Trending February 2024 # Google Confirms “Edge Cases” When Content Theft Can Cause Negative Effects # Suggested March 2024 # Top 9 Popular

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A web publisher submitted a question centering on whether duplicate articles, presumably stolen content, can have a negative effect on a website. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that stolen content can negatively affect a sites rankings. Google’s John Mueller confirmed in a webmaster hangout that there are “edge” cases that do in fact affect a sites rankings.

Can Stolen Content Affect Site Ranking?

There are numerous discussions in Google’s Webmaster Help forums complaining about content thieves that are outranking the original publisher. Sometimes the content thieves may be outranking the original site for small snippets of content, but not necessarily for actual keywords that people use.

While that may give the impression that the stolen content is outranking the original publisher, these “snippet searches” can be considered extremely long tail and quite likely aren’t properly ranked because Google search tends to falter on extreme long tail type searches. Which is why Rank Brain was invented.

The best way to diagnose whether stolen content is negatively affecting rankings is if the affected site has lost rankings and or the content thief is ranking with keyword phrases that searchers actually use.

Stolen Content and Negative Effect on Ranking

This phenomenom has been happening for a long time. Despite Google’s best efforts, web publishers are still reporting a ngative effect from content theft. Here is a partial list of publishers complaining about content thieves outranking the original publisher:

Stolen content from my site ranked on 1st position, my original – not visible. Why?

Content Stolen by Someone and lost Traffic and Keyword Ranking – Help me Out

HELP! Spam copy site ranking better than my site with the original content

Site With Stolen Content Ranks Higher

These SOB’s are Copying and Rewriting My Content and Out Ranking Me. Get ’em Google

Confirmation that Stolen Content Can Negatively Affect a Site

“Do duplicate articles with the same links get ignored by Google or does (it have) a negative effect on Google? Do you suggest disavowing dupliate article links as they’re copied without our authorization? “

The question is somewhat vague. But Google’s John Mueller discusses it from the point of view of stolen content. Here is how John Mueller responded:

“Is this like other people are copying your content and you’re wondering if that’s having a negative effect on your site?

So assuming that other people are copying your content, for the most part that’s something we deal with fairly well. Sometimes there are edge cases that make it a little harder for us to deal with…“

Takeaway – The Impact on Web Publishers

It’s a different story if the content thief is outranking the original site with actual keyword phrases, and these kinds of cases do seem to be rare, meaning that Google is doing a good job keeping content thieves from benefiting from stolen content. Should Google ban content thieves altogether from the index? How do you feel about content theft?

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Maccabees Update: Google Confirms New Core Algorithm Changes

Today we received confirmation from a Google spokesperson that “several minor changes” were made to the core algorithm this month.

“We released several minor improvements during this timeframe, part of our regular and routine efforts to improve relevancy,” a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Journal.

The timeframe with the most volatility for some websites was between December 12 and 14.

Following published reports about the Maccabees Update, Danny Sullivan, Google’s public liaison for search, downplayed its significance on Twitter:

Reports calling this a single “update” or calling it “Fred” don’t reflect what we actually said: there were several minor changes that happened as they routinely do in any particular week.

— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) December 20, 2023

Learn more: History of Google Algorithm Updates.

What is Update Maccabees (formerly known as Fred)?

Updates to the core algorithm do not receive a formal name. So they are informally named Fred. However, Barry Schwartz of SERoundtable named it Maccabees in recognition of Hanukkah and the search community followed on.

In a separate tweet, Sullivan was wary of giving this flux period a name because it wasn’t a single, major update:

There was no single update. I suppose some might find it useful to give a name to the general flux period, but I think it’s important to understand there were different changes happening — as happen in any week.

— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) December 20, 2023

What Does a Core Update Mean?

Updates to the core algorithm can be a variety of things.

Here are some examples:

Algorithms that determine the relevance of a search query to a web page

Change in how links to a site are scored. This means, some links begin counting less or other links can count more. This will result in a re-ranking of certain kinds of sites. Sites that depend on a single kind of link can be vulnerable if that kind link is devalued.

Change in how page content is scored. For example, if a search query is informational in nature, then a commercial site may be deemed irrelevant.

What Is the Maccabees Update?

First reports of changes to Google’s search results began December 12. The impact is not widespread.

Anecdotal evidence shows that many affiliate type sites have felt it the most.  Normal e-commerce sites have not been affected on the same scale but some have reported as suffering drops in traffic (WebmasterWorld Google Update Discussion), but e-commerce sites appear to be in the minority.

It is tempting to view updates to the core algorithm as targeting a certain kind of site. However, as the Google spokesperson said, these changes are meant to improve relevancy. So that means it could be, as noted above, improvements to on-page or off-page relevance signals, and possibly both.

Here are the prevailing theories and counterarguments:

Maccabees Update is mobile-first related: This theory has been dismissed because some have reported that their sites are mobile friendly and others have reported they’ve seen no increase in Google’s mobile bot.

Desktop visibility affected more than mobile visibility: This is an interesting hypothesis but some have reported the opposite. I am inclined to rule this out.

What Kinds of Site are Affected by the Maccabees Update?

Given the timing, it may not be far fetched to speculate that this relevancy change might be shopping related, especially given how many affected publishers are in the shopping space.

I’ve been seeing quite a bit of concern in Facebook groups associated with aggressive linking techniques. This isn’t to say that this is a link related issue.

It could be that those kinds of sites share certain attributes related to their sites. It could be that they lack certain on-page or off-page signals of authority.

There are many affiliate sites that are still ranking fine. So it’s definitely not an affiliate related update. But it may be related to something that aggressive sites share in common.

Jim Boykin of Internet Marketing Ninjas told me that he checked and double checked the rankings of client sites and reported, “nothing changing in rankings or Google organic traffic for the past month.”

Casey Markee, of MediaWyse in San Diego offered this clue:

“I did have some sites contact me and they did have drops… Their content and overall user experience though had some holes.”

I polled some affiliate site publishers who had been affected and they shared that both mobile and desktop traffic has been affected. So there you are, a minor update to the core algorithm that feels major to certain sites on the Internet.

If you have been affected and feel it’s not merited, if the site truly does not merit, then history has shown that Google tends to dial back on changes when they find it’s been creating false positives.

Image Credits

All images via Shutterstock, modified by author

How To Share Web Content Using Microsoft Edge In Windows 10

Tired of copying and pasting page URLs into Twitter and Facebook boxes to share the content with your followers? Microsoft Edge has a solution for you. This top-end browser from Microsoft comes with a host of cool features that make it a fun browser to use. The sharing feature, for example, allows users to easily share web content via social media, email, and through other apps and services. In this guide we’ll show you how to share web content using the Edge browser.

How to share a web page in Microsoft Edge

The Edge browser allows you to easily share a web page, and the sharing options vary depending on the apps installed on your system. The following is how to share a web page.

1. Launch the Edge browser from the Start Menu or from the Quick Launch. You can check our article on how to add the Quick Launch bar in Windows 10.

2. Navigate to the web page you’d like to share.

4. Choose the channel through which you want to share the link. Edge supports sharing via apps such as Twitter, Facebook, Mail, One Note and more.

How to share a screenshot using the Edge browser

At times you might want to share just a section of a page rather than share a link to the entire web page. To share a screenshot we use the Web Note tool in Edge. The following will show you how.

2. A Web Note toolbar will open. Navigate to the clip button and select it.

Steps to pin apps to the top of the share menu

If you have a favorite app that you often use to share content via Edge, you can pin it to the upper part of the “share menu” for ease of access. To do so, follow the steps below.

1. Launch the Edge browser from the Start menu, Quick Launch, or desktop.

3. Select the app that you’d like to pin.

Conclusion

The Edge browser has received several improvements since the introduction of the first version in 2024. While the new features such as the ability to set tabs aside provide a smooth browsing experience, it’s important to know the hidden functionalities such as how to share web content or manage passwords in Edge.

Kenneth Kimari

Kenn is a tech enthusiast by passion, Windows blogger by choice, and a massive coffee imbiber. He likes watching sci-fi movies in his free time and tearing gadgets apart so he can fix them.

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The Best Macbook Pro Cases You Can Get

See also: 16-inch MacBook Pro review

We also have an in-depth guide to MacBook accessories, which you can check out right here. Also, check out a few of our favorite stands if you still find yourself working from home. Now for the list!

The best MacBook Air cases:

Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best MacBook Pro cases regularly as new options launch.

Speck Smartshell

Speck

If you want to throw your MacBook Pro back to the days of the classic iMac G3, the Smartshell from Speck is a great pick. It comes in a rainbow of familiar transparent shades as well as black and clear — although the latter two are currently sold out. Speck’s case is a simple hard shell with redesigned corners that should handle bumps and drops better than previous versions. In addition, the matte finish and rubberized feet should help you keep a solid grip on your new machine.

UAG Plasma

Amazon

Urban Armor Gear is one of the toughest customers around, and its Plasma case for the MacBook Pro is as durable as they come. It’s MIL-STD 810G certified for drops, and the rubber bumpers lock to keep the lid closed tightly. Each rubber bumper element is also coated in a tactile honeycomb pattern, so you probably won’t lose your grip no matter what. The UAG Plasma is a heavier option, but it adds 13mm to the overall footprint.

UAG Plyo

Amazon

Another option from UAG, the Plyo is ready for your massive 16-inch MacBook Pro. It’s a slightly slimmed-down version of the Plasma, and the rubber bumpers are transparent rather than matte black. UAG kept the tactile honeycomb pattern, and the Plyo is MIL-STD 810G certified to withstand drops and falls. Both front corners also feature the same locking mechanism to keep your lid squared away. The case comes in a transparent gray color that UAG calls Ice.

Twelve South Book Book

Amazon

If you want to make your MacBook Pro feel like a master of disguise, the Twelve South Book Book case is your best bet. It looks like a well-aged novel, thanks to the full-grain leather construction. You can either trust the case as a sleeve or strap your laptop in for full protection. Twelve South’s Book Book is available for any sized MacBook, though it looks very similar to a library book, so you may not want to leave it unattended.

Fintie MacBook Pro case

Amazon

There are tons of high-end, feature-packed cases on the market, but a simple hard shell is often all you need. The Fintie case is a perfect example, and it doesn’t come close to breaking the bank. It offers 360-degree protection with just two snap-on pieces, and you can choose from four sleek finishes. A fully ventilated bottom panel should keep you working hard for longer, but you’ll have to make sure you grab the right size case. Check out each option carefully:

Mujjo sleeve

Amazon

Hardshell cases aren’t for everyone, and if you’re just looking for protection while you travel, then a sleeve might be a better fit. This option from Mujjo is a luxurious felt and leather creation, and it’s sized for the 15-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros. You can choose from either brown or black leather to pair with the black felt. The durable snap should keep your laptop safely inside, and a handy storage pocket is perfect for your charger or other accessories.

Amazon Basics sleeve

Amazon

Although Mujjo’s sleeve is about as luxurious as they come, this Amazon Basics option might fit your budget a bit better. It’s a simple zipper sleeve that comes in various colors and just about any size you might need. There are no extra pockets or premium materials, but Amazon’s simple case should offer all of the protection you really need. You can also buy the sleeves in packs of up to 10 if you’re shopping for a classroom or another group.

Apple MacBook Pro leather sleeve

Amazon

Apple doesn’t offer its own hardshell cases, but if you want protection from the source, then you’ll have to try the leather sleeve. It comes in three shades of premium European leather with a microfiber lining for added protection. Of course, you’ll have to be ready for the Apple Tax — this leather sleeve costs nearly $180. You won’t find a storage pocket or anything like that, but the case does allow you to charge your MacBook Pro without exposing it.

InCase hardshell

Apple

While Apple skips hard cases of its own, the Cupertino company does offer an option from InCase if you’re interested. It’s a straightforward shell that comes in three shades with a texturized dot pattern. InCase’s offering is well-ventilated and offers easy cutouts for all of the ports and buttons. You won’t be able to grab the InCase shell for your 15-inch MacBook Pro, but it’s available below for both the 13-inch and 16-inch versions.

Tech21 Evo MacBook Pro case

Apple

Tech21’s Evo MacBook Pro case offers slightly more protection than the InCase option, thanks to its hybrid design. It relies on a soft bumper around the edges to absorb impacts, while tough polycarbonate panels sandwich the top and bottom. While it’s slightly more expensive than the InCase option, it’s your best bet from Apple if you have a slightly older laptop. The Tech21 case is crystal-clear and should resist UV yellowing to help show off your device.

Mercedes Chief Confirms Electric G

Mercedes chief confirms electric G-Class to save the iconic SUV

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class may not be the first vehicle to come to mind when you think of green motoring, but the German automaker has confirmed plans to make an electric version of the boxy SUV. First launched in 1979, the G-Class – also known as the G-Wagon or G-Wagon – is one of the longest-produced vehicles in the company’s history, but rising emissions standards had left some to question its future.

That’s because economy and environmental considerations haven’t been particularly high on the list of concerns for the G-Class, historically. Indeed, with things like three fully locking differentials, beefy engines, and a tall-off road stance, it’s generally more concerned with riding over the environment than minimizing emissions into it.

The second-generation W463 G-Class launched in 2023 didn’t really stray from that strategy. Still sticking to the crisp, Bauhaus aesthetic that makes the G-Wagon so iconic, it uses a V8 turbo engine in the US that’s rated for up to 577 horsepower in G 63 AMG form. Great, if you’re looking for a dune-ready SUV that can also do 0-62 mph in 4.5 seconds, but not something that would typically be compared to a Tesla.

That, though, looks set to change. Faced with the prospect of either bringing the G-Class up to date with a modern, zero-emissions drivetrain, or seeing it leave the current Mercedes-Benz line-up altogether, Daimler AG CEO Ola Källenius has confirmed a G-Class EV is in the pipeline.

“There will be a zero-emission EV version of the Mercedes Benz G-Class,” Källenius said, the company’s Head of Digital Transformation, Sascha Pallenberg revealed on Twitter. “In the past there were discussions whether we should eliminate the model, the way I see things now I’d say the last Mercedes to be built will be a G-Class.”

Exactly what that electric drivetrain might be remains to be seen. Mercedes does already have one fully-electric SUV, the 2023 EQC, which uses two 150 kW electric motors – one at the front and one at the rear – for all-wheel drive. The result is 402 horsepower and 564 lb-ft of torque, decent enough for a normal SUV but perhaps a little underwhelming for what G-Class fans would expect.

There is, of course, a bigger challenge than just dropping in more powerful motors. One thing that Mercedes seems uncertain to compromise on is the G-Class EV’s styling, but its brutalist lines aren’t going to be aerodynamics-friendly. In contrast, the EQC was designed with slipperiness through the air from the outset.

Bigger motors would need bigger batteries, increasing weight, and even then it would be questionable as to how much range Mercedes could promise. That’s another important factor: even if most G-Class drivers don’t actually take their excessive trucks off-road, the fact that they could is a huge selling point of the current SUV. Anything that dilutes that reputation would be a non-starter.

The fully locking differentials of the current model are a great example of this: many owners may not use the feature, despite its controls being allotted prime real-estate on the dashboard. Still, even though a version of the G-Class without that could be cheaper, Mercedes won’t make it as it’s part of what the SUV is known for.

Daimler’s engineers aren’t the only ones facing such a headache, mind. There’s been chatter recently that GM could reboot the Hummer brand as an electric vehicle, using a name most commonly associated with gas-guzzling excess for a new line-up of premium luxury e-SUVs. Again, the problem there will be of preserving what makes a Hummer look and feel like a Hummer, while also accommodating the realities of current BEV technology.

Still, for anybody who considers themselves an automotive enthusiast, this confirmation from Daimler’s CEO can probably be considered a good thing overall. If there’s one thing we’ve seen from existing electric SUV projects – such as that underway from startup Bollinger Motors – it’s that an EV’s lashings of torque can make for a potent work truck. Better that the G-Class get a third act as an electrified car than fade into the history books altogether.

Google Is Creating Featured Snippets From Pdf Content

Google has been spotted pulling content from PDFs to create featured snippets.

— Kevin_Indig (@Kevin_Indig) January 16, 2023

This is the first time people are seeing this happen. Traditionally, Google would grab content from websites to render featured snippets.

I could reproduce this myself, even when using the same query shown in the screenshot.

It likely varies from user to user, based on what Google believes is most relevant to the individual.

What Does this Mean for SEOs?

The most important takeaway for SEOs is that PDFs can now receive featured snippet placement, also referred to as “position zero.”

That means, best practices that apply to optimizing web content for featured snippets may now apply to PDFs.

From the article linked to above:

“…featured snippets are usually won by those pages that are already ranking on Page 1. So, that means improving upon your previous ranking success is still important.”

To learn more about improving on the previous ranking success of PDFs, check out these 10 tips to make your PDFs SEO-friendly.

From the article:

“Optimizing PDFs for SEO, however, remains a largely untapped opportunity. Google can crawl, index, and rank the documents, but simple best practices are often under-utilized or just unknown.”

Now that PDFs are eligible to appear in featured snippets, we may be seeing much more optimization of PDFs going forward.

Here are some more key takeaways from the SEO community on Twitter:

I saw this happen today. The PDF version of an article is cannabilizing the html article, which could be a UX issue on mobile. I wonder why Google decided to rank the PDF in the featured snippet over the html?

— Tyron Love (@tyron_love) January 17, 2023

This is new. Your case studies and PDF whitepapers can now get position zero.

Expect in-house #SEO teams to be expected to optimize PDFs for search now. Ug.

— Rich Tatum »∵« (@RichTatum) January 17, 2023

Easier to steal too in my experience! I check to see if competitors have PDFs with answer boxes and prioritize targeting those. It’s been successful over the past few months!

— Evan Yule (@EvanYule) January 17, 2023

ugh. On one hand I can see some opportunities here. On the other, is this really better for users/the internet overall?

— Jason Peck🚵 (@JasonPeck) January 17, 2023

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