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Cutts on guest blogs – Facebook sympathy – #ObamaSelfie

Matt Cutts reiterates stances on guest blogging

Google distinguished engineer Matt Cutts has felt it necessary to once again clarify the search engine's guidelines on guest blogging.

In his latest YouTube video, Cutts explains that the amount of spam and questionable link practices found within guest posting is still on the rise. This is a topic he has covered many times before, but it seems some site owners are still not hearing the message.

To help them understand, Cutts provided four succinct points to address if you want to avoid a heavy ranking penalty in the future.

He advised that guest blogging should not be the only strategy used by sites to generate links, and warned against posting on sites that are not relevant or appropriate to your business.

Not for the first time, he also had to explain the dangers of posting the same piece in two different places, and of article spinning.

In a separate YouTube discussion, Cutts also indicated that Google would be looking to hand out harsher penalties to those who repeatedly flout guidelines.

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Facebook experiments with 'sympathise' button

Facebook has reportedly been developing a 'sympathise' button to sit alongside its instantly recognisable 'like' option.

The idea behind it appears to be that 'liking' statuses discussing a sad topic does not seem appropriate, and Facebook engineers have reportedly been testing the feature on an internal project.

It appears the suggestion was mooted during one of Facebook's "compassion research days". However, there are reportedly no plans to roll it out to regular users just yet.

Reaction to the idea has been largely negative, with many analysts debating the suitability of expressing sympathy in such a flippant manner. This could explain Facebook's decision to keep 'sympathise' to themselves.

It is not the first time an additional button has been proposed, with many users favouring the addition of a 'dislike' button for statuses they find disagreeable. However, despite incorporating additional feature such as hashtags, Facebook has so far resisted calls to add the 'dislike' option.

Engineer Bob Baldwin explained during a Reddit thread back in April that Facebook "[doesn't] think adding a light-weight way to express negative sentiment would be that valuable."

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Obama and Cameron in Mandela memorial 'selfie' storm

Barack Obama and David Cameron made headlines this week, after the two leaders were snapped squeezing together for a selfie with Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt at the Nelson Mandela Memorial.

Sitting beside the three posers was Michelle Obama, who appeared to be extremely unimpressed. While later images showed the First Lady and Thorning-Schmidt engaged in a friendly chat, it seems some were genuinely irritated by the timing of the selfie.

There was a mixed reaction on Twitter regarding the photograph, with some commenters using #ObamaSelfie to slam the president's "disgraceful behaviour". Mr Cameron also had to defend the photo during Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday.

On the other end of the scale, many supported the selfie, with one observer noting: "Mandela's memorial was a historical moment and an #ObamaSelfie was bound to happen".

With "selfies" becoming increasingly popular, it's no wonder that Obama and Cameron wanted to join in on the craze. Around 50 photos tagged as #selfie are uploaded every ten seconds to Instagram, equating to nearly 40 million overall.

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Written by James Riches

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