Trending February 2024 # Link Exchange Networks Hurt Google Site Indexing # Suggested March 2024 # Top 7 Popular

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Link Exchange Networks Hurt Google Site Indexing

If your site participates in link trading or link exchange network schemes with thousands of other sites which result in untargeted and spammy links being served throughout your web site – BEWARE, Google has a keen eye on this search spamming practice.

This does not mean that buying or trading links is bad. Buying and soliciting highly targeted links or exchanging links with sites that either :

3) Are in the same geographic location are your business

…will bring targeted and responsive traffic to your site which has a high chance of converting into a sale or interested visitor.

Such practices are the backbone of the Internet and are not being targeted by the new Google updates.

However, if you participate in a link trading, link selling or link marketing scheme which serves links on your sites, or the sites you trade links with for such spam-slappin’ themed sites as poker, gambling, ringtones, seo contests, mortgages, payday loans and other questionably anchor texted links which have absolutely nothing to do with your site’s content – STOP!

It’s time to halt such link spamming practices and direct your linking budget (whether it be measured in time, favors or dollars) into more targeted link building practices like relevant blogs, trusted directories, niche sites and local business listings programs.

One linking rule of thumb is that if the link would send you a paying customer and people actually find the links on a prominent part of the web page (like above the fold or embedded within main content) – it is of quality.

Here is what Matt Cutts has to say about Google indexing ‘penalties’ on link farms and link swapping network campaigns as he reviews complaints from webmasters who are seeing their sites dropping from the Google BigDaddy update:

This is… a real estate site, this time about a Eastern European country. I see 387 pages indexed currently. Aha, checking out the bottom of the page,

I see this: Poor quality links (Matt shows image)

Linking to a free ringtones site, an SEO contest, and an Omega 3 fish oil site? I think I’ve found your problem. I’d think about the quality of your links if you’d prefer to have more pages crawled. As these indexing changes have rolled out, we’ve improving how we handle reciprocal link exchanges and link buying/selling.

– Moving right along, here’s one from May 4th. It’s another real estate site. The owner says that they used to have 10K pages indexed and now they have 80.

This time, I’m seeing links to mortgages sites, credit card sites, and exercise equipment. I think this is covered by the same guidance as above; if you were getting crawled more before and you’re trading a bunch of reciprocal links, don’t be surprised if the new crawler has different crawl priorities and doesn’t crawl as much.

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How To Setup Google Site Kit Plugin In WordPress Site? – Webnots

Google loves WordPress websites and show special recommendations on all their tools for WordPress users. For example, if you check your speed in Google PageSpeed, you can get special recommendations for WordPress. Google will automatically detect the site using WordPress and offer useful recommendations. This is the same case with AdSense account as well. However, there is no singe place Google show all recommendations for WordPress users. This problem was solved by Google by offering Site Kit plugin for WordPress. In this article, we will explain how to setup Google Site Kit plugin and activate all modules in the plugin.

What Google Site Kit Offers?

Google Site Kit is an all in one plugin for WordPress users to access all useful services inside WordPress dashboard. There are four services you can access :

Search Console

Analytics

AdSense

PageSpeed Insights

Earlier Google was offering AdSense publisher plugin which was discontinued and removed from the repository. So, Site Kit is the next official plugin available from Google for AdSense users.   

Installing and Activating the Plugin

Setup Site Kit Plugin

Setup Google Site Kit Plugin

The plugin setup is a length process needs three steps.

Connecting your Search Console account to verify ownership

Allow access to Google account data

Setup Search Console

1. Verifying Ownership

Three Steps Setup Process

Enter you Google email and password to and sign into your account.

Confirm the Options

After granting the access, you will be taken back to Site Kit webpage.

Verified Successfully

2. Allow Access to Google Data

Data Access Granted

3. Setup Search Console Activating Other Google Services

The above way of activating will only connect your site to Google Search Console. You have to activate the remaining services like Analytics, AdSense and PageSpeed Insights from the dashboard.

Connect Other Services

Again, you need to grant permission for the plugin to access your AdSense account.

Grant Persmission for Analytics

Using Site Kit Plugin

Using Site Kit plugin pretty much simple. You can view the data from Search Console, Analytics and AdSense accounts under the dashboard section. The plugin also allows you to check individual URL performance in Google Search.

Check Individual URL Search Performance

Deleting Site Kit Plugin from Your Site

Disconnect Plugin

Confirm disconnecting the plugin from your account to remove the granted permissions. You should see the message like below showing, you have revoked the access.

Problems with Site Kit Plugin

As with any Google services, you may face many issues when installing the plugin.

Too Many Verifications

You have to verify and grant permission for each service. This is a lengthy and time taking process before you completely setup the plugin for usage.

Deactivate Caching Plugin

You will see a warning message showing the site is using a caching plugin. Deactivate the caching plugin on your site. Surprisingly, Google Site Kit plugin will still show the message even after deactivating the caching plugin.

Error with Caching Plugin

In case, if you are using maintenance or coming soon mode disable all those options.

Disable Ad Blocker

If you have connected Site Kit with AdSense account, then the dashboard will not show the updated earnings when you use ad blocker in the browser. You have to disable ad blocker and refresh the page to get the latest AdSense data from your account.

Failed Verification Process

In our case, verification failed multiple times and we need to follow the entire process starting from the beginning.

Failed Verification Process

Incomplete Setup Error

Incomplete Setup

Final Words

This has been a problem with Google offering plugin and then removing without maintenance. Earlier, Google discontinued AdSense plugin including the iOS / Android mobile apps. As such there are no official plugins for PageSpeed, Search Console and Analytics. At times we are hoping Google to manage this Site Kit plugin properly, it was hit with security hacking issue. In our opinion, if you are looking for integrating Search Console and Analytics, check other simple plugins. You can always use the official websites to get reports and check gathered data.  

Google Tag Manager Vs Global Site Tag (Gtag.js)

Google Tag Manager vs Global Site Tag: what are they, and which should you use? 

Google Tag Manager and the Global Site Tag can seem interchangeable, but they are two different tools and should be chosen wisely based on your needs.

An overview of what we’ll cover: 

So let’s dive in!  

What Is the Global Site Tag?

The Global Site Tag is a tracking code that you install in the header section of your website. It tracks information on your website and forwards it to Google Analytics or other Google-associated tools. 

Google introduced this all-in-one code in 2023. Before that, each marketing product had its own tracking code. This meant that to use Google Ads, you needed to add the chúng tôi code or chúng tôi for Google Analytics.

Every tool required a separate installation of code. As a result, every new addition of code would increase the complexity of your site’s HTML and JavaScript execution. 

And what if you just wanted to see pageviews on your website? You would have to send this data to different tools and consolidate it, which is a bit of a pain.

Thus, this implementation became quite inefficient.

To solve this problem, Google came up with a more holistic solution for your tracking requirements. With the Global Site Tag (gtag.js), most of the work was cut out for the user—and you only had to install the code once.

Let’s demonstrate how this works. 

How Does It Work?

All you have to do to install this code is add the script to the head section of your website. The Global Site Tag will be on the top of all the tracking scripts. Below it, you can configure any other tools like Google Analytics or Google Ads. 

These tools are added to the background automatically. So when you send your data for analysis, the codes don’t need to run multiple times.

This also reduces the base code length and increases the efficiency of the data. 

What Is Google Tag Manager?

Google Tag Manager is a tag management system that acts as a common tool for running all different tracking tags, just like Global Site Tag. 

The key difference is that, unlike Global Site Tag, Google Tag Manager is not confined to Google tracking tools. Google Tag Manager accommodates a variety of other tools, including templates from community members. 

You can manage not only Google Ads and Google Analytics, but many other tracking Tags like Facebook Pixel or LinkedIn Tag through the single central interface of Google Tag Manager. 

Let’s see how this works!

How Does It Work?

Working with Google Tag Manager is quite easy.

You can deploy all your tracking Tags such as quotes from Google Analytics or Google Ads through its central interface. You can also put your Facebook Pixel into a custom HTML Tag and deploy it on Google Tag Manager.

In fact, you can do much more with Google Tag Manager than with the Global Site Tag. For example, you can test a code before deploying it, show a graphical user interface, control multiple versions, and access different triggers that you can utilize to deploy all this tracking.

However, the premise remains the same. Just like the chúng tôi implementation, you can define a single interaction with a trigger that you want to track, then send data to different tools.

So let’s compare them further to get a better understanding.

What is the Difference Between the Global Site Tag and Google Tag Manager?

We already know that both the tools are similar in the way that they can deploy either multiple tracking points or one tracking point to a variety of Google tools. 

In simpler words, if you want to send tracking information to your Google Ads or Google Analytics account, you easily accomplish this with either Google Tag Manager or the Global Site Tag.

But how are these tools different from one another? 

There are three main differences between Global Site Tag and Google Tag Manager: third-party tool compatibility, additional functionalities, and graphical user interfaces.

Third-Party Marketing Tool Compatibility

The first and major difference is the compatibility of Google Tag Manager with other tracking tools. 

While the chúng tôi script only works with Google tools, Google Tag Manager allows you to send data to any tool that has a JavaScript-based tracking code. 

Even if Google Tag Manager doesn’t have a native integration with your favorite tools, you can usually install tracking codes via a Tag template or a custom HTML Tag. It is thus more flexible in that regard and agnostic to any tracking tools.

Functionality

The next major difference is the functionalities that the two provide.

The Global Site Tag doesn’t add any bells and whistles to your tracking system. What you see in your Google tools (Analytics, Ads, etc.) is exactly what you get.

Google Tag Manager provides more features in its interface. You can update new versions of your tracking implementation or revert to an old one if you find bugs. You can also test and debug your implementation using GTM’s Preview Mode to keep each version as clean as possible. 

User Interface

Lastly, Google Tag Manager has a graphical user interface that is not available for the Global Site Tag. 

This means that with the chúng tôi you’ll need to do all your site’s tracking coding on your own. The Global Site Tag is effectively invisible to you as a marketer or developer except for in the website’s script. This will require at least a basic knowledge of JavaScript to configure your tools correctly with the Global Site Tag.

Google Tag Manager, on the other hand, has a very intuitive and user-friendly interface that requires little to no JavaScript knowledge (unless you’re building your own custom HTML Tags). 

It’s much more approachable for marketers who don’t pull double-duty as developers.

Differences

When Should You Use the Global Site Tag vs Google Tag Manager?

The Global Site Tag is just a mini version of Google Tag Manager. Based on your tracking requirements, you can choose when to use each tool.

For example, if you have a new website in which you want to set up a tool to track your visitor behaviour, you’ll need to install Google Analytics. This can be done by both Global Site Tag as well as Google Tag Manager. 

Global Site Tag

To install Google Analytics on your website with the Global Site Tag, you will be asked to add the chúng tôi code in the head section. 

Going further, if you want to drive more traffic to your website, you can choose to add Google Ads as well. This can be easily done since we already installed Global Site Tag earlier. 

The Global Site Tag will then send over data to both Google Analytics and Google Ads. 

If you keep on adding different codes to your website, it will start creating chaos inside the HTML. It will become difficult to track which code fires which tool—a developer’s nightmare when you finally decide to clean it up later. 

Google Tag Manager

At this stage, the wise option will be to choose Google Tag Manager. This will decrease your workload significantly and also increase efficiency. 

Google Tag Manager will give you a graphical user interface that makes it easier to manage multiple codes.

Hence, it might be a better option to use Google Tag Manager instead of adding codes manually to your page. 

Which One Do I Recommend?

If given a choice, I’d definitely recommend using Google Tag Manager, even to marketers who are capable of adding the manual codes. 

Similarly, if you have a new website and want to install just one tracking system on it, Google Tag Manager will still be a preferable choice. 

It’s always better to have your website processed by a Tag management system rather than adding the codes manually. 

However, for legacy cases, it might be time-consuming to replace all the old codes with Google Tag Manager, so it would be better to continue using Global Site Tag.

Also, if you feel that you want to do the tracking manually and if you already have some modules, you could use the Global Site Tag.

But for most other cases, I would recommend using Google Tag Manager as it is a widely accepted tracking system in today’s world. 

Frequently Asked Questions Can I Install the Global Site Tag through Google Tag Manager?

In a way, yes, you can sort of install the Global Site Tag through Google Tag Manager. 

One thing to remember here is that the Global Site Tag is a mini version of Google Tag Manager itself. 

So it’s already sending data over to different tracking tools. This means you will not install the Global Site Tag into Google Tag Manager per se, but take these tools and install them into Google Tag Manager. 

So if you’re sending data over to AdWords or to Google Analytics via the Global Site Tag, then you would need to utilize the Tag template within Google Tag Manager to deploy the same tracking points with Google Tag Manager. 

🚨 Note: Do not take the gtag.js script and put it into a custom HTML Tag of Google Tag Manager. That is not a best practice and would lead to problems in your tracking.

Is It Ok to Have Google Tag Manager and Global Site Tag Installed on the Same Page?

Technically, yes. Google Tag Manager and Global Site Tag are compatible with each other and can be installed on the same page. 

However, both these tools utilize some common resources that can lead to conflict in some cases. For example, the data layer is one such resource that is used by both tools.

Therefore, it is important to be careful while adding both of them together. You will also need to test the implementation of tools by checking whether the correct data is sent to these tools. 

Overall, the process is doable but complicated. That’s why I would recommend not to install them together on the same page. 

🚨 Note: For individual tools, you should use either Google Tag Manager or the Global Site Tag, but not both. If you install both of them, you will end up sending duplicate data to any tools that are connected to your website via both implementations. This could result in double-counting pageviews and other metrics, which will obviously ruin your data.

FAQ What are the main differences between the Global Site Tag and Google Tag Manager?

The main differences between the Global Site Tag and Google Tag Manager are:

When should I use the Global Site Tag vs Google Tag Manager?

You should use the Global Site Tag when you only need to track data for Google marketing tools like Google Analytics and Google Ads. If you require compatibility with third-party marketing tools or additional functionalities like testing and version control, it’s recommended to use Google Tag Manager.

Is it okay to have Google Tag Manager and the Global Site Tag installed on the same page?

While it is technically possible to install both Google Tag Manager and the Global Site Tag on the same page, it can lead to conflicts and complications due to their shared resources. It’s recommended to use either Google Tag Manager or the Global Site Tag for individual tools to avoid sending duplicate data and ensure accurate tracking.

Summary

In conclusion, we can say that Google Tag Manager wins between the two—Google Tag Manager vs Global Site Tag. 

Global Site Tag is a mini segment of Google Tag Manager. It is neither as flexible nor as powerful as Google Tag Manager. For some specific use cases, it can be the right choice. However, for most tracking requirements, you should install Google Tag Manager.

If you are new to Google Tag Manager and want to learn its basics, check out our in-depth Google Tag Manager tutorial.

Site Migrations And Planning For Holiday Site Code Freezes

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We are already in Q3, which means the holiday shopping season is just around the corner. Are you prepared for the season’s code freezes with site migrations?  

Being a part of the conversation before a migration happens is great… until you get an email saying, “Hey, we’ve made a change, but why is traffic dropping?”. Is migration PTSD setting in?

Senior Technical SEO Specialist, Nik Ranger of Studio Hawk talks with Search Engine Journal Founder Loren Baker on the Search Engine Journal Show about potential issues to look out for in site migrations and why it’s important to prioritize SEO fixes, especially before and after holiday season. No one has time to deal with end of year code freezes.

“If the client’s goal is to do a successful migration, you can forensically find everything from an SEO standpoint with the given tools that you’ve got.” ~ Nik Ranger

[0:00] – Get to know Nik Ranger 

[3:47] – Different forms of site migrations

[6:34] – How the best kind of campaigns happen and the rule of thumb

[7:36] – Why clients get upset when site migrations happen

[8:41] – What’s detrimental to migration

[9:39] – Example of a website migration fail

[13:32] – What people should realize about dev teams

[15:11] – The misinformation site developers say about Google in figuring things out

[16:20] – What you need first and foremost in pre migration

[17:14] – The simplest thing to have in a project

[20:38] – Important questions to ask

[23:55] – Why is it called migration PTSD and how to avoid it

[29:13] – How Nik pushes through to make sure nothing is missed

[30:48] – Key elements to test

[33:20] – List of things to monitor

[37:19] – An observation on migrations

[43:47] – Nik’s hobbies outside SEO and how it still relates to SEO

[52:32] – How to evaluate the success of a website migration

[54.23] – What to look out for

“That’s one of the things I appreciate about SEO, it can be exceptionally technical but you can also be exceptionally creative because none of what we do is successful without being able to communicate it clearly to someone else.” ~ Nik Ranger

Resources mentioned:

Connect with Nik Ranger:  

Nik Ranger is the Senior Technical SEO Specialist at Studio Hawk, Australia’s largest specialised SEO agency. She is also a member of SEO Collective, a group of SEO professionals who arrange monthly events, help people, and make sure everyone knows what’s going on.

Connect with Loren Baker:

5 Ways Social Media Could Hurt Your Business

There’s no denying that social media is a powerful resource for brands. With 74% of online adults on social media, it’s an effective way to reach and interact with your audience and share information about your brand.

However, social media can also do harm to your business if you don’t understand how to properly manage your social media channels. Check out the examples below to learn more about the pitfalls many business owners run into.

Spam Sandwich

As the co-founder of Buddy Media, Michael Lazerow, told Matthew Bishop on LinkedIn that the goal for marketers on social media is to engage them by discovering “how do you as a brand get into the conversation.” In other words, you need to create content that your audience wants to share and discuss.

Customer Complaints

In years past, it was possible for a business to still thrive despite having a rude owner or poor customer service. The Internet has absolutely changed that game because of the power consumers have to talk about their experiences with a business via online review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. Remember, one bad experience shared on a review site could potentially be seen by hundreds, if not thousands, of people.

The same can be said about social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Remember the whole Amy’s Baking Company fiasco? Instead of addressing consumer complaints and finding out why there were negative reviews, the owners went ballistic. In fact, the debacle has become a classic example of what not to do on social media.

While some would argue that getting your name mentioned is better than being ignored, that’s not an excuse to make it a habit. Customers are likely to forget about a hiccup here or there, but with so much competition in e-commerce, it’s not difficult for customers to turn to brands with better customer service.

And, it’s just not the handling of customer service that is important. It’s how promptly you respond to customers as well. Convince and Convert have found that 42% customers who have a complaint on social media expect a response within 60 minutes. Whether that’s realistic or not isn’t the issue; it’s the fact that customers demand a speedy response.

In short, if you aren’t equipped to handle the questions or concerns from customers, then social media can be a dangerous game to play. Always make sure that you’re helping (and not attacking) customers and that you respond in a timely manner.

Drunk Dialing

The combination of communication and one too many Friday night cocktails can turn a social media presence into an embarrassing situation for the wrong business owner. I’m sure in the ages of physical mail and telephone cold-calls there were minimal opportunities to drunk dial a customer. That’s not always the case nowadays.

With access to mobile devices 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it’s extremely easy to forget when to leave business at the office and not bring it into our social lives. It’s far too easy to let out a few drunk tweets or Facebook statuses while you’re sitting at your favorite watering hole or office party – it even happened with the Red Cross in 2011 and backfired when JCPenney sent out seemingly drunk texts during the Super Bowl.

Sending out a drunk tweet or Facebook status isn’t that uncommon, but it can be damaging for a brand if it becomes a common occurrence. Resist temptation and make sure that you leave your brand’s social media accounts in the hands of responsible team members who won’t make any bad decisions with these technology assets.

Too Much Exposure?

Not only does that phone in your pocket have the ability to ruin your business’ reputation while you’re finishing up your last beer, there also happens to be a camera attached to it – which can visually capture you enjoying your night out as well. Over the last few years we have seen important political figures and sports heroes make fools of themselves with racy pictures on social media.

In case you already forgot, Apple recently ran into a PR issue when it was discovered hundreds of nude celebrity photos were leaked online after someone had hijacked the cloud. Imagine the horror if those pictures had been of well-respected CEOs or faces of a major company or brand. There would be some serious explaining to do.

Unlike a celebrity or well-known CEO, a small business owner doesn’t have the resources to handle such a nightmare. Think of the backlash a local shop owner would face if they sent out inappropriate images.

If for some reason you do snap racy pictures – which is not recommended – keep the pictures to yourself! Furthermore, make sure that you only share content that is PG. Not only do you want to avoid the embarrassment, you don’t want to lose your integrity and customers down the road. Both American Apparel and VietJet have recently dealt with the repercussions of sharing lewd photos on their social media accounts.

Hash Tag Hijack

Who doesn’t love a good hashtag hijack gone awry? If you’re unfamiliar with the practice, it is when companies latch onto trending hashtags on Twitter and Instagram and then see how they can attach marketing messages to that hashtag – often without researching the meaning of the hashtag. It’s actually a great way to get the attention of people while staying up to date with buzzing topics and current events – when done correctly. Oreo perfected this tactic during the blackout at Super Bowl XLVII.

If you perform your due diligence and really understand why a hashtag is trending it’s pretty easy to prevent an embarrassing situation. However, if you don’t understand the meaning behind a trending hashtag, you could face some much-deserved backlash. For example, DiGiorno recently used #WhyIStayed, which was a trending hashtag regarding domestic violence. In DiGiorno’s attempt to stay socially relevant they used an extremely sensitive hashtag to sell frozen pizza. Can you say epic fail?

Always remember to read other tweets so you can understand the origin of a hashtag before you attach it to any marketing or branding messages.

Conclusion

Social media is one of the best ways to spread brand awareness and engage with your audience. However, it can also be detrimental if you treat your brand’s account like that of a college student. Always be professional and avoid scenarios that include anything that is sensitive to your customers.

Featured Image: jurgenfr via Shutterstock

Misguiding Deep Neural Networks: Generalized Pixel Attack

This article was published as a part of the Data Science Blogathon.

Introduction

Before we go into the details, let us have a quick recap of the deep neural network.

Artificial Neural Network (ANN)

A neural network is a method that simulates the activity of the human brain and tries to mimic its decision-making capability. Superficially, it can be thought of as a network of an input layer, output layer, and hidden layer(s).

Each layer performs its specific task assigned to it and passes it to further processing to another one. This phenomenon is known as “feature hierarchy.” This feature comes quite handy when dealing with unlabeled or unstructured data.

A typical Artificial Neural Network (Image by Ahmed Gad from Pixabay)

Convolutional Neural Network (CNN)

Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) or ConvNet for short, are the architectures that are mostly applied to images. The problem domain targeted by CNNs should not have spatial dependence. Another unique perspective of CNN is to get abstract features when input propagates from shallow to deeper layers.

A typical Convolutional Neural Network (Ref: Kang, Xu & Song, Bin & Sun, Fengyao. (2024). A Deep Similarity Metric Method Based on Incomplete Data for Traffic Anomaly Detection in IoT. Applied Sciences. 9. 135. 10.3390/app9010135.)

Misguiding Deep Neural Networks by Adversarial Examples

In 2024, people at Google and NYU affirmed that ConvNets could easily be fooled if the input is perturbated slightly. For example, our trained model recognizes the “Panda” with a confidence of 58%(approx.) while the same model classifies it as “Gibbon” with a much higher confidence of 99%. This is obviously an illusion for the network, which has been fooled by the noise thus inserted.

In 2023 again, a group of researchers at Google Brain and Ian J. Goodfellow showed that printed images, when captured through the camera and perturbated a slight, resulted in misclassification.

The umbrella term for all these scenarios is the Adversarial example.

The Threat

Analysis of the natural images’ vicinity, that is, few pixel perturbations can be regarded as cutting the input space using low-dimensional slices.

A measure of perceptiveness is a straightforward way of mitigating the problem by limiting the number of modifications to as few as possible.

Mathematically, the problem can be posed as-

Let ‘f’ be the target image classifier which receives n-dimensional inputs,

x = (x1, x2, …, xn), t

ft(x) is the probability of correct class

The limitation of maximum modification is L.

subject to e(x)<= L

The Attack: Targeted v/s Untargeted

An untargeted attack causes a model to misclassify an image to another class except for the original one. In contrast, a targeted attack causes a model to classify an image as a given target class. We want to perturb an image to maximize the probability of a class of our choosing.

The Defense

Increasing the Efficiency of the Differential Evolution algorithm such that the perturbation success rates should be improved and comparing the performance of Targeted and Untargeted attacks.

Differential Evolution

Differential evolution is a population-based optimization algorithm for solving complex multi-modal optimization. Differential Evolution

Moreover, it has mechanisms in the population selection phase that keep the diversity such that in practice, it is expected to efficiently find higher quality solutions than gradient-based solutions or even other kinds of EAs in specific during each iteration another set of candidate solutions (children) is generated according to the current population (fathers).

Why Differential Evolution?

There are three significant reasons to choose for Differential Evolution, viz.,

Higher probability of Finding Global Optima,

Require Less Information from Target System, and

Simplicity

In the context of a one-pixel attack, our input will be a flat vector of pixels, that is,

X=(x1,y1,r1,g1,b1,x2,y2,r2,g2,b2,…….)

First, we generate a random population of n-perturbations

P=(x1,x2,….xn)

Further, on each iteration, we calculate n new mutant children using the formula

Xi=xr1+f(xr2-xr3)

such that

r1!=r2!=r3

The standard DE algorithm has three primary candidates for improvement: the crossover, the selection, and the mutation operator.

The selection has been unchanged from the original publication by Storn and Price to state-of-the-art variants of DE, making it less likely that improvements could significantly enhance the performance.

Crossover has a large effect on the search and is of particular importance when optimizing non-separable functions.

Mutation: Can be changed

The mutation operator has been among the most studied parts of the algorithm. Numerous variations published over the years provided all the required background knowledge about the population. It is just a matter of changing some variables or adding some terms to a linear equation. All this makes mutation the best step to improve.

The question then becomes which mutation operator to improve.

The DE/rand/1 operator seems to be the best choice because it is studied extensively, and the comparison of the implementation becomes effortless. Moreover, it would be interesting to see how effectively generating additional training data with dead pixels affects such attacks.

Whatever we put – 1 pixel, some error, noise, fuzz – or anything else, neural networks could give some false recognitions – entirely in an a-priory unpredictable way.

Conclusion References

Kurakin, Alexey, Ian Goodfellow, and Samy Bengio. “Adversarial examples in the physical world.” arXiv preprint arXiv:1607.02533 (2024).

Storn, Rainer, and Kenneth Price. “Differential evolution–a simple and efficient heuristic for global optimization over continuous spaces.” Journal of global optimization 11.4 (1997): 341-359.

Szegedy, C., Zaremba, W., Sutskever, I., Bruna, J., Erhan, D., Goodfellow, I., & Fergus, R. (2013). Intriguing properties of neural networks. arXiv preprint arXiv:1312.6199.

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