Modern SEO vs Old-School SEO: Think beyond the meta fields!

Modern SEO vs Old-School SEO: Think beyond the meta fields!

If you think that knowing SEO means working with semantic HTML and meta fields, you’re missing out. Creating sites as a builder or managing a site as an operator requires you to keep up with the latest techniques in SEO. SEO is changing though and old-school SEO techniques are still rife within the WordPress community.

Those were the topics that Andrea Volpini presented on his latest interview with David Vogelpohl on PressThis! They discuss how the next generation of web developers are helping their sites win in modern SEO. As the CEO of WordLift, Andrea is well positioned to talk about how SEO has changed and what you can do to stay ahead.
If your answer to SEO is to add meta fields to the site you build, you need to listen to this episode of PressThis!

What is your WordPress origin story?

I don’t have a proper one 😄 I’ve been into CMS since the early ages of web development. In the late nineties I developed, together with my team, a CMS called Site Manager. At the time it was important to make a Website which could be also stored in a CD-Rom to be sold at news kiosk. But that wasn’t enough, I also wanted something structured, so we implemented custom types and fields and you could define a structure where a content could have fields specific to its nature. But to keep such a custom CMS running took a lot of effort and that’s when I met WordPress and I thought: I don’t need to start from zero, I can extend WordPress to do it. That’s more or less where I started working with WordPress.

Help people understand: what WordLift does for SEO?

WordLift automates structured data markup and creates a knowledge graph for your website that is designed to help search engines and virtual assistants (and software agents in general) know what your content is really about. It does more than this but this is the most relevant part.

What do you think about when you think about “old school SEO”?

SEO is really about information retrieval (applied to commercial search engines). Is there a way to make sure a crawler can index my pages at best? How are the results going to be organized once the user starts searching? These are evergreen concepts – one guy publishes content online, another one is (hopefully) looking for that content – in between – there is technology that links the publisher with his/her audience. Some of the elements of this workflow didn’t really change that much. The first time I “sold” a search engine technology it was called the AltaVista Enterprise Search Engine (this says a lot about my age!). It was for Telecom Italia, AltaVista was top-notch and it could search over 200 different file formats. The crawler would go out and build an index made of all the keywords he could find in a document organized in such a way that I could look for a single keyword or a combination of keywords and I would get a ranked list of results. Indexation is still a big issue in SEO today and yes, it’s pretty old school.

Information retrieval

Information Retrieval

What old school techniques need to die?

Keyword stuffing has been dead for a long time, and still we have tools that check that. Having a traffic light to let you know if the content is SEO optimized doesn’t really make sense – the game is more complex than whatever a traffic light can understand, and being an SEO is really about knowing the language that searchers will use, speaking like them and providing the best possible answer in the entire SERP. What else? Focus keyword doesn’t really exist and tags are completely irrelevant in today’s world but there are things like meta descriptions that a couple of years ago I would have said were useless (as Google is making them by itself) and indeed are still very powerful even in today semantic search world.

What is modern SEO anyway? Have things really changed that much?

Ranking has changed significantly due to machine learning and the work done to help Google understand the search intent. When Ray Kurzweil arrived at Google in 2012 the goal was to help computers understand human language, and a lot has been done in that sense: think about the smart replays that you can now send from your Gmail account to help you respond to the messages that you receive. Modern SEO is really about: 1) rich semantics 2) great content that people read 3) user experience.

Many SEO agencies have switched to basically being content agencies, why?

Great content – yes. Remember that you need to make sure that your content matches the intent of the query and uses similar words and phrases that cover that topic. You also have to make sure to solve the searcher’s problem better than anyone else on page one. So yes great content is “almost” all you need to do.

What role do you see the developer playing in SEO in the future?

Improve data quality. Publish all the data that needs to be published at the right time, using the right licensing term, and in the right format. AI needs data and as a developer, your role is to make sure you have the right infrastructure to manage and publish the data that machines will consume.

data quality

Have you seen any other examples of people using AI in their SEO strategy?

Content Recommendations can have a tremendous impact on how people access and consume content online. This is one area where I see AI being used not only by the team working on the CMS but also by SEOs. Can I rank and MarketBrew analyze the search results and using AI models they provide users with data that help them choose, where to go next? To us 🙂 We use natural language processing and linked data to help you rank higher and there are several factors involved in this process.

Search engines use AI to rank sites. Won’t this mean that SEO will be dead?

There is a significant shift in SEO: researches show that CTR on mobile SERP is starting to decrease, the advent of Voice Search is also a paradigm shift. Does this mean that machines are capable of automatically organize human knowledge? Not really. We’re still much behind in terms of what a computer can really do. Humans still have control over the intended behavior of a system (i.e. “I want to sell modern SEO tools”, “I want travelers to book a room in my hotel” and so on) – and knowledge graphs are the best way that humans have to communicate to machines their “intended goal”. SEO right now is a lot about data creation, data quality, and data integration.

What are your future plans for WordLift?

We need to make it super-easy for our users to let their content talk with software agents and personal digital assistants like Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and the Google Assistant.

Meet Anne Dorko: Half Artist, Half Developer… Full #DigitalTrotter

Meet Anne Dorko: Half Artist, Half Developer… Full #DigitalTrotter

In July, we started a new column on our blog named #DigitalTrotter. It was the lucky intuition of our friend Alessandro who came up with the title and the focus of this new series of articles.

Who are those Digital Trotters? From Fashion Bloggers to Foodies, from Social Media Managers to Digital Visionaries, there’s not just one kind of trotter that we like to meet.

Today we would like to present a friend from WooRank that came visit us in our office in Rome just few weeks ago while visiting Italy with her mom and girlfriend. Her name is Anne Dorko, and she’s the most perfect example of what Digital Trotting means. She’s young, talented, creative and fun. A long-time digital nomad, Anne now lives in Germany and moves to make things happen. Do you want to know more about her?

ANNE-DORKO-interview-1.mp4

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She’s an artist, a web developer, an entertainer. She thinks of something, and then she realizes it. Like when on 2012 the Without Boxes project was launched. It is a series of extraordinary podcasts made of ordinary people’s extraordinary stories. Because everyone matters, and we can all improve so much by learning from each other and sharing our lives. During that same year she also started (and finished!) the project girlsbetrippin and visited 48 states in the USA in just 7 months. Mission accomplished!

Then, in 2013, because she’s a singer/songwriter too, she started First Aid Project, featuring a series of raw, acoustic music session you can find on Twitch. Her music is really good, and from time to time you can find her performing live on the streets in the new city she’s visiting.

Just looking at what she has accomplished in her life so far, I’m – whoa! She must be truly amazing. Traveling, diving, cycling, realizing new original plugins and WordPress themes. Nothing has stopped her so far.

In 2015 she launched DialectPro, a community dedicated to build effective and more useful websites that could improve the life of the users visiting them. Clever, uh? Then, she also published a book, “Catching Up with the Internet”.

On July 2017 she launched SEO Prompts, in partnership with WooRank. The tool helps little website owners attract visitors from search engines in a simple way. They will get a new, short task every day, by email, helping them improve their website ranking and overall performances. With SEO Prompts everyone can learn to create stand-out content, make better design choices, and, above all, optimize their site to reach specific goals.

Here’s how it works:

  • Maybe you’re a young entrepreneur who has spent a lot of time and energy building a very good website, but the SEO side of the project is still a mystery for you.
  • You’ll need to rank better to really increase your exposure and attract better and more qualified visitors.
  • How Woorank SEO Prompts might help you? You will get a simple task every day, a simple reminder with all the essentials of SEO grouped together into manageable daily tasks so you don’t have to think about it anymore.

ANNE-DORKO-interview-2.mp4

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If you want to receive Anne’s SEO Prompts, just go to SEOPrompts.com, subscribe with your name and email and… enjoy Anne’s advice.

How can a government break your online business? The curious case of France.com

How can a government break your online business? The curious case of France.com

24 years ago, before anyone had ever heard of a tweet, a Facebook timeline, or even what it meant to “Google” something, there was France.com. Jean-Noel Frydman began this website as a way for those around the world to get an up-close look at what France has to offer.

The world of technology is constantly changing, but not always in a positive way. Unfortunately, in 2015, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs created a lawsuit against France.com stating that the use of the name “France” was against French law. The laws regarding the online world are not apparent to everyone, but they can be found on ICANN.org.

Despite the unfortunate determination of Frydman’s website, he still stands by and he is now launching his online business consultancy. Check out our interview below!

You’ve been in the digital marketing space since 1994, when you started your first business online, France.com. Can you tell us a little bit more about your background and how you began your path as a digital entrepreneur?

I was working in Los Angeles, in the movie distribution business. I had no knowledge of computers, but when I stumbled upon the Internet, I thought it would be a very exciting place to launch my business. I had no idea how the online world worked, but that was not a disadvantage since nobody knew anything about this nascent industry.

How did you manage to build a successful online business in the travel industry over the years?

By focusing on one theme (in our case France) and trying to cover it as well and as extensively as possible. We were also able to be successful by creating new products for that niche and trying to consistently bring innovation to help people make the best of their trip to France.

You were starting to use WordLift – how much has SEO changed in the course of these years?

SEO has been constantly changing since the dawn of the search engines. However, I would leave the details of how it has changed to the minds of Wordlift, who know this much better than me! But in the small time that we used Wordlift, I was impressed by the results. If only we still had the site to show off your accomplishments!

You also managed to build a good relationship with the French institutions overseas, didn’t you? And then what happened?

Yes, in fact my first employer was with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and our first client at France.com was the same minister. I have worked closely with the French government tourist Office for the last 24 years. I am unsure of what happened to our relationship. These institutions that backed our activities for 24 years suddenly decided to paint us as ‘digital pirates’. Why the turn of heart? The only explanation is a desire from these institutions to profit from having France.com without having to indemnify us or purchase it legally.

I have worked closely with the French government for the last 24 years. These institutions that backed our activities for 24 years suddenly decided to paint us as ‘digital pirates’. - Read the story of Jean-Noel Frydman, founder of France.com Click To Tweet

What exactly is the French government claiming? Can you elaborate a bit more on the case?

The French government is claiming that the word ‘France’ is now a registered trademark. It’s totally absurd, both legally and even economically. How do you promote France if you can’t use the word?

What’s next on your agenda for this year? Any new online business coming up?

I’m working on bringing my quarter-century experience online to small businesses to help them get more out of the digital space. One piece of advice I have for them is to use Wordlift for their SEO!

 

Need some help with your online business? Just send me an email!

Jean-Noel Frydman

Founder, France.com

Automating content marketing for WordPress, a chat with Ruth Raventós

Automating content marketing for WordPress, a chat with Ruth Raventós

Content marketing is a popular strategic approach, but it takes time and a lot of efforts. Automating as much as you can content creation, optimization, and distribution can be key to success. We discussed this topic with Ruth Raventós, one of the co-founders of Nelio Software.

If you don’t come from Mars in the world of marketing, you’ve probably heard about content marketing — and, probably, you’ve even experimented it with your organization. If so, you probably know that creating content in order to drive lead generation and sales is not effortless.

It takes time, creativity, research, money, and the ability to measure your results, just like any other marketing approach.

Nevertheless, 91% of B2B and 86% of B2C marketers are relying on content marketing according to a research published this year by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs and sponsored by Brightcove.

What is content marketing and why it’s such a big deal?

“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

Content Marketing Institute

Content marketing is an excellent way to build your own audience. When your brand shares valuable content, people are more likely to trust it. And trust is like a magic glue that makes your audience stick with you.

Are blogs worth for content marketing?

The same research mentioned above, states that 79% of marketers use blogs to distribute their content — and, even more importantly, 60% of the most successful marketers think that a blog is one of the most effective formats.

When it comes to blogging, there is no CMS like WordPress. But, even if WordPress simplifies a lot the editing and publishing process, you still need to organize, optimize, distribute, and promote your content through different channels to reach your audience.

Here is why we decided to ask a few questions to Ruth Raventós, who created two WordPress plugins to make content marketing easier and is truly devoted to this approach.

A chat with Ruth Raventos, co-founder at Nelio Software

You are one of the co-founders of Nelio Software and a Ph.D. in Software Engineering. Talk me about your background: how did you find yourself interested in content marketing?

Ruth Raventos - Co-founder at Nelio Software

Ruth Raventos – Co-founder at Nelio Software

After finishing my degree I started working as a software developer. But I was attracted to the academic world, so I did my Ph.D. and became a teacher and researcher of topics related to information systems development.

However, I like challenges and in 2013 my partners, David Aguilera, Antonio Villegas, and I chose to leave the comfort of a good stable job and build our own startup, Nelio Software. We didn’t have a concrete project in mind yet, just a vague idea of creating a scalable service. What service? How would we do it? We didn’t know, but we were super thrilled about running our own business… so, who cares, right?

In the end, we decided we would work within the WordPress ecosystem and would develop plugins. We started brainstorming a lot of alternatives related to WordPress. In the end, we came up with two different projects that shared one vision: making WordPress sites more impactful

And from there, our interest in content marketing came naturally.

Your company developed two different plugins for WordPress, Nelio Content, and Nelio A/B Testing. What needs are you trying to solve for your customers?

Nelio Content features an editorial calendar and a content assistant. It has been designed to help you to efficiently create, schedule, and promote the content of your blog by automatically creating social publications on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest. Focus on the content that works best with its built-in analytics, and run a successful blog while saving tons of time.

Nelio A/B Testing is a powerful and versatile conversion optimization service for WordPress. It helps you define, manage, and keep track of A/B-testing experiments, combined with powerful and beautiful heatmaps.

With Nelio A/B Testing you can create alternatives to titles, featured images and excerpts without the help of designers and developers. Nelio A/B Testing will tell you which ones keep traffic on your site.

How did you understand that there was room for your plugins within the WordPress environment and market?  

The idea of plugins came from our own needs as web owners. We had a clear idea of what we wanted for ourselves. From there, we made an in-depth analysis of the plugins and other similar tools that existed in the market and their popularity. It seemed to us that there was a market and, at the same time, they could be improved in many ways to have a much greater impact. And that’s it; we started with the development of an MVP for each one.

Talking about WordPress, you are part of the organization of the upcoming WordCamp Barcelona. Why do you think it’s crucial for the community to stick together?

Being part of this community has been critical to our success. It allows you to meet other interesting product developers, with whom to share your experience. An open source community is a great place to learn new things and grow as a professional, especially when you’re getting started and you don’t know exactly where you’re headed.

As you progress and become a better professional, you can’t help giving something back. Our first contact with the community was like everybody else’s — we attended a few meetups, talk to the organizers, met people… but as soon as we felt more confident and identified we too had a story to tell, we quickly got involved with the organization. Keep in mind these communities are volunteer-driven, so it’s very important that everybody who can and cares gets involved!

You often write content on your blog… do you ever struggle with SEO?

I’ve always been surprised at how many people present themselves as SEO experts. For us, the only formula that has worked so far is to improve our positioning in a totally organic way thanks to the regularity and constancy of the post published in our blog and their automatic promotion in social networks with Nelio Content…

But yes, SEO is anything but easy. So far, we’ve been focused on following the best practices everybody talks about (links, tags, keyword management, and so on) and we’ve recently integrated your plugin, WordLift, to our content marketing strategy, hoping it’ll help us rank even better.

Do you think content organization can make a substantial difference in engaging your readers and, at the end of the day, converting them into customers?

For us, it has been key. Our experience is that with no advertising budget, but with great planning in creating content and seeing what is working best for us on our website, we have been able to create our current business. In fact, the use of our two products has helped us grow and make a difference.

If you had to sum up your experience in content marketing in three tips, what would they be?

Content marketing is based on the generation and promotion of content. Therefore, the creation of a blog is the starting point for any online communication strategy of any professional or company. A blog with quality content helps you improve the visibility of your brand, it is the key factor to generate leads and, of course, the best way to improve your SEO. However, from our experience, a blog requires a lot of sacrifice and perseverance. Therefore, my recommendation to make this trip more bearable would be:

First, have a topic that you’re passionate about.

This way, it’ll be easier for you to write quality content. You’d better like what you write about or you’ll soon leave it aside. 

Second, be consistent.

You may not be the best writer in the world or you may not always choose the best topics possible, but if you persevere and, whatever happens, continue to publish content, you’ll eventually get better than most.

Finally, be as much as efficient as possible in the entire content generation process and its promotion.

Automate as many tasks as you can and don’t waste time doing work that doesn’t give you value. Tools like WordLift or Nelio Content will help you to save a ton of time.

Talking with Ruth has been really inspiring and I’m sure you’ll find much interesting content on Nelio blog too, check it out!

How an expert professional SEO evolves in the age of AI

How an expert professional SEO evolves in the age of AI

How the semantic web (r)evolution is affecting the daily work of SEO specialists?

In this article, you are going to meet the English SEO Specialist Mark Bryce-Sharron and learn from his story why semantics is a game-changing science when applied to the optimization of websites and pages.

While Google is sharpening its semantic weapons with Hummingbird and RankBrain; the line between SEO, data analysis, and content organization is blurring. The Semantic web and schema.org markup are not new concepts for your average digital marketer, nowadays, however, having an understanding of both the theory and application is giving a selected few SEO agencies a competitive edge.

Meet Mark Bryce-Sharron

Founder and Director of the British digital agency Sussex SEO, Mark loves to keep his hands-on and his head learning. He manages clients’ search and social strategies, and he says about himself:

Mark Bryce-Sharron«SEO and social media fuel my passion for self-study as they present an endless exponential learning curve that few careers can match. I devote an average of one/two hours per day, monitoring industry data, IM forums and following case studies thus ensuring that I keep my skill set up to date so changes to such as Google’s Penguin update don’t cost my clients lost business.»

He founded his agency in 2006 with a very smart approach: instead of focusing on a range of keywords his clients should rank for, he works on developing a holistic digital strategy for each client to multiply the sources of traffic and maximize the brand exposure.

It’s a long path, instead of a bunch of tricks and easy patches, but – in the long run – it works, and it’s less sensitive to the latest algos from Mountain View.

We were curious to know the journey that brought Mark and his agency to a semantic approach and how it impacted the SEO operations for his clients.

3 signs and a plot twist

Back in 2014, Mark was already quite familiar with semantic strategies. Though, the enlightening comprehension of the great change that was coming forward was yet to come.

«We were kind of flying the big line at that point, and feeding the search engine what it wanted.» He says.

And how did you realize that something had changed forever in the SEO industry?

«At the beginning of this year (2017) something happened, I noticed a significant change in search results. No longer were web pages being displayed in order of relevance, rather the search engine was offering alternatives. The pattern was pretty easy to spot. Short tail keywords were returning results that offered the user a selection of choices e.g. cost, jobs, general information, legal information, and services. I had known this was coming but it honestly caught me by surprise.

«There had been rumblings that Hummingbird was the most significant update to Google’s core ranking algorithm back in 2014, three years later the penny really dropped for me. What suddenly became obvious was the search engine was now not simply attempting to present the user with results in order of relevance, it was attempting to calculate the user’s intent and provide answers. Where the search command did not supply enough information e.g. short tail keywords, the search engine would supply a montage of different types of results. As you narrow down your search criteria with more specific long tail or conversational queries the answer provided became more specific.

«Like many SEOs I’m self-taught and the way I learn is by testing and talking to other industry professionals (usually in the pub over a pint or several). Networking is key, if you don’t exchange Ideas with others your methodology stagnates. One particular drinking buddy (tentacle.ai) works with big data and artificial intelligence, armed with his laptop and a pint of craft beer he showed me an AI chatbot he was working on. As he explained its inner workings I was surprised to find we were using that same terminology e.g. parsers/classifier algorithms.

«Something clicked, Google was using AI. Rankbrain wasn’t just vapourware it was actively being used to serve improved search engine results.

«Another contact, Robert Adler (BOFU2U), had previously introduced to me to the concept of creating entities within a site and semantic linking using anchor text and the schema.org sameAs attribute.

«At this point, I had an idea of the components required for a case study but needed a mechanism to deploy the code.

«My SEO plugin of choice is SEO Ultimate, it blows Yoast out of the water and contains a set of modules that allow users to inject code into pages. I was after something that could inject the same bit of code info multiple page headers. I reached out to Jeffrey Smith, the founder of SEO Ultimate. He told me that he was partnering with WordLift to offer advanced semantic SEO to his clients and he lead me to your plugin. I took a look at what you guys were doing and yes, it blew my mind: so I took you for a test drive, WordLift provided everything I needed and everything I wanted. I’ve tried WordLift, after spending significant time on content to be sure the copy was good and it wasn’t duplicated, and – sure enough! – things started to move very positively

So, how are you using WordLift for your clients?

«There are a number of approaches.

  • Install and go.
  • Install, go and add unique content to vocabulary pages.
  • Plan a vocabulary by trawling the semantic web, seed existing website copy with your vocabulary (LSI keywords), Order content, install the plugin and replace the vocabulary with original content/create new entities within the plugin.

«A strong starting point is a vocabulary of 120 pages. My vocabulary pages start at 1000 words in length and include question, answers, statistics and I keep building them out.»

«Of course, I don’t just go through and take every single entity the NLP AI extracts, I pick things making some decisions based on common sense: is this entity relevant for my website? And that’s how I build my vocabulary.

«Now, if I just put WordLift on my side, and don’t add any extra copy to those vocabulary pages it still begins to move, but when we start to add links to the pages – that’s when it really started to get interesting

A smooth, gentle traffic uplift

Until today, Mark has used WordLift on 10 different websites of his clients. Quite a vantage point from where to see if the results that WordLift brings to traffic metrics are real, measurable, and repeatable.

«What I noticed is that when you deploy the plugin you get a steady very desirable growth. Depending on how you use the plugin it will depend the results you get: you do have to cope with strategic content research and content creation, to get the most out of it, and also you have to be aware that somehow Google changes, like RankBrain.

«Some people say RankBrain is just a machine learning algorithm, but I see that it is virtualizing some pieces of language of certain types of language: often phrases, or questions, or propositions, or answers… So the key thing you offer is semi-automatically generating schema.org markup, which has a very very smooth potential to website’s use and Google knows it, because Google is gently starting to push the next generation. With the coding, there is just the ability to remove any ambiguity from a piece of text and to help Google work less hard to calculate some meaning behind the text on the page. – I don’t use the word understands, because I don’t believe AI understands at this particular point in time… but it certainly does a very good job in processing the meaning.

«With WordLift what you see is a slow, gentle, constant climate. So it doesn’t happen overnight, it happens in the space of three months. It is like a gentle trigger.»

Wrap-up & lessons learned

When the semantic web meets AI the impact on the web is huge. Think about the effect of RankBrain on a single search, and multiply it for all the existing industries where SEO is relevant for business.

SEO Specialist can’t ignore those transformations – they have to stay on top of them and to find new techniques and reliable tools that really work.

If there is something that Mark’s story teaches us, is that in an ever-changing context, such as the web is, digital pros need to upgrade continually and to sharpen their weapons while the search engines are doing the same on a larger scale.

How A.I. is disrupting web writing according to FREEYORK’s founder

How A.I. is disrupting web writing according to FREEYORK’s founder

What if artificial intelligence was the nurturing humus that the publishing industry and blogs need to bloom again? What if the future of blogging was in the virtual hands of an army of machines that can work together with professional writers to build and spread knowledge? This is the story of Samur Isma, founder and publisher of the online design magazine FREEYORK, which publishes 25-30 articles a week employing just two editors. How do they do this? Let’s look closer to understand Samur’s visionary model.

A.I. is a mindset.

FREEYORK - Illustration

Eclectic and creative, Samur is halfway between tech and design with a strong entrepreneurial mindset. After starting his career as a freelance graphic designer, he has studied computer science at the Eastern Mediterranean University in Mersin and, then, at the Technical University of Wroclaw – where he graduated in computer science and marketing. In 2009 he founded FREEYORK, and nowadays he divides his mind and his time between his daytime job at IBM as a project manager, the management of his editorial project FREEYORK, and the organization of the Startup Weekend in Wroclaw. And he still manages to have some fun!

Samur Isma with a part of the team

Samur Isma with a part of FREEYORK‘s team: Samur is holding the camera, while the girl on the right (covering her face) is an editor, the one on a left contributes to FREEYORK, the guy on the left (in sunglasses) is FREEYORK‘s Business strategy advisor and consultant, and the tall guy on the left, helps FREEYORK with graphic design.

FREEYORK: the editorial project

Born as a community-driven platform, FREEYORK aims to spread the works and stories of upcoming artists.

Previously, designers and other members of the community used to submit their artworks and their stories, reaching a wide audience of design-lovers. Until a few weeks ago, all the work was done by two editors, plus Samur: just three persons were covering photography, design, illustration, street art, architecture, fashion, and food. Now, content submission is available again for website members, through a newly rolled-out system.

FREEYORK is an eye wide-open on all kind of visual contemporary art and publishes a huge amount of inspiring content that helps artists and studios to get known and design-lovers to find new artists and creative ideas from all around the world.

FREEYORK's Homepage

Unleashing the power of A.I.

FREEYORK’s editorial team has a secret weapon to stay ahead of their competition, and that secret weapon is A.I.

Together with Samur and his small editorial team, there is a kind of cyber-team composed by A.I. tools, whose activities are now part of the magazine’s editorial workflow. Day by day, A.I. is helping the human team to do a better job in content writing, editing, and organization.

Our current workflow involves usage of three A.I. tools: an A.I. that writes the content of an article, another A.I. that analyses it for grammar mistakes and replaces words that don’t fit into a context, and WordLift” explains Samur. The first step is to collect some materials on a topic. After finding a few sources, we are giving them A.I. to rewrite. The second step is to analyze what first A.I. wrote, fix grammar mistakes, and replace those words that don’t make any sense. Finally, we let WordLift annotate an article and think of a catchy headline. A.I., unfortunately, is not good at this yet!
So, basically, there is an A.I. working at each stage of the editorial process: writing, editing, and organizing. Oh, wait! What about human editors? What will they do in the future of the web? Here is what Samur has to say about this:
It scares a lot of people for their future. Especially those who’re working with numbers. I think that writers that use a lot of statistics and numerical data have a bigger chance to be replaced by A.I. As a perfect example, we can take The Associated Press that is using A.I. to write Minor League Baseball articles. That must be an alarming sign for sports writers. As for FREEYORK, I’m hoping to find a perfect solution that will combine writing and editing in one tool and on the top of that if it should read the text and think of a catchy headline. But nothing ever will substitute a well-written writer’s opinion on a subject. In the future, I’m hoping to form a brilliant team of editors that will write long-posts expressing their opinion on an artist’s work, exhibitions, installations, and so on. Who doesn’t appreciate a well-written article?”
Put this way, A.I. is more an opportunity than a threat, both for writers and publishers. State-of-the-art A.I. is ready to free journalists and writers from boring and repetitive tasks in their work day. What do you do when A.I. is quicker and cheaper than humans to write news and analysis? As a writer, you can focus on critics, opinions, and storytelling: that’s human stuff and no machine can make it better than professionals.
FREEYORK's entity - New York

See New York from FREEYORK’s point of view. Isn’t it wonderful?

As a small publisher competing with bigger players, Samur is working on a new business model which will rely less on display advertising.
I wanted to make WordPress more intelligent and that’s exactly what WordLift does” states Samur. “At first, when I introduced WordLift to the team, they were skeptical about it and stated “Why we need this, tags are doing the same job with a less effort anyway, but I kept on pushing because there is a huge potential in this.
Samur is not ready to share the details of his new – A.I. powered – business model, but I’m sure we’ll come back on it to see where this adventure is going to land. 🤖 Meanwhile, he is seeing WordLift’s effect on his key metrics:
We approached WordLift while experiencing a decrease in our organic traffic. After a few months using it, our organic traffic reached and exceeded previous figures and it is still growing at a stable rate.
Our brainy CEO, Andrea Volpini, is analyzing Samur’s data to better understand the impact of our plugin on FREEYORK: I promise we’ll come back soon with more information and insights about it!
Update: the results of Andrea’s analysis have been presented at SEMANTiCS 2017 in Amsterdam. 🎉

 

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