

The following SEO tricks are considered as black hat and should not be exercised at all if you want to stay in SERP with Google and other search engines.
  • Content Automation
  • Doorway Pages
  • Hidden Text or Links
  • Keyword Stuffing
  • Reporting a Competitor (or Negative SEO)
  • Sneaky Redirects 
  • Cloaking
  • Link Schemes
  • Guest Posting Networks
  • Link Manipulation (including buying links)
  • Article Spinning
  • Link Farms, Link Wheels or Link Networks
  • Rich Snippet Markup Spam
  • Automated Queries to Google
  • Creating pages, subdomains, or domains with duplicate content
  • Pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing, viruses, trojans, and other malware

Avoid Black Hat SEO Tactics

Black Hat SEO tactics can get your website banned from Google and other search engines.                  
Though there may be some short-term success through increased traffic to your site, Google penalties are getting more and more sophisticated and can have devastating effects on your rankings and traffic. With hundreds of millions of users searching on Google per day, can you really afford to be de-indexed?