Reader's Corner No. 92: Fighting an Algorithm You Cannot See, Optimizing for Questions, and 2018 SERP Changes Impacting Organic Search

January 24, 2019

Some hot topics tonight on this week's Reader's Corner! Learn about how to fight an algorithm you cannot see, how 2018 SERP changes are impacting organic search, and how to research, monitor, and optimize for questions in search.

How Do You Fight an Algorithm You Cannot See?

Michael Nicholson

Source: TechCrunch.

A group of activists in Germany attempted to recreate an open version of their credit bureau's (Schufa) algorithm generates their credit scores. By using a large sample of citizens data, OpenSchufa has found that the algorithm may be very error-prone, producing negative results without any negative evidence in the credit history.

This example shines a light on a larger problem; many societal decisions are being made by 'black box algorithms' where the human component (outside of the developers who made the algorithm) may not have any insight into how the decision is made. That makes validating that all decisions are made for legal reasons difficult. Furthermore, the introduction of deep learning may make it difficult or impossible for even the developers to understand how the final decisions are made.

As digital decisions in our society, businesses, and life increase, it's important to make sure that we understand how those decisions are made.

Tags: #Machine-Learning, #Technology

How to Research, Monitor, and Optimize for Questions

Stephen Pashby


Takeaway: Q&A format is becoming more important in organic search results (e.g. voice search, People Also Ask, etc.). 1) Research is important to figure out questions to answer. 2) Q&A should be incorporated into your content strategy.

Tags: #SEO, #PeopleAlsoAsk

How Did the 2018 SERP Changes Impact Organic Search?

David Minton

Source: Search Engine Watch

Takeaway: It’s January; time for those involved in Search Engine Optimization to review search engine behemoth Google’s 2018 algorithm updates, and formulate recommendations for 2019. This week, Search Engine Watch covered seven best practices based on recent changes. The best of these recommendations include implementing HTTPS encryption to avoid dropping in rankings, focus your website Mobile First to improve listings for mobile search users, optimize content for Featured snippets and Knowledge panels for top SERP position, and optimize ALT tags for success in Image Search..

Tags: #SEO #Google

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