Tag Archive | "Relationship"

Google Unveils PAIR Initiative to Improve Relationship Between Humans and AI

Google announced Monday a new initiative geared towards improving the relationship between humans and artificial intelligence (AI).

The project, called People + AI Research (PAIR), will see Google researchers analyze the way humans interact with AI and the pieces of software it powers. The team, to be led by Google Brain researchers and data visualization experts Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg, will work to determine how best to utilize AI from the perspective of humans.

“PAIR is devoted to advancing the research and design of people-centric AI systems. We’re interested in the full spectrum of human interaction with machine intelligence, from supporting engineers to understanding everyday experiences with AI,” the website for the initiative says.

The thrust of PAIR is to have AI in a form that is more practicable to humans, or to make it “less disappointing or surprising,” as described by Wired.

An application of this idea would be the use of AI as an aid for professionals like musicians, farmers, doctors and engineers in their vocations. Google, however, did not go into detail on how it will go about putting this idea into practice.

The researchers also hope to help form impressions of artificial intelligence that will enable people to have realistic expectations of it.

“One of the research questions is how do you reset a user’s expectations on the fly when they’re interacting with a virtual assistant,”  Viégas said.

Viégas and Wattenberg, along with the 12 full-time members of the PAIR team at Google, will also be working with experts from Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

PAIR, according to Google, will “ensure machine learning is inclusive, so everyone can benefit from breakthroughs in AI.” Nevertheless, as Fortune points out, there have been questions of whether tech giants like Google and Facebook are keeping AI knowledge to themselves after hiring many highly regarded researchers in different areas of AI such as deep learning.

The post Google Unveils PAIR Initiative to Improve Relationship Between Humans and AI appeared first on WebProNews.


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What’s the Real Relationship Between Organic Rankings & Social Shares? (Hint: They’re Related, But Not the Way You Think)

Posted by larry.kim

One of the biggest areas of speculation, contention, and confusion within the SEO universe over the past six years or so has been whether (or how much) social media signals impact organic search rankings.


But even if Google isn’t directly using social share counts in their search algorithms, there ought to be some other explanation out there about why high share counts correlate with high organic search rankings.

Well, that is exactly what we’re going to research in this post.

Are social shares a ranking signal?

People have noticed the connection between social shares and ranking going back to 2010. But correlating rankings and social signals has been a bit of a cat-and-mouse game.

If you’ve done any SEO at all, you’ve probably noticed that the stories that rank well tend to have high social share counts.

These are your unicorns – the extremely popular magical pieces of content that drive a ridiculous amount of traffic to your site. These types of elite “unicorn” content drive 10-1000x better results than all your other content (the donkeys).

Why do top-performing posts often also have a high number of shares? What exactly is causing these observable correlations?


Some SEOs believed that Google was somehow factoring social share counts into the algorithm like links (though not with nearly the same amount of weight).

Social shares figured into Moz’s Search Engine Ranking Factors 2015, albeit as a low factor:

“Always controversial, the number of social shares a page accumulates tends to show a positive correlation with rankings. Although there is strong reason to believe Google doesn’t use social share counts directly in its algorithm, there are many secondary SEO benefits to be gained through successful social sharing.”

Indeed, there is a strong reason to believe Google doesn’t use share counts as a direct ranking factor. Google has said so.


Repeatedly and emphatically.

Google doesn’t use Facebook, Twitter, or any other social share counts as a direct ranking factor.

It’s not shares, it’s engagement

We need a new approach to answer these important questions. Maybe we’re looking at the wrong social metrics. Maybe we should be looking at social engagement rates rather than just the total number of social shares.

What percentage of total unique people who saw your update clicked on it and/or shared it?


Perhaps the relationship is that the social posts that get very high engagement rates (which leads to high numbers of shares) come from the same content that get above-average click-through rates in organic search results pages, which we know tends to result in better organic rankings.

But how can we test this theory?

A crazy new correlation study: Social engagement, organic search CTR, & rankings

So here’s my crazy idea: to compare social engagement rates with normalized organic click-through rates for 1,000 pages.

Previous studies have only looked at external-facing number of shares. But bots and other factors can easily taint share counts. Plus, studies have shown that many social media users share content without actually reading it.

How did I do this? I:

  • Downloaded post engagement data from Facebook Insights (sharing and engagement data).
  • Downloaded query data from Google Search Console (CTR and ranking data).
  • Matched up the data. This was somewhat difficult because neither Facebook nor Google provided me with the destination URLs, so some custom programming was required.

Important note: You have to normalize your CTR for search based on position. Obviously higher average positions have higher CTRs than lower positions, so I’ve used my Donkey detection algorithm to compute the expected CTR by position to help determine whether the CTR is above or below expectations.

The results: Organic search CTR vs. Facebook post engagement

Here’s what I’d consider a pretty strong link between higher social post engagement and higher organic CTR (and vice-versa):


Here, a 100% Relative Search CTR corresponds to a keyword/page achieving the expected CTR for organic search for a given ranking; 200% percent is double the expected search CTR; 50% is half the expected CTR, and so on.

What I found was that Facebook posts with extraordinarily high engagement rates – anywhere from 6 to 13 percent – also tended to have above expected organic search CTR.

Why? My theory: The same emotions that make people share things also make people click on those things in the SERPs. This is particularly true for headlines with unusually high CTRs.

The correlations were much stronger with unicorn content. The R-squared values were well above 0.5 – the model is stronger the more of an outlier you’re pushing. Unicorns with high social engagement rates almost always had high organic CTR, and vice versa.

The correlations were substantially weaker with donkey content. The R-squared values were pretty noisy, around .1 to .4. Donkeys sometimes had high engagement rates, sometimes low engagement rates. The same was true with CTR, some high, some low.

So this research illustrates how high social engagement rates correlate with high CTR, and vice versa.

Really, the argument isn’t whether social sharing causes organic search rankings or organic rankings cause social sharing.

It’s about how engaging your content is.


Actual examples

Theory is great. But let’s see if the theory matches by looking at some top-performing content.

Here are just three examples of posts from my company that have top organic rankings on Google and above-expected organic CTR. What was the engagement rate on Facebook?


This post has brought in nearly 500,000 visits from organic search. It had a 7.4 engagement rate on Facebook.

OK. Once is just a fluke.


This post brought in more than 250,000 visits from organic search. It got an 8.5 engagement rate on Facebook.

Two times? Could just be a coincidence.


This piece brought in 100,000 organic visits. It had a 7.1 percent engagement rate when shared on Facebook.

Guys, now we have a trend! All of these posts that rank well had 3x or 4x higher engagement than my average Facebook post.

I could keep posting more examples like these, but it would be more of the same.

Correlation or causation?

What is causing the correlation? There is one thing that makes me certain that the relationship between social engagement and organic click through rates is a co-dependent, causal relationship.

Machine learning.

Machine learning systems actually reward high engagement with higher visibility.

Higher visibility means higher organic rankings and more social shares.

To determine success, an algorithm looks at whether users engaged. If more people engage, that’s a clear sign that their algorithm is showing this right content; if not, their systems will audition other content instead to find something that does generate that interest.

Here’s a greatly simplified look at the role machine learning systems play in the Facebook news feed and Google search results. Basically, it’s all about rewarding content that has above-expected engagement:


When a piece of content fails to beat the expected engagement, it won’t get that same visibility, whether it’s on Google, Facebook, or any other system that measures user engagement.

Whenever someone searches on Google for something, Google wants to return the best result. Out of all the potential results Google could show for any given query, Google must find what’s most useful and relevant.

One way Google checks itself is to look at organic click-through rate (but not the only way!). Did users click on the result in Position 1, or did more people click on the Position 2 or 3 result?

Even though all three of these pages may answer a user’s need, click-through rate is a huge clue about whether Google is providing the best answers in the right order for users.

Now let’s think about Facebook. Whenever a piece of content gets hot, it means lots of people are talking about it relative to the number of people who see it, in a short period of time. Are tons of people liking, commenting, and sharing a post?

When this happens, Facebook’s machine learning algorithm gives these posts or topics greater visibility. It becomes a virtuous cycle:

  • Post gets lots of user engagement (shares, likes, comments).
  • Facebook rewards the engagement by showing it to more users.
  • Higher visibility results in the post getting lots more user engagement.
  • Facebook rewards the engagement by showing it to more users.
  • And so on, until the the social post is no longer new and engagement dwindles.

What to do?

Turn your best social stuff into organic content and vice-versa.

Since stuff that does well on organic social tends to also do great in paid social, it follows that your content that gets top organic rankings will make great content for paid and organic social.

Conversely, your content that gets tons of engagement on social media platforms (paid and organic) will likely rank highly organically for the topics that they cover.


These unicorns I’ve been obsessing about forever matter. Big time. Is your content a sparkly majestic unicorn or a boring old donkey?


At the heart of a unicorn is a truly remarkable, inspiring idea. Truly exciting ideas (not just ideas you think are awesome). Content with remarkably high engagement rates has high conversion rates and does incredibly well in paid and organic search and social media, because of machine learning systems that greatly reward remarkably high user engagement.


The old theory was that high social shares correlates with high organic rankings.


But really it’s not the number of shares that matters. It’s the engagement rate.

Remarkably high social engagement rates correlate strongly with high organic search CTR, which correlates with high rankings. Meaning, click-through rate matters a great deal. Think of it like an invisible hand that helps determine whether your content succeeds (thumbs up) or fails (thumbs down).

What’s happening here is that Facebook Ads, Facebook’s news feed algorithm, Google AdWords, and increasingly Google organic search are all systems governed by machine learning systems that reward remarkable engagement with greater visibility.

High engagement rates and machine learning systems are the common factor that explains the correlation between SEO and social metrics.

What do you think? Do your very best-performing pieces of content get tons of social shares, have a high social engagement rates, and drive a ton of traffic from organic search and convert well?

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!

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The Key to a Successful Digital Marketing Agency and Client Relationship

digital marketing agency client success

Digital Marketing success is more dynamic than ever and companies embracing everything from content marketing to predictive analytics seek outside help for strategy, implementation and consulting. However, it takes a lot more than savvy sales pitches, charismatic account management and smart creative to make a client and agency relationship work.

We’ve been in the thick of the digital marketing world at TopRank Online Marketing for nearly 14 years and I’m happy to say our biggest growth so far in 2015 has come from client retention and program expansion. Thanks to an incredibly talented team, we’ve delivered great results for clients and have weathered numerous changes in the industry and within client organizations.

There are no shortcuts to great client agency relationships though and at BMA15 I attended a presentation offering some really useful advice:

According to Robin and Steve Beohler of Mercer Island Group, there are 4 reasons clients change agencies:

  1. Client side leadership change
  2. Troubled business results from the engagement
  3. Strained relationships between those involved
  4. Agency performance perceived as sub-par

Not all of these areas are controllable, but some are.

Chemistry and capabilities both need to be a fit for a successful client / agency relationship.

What many digital marketing agencies miss is in the on-boarding process – in terms of the business and the culture. What are the expectations, communications preferences and what does the end of the day look like? Clarity on these from the start as well as continued attention is essential.

What are the causes of most digital marketing agency and client issues?

Partners often view the relationship differently. According to research presented at BMA15 by the Beohlers, in 2/3 of the relationships, views of the relationship are very different. How different?

Agencies with the strongest reviews from clients were characterized by:
Top service, strategy, creative capabilities.
Lead strength: SERVICE.

Agencies with weak reviews:
Service was the biggest issue 100%.
Strategy and creative issues 63%.

Clients that received strong reviews:
9 out of 10 agencies cited that the partnership was strong.
Client guidance (client gave great briefings and feedback) and knowledge were also strong.

Clients that received weak reviews:
Guidance from the client was the biggest issue.
Alignment of the client to the agency, followed by client’s processes (mostly approval) were also problematic.

According to a new report, Enhancing Client Agency Relationships (PDF), released by the ANA:

  • Clients and agencies don’t agree on the quality of agency briefings. Not one agency reported receiving excellent briefings.
  • Only 2% of agencies strongly agree that the client approval process works well.

So, how can digital marketing agencies and the clients that hire them improve?

The most important thing is to put the relationship first. How people feel about the others they work with is paramount. Focus on building strong relationships and make sure people feel valued.

Also recommended was to do client / agency 360’s to collect ongoing feedback and conduct routine relationship enhancement sessions.

Deep feedback during these sessions is important, because clients aren’t always direct. Sometimes agencies don’t “hear” what the client is actually telling them.

Early warning systems are critical: pick up on early warnings and get the straight scoop information. Develop a way to capture deep, qualitative feedback on what’s really important – relationships and program results.

When things are going good, the ‘importance’ scores on relationships are low. But when things aren’t going well, everything is important.

It’s essential to invest in the processes of managing expectations and the relationship. There are significant costs to change agencies for both clients and the agency:

Client Costs:

  • Added expense
  • Distraction from other work
  • Work interruption
  • Reputation hit

Agency Costs:

  • Lowers revenue
  • Staff risk
  • Growth plan interrupted
  • Reputation hit

There are positive impacts from doing client / agency relationship 360’s. For clients, sharing and capturing feedback fuels business growth, better creative, strategy and service from the digital marketing agency.

For agencies, a relationship check can contribute to business growth, referrals, references, profitability, and reduced churn.

Overall, marketing agencies need to be more strategic in how they manage relationships with clients. Look beyond the day to day of tactics and program management to the bigger picture of how the client agency partnership has mutual impact.

Improving relationships is not all on the shoulders of agencies. A few things most clients who hire digital marketing agencies can do to improve both the relationship and the performance of their investment include:

  • Improve guidance – give better briefs and clearer feedback
  • Internally aligned creative feedback (reduce disconnected junior staff approval vs. the actual decision maker)
  • Streamline the approval process

It takes more than smart consulting to make a digital marketing client and agency relationship work. Without a healthy understanding of expectations and clear communications, all that smart consulting goes to waste if it never gets implemented. Invest in both high performing consulting and an understanding of expectations to make the client / agency relationship work.

Agencies that focus on service as well as strategy and consulting will be more valuable to the companies that hire them. Clients that provide excellent briefs and that can streamline review/approval processes will get a much better return on the digital marketing agency investment.

Great relationships drive great work. Great work drives great business results.

Image: Shutterstock

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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2015. |
The Key to a Successful Digital Marketing Agency and Client Relationship | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post The Key to a Successful Digital Marketing Agency and Client Relationship appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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Customer Relationship Management: Bring Finance into the CRM world

In this MarketingSherpa blog, we examine insights into CRM and integrating Finance into the data mix as well. Read on for tips from Lou Guercia, President and CEO, Scribe Software, on how to begin this integration process.
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Relationship Link Building: An Interview with Paul May of BuzzStream

Paul May is the CEO and a co-founder of BuzzStream. He has spent most of the last 15 years either starting or working on early stage startups. You can follow May on Twitter @paulmay.

May agreed to answer a few of my questions about relation…
Search Engine Watch – Latest

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