fbpx

Overview | Do Internet search engines point us to the information that we need or confuse us with irrelevant or questionable information? How can Internet users improve their searches to find reliable information? What are some ways to perform effective searches? In this lesson, students conduct Web searches on open-ended questions and draw on their experiences to develop guides to searching effectively and finding reliable information online.

Materials | Computers with Internet access

Warm-Up | Invite students to share anecdotes about times when they used an Internet search engine to look for information and found something they were not expecting, or when they could not find what they were looking for.

After several students have shared, ask for a show of hands of students who have experienced frustration using an Internet search engine. Then ask: How often do you use search engines? Which ones do you use most? Why? What are the most common problems you face when searching? Do you consider yourself a skilled searcher? Do you have any search strategies? Do you search the Internet more for personal reasons and entertainment, or more for school? Do you believe that improving your Internet searching skills will benefit you academically? Socially? Personally?

Give students the following search assignment, from The New York Times article “Helping Children Find What They Need on the Internet”: “Which day [will] the vice president’s birthday falls on the next year?” (Alternatively, give students a multistep question that relates to your subject matter. For example, a geography teacher might ask “How many miles away is Shanghai?”) Tell students to type this question into Google, Bing or any other favorite search engine, and have them share the top results in real-time. Did the answer appear? If not, what’s the next step to take to get this question answered?

Ask: What information do you need to be able to answer the question? Ideas might include the name of the vice president, the date of his birthday, and a copy of next year’s calendar. Have them try to find this information and keep working until they can answer the question. (You may want to add a competitive component to this activity, rewarding the student who finds out the right answer the fastest.)

When one or more students have found the answer, have one student take the class through the steps he or she took to find the answer; if possible, do this on a screen so that everyone can watch. Along the way, ask probing questions. What keywords did you type into the search engine? Why did you choose these words? Which results did you click on? Why did you choose those sources over the others on the page? How many steps did it take? Are you sure the sources are reliable and that the answers are correct? How can you tell? How would you verify the information? If time permits, play around by using different keywords and clicking on different results, to see how the search for the answer to the question changes.

To end this activity, ask: What did you notice about the search to find the answer to this question? Did this exercise give help you understand something new about Internet searching? If so, what?

When considering children, search engines had long focused on filtering out explicit material from results. But now, because increasing numbers of children are using search as a starting point for homework, exploration or entertainment, more engineers are looking to children for guidance on how to improve their tools.

Search engines are typically developed to be easy for everyone to use. Google, for example, uses the Arial typeface because it considers it more legible than other typefaces. But advocates for children and researchers say that more can be done technologically to make it easier for young people to retrieve information. What is at stake, they say, are the means to succeed in a new digital age.

Read the article with your class, using the questions below.

Questions | For discussion and reading comprehension:

  1. What problems does the article mention that children run into when they use search engines?
  2. What suggestions have been offered for how search engines can improve their product to lessen children’s problems searching?
  3. Do you search using keywords or questions? How does the article characterize these two types of searching?
  4. Have you tried using images or videos to search? How does the article characterize this type of searching?
  5. What advice would you give to Internet search engine developers for how they should improve their product? Do you think any of the improvements mentioned in the article are particularly promising? Why?

Activity | Before class, ask teachers of several different subjects for questions that they have asked or will ask students to research on the Internet. Alternatively, collect from students their own research questions – for another class or for a personal project, like I-Search. Be sure that the questions are sufficiently open-ended so that they cannot be answered definitively with a quick, simple search – they might contain an element of opinion or interpretation, rather than just be a matter of simple fact.

Put the class into pairs, and provide each pair with the following multipart task:

  • Seek to answer your assigned question by conducting an Internet search.
  • You must use different search engines and strategies, and keep track of how the search “goes” using the various resources and methods.
  • Once you find an answer that you are confident in, do another search to verify the information.
  • When you are finished, evaluate the reliability of all of the Internet resources that you used.
  • Prepare to tell the story of your search, including what worked and what didn’t, anything surprising that happened, things that would be good for other searchers to know, “lessons learned,” etc.

Provide pairs with the following resources to research their assigned topics. Let them know that these are starting points and that they may use additional resources.

Search Engines, Metasearch Engines, and Subject Directories:

Choosing Effective Search Words:

Evaluating Source Reliability:

When pairs have completed their research, bring the class together and invite pairs to share their stories. Then tell them that they will use their notes to create a page for a class guide, in booklet or wiki form, on how to use Internet search engines effectively for research, to be made available to the school community to help other students. As much as possible, the tips and guidance in the guide should be illustrated with the students’ stories and examples.

Tell students that their booklet/wiki entries should or might include the following, among other types of guidance and insight:

  • Ways and examples of using keywords and Boolean logic effectively.
  • Ineffective examples of keyword searches that result in too much, too little or useless information.
  • Examples of how to sequence searches and why.
  • Sites they find that answer their question and how they can tell whether these pages are reliable.
  • Any information they found that was questionable or incorrect, where they found it, and how they discovered that it was wrong.
  • Why it is important to scroll past the top result to pages listed farther down the page or on a later page in order to find complete answers to the question.
  • How using different search engines yielded different results.

In addition to the handbook or wiki, you might also have students make their own videos, à la the Google ad “Parisian Love,” chronicling their search.

Going Further | Students read the New York Times Magazine article “The Google Alphabet,” by Virginia Heffernan, who writes the column “The Medium,” and keep a tally of the number of advertisements and commercial sites that they see while doing schoolwork on the Internet for one or two days.

Then hold a class discussion on advertising and commercial interests on the Internet. If students are using the Internet to complete their homework, are schools requiring students to expose themselves to corporate advertisements in order to succeed academically? Do any ethical questions arise around the prevalence of corporate advertising in Web searching for academic purposes?

Alternatively or additionally, students develop ideas for the search engines of the future, like ways to use and find images, audio and video, rank results and so on, and “pitch” their ideas to classmates acting as search engine developers.

And for fun, students might try to come up with “Googlewhacks.”

Standards | From McREL, for Grades 6-12:

Technology
2. Knows the characteristics and uses of computer software programs.
3. Understands the relationships among science, technology, society, and the individual.

Language Arts
1. Demonstrates competence in the general skills and strategies of the writing process.
4. Gathers and uses the information for research purposes.
7. Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts.

Life Work
2. Uses various information sources, including those of a technical nature, to accomplish specific tasks.

[Source: This article was published in nytimes.com By Sarah Kavanagh And Holly Epstein Ojalvo - Uploaded by the Association Member: Rene Meyer]

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was published in searchenginejournal.com By Matt Southern - Uploaded by the Association Member: Edna Thomas]

Google is giving site owners the ability to customize how their content is previewed in search results.

By default, Google has always generated search snippets according to the users’ queries and what types of devices they’re using.

However, there was previously no room for customization – it was only possible to allow a textual snippet or not allow one.

Now, Google is introducing multiple methods that allow for more fine-grained configuration of the preview content shown for web pages.

These methods include using robots meta tags as well as a brand new type of HTML attribute. Here’s more information about each of these methods.

Configuring Search Snippets With Robots Meta Tags

The content shown in search snippet previews can now be configured using robots meta tags.

The following robots meta tags can be added to an HTML page’s, or specified via the x-robots-tag HTTP header:

  • “nosnippet” – This is an existing option to specify that you don’t want any textual snippet shown for a page.
  • “max-snippet:[number]” (NEW) – Specify a maximum text-length, in characters, of a snippet for your page.
  • “max-video-preview:[number]” (NEW) – Specify a maximum duration in seconds of an animated video preview.
  • “max-image-preview:[setting]” (NEW) – Specify a maximum size of image preview to be shown for images on this page, using either “none”, “standard”, or “large”.

The above robots meta tags can also be combined, for example:

New data-nosnippet HTML attribute

Google is introducing an all-new way to limit which part of a page can be shown as a preview in search results.

The new “data-nosnippet” HTML attribute on span, div, and section elements can prevent specific parts of an HTML page from being shown within the textual snippet in search results.

In other words – if you want to prevent Google from giving away too much of your content in search results, this is the method you want to use.

Here’s an example:

Harry Houdini is undoubtedly the most famous magician ever to live.

In this example, if someone were searching for a query like “most famous magician,” the HTML attribute would prevent Google from giving away the answer (Harry Houdini) in search results.

What SEOs and Site Owners Need to Know

Here’s a rundown of need-to-know information regarding these changes.

No changes to search rankings
This update will only affect how snippets are displayed in search results. Google confirms these settings will have no impact on search rankings.

Depending on how a site owner chooses to configure these settings there may be an impact on CTR, which could then impact traffic. But that is not related to search rankings.

When do these changes come into effect?
Preview settings for robots meta tags will become effective in mid-to-late October 2019. It may take a week for the global rollout to be completed once it starts.

The data-nosnippet HTML attribute will be effective later this year. No specific timeframe was provided for that particular setting.

Will these new changes affect how rich results are displayed?
Content in structured data that is eligible for display as a rich result will not be affected by any of these new settings.

Site owners already have control over the content displayed in rich results by what they choose to include in the structured data itself.

How will these changes affect featured snippets?
Featured snippets depend on the availability of preview content. So if you limit the preview content too heavily it may no longer be eligible to be displayed as a featured snippet, although it could still be displayed as a regular snippet.

The minimum number of characters required for a featured snippet varies by language, which is why Google cannot provide an exact max-snippets length to ensure eligibility.

Can site owners experiment with snippet length?
Site owners can absolutely adjust these settings at any time. For example – if you specify a max-snippet length and later decide you’d rather display a longer snippet in search results, you can simply change the HTML attribute.

Google notes that these new methods of configuring search snippet previews will operate the same as other results displayed globally. If the settings are changed, then your new preferences will be displayed in search results the next time Google recrawls the page.

Google will 100% follow these settings
These new settings will not be treated as hints or suggestions. Google will fully abide by the site owners preferences as specified in the robots meta tags and/or HTML attribute.

No difference between desktop and mobile settings
Preview preferences will be applied to both mobile and desktop search results. If a site has separate mobile and desktop versions then the same markup should be used on both.

Some last notes

These options are available to site owners now, but the changes will not be reflected in search results until mid-to-late October at the earliest.

For more information, see Google’s developer documentation on meta tags.

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was published in bbc.co.uk - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jennifer Levin]

Google turns 21 on Friday 27 September. The popular search engine is used by people right across the world and it's become a really important part of the internet for many.

To mark the special day we've got 21 facts about the tech giant that you might not know, unless you've already googled them yourself, of course!

  • 1Perhaps unsurprisingly, Google is the world's most visited website - it's even one of the most-searched terms on Bing.
  • 2Google was started by two college students, named Larry Page and Sergey Brin. They wanted to create a website which would rank pages based on how many other pages linked back to them, a bit like a web.
  • 3The word Google comes from the term 'googol', which is the number one followed by a hundred zeroes. The creators chose it to reflect the huge amount of data they were searching through.
  • 4The first-ever 'google doodle' (when Google's homepage changes to mark an important event) was created in celebration of the 1998 Burning Man Festival. The founders wanted people to know why they were out of the office.
  • 5Some of Google's most memorable doodles have celebrated the discovery of water on the Moon and John Lennon's 70th birthday, which was the first-ever video doodle.
  • 6The first Google server was stored in a custom case made of Lego.
  • 8At the Googleplex, there is a giant statue of a T-Rex dinosaur, which is often covered in flamingos. Rumour has it that this is a reminder to Google employees not to allow the company to go extinct.
  • 9Its headquarters are huge and there is lots of greenery. However, instead of lawnmowers, Google hires goats to keep the grass trimmed.
  • 10Google was the first big tech company to offer free meals to people who work there, and it allows employees to bring in their dogs to work.
  • 11Google Image Search launched in July 2001 and was inspired by the green Versace dress which Jennifer Lopez wore to the 2000 Grammy Awards. The dress became the most popular search query on Google - but there was no way to actually see it!
jenny.rtrs
REUTERS
Jennifer Lopez recently wore the same Versace dress during fashion week in Milan
  • 12Google first announced its e-mail service, known as G-mail, on April Fool's Day in 2004. As a result, many people thought it was a joke!
  • 13The verb 'google' was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2006, which defines it as "to use the Google search engine to obtain information on the World Wide Web".

  • 14YouTube became part of the Google family in 2006 after it was bought for more than $1.5 billion. At present, YouTube has nearly 2 billion monthly users, with more than 400 hours of video uploaded every minute.
gettyimages
GETTY IMAGES
The video-sharing platform has been part of the Google family for more than 10 years
  • 15The internet was 'broken' by a programmer at Google in 2009 after they accidentally added '/' to Google's blocked website registry. There is a '/' in nearly every website created, so nothing online could be accessed.
  • 1615% of the searches made every day on Google have never been searched before.
  • 17In April 2018, Google became the first company to achieve 100% renewable energy. This means that it is able to purchase a kilowatt of renewable energy for every kilowatt it uses.
  • 18Google actually has at least six birthdays, but it chooses to celebrate it on the 27th of September.
  • 19Google has a lot of little tricks. For example, if you search 'askew', all of the results turn crooked.
  • 20Just one Google search uses around the same amount of computing power it took to send the Apollo 11 astronauts to the Moon.
  • 21Nowadays, Google is far more than just a search engine. Future developments are set to include artificial intelligence, a new streaming-based gaming platform, and even driverless cars.

Categorized in Search Engine

Boolean searches make it easy to find what you're looking for in a Google search. The two basic Boolean search commands AND and OR are supported in Google. Boolean searches specify what you want to find and whether to make it more specific (using AND) or less specific (using OR).

A Boolean operator must be in uppercase letters because that's how Google understands it's a search operator and not a regular word. Be careful when typing the search operator; it makes a difference in the search results.

AND Boolean Operator

Use the AND operator in Google to search for all the search terms you specify. Using AND ensures that the topic you're researching is the topic you get in the search results.

For example, a search for Amazon on Google is likely to yield results relating to Amazon.com, such as the site's homepage, its Twitter account, Amazon Prime information, and items available for purchase on Amazon.com.

If you want information on the Amazon rainforest, a search for Amazon rainforest might yield results about Amazon.com or the word Amazon in general. To make sure each search result includes both Amazon and rainforest, use the AND operator.

amazon

Examples of the AND operator include:

  • Amazon AND rainforest
  • sausage AND biscuits
  • best AND college AND towns

In each of these examples, search results include web pages with all the terms connected by the Boolean operator AND.

OR Boolean Operator

Google uses the OR operator to search for one term or another term. An article can contain either word but doesn't have to include both. This usually works well when using two similar words or subjects you want to learn about.

For example, in a search for how to draw OR paint, the OR operator tells Google it doesn't matter which word is used since you'd like information on both.

Screenshot 2

To see the differences between the OR and AND operators, compare the results of how to draw OR paint versus how to draw AND paint. Since OR gives Google the freedom to show more content (since either word can be used), there are more results than if AND is used to restrict the search to include both words.

The break character (|) can be used in place of OR. The break character is the one attached to the backslash key (\).

Examples of the OR operator include:

  • how to draw OR paint
  • how to draw | paint
  • primal OR paleo recipes
  • red OR yellow triangle

Combine Boolean Searches and Use Exact Phrases

When searching for a phrase rather than a single word, group the words with quotation marks. For example, search for "sausage biscuits" (with the quotes included) to show only results for phrases that include the words together, without anything between them. It ignores phrases such as sausage and cheese biscuits.

However, a search for "sausage biscuits" | "cheese sauce" gives results for either exact phrase, so you'll find articles about cheese sauce and articles about sausage biscuits.

When searching for a phrase or more than one keyword, in addition to using a Boolean operator, use parentheses. Type recipes gravy (sausage | biscuit) to search for gravy recipes for either sausages or biscuits. To search for sausage biscuit recipes or reviews, combine the exact phrase with quotations and search for "sausage biscuit" (recipe | review).

If you want paleo sausage recipes that include cheese, type (with quotes) "paleo recipe" (sausage AND cheese).

Screenshot 3

Boolean Operators Are Case Sensitive

Google may not care about uppercase or lowercase letters in search terms, but Boolean searches are case sensitive. For a Boolean operator to work, it must be in all capital letters.

For example, a search for freeware for Windows OR Mac gives different results than a search for freeware for Windows or Mac.

Screenshot 4

[Source: This article was published in lifewire.com By Marziah Karch - Uploaded by the Association Member: Olivia Russell] 

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was published in nakedsecurity.sophos.com By Mark Stockley - Uploaded by the Association Member: Deborah Tannen]

The history of computing features a succession of organisations that looked, for a while at least, as if they were so deeply embedded in our lives that we’d never do without them.

IBM looked like that, and Microsoft did too. More recently it’s been Google and Facebook.

Sometimes they look unassailable because, in the narrow territory they occupy, they are.

When they do fall it isn’t because somebody storms that territory, they fall because the ground beneath them shifts.

For years and years Linux enthusiasts proclaimed “this will be the year that Linux finally competes with Windows on the desktop!”, and every year it wasn’t.

But Linux, under the brand name Android, eventually smoked Microsoft when ‘Desktop’ gave way to ‘Mobile’.

Google has been the 800-pound gorilla of web search since the late 1990s and all attempts to out-Google it has failed. Its market share is rock solid and it’s seen off all challengers from lumbering tech leviathans to nimble and disruptive startups.

Google will not cede its territory to a Google clone but it might one day find that its territory is not what it was.

The web is getting deeper and darker and Google, Bing and Yahoo don’t actually search most of it.

They don’t search the sites on anonymous, encrypted networks like Tor and I2P (the so-called Dark Web) and they don’t search the sites that have either asked to be ignored or that can’t be found by following links from other websites (the vast, virtual wasteland known as the Deep Web).

The big search engines don’t ignore the Deep Web because there’s some impenetrable technical barrier that prevents them from indexing it – they do it because they’re commercial entities and the costs and benefits of searching beyond their current horizons don’t stack up.

That’s fine for most of us, most of the time, but it means that there are a lot of sites that go un-indexed and lots of searches that the current crop of engines are very bad at.

That’s why the US’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) invented a search engine for the deep web called Memex.

Memex is designed to go beyond the one-size-fits-all approach of Google and deliver the domain-specific searches that are the very best solution for narrow interests.

In its first year it’s been tackling the problems of human trafficking and slavery – things that, according to DARPA, have a significant presence beyond the gaze of commercial search engines.

When we first reported on Memex in February, we knew that it would have potential far beyond that. What we didn’t know was that parts of it would become available more widely, to the likes of you and me.

A lot of the project is still somewhat murky and most of the 17 technology partners involved are still unnamed, but the plan seems to be to lift the veil, at least partially, over the next two years, starting this Friday.

That’s when an initial tranche of Memex components, including software from a team called Hyperion Gray, will be listed on DARPA’s Open Catalog.

The Hyperion Gray team described their work to Forbes as:

Advanced web crawling and scraping technologies, with a dose of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, with the goal of being able to retrieve virtually any content on the internet in an automated way.

Eventually our system will be like an army of robot interns that can find stuff for you on the web, while you do important things like watch cat videos.

More components will follow in December and, by the time the project wraps, a “general purpose technology” will be available.

Memex and Google don’t overlap much, they solve different problems, they serve different needs and they’re funded in very different ways.

But so were Linux and Microsoft.

The tools that DARPA releases at the end of the project probably won’t be a direct competitor to Google but I expect they will be mature and better suited to certain government and business applications than Google is.

That might not matter to Google but there are three reasons why Memex might catch its eye.

The first is not news but it’s true none the less – the web is changing and so is internet use.

When Google started there was no Snapchat, Bitcoin or Facebook. Nobody cared about the Deep Web because it was hard enough to find the things you actually wanted and nobody cared about the Dark Web (remember FreeNet?) because nobody knew what it was for.

The second is this statement made by Christopher White, the man heading up the Memex team at DARPA, who’s clearly thinking big:

The problem we're trying to address is that currently access to web content is mediated by a few very large commercial search engines - Google, Microsoft Bing, Yahoo - and essentially it's a one-size fits all interface...

We've started with one domain, the human trafficking domain ... In the end we want it to be useful for any domain of interest.

That's our ambitious goal: to enable a new kind of search engine, a new way to access public web content

And the third is what we’ve just discovered – Memex isn’t just for spooks and G-Men, it’s for the rest of us to use and, more importantly, to play with.

It’s one thing to use software and quite another to be able to change it. The beauty of open-source software is that people are free to take it in new directions – just like Google did when it picked up Linux and turned it into Android.

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was published in computerworld.com By Jonny Evans - Uploaded by the Association Member: Joshua Simon]

Apple users who care about privacy are moving to DuckDuckGo for search. These tips will get you started with it.

Like liberty for all, privacy demands vigilance, and that’s why Apple users who care about those things are moving to DuckDuckGo for search.

Why use DuckDuckGo?

Privacy is under attack.

It doesn’t take much effort to prove this truth. At the time of writing, recent news is full of creeping privacy erosion: 

And then there’s Duck Duck Go. 

With Duck Duck Go, you are the searcher, not the searched

I think most Apple users know about DuckDuckGo. It is an independent search engine designed from the ground up to maintain your privacy.

It means the search service doesn’t collect information about you, doesn’t gather your search queries, and doesn’t install cookies or tracking code on your systems.

It now also provides highly accurate maps thanks to a deal with Apple that lets it use the also private-by-design Apple Maps service. To do this, the search engine is using Apple’s MapKit JS framework, which Apple created so website owners could embed maps in their sites.

Maps on DuckDuckGo are quite satisfying and will only improve as Apple introduces more detailed maps, better local business listings, and additional feature. You should see this service in action here.

How Apple Maps works on DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo added Apple Maps support at the beginning of 2019.

Since then, it has introduced a set of compelling improvements to how it works, thanks to Apple’s framework. You now get the better implementation of Maps in your search, including the benefit of local search results. Additional enhancements include:

  • Map re-querying: You can now refine search queries within the expanded maps view. You can also zoom in and out or move around the map to find other results that match your search.
  • Local autocomplete: You will be provided with search suggestions as you type based on the local region visible on your map. Type fuel in a map of the Arizona desert, and you can see how many miles you’ll need to walk if your fuel runs out.
  • Dedicated Maps tag: Look at the top of a search result, and you’ll find a Maps tab, which joins the images, videos, news, and meanings tabs.

There’s even a Dark Mode that is enabled when you switch to DuckDuckGo’s dark theme – when you switch, you’ll see the embedded Apple Maps also do so.

(Switch to the dark theme in the search engine’s settings, which you’ll find here. You can also discover much more information on how the search engine protects your privacy, primarily by not collecting it in the first place.)

How do they ensure your privacy when running map and address-related searches? DuckDuck Go explains:

“With Apple, as with all other third parties we work with, we do not share any personally identifiable information such as IP address. And for local searches in particular, where your approximate location information is sent by your browser to us, we discard it immediately after use.”

How to set DuckDuckGo as default search on Apple devices

There are two ways to use DuckDuckGo rather than Google for search:

1. You can visit the DuckDuckGo.com website and use search in your browser there.

2. You can also change your Mac, iPhone or iPad’s default search service in order to use the far more private alternative. I think most readers know about this, but just in case:

  • On a Mac: Safari Preferences>choose the Search tab and choose DuckDuckGo in the drop-down list of search engine choices.
  • On iOS/iPad OS: Settings>Safari and select DuckDuckGo from the options provided in the Search Engine section. You need to do this for all your devices individually.

Once you change your default search engine, all the searches you make in the future will be made using the more private service. You may even want to switch to using MeWe as a social network to replace Facebook while you’re at it.

Up next…

“We believe there should be no trade-off for people wanting to protect their personal data while searching,” the search engine explains. “Working with Apple Maps to enhance DuckDuckGo Search is an example of how we do this and pushes us further in our vision of setting a new standard of trust online.”

This is all well and good, but how do they see this experience extending itself in the future?

I am not currently in possession of a working crystal ball, but here are two realistic and possible ways the service could be extended:

  1. Imagine how cool this would be with the addition of Apple’s delightfully lag-free Look Around Street View-killer.
  2. Imagine how embedded AR experiences could also become part of what’s on offer through the search service.

Why not? We know Apple takes this stuff seriously. It is surely only a matter of time until it declines Google for search.

Like liberty for all, privacy demands vigilance. Be vigilant.

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was published in seroundtable.com By Barry Schwartz - Uploaded by the Association Member: Bridget Miller]

Google's John Mueller said it again, do not worry about words or keywords in the URLs. John responded to a recent question on Twitter saying "I wouldn't worry about keywords or words in a URL. In many cases, URLs aren't seen by users anyway."

oliver

It references that video from Matt Cutts back in 2009 where it says keywords play a small role in rankings, but really small.

In 2017, John Mueller said keywords in URLs are overrated and that it is a small ranking factor back in 2016.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was published in theverge.com By Adi Robertson - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jay Harris]

Last weekend, in the hours after a deadly Texas church shooting, Google search promoted false reports about the suspect, suggesting that he was a radical communist affiliated with the antifa movement. The claims popped up in Google’s “Popular on Twitter” module, which made them prominently visible — although not the top results — in a search for the alleged killer’s name. Of course, the was just the latest instance of a long-standing problem: it was the latest of multiple similar missteps. As usual, Google promised to improve its search results, while the offending tweets disappeared. But telling Google to retrain its algorithms, as appropriate as that demand is, doesn’t solve the bigger issue: the search engine’s monopoly on truth.

Surveys suggest that, at least in theory, very few people unconditionally believe news from social media. But faith in search engines — a field long dominated by Google — appears consistently high. A 2017 Edelman survey found that 64 percent of respondents trusted search engines for news and information, a slight increase from the 61 percent who did in 2012, and notably more than the 57 percent who trusted traditional media. (Another 2012 survey, from Pew Research Center, found that 66 percent of people believed search engines were “fair and unbiased,” almost the same proportion that did in 2005.) Researcher danah boyd has suggested that media literacy training conflated doing independent research using search engines. Instead of learning to evaluate sources, “[students] heard that Google was trustworthy and Wikipedia was not.”

GOOGLE SEARCH IS A TOOL, NOT AN EXPERT

Google encourages this perception, as do competitors like Amazon and Apple — especially as their products depend more and more on virtual assistants. Though Google’s text-based search page is clearly a flawed system, at least it makes it clear that Google search functions as a directory for the larger internet — and at a more basic level, a useful tool for humans to master.

Google Assistant turns search into a trusted companion dispensing expert advice. The service has emphasized the idea that people shouldn’t have to learn special commands to “talk” to a computer, and demos of products like Google Home show off Assistant’s prowess at analyzing the context of simple spoken questions, then guessing exactly what users want. When bad information inevitably slips through, hearing it authoritatively spoken aloud is even more jarring than seeing it on a page.

Even if the search is overwhelmingly accurate, highlighting just a few bad results around topics like mass shootings is a major problem — especially if people are primed to believe that anything Google says is true. And for every advance Google makes to improve its results, there’s a host of people waiting to game the new system, forcing it to adapt again.

NOT ALL FEATURES ARE WORTH SAVING

Simply shaming Google over bad search results might actually play into its mythos, even if the goal is to hold the company accountable. It reinforces a framing where Google search’s ideal final state is a godlike, omniscient benefactor, not just a well-designed product. Yes, Google search should get better at avoiding obvious fakery, or creating a faux-neutral system that presents conspiracy theories next to hard reporting. But we should be wary of overemphasizing its ability, or that of any other technological system, to act as an arbiter of what’s real.

Alongside pushing Google to stop “fake news,” we should be looking for ways to limit trust in, and reliance on, search algorithms themselves. That might mean seeking handpicked video playlists instead of searching YouTube Kids, which recently drew criticism for surfacing inappropriate videos. It could mean focusing on reestablishing trust in human-led news curation, which has produced its own share of dangerous misinformation. It could mean pushing Google to kill, not improve, features that fail in predictable and damaging ways. At the very least, I’ve proposed that Google rename or abolish the Top Stories carousel, which offers legitimacy to certain pages without vetting their accuracy. Reducing the prominence of “Popular on Twitter” might make sense, too, unless Google clearly commits to strong human-led quality control.

The past year has made web platforms’ tremendous influence clearer than ever. Congress recently grilled Google, Facebook, and other tech companies over their role in spreading Russian propaganda during the presidential election. A report from The Verge revealed that unscrupulous rehab centers used Google to target people seeking addiction treatment. Simple design decisions can strip out the warning signs of a spammy news source. We have to hold these systems to a high standard. But when something like search screws up, we can’t just tell Google to offer the right answers. We have to operate on the assumption that it won’t ever have them.

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was published in foxnews.com By Kim Komando - Uploaded by the Association Member: Daniel K. Henry]

Google isn’t everything. Yes, it’s the most powerful search engine ever created. Yes, it processes 40,000 searches per second. And yes, Google is the go-to search engine for the majority of us.

There are many Google resources that most people don’t know about, including Google’s advanced search features that let you narrow searches by time, file type and website type.

Still, Google doesn’t know everything, and there are some resources that are actually better than Google at finding certain information. Some sites index streaming movies, others archive GIFs. Other search engines may not have the omniscience of Google, but they are far more committed to your privacy.

Speaking of privacy, you can use Google Take Out to find out how much Google knows about you, and how much of your personal information is being tracked.

For those special searches, here are seven search sites you can use other than Google. These services cover a range of themes and needs, but you’re almost guaranteed to find one useful – and you might find yourself consulting it over and over. The best part: They’re basically all free.

1. Find streaming movies

The internet is overflowing with streaming services, and yet the question always comes up: what should we watch tonight? Sometimes we browse through the options, seeking a few favorite classics, or this year’s Oscar nominees, but we have to bounce from platform to platform just to find the title we’re looking for.

There's a search engine that will do the work for you. It's called JustWatch. This free website combs through streaming sites, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO, YouTube, iTunes, Roku and Vudu, and it will show where a particular movie is available to stream (free or otherwise).

You can fine-tune and filter the results any way you like -- by year, rating, price, genre, quality and age rating. This is extra useful if you're wondering if a movie or TV show is something you can get for free on other streaming sites. JustWatch's timeline shows you what's new on any particular service at any given time. JustWatch isn't limited to home streaming services. It can help you find all the latest theater movies, and give you summaries, show trailers and buy tickets.

A similar service is GoWatchIt, which boasts 2.5 million movies and 50,000 regular users. The page is attractive and easy to use, and like its rival, GoWatchIt uses your location to determine which content is available in your region.

2. Find GIFs for email and social media

The right GIF is worth a thousand words. Unlike a photo, a GIF is like a tiny video – an animation, a clip from a movie, or a piece of news footage. GIFs often express an emotion or sentiment that no single photo or verbal comment can. Most of the time, GIFs are spit-take funny.

Social media service like Facebook and Twitter make GIFs easy to track down, but for the full catalog, Giphy is the place to go. The site is packed with easy-to-find GIFs: just enter your keyword in the search bar and zillions of GIFs pop up. Like any online search, broad topics are more fruitful than obscure ones; you’ll find plenty of GIFs for “balloon,” but few for “supernumerary.”

To share, click on the GIF that you want, find the "Copy link" button on the right pane, and choose the format. A short GIF link works best, because you can copy and paste the link to pretty much anywhere. Even better, via Giphy's iOS or Android app, you can instantly share any GIF via text messaging, Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter.

3. Search space images

No matter how old we get, the sky will always enthrall us, especially at night. This fascination led the U.S. government to create NASA in the 1950s, and to this day, the agency continues to shed light on outer space. But short of actually leaving the Earth’s atmosphere, the best way to explore the cosmos is through online videos.

The NASA Image Library has pictures across 60 collections combined into one searchable database. This is convenient because you don't have to hop from page to page just to zero in on what you're looking for.

Whether you search for pictures of our solar system, far-off galaxies or the moon landings, you can browse through NASA images – and you can download the images for free, share them on social media sites or publish them for your purposes, as all this digital content is in the public domain.

4. Free software for coders and developers

Most people will not appreciate the glory of Libraries.io, but coders and software developers definitely will: The website lists thousands of pieces of open-source software. These packages and tools are free to the public, and you can use for them for any programming project. The site has a wide selection of package managers including WordPress, PyPi, Rubygems, Atom and Platform IO.

A Libraries.io account also alerts you to software updates and sends notifications about incompatibility and dependency issues.

5. Make money using a search site

Microsoft developed its own search engine, Bing, as a direct competitor to Google. Nobody is going to pretend that Bing has the popularity or reach of Google, but the free service is still very powerful, and there is even an incentive to use it: Microsoft will pay and reward you for your web searches. Go to bing.com/rewards to sign up.

How does it work? The system is called Microsoft Rewards, which pays users in the form of Amazon, Starbucks, Burger King, Xbox, Microsoft Store or other types of gift cards, as well as sweepstakes entries. Related: Looking for ways to make money online? Listen to this Komando on Demand Podcast for legitimate opportunities.

After signing up for a Microsoft account, sign into Bing using the account and begin searching to earn reward points. The system then tracks your points in the upper-right part of the screen, so you can keep track of your earnings while you do what you normally do anyway: search with Bing.

6. Private search engine

At first glance, StartPage.com looks a lot like Google. It has the same search field, and the same bolded and underlined websites pop up, arranged by relevance and popularity. You may not notice a difference, except for the color scheme and the absence of Google Doodles.

But StartPage is designed to retain your privacy. The engine doesn’t collect data, doesn’t keep tabs on your movements, and it isn’t owned by a gigantic corporation. The site is designed to retain privacy, yet it retains much of the power and ease of use that Google does.

If you like StartPage, you can open an account and use its free email service. This is a terrific option for people who use search engines for very basic research and are concerned about exposing their personal information.

7. Search without being tracked by Google

Similar to StartPage, the purpose of DuckDuckGo is to retain privacy. The company proudly abstains from targeted ads – though it does have sponsored ads in the first one or two search results that are relevant to your keywords. DuckDuckGo has a clean interface and deftly aggregates digital news. The “meanings” tab is a nice touch, as it helps analysis the significance of search terms.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call my national radio show and click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. From buying advice to digital life issues, click here for my free podcasts.

Copyright 2019, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was published in searchenginejournal.com By Pratik Dholakiya - Uploaded by the Association Member: Barbara larson] 

Important changes are happening at Google and, in a world where marketing and algorithms intersect, those changes are largely happening under the radar.

The future of search looks like it will have considerably less search in it, and this isn’t just about the end of the 10 blue links, but about much more fundamental changes.

Let’s talk about some of those changes now, and what they mean for SEO.

Google Discover

Google Discover is a content recommendation engine that suggests content across the web-based on a user’s search history and behavior.

Discover isn’t completely new (it was introduced in December of 2016 as Google Feed). But Google made an important change in late October (announced in September) when they added it to the Google homepage.

The revamp and rebranding to Discover added features like:

  • Topic headers to categorize feed results.
  • More images and videos.
  • Evergreen content, as opposed to just fresh content.
  • A toggle to tell Google if you want more or less content similar to a recommendation.
  • Google claims the recommendations are personalized to your level of expertise with a topic.

Google Discover hardly feels revolutionary at first. In fact, it feels overdue.

Our social media feeds are already dominated by content recommendation engines, and the YouTube content recommendation engine is responsible for 70% of the time spent on the site.

But Discover could have massive implications for the future of how users interact with the content of the web.

While it’s unlikely Discover will ever reach the 70% level of YouTube’s content recommendation engine, if it swallows even a relatively small portion of Google search, say 10%, no SEO strategy will be complete without a tactic for earning that kind of traffic, especially since it will allow businesses to reach potential customers who aren’t even searching for the relevant terms yet.

Google Assistant

For most users, Google Assistant is a quiet and largely invisible revolution.

Its introduction to Android devices in February 2017 likely left most users feeling like it was little more than an upgraded Google Now, and in a sense that’s exactly what it is.

But as Google Assistant grows, it will increasingly influence how users interact with the web and decrease reliance on search.

Like its predecessor, Assistant can:

  • Search the web.
  • Schedule events and alarms.
  • Show Google account info.
  • Adjust device settings.

But the crucial difference is its ability to engage in two-way conversations, allowing users to get answers from the system without ever even looking at a search result.

An incredibly important change for the future of business and the web is the introduction of Google Express, the capability to add products to a shopping cart and order them entirely through Assistant.

But this feature is limited to businesses that are explicitly partnered with Google Express, an incredibly dramatic change from the Google search engine and its crawling of the open web.

Assistant can also identify what some images are. Google Duplex, an upcoming feature, will also allow Assistant to call businesses to schedule appointments and other similar actions on the user’s behalf.

The more users rely on Assistant, the less they will rely on Google search results, and the more businesses who hope to adapt will need to think of other ways to:

  • Leverage Assistant’s algorithms and other emerging technologies to fill in the gaps.
  • Adjust their SEO strategies to target the kind of behavior that is exclusive to search and search alone.

Google’s Declaration of a New Direction

Circa Google’s 20th anniversary, Google announced that its search product was closing an old chapter and opening a new one, with important new driving principles added.

They started by clarifying that these old principles wouldn’t be going away:

  • Focusing on serving the user’s information needs.
  • Providing the most relevant, high-quality information as quickly as possible.
  • Using an algorithmic approach.
  • Rigorously testing every change, including using quality rating guidelines to define search goals.

This means you should continue:

  • Putting the user first.
  • Being accurate and relevant.
  • Having some knowledge of algorithms.
  • Meeting Google’s quality rating guidelines.

But the following principles represent a dramatically new direction for Google Search:

Shifting from Answers to Journeys

Google is adding new features that will allow users to “pick up where they left off,” shifting the focus away from short-term answers to bigger, ongoing projects.

This currently already includes activity cards featuring previous pages visited and queries searched, the ability to add content to collections, and tabs that suggest what to learn about next, personalized to the user’s search history.

A new Topic layer has also been added to the Knowledge Graph, allowing Google to surface evergreen content suggestions for users interested in a particular topic.

Perhaps the most important change to watch carefully, Google is looking for ways to help users who don’t even make a search query.

Google Discover is central to this effort and the inclusion of evergreen content, not just fresh content, represents an important change in how Google is thinking about the feed. This means more and more traditional search content will become feed content instead.

Shifting from Text to Visual Representation

Google is making important changes in the way information is presented by adding new visual capabilities.

They are introducing algorithmically generated AMP Stories, video compilations with relevant caption text like age and notable events in a person’s life.

New featured videos have been added to the search, designed to offer an overview on topics you are interested in.

Image search has also been updated so that images featured on pages with relevant content take priority and pages where the image is central to the content rank better. Captions and suggested searches have been added as well.

Finally, Google Lens allows you to perform a visual search based on objects that Google’s AI can detect in the image.

These changes to search are slipping under the radar somewhat for now, since user behavior rarely changes overnight.

But the likelihood that these features and Google’s new direction will have a dramatic impact on how search works is very high.

SEOs who ignore these changes and continue operating with a 2009 mindset will find themselves losing ground to competitors.

SEO After Search

While queries will always be an important part of the way we find information online, we’re now entering a new era of search.

An era that demands we start changing the way we think about SEO soon, while we can capitalize on the changing landscape.

The situation is not unlike when Google first came on the scene in 1998 when new opportunities were on the horizon that most at the time were unaware of and ill-prepared for.

As the technological landscape changes, we will need to alter our strategies and start thinking about questions and ideas like these in our vision for the future of our brands:

  • Less focus on queries and more focus on context appears inevitable. Where does our content fit into a user’s journey? What would they have learned before consuming it, and what will they need to know next? Note that this is much more vital than simply a shift from keywords to topics, which has been happening for a very long time already. Discovery without queries is much more fundamental and impacts our strategies in a much more profound way.
  • How much can we incorporate our lead generation funnel into that journey as it already exists, and how much can we influence that journey to push it in a different direction?
  • How can we create content and resources that users will want to bookmark and add to collections?
  • Why would Google recommend our content as a useful evergreen resource in Discover, and for what type of user?
  • Can we partner with Google on emerging products? How do we adapt when we can’t?
  • How should we incorporate AMP stories and similar visual content into our content strategy?
  • What type of content will always be exclusive to query-based search, and should we focus more or less on this type of content?
  • What types of content will Google’s AI capacities ultimately be able to replace entirely, and on what timeline? What will Google Assistant and it’s successors never be able to do that only content can?
  • To what extent is it possible for SEOs to adopt a “post-content” strategy?

With the future of search having Google itself doing more of the “searching” on the user’s behalf, we will need to get more creative in our thinking.

We must recognize that surfacing content has never been Google’s priority. It has always been focused on providing information.

Bigger Than Google

The changes on the horizon also signal that the SEO industry ought to start thinking bigger than Google.

What does that mean?

It means expanding the scope of SEO from search to the broader world where algorithms and marketing intersect.

It’s time to start thinking more about how our skills apply to:

  • Content recommendation engines
  • Social media algorithms
  • Ecommerce product recommendation engines
  • Amazon’s search algorithms
  • Smart devices, smart homes, and the internet of things
  • Mobile apps
  • Augmented reality

As doors on search close, new doors open everywhere users are interacting with algorithms that connect to the web and the broader digital world.

SEO professionals should not see the decline of traditional search as a death knell for the industry.

Instead, we should look at the inexorably increasing role algorithms play in peoples’ lives as a fertile ground full of emerging possibilities.

Categorized in Search Engine

airs logo

Association of Internet Research Specialists is the world's leading community for the Internet Research Specialist and provide a Unified Platform that delivers, Education, Training and Certification for Online Research.

Get Exclusive Research Tips in Your Inbox

Receive Great tips via email, enter your email to Subscribe.

Follow Us on Social Media