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What killing rel=prev/next means for SEO

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By now, you’ve probably heard that Google is no longer supporting rel=prev/next markup. In fact, Google hasn’t supported it for years.

That’s unfortunate because Google forgot to tell anybody. Many digital strategists were implementing rel=prev/next code thinking that it would offer some SEO benefit.

It did at one time. It doesn’t anymore.

So what happened? And what should you do now?

In this article, I’ll go over Google’s recent announcement about the change. I’ll also explain what the elimination of rel=prev/next means for SEO.

How we got here

Way back in 2011, Google introduced the rel=prev/next markup. It was a way to inform Googlebot that the web page was part of a series.

For example, if you wrote several blog posts about all the SEO basics, you might include one article about keyword research, another article about on-site SEO, another article about backlinking, and so on.

In that case, you’d use the rel=prev/next markup to identify the next and previous articles in the series.

It wasn’t just a good idea for blog posts, though. E-commerce sites used the markup to identify products that all belonged to the same category.

Until recently, Google included documentation on its Webmasters Help page that explicitly told website owners to use the rel=prev/next markup. It read as follows:

Use rel=”next” and rel=”prev” links or headers to indicate the relationship between component URLs. This markup provides a strong hint to Google that you would like us to treat these pages as a logical sequence, thus consolidating their linking properties and usually sending searchers to the first page.

Now, that whole page is gone. Even worse: Google deleted it without telling anybody why.

Eventually, the Google Webmasters official Twitter account issued the following statement:

“Spring cleaning! As we evaluated our indexing signals, we decided to retire rel=prev/next. Studies show that users love single-page content, aim for that when possible, but multi-part is also fine for Google Search. Know and do what’s best for *your* users!”

Do you need to remove the code from your site?

No, you absolutely don’t need to remove the rel=prev/next markup from your site if you have it there.

Why? Because simply put, it doesn’t hurt to leave it there.

Also, Google isn’t the only search engine in town. And Bing’s Frédéric Dubut is on record saying that his search engine still uses rel=prev/next markup “for page discovery and site structure understanding.”

So the good news here is that you don’t need to go back and update all your old pages that have been using the markup since 2011.

Whew.

But should you? That is a different question which gets a little tricky. I’ve considered this previously and did a study on it.

What does this change mean for SEO?

Before I answer that question, let me make one thing clear: it looks like no SEO professional noticed that Google discontinued supporting the rel=prev/next markup from an indexing standpoint.

It wasn’t until someone saw that the Big G had pulled the documentation page that people started asking questions.

So maybe we should ask the philosophical question: “If Google removed a feature and nobody noticed, was it ever really there?”

But what it means is that Google will index the category page instead of the pagination going forward.

That’s not a problem, though. According to Google Web Performance Engineer Ilya Grigorik, Googlebot is intelligent enough to find your next/previous pages with a clear signal.

Remember: the bot is already evaluating all the links on your site. If you’ve structured your website so that it’s user-friendly and practiced great internal linking, Google will find your related content and rank it.

A few tips on category optimization

Now that rel=prev/next has gone away, what can you do to optimize your category pages? Here are a few pointers.

First, make sure you have most of your content on the first page in the category. That’s going to help with indexing. By content, I mean text, images and videos.

Not only that, but it will help with indexing for the right search terms. Once people get to your category page, they can find other pages.

Next, optimize your featured image on your main category page. Yes, I’m recommending you have a thumbnail that is optimized with a keyword in the file name and alt text. That gives Google additional info about the nature of your pages.

Also, optimized images will bring in traffic from Google Image Search.

After that, you should also add as many items to your category page as possible without slowing it down too much.

That one can be tricky in some instances. What if you have 10,000 items in a single category?

See if you can break them up into subcategories. Then, include one representative from each subcategory on the category page.

When considering e-commerce, lately I like to have about 30 to 60 products in a category. I also will not create a subcategory unless I have five unique products.

The million dollar question, do you get rid of rel next rel prev?

Well, since there is already a canonical in place, Google will just attribute all the value to the first page. So you have the option of.

  1. Keep it in place and have it work just like a rel canonical.
  2. Get rid of rel next rel prev and have it treated the same way, but don’t worry about legacy code.
  3. Put in place a no index on all the pages except the category. Some people like this because if you do the no index or a robots.txt block it can save some crawl budget, meaning Google will not crawl the pagination as much.

Personally, I like option 2.

Wrapping it up

I could give you 20 more tips about optimizing categories in this article. Things like adding dates to titles, testing numbers in various items in the template, where to add schema and adding unique content. But I’ll save that for another post.

What you need to know today is that Google messed up and forgot to tell you that it’s no longer supporting rel=prev/next markup. That’s not the end of the world.

Feel free to leave the markup code on your site or select another option above. The choice is up to you. But one thing is for sure, make sure you make it clear to Google which page is Page One. That will help your rankings.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

John Lincoln is CEO of Ignite Visibility, a digital marketing teacher at the University of California San Diego and author of the book Digital Influencer, A Guide to Achieving Influencer Status Online. Throughout his career, Lincoln has worked with hundreds of websites, ranging from start-ups to household names, and has won awards in SEO, CRO, analytics and Social Media. In the media, Lincoln has been featured on sites such as Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, Inc. Magazine, CIO magazine and more.



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Top 10 Tools to facilitate web development

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30-second summary:

  • Web development is very essential for guiding you past the traditional methods of website development and approaching to other more unique and efficient prospects in the IT field.
  • Building an app or website is real but sometimes can be better facilitated through the testing and implementation phases of web tools.
  • Entering the new age of the digital world is just impossible without proper deployment, scaling, and database management. And this where the best web development weapons are on standby.

Web development tools are necessary to adapt and integrate in the development environments since they help you create a webpage, gather metrics, discover layouts and designs. Web development is all about evolving and stepping up the game you are currently very proficient in. Along with that it doesn’t demand much money,  require enormous sources or expect big money. The only thing development tools are incorporating is your boosted ultimate website performance. What is simply left is finding the right assistant on this journey. Here are the top 10 we have picked for you:

1. Chrome DevTool

If you are searching for a web assistant that would ensure your safety and optimize development, Chrome DevTool is sincerely recommended in this case. Taking into account that this is the most popular cross-platform browser of all, you should be certain that such a Chromium-based development technology will allow you to inspect, debug, and guide you through the browser.

While varied development tools are primarily focused on setting up websites, creating online stores, and launching blogs, Chrome DevTool is highly helpful in inspecting and tweaking. Although it is a bit hard to navigate through so many tabs and functions, Chrome DevTool offers you numerous panels for boosting productivity, analyzing load performance, and enhancing better user-friendly experience:

  • Elements panel
  • Console panel
  • Sources panel
  • Network panel
  • Performance panel
  • Memory panel
  • Application panel
  • Security panel

Such a division gives you a more fixed structure on elements and commands that you can apply depending on the existing page you are willing to diagnose. In order to access Chrome DevTools, you won’t even need to pay for anything, as it is built into the browser itself. Here is how you can open it.

2. VironIT

Good software development company’s support can facilitate your user experience with its comprehensive and all-inclusive approach even more. VironIT offers you a list of the new age web development tools and services to create a highly adaptable website or attractive web application.

If you wonder what kind of development tools are combined in one software, it might actually vary from AR&VR development (augmented and virtual reality) to IoT Software development (data visualization and analysis). Such a useful package of cross-platform tools in one place makes it easier for you to write, maintain and promote better development and react to possible vulnerabilities. In addition, it guarantees you rapid functionality of apps, programs, websites and its well-organized software designs.

There is nothing more efficient than a versatile service providing the fast and most secure web frameworks. You share the main goal.

3. React JS

React is a JavaScript library for building user interfaces and reusable UI components. Why do many developers use this web development tool is mainly because of the ease of breaking a developing application into several simple parts. Moreover, the style of application code derived with the help of React components can be used for any program’s interface which significantly speeds the process up.

Obviously, if you are willing to learn ReactJS, you need to know how to work with JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS. The solid knowledge of any of these markup languages makes the optimization journey with ReactJS more helpful and enjoyable:

  • It is faster because it performs optimization while drawing up code to JavaScript.
  • It is also error-free since all technical mistakes can be spotted during compilation.
  • It is easier to write templates, especially when you are familiar with HTML.
  • It is entirely automated since it can handle the JavaScript code, which is suitable for many browsers.

4. Github

You have no clue what the new age of web development means if you don’t try out GitHub. This web platform enables you not only to manage the web applications by coordinating the tools and its usability, but also to deploy regular teams and campaigns to the completion of these same applications or projects. GitHub accesses you a lightweight, branch-based workflow that helps you experiment with taking over new tasks and managing the existing workflow.

  • It helps you make changes, reviews without affecting other involved branches.
  • It offers a smooth documentation process that often complements the quality coding process.
  • It can modify pages’ content and style remotely via the web or locally on your computer

Why GitHub? The suggested privileges of breaking down barriers within a team when the project is implemented and keeping everyone focused on having the best performance. In the same way, it can let your business flow run smoothly and consistently at any point in time.

5. Novi Builder

You can’t even imagine what excellent sophisticated features you have been holding back when you were not a member of the Novi Builder community. This easy-to-use development tool offers you facilities for HTML drag and drop builder, access to all existing and future templates including free of charge themes. Also, it provides you with 20 must-have plugins and elements, such as Social Plugins, Contact form, Sliders, Countdown, Google Maps, and more.

The functionality and designs are exactly built for beginners developers who want to evolve and rise up on their IT working ladder. It is a great chance for deepening your understanding of website creation and ensuring solid knowledge of application development.

Along with the above-mentioned features, here is what else Novi Builder has to offer:

  • It offers advanced code editor support.
  • It supercharges your projects just from scratch
  • It can install an app and make it live in several hours at low cost
  • It empowers and modifies your existing HTML website with additional application integration facilities

6. BugMuncher

The BugMuncher’s list of integrations includes GitHub, Jira, Trello making it more accessible and easier to edit packages and manifest files. The toolkit enables you to draw the problems captured on your website and send it across as a screenshot. Generally, BugMuncher teaches developers how to make visual highlights and get immediate feedback with the most accurate details. In addition, this feedback comes not just from random visitors but your current customers when they interact with your service and share the reports of JavaScript and AJAX errors.

Unlike the rest of the feedback tools, this one doesn’t misuse or distort gathered information. It does exactly the opposite by testing development phases and saving your existing project from bugs. If you are quite hesitant it takes too long to collect BugMuncher feedback, you should remember that it is not about your colleague’s professional suggestion, a customer as a prime source of feedback. They can deliver you the most constructive criticism that would help you hone your business’ website or app development.

7. Bootstrap

Bootstrap is low-key the most popular HTML, CSS, and JavaScript framework for developing responsive, mobile-first websites. Its open-source toolkit stores different templates and designs for creating common user interface components. These elements usually include forms, buttons, navigations, dropdowns, alerts, modals, tabs, accordions, carousels, tooltips, and so on. Basically, it allows you to build mobile-friendly websites with a smart drag and drop facility.

Moreover, ready-made blocks of code and flexible layouts needed for HTML, CSS can be easily customized and used in accordance with your project’s requirements. The greatest Bootstrap’s features of all are:

  • Extensive list of components
  • Solid guarantee of the project’s responsiveness
  • Useful icon library

8. Notepad++

Notepad++ is your great assistant in text editing, syntax highlighting, plugin maintaining and this list of handy features can actually go on. Although it is available on Windows only, it can still be supported by GitHub, a primary distribution party.

Additionally, Notepad++ supports 27 programming languages. If you go to the Binary Translations page you can easily choose the language you need. Alternatively, you can open User Language Define System to help you define the definition of keywords or regular expressions. Moreover, if you are advanced at coding in languages like C++, Batch, and HTML, Notepad++ is just an ideal service for you. Imagine that:

  • You can find every instance of a word and perform actions on it.
  • You can access the replace function and get a change reference for each word.
  • You can also save time by typing the keyboard shortcut and skipping the appeared code next time or previous time.

Doesn’t it sound amazing to apply a word-search and text-editor tool like this with just a quick installation and some default language setting? You should definitely try it out.

9. Source tree

We wouldn’t bet on the wrong horse if we said that most of you are intermediate or even advanced developers who’d rather focus on coding than interacting with the Git repositories. SourceTree is a free web development tool available for Mac and Windows and perfect for database visualization and management. However, Source tree equally claims to serve both powerful experts, as well as absolute beginners. Yet, understanding the interface specs is easier than you can even think:

  • Bookmark windows represent database you are aligned with
  • Toolbar lets you take action without any command line
  • The sidebar is where you access the information about your current project
  • Repository history and code diffs share control to monitor previous changes

From now any coding changes will be demonstrated in real-time and with the aggregated view on all of your work.

10. Lambda Test

Certainly, before displaying your website to the users’ eyes, as a developer you are in charge of rendering it over different browsers. Depending on the coding language you use (like HTML, CSS  & JavaScript) they should be tested beforehand. Lambda Test is your main guide to ensure that your web application is adaptable for any browser even after you push code changes. Such cross-browser test automation offered by Lambda Test has a very simple and easy to understand interface. Even more, better addition is a vast collection of integration facilities (screenshots screen recording, plugins, and so on). All in all, this unique rendering mechanism is less complex, time-consuming, and instead much cheaper and faster in use.

Conclusion

Now, you are completely forearmed to successfully lead the war of web development. Getting an application done or an advanced code supported has never been easier. Try these top tools out and you will not regret it.



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Why behavior analysis is important online business

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30-second summary:

  • A typical consumer now owns an average of 3.6 devices which means a person’s journey may start from a laptop and end on a mobile or a tablet.
  • In the ecommerce business, the cart abandonment rate is the thing that haunts most of the business owners.
  • Developing analytical skills can help you better manage these obstacles.
  • MD of SEO Discovery shares a guide to help you understand Cohort Analysis and Behavior Analysis to eliminate roadblocks and improve engagement.

In today’s digital age, the customer journey is getting complex day by day and if you are doing online business then it’s vital to understand your customer journey. A typical consumer now owns an average of 3.6 devices which means a person’s journey may start from a laptop and end on a mobile or a tablet.

In the ecommerce business, the cart abandonment rate is the thing that haunts most of the business owners. According to Statista, 88.05 percent of online shopping orders were abandoned in March 2020 worldwide, which means over 88% of people added selected products into the cart and left without buying for various reasons. This is a massive business opportunity loss for ecommerce players.

Developing analytical skills can help you better manage these obstacles. Without adequate knowledge of analytics, your marketing won’t work because you won’t know what worked and what didn’t work. All the marketing suits come with analytics tools to help perceive the behavior, engagement metrics, and demographics of the visitors coming to a website. The most common web analytics tools are Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Kiss Metrics, and Mixpanel. They generally come with the following features and capabilities:

  • Real-time analytics
  • Mobile analytics
  • Attribution modeling
  • Segmentation
  • Ecommerce tracking
  • Funnel analysis
  • Cohort analysis
  • Cross-device tracking
  • In-page analytics (Session recording, click tracking, heatmaps)
  • Goal conversion tracking
  • Event tracking
  • A/B testing

Every feature has its own data sets which can be compared to help you make informed decisions. Today we are going to understand Cohort Analysis and Behavior Analysis to eliminate roadblocks and improve engagement.

What is a Cohort Analysis and why is it important?

Cohort analysis is a subset of users grouped by shared characteristics. It simply allows you to compare the behavior and metrics of different cohorts over time.

Cohort Analysis Example – Finding Engagement Drop

Let’s suppose you have an online food ordering website/app and using acquisition date (when users started their first sessions) cohorts you can find out when in the customer lifecycle your users tend to drop off.

Cohort table for behavior analysis

The best way for visualizing this data is to chart out the retention curve, portraying retention over time.

Cohort Curve - Behavior analysis

This retention curve clearly reflects the most important insight – around 75% of the users stop using the website after the first day. We can see a downfall in the engagement. Hence, it’s evident to improve the overall experience and abet customers through daily offers/coupons to boosting retention.

Cohort Analysis Comparison – Organic vs Direct

The below cohort analysis indicates that organic traffic has a better retention rate than direct.

Cohort - Organic vs Direct - Behavior analysis

 

Visitor behavior analysis and its importance

It’s a process of tracking user behavior on a website and there are some great tools in the market that give accurate information. Tools like Hotjar, MouseFlow, Crazy Egg record visitor sessions to see how visitors are navigating on the website. They also offer click tracking and heatmaps to analyze the most engaging and ignored (skipped) elements on a page.

Screenshot - Mouseflow - Understanding visitors' behavior analysis

If you look at the above heatmap, you would notice that no one bothered to click on “PORTFOLIO” in the top menu, which means people aren’t interested in see the portfolio. Maybe we have to replace it with something more interesting (like Case Studies, Achievements, and more) which grabs a visitor’s attention. These kinds of insights help you add/remove elements to improve page engagement.

Using filters, you can further segment your audience to dig deep and pull out actionable insights, see those filter below:

Screenshot - Mouseflow_Filters

In Google Analytics, behavior flow gives you a visual presentation of how people are navigating on your website. You can apply segments to get a deeper view of their behavior and it also enables you to apply different dimensions on top of these segments to get actionable insights.

 GA Behaviour Flow

The power of these analytical tools lies in the fact that it allows you to view which customers leave and what’s making them leave your website/app – so that you can fix it. You can also hire a professional digital marketing agency that can help you find these hurdles and remove them to enhance your overall engagement.

Mandeep Singh is the MD of SEO Discovery. He’s mission is to provide affordable digital marketing services to startups and SMEs. He’s an official member of Forbes Agency Council. You can find him on LinkedIn.



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Top 15 Chrome extensions for social media marketers

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30-second summary:

  • When it comes to the internet browser, Google Chrome, with its extensive list of extensions is the indisputable chart-topper.
  • As a digital marketer, you have to keep track of so many things – different projects at various stages of development, research, reporting, new leads, existing clients, et cetera.
  • Bhavik Soni shares a list of the top 15 Chrome extensions that will make social media marketers more productive, smart, and efficient.
  • These are categorized into extensions for – Productivity, research and tracking, content creation and implementation, and digital marketing. Dive in!

When it comes to the internet browser, Google Chrome, with its extensive list of extensions is the indisputable chart-topper. From simple theme-based to technical coding-related, the extension list in chrome is practically endless.

This extension-packed list also boasts a wide variety of efficient social media extensions that boost professionalism, punctuality, and productivity. And, who wouldn’t love a convenient free plugin that makes life easier!

As a digital marketer, you have to keep track of so many things – different projects at various stages of development, research, reporting, new leads, existing clients, et cetera. These extension apps create a focus-orientated and organized work environment by keeping marketers updated on project developments, sending to-do reminders, enhancing content, and more.

In short, these install-and-use plugins act as the ace up their sleeves for social network marketers. They work as useful gadgets and trained assistants. They are the must-have social media marketing tools for every marketer.

You can optimize and make Google work for you in a jiffy by adding these 15 Chrome Extensions to your browser today.

Chrome Productivity Extensions

1. StayFocused: App block & website block google chrome extension

Designed to boost productivity, the StayFocused extension limits the amount of time you spend on vanity Googling. It offers the brute force you need somedays to anchor your focus to what’s more important.

Pricing:

Free

2. Momentum: Personal dashboard new tab chrome extension

Perhaps, Momentum is the best Chrome extension for productivity. It steers your focus from idle to important by motivating you with quotes, encouraging positivity with mantras, and inspiring with serene photography. Features like Daily Focus, To-Do, Countdowns, Metrics, Event Reminder and Links help you browse the internet with intent. What’s more? The plus version is available for just $3.33/month.

Pricing

$3.33/month

Research and tracking extensions

3. Diigo Web Collector: Highlighter and bookmarker for chrome

Diigo is a research chrome extension that lets you highlight important phrases, bookmark and save pages, write notes, and collect references at a single place. It comes in handy for social media marketers, who generally invest hours in R&D for planning a campaign, learning trends, and comparing the competitor’s strategy.

Pricing:

Free

4. Google Analytics URL Builder: Online UTM tracking

This is a tracking extension that lets you build UTM parameters. With the help of this plugin, you will be able to gauge the effectiveness of the UTM tags used in the campaigns. Google Analytics URL Builder also allows you to share templates with others, saves time when you have to generate URLs manually, and shares progress with clients.

Pricing:

Free

5. Ghostery: Makes web cleaner, faster, and safer

Ghostery is designed to block ads and trackers, this productivity chrome extension makes a great social media marketing tool. With its help, you will be able to learn the trackers on the competitor’s sites that they use to attract, engage, and convert the visitors.

Pricing

$11.99 USD /month/user*

6. SpyFu: SEO and PPC tools for professionals

Yet another efficient tracker extension that lets you peek into the competitor’s site data. Spyfu reveals extensive information, including where the competitor appeared on Google in the past nine years. The social media marketing (SMM) plugin also shows all keywords bought on AdWords, every ad variation, and every organic rank for $33/month.

Pricing

$33/month

Content creation and implementation

7. Canva: Design is all around us

How social media advertising will perform relies a lot on visuals. Photo-driven platforms like Instagram and Pinterest yield better ROI than content-driven Twitter or Facebook. It is because photos get more engagement. To ensure you can make most of this social media trend, creating impressive and attention-grabbing posts become imperative. It is where Canva comes into the picture.

Pricing

Free

8. Figure it Out: Solve your time zone pain

A digital marketer works for clients and target audiences in different time zones. For them, Figure it Out proves to be a handy tool. It is an extension that lets you keep track of up to 10 time zones, and makes scheduling posts accordingly.

Pricing

Free and paid ($3/month)

9. WhatFont: Identify fonts on web pages

We get it, fonts are tricky. Download an app, and it gives you hundreds of fonts that are too similar-looking, too familiar, or too quirky for your campaign. One day you browse a site – may be a competitor’s – and find just the font you were looking for but have no clue which one it is.

That’s when WhatFont comes to the rescue. A single click and it reveals not only the name but also the family, style, weight, size, line height, and color of the font.

Pricing

Free

10. Unsplash Instant: Beautiful photos in your new tab

For every social media marketing post, there is a tedious task to find high-quality, professional stock pictures, usually for free. Unsplash Instant lets you find great photos ranging from flowers and skies to desktops and artsy portraits. You can save them for free and use it for all kinds of commercial use.

Pricing

Free

11. Colorzilla: Advanced colorful goodies

Colorzilla allows you to hover over any color shown on a webpage and learn about its hex code for future use in a social media ad post. With this plugin, you will be able to create consistent color themes, appealing visuals, and come up with perfect palettes.

Pricing

Free

12. Sniply: Drive conversion through content

Social media promotions through third-party content are more effective when they include a tempting call-to-action that takes the reader to your own online space. Sniply helps you make those conversion-generating posts by letting you add custom CTA to any piece of content. On the dashboard, the plugin will show how many clicks your links are getting and the level of engagement for tracking purposes.

Pricing

$29/month

Digital marketing extensions

13. IFTTT for Marketing and social media automation

IFTTT free digital marketing extension syncs multiple apps and automates them, thus saving a lot of time and effort. In simple terms, you could post a pic on a dozen different platforms all at once.

Pricing

Free

14. Buffer: Share content easily

With this social media extension, you will be able to schedule and manage posts across different platforms. Buffer will also let you follow up with analytics to track the performance of each post.

Pricing

$85/mo

15. LastPass: Free password manager

By downloading the LastPass Chrome extension, you will not need to remember dozens of passwords to each social media platform. This free password manager will do it for you. You could also create a master password through LastPass.

Pricing

Free

Let’s sum it up

Here’s a guide to 15 best Chrome extensions available for social media marketers. From saving bookmarks to managing posts and passwords, these plugins will work as assistants to digital professionals.

Note: Details like pricing are subject to change as per the respective tool provider.

Bhavik Soni is a Creative Writer at Auto Monkey. We provide an original analysis of the latest happenings in the social media industry. Connect with Latest Social Media Trends and News plus tips on Twitter, Facebook, and other social tools on the web.



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