Wednesday, March 27, 2019

most popular google searches

most popular google searches


Hit Film Us Pushes Jeremiah 11:11 Near Top of Google Searches - Christianheadlines.com

Posted: 26 Mar 2019 10:09 AM PDT

Hit Film Us Pushes Jeremiah 11:11 Near Top of Google Searches


A Bible verse referenced in a surprising movie hit has thrust Scripture back in front of the nation's consciousness.

The horror film Us finished No. 1 at the box office over the weekend, smashing all expectations by grossing $71 million – the largest opening for an original movie since 2009's Avatar

But it was the film's inclusion of a Bible verse, Jeremiah 11:11, that drove moviegoers to Google. The verse ranked No. 12 on Google Trends on Thursday, opening night, with more than 200,000 searches taking place that day alone. The film's title ranked No. 2 the same day. 

Additionally, Jeremiah 11:11 was the most-searched verse at BibleStudyTools.com for the weekend.

The movie follows a family of four who go on vacation to a beach and encounter their doppelgängers –  people who look exactly like them. Early in the film, moviegoers see a man holding a cardboard sign reading "Jeremiah 11:11." 

The verse reads: "Therefore this is what the LORD says: 'I will bring on them a disaster they cannot escape. Although they cry out to me, I will not listen to them.'" It was delivered by the prophet Jeremiah to the people of Judah after they worshipped false gods. 

The book of Jeremiah eventually gives the people of Judah hope, saying God has a plan to "prosper" them and not "harm them" -- after they have been taken into captivity to Babylon. The book also foreshadows the coming of Christ: "'The days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteous Savior'" (Jeremiah 23:5-6). 

Us was written and directed by Jordan Peele, who also made the 2017 hit film Get Out. He is well-known for his comedy and his Comedy Central series Key and Peele, with Keegan-Michael Key. 

Despite the biblical reference in Us, Peele apparently has no ties to religion.

"I am not [religious]," Peele told Think Progress in 2012. "I feel just very devoted to comedy. And I believe that is the way that I'm meant to take in the world, and that's the way I'm meant to affect the world as well."

Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.

Photo courtesy: Universal

Digital Marketing 101: What Small Businesses Need to Know - Small Business Trends

Posted: 26 Mar 2019 09:00 AM PDT

Small business owners know digital marketing is no longer secondary to traditional print marketing and advertising and is a great way for them to get more bang for their marketing bucks. (In fact, 95% of small businesses plan to increase spending on digital marketing this year.) But to get the best results, it's important to understand digital marketing and keep up with digital marketing trends.



Digital Marketing 101

What is digital marketing? It's often thought of as "online marketing," but it goes far beyond internet marketing. Digital marketing refers to any marketing that uses digital channels to reach prospective customers. This includes mobile phone messaging (both SMS and MMS), email marketing, social media marketing, display advertising, search engine marketing and apps.

10 Basic Digital Marketing Strategies to Use

1. Your business website

No matter how active you are on social media, it can't replace a business website. Your website is the digital "home" of your business and it's the one place online where you are completely in control of your message. Your website doesn't have to be fancy, but it does need to be mobile-friendly. that's non-negotiable in 2019.

2. Search engine optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) refers to the process of increasing website traffic using the organic (non-paid) search results on search engines. There are many moving parts to SEO, including using the right keywords in your website, your social media presence, references to your website from external sites and much more. The complexity of SEO is one reason only 44% of businesses are currently investing in SEO, according to Clutch. The good news: Being one of that 44% can put you ahead of your competition.

3. Local search engine optimization

Since 2o15, more searches have been conducted on mobile devices than on desktop computers, according to Google. Many of those searches are done while users are "on the go" looking for local businesses, so Google's search results now favor websites that are optimized for local search by including location information and location-related keywords. In addition to optimizing your website for local search, claim your business location on local search directories such as Google My Business and make sure that your name, address and phone number (NAP) information is listed exactly the same way on all the local search directories. (No using "St." in one listing and "Street" in another.) If your NAP varies from one listing to another, search engines may not recognize it as the same business, hurting your search results.

4. Email marketing

Nearly seven in 10 businesses use email marketing, making it the third most popular digital marketing method. Almost half (47%) of people across demographics check their email on a mobile device; 81% of those use their smartphones (as opposed to tablets). In addition, the majority (33%) of email opens occur on mobile devices. When you develop your email marketing messages, think "mobile-first." Keep emails short; include a clear call to action; design in a single-column format; and use plenty of white space so it's easy to click on buttons or links in the email.

5. Social media marketing

Social media is the number-one marketing channel used by businesses, according to Clutch: 83% of companies use it. There's good reason for that: Statista reports 77% of Americans use social media. Be sure you're keeping up to date on new social media channels, as well as where your target customers are spending time (for instance, are they leaving Facebook for Instagram)?

6. Content marketing

This practice refers to creating content (such as blog posts, ebooks, white papers, infographics, videos, etc.) that you share digitally. The goal is to attract users to view your content and take a desired action. For instance, you might write a blog post on How to Winterize Your House and Save Money and include a call-to-action such as "Contact us to get a free estimate on winterizing your home."

7. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising

Pay-per-click digital ads appear when users do an internet search for the terms you use in the ad. The name comes from the fact that you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. The most common place for PPC ads is on Google (using Google AdWords) but ads on Facebook and other social media channels are also considered PPC.

8. Marketing automation

Marketing automation software can automate many repetitive aspects of marketing. For instance, it can send automated responses or start a "drip marketing" campaign when prospects fill out a leads form. It can schedule your social media posts, determine the best time to send email newsletters, and more.

9. Messaging

From SMS and MMS text messages to the use of messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Messenger, Viber or WeChat, you can market to customers using mobile messaging. Mobile messaging marketing applications can use location-based data to trigger messages at relevant moments, such as when a customer is near your store or restaurant.

10. Online ratings and reviews

You may not think of online review sites as digital marketing, but they're a major factor in how prospects form an opinion of your business. Some 86% of consumers (and 95% of those age 18 to 34) read reviews for local businesses; 91% of 18-to-34-year-old consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Optimize your listings on review sites the same way you would on Google My Business: Keep them current and add photos, descriptions, directions and offers. Monitor your reviews regularly and respond to negative reviews quickly (and politely).

10 Digital Marketing Trends to Know

Now that you've got a handle on digital marketing, here are 10 digital marketing trends every small business should factor into their plans.

1. Email marketing personalization via marketing automation

Nearly six in 10 marketers say personalization is their most effective email marketing tactic; in fact, emails that have personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. AI-powered automation tools can help you personalize email messaging by analyzing the data you capture about your email subscribers (such as what they open, click on and buy) and using it to deliver the right message at the right time.

2. Voice search

Voice search currently accounts for one third of all Google searches, and by 2020, is expected to account for one-half. Good general SEO will help you rank high in voice search, according to a recent study. But you can additionally optimize for voice search using keywords and phrases that sound the way people talk ("What bakeries are open right now?") rather than the way they'd type into a search engine ("bakeries open now"). Creating an FAQ page on your website that answers questions people might ask about your product can also help optimize for voice search.

3. Content marketing overload

With so much content out there, are your prospects really paying attention? To keep driving customers to your website, make this the year you focus on creating less, but better, content. Instead of constantly churning out blog posts stuffed with SEO keywords, try crafting one or two really good, longer pieces of content a month. Content that answers prospects' or customers' questions in a way no one else is doing can really stand out.

4. Google My Business is more important than ever

Google search results prioritize Google My Business listings. As a result, many searchers don't bother paging below these or clicking through to a website. they get all the info they need from GMB. Make sure your Google My Business page makes the cut by regularly adding new photos, posts, offers or videos and keeping your description current. You can now add Posts in Google My Business, too. Think of your GMB result as its own little website and add all the info you can to it.

5. PPC advertising comes of age

The Google search engine results page is getting crowded and fewer people are ignoring the ads at the top. Google's algorithm is getting great at delivering relevant ads, and even being at the top of organic search results won't get you the customer's attention if that customer doesn't scroll down. If you're not already doing so, make this the year you incorporate PPC ads into your marketing plan.

6. Omnichannel marketing

Prospects use more than one digital channel to investigate your business. They might do an online search and see your Google My Business listing, click through to your website and read your reviews. That's why all of your digital marketing efforts need to work together to promote a consistent branding message.

7. Chatbots

You can use conversational AI software (that is, chatbots) to engage with prospects in a variety of ways, from helping them navigate your website or answering common questions to suggesting additional products or even engaging on social media. For instance, you can program Facebook Messenger bots to answer your Facebook messages, saving you time and giving your followers quick responses.

8. Online video

By 2020, video will account for more than 85% of all consumer internet traffic in the U.S. (Already, YouTube is the second most popular website, surpassed only by Google.) Today's up and coming Gen Z, in particular, has grown up watching YouTube videos and it's the place they turn to for the answers to everything. Videos that show viewers how to do something, help solve their problems, interview industry experts or provide an insider's look into your business are all popular ways to attract attention. Creating a YouTube channel is free and exposes your videos to a wider audience. Also look into getting online influencers to review your products. it can make a huge difference to your business.

9. Tell your story

Consumers crave authentic interaction with businesses. They want to know your story. Be transparent about your business, your staff and your values. In the digital world, live-action or short-term video content such as Stories on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube creates a feeling of immediacy and intimacy that can help build a bond with your target market.

10. Social media backlash

Facebook privacy problems such as the Cambridge Analytica data-sharing scandal have driven some users from the platform, and if you're targeting millennial and younger users, Instagram is the place to be, with the vast majority of its users aged 18 to 34. But Instagram isn't immune from backlash either, as the platform recently took steps to remove inauthentic likes and fake followers from influencers' accounts. Remember, honest interaction is more important than numbers.

What digital marketing tactics do you currently use, and which are you planning to add to your arsenal?

Image: Depositphotos.com

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How to Be a Better Web Searcher: Secrets from Google Scientists - Scientific American

Posted: 26 Mar 2019 03:52 AM PDT

In a cheery, sunshine-filled fourth-grade classroom in California, the teacher explained the assignment: write a short report about the history of the Belgian Congo at the end of the 19th century, when Belgium colonized this region of Africa. One of us (Russell) was there to help the students with their online research methods.

I watched in dismay as a young student slowly typed her query into a smartphone. This was not going to end well. She was trying to find out which city was the capital of the Belgian Congo during this time period. She reasonably searched [ capital Belgian Congo ] and in less than a second she discovered that the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo is Kinshasa, a port town on the Congo River. She happily copied the answer into her worksheet.

But the student did not realize that the Democratic Republic of Congo is a completely different country than the Belgian Congo, which used to occupy the same area. The capital of that former country was Boma until 1926, when it was moved to LĂ©opoldville (which was later renamed Kinshasa). Knowing which city was the capital during which time period is complicated in the Congo, so I was not terribly surprised by the girl's mistake.

The deep problem here is that she blindly accepted the answer offered by the search engine as correct. She did not realize that there is a deeper history here.

We Google researchers know this is what many students do—they enter the first query that pops into their heads and run with the answer. Double checking and going deeper are skills that come only with a great deal of practice—and perhaps a bunch of answers marked wrong on important exams. Students often do not have a great deal of background knowledge to flag a result as potentially incorrect, so they are especially susceptible to misguided search results like this.

In fact, a 2016 report by Stanford University education researchers showed that most students are woefully unprepared to asses content they find on the web. For instance, the scientists found that 80 percent of students at U.S. universities are not able to determine if a given web site contains  credible information. And it is not just students; many adults share these difficulties.

If she had clicked through to the linked page, the girl probably would have started reading about the history of the Belgian Congo, and found out that it has had a few hundred years of wars, corruption, changes in rulers and shifts in governance. The name of the country changed at least six times in a century, but she never realized that because she only read the answer presented on the search engine results page.

Asking a question of a search engine is something people do several billion times each day. It is the way we find the phone number of the local pharmacy, check on sports scores, read the latest scholarly papers, look for news articles, find pieces of code, and shop. And although searchers look for true answers to their questions, the search engine returns results that are attuned to the query, rather than some external sense of what is true or not. So a search for proof of wrongdoing by a political candidate can return sites that purport to have this information, whether or not the sites or the information are credible. You really do get what you search for.

In many ways, search engines make our metacognitive skills come to the foreground. It is easy to do a search that plays into your confirmation bias—your tendency to think new information supports views you already hold. So good searchers actively seek out information that may conflict with their preconceived notions. They look for secondary sources of support, doing a second or third query to gain other perspectives on their topic. They are constantly aware of what their cognitive biases are, and greet whatever responses they receive from a search engine with healthy skepticism.

For the vast majority of us, most searches are successful. Search engines are powerful tools that can be incredibly helpful, but they also require a bit of understanding to find the information you are actually seeking. Small changes in how you search can go a long way toward finding better answers.

The Limits of Search

It is not surprising or uncommon that a short query may not accurately reflect what a searcher really wants to know. What is actually remarkable is how often a simple, brief query like [ nets ] or [ giants ] will give the right results. After all, both of those words have multiple meanings, and a search engine might conclude that searchers were looking for information on tools to catch butterflies, in the first case, or larger-than-life people in the second. Yet most users who type those words are seeking basketball- and football-related sites, and the first search results for those terms provide just that. Even the difference between a query like [the who] versus [a who] is striking. The first set of results are about a classic English rock band, whereas the second query returns references to a popular Dr. Seuss book.

But search engines sometimes seem to give the illusion that you can ask anything about anything and get the right answer. Just like the student in that example, however most searchers overestimate the accuracy of search engines and their own searching skills. In fact, when Americans were asked to self-rate their searching ability by the Pew Research Center in 2012, 56 percent rated themselves as very confident in their ability to use a search engine to answer a question.

Not surprisingly, the highest confidence scores were for searchers with some college degrees (64 percent were "very confident"—by contrast, 45 percent of those who did not have a college degree describes themselves that way). Age affects this judgment as well, with 64 percent of those under 50 describing themselves as "very confident," as opposed to only 40 percent older than 50. When talking about how successful they are in their searches, 29 percent reported that they can always find what they are looking for, and 62 percent said they are able to find an answer to their questions most of the time. In surveys, most people tell us that everything they want is online, and conversely, if they cannot find something via a quick search, then it must not exist, it might be out of date, or it might not be of much value.

These are the most recent published results, but we have seen in surveys done at Google in 2018 that these insights from Pew are still true and transcend the years. What was true in 2012 is still exactly the same now: People have great confidence in their ability to search. The only significant change is in their success rates, which have crept up to 35 percent can "always find" what they're looking for, while 73 percent say they can find what they seek "most of the time." This increase is largely due to improvements in the search engines, which improve their data coverage and algorithms every year."

What Good Searchers Do

As long as information needs are easy, simple searches work reasonably well. Most people actually do less than one search per day, and most of those searches are short and commonplace. The average query length on Google during 2016 was 2.3 words. Queries are often brief descriptions like: [ quiche recipe ] or [ calories in chocolate ] or [ parking Tulsa ].

And somewhat surprisingly, most searches have been done before. In an average day, less than 12 percent of all searches are completely novel—that is, most queries have already been entered by another searcher in the past day. By design, search engines have learned to associate short queries with the targets of those searches by tracking pages that are visited as a result of the query, making the results returned both faster and more accurate than they otherwise would have been.

A large fraction of queries are searches for another website (called navigational queries, which make up as much as 25 percent of all queries), or for a short factual piece of information (called informational queries, which are around 40 percent of all queries). However, complex search tasks often need more than a single query to find a satisfactory answer. So how can you do better searches? 

First, you can modify your query by changing a term in your search phrase, generally to make it more precise or by adding additional terms to reduce the number of off-topic results. Very experienced searchers often open multiple browser tabs or windows to pursue different avenues of research, usually investigating slightly different variations of the original query in parallel.

You can see good searchers rapidly trying different search queries in a row, rather than just being satisfied with what they get with the first search. This is especially true for searches that involve very ambiguous terms—a query like [animal food] has many possible interpretations. Good searchers modify the query to get to what they need quickly, such as [pet food] or [animal nutrition], depending on the underlying goal.

Choosing the best way to phrase your query means adding terms that:

  • are central to the topic (avoid peripheral terms that are off-topic)
  • you know the definition of (do not guess at a term if you are not certain)
  • leave common terms together in order ( [ chow pet ] is very different than [ pet chow ])
  • keep the query fairly short (you usually do not need more than two to five terms)

You can make your query more precise by limiting the scope of a search with special operators. The most powerful operators are things such as double-quote marks (as in the query [ "exponential growth occurs when" ], which finds only documents containing that phrase in that specific order. Two other commonly used search operators are site: and filetype: These let you search within only one web site (such as [site:ScientificAmerican.com ]) or for a particular filetype, such as a PDF file (example: [ filetype:pdf coral bleaching ])

Second, try to understand the range of possible search options. Recently, search engines added the capability of searching for images that are similar to given photo that you can upload. A searcher who knows this can find photos online that have features that resemble those in the original. By clicking through the similar images, a searcher can often find information about the object (or place) in the image. Searching for matches of my favorite fish photo can tell me not just what kind of fish it is, but then provide links to other fishing locations and ichthyological descriptions of this fish species.        

Overall, expert searchers use all of the resources of the search engine and their browsers to search both deeply (by making query variations) and broadly (by having multiple tabs or windows open). Effective searchers also know how to limit a search to a particular website or to a particular kind of document, find a phrase (by using quote marks to delimit the phrase), and find text on a page (by using a text-find tool).

Third, learn some cool tricks. One is the find-text-on-page skill (that is, Command-F on Mac, Control-F on PC), which is unfamiliar to around 90 percent of the English-speaking, Internet-using population in the US. In our surveys of thousands of web users, the large majority have to do a slow (and errorful) visual scan for a string of text on a web site. Knowing how to use text-finding commands speeds up your overall search time by about 12 percent (and is a skill that transfers to almost every other computer application).

Fourth, use your critical-thinking skills.  In one case study, we found that searchers looking for the number of teachers in New York state would often do a query for [number of teachers New York ], and then take the first result as their answer—never realizing that they were reading about the teacher population of New York City, not New York State. In another study we asked searchers to find the maximum weight a particular model of baby stroller could hold. How big could that baby be?

The answers we got back varied from two pounds to 250 pounds. At both ends of the spectrum, the answers make no sense (few babies in strollers weigh less than five pounds or more than 60 pounds), but inexperienced searchers just assumed that whatever numbers they found correctly answered their search questions. They did not read the context of the results with much care.  

Search engines are amazingly powerful tools that have transformed the way we think of research, but they can hurt more than help when we lack the skills to use them appropriately and evaluate what they tell us. Skilled searchers know that the ranking of results from a search engine is not a statement about objective truth, but about the best matching of the search query, term frequency, and the connectedness of web pages. Whether or not those results answer the searchers' questions is still up for them to determine.

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