Stephan Spencer

Author Archives

  • The Single Most Important Thing You Can Do to Secure Your Google Account

    Two-step verification (also known as two-factor authentication or 2FA for short) adds a second identification method beyond your password, to be used whenever Google isn’t completely certain that you are the person logging into your account. You’re probably already using 2-factor authentication on websites that handle sensitive data, such as your bank, tax preparation service, […]

  • How to Make Google Assistant More Useful

    Most of Google’s mobile apps and services are connected to the AI-driven Google Assistant service in some way, as are dozens of the most popular non-Google Android apps. You can use the Google Assistant to automate a wide range of connected tasks, such as to call, text, or email someone from your contacts list; retrieve […]

  • How Google’s Multitask Unified Model (MUM) Will Change Search

    Whereas the BERT algorithm was designed to answer simple questions by processing many small samples of natural language text content, the Multitask Unified Model (MUM)—which Google claims is 1000 times more powerful—was designed to answer complex questions through a technique known as transfer learning. This means that MUM works at a higher level, relying on […]

  • Searching With Partial Information

    Sometimes you know what you’re looking for, but you don’t know what it’s called or even how to accurately translate what you know about it into a relevant search query. When that happens, here are some options: Use a Wildcard For an Unknown Word The asterisk (or star) character acts as a wildcard, which represents […]

  • SERP Special Features

    Websites that implement Google-compliant structured data elements may have one or more interesting special features in search results. Because they contain unique visual elements that stand out from normal results, and because they can appear in different places on the SERP, searchers are much more likely to look at results with these special features before […]

  • What Google Knows About You

    In 2016, Princeton University conducted a large-scale study on online tracking, and concluded that at least 75% of all websites contain tracking code used by Google, mostly for the AdSense and Analytics services. That doesn’t include the various other similar trackers used by social media sites, marketing companies, and online merchants. Even if you don’t […]

  • Keyword Research for Local

    Are you looking to dominate the SEO landscape? You might want to rethink your strategy. Many small businesses get caught up in ranking for competitive keywords. There’s no denying the appeal of the rat race. But the odds of getting a top ranking for a popular national search are stacked against you. Local keyword research, […]

  • You Don’t Need Words for a Google Search

    As the saying goes, a picture is worth more than a thousand words. Google understand this, and has a pretty nifty feature that most people are unaware of – creating a search query through the use of a photo. Whether it’s an antique painting you want to know more history on, or the backdrop of […]