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Google News inclusion is automated, sorry publishers; Monday’s daily brief

Plus, Google introduces Mobile Web Certification for partners

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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Google officially launches SeekToAction for key moments for videos in search

Previously announced at Google I/O, SeekToAction markup is now out of beta.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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Actionable conversion optimization tactics — just $99

Secure your spot now — Early Bird rates expire next Saturday, July 31!

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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Answer MarTech’s survey on attending or exhibiting at in-person events

MarTech’s Event Participation Index has been following how ready marketers are for conferences. Please tell us your thoughts.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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3 Reasons Why Marketers Should Care About Data Security (And How to Get Started)

Over the last two years, you’ve probably heard a lot about cybersecurity.

Like many big, serious-sounding concepts, it feels like it sometimes plays out above our heads — the territory of huge conglomerates and governments, or maybe your IT department. And, let’s face it, not too interesting for professionals in marketing, sales, or services.

You may have even found yourself thinking, “Yeah, there are people worrying about this, but we probably don’t have to.”

As a product manager for security at HubSpot, I spend a lot of time thinking about this topic. Today I’d like to explore how essential good data protection and account security are to marketers and the businesses they represent.

It all starts with one thing: trust.

Why Marketers Should Care About Data Security

1. Trust is a cornerstone of the inbound marketing methodology.

You build trust in your business in a multitude of ways.

This could be exemplifying expertise in your field or providing great service centered around the customer experience. You also build trust by creating genuine relationships with customers that transcend simply converting a lead — and includes ongoing support that brings your customers enough success that they feel comfortable recommending your service to anybody they know.

At the end of the day, building and maintaining trust is a key ingredient to keeping your flywheel spinning.

Without it, this whole machine grinds to a halt.

Loss of trust is a catastrophic hit for a business and a brand, too. For example, few things can cause a customer to sever a relationship with a company more quickly than a data breach. In fact, one in four Americans won’t do business with data breached companies.

2. Prospects and customers trust marketers to keep personal data secure.

Every day, your potential customers put trust in you — quite a lot of trust, in fact — when they do things like fill out contact forms on your website, register for your webinars, or sign up for free trials of your service.

By giving you their personal information, they’re putting a massive amount of trust not only in your business but in you as the marketer who maintains those tools. They’re trusting you to keep their personal information safe, not to abuse it (say, by sending them a bunch of spammy emails), and to use it in their best interest to help them meet their goals.

3. Proper use of data isn’t enough anymore — you need to keep customer data safe.

You’ve probably heard conversations about the proper use of customer data, such as emails, centered around the concept “don’t misuse the information.”

For example: don’t over-email someone, don’t send them offers you don’t have any reason to believe they’d be interested in or don’t contact them without their consent.

Just as important is a conversation you may be a little less familiar with — how to actually keep prospect and customer information safe, and out of the hands of people who would use that information to harm them.

If you’re not as familiar with that side of the conversation, that’s understandable. The risk of bad actors gaining unauthorized access to customer data at scale is relatively new.

At HubSpot, we believe it’s just as valuable as any other way to inspire and maintain trust.

As a marketer, you are the steward of your customers’ data.

The job of a marketer doesn’t stop at generating leads or building a brand. 

There’s another important piece to the puzzle — being a trustworthy steward of customer data. 

If customers place their trust in you because of all the hard work you’ve done to build those quality relationships, to build a brand that’s seen as trusted in your field, to create a community of evangelists who have encouraged others to trust you too — then it’s imperative that you hold up your end of the bargain.

It’s your job to do what is in your personal control to validate that trust and keep customer data safe. 

Start with the Fundamentals

Luckily, implementing security best practices to keep your online accounts safe isn’t difficult. In fact, you can get started on many of these things right away.

Here’s a list of content to help any marketer set up the foundational elements of security:


HubSpot Academy Content and Webinars:

You’ve done a great job building relationships, communities, and image around your business. You can do a great job of security, too — and be a steward your customers can trust.

Reblogged 5 days ago from

The importance of accurate keyword difficulty scores

30-second summary:

  • Keyword difficulty (KD) scores help digital marketers understand potential search engine performance
  • KD scores are useful in building SEO strategies, filtering out ineffective keywords
  • Low competition keywords give an advantage in attracting traffic
  • Some KD calculating tools may be inaccurate due to the use of limited parameters
  • Semrush has developed a new formula for KD score calculations that it says has improved accuracy

With countless companies competing for the same audience, digital marketers need to develop a highly effective and targeted content strategy to find a way through the crowded market and connect with potential customers. Keyword difficulty (KD) is an essential metric to assist marketers in formulating an effective SEO strategy for reaching the top of search engine results pages (SERP).

Focusing on a keyword with a low KD score can achieve faster results with traffic from search engines as there is less competition. Whereas keywords with a higher KD score will typically have far more competition in search results, making it much harder to appear near the top of SERPs in the short term. Long-term improvements are achievable but will take time and require multiple SEO measures to be implemented.

KD calculation tools can determine how effective a keyword may be in search results. However, a lot can depend on the SEO tools that digital marketers are using. Such tools are not always accurate due to the limited parameters that can vary from developer to developer. The result is that the KD calculation may be inaccurate and even lead a digital marketer to believe that their keywords will perform better in practice than in reality.

Content created in partnership with Semrush.

Semrush, an online visibility management platform provider, has developed what it says is a proven formula to achieve an accurate KD percentage score based on in-depth research into SEO patterns and client feedback.

How Semrush’s Keyword Difficulty platform works

This year, Semrush released an updated version of its KD metric. The new formula was the result of extensive lab testing by the company’s team of data scientists and engineers. They studied patterns of SERP activity for approximately 120,000 keywords, covering more than 100 parameters and varying contexts to determine an accurate KD value. Alongside this, the teams analyzed the data to determine the difficulty that keywords would face in using SEO to appear on the first page of search results.

The three steps to decode your SERP standing and opportunities

Semrush’s platform has three steps to calculate the formula.

1. SERP analysis

The first involves SERP analysis, where the median value is identified for three metrics throughout URLs on the first page of search results. The three median values are:

  • The number of referring domains pointing to the ranking URLs
  • The authority score of the ranking domains
  • The ratio of follow/no-follow links to the ranking URLs

2. Keyword parameter analysis

The second step is an analysis of keyword parameters. This considers the above SERP factors, alongside a closer inspection of individual keywords. All factors are weighted differently in Semrush’s formula regarding the likelihood of influencing the first-page ranking.

The parameter weighted the highest by some way is the median number of referring domains for ranking URLs, totaling 41.22 percent. While the second-largest weighted share is the median authority score for ranking domains at 16.99 percent. Search volume is third with 9.47 percent, and the median follow/no-follow ratio for ranking URLs is a fraction lower in the fourth position at 9.17 percent.

Other parameters include featured snippets, branded keywords, and site links, with the weighted share becoming progressively smaller. Factors that can harm the KD score are keywords with a high word count and no SERP features.

3. The calculations

The third step is the calculation itself. The formula also adapts for each country, taking a nation’s population size and the number of websites into account when calculating the KD score based on Semrush’s regional database.

What KD scores mean for your SEO performance

On Semrush’s KD platform, the user can enter up to 100 keywords at a time to check the KD score. Crucially, the platform can help the user find valuable low-competition keywords. KD scores can also be calculated for both long-tail and local keywords. In addition, the tool allows the user to compare their SEO strategy with competitors to see what is performing well and identify any keyword gaps.

The results provide the user with the KD rating and advice on what they need to do next to gain hits. At the lower end of the scale, scores of 0-14 percent are classed “very easy” with the strongest likelihood of new pages appearing near the top of Google rankings without the need for backlinks.

The next step up is 15-29 percent, which is considered “easy”. While there may be some competition, it remains possible to achieve a high ranking for new web pages. However, this will require quality content based on the keywords.

Things get progressively harder as the KD scores get higher. A score of 85-100 percent, for example, is classified “very hard”, where keywords face the strongest competition and the odds are stacked against new websites breaking through. A ranking is still possible through features such as on-page SEO, link building, and campaigns to promote content. In this instance, pay-per-click advertising may prove more beneficial.

To find out more about Semrush and its Keyword Difficulty platform download its recent whitepaper.

The post The importance of accurate keyword difficulty scores appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Twitter may be developing a new layout that makes it look more like Facebook

Twitter's apparent layout change is still in development.

Twitter may soon make photos just a tiny bit wider on mobile.

Noted tech detective Jane Manchun Wong revealed on Thursday that Twitter appears to be developing a new timeline layout for its mobile app. Rather than the current format that gives images a margin around them, the new layout will make pictures large enough to reach the edges of your phone screen.

Wong’s screenshot of the potential changes also indicates that users’ profile images will be repositioned to accommodate for the new manner in which images are displayed. Rather than appearing next to the text of a tweet, profile images will appear above it next to the profile name and username.

It all looks very Facebook.

Wong noted that reply tweets don’t appear to be affected by the design change, with a grey line still linking them to the tweet they’re responding to and the margin still present. Still, this could easily change. Twitter’s redesign is still in development, and there isn’t any guarantee that it will be released soon — if it is even released at all.

Mashable has reached out to Twitter for comment. However, CEO Jack Dorsey has already responded to Wong’s tweet to say the change is “much better,” lending even more credence to her historically credible reverse engineering. Wong previously revealed accurate details of subscription service Twitter Blue before it was even announced.

UPDATE: July 17, 2021, 1 p.m. AEST A Twitter spokesperson told Mashable that while they’re “always exploring ways to improve Twitter,” they have no more specifics to share on this new potential layout for now. However, they noted a May tweet from Twitter’s chief design officer Dantley Davis that stated the company would “have more to share soon on additional tests and improvements [they’re] making to images on Twitter.”

The official Twitter Support has now responded to Wong’s tweet as well, hinting at its accuracy.

Related Video: How to not get your social media hacked

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20 Snapchat tips and tricks for newbies and power users

Step up your Snap game with the hidden Snapchat features

Snapchat can really do it all these days – take a quick pic, send a text chat, Shazam a song, or even locate your friends on a map. Some of these features are pretty intuitive, but others are hidden away, waiting for true Snap aficionados to find them.

Maybe you’re new to the app, or maybe you’re just a power user looking to learn a new trick or two. In any case, this guide will show you Snapchat tips, tricks, and secrets to turn your basic Snaps into Snapsterpieces.

9 ways to create Snapsterpieces

1. Draw with secret color palettes

The secret  Snapchat color palettes are just a few taps away.

The secret  Snapchat color palettes are just a few taps away.
Credit: Screenshots / Mashable composite

Hate on the redesign all you want, but it did make finding secret colors easier.

Previously, users had to drag the rainbow slider in a very specific ways to access secret colors. Now, all it takes is a few taps. Tap on the pen tool, and tap the Venn diagram icon under the rainbow slider to access greyscale and pastel sliders, as well as a second version of rainbow slider.

2. Draw with emoji brushes

Turn a banana...

Turn a banana…
Credit: Screenshot / Haidee Chu

... into a happy banana

… into a happy banana
Credit: Screenshot / Haidee Chu

You can draw with emoji the same way you draw with the pen tool. Tap on the heart-eyed emoji under the Venn diagram icon, and you’ll find a range of emoji paintbrushes at your disposal.

3. Make Snapchat stickers

Some eyebrows, maybe?

Some eyebrows, maybe?
Credit: Screenshots / Mashable composite

Some shots are sooo good that you want to use them over and over again. So when life gives you a good shot, make stickers.

Tap the scissor icon, and trace the object you want to clone. Snapchat will automatically smooth out the edges for you and save your object as a sticker. Tap the memo icon to access your custom sticker, and place and scale it however you want.

4. Use grids, focus, and timer, Appa!

3…2…1…smile, Appa!
Credit: screenshot: snapchat / jennimai nguyen

Appa perfectly centered on the grid.

Appa perfectly centered on the grid.
Credit: screenshot: snapchat/jennimai nguyen

These three features are simple but helpful.

Grids will help you stick with the rules of third.

Focus will blur out everything but faces.

And timer will help you take selfies.

To access these tools, all you have to do is hit the small arrow bubble under the flash icon when you enter camera mode.

5. Attach emoji and stickers to a moving object

This hidden feature will come in handy if you’re making a reveal video or a video with a moving object.

Once you record the video, hit the memo icon to access your stickers. Choose one of them, scale it to your desired size, and hold down the sticker — your video should freeze now. Attach the sticker to the moving object, and voila!

You can use this trick for text, too!

6. Make 3D paintings

Snapchat has some pretty cool augmented reality features, and one of them lets you create AR paintings.

Tap the search icon, and type in “3D Paint.” Select the lens of the same name, press and hold on your screen where you want to paint, and have at it!

You can choose between matte, metallic, rainbow, neon, and iridescent brushes. You get to change the paint color and brush size, too.

7. Add text effects

Why use static text when you can make it move?

To use Snapchat’s AR text feature, tap the search icon, and type in “3D Caption.” Select the lens with that name.

You can pick from a couple effects — round, spooky, bubble, wavy, layers, and script. This feature will not only animate text, but also add filters to your entire image or video.

8. Add filters

So! Many! Options!

So! Many! Options!
Credit: Screenshots / Mashable composite

There are two ways to add filters on Snapchat.

There’s the old way — swiping left or right when you take a photo or video — then there’s the new way. Tap the smiley face next to the recording button before taking a photo and video, and you’ll find an abundance of options under “browse” and “create.”

You can even adjust the intensity and colors of “create” filters by tapping either the icon with the three dots or with the Venn diagram.

9. Attach website to snaps

It's an easy way to share your favorite stories.

It’s an easy way to share your favorite stories.
Credit: Screenshots / Mashable composite

Maybe you’re sending a story to a friend; maybe you’re sharing your latest SoundCloud finds. In any case, the link button can come in handy. Once you take a photo or video, you’ll see a paperclip icon on the toolbar to your right. Tap on it, paste or type in a URL, and hit “attach to Snap.”

Whoever you’re sending your Snap to will now be able to open up the link by swiping up.

10. Add in some background music

The list of songs to choose from.

The list of songs to choose from.
Credit: screenshot: snapchat

You can adjust size and position of the song title once you take the Snap.

You can adjust size and position of the song title once you take the Snap.
Credit: screenshot: snapchat

Similar to Instagram stories, you can pick your favorite jam to play in the background of your Snaps, whether you’re sending them directly to a friend or posting to your story.

Just tap on the music note icon labeled “Sounds” before taking the Snap, choose from the list of songs available, and take your shot. A little icon showing the title of the song will appear on your Snap, which you can move around and place wherever you want.

4 ways to use Bitmoji and emoji on Snapchat

1. Snap Map status

Make your bitmoji look alive!

Make your bitmoji look alive!
Credit: Screenshots / Mashable composite

You probably already know how to use Snap Map to keep tab of your friends. But did you know you can update your friends on what you’re doing by setting a Snap Map status with Bitmoji?

Tap on your Bitmoji icon on the top left corner of the camera screen, then scroll to the bottom. Pick “set a status” under Snap Maps, then hit “choose a Bitmoji.” Your friends will now see your Bitmoji in action when they’re looking for you on Snap Map.

2. Bitmoji selfie

Don't be boring!

Don’t be boring!
Credit: Screenshots / Mashable composite

Yes, you can make your Bitmoji look however you’d like — even the little one on the top left corner of your screen. Tap your Bitmoji icon, then hit the settings button on the top right corner. Go to “Bitmoji,” and pick “choose a selfie.” There, you can look angry, surprised, sad — and really, whatever else you’re feeling like.

3. Set a default emoji skin tone

Lego yellow hands? No, thank you!

Lego yellow hands? No, thank you!
Credit: Screenshots / Mashable composite

No one actually has Lego yellow skin — so save yourself some time and set your default emoji skin tone to match yours. You can do that under “manage” in your settings, in “emoji skin tone.”

4. Get yourself some Bitmoji swag

Rep your bitmoji loud and proud.

Rep your bitmoji loud and proud.
Credit: Screenshots / Mashable composite

Love your Bitmoji? You can rep it if you fancy. Snapchat offers custom Bitmoji merch at the Snap Store: stickers, mugs, t-shirts, sweatpants, phone cases.

Tap the Bitmoji on the top left corner of the camera screen, then scroll down to “shop Bitmoji merch.” It will take you to a page where you can customize different items. You get to choose different images of your Bitmoji, too.

4 other things you can do with the Snapchat camera

1. Find a product

See something you like? Scan it!

See something you like? Scan it!
Credit: Screenshots / Mashable composite

Imagine this: You’re shopping, you see a shirt that you love, but you’re thinking you can get a similar one somewhere else for a much cheaper price. Snapchat’s product finder will come in handy in that situation.

Tap the smily face on your camera screen, and tap the “scan” icon at the bottom. Scroll to the left, and tap the shopping bag icon. Press and hold the screen to scan the item, and boom — Snapchat will show you a list similar products.

The catch? It only shows results that are available on Amazon.

2. Cheat on your math homework (just kidding…?)

We're not telling you to cheat, but...

We’re not telling you to cheat, but…
Credit: Screenshots / Mashable composite

Math is hard. Sometimes you’ll spend an hour on just one question to no avail. Snapchat’s Math Solver is there to help. You’ll find it just next to the Product Finder. Hold and press the screen to scan the problem, and Snapchat will show you a result via Photomath.

(Yes, it works with calculus problems, too.)

3. Find a song

Never miss a song again.

Never miss a song again.
Credit: Screenshots / Mashable composite

Not sure what a song is called? Good thing Shazam is built into Snapchat. You can access the Song Finder next to the Product Finder and Math Solver. When you hear a song, just hold the screen, and you have yourself a new song to add to your playlist.

4. Play games with friends

Why send photos when you can play games?

Why send photos when you can play games?
Credit: Screenshots / Mashable composite

Snapchat has evolved. The apps isn’t just for sending photos and videos anymore, it’s for playing game with friends, too. Tap the smiley face on your camera screen and go to “browse.” Swipe left, and you can choose from games like tic-tac-toe, pool, “what’s that movie” and more.

2 ways to keep things on the low

1. Keep your snaps private


Credit: Screenshots / Mashable composite

If you have something to hide on Snapchat, hide them under the “your eyes only” feature.

Swipe up while you’re on the camera screen to access the memories tab. Tap the checkmark on the top right corner, and select the photos you want to hide. Tap “more,” then “hide snap (my eyes only)” at the bottom toolbar to set up a password to enable the feature.

Once you have it set up, you’ll see a “hide” button at the bottom toolbar. You can use it to hide photos from your camera roll outside of Snapchat, too.

2. Ghost people on Snap map

Ha — they can't see you now!

Ha — they can’t see you now!
Credit: Screenshots / Mashable composite

If you find it creepy that your friends can see where you are on Snap Map, this feature is for you. You will still see your friends’ locations; but they won’t be able to see yours.

Tap on the bitmoji icon on the camera screen, then scroll to the bottom, where you see “Snap Map.” Click on “Sharing Location” and turn on “Ghost mode.” You have the option to go off-grid for three hours, 24 hours, or until you choose to disable the feature yourself. You can also choose to share your location with just a select few friends under “who can see my location.”

This story was originally published in March 2020 and updated in July 2021.

Reblogged 5 days ago from

How to create a GIF from a TikTok video

Making a GIF from your TikTok is easy.

TikTok makes it easy for you to turn a video into a GIF.

Gone are the days of screen recording a video on your phone and uploading it to a sketchy GIF-making website, choosing the start and end times, adjusting the frame rate, blah blah blah you know the struggle. Making GIFs can be a huge pain.

GIFing on TikTok is refreshingly easy, and only takes a few taps. Here’s how to do it.

1. Find a video on TikTok you want to turn into a GIF.

2. Tap the “share” arrow on the right side of the screen.

The TikTok share arrow is on the right hand side of the screen.

The TikTok share arrow is on the right hand side of the screen.
Credit: SCREENSHOT: andy moser / tiktok

3. At the bottom, scroll right and tap “Share as GIF.”

Tap "Share as GIF" to create a GIF from your TikTok.

Tap “Share as GIF” to create a GIF from your TikTok.

4. The video will automatically convert to a GIF.

5. You can share it via text (SMS), WhatsApp, or tap “Other” to share it to another social media platform or tap “Save Image” to save the GIF to your phone’s photo library.

And there ya go! One TikTok GIF, made to order in less than a minute. What will you do with all the minutes you save on GIF-making?

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How to add music to an Instagram Story

Adding music to your Instagram Story can give it more impact and add to its chances of success. Whether you want to add summery vibes to your holiday pics with a chilled out pop melody,, or create an atmospheric mood for arty images, adding audio can make all the difference. Instagram has made it super-simple to do this, so here’s a look at how to make your next Instagram Story literally sing.

Adding music to your Instagram Story

Create your Story in the usual way. Then, before you post it to Instagram, look to the top of your screen to see a musical note icon button.

Tapping the musical note starts your journey.

Tapping the musical note starts your journey.
Credit: SCREENSHOT / Instagram

Tap this and Instagram will show you your musical options.

Will you browse, or let Instagram choose "For you"?

Will you browse, or let Instagram choose “For you”?

These include two automatically generated lists. One is a selection of tracks that Instagram has suggested “For you,” and the other is a list you can browse. You can also use the search box at the top of the page to search for a specific track.

If you want to hear what a song sounds like, you simply need to tap the play arrow to the right of the track information.

Listen first.

Listen first.

Once you’ve selected your song you can use the slider at the bottom of your screen to choose which section of the song your post uses. For image posts, this is a 15-second snippet. For video posts it’s the full runtime of the video.

Snip snip.

Snip snip.

Where available, the lyrics for the song you have chosen automatically show over your image, but you have some further options to consider as to how this looks and how your post appears.

You can change the style of the font by tapping the button with the different sized “AA” at the bottom of your screen.

It's Instagram. Looks matter.

It’s Instagram. Looks matter.

And you can change the color of the text by tapping the color wheel at the top of your screen.

Pick your font color.

Pick your font color.

If you don’t want the lyrics to appear over your post you can instead choose to have a small music credit badge appear.

Also a good option if there are no lyrics.

Also a good option if there are no lyrics.

Or you can choose to display the album art instead.

Treat that album art like, you know, art.

Treat that album art like, you know, art.

You can find these options by swiping along to the end of the font options at the bottom of your screen.

Swiping along the end of the font options gets you here.

Swiping along the end of the font options gets you here.

When you’re happy with your choices simply hit the “Done” button at the top right of your screen to send your musical Instagram Story live.

Reblogged 5 days ago from