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How media reports of ‘clashes’ mislead Americans about Israeli-Palestinians

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How media reports of ‘clashes’ mislead Americans about Israeli-Palestinians

Maha Nassar, University of Arizona

Israeli police attacked mourners carrying the coffin of slain Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on May 13, 2022, beating pallbearers with batons and kicking them when they fell to the ground.

Yet those who skimmed the headlines of initial reports from several U.S. media outlets may have been left with a different impression of what happened.

“Israeli Police Clash with Mourners at Funeral Procession,” read the headline of MSNBC’s online report. The Wall Street Journal had a similar headline on its story: “Israeli Forces, Palestinians Clash in West Bank before Funeral of Journalist.”

Fox News began the text of its article with “Clashes erupted Friday in Jerusalem as mourners attended the burial of veteran American Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh who was shot dead Friday when covering a raid in the West Bank city of Jenin.”

There is no mention in the headlines of these articles about who instigated the violence, nor any hint of the power imbalance between a heavily armed Israeli police force and what appeared to be unarmed Palestinian civilians.

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Such language and omissions are common in the reporting of violence conducted by Israel’s police or military. Similar headlines followed an incident in April in which Israeli police attacked worshippers at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Then, too, police attacks on worshippers – in which as many as 152 Palestinians were injured by rubber bullets and batons – were widely described as “clashes.”

And headlines matter – many Americans do not read past them when consuming news or sharing articles online.

Neutral terms aren’t always neutral

The use of a word like “clashes” might seem to make sense in a topic as contentious as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which violent acts are perpetrated by both sides.

But as a scholar of Palestinian history and an analyst of U.S. media coverage of this topic, I believe using neutral terms such as “clashes” to describe Israeli police and military attacks on Palestinian civilians is misleading. It overlooks instances in which Israeli forces instigate violence against Palestinians who pose no threat to them. It also often gives more weight to official Israeli narratives than to Palestinian ones.

U.S. media have long been accused of misleading their audience when it comes to violence committed against Palestinians. A 2021 study from MIT of 50 years of New York Times coverage of the conflict found “a disproportionate use of the passive voice to refer to negative or violent action perpetrated towards Palestinians.”

Using the passive voice – for example, reporting that “Palestinians were killed in clashes” rather than “Israeli forces killed Palestinians” – is language that helps shield Israel from scrutiny. It also obscures the reason so many Palestinians would be angry at Israel.

It’s not just The New York Times. A 2019 analysis by data researchers in Canada of more than 100,000 headlines from 50 years of U.S. coverage across five newspapers concluded that “the U.S. mainstream media’s coverage of the conflict favors Israel in terms of both the sheer quantity of stories covered, and by providing more opportunities to the Israelis to amplify their point of view.”

That 2019 study also found that words associated with violence, including “clash” and “clashes,” were more likely to be used in stories about Palestinians than Israelis.

Competing narratives

One problem with using “clash” is that it obscures incidents in which Israeli police and security forces attack Palestinians who pose no threat to them.

Amnesty International, a human rights advocacy group, described the recent incident at the Al-Aqsa Mosque as one in which Israeli police “brutally attacked worshippers in and around the mosque and used violence that amounts to torture and other ill-treatment to break up gatherings.”

The word “clashes” does not convey this reality.

Using “clashes” also gives more credibility to the Israeli government version of the story than the Palestinian one. Israeli officials often accuse Palestinians of instigating violence, claiming that soldiers and police had to use lethal force to stave off Palestinian attacks. And that’s how these events are usually reported.

But Israeli human rights group B’Tselem’s database on Israeli and Palestinian fatalities shows that most of the roughly 10,000 Palestinians killed by Israel since 2000 did not “participate in hostilities” at the time they were killed.

We saw this attempt to shift the blame to Palestinians for Israeli violence in the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. According to her colleagues at the scene of her death, an Israeli military sniper deliberately shot and killed the veteran journalist with a live bullet to her right temple, even though she was wearing a “PRESS” flak jacket and helmet. One or more snipers also shot at Abu Akleh’s colleagues as they tried to rescue her, according to eyewitness accounts.

At first, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that “armed Palestinians shot in an inaccurate, indiscriminate and uncontrolled manner” at the time of her killing – implying that Palestinians could have shot Abu Akleh. Then, as evidence mounted disproving this account, Israeli officials changed course, saying that the source of the gunfire “cannot yet be determined.”

The New York Times initially reported that Abu Akleh “was shot as clashes between the Israeli military and Palestinian gunmen took place in the city.” Further down in the same story, we read that Palestinian journalist Ali Samudi, who was wounded in the same attack, said, “There were no armed Palestinians or resistance or even civilians in the area.” Yet this perspective is missing from the headline and opening paragraphs of the story.

A few days later, an analysis of available video footage by investigative journalism outlet Bellingcat concluded that the evidence “appears to support” eyewitnesses who said no militant activity was taking place and that the gunfire came from Israeli military snipers.

The New York Times has not updated or corrected its original story to reflect this new evidence.

It provides an example of why the use of “clash” has been widely criticized by Palestinian and Arab journalists. Indeed, the Arab and Middle Eastern Journalist Association in 2021 issued guidance for journalists, urging that they “avoid the word ‘clashes’ in favor of a more precise description.”

An incomplete picture

There is another problem with “clashes.” Limiting media attention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict only when “clashes erupt” gives Western readers and viewers an incomplete picture. It ignores what B’Tselem describes as the “daily routine of overt or implicit state violence” that Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories face.

Without understanding the daily violence that Palestinians experience – as documented by groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International – it is harder for news consumers to fully comprehend why “clashes” take place in the first place.

But the way people get their news is changing, and with it so are Americans’ views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is especially true among younger Americans, who are less likely to receive their news from mainstream outlets.

Recent polls show that younger Americans generally sympathize with Palestinians more than older Americans. That shift holds among younger Jewish Americans and younger evangelicals, two communities that have traditionally expressed strong pro-Israel sentiments.

U.S. journalists themselves are also working to change how outlets cover Israeli violence. Last year several of them – including reporters from The Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and ABC News – issued an open letter calling on fellow journalists “to tell the full, contextualized truth without fear or favor, to recognize that obfuscating Israel’s oppression of Palestinians fails this industry’s own objectivity standards.” So far, over 500 journalists have signed on.

Accurate language in the reporting of Israeli-Palestinian violence is not only a concern for journalists’ credibility – it would also provide U.S. news consumers with a deeper understanding of the conditions on the ground and the deadly consequences.The Conversation

Maha Nassar, Associate Professor in the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies, University of Arizona

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Large aquatic animals are being hunted and traded

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Africa’s large aquatic animals are being hunted and traded: we assessed the scale

Daniel J Ingram, University of Stirling

Across most of the world, and particularly in the tropics and subtropics, large wild aquatic animals – such as manatees, turtles and dolphins – are being hunted and traded. This is not a new phenomenon. Aquatic animal meat has been eaten, and sometimes used as remedies or in traditional ceremonies, throughout history.

This type of consumption is widespread. In some places this wild meat is an important source of nutrition, income, and cultural identity. Yet opportunities to exploit wildlife for economic gain – often illegally – increase the number of animals hunted in some places. Coupled with growing human populations, this has led to the unsustainable exploitation of some species.

Understanding the scope and potential threat of aquatic wild meat exploitation is an important first step toward appropriate conservation actions and policies.

We’re part of a large international team of conservation researchers and practitioners that recently published a paper on this. We carried out a literature review on the use of large aquatic animals (excluding fish) – what we call “aquatic megafauna” – for wild meat in the global tropics and subtropics. This topic is hugely under-researched, so this review represents one of the most in-depth assessments of the topic to date.

We focused on 37 species of conservation concern that are listed on the Appendices of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals. The list includes several species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises (cetaceans), manatees and dugongs (sirenians), marine turtles (chelonians), and crocodiles (crocodylians).

Twelve of these species inhabit oceans and rivers in West, Central and Eastern Africa. These are regions that were in the tropics and subtropics and are where there are concerns about hunting, consumption and trade.

We found that the consumption of these aquatic animals is widespread in coastal regions, to varying degrees. Some species are likely to be at risk from over-exploitation, particularly species inhabiting rivers and freshwater areas.

For most of the species monitored, a major issue is that animals are unintentionally caught as bycatch during fishing. They’re then opportunistically killed and eaten or sold, instead of being released when alive.

Also Read: What is a bomb cyclone? An atmospheric scientist explains

Dolphins, manatees and turtles (large aquatic animals)

We found evidence of the use of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) in most countries in tropical Africa, particularly in West Africa. Their meat was used for a variety of purposes including food, shark bait, and traditional medicine.

One species considered to be particularly at risk is the Atlantic humpback dolphin (Sousa teuszii). Distributed solely along Africa’s Atlantic coast, it’s one of the least understood coastal dolphins in the world. Because it has such a small population size and lives close to shores – where it can get captured by small-scale fishers – it’s highly vulnerable.

African manatees (Trichechus senegalensis), distributed exclusively in West and Central Africa, and dugong (Dugong dugon), whose range spans into East Africa, are legally protected in nearly all countries in which they occur. However, the team found evidence that they were being used for various purposes including food and traditional medicine to some degree in all countries. Most manatee populations cannot withstand human-induced mortality because their populations are highly sensitive to changes in adult survival. In recent years, high losses to populations of African manatees have been reported.

Turtles face a similar threat. The capture and consumption of marine turtle adults, and harvest of their eggs, is ubiquitous across much of the species’ ranges. This includes mainland Africa and the African islands. However, as with the other aquatic megafauna, larger-scale monitoring is needed to assess impacts and sustainability.

Also Read: The 8 Most Deadly Female Fighters Around the World

River animals

Risks to riverine megafauna – those living in rivers – from harvest may be particularly high, even if opportunistic, because these species face multiple threats in the same restricted area. The threats include dams, intensive fishing, and pollution where human population density is high. In Africa, this is true of African manatees and freshwater turtles (which were not assessed in the study, but are widely hunted).

Riverine megafauna may suffer from a lack of management and research, and will require increased conservation efforts. This is because they’re neither seen as terrestrial species nor as fish, so it’s not often clear at the national level who is responsible for their conservation and management.

Widespread

Across the tropics and subtropics, there are clearly differences in local circumstances between areas. The drivers of hunting and consumption, hunting technologies used, human density and other threats to animals and their habitats, and how they change over time, will influence harvest sustainability.

Nonetheless, it’s clear that the use of aquatic megafauna for meat is likely to be far more widespread in terms of frequency and species than reported in the review. This is because monitoring and reporting is limited. Also because many of the species are protected by national laws, or are charismatic, so their use is secretive.

The trans-boundary nature of harvests and associated trade of these oceanic, coastal, and riverine species requires increased international attention and cooperation.The Conversation

Daniel J Ingram, Researcher in Conservation, University of Stirling

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Vladimir Putin is Hitler

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David Mitchell, Trinity College Dublin

The war in Ukraine has produced a disorienting array of analogies. Vladimir Putin is Hitler. Volodymyr Zelensky is a Nazi. Ukraine could become like Afghanistan or Korea. Russia should accept its borders, just as post-colonial African countries did. The invasion is no different to what the west did in Iraq. The Ukrainians are like the Irish fighting for independence from the UK – but also like Brexiteers resisting the EU.

Meanwhile, other countries bordering Russia, and Taiwan, wonder if they could become “another Ukraine”.

Also Read: Russia’s reasons for war stack up?

Analogies are a key part of how the war in Ukraine is being justified and understood. The invasion is such a seismic (and for many people, surprising) event, that we have a particularly strong appetite for comparisons. Analogies are ubiquitous in human discourse and have always played an important role in politics and international affairs.

Analogy is embedded in our thinking and language. Cognitive psychologists talk about “analogical reasoning”, in which we use what we know about one situation to infer information about another. We use this to understand our circumstances and plan action – a child avoids cauliflower on the basis of having tried and disliked broccoli. Writing symbolises and words categorise similar phenomena. Hence, Russia has outlawed even calling what it is doing in Ukraine a “war”.

Comparison is also built into scientific enquiry, in that it involves drawing inferences between cases which are thought to be analogous. In the study of peace and conflict, comparison has been a way to generate theories about how to manage conflict, such as addressing basic needs, imposing power-sharing between opponents, or third party intervention. But just how generally applicable much of this broad brush knowledge is in complex and variable conflict arenas will always be open to debate.

In politics, analogy is used to both create policy and justify it. For instance, the “lessons” of Vietnam strongly influenced later American foreign policy. The fear of “another world war” currently holds sway over NATO’s approach to Ukraine. Arguing by analogy may be one of the most persuasive strategies of communication. Putin’s talk of “denazification” and Zelensky’s invocation of western traumas like the Blitz, 9/11, and Pearl Harbour have undoubtedly helped rally their audiences. Such examples evoke strong imagery and narrative, and supposed real world evidence, in support of positions.

Also Read: Putin public approval is soaring during the Russia-Ukraine crisis

This is common to all conflicts. Partisans promote their preferred comparisons, especially for international consumption. One of the most well known warring analogies comes from one of the most intractable conflicts: Israel-Palestine. Israelis liken the threats they face to Nazism, and fear another Holocaust. Palestinians, however, regard the Israeli occupation and settlement of Palestine as apartheid and ethnic cleansing. Israel-Palestine, in turn, acts as an analogy for other groups in conflict – an archetype of besiegement for some, and of oppression for others.

Peace analogies

Analogies have also been useful in ending conflicts. Comparisons help peacemakers explain and legitimise what they are trying to achieve. In recent decades, South Africa has probably been the most referenced international peace analogy. It is now standard in any peace negotiation process for international comparisons and ideas borrowed from transitions elsewhere to be involved. A recognised likeness helps create relationships of solidarity between people pursuing peace in different countries.

A remarkable example of analogy in peacemaking comes from Northern Ireland. For decades, the Irish nationalist leader John Hume lobbied in Dublin, London, Washington and Brussels for a peaceful solution to the Northern Ireland conflict. In speech after speech, he repeated the example of Franco-German reconciliation in the context of European integration. If they can do it, Hume said, why can’t we in Northern Ireland? This analogy was the rhetorical centrepiece of arguments which ultimately gained wide acceptance in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Also Read: Why Putin has such a hard time accepting Ukrainian sovereignty?

Does the historical accuracy of an analogy matter? Perhaps not, if an audience is disposed to accept it. But like all political communication, especially in war, analogies should be held up to scrutiny. They can reduce complex events to a simple morality tale. They may result from “confirmation bias” – people finding the lessons they want to in other situations – or outright manipulation. The comparisons mentioned at the outset of this article, for example, range from the insightful and constructive, to the absurd and dangerous.

In any case, for good or ill, analogies are inescapable and will continue to frame what unfolds in Ukraine. “Comparison is so fundamental to our cognition”, writes sociologist Reza Azarian, “that thinking without comparison is almost unthinkable”.The Conversation

David Mitchell, Assistant Professor in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation, Trinity College Dublin

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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How to Get Organic Traffic From Google Search?

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Organic Traffic From Google Search

After reading this post today, you will know “How to Get Organic Traffic from Google Search”. Consider this post as your ultimate guide or cheat sheet that will help you build amazing “Content that Ranks on Google” and “Massive Traffic to Your Website”.

Important Disclaimer

Before diving deep down right into the topic, I would like to clear a few things.

1-Getting Organic Traffic from Google search is NOT a Myth

2-You do not need to be an SEO Expert or Guru to Rank your content on the First Page of Google Search Results

3-But DO NOT think, that it is a piece of cake, or after reading, you can change a few settings on your website, and voila.

4-To get the best results, and maximum impact, read this post and compare it to writing style, and how you are writing the content.

5-Make points, if something or any term used in the article is not clear, google it. You may ask in the comments section if something is not clear.

Remember! Your goal should not be only to read this article, but also to understand the logic and theory behind it.

Also Read: Scammers Are Using Fake Job Ads to Steal People’s Identities

Why do You Want Traffic from Google Search?

It is no secret that Google Search Engine is one of the largest search engines in the market. It is estimated that Google processes around 5.6 Billion searches in a dayAccording to research, from January 2010 till January 2022, Google Search Engine has dominated the Search Engine Market and held from 85% to 91.22% market share, as compared to other search engines like Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, and Yandex. So there is no doubt that anyone entering the world of the Internet, regardless of small or a big corporation, a news agency, an e-commerce business, or just a simple blogger, wants to get Ranked on the 1st page of Google Search Results.

Think of Your Target Audience

Your target audience is the most crucial aspect of getting Organic Traffic to your Website. It makes it easier to write powerful content when you know your audience, i.e. For whom you are writing? i.e., country, gender; interest and age, etc.

For example, if your target audience is toddlers and mothers, you will not write complex phrases or terms. It would make more sense to write simple phrases, use colorful images, etc.

Similarly, if you are writing for a mature audience, you should write according to their interest, and level.

What I want you to understand, is that you should know your audience confidently, what they like, gender, age, and other demographics. It will help to create the right and targeted content.

Keyword Research

If you are a newbie in content writing or blogging, then you must understand the term “Keyword” and everything associated with it. Short Tail Keyword(STK), Long Tail Keyword(LTK), Related Keywords, etc.

There is no point in creating tons of content without doing proper Keyword Research. You should always search before writing the content.

In simple terms, Keyword/s is/are the term/s that people search over the internet. A Short Tail Keyword is between 1 to 2 words, and any search term which is more than 3 keywords is considered as Long Tail Keyword.

Related Keywords are the search terms that Google suggests that people are also searching for.

The Wrong Way

Most people just think of a topic, perhaps search for its difficulty level, and then start writing. But later after publishing the post, they get disappointed when they see that their post has landed on 50th to 100th position in Google search results.

How to Do Proper Keyword Research? The Right Way

Whenever you are presented with a topic, do not start writing bluntly. A professional and right approach demands that you should do proper Keyword Research.

A Keyword Research means that you use a tool to find the following about the Keyword:

  • How many people are searching for that keyword in a given location?
  • What is the level of Competition on that Keywords?
  • How many EXPECTED Backlinks are required for the post to get ranked on the First Page of Google Search Results?

There are several Free & Paid Tools available that make it easier for you to do Keyword Research. In the Free version, you will get limited results but just enough to get the job done.

For Example, Ahref Free Keyword DifficultyUbersuggest Keyword Explorer, tool, etc. I will not explain here how you should use these tools, because there are many videos on YouTube showing you how to use them in different languages.

Also Read: Curious Kids: why can’t we put a space station on the Moon?

Primary Keyword

Your 1st goal should be, finding a keyword that has low difficulty and some search volume. The ideal keyword for a new website is to find keywords that have 0KD and over 100 searches.

In many cases, you will find that your Primary Keyword has a higher Keyword Difficultly. The easiest way would be to find a keyword that is closer to your keyword with low keyword difficulty. For this, you can use another Free Tool from Ahref, called Keyword Generator. Sometimes you do not know Primary Keyword, or your client has given you a generic topic and asked to find the Best Keyword. All you need is to write the main topic and select the country. This tool will give you all the keywords related to that topic according to their Search Volume, Keyword Difficulty.

SERP Analysis- Go Deeper

Many content writers or bloggers start writing simply after checking the Keyword Difficulty. In some cases, they do succeed in getting ranked on the first or second page. Or perhaps, they are simply hired content writers who just write for their clients and have no interest whatsoever if their article gets ranked or not.

If you fall into the above category, then it is ok, you did your job. But if you want to rank your article, then you should also learn about SERP Analysis.

SERP is the short form of the “Search Engine Result Page”. If your primary goal is to get massive traffic from Google Search, then you must know how to do SERP Analysis.

SERP Analysis, for a given Keyword, means, that you do technical analysis of the articles and sites that are ranking on the first page of Google Search Result. You can use Ahref SERP Free Tool to do SERP Analysis.

In SERP, for the keyword of the targeted country, you look for the following:

  • AR (Ahrefs Rating)
  • DR (Domain Rating)
  • Backlinks
  • Domains
  • Traffic
  • Keywords

AR shows the strength of the website, with #1 as the strongest and goes up to Millions. In other words, sites with lower AR are very difficult to compete with. The AR rating depends upon the backlink profile.

DR stands for Domain Rating. It starts from 0 to 100. Higher DR means the website has higher authority and will be difficult to compete. DR depends on how many Backlinks you have from other authority domains.

Backlinks show the number of backlinks from other websites for that particular page. Other metrics, Traffic, and Keywords are not too important.

How to do Correct SERP Analysis

This is the most crucial part of doing the Keyword Research. Just by looking at the KD will not guarantee to be ranked on the first page of Google Search Results, even if KD is 0 for a given Keyword.

I would recommend you to do a simple test yourself. Find a Keyword with low difficulty and check it in SERP Tools. In many cases, you will find, the sites which have stronger AR, higher DR, and maximum no of Backlinks will be ranked on the 1st three positions of the Google Search Result.

Ultimate Goal

So your ultimate goal would be to find a keyword that has all the following characteristics:

  • Low KD
  • Lower AR (Higher AR means lower Strengths)
  • Lower DR
  • Less number of Backlinks

I hope many of you would now understand why their post was landing on the 5th to 10th page and what were they missing in their efforts to get on the first page.

Bonus Tip| Going Further Deeper  

Let’s suppose, you have found the Perfect Keyword but want to make sure that, you have landed on the first page. If your answer is yes, then learn 2 search strings “inurl:” and “allintitle:”.

The above 2 search strings help you to find the number of competitors for a given Keyword on Google. As part of the On-Page SEO, you should always include Primary Keyword in the URL, and the title of the article.

What does inurl: & allintitle: do?  

When you search a keyword, Google will show you millions or billions of search results. This is because Google will include everything in the results, including results that are direct or indirect to the topic. But using inurl: and allintitle: will help you get more authentic results and the correct level of competition.

Once you know the correct number of the competitor, you can do small changes to your URL and title to have higher chances to land on the first page.

For Example, let’s say my target Keyword is “Organic Traffic” and I search it on Google.

Google Search Result

Google Search Result without any search string

You will see that Google has 1,160,000,000 Organic Traffic results. Remember, it will include everything related to this topic.

Now let’s use inurl: to search the same keyword.

Search Result using inurl

Google Search Result using search string inurl[/caption]

Now just by using inurl: we see Google has 879,000 search results. In fact, inurl: strings mean, we are forcing Google to show only those results which have our keyword “Organic Traffic” in their URL.

Check the result when we use allintitle: This search string forces Google to show results with Organic Traffic in its main title.

Search Result using allintitle

Google Search Result using search string allintitle [/caption]

The results show there are only 38,900 results.

I hope you got the idea and importance of these 2 search strings. You can now do small changes to your keyword by adding a word two at the beginning or, at the end of your keyword will help you find the perfect title.

Conclusion

I am sure now, that you have understood, that organic traffic is not a myth nor it is rocket science. You do not need to be an SEO Guru or a Geek to get your article on the first page of Google Search Results. You just need to evaluate the authority of your website and do a comprehensive Keyword & SERP Analysis.

If your website or client’s website is relatively new, then you should target the keywords that have lower difficulty, and SERP Analysis shows the high probability for a new website to get ranked. In SERP you should see if there are Domains that have AR Rank in Millions, Lower DR, and fewer Backlinks.

Once you have found, such a keyword, in addition to using “inurl:” and “allintitle:” search strings to find a title that will work as icing on the cake and help you to land on the first page of Google Search Result.

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