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Google Engineer Cites Complexities Around AI Algorithms Explaining Themselves

Google has been saying for a year or so that they are moving from a mobile first world to an artificial intelligence first world but we’ve been told, at least in search, machine learning won’t take over the algorithm – at least not yet.
So I saw this interesting tweet from Paul Haahr, a top search ranking engineer at Google for over 15 years. He cited a NY Times article named Can A.I. Be Taught to Explain Itself? and wrote “This article by @cliffkuang on Explainable AI is an excellent introduction to hard, important problems. These issues are coming up at work every day; the article describes them well and gives some reasons for optimism.”

This article by @cliffkuang on Explainable AI is an excellent introduction to hard, important problems. These issues are coming up at work every day; the article describes them well and gives some reasons for optimism. https://t.co/1aRP5WB2qO
— Paul Haahr (@haahr) November 24, 2017
It reminded me of when he spoke at SMX some time ago where he said Google doesn’t fully understand RankBrain. I believe this article references what he means by that, because RankBrain is a machine learning, AI based search feature.
If Google cannot debug or understand how the algorithm itself gets better and makes certain decisions then how can Google debug it fully when it goes bad.
“As machine learning becomes more powerful, the field’s researchers increasingly find themselves unable to account for what their algorithms know — or how they know it.” That is not just a science fiction Terminator movie like fear concept but in reality, it is a topic that engineers need to battle with to understand how to improve their AI.
Anyway, reading the article might shed some light into those challenges and show you maybe how far off we are from robots killing us.
Forum discussion at Twitter.

Jill Whalen – The Search Community Honors You

This is part of the say something nice about an SEO/SEM series – feel free to nominate someone over here.
Jill Whalen, currently 56 years old, was literally one of the pioneers in the SEO industry, starting in 1995 and championing the “white hat” following for about 20 years. Jill officially retired from her business and the SEO space back in 2013 but has continued to be an inspiration for many existing and new SEOs in the industry. She is married, with 3 grown kids ages 30, 29 and 24 living in Massachusetts in the same house for almost 32 years.
Dianna Huff, who nominated Jill for this series wrote:

Jill is no longer an SEOer but she was instrumental in helping me build my career when I first started doing SEO in 2001. Her book, “The Nitty Gritty Guide to SEO Copywriting” was one the first books I purchased.
I read her newsletter and listened to her at conferences for years.
On a more personal level, I was always a bit shy and hesitant when I attended the big SEO/SEM conferences as I knew the “big” names but they had no clue who I was. I’ll never forget the day that Jill said hi to me at a conference and invited me to sit with her over lunch — which became the start of our friendship.
I’ve always admired Jill’s approach to SEO, websites, and marketing in general and am happy to say that I still follow her advice, which pretty much is, “Keep things simple; make your website the best it can be.”
She left a real void when she retired.

For me, Jill has fought hard over the years for SEOs to take the white hat approach, even in the days when it was easy to spam Google. She was the voice of content over links, that quality content will drive quality links, will drive traffic and long term success. Then Panda hit and she was literally validated, oh and then Penguin hit and it was like a double bonus.
We all owe a lot of what we know about SEO to Jill, even if you did not read her book or her newsletters or heard her speak – those you probably did learn SEO from, likely learned from Jill.
Jill Whalen’s Bio:
Jill Whalen was a pioneer in the SEO industry from 1995-2013. For the past 20 years, she has consulted with companies big and small, and spoken at conferences all over the world.
Jill is currently a transformational speaker and mentor to businesses, individuals, coaches, leaders, groups and organizations. She helps them uncover their natural well-being and happiness so that they can operate from a clearer state of mind and take their lives and businesses to a higher level.
Jill is the author of Victim of Thought: Seeing Through the Illusion of Anxiety. Her blog, What Did You Do With Jill? is a personal account of what she’s learned throughout her transformational journey. Jill has many “viral” articles on LinkedIn and is a contributing writer to P.S. I Love You. Stay abreast of Jill’s latest musings and offerings by subscribing to her newsletter here.
Favorite thing about the SEO community? The sharing of knowledge among member of the SEO community.
One piece of advice to the SEOs out there? Forget about SEO and think about marketing.
Favorite things in general? My favorite color is red. My favorite foods have changed a lot through the years. Most recently, my super healthy veggie lunches would have to be it. Each day my lunch is prettier and yummier than the day before! Favorite things to do are currently singing karaoke, practicing yoga, Barre classes, tennis, and as always…hanging out online and sharing my knowledge and discoveries with the world via my writing and speaking events.
What you want to be known for in the SEO space? Being the one who spoke out for true SEO that made websites better not worse. And showing everyone that spamming the search engines was optional, not necessary
You can see more about what Jill is up to now at her new site WhatDidYouDoWithJill.com.
Jill Whalen, this is the search community honoring you for all you have done!
This is part of the say something nice about an SEO/SEM series – feel free to nominate someone over here.

Google Crazy Hats Day On Friday

Well, it seems Google had a crazy hat day on some Fridays. Here is a picture from Elaine Jones showing her coworker in the Dublin office where some crazy Googlely hat. I posted the video from Instagram below so you can see it in action?

This post is part of our daily Search Photo of the Day column, where we find fun and interesting photos related to the search industry and share them with our readers.

Daily Search Forum Recap: November 24, 2017

Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.
Search Engine Roundtable Stories:
Search Buzz Video Recap: Featured Snippets, Link Building & My Google World Is Upside DownThis is the special Thanksgiving SEO video recap where I talk about the changes to the Google featured snippets. I also discuss the parameter handling tool in Search Console and how you need to think about that when you migrate to HTTPS…
Google: Anchor Text For Internal Links Do MatterSome asked Google’s John Mueller if the anchor text you use for your internal links matter for Google. Of course, John Mueller responding suggesting it does. He said “Most links do provide a bit of additional context through their anchor text…
Google Local Pack Tests Showing Knowledge Panel TabsGoogle seems to be testing merging the local pack with knowledge panel data into tabs across the top of the local pack. Sergey Alakov caught this test, although I cannot current replicate it, here is what he shared…
Google: Most Websites Rank Without Any Link BuildingDid you know that most websites listed and ranking on Google rank without building a single backlink…
Google My Business Web Search Dashboard Now Ask You To Create AdsSergey Alakov spotted that the Google My Business web search dashboard that launched a couple months ago, now is asking businesses to create ads using AdWords Express…
Thoughtful Google Dublin Thanksgiving CupcakesNicole Pruner, an American stationed in the Google Dublin office, showed off her special Thanksgiving day cupcakes her Google family gave her to cheer her up on the holiday. She wrote “Thankful for m
Thanksgiving 2017 Google Logo, Bing Theme & MoreGoogle, Bing, and even Sogou have special Thanksgiving day logos and themes. Google has a turkey is an interesting one. Google wrote on their Doodle page…
Other Great Search Forum Threads:

Search Buzz Video Recap: Featured Snippets, Link Building & My Google World Is Upside Down

This is the special Thanksgiving SEO video recap where I talk about the changes to the Google featured snippets. I also discuss the parameter handling tool in Search Console and how you need to think about that when you migrate to HTTPS. Google said your URL structure does not need to follow your content structure. Google said IP addresses can rank fine in Google. Google said websites can and do rank without link building. Google said internal anchor text is important. Google launched the Trust Project to help fight fake news. Google updated the text for the search results snippets it can’t gain access to. Google launched a new Google Flight search. Google AdWords updated to version 12.2. Google local pack adds some knowledge panel data. Finally, my Google world has turned upside down with Matt Cutts complaining about Google and Danny Sullivan being the spokesperson defending Google. That was this past week in search at the Search Engine Roundtable.
Make sure to subscribe to our video feed or subscribe directly on iTunes to be notified of these updates and download the video in the background. Here is the YouTube version of the feed:
[embedded content] For the original iTunes version, click here.
Search Topics of Discussion:
Please do subscribe via iTunes or on your favorite RSS reader. Don’t forget to comment below with the right answer and good luck!
This post was scheduled to go live today but was written earlier – I am currently offline today.

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