Blog

Page Star Rating

At ZEEF, we believe that people are the best assessors of quality information. Consequently, they should also be considered as the best judges.

golden zeef award-star ranking image

We have been discussing what makes a quality page and which human engagement indicators we should take into account when considering this. Over the last month, the Golden ZEEF Award has provided us with new insights about how users perceive the quality of ZEEF pages and how our algorithm performs in terms of evaluating different pages. At the moment we are taking two inputs into account to rank the contestants:

But what about the whole ZEEF community?

During the last phase of the Golden ZEEF Award, we are previewing a new feature: the Page Star Rating. We would like to increase the amount of human input to our quality score through a quick and intuitive way to rank the pages where any user can participate.

page star ranking image

Since the contest is going through its last stage, we are not going consider the Page Star Rating results when determining the winner of the Golden ZEEF Award. With extra human input from the Page Star Rating, we’re keen on improving the page quality score model.

Currently, the Page Star Rating is only available for Golden ZEEF Award Pages. Should it become a new feature? We are very excited to test this method and to hear your feedback about it.

Start ranking the Golden ZEEF Award pages!

 

 

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apple-watch

Header images and improved API

We’ve released a new version of ZEEF again! Read on to discover more about header images, the improved Chrome extension, our updated API and other ZEEF improvements.

Header images

You might have seen them: nice header images above pages like Apple-Watch.ZEEF.com. We received a lot of requests to add these so we’ve now made it possible for our early access users. Would you like to add a header image to your own page and try other upcoming features? Apply for our early access program!

Updated API for developers

APIQuite some new calls were added to the API: create a new page, manage the scratchpad and filtering on region or page type. We made it possible to easily try out the API using Swagger. And there’s a client library available for Java developers now.

New Chrome extension coming soon

Collecting links with ZEEF has never been easier. When you have our Chrome extension installed you can add links to your Scratchpad with only 2 clicks. When you’re back on your ZEEF page you can drag and drop your links from the Curate Panel into a block of your choice.

Other changes

  • New link actions:
    • Thank a link
    • Contact the curator about a link
    • Flag a link as inappropriate
  • Long pages will load much faster
  • Search on Android works again
  • Daisycon was added as affiliate network
  • Design of Widgets can now be customized on request
  • Image quality has been improved
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ranking-perception

How curators rank their lists – research study

The curators on ZEEF.com have an important role of ranking the links in their lists. However, is the perception of ranking of the curator the same as one of the visitor? Help us to answer this question!

Yana Ledeneva, a Master student of the University of Amsterdam, has started a new research project at ZEEF. The aim of this research project is to evaluate which factors the curators take into account when determining the ranking of their links, and whether the visitors of ZEEF pages perceive these rankings in a similar way curators do.

Idea of the research

On every ZEEF page there is an implicit dialogue between the curator and the visitor, which takes place through a clear, well filtered, SEO and spam-free ranking of links to web-sites that have the best content on a particular topic. This dialogue is complemented by a particular level of trust and agreement from the visitor.  If the visitors do not think that the content is fine and sound, they will disagree with the curator, thus reducing their level of trust. Therefore, for the curators on ZEEF, it is extremely important to keep the level of disagreement between themselves and their visitors as low as possible. In order to achieve this, it is essential to evaluate the process of making the ranking of the lists by the curators and compare it with the perception of rankings by ZEEF visitors.

In other words, in our research we address the issue of different perceptions of rankings by the curators and by the visitors to answer the following question:

“Do ZEEF curators take into account the same ranking factors as the visitors think should be taken?”

Description of the research

The research consists of two parts. In the first part we will analyze the main factors and parameters that are taken into account by the curators along with their methods of making rankings. The second part is dedicated to the question of how the visitors perceive the rankings on ZEEF pages and whether they agree with them. At the end of the research we will compare the results of both parties and analyze whether both the curators and the visitors perceive rankings in a similar way. Any discrepancy in the perceptions of both sides may result in a higher level of disagreement and mistrust, so with the help of this research we will be able to reveal existing problems and do everything to fix them.

This week we launch the surveys for our research, so we kindly ask both the curators of ZEEF pages and the visitors to answer the questions of our surveys. We value your time, and promise that it will not take more than 10 minutes. We guarantee that the data will be used only for research purposes and will not be shared with other parties.

Help us make the research as accurate and truthful as possible, so we are able to improve ZEEF and let people provide you with the best quality content!

Curators survey Visitors survey

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ZEEF search results for Growth Hacking

Solving the flaws of algorithmic search using the wisdom of the crowd

What do ZEEF pages like WordPress, Amsterdam and Growth Hacking have in common? The answer: they all have multiple passionate curators. Let’s have a closer look at the Growth Hacking pages. Which page is the best? Is it David’s, or perhaps Luca’s?

If you want to find quality information, who do you trust?

When we started with ZEEF, we believed that competition between curators on the same subjects would safeguard the overall quality of the platform. Now, with the amount of pages on ZEEF increasing, the question arises: how can we accurately rank competing pages on the same subject and who determines this? At ZEEF we believe in the power of human knowledge. As such, we’re convinced that the level of human engagement with a ZEEF page is what really defines the value of a page.

It is possible to analyze algorithms and trick them. Ever heard of Search Engine Optimization? That’s exactly what it is: beating the algorithm in your advantage. In search engine land, bigger budgets essentially mean more brainpower to trick search algorithms and more money to spend on things like backlinks or direct advertising. As such, search results do not necessarily reflect the best quality results anymore, but the biggest marketing budgets. There are essentially two ways to get yourself on the first page of a search engine: 1) by directly paying for it through an Ad, or 2) by indirectly paying for it, through a large Search Engine Optimization budget. In addition to this there are a lot of other flaws such as incomplete references, untrustworthiness, lack of categorization, etc.

2015 Golden ZEEF Award Contest

Over the last few months, we’ve worked on an initial Page Quality Score model that takes the most important human engagement indicators into account. Behind the scenes we’ve already put the model to the test with existing ZEEF pages, with some pretty impressive results! Before putting the model “in the wild,” we would like to see the model in action with a fresh set of pages.

That’s exactly why we’re organizing the 2015 Golden ZEEF Award contest! During this 30-day contest we want to finetune the initial model with input from our awesome community. In addition to contributing to the future of online content navigation, there are also some great prizes you can win. Everyone is invited to give feedback and input on the model which we will transparently provide in a spreadsheet.

Many pages have already been submitted to the contest, but it’s not too late to participate! The contest starts on March 31st and runs for the entire month of April. Join us in our quest to define the perfect quality score: Golden-ZEEF-Award.ZEEF.com.

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Fancy emails and awesome improvements

At ZEEF we invest lots of time in making curation as easy as possible for you. In this new version we’ve improved, amongst other things, the automatic link title suggestions and the look and feel of our emails. Read on for more details about this release.

Improved emailRenewed emails

The emails you receive from ZEEF were very to the point and technical, and as a platform built by and for humans, we believed our email communication required a big overhaul. We’ve given these emails a facelift and now they look much fresher, have a clear goal you can act on right away and contain more useful functionality. You’ll also see more clearly who is mailing you and link(block)s are now displayed as you’re used to on ZEEF.

Improved title suggestions and favicons

In this new version we’ve improved the automatic link title suggestions so you’ll have to invest less time to build beautiful, easy to navigate, ZEEF pages from now on. For some websites we even made some custom optimizations, try for example adding an app from the App Store!

Other changes

  • More information about who suggested a link
  • Change ranking from the edit link dialog
  • When logging out you’ll stay at the same page
  • Easier to change the language of your page
  • Lots of bugfixes and interface improvements

What’s next?

Behind the scenes we are working on an awesome new way of keeping up to date with your favorite ZEEF pages! Even though we’re very excited already, you’ll have to wait for the release of our next version to learn more about it.

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How to develop your web presence

With almost 2.5 billion people active on the web it is important to develop your online presence. Luca Barboni shares his experience on how ZEEF has helped him build online visibility and showcase his expertise.

Case Study – Luca Barboni

Growth Hacker ♢ Content & Community Specialist ♢ Data Analyst
My name is Luca Barboni and I am a social media marketer turned growth hacker, consulting startups on how to kickstart exponential growth by embedding virality on the products they are working on. Currently I’m managing marketing activities for the coolest italian startup: Atooma.

I discovered the growth hacking mindset no more than two years ago and since then I’m focusing my efforts on letting everybody know that I have expertise on the topic. I came across ZEEF via Robin Good who is a content curation celebrity in Italy. Since I am always looking for new ways to build my online presence I was interested in using ZEEF.

Benefits ZEEF

I don’t always have time to create content from scratch for writing blog posts is a very time consuming activity. But thanks to my experience I know many valuable resources I’d love to share with my audience and ZEEF is allowing me to cut the process straight to the core by curating lists of actionable links.

1. High ranking Google

Luca Barboni

I was surprised to find out how high my ZEEF pages rank in Google. I did not actively promote my page or share it on other websites because I was waiting to define a funnel to drive visitors. Still I received organic shares and traffic from all kinds of places. If you search for my name in Google you will see the topics I cover on ZEEF. This really helps me with building online visibility and showcasing my expertise to the world.

I have asked the people at ZEEF why the pages rank so high in Google. Their answer was simple: ‘the people on ZEEF just provide good quality information and Google likes us’.

2. Bookmarking

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 13.25.34

Coming across a lot of articles and links worth sharing I have found ZEEF very useful to bookmark them. It started from there and making the page on ZEEF was very easy to do. Especially thanks to the chrome bookmarking extension of ZEEF.

As a digital marketer I make a extensive use of online tools and this makes me the first user of my own ZEEF pages. For example, I am very interested in productivity tricks. During my career I started discovering and using a series of tools to help me maximize my focus: that’s exactly why I created my open-source-productivity page on ZEEF, so now I can have my own toolbox at hand.

3. Educating people

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 09.28.51

In my free time I teach social media and growth hacking to students. I find that my ZEEF page is very useful for students because they can find all the information about the topic in one place. I don’t use slides anymore but simply show my ZEEF page and educate them about the tools, showcasing them one by one. The best thing is that the students can even suggest new links they have found on the internet, contributing to the growth of the page itself.

If you also want to develop your web presence and showcase your expertise, create a ZEEF page. What’s more, by creating a page right now you could also participate in the Golden ZEEF Award contest where you can win awesome prizes.

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Golden ZEEF Award

Golden ZEEF Award 2015

We believe we can advance where algorithmic search seems to have reached its limits by using human knowledge to sift through the overload of information. Participate in the Golden ZEEF Award contest to help us create a human page quality score and get rewarded for your help and knowledge!

Why

Through means of this contest we want to pilot our quality score model based on human interaction. After transparently testing and improving the page quality model during the contest, our goal is to accurately define the quality of all ZEEF pages in the future. This way you’ll be able to find best information on the web in a heartbeat. As such, we would like to ask for your help by participating in the Golden ZEEF Award of 2015!

Quality Score

With your input, we would like to create a “human page quality score” based on engagement indicators, but most importantly, humans. With your input and during a fun, interactive contest, we want to determine the best page quality indicators and see if we’re on the right track.

We’re currently looking into the following mix of human engagement indicators for our human page quality score (we’re of course open for other suggestions!). An overview of the metrics we believe define a quality page can be found on our dedicated Page Quality Score page.

screenshot-golden-zeef-award.zeef.com 2015-03-09 10-46-45

Contest

Throughout the contest we’ll be testing our “human page quality score” against an actual human ranking of pages. This way we validate if we’re on the right track so you will always find the best information. At the end of the contest there will be two winners:

  1. Human choice: hand-picked by participating curators
  2. Human page quality score: picked by our new page quality score model

We’ll also give you a sneak preview of our new badges feature by allowing contest participants to collect some of the first exclusive ZEEF page badges! Everybody is allowed to participate and has an equal chance of winning the following rewards:

  1. The exclusive Golden ZEEF Award badge on your winning page!
  2. € 300,- cash, an iPad or a Chromebook
  3. € 500,- worth of SEO consultancy and ZEEF page promotion

There will of course also be rewards for the runner ups!

Participate!

  1. Create a new subject page. Participate with a new subject page or a page you haven’t published yet. This way everyone has an equal chance to win!
  2. Confirm your participation. Submit the link to your unpublished page to the participants block on the dedicated Golden ZEEF Award 2015 page or reach out to me personally.
  3. Promote your page. On March 31st at 11:59pm GMT we will publish all participating pages at the same time. You’ll have the entire month of April to promote your page and win!

Check out Golden-ZEEF-Award.ZEEF.com for more information about the contest and the other great prizes you can win. All participants will be rewarded with a Golden ZEEF 2015 participant badge on their page!

The team at ZEEF is looking forward to receiving your applications! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

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2015.1: search

Greatly improved search

We’ve released another new version of ZEEF featuring a complete overhaul of our search. We’ve squashed lots of bugs and improved overall speed. Did you know we are now among the fastest 10% of websites on the internet? Read on for a summary of all our improvements.

2015.1: searchWe gave our search a big upgrade with this release and we can’t wait to tell you all about it. The 3 biggest improvements you’ll notice are:

  • Clearly organized search results by page
  • Handy search suggestions
  • Advanced search features for our power users

You can use the dropdown menu for powerful new search options. Advanced users can also use search strings such as site:amazon.com to, for example, find all pages linking to Amazon. And when ctrl+f is not enough: you can also search within a page.

We’re currently A/B testing, so it’s possible you won’t immediately see all the new features just yet.

Remember me

2015.1: Remember meWe’ve also added a “remember me” feature. Just check the “remember me” box when logging in with your preferred social network and you’ll never have to log in anymore.

And many other improvements

  • Statistics on your page are visible immediately
  • Load times are much faster, especially when using images and outside of the US
  • Edit and preview are more consistent
  • Lots of bugs have been fixed
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Filter Bubbles

Escape the Filter Bubble

The “Filter Bubble” is a result of a phenomenon where an automated algorithm selectively guesses what kind of information a user would like to see based on the information about the user. What are its origins, what are the implications, and how can you escape the filter bubble?

Origin Filter Bubble

In the newspaper era, senior newspaper editors would decide what we would and would not read. Whether we liked it or not, journalism ethics (hopefully) meant we would absorb information covering a mix of relevant, important, uncomfortable, challenging and balanced points of view. In the “Internet era,” personal preference combined with search algorithms decide which information reaches us. This was needed due to the explosion of information on the internet. In September 2014 the total number of websites on the Internet surpassed the magical number of one billion. You read that correctly: one billion (1,000,000,000) websites on the Internet. That’s one website for every seven people on earth; and it’s growing fast. As of January 2015 we’re almost at 1.2 billion websites. To put things into perspective, there were 2.4 million websites in 1998, the year Google went live, and a mere 2,738 websites in 1994, when “Jerry and David’s guide to the World Wide Web” (later known as Yahoo!) was published. That means that at the beginning of 2015 there are almost 1.2 billion websites more than in 2000.

To cope with these exponential numbers, sophisticated algorithms were developed to automatically (and quite successfully) filter our search results. These algorithms were programmed to learn about you and track your personal preferences. In doing so, they collect as much information about you as possible. This information is subsequently used to tailor your search results when using the search engine, without you asking for it. For example, if you were to search for Egypt and you had a search history of traveling, your results will be very different from somebody who’s had a search history of journalism.

Effects of Filter Bubble: internet privacy

Tailored search results sound ideal but you don’t realise that the internet is beginning to hide information from you. As a result, algorithm-based search has brought about an unforeseen problem: our information diversity is decreasing rapidly and it interferes with the universal availability of information. We now choose what we will and will not read. We now decide which information reaches us. And in this, we receive a helping hand from “personalised search.” The more we click on certain topics, the more we get served those familiar topics. Have you noticed your (Facebook) news stream becoming steadily more homogenous? Or that the more cat movies you watch on YouTube, the more cat movies are suggested to you? Things we don’t interact with are simply filtered away until we are effectively left in a bubble. This is your personal filter bubble in action. Below you can find some videos about the filter bubble.

Escaping the filter bubble: empower internet privacy

Can you escape the filter bubble? Yes, if you use the internet completely anonymously. In order for this to happen, strong government regulation would be required to safeguard our privacy. However, with influential companies like Facebook and Google’s business models being all about targeting relevant ads to their users, it doesn’t look like this will happen any time soon. As such, it currently doesn’t look like you can completely escape your filter bubble… However, there are few ways to decrease the size of it. The most effective ways involve reducing the amount of information you provide to search algorithms and luckily there are some practical steps you can take to do this. Below you find a list of resources about escaping the filter bubble.

In the end, I believe it is extremely important for all of us to be aware of how we are affected by the filter bubble phenomenon. Only when we start realising it and know about its consequences can we start taking action to escape our tailor-made filter bubbles.

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How to become a SEO expert

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a popular subject for companies because it increases their online visibility. As the Internet expands and online competition gets more intense every day, it’s becoming a challenge to obtain a #1 rank in Google.

As a result, the demand for SEO experts and information about how SEO works is rapidly increasing. Unfortunately, SEO is not so simple. There’s no manual to help you learn the art of Search Engine Optimization.

So how do you become an expert in this field? Or even learn just the basics to improve your website’s rankings? Well, you can start with an online search for “SEO” or “search engine optimization,” but chances are you will encounter so much information and so many advertised links about this topic that you won’t know where to start.

That’s why I have made some useful lists of the most important topics within SEO, gained from my years of experience, to give you a kickstart!

SEO for beginners

Where to start? If you want to learn the basics, start with these beginner guides. You will quickly learn more about this complex topic.

Blogs

Ok, so now you understand the basics about SEO? It’s time to start reading quality: the best blogs by the best SEO experts in the world.

Books

After you’ve  enjoyed these blogs with interesting posts about SEO techniques, Google updates, penalties and more, you are ready to go more into depth with some of the best books about SEO.

SEO tools

Ok, so you know the basics and you are ready to start working on some SEO optimizations? Tools are pretty useful, but there are way too many tools that you don’t need. After testing lots and lots of SEO tools in the past few years, here’s a list of some really useful tools I always use.

The best events

Events about SEO can help you to test your knowledge and learn from the best. Here’s a list with some of the best events.

The most important thing to remember is that you don’t become an SEO expert overnight. It takes time, practice and lots of study. But with each step you take, from blogs to books, from tools to events, you’ll develop your skills and make improvements to your own site’s rankings. In case you want to have face to face advice please visit my company website Orangedotcom.nl.

One final note: sometimes, you read an older blog and the links and references are no longer relevant.  But the widget blocks in this blog post are powered by ZEEF – so even if you’re reading this blog months (or years) after it was written, these ranked lists will remain up to date as I change them.. You’ll always see the latest updates I’ve made as I continue to explore the world of SEO.

Best of luck!

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