Monday, April 24, 2017

The Ad-Blocking Arms Race: Weekly Forum Update

Ahoy, and welcome to another weekly update from the Developer Shed Network! Our communities have been positively singing with activity lately – and we’re prepared to relay the song to you here, in blog post form.

On WebmasterWorld, forum members are discussing the ad-blocking arms race. Some researchers at Princeton and Stanford think they’ve developed a magic bullet ad-blocker, but will it stand the test of time?

In a different thread, members are talking about Google’s new AI chip – it’s so powerful that it takes the place of a dozen data centers Google would have had to build otherwise!

Then we’ll shift focus to Cre8asiteforums where members are pondering the difference between data mining and text mining, and SEO Chat where our senior members are talking about how to optimize your traffic.

It’s bound to be an update full of expert information – let’s get started!

The Ad Blocking Arms Race May Now Be Over

In ancient times, man developed the club. Then, later, another man invented the helmet. Still later, another man made the gun – and after him, someone invented the bullet proof vest. The race between arms and armor can be compared to the race between ads and ad-blocking. Researchers at Princeton and Stanford believe they’ve created an ad-blocker that will conquer all online advertising that currently exists…and all that is to come.

“The ad blocker they’ve created is lightweight, evaded anti ad-blocking scripts on 50 out of the 50 websites it was tested on, and can block Facebook ads that were previously unblockable,”

according to an article from Motherboard.

WebmasterWorld member robzilla doesn’t think this is the greatest thing since sliced bread:

“It ain’t over till the fat lady sings. This isn’t ad blocking, it’s ad hiding. What’s the point of that? You waste a ton of bandwidth and it won’t make pages load any faster.”

Other members speculate that ad-blocking is actually a fading practice – many web surfers will whitelist a  site if they’re asked nicely enough.

Report: Google Plans Ad Blocking in Chrome

Princeton and Stanford aren’t the only ones with ad-blockers on the brain! Google will be adding ad-blocking features to the mobile and desktop versions of Chrome in the near future. A little weird from a company that runs AdSense and AdWords, no? But Google is a beast with many heads – it does have users and their positive experiences to tend to. P

eter_S wonders if, since ad-blocking will be set to “on” by default, this means that AdSense ads will escape the block. Keyplyr writes,

“If Google blocks all other ads except AdSense, it will find itself in another anti-trust suite.”

The standards appear to be defined by the Coalition for Better Ads – and that doesn’t leave AdSense off the chopping block.

How Is Text Mining Different From Data Mining?

Surely you’ve heard of data mining – when researchers sift through mounds of data, in this case about website visitors, to discover patterns and trends. Text mining is a branch of data mining that focuses purely on the text created by web users.

“Social scientists use text mining tools to learn about shifting public opinion; marketers use it to learn about consumers’ opinions of products and services; and it has even been used to predict the direction of stock markets,”

according to an article from libraryconnect.

EGOL on Cre8asiteforums adds that, as useful as some of that sounds, a lot of text mining is just spam.

“Try to search for a physician in a small community. Instead of finding a physician, you will find professional spam. A lot of affiliate sites that promote retail products are produced by methods that are really professional copyright infringement but the text is professionally obfuscated to make them look otherwise.”

April Showers Bring Google Updates?

There are plenty of sayings in life about the weather in April – but how about the “SEO weather?” The members of WebmasterWorld are seeing wild fluctuations in their website rankings and traffic lately, and it has plenty of webmasters on edge. Is a new Google update on the horizon? Has it already arrived?

“We saw half of our tracked keywords plummet between 80 – 100 places on Tuesday 18th, some were previously on page 1 in solid positions now on page 10+,”

writes pavsid. Reseller writes that

“RankRisk showing high level of Google Desktop SERP Fluctuations…Of course it could be the start of algorithm update, who knows :)”

What’s going on? Head over to WebmasterWorld to hear the latest gossip and find out!

Should We Start Talking About STO?

This is a topic of great personal interest to me! Every webmaster out there seems to be obsessed with getting the MOST traffic they can – why aren’t they focused on getting the BEST traffic instead? Two users who convert are better than fifty who don’t, isn’t that true? Pierre Benneton on SEO Chat writes that

“I noticed that most of my leads and clients only see SEO work as the generation of the maximum possible traffic to a website but they do not understand the importance of the traffic quality. At several occasions I’ve totally repositioned websites on Google…by targeting different keywords with a lower number of monthly searches…”

Prof.stan also has a great post in this thread that describes strategies to communicate to your client about the value of specific traffic avenues. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how well you do your job – you have to be able to prove it in writing too!

Building an AI Chip Saved Google From Building a Dozen New Data Centers

This is no potato chip! Google discovered that voice search was about to put a huge load on their data centers. They’d need a dozen or more new centers to process all the voice requests. Instead of going big, they went for efficiency instead – and developed an AI chip that can process these voice requests through “deep neural networks.”

The chip is called the Tensor Processing Unit.

“Next they should build a chip in our minds, that would save a lot of data centers,” mosxu quips. Ergophobe writes, “I see far-reaching implications here, way beyond what they cover in that article. What does this article tell you about the future of SEO?”

Give this a read and share your own answer!

Mobile-First And the Link Graph

The mobile-first web, the mobile-first web: that’s all we’ve been talking about for the last two or three months, it feels like. And yet, the mobile-first web is still months away from being here! What’s the hold up? Well, if you’ve been following the news, Google wants the mobile-first index to have a “neutral” impact on its SERP quality.

Part of the problem in achieving that is the difference between desktop and mobile link graphs. Mobile sites and users simply don’t use as many links as desktop sites do. That begs the question – once Google figures it out, how will the link graph be impacted?

“John Mueller responded to a tweet that he doubts it will have a major impact,”

writes Threadwatch contributor Mr-X. But how can it not with such a massive disparity between links on mobile and desktop sites? The mechanism that Google chooses to close the gap will be very interesting to study, that much is for sure!

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