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Despite their seemingly simple goals, search engines like Google are actually very complex beasts, and the results they deliver up to users on a silver platter are the result of very complex algorithms. In very basic terms, when you type a keyword into a search engine like Bing or Google, its sole goal is to find you the best possible result for your needs. The problem in this case is what these search engines consider the best result when you consider there are hundreds of thousands of pages that may contain some kind of relevance to your search term on the internet. In this article, we take a look at how Google brings users such accurate results (most of the time, anyway).

What goes into bringing you the right results

Every SEO agency in Melbourne knows that there are a few things that Google will rely on to deliver you what you need. The first of these is search intent. This is basically to say that Google wants to leave you satisfied with the result you’re given, so to basically satisfy your intent and search goals. This is actually a very difficult ask, as the search terms a user may put in could be very open to interpretation. For example, a question could be related to a need to find very basic information, very detailed information, methods (such as recipes), or to buy a product. What Google delivers when you search for something is usually what most users want to see when they type in that search term. For this reason, this is something quite important to keep in mind if you’re planning on implementing keywords into your own website. Next up we have relevancy: although you’ll be linked to a page that Google finds relevant, the search engine also takes into consideration the relevance of the entire website. Consistency is something that Google values very highly, so if the rest of the website provides information that isn’t all over the place, it will rank it higher. This is because if the content isn’t consistent, Google can’t determine what it’s actually about, so it can hardly recommend it!

Other things Google factors into your search results

It’s not just relevancy to your core enquiry that Google is interested in. It wants the results it brings to you to be of a high quality, which is why content quality is factored into the search results as well. Although what determines quality can be highly subjective, there are a few things that Google keeps in mind when it delivers you those juicy results. The first thing it keeps in mind is the length of the content – large pieces can often be determined as being detailed, which is exactly what many people want when searching for information. Detailed shouldn’t mean that the piece isn’t easy to read, so breaking up the content with small paragraphs, relevant headings and images are also very valuable, as these elements are generally very useful for people looking for informative content. Finally, Google will take into consideration the authority of the website. For Google, authority translates as trustworthiness – if Google has knowledge that the website is reliable, it will be much happier sharing the content. The primary way that Google processes trustworthiness is through backlinks, which involves sites linking to other sites in order to vouch for their quality. When Google sees this linking, it attaches authority to the linked site.

Figuring Google out

Although we have a basic understanding of how the Google algorithms work, a lot goes into what pops up into your search. For this reason, if you’re searching for something – or even trying to elevate your site through the rankings – keeping the above information in mind will give you a pretty hefty head start!

 

[Source: This article was published in hometownstation.com By KHTS - Uploaded by the Association Member: Clara Johnson] 

Categorized in Search Engine

There's an old joke among Windows users: "Internet Explorer is the best browser to download a better browser with."

In other words, Internet Explorer — Microsoft's old flagship internet browser — has been around for years, and few people actually like it. That's a big reason why in 2015 Microsoft released Edge, their new and improved browser.

Microsoft has made a big effort with Edge to improve the browsing experience, and it's paid off. Microsoft Edge has enough features and benefits that it's actually a real alternative to more popular browsers like Chrome or Firefox.

 

This is especially true with the Edge's most recent update, which overhauled how the browser runs and operates.

Here's everything you need to know about Microsoft Edge, including what it offers, and how to download it on your PCMaciPhone, or Android device.

Microsoft Edge, explained

The newest version of Edge is what's called a "Chromium" browser. This means that it can run hundreds of extensions that were originally meant for Google Chrome users. This includes screen readers, in-browser games, productivity tools, and more. 

This is in addition to the extensions already in the Microsoft Store, which you can also use. If you can think of a feature you'd like the browser to have, there's probably an extension for it.

MS 1

 

You can find the Extensions menu by clicking the three dots at the top-right and clicking "Extensions." 

 

 

If you sign up for a free Microsoft account, you can sync your bookmarks, history, passwords, and more. This means that if you use Edge on a different computer, you'll have all of your browsing data available in moments.

MS 2.jpg

 

Like with Google Chrome, you can sync your browsing information to your email account. 

 

 

Reviews have also said that this new version of Edge runs faster than previous versions, putting it about on par with Chrome and Firefox.

If you'd like to give Microsoft Edge a try, you can download it from the Edge website, here.

The page should automatically detect whether you're using a Mac, PC, iPhone, or Android device. If you think the page has gotten it wrong, click the arrow next to the "Download" button to see all the available versions.

MS 3.jpg

 

[Source: This article was published in businessinsider.com By Ross James - Uploaded by the Association Member: Alex Gray]

Categorized in Search Engine

It’s not paid inclusion, but it is paid occlusion

Happy Friday to you! I have been reflecting a bit on the controversy du jour: Google’s redesigned search results. Google is trying to foreground sourcing and URLs, but in the process it made its results look more like ads, or vice versa. Bottom line: Google’s ads just look like search results now.

I’m thinking about it because I have to admit that I don’t personally hate the new favicon -plus-URL structure. But I think that might be because I am not a normal consumer of web content. I’ve been on the web since the late ‘90s and I parse information out of URLs kind of without thinking about it. (In fact, the relative decline of valuable information getting encoded into the URL is a thing that makes me sad.)

I admit that I am not a normal user. I set up custom Chrome searches and export them to my other browsers. I know what SERP means and the term kind of slips out in regular conversation sometimes. I have opinions about AMP and its URL and caching structure. I’m a weirdo.

As that weirdo, Google’s design makes perfect sense and it’s possible it might do the same for regular folk. The new layout for search result is ugly at first glance — but then Google was always ugly until relatively recently. I very quickly learned to unconsciously take in the information from the top favicon and URL-esque info without it really distracting me.

...Which is basically the problem. Google’s using that same design language to identify its ads instead of much more obvious, visually distinct methods. It’s consistent, I guess, but it also feels deceptive.

Recode’s Peter Kafka recently interviewed Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti, and Peretti said something really insightful: what if Google’s ads really aren’t that good? What if Google is just taking credit for clicks on ads just because people would have been searching for that stuff anyway? I’ve been thinking about it all day: what if Google ads actually aren’t that effective and the only reason they make so much is billions of people use Google?

The pressure to make them more effective would be fairly strong, then, wouldn’t it? And it would get increasingly hard to resist that pressure over time.

I am old enough to remember using the search engines before Google. I didn’t know how bad their search technology was compared to what was to come, but I did have to bounce between several of them to find what I wanted. Knowing what was a good search for WebCrawler and what was good for Yahoo was one of my Power User Of The Internet skills.

So when Google hit, I didn’t realize how powerful and good the PageRank technology was right away. What I noticed right away is that I could trust the search results to be “organic” instead of paid and that there were no dark patterns tricking me into clicking on an ad.

One of the reasons Google won search in the first place with old people like me was that in addition to its superior technology, it drew a harder line against allowing paid advertisements into its search results than its competitors.

With other search engines, there was the problem of “paid inclusion,” which is the rare business practice that does exactly what the phrase means. You never really knew if what you were seeing was the result of a web-crawling bot or a business deal.

This new ad layout doesn’t cross that line, but it’s definitely problematic and it definitely reduces my trust in Google’s results. It’s not so much paid inclusion as paid occlusion.

Today, I still trust Google to not allow business dealings to affect the rankings of its organic results, but how much does that matter if most people can’t visually tell the difference at first glance? And how much does that matter when certain sections of Google, like hotels and flights, do use paid inclusion? And how much does that matter when business dealings very likely do affect the outcome of what you get when you use the next generation of search, the Google Assistant?

 

And most of all: if Google is willing to visually muddle ads, how long until its users lose trust in the algorithm itself? With this change, Google is becoming what it once sought to overcome: AltaVista.

Read More...

[Source: This article was published in theverge.com By Barry Schwartz - Uploaded by the Association Member: James Gill]

Categorized in Search Engine

As always, when Google releases a new update to its search algorithm, it’s an exciting (and potentially scary) time for SEO. Google’s latest update, BERT, represents the biggest alteration to its search algorithm in the last five years.

So, what does BERT do?

Google says the BERT update means its search algorithm will have an easier time comprehending conversational nuances in a user’s query.

The best example of this is statements where prepositional words such as ‘to’ and ‘for’ inform the intent of the query.

BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, which is a language processing technique based on neural networking principles.

Google estimates the update will impact about 10% of United States-based queries and has revealed BERT can already be seen in action on featured snippets around the world.

How does Google BERT affect on-page SEO?

SEO practitioners can breathe a collective sigh of relief, because the Google BERT update is not designed to penalise websites, rather, only improve the way the search engine understands and interprets search queries.

However, because the search algorithm is better at understanding nuances in language, it means websites with higher-quality written content are going to be more discoverable.

Websites that have a lot of detailed ‘how-to’ guides and other in-depth content designed to benefit users are going to get the most from Google BERT. This means businesses who aren’t implementing a thorough content strategy are likely to fall behind the curve.

Basically, the BERT update follows Google’s long-running trend of trying to improve the ability of its search algorithm to accurately serve conversational search queries.

The ultimate result of this trend is users being able to perform detailed search queries with the Google voice assistant as if they were speaking to a real person.

Previous algorithm updates

While BERT may be the first major change to Google search in five years, it’s not the biggest shakeup in their history.

The prior Google PANDA and Google PENGUIN updates were both significant and caused a large number of websites to become penalised due to the use of SEO strategies that were considered ‘spammy’ or unfriendly to users.

 

PANDA

Google PANDA was developed in response to user complaints about ‘content farms’.

Basically, Google’s algorithm was rewarding quantity over quality, meaning there was a business incentive for websites to pump out lots of cheaply acquired content for the purposes of serving ads next to or even within them.

The PANDA update most noticeably affected link building or ‘article marketing’ strategies where low-quality content was published to content farms with a link to a business’ website attached to a keyword repeated throughout the article.

It meant that there was a significant push towards more ethical content marketing strategies, such as guest posting.

PENGUIN

Google PENGUIN is commonly seen as a follow up to the work started by PANDA, targeting spammy link-building practices and ‘black-hat’ SEO techniques.

This update was focused primarily on the way the algorithm evaluates the authority of links as well as the sincerity of their implementation in website content. Spammy or manipulative links now carried less weight. 

However, this meant that if another website posted a link to yours in a spammy or manipulative way, it would negatively affect your search rankings.

This meant that webmasters and SEO-focused businesses needed to make use of the disavow tool to inform Google what inbound links they approve of and which they don’t.

[Source: This article was published in smartcompany.com.au By LUCAS BIKOWSKI - Uploaded by the Association Member: Bridget Miller]

Categorized in Search Engine

On a Google Webmaster Hangout someone asked about the role of H1s on a web page. John Mueller responded that heading tags were good for several reasons but they’re not a critical element.

SEO and H1 Headings

One of the top rules for Search Engine Optimization has long been adding keywords to your H1 heading at the top of the page in order to signal what a page is about and rank well.

It used to be the case, in the early 2000’s. that adding the target keyword phrase in the H1 was mandatory. In the early 2000’s, if the keywords were not in the H1 heading then your site might not be so competitive.

However, Google’s ability to understand the nuances of what a page is about have come a long way since the early 2000’s.

As a consequence, it is important to listen to what Google’s John Mueller says about H1 headings.

Can Multiple H1s be Used?

The context of the question is whether a publisher is restricted to using one H1 or can multiple H1 heading tags be used.

This is the question:

“Is it mandatory to just have one H1 tag on a web page or can it be used multiple times?”

Google’s John Mueller answered that you can use as many H1s as you want. He also said you can omit using the H1 heading tag, too.

John Mueller’s answer about H1 heading tags:

“You can use H1 tags as often as you want on a page. There’s no limit, neither upper or lower bound.”

Then later on, at the end of his answer, he reaffirmed that publishers are free to choose how they want to use the H1 heading tag:

“Your site is going to rank perfectly fine with no H1 tags or with five H1 tags.”

H1 Headings Useful for Communicating Page Structure

John Mueller confirmed that H1 headings are good for outlining the page structure.

What he means is that the heading elements can work together to create a top level outline of what your page is about. That’s a macro overview of what the web page is about.

In my opinion, a properly deployed heading strategy can be useful for communicating what a page is about.

The W3c, the official body that administers HTML guidelines, offers an HTML validator that shows you the “outline” of a web page.

When validating a web page, select the “Show Outline” button. It’s a great way to see a page just by the outline that your heading elements create.

show outline
Choosing the “Show Outline” option in the W3C HTML Validator will show you the overview of what your page looks like as communicated by your heading elements. It’s a great way to get a high level snapshot view of your page structure.

Here are Mueller’s comments about the H1 heading element:

“H1 elements are a great way to give more structure to a page so that users and search engines can understand which parts of a page are kind of under different headings.

So I would use them in the proper way on a page. And especially with HTML5 having multiple H1 elements on a page is completely normal and kind of expected.”

H1 Headings and SEO

John Mueller went on to reaffirm that the lack of a headings or using many H1s was not something to worry about. This is likely due to Google doesn’t need or require H1 headings to rank a web page.

This should be obvious to anyone who works in digital marketing. Google’s search results are full of web pages that do not feature H1 headings or that use them for styling purposes (a misuse of the heading tag!).

There are correlation studies that say that XX percentage of top ranked sites use headings. But those studies ignore that modern web pages, particularly those that use WordPress templates, routinely use Headings for styling navigational elements, which will skew those correlation studies.

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Here’s what Mueller observed:

“So it’s not something you need to worry about.

Some SEO tools flag this as an issue and say like Oh you don’t have any H1 tag or you have two H1 tags… from our point of view that’s not a critical issue.”

H1 Headings Useful for Usability

Mueller’s on a roll in this answer when he begins talking about heading tags in the context of usability.

I have found that, particularly for mobile, heading tags help make a web page easier to read. Properly planned headings help communicate what a web page is about to a user and visually helps break up a daunting page of text, making it easier to read.

Here’s what Mueller said:

“From a usability point of view maybe it makes sense to improve that. So it’s not that I would completely ignore those suggestions but I wouldn’t see it as a critical issue.”

Takeaways about Heading Tags

  1.  Use as many H1 heading elements as you like
  2. They are useful for communicating page structure to users and Google
  3. Heading elements are useful for usability

Updated: About Mueller’s Response

I read some feedback on Facebook that was critical of Mueller’s response. Some felt that he should have addressed more than just H1.

I believe that Mueller’s response should be seen in the context of the question that was asked. He was asked a narrow question about the H1 element and he answered it.

Technically, Mueller’s answer is correct. He answered the question that was put to him.  So I think  John should be given the benefit of that consideration.

However, I understand why some may say he should have addressed the underlying reason for the question. The person asking the question likely does not understand the proper use of heading elements.

If the person knew the basics of the use of heading elements, they wouldn’t have asked if it’s okay to drop H1 elements all over a web page. So that may have needed to be addressed.

Again, not criticizing Mueller, the context of his answer was focused on H1 elements.

The Proper Use of Heading Elements

I would add that the proper use of all the heading elements from (for example) H1 to H4 is useful. Nesting article sub-topics by using H2, H3 and sometimes H4 can be useful for making it clearer what a page is about.

The benefits of properly using H1 through H4 (your choice!) in the proper way will help communicate what the page is about which is good for bots and humans and will increase usability because it’s easier to read on mobile.

 

One way to do it is to use H1 for the main topic of the page then every subtopic of that main topic can be wrapped in an H2 heading element. That’s what I did on this article.

Should one of the subtopics itself diverge into a subtopic of itself, then I would use an H3.
Screenshot 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heading Elements and Accessibility

The heading elements also play an important role with making a web page accessible to site visitors who use assistive devices to access web content.

ADA Compliance consultant, Kim Krause Berg, offered these insights from the point of view of accessibility:

We use one H1 tag at the top to indicate the start of the content for assistive devices and organize the remainder from(H2-H6)similarly to how an outline would appear.

 The hierarchy of content is important for screen readers because it indicates the relationship of the content to the other parts of content.
Content under headings should relate to the heading. A bad sequence would be starting out with an(H3, then H1) 

Heading Elements are More than a Place for Keywords

Keyword dumping the heading tags can mask the irrelevance of content. When you stop thinking of heading tags as places to dump your keywords and start using them as headings that communicate what that section of the page is about, you’ll begin seeing what your page is really about. If you don’t like what you see you can rewrite it.

If in doubt, run your URL through the W3C HTML Validator to see how your outline looks!

Watch the Webmaster Hangout here:
https://youtu.be/rwpwq8Ynf7s?t=1427

[Source: This article was published in searchenginejournal.com By Roger Montti - Uploaded by the Association Member: Robert Hensonw]

Categorized in Search Engine

A Boolean search, in the context of a search engine, is a type of search where you can use special words or symbols to limit, widen, or define your search.

This is possible through Boolean operators such as ANDORNOT, and NEAR, as well as the symbols + (add) and - (subtract).

 

When you include an operator in a Boolean search, you're either introducing flexibility to get a wider range of results, or you're defining limitations to reduce the number of unrelated results.

Most popular search engines support Boolean operators, but the simple search tool you'll find on a website probably doesn't.

Boolean Meaning

George Boole, an English mathematician from the 19th century, developed an algebraic method that he first described in his 1847 book, The Mathematical Analysis of Logic and expounded upon in his An Investigation of the Laws of Thought (1854).

Boolean algebra is fundamental to modern computing, and all major programming languages include it. It also figures heavily in statistical methods and set theory.

Today's database searches are largely based on Boolean logic, which allows us to specify parameters in detail—for example, combining terms to include while excluding others. Given that the internet is akin to a vast collection of information databases, Boolean concepts apply here as well.

Boolean Search Operators

For the purposes of a Boolean web search, these are the terms and symbols you need to know:

Boolean Operator Symbol Explanation Example
AND + All words must be present in the results football AND nfl
OR Results can include any of the words paleo OR primal
NOT - Results include everything but the term that follows the operator  diet NOT vegan
NEAR The search terms must appear within a certain number of words of each other swedish NEAR minister

Note: Most search engines default to using the OR Boolean operator, meaning that you can type a bunch of words and it will search for any of them, but not necessarily all of them.

Tips: Not all search engines support these Boolean operators. For example, Google understands - but doesn't support NOT. Learn more about Boolean searches on Google for help.

Why Boolean Searches Are Helpful

When you perform a regular search, such as dog if you're looking for pictures of dogs, you'll get a massive number of results. A Boolean search would be beneficial here if you're looking for a specific dog breed or if you're not interested in seeing pictures for a specific type of dog.

Instead of just sifting through all the dog pictures, you could use the NOT operator to exclude pictures of poodles or boxers.

A Boolean search is particularly helpful after running an initial search. For instance, if you run a search that returns lots of results that pertain to the words you entered but don't actually reflect what you were looking for, you can start introducing Boolean operators to remove some of those results and explicitly add specific words.

To return to the dog example, consider this: you see lots of random dog pictures, so you add +park to see dogs in parks. But then you want to remove the results that have water, so you add -water. Immediately, you've cut down likely millions of results.

More Boolean Search Examples

Below are some more examples of Boolean operators. Remember that you can combine them and utilize other advanced search options such as quotes to define phrases.

AND

free AND games

Helps find free games by including both words.

"video chat app" iOS AND Windows

Searches for video chat apps that can run on both Windows and iOS devices.

OR

"open houses" saturday OR sunday

Locate open houses that are open either day.

"best web browser" macOS OR Mac

If you're not sure how the article might be worded, you can try a search like this to cover both words.

NOT

2019 movies -horror

Finds movies mentioning 2019, but excludes all pages that have the word horror.

"paleo recipes" -sugar

Locates web pages about paleo recipes but ensures that none of them include the word sugar.

Note: Boolean operators need to be in all uppercase letters for the search engine to understand them as an operator and not a regular word.

[Source: This article was published in lifewire.com By Tim Fisher - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jason bourne] 

Categorized in Research Methods

The Internet has made researching subjects deceptively effortless for students -- or so it may seem to them at first. Truth is, students who haven't been taught the skills to conduct good research will invariably come up short.

That's part of the argument made by Wheaton College Professor Alan Jacobs in The Atlantic, who says the ease of search and user interface of fee-based databases have failed to keep up with those of free search engines. In combination with the well-documented gaps in students’ search skills, he suggests that this creates a perfect storm for the abandonment of scholarly databases in favor of search engines. He concludes: “Maybe our greater emphasis shouldn’t be on training users to work with bad search tools, but to improve the search tools.”

 

His article is responding to a larger, ongoing conversation about whether the ubiquity of Web search is good or bad for serious research. The false dichotomy short-circuits the real question: “What do students really need to know about an online search to do it well?” As long as we’re not talking about this question, we’re essentially ignoring the subtleties of Web search rather than teaching students how to do it expertly. So it’s not surprising that they don’t know how to come up with quality results. Regardless of the vehicle--fee databases or free search engines--we owe it to our students to teach them to search well.

So what are the hallmarks of a good online search education?

SKILL-BUILDING CURRICULUM. Search competency is a form of literacy, like learning a language or subject. Like any literacy, it requires having discrete skills as well as accumulating experience in how and when to use them. But this kind of intuition can't be taught in a day or even in a unit – it has to be built up through exercise and with the guidance of instructors while students take on research challenges. For example, during one search session, teachers can ask students to reflect on why they chose to click on one link over another. Another time, when using the Web together as a class, teachers can demonstrate how to look for a definition of an unfamiliar word. Thinking aloud when you search helps, as well.

A THOROUGH, MULTI-STEP APPROACH. Research is not a one-step process. It has distinct phases, each with its own requirements. The first stage is inquiry, the free exploration of a broad topic to discover an interesting avenue for further research, based on the student's curiosity. Web search, with its rich cross-linking and the simplicity of renewing a search with a single click, is ideally suited to this first open-ended stage. When students move on to a literature review, they seek the key points of authority on their topic, and pursue and identify the range of theories and perspectives on their subject. Bibliographies, blog posts, and various traditional and new sources help here. Finally, with evidence-gathering, students look for both primary- and secondary-source materials that build the evidence for new conclusions. The Web actually makes access to many --

but not all -- types of primary sources substantially easier than it's been in the past, and knowing which are available online and which must be sought in other collections is critical to students’ success. For example, a high school student studying Mohandas Gandhi may do background reading in Wikipedia and discover that Gandhi's worldview was influenced by Leo Tolstoy; use scholarly secondary sources to identify key analyses of their acquaintance, and then delve into online or print books to read their actual correspondence to draw an independent conclusion. At each step of the way, what the Web has to offer changes subtly.

TOOLS FOR UNDERSTANDING SOURCES. Some educators take on this difficult topic, but it's often framed as a simple black-and-white approach: “These types of sources are good. These types of sources are bad.” Such lessons often reject newer formats, such as blogs and wikis, and privilege older formats, such as books and newspaper articles. In truth, there are good and bad specimens of each, and each has its appropriate uses. What students need to be competent at is identifying the kind of source they're finding, decoding what types of evidence it can appropriately provide, and making an educated choice about whether it matches their task.

DEVELOPING THE SKILLS TO PREDICT, ASSESS, PROBLEM-SOLVE, AND ITERATE. It's important for students to ask themselves early on in their search, “When I type in these words, what do I expect to see in my results?” and then evaluate whether the results that appear match those expectations. Identifying problems or patterns in results is one of the most important skills educators can help students develop, along with evaluating credibility. When students understand that doing research requires more than a single search and a single result, they learn to leverage the information they find to construct tighter or deeper searches. Say a student learns that workers coming from other countries may send some of their earnings back to family members. An empowered searcher may look for information on [immigrants send money home], and notice that the term remittances appears in many results. An unskilled searcher would skip over words he doesn't recognize know, but the educated student can confirm the definition of remittance, then do another search, [remittances immigrants], which brings back more scholarly results.

TECHNICAL SKILLS FOR ADVANCED SEARCH. Knowing what tools and filters are available and how they work allows students to find what they seek, such as searching by colordomainfiletype, or date. Innovations in technology also provide opportunities to visualize data in new ways. But most fundamentally, good researchers remember that it takes a variety of sources to carry out scholarly research. They have the technical skills to access Web pages, but also books, journal articles, and people as they move through their research process.

Centuries ago, the teacher Socrates famously argued against the idea that the written word could be used to transmit knowledge. This has been disproved over the years, as authors have developed conventions for communicating through the written word and educators have effectively taught students to extract that knowledge and make it their own. To prepare our students for the future, it's time for another such transition in the way we educate. When we don’t teach students how to manage their online research effectively, we create a self-perpetuating cycle of poor-quality results. To break that cycle, educators can engage students in an ongoing conversation about how to carry out excellent research online. In the long term, students with stronger critical thinking skills will be more effective at school, and in their lives.

[Source: This article was published in kqed.org By Tasha Bergson-Michelson - Uploaded by the Association Member: Patrick Moore]

Categorized in Search Engine

[This article is originally published in searchenginejournal.com written by Matt Southern - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Barbara larson]

Google’s John Mueller advises site owners to provide supporting content when publishing a web page with a video on it.

In other words, do not just embed a video on a page and add a title and leave it at that.

A video shouldn’t be used as a primary piece of content. Rather, a video should be used in a way that supports the primary written content.

This advice was given during the Google Webmaster Central hangout on March 5th when a question was asked about using Google’s videos on a web site.

Mueller briefly addressed the main question before providing some tips on how video should be used from a web search point of view.

Video should support the main content, not replace it

As far as web search is concerned, it’s difficult for Google to figure out what to do with a web page that only has a video on it.

It’s hard to determine what is useful about the video and why the page it’s on should be shown in search results.

Mueller recommends building content around the video, such as a transcription of the video, and adding some comments about the video.

Sounds similar to what I’m doing right now actually.

You’ll see there’s a video in this article followed by a transcription, and up to this point, I’ve more or less been commenting on the transcription.

So the video is not the main content, but it’s a useful addition to the main content.

Posting video in this way is more valuable from Google’s perspective, and more valuable to visitors as well.

Hear the full question and answer below, starting at the 45:46 mark:

“I think, in general, I would be cautious about using just a video as a primary piece of content on a web page. You should work to use the video in a way that supports your primary content, but not that it replaces your primary content.

So, for example, I wouldn’t take any of these videos and just put them on a blog post, and add a title to them, and expect them to show up highly in search.

But if you have specific content around that video. If you have a transcription of that video, and you add some comments to that transcription to the content that is shown with the video. Where you’re using that video as kind of a point of reference with regards to your content. Then I think that’s a perfectly fine approach.

But just purely using a video on a page is something that, at least from a web search point of view, makes it really hard for us to determine what is actually useful on this page, and why should we show it in the search results.”

Categorized in News & Politics

[This article is originally published in fastcompany.com written by JR RAPHAEL - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Grace Irwin]

Give your internet experience a jolt of fresh energy with these easily overlooked features, options, and shortcuts for Google’s browser.

These days, a browser is more than just a basic navigator for the web. It’s effectively a second desktop—a gateway to countless apps, sites, and services. And optimizing that environment can go a long way in increasing your efficiency.

Google’s Chrome, in particular, is full of hidden shortcuts, features, and power-user possibilities. Take the time to learn these tips, and watch your productivity soar.

(Note that most of the tips here are specific to the desktop versions of Chrome for Windows PCs and Macs and may not apply to the browser’s mobile variants.)

LEARN SOME HANDY HIDDEN SHORTCUTS

1. Want to open a link into a new tab in the background, so it won’t interrupt what you’re doing? Hold down Ctrl- or Cmd- and click it. To open a link in a whole new window, meanwhile, use Shift instead. (This’ll work within most areas of Chrome, by the way—including the History page and the dropdown history list within the Back button, which we’ll get to in a bit.)

2. You probably know you can press the space bar to scroll down a full page-length, but there’s another side to that shortcut: If you press Shift and the space bar together, Chrome will do the opposite and scroll up by a full page-length at a time.

3. If you ever close a tab by mistake, hit Ctrl- or Cmd-Shift-T. Chrome will reopen your most recently closed tab as if nothing had ever happened. (And you can do it multiple times, too, if there’s more than one tab you’d like to recover.)

4. When you have a bunch of tabs open and want to hang onto the entire session for later, hit Ctrl-Shift-D. That’ll let you save all your open tabs into a folder for easy future access. To restore them, right-click the folder within your bookmarks and select “Open all” or “Open all in a new window.”

save all your open tabs into a folder for easy future access

5. Skip a step and get info about any word or phrase in a page by highlighting it and then right-clicking and selecting the “Search Google” option. You can also highlight a word or phrase and drag it into Chrome’s address bar to achieve the same result—or drag it into the area directly to the right of your final tab to launch the search in a new tab instead of your current one. (Bonus tip: Those same dragging behaviors can also be used to open links.)

6. Save a link with a single click: Just click, hold down your mouse button, and drag the link up into Chrome’s bookmarks bar. Drop it wherever you want, and it’ll be there the next time you need it.

7. If you download a file and then want to move it somewhere specific, click on its tile in the download bar that appears at the bottom of the browser. You can then drag and drop whatever you downloaded directly onto your desktop or into any folder.

8. You can also drag and drop files from Chrome’s download bar directly into an online service—like Google Drive, for instant uploading, or Gmail, for inserting the file as an attachment in a new message.

9. Should you ever find Chrome mysteriously misbehaving, remember this command: chrome://restart. Type it into Chrome’s address bar, and your browser will restart itself and restore all your tabs and windowsin a jiffy. You never know when it might come in handy.

TEACH YOUR BROWSER SOME NEW TRICKS

10. With 60 seconds of setup, you can give Chrome its own quick-access scratchpad that’ll let you jot down thoughts right within the browser—no extensions required. All you have to do is paste a snippet of code into Chrome’s address bar. Click here or on the image below to view and copy the necessary code.

jot down thoughts right within the browser

…and then save the page to your bookmarks bar for easy access. The scratchpad supports text formatting (Ctrl- or Cmd-B for bold, Ctrl- or Cmd-I for italics, and Ctrl- or Cmd-U for underlining) and even has a built-in spell check feature. Just open it and start typing—and if you want to save your thoughts for later retrieval, hit Ctrl- or Cmd-S.

The scratchpad supports text formatting

11. Chrome’s custom search engine feature has tons of untapped productivity potential. First, you can use it to create simple shortcuts to pages you visit often—anything from favorite websites to internal Chrome pages or even the scratchpad described in the previous tip. Just open up Chrome’s settings, click the line labeled “Manage search engines,” then click the “Add” command next to the “Other search engines” heading. Type the name of the page in the “Search engine” field, the shortcut you want for it in the “Keyword” field, and the page’s full URL in the “URL” field.

For instance, if you want to be able to pull up Chrome’s settings simply by typing “cs” into your address bar, you could use “Chrome Settings” as the search engine name, “cs” as the keyword, and chrome://settings as the URL. To get to your new scratchpad quickly, you could use “Scratchpad” as the search engine name, “s” as the keyword, and the full string of code from above as the URL.

12. You can also use Chrome’s custom search engines feature to create shortcuts for searching any sites you want. The trick is to first find the full URL of the site’s own search system—so if you wanted to do it for Fast Company, you’d go to fastcompany.com, click the search icon in the upper-right corner of the screen, then search for a word like “test.” The site will take you 

With that knowledge in tow, head back to Chrome’s “Manage search engines” section and click the “Add” command. This time, type “Fast Company” in as the search engine name, “fastcompany.com” as the keyword, and ”—with “%s” taking the place of the actual query—as the URL.

create shortcuts for searching any sites you want

The next time you start typing “fastcompany.com” into Chrome’s address bar, you’ll see instructions telling you to press Tab to search the site. Set up similar systems for shopping sites, Wikipedia, dictionaries and thesauruses, travel sites, or anything else you search semi-regularly, and you’ll save valuable time by skipping steps and jumping straight to the info you need.

13. Want to be able to search your email directly from Chrome’s address bar? Create a new custom search engine with the name Gmail, whatever keyword you want (either “gmail.com” or some shortened command), and “https://mail.google.com/mail/ca/u/0/#search/%s” as the URL.

14. Search Google Drive from the address bar by creating a custom search engine with “https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/search?q=%s” as the URL.

15. Speaking of Google Drive, if you move between multiple devices during the day (and at this point, who doesn’t?), make your life a little easier by telling Chrome to save anything you download to a cloud-based folder. That way, you’ll be able to find important files from your desktop, laptop, smartphone, or any other device—regardless of where the download was actually performed.

First, you’ll have to install the desktop syncing program for your cloud storage service of choice. Most services, including Google DriveDropbox, and OneDrive, offer such utilities for all the common operating systems. Once you set up the program, you’ll have a folder on your local hard drive that’s always synced to a folder in your cloud storage.

Now, head into Chrome’s settings, click “Advanced,” and scroll down to the section labeled “Downloads.” Click the “Change” command and find or create an appropriate subfolder within your cloud-synced folder. Once you’ve followed those steps on any desktop computers you want connected, anything you download will be available everywhere you work—and always accessible via the cloud service’s mobile apps as well.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HIDDEN POWER TOOLS

16. Quiet annoying sites once and for all by right-clicking their tabs (where the title is displayed) and selecting “Mute site.” This recently added option will prevent the site from playing any audio on your computer anytime you visit it.

17. Prefer to avoid leaving a trail as you navigate the web? Open Chrome’s settings, click “Advanced,” and then turn on the toggle next to “Send a ‘Do Not Track’ request with your browsing traffic,” located within the “Privacy and security” section.

18. For additional privacy, take advantage of Chrome’s out-of-the-way option to create multiple user profiles and allow guest access to your browser. That’ll let someone else use Chrome on your computer without gaining access to all of your personal data (and without gunking up your history with whatever sites they visit). Look for the line labeled “Manage other people” in Chrome’s settings to get started.

19. Chrome’s History page—accessible by hitting Ctrl- or Cmd-H or by typing chrome://history into your address bar—has a powerful yet easily overlooked feature: an always-synced list of tabs you have open in Chrome on other devices. Surf over there anytime you want to find what you were last viewing on your phone, your tablet, or another computer.

20. The Back button in Chrome’s upper-left corner does more than you might think. Click it and hold your mouse’s button down, and you’ll get a pop-up history of recent pages viewed within your current tab

a pop up history of recent pages viewed within your current tab

21. Chrome can strip all formatting from copied text as you paste it—eliminating links, fonts, colors, and anything else you might not want to carry over. Once you’ve copied some text, hit Ctrl- or Cmd-Shift-V to give it a whirl.

22. Trying to look at a website that’s down—or need to step back in time and see how a particular page looked a while ago? Type cache:website.com into Chrome’s address bar, replacing website.com with whatever URL you want.

23. Let Chrome act as your file explorer: Drag and drop any image, video, or audio file into the browser to open it right then and there—and on Windows, try typing C:\ into Chrome’s address bar to browse your hard drive’s contents.

ENHANCE YOUR ENVIRONMENT AND ELIMINATE ANNOYANCES

24. Sick of getting those pop-ups asking if some site can send notifications through your browser? Turn off site notifications entirely by opening Chrome’s settings, clicking “Advanced,” then clicking the line labeled “Content settings.” Next, find and click the line for “Notifications” and turn the toggle at the top of the page off.

25. The next time you come across a text form on a website, give yourself a little space to think: Look for the two diagonal lines in the box’s lower-right corner. Click that area and drag downward, and ta-da: You can resize the text box to make it as large as you’d like.

resize the text box to make it as large as youd likeJPG

26. Chrome extensions can be incredibly useful, but they can also create a lot of clutter in your browser’s upper-right corner. Hide the extension icons you don’t need to see by right-clicking them and selecting “Hide in Chrome menu” from the options that appear. You can also just hover your mouse over the far right side of the address bar until you see a double-sided arrow appear and then drag the address bar toward the right to extend it and hide multiple extension icons at once.

And if you ever need to get to an out-of-sight extension icon, just open the main Chrome menu (the three-dot icon to the right of the extensions). You’ll see all of the icons there.

27. While we’re talking about extensions, did you know you can create custom keyboard shortcuts for opening extensions on demand?Some extensions even allow you to create shortcuts for specific commands. Type chrome://extensions/shortcuts into your browser’s address bar to set up your own.

Categorized in Search Engine

[This article is originally published in 9to5google.com written by Abner Li - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Dorothy Allen]

Since the European Union Copyright Directive was introduced last year, Google and YouTube have been lobbying against it by enlisting creators and users. Ahead of finalized language for Article 11 and 13 this month, Google Search is testing possible responses to the “link tax.”

Article 11 requires search engines and online news aggregators — like Google Search and News, respectively — to pay licensing fees when displaying article snippets or summaries. The end goal is for online tech giants to sign commercial licenses to help publishers adapt online and provide a source of revenue.

Google discussed possible ramifications in December if Article 11 was not altered. Google News could be shut down in Europe, while fewer news articles would appear in Search results. This could be a determinate to news sites, especially smaller ones, that rely on Search to get traffic.

The company is already testing the impact of Article 11 on Search. Screenshots from Search Engine Land show a “latest news” query completely devoid of context. The Top Stories carousel would not feature images or headlines, while the 10 blue links would not include any summary or description when linking to news sites. What’s left is the name of the domain and the URL for users to click on.

 

This A/B test is possibly already live for users in continental Europe. Most of the stories in the top carousel lack cover images, while others just use generic graphics. Additionally, links from European publications lack any description, just the full, un-abbreviated page title, and domain.

Google told Search Engine Land that it is currently conducting experiments “to understand what the impact of the proposed EU Copyright Directive would be to our users and publisher partners.” This particular outcome might occur if Google does not sign any licensing agreements with publishers.

Meanwhile, if licenses are signed, Google would be “in the position of picking winners and losers” by having to select what deals it wants to make. Presumably, the company would select the most popular at the expense of smaller sites. In December, the company’s head of news pointed out that “it’s unlikely any business will be able to license every single news publisher.”

Effectively, companies like Google will be put in the position of picking winners and losers. Online services, some of which generate no revenue (for instance, Google News) would have to make choices about which publishers they’d do deals with. Presently, more than 80,000 news publishers around the world can show up in Google News, but Article 11 would sharply reduce that number. And this is not just about Google, it’s unlikely any business will be able to license every single news publisher in the European Union, especially given the very broad definition being proposed.

Google will make a decision on its products and approach after the final language of the Copyright Directive is released.

Dylan contributed to this article

Categorized in Search Engine
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