The Stack is a weekly podcast where we share and discuss the latest trends, news, and content from the world of marketing, sales, and tech. In each episode, Sean, Tim, and Ryan sit down to chat about the hard-hitting questions related to sales, marketing, and tech. You can subscribe on iTunes, Soundcloud, Spotify, and Google Play Music.

In this episode, we talk about how Google is understanding search better, saying goodbye to Flash, and Facebook News. 

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Understanding searches better than ever before

Pandu Nayak for The Keyword

Just last week Google announced an algorithm update titled BERT, which was developed with the specific goal of improving its understanding of more complicated, conversational search queries that have become more and more common.

“…by applying BERT models to both ranking and featured snippets in Search, we’re able to do a much better job  helping you find useful information. In fact, when it comes to ranking results, BERT will help Search better understand one in 10 searches in the U.S. in English, and we’ll bring this to more languages and locales over time.

Particularly for longer, more conversational queries, or searches where prepositions like “for” and “to” matter a lot to the meaning, Search will be able to understand the context of the words in your query. You can search in a way that feels natural for you.”

What this means for you:

  • It’s expected that up to 10% of all searches will be impacted by BERT.
  • While Google has specifically said that there is “no way to optimize for BERT,” it could be interesting to test your content creation process to make use of more conversational wording and potentially rank for longer-tail keywords

Goodbye, Flash

Google Webmaster Blog

While most Google Chrome users are already aware that Flash is disabled by default, other search platforms will soon be doing the same. Not only does Google disable Flash from being used in the browser, it will start to de-index Flash content from search results. 

“Google Search will stop supporting Flash later this year. In Web pages that contain Flash content, Google Search will ignore the Flash content. Google Search will stop indexing standalone SWF files. Most users and websites won’t see any impact from this change.”

What this means for you:

  • If you have Flash content on your website that adds content to the information on your site, Google will be ignoring that and only seeing the plain text version which will almost definitely affect your rankings. 

HTML 5 is here to carry the torch of what Flash was once able to do.

Introducing Facebook News

Facebook Newsroom

Facebook is testing a new feature so people can get all their social news information in one place. While news articles will continue to appear in News Feed as they do now, this new feature will create a dedicated place for news within the Facebook app. This update acknowledges the fact that machine learning has its limits, and the algorithmic selection of stories will continue to evolve as the product develops. For now, Facebook is stressing the fact that it will aim to serve both people and news publishers.

Key Features: 

  • Today’s Stories, to keep readers up-to-date throughout the day
  • Your Subscriptions, to allow readers to linked their paid news subscriptions to their Facebook account
  • Personalization, to allow readers to read, share, and follow the news that matters to them

App of the Week: Challengeit

Challengeit allows you to create custom challenges and quizzes you can use to have fun and interact with others. This would be great for companies who want to engage and delight their customers or prospects. Imagine you own an eCommerce company where you sell online videos. You could quiz and challenge people who purchase and watch your videos. This could help you learn about where people are getting confused so you can improve your products while building relationships with your customers. Get early access and try it out for yourself!

“This takes challenges with your friends, customers, or prospects to a whole new level! Creating challenges gives you amazing insight into your customers, and your own products.”


Key Features: 

  • Create custom badges for users who reach a certain milestone
  • Customize all aspects of your challenges
  • Compete against friends and share on social media

The Lightning Round: What We’re Reading This Week

In this section, we quickly run through some other updates that we didn’t have enough time to deep-dive on, but we still felt were noteworthy

  1. Google reportedly in talks to acquire Fitbit
  2. Featured snippets display on desktop 13% more often than mobile, study finds
  3. Voice assistant study: Microsoft’s Cortana offers most answers, Google assistant proves most accurate

Listen or watch for new episodes each Friday, or check out the archives to watch past episodes on-demand. Like what you hear? Leave us a review or let us know in the comments!

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