[This article is originally published in popsci.com written by David Nield - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Joshua Simon]

BROWSING HISTORY

Many sites keep tabs on your past searches.

rawpixel via Pixabay

Every time you run a search online, the websites where you maintain an account can record that information. This data—collected and stored by search engines like Google, social media networks like Facebook, and retail giants like Amazon—won't disappear when you erase your browser's search history.

Ostensibly, these sites use your search history to assemble a profile of you, allowing them to show you content or products that will appeal to your interests. Conveniently for these tech companies, better understanding your preferences also lets them serve you targeted advertisements. On the bright side, a service can only collect this information while you're logged into your account for that site. Still, if you're uncomfortable with this record of your past searches, or you don't want them to influence your future browsing (maybe you've run a lot of queries for camping accessories but no longer want to see ads for related products), you can scrub them from existence.

To do so, you'll have to go through your accounts one by one. Here's how to purge your search history on some of the biggest and most popular search engines, social media networks, and retail websites.

Google

When you search for something in one of Google's services—which include email, mapping, calendars, messaging, file storage, video, and more—the service logs all of that information. Your search history helps the tech company tailor your search results. For example, if you rarely look up sports-related terms, a new search for "dolphins" is more likely to relate to the aquatic mammals rather than Miami's NFL team. Your data also tells Google which ads are more likely to get you to click.

To erase this information, head to Google's My Account page and log in. Among the many options, you'll find pages on account privacy, data logging, and security. Click Go to my activity followed by Filter by date & product. Here, you can view your search history, which appears on a separate page for each Google product. For example, one page lets you view your search engine history, another displays YouTube searches, and you can even check out your spoken Google Home queries.

Pick one of these categories—we recommend that you start with the main Google search engine, accessed by choosing Search. Next, highlight the results you'd like to erase and click the menu button (three dots) to the top right of the list. Finally, hit Delete results. When a confirmation screen pops up, click Delete again, and Google will erase the information you've highlighted. To delete individual entries, look for the smaller menu buttons next to each item on the list. From this menu, you can delete an entry directly.

Bing

Not everyone relies on Google to search the web. If you use Microsoft's Bing search engine instead, you can still clear your history.

First, head to the website and click Sign in. Then click the menu button (three horizontal lines) on the top right, followed by Search history and then View and delete search history. This will take you to a new privacy page on the Microsoft website. Click View and clear search historyClear activity, and then Clear. If you'd rather remove entries from the list one by one, click on any individual Delete button.

This page also lets Microsoft Edge users delete their web browser history. Microsoft stores your browsing history online, as well as within the Edge application on your computer, to make it easier to sync your activity across multiple devices. To erase this information as well, go back to the main menu, select Browse from the list on the left, and then hit Clear activity followed by Clear.

Facebook

While you're poking around Facebook, you may search for a page that interests you, a friend's name, or an event. To view all of your recent queries, open the Facebook website and click on the search box at the top of the page. If you'd like to erase these searches, click the Edit button to the right of the results.

This will bring up a screen that shows a complete log of everything you've ever looked up on Facebook. To remove one entry, click the Edit icon (the no-entry symbol) on the right of the entry, then choose Delete and confirm by hitting Remove search.

To blitz everything in your Facebook search history at once, click Clear Searches on the top right. Then confirm by choosing Clear Searches again on the pop-up window that appears. This will erase all your past queries from Facebook's servers.

Twitter

Like Facebook, Twitter records your recent searches so you can easily access them again. It also lets you delete them.

Visit the Twitter website and click the Search Twitter box at the top of the page. This will pull up your most recent queries, as well as your saved searches—keywords you've told Twitter to save in case you want to run them multiple times. To save a current search, click the three vertical dots to its right and hit Save this search.

However, if you'd prefer to clear your searches, the process is easy. Simply click the Xbutton to the right of any recent or saved search to remove it from the list, no confirmation screen needed. To erase all recent searches in one go, click Clear All. However, this only deletes your recently-run searches—your saved searches will remain untouched.

Amazon

Unlike the other sites on this list, Amazon doesn't keep a log of your search terms—at least, not one you can scroll through and examine. Instead, it records every item you look at on the site. This record influences your recommendations, as well as the ads that appear.

To see everything you've clicked on the site, head to the Amazon website, look at the toolbar at the top of the page, and click Browsing History followed by Your Browsing History. The results will appear in reverse chronological order, from the most recent to the oldest.

Now, to erase them. Click Remove next to any item to, well, remove it. This can help you get rid of one-off purchases that you don't want to receive any more ads about. You can also go nuclear and clear everything at once: Click Manage history followed by Remove all items. When the confirmation screen appears, choose to Remove all items again.

If you'd prefer to have Amazon stop tracking your browsing history, look under the Manage history heading. Then turn off the toggle switch.

Categorized in Search Techniques

In this day and age, it’s pretty clear that a website is one of the most, if not the most, important parts of your digital presence. A lot of times, it can be the first and only touchpoint you get to impress your potential customers. So how come so many websites still load funky on mobile devices or completely ignore the rules of aesthetics?

What can you do to not be that person with a weird, flash website?

It’s best to enlist the help of a professional designer. Yet, if you feel brave enough to conquer the laws of design, remember these rules.

1. Make it fast.

A modern website needs to be designed for the modern browsers. Not only does a cleaner site create a better user experience, it also improves its functionality. One of the most important things to constantly monitor is the speed of your site. Did you know that 40 percent of people abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load?

It’s hard to resist installing all the coolest software, and making some money displaying ads, but these things slow down your site. Your site speed might really suffer, and you'll lose your readers along with it.

2. Make it responsive.

I don’t need to tell you that a lot of site traffic will come from mobile devices. If your website is still not responsive, you have to take care of that right now. It is a horrible experience when a website takes too long to load, the text appears way too small to read, and your fingers are too fat to click on one thing instead of three. Guess what? People won’t tolerate this. They will simply leave your site.

Additionally, Google now penalizes sitews that are not mobile-friendly. Forty-eight percent of consumers start mobile research with a search engine. So you’re losing out on potential sales in more ways than one.

3. Make it stylish.

Be clear on what mood and impression you want to project, and what color palette will help you achieve that. Select a palette, and stick with it. It makes people think you have bipolar disorder, when different pages have inconsistent background colors. It’s generally a good idea to have one neutral color and one bright color to balance the two.

4. Make it legible.

Select a font that will complement your overall imagery and that will be easy to read. Please don’t use Comic Sans or Times New Roman. While there is nothing wrong with those fonts, they don’t convey an image of a polished, well-defined brand.

5. Make it easy on the eyes.

Just because you’ve got so much space on a screen, doesn’t mean you have to use it all. Nicely space out text and images, and employ the power of white space. It makes reading easier and creates an overall pleasurable experience; whereas websites that are too crowded create a sense of information being crammed onto website and pushed onto readers.

6. Make it easy to navigate.

Your navigation should be as minimal as possible. You neither want, nor need every single page to be represented under the navigation tree. Instead, it might be a clever idea to have a general page underneath each option that further directs traffic with various links or buttons.

If you can’t decide among all the pages you have, you can gain a great insight into how your traffic flows through your site by visiting Google Analytics and selecting behavior.

7. Make it clear.

When people visit your website for the first time, make sure you screen them out with a clear mission or even a slogan right up front. This way, only people, who are looking for the types of information you provide, will stick.

One way to see if you’re doing a good job at attracting the right kinds of readers is to look at entry rates, exit rates and bounce rates for individual pages.

If a page has a high number of entries, but 80 percent of that traffic is bouncing, there is clearly an issue with the page.

8. Make it focused.

It’s ok to have varied interests and be knowledgeable in more than one topic.

Yet, you have to narrow in on a couple of topics or less. You may select wider topics such as “digital marketing” instead of “social media marketing.” But it goes back to being useful to a very specific group of people. Drive that focus and usefulness home before taking on any more topics.

9. Make it valuable.

Provide value all the time. Provide value with your blog, your online sales and your copy that not only sells but educates. Make visitors want to stay on your website for as long as possible.

Remember, your company’s website is your first and last chance to impress website visitors. Make sure it’s a pleasant experience - with clean copy, a well-defined objective and a relaxing experience.

Source : https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/281485

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