I stumbled recently on a hilarious video about the News Machine. You will remember the old game where you are in a circle of friends, you whisper a sentence to the friend next to you, he passes on the message, and by the time the message has finished the circle it is completely distorted and embellished, sometimes even so hilarious that everybody roars with laughter? Well, something like that happens with the News Machine.
The News Machine was presented by COLORS #86 at the International Journalism Festival that took place in April in Perugia, Italy. Designed in collaboration with interactive designer Jonathan Chomko, the COLORS News Machine turns your tweets into headlines, but only after they’ve been passed through all the media filters and technological platforms that disseminate and distort the news today.
Hilarious as the video is, it is also a sobering though for all SEO marketers about how your message can be distorted as it goes through different media. And for translators it is also a good lesson – I assume that all professional translators have received at one point of their career an already translated text (because the client assumes that you do not know the language of the original text), only to have the client come back to complain that your translation does not match the original that you never saw… Well, it has happened to me quite a few times by now. And if you add machine translation to the pot, you will eventually get… the News Machine.
It so happens that recently I stumbled upon quite a few funny machine translations, so I though about sharing some of them with you. Enjoy!
Oh, and if you want to find the reason for these bad machine translations, Mox’s blog very clearly shows that it’s simply due to dumb translation custom
Note that not everything is Chinese. When I went to Florida in February, a major car hire company proudly announced in Spanish that their child seats were very safe because *children* had been crash-tested i.a.w. state laws. (A pity I did not have my camera with me!)
Some of my customers ask me whether they can learn SEO. While there are plenty of courses out there (some excellent, some plainly crap), you might want to have a look at the following (free!) sites, which will provide you some interesting background about what you need to know to start optimizing your web pages for the search engines. It will of course take time, but at least you will get a lot of sound advice for free, instead of heaving to pay for a course that tells you a lot of things that were outdated already two years ago.
Once you have gone through these pages, at least you will know the basics so as to distinguish good advice from outdated crap.
- Google Webmaster Academy
- Google Webmaster Academy Videos
- Google for Webmasters
- Google Developers recommendations on Building Smartphone-Optimized Websites
- Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide (PDF)
- Bing New Features for Webmaster (PDF)
- Google SEO Report Card (PDF)
- Google Webmaster Guidelines
- Google Search Engine Optimization tips
- Google help for webmasters
- Seomoz Beginner’s Guide to SEO
- SEO Book’s 7 days to SEO success
But apart from looking at the above sites, you may want also to keep an eye on Google Webmaster Central and the recommended SEO blogs posted on the side bar.
Keyword tools are critical to investigate new keywords for which you want your websites to score. Here is a list of 17 useful keyword tools:
- Google External Keyword Tool – Probably the most used keyword research tool. It allows you to search in multiple languages and multiple countries. One of the most useful tools for multilingual keyword research. Check out also the beta link to the advanced version. Free to use.
- Bing Ads Intelligence tool (formerlyAdCenter Labs) – Microsoft Excel 2007 (or later) plug-in keyword suggestion tool that exploits the huge keyword database that Bing has collected over the years. Free to use.
- Ubersuggest - Another multilingual keyword suggestion tool. Though it is an aggregator of other keyword suggestion tools, it works fine. And it is free!
- Semrush - It does look as if it searches in Google, but it provides unparalleled insights into competitors’ PPC keyword targeting, rankings and traffic data, as well as competition information. The tool is really amazing, earning it a spot in the list of the best SEO tools. much data is can be viewed such as related keywords, phrase match keywords, keyword information such as CPC, volume, CPC trends, and competition; in addition to who ranks for the keyword and where, who pays for the keyword and how much, what traffic goes where from the keyword, and much, much more. Unfortunately, its specialization has a few weak spots, in particular in keyword suggestion. Free (limited use) and paid.
- Seobook Keyword List Generator - This free keyword phrase generator tool is web based and allows you to generate a large number of keyword phrases based on permutations of the keywords you enter. Unfortunately, it only works with English keywords.
- WordTracker’s Keyword Suggestion Tool – According to their publicity, they have more than one hundred million keywords in their database. Unfortunately, you have to pay to use it.
- WordStream – In reality, an aggregation of other keyword suggestion tools. Sorry, only English keywords allowed.
- Trellian Keyword Discovery – An expensive tool, but a good one.
- Keyword Eye – Another commercial tool for keyword research. It offers both free and paid accounts. I tried some foreign keywords, and no luck.
- Wordpot - Free keyword research tool, quite usable, but with limited access so as to try to sell you the paid version. Only in English.
- Spyfu- Also a commercial tool, but with a twist – it uses keywords that your competition has been used for paid ads. Good for people marketing products.
- Keyword Spy – Similar to Spyfu, this commercial tool also spies on the competition, but you can also simply search for keywords. Free access is limited. Searches multiples countriess, but multilingual keywords are missing.
- Good Keywords – A set of (free!) Windows utilities to assist your keyword research.
- Keyword Strategy Studio – from the same company that provides Good Keywords for free, a (paid) Windows application to perform keyword research based on the current trends, popularity and buzz.
- Google Trends - A free tool that allows you to find keywords, but, more interestingly, shows you how the popularity of those words evolves. Requires some knowledge, not for newbies.
- Thesaurus.com - Not strictly speaking a keyword research tool, it will nonetheless provide you with a lot of associated words that will help you with your keyword research. English and Spanish. Look for other thesauri on the web!
- KGen - This is a Mozilla Firefox add-on that shows you the keywords of visited web pages. Ideal to spy on the competition. And it’s also free!
- Soovle – An interesting on-line tool that looks for keywords similar to yours in Google, Bing, Yahoo, but also in Wikipedia, Amazon and Answers.com. Good for getting keyword ideas, but not for massive keyword search.
- Youtube keyword tool – Now, Youtube is perhaps not the site you would be looking for a keyword tool, but the reality is that because of their huge collection of videos they have also collected huge amounts of information. It’s free, it’s good, so what are you waiting for to use it?
If you are not sure what keywords are about, check out my post on Keyword Basics. Then check out How to select a good long-tail keyword.