Tuesday, May 22, 2018

E-Learning - The way ahead

With the advent of technology E-learning has quickly become an integral part of the training industry. Business, education institutions and professionals are now migrating towards e-learning from the traditional classroom training. Apart from the obvious benefits of being flexible and not having to spend excess time and expenses on travel E-Learning also has many other benefits over the traditional training methods. Below mentioned are some of the advantages of E-learning:
  • Less expensive to produce, with  soft wares and applications like Trainersoft you can create your own training courses without incurring much cost
  • It’s self –paced, most e-learning programs can be studied as and when the learner is free. The training courses can be created in small modules so the learner can focus, learn and move ahead as per his convenience
  • It moves faster, with e-learning the learner himself  is in charge of the training, this helps him move the training at a faster pace as he can skip parts of the course which he already knows and focus on the parts he actually needs training on
  • It’s consistent, e-learning eliminates the problem of different trainers speaking different content on same subject. This is especially important and quite crucial in company based training
  • Easily accessible, with smartphones and tablets accessing online training programs has become very convenient. Learners can easily log in their online training courses from anywhere and at any time
  • Easily updated, online training programs can be easily updated as they only require the updated content to be uploaded on to the servers. This additionally saves cost on reprinting manuals and retaining instructors
  • Increased Retention, e-learning courses can lead to increased retention and better grasp of the subject as e-learning uses multiple formats like images, video, audio, quizzes, interactions and so on to reinforce the message of the training

With constant progress in technology, E-learning platforms are quickly moving up in the world as well. Microlearning, Gamification are a just a couple of new platforms that are coming up for E-learning, more on that next time.

*Reference: Howstuffworks.com

Monday, May 21, 2018

SEO done right

Search engines do not understand a web page the way humans do. Search Engine Optimization – SEO helps smooth interactions between search engines and a web page, enabling the search engine to better see and understand a web page.
The following points will help us better understand how SEO is done:

» Search Engines prefer HTML text format rather than images, flash files and other non-text content. These formats are generally ignored by search engines as they put more value in HTML Text format while crawling and indexing web pages. It is thus advisable to build web pages with maximum content written in HTML, also images, flash files should be accompanied with HTML text descriptions to guarantee proper indexing of the web page.

» Link Structure is very important  for search engines. Ensuring all the pages on a website are interlinked will ensure that the search engines crawl through all the pages and all the relevant content is indexed and listed. For Ex:

Here, Homepage A is linked to B which is linked to C but, page D is not linked to any of the pages. In this case, crawler would not crawl page D which in turn would not be indexed despite its great content and good keywords.

» Search engines store data on the basis of keywords in other words, there are millions of data indexed, when we enter words to perform a query, search engines go through their database and retrieve the information based on the words in the query. The way keywords are used on the page is measured by search engines to find the relevance of that information to a query. More specific the keyword leads to less competition and higher chances of achieving a higher ranking. To optimize a page’s ranking use the keywords you want to rank for prominently in title, text and metadata.
Over a period of time, this practice of keyword based indexing was taken advantage of to manipulate engines. This misguided effort is termed as ‘keyword stuffing’ wherein in keywords are stuffed into texts, meta tags, links and URLs which does more harm than good to the website.

» Description of a page’s content is shown at the top of Internet Browsing Software which is called ‘Title Tag’. It is critical to user experience as well as SEO. Keywords used in the title tags will be bold when a search query would be performed using those keywords. Title tags can be optimized in following ways:
a.   Place keywords in the starting of title tags for better ranking and better visibility to the users
b.  The first 65-75 characters of the title tag are shown in the search result  by the search engines so, be wise while writing a title tag. If multiple keywords are targeted and it is important to include them in the title tag then go longer.
c.   It should be descriptive and readable to grab more user attention and visitors to the site

» Meta tags:

a.   Meta robots: They control crawler activity on per page level.
- Index/noindex tells search engine whether to index a page or not. Noindex excludes the page from indexing. By default crawler indexes all pages.
- Follow/nofollow tells whether to crawl link on the page. Nofollow stops crawler from crawling and ranking the link. By default crawler follow every link on the page.
- Noarchive tells the engine not to save cached copy of the page. By default crawler saves cached copy of the page.
b.   Meta Description: It gives a brief description about page and not used by crawlers for ranking. These descriptions are basically for advertising and drawing attention of readers.

» The addresses for documents on the web page are of great importance from search perspective and are called URLs. They are displayed in search result and also used in ranking documents. Construct a URL which gives an idea of the content on the page and is short, easy to copy & paste and visible in the search result. Include specific keyword in the URL which is targeted by web page. However, don’t stuff in multiple keywords for SEO, it will result in less usable URL.

» Many a times it happens that there are two or more duplicate versions of a web page with different URLs. Search engines rarely show multiple, duplicate versions of same content. Instead they choose a version which is most likely to be original. This may lead to lower ranking of pages than it should. To combine multiple pages into one Canonicalization is done. This practise tells the search engine that all duplicate versions has one and only one URL. This way duplicate pages stop competing against each other and create stronger relevancy signal overall.

From the above points we can see that keywords play a very important role in SEO so, choosing the right keyword for website is of utmost importance. Below are some of the sources about keyword referral and keyword demand:
a)   Google Trends
b)   Google Adwords Keyword Planner Tool
c)   Wordtracker’s Free Basic Keyword Demand

Search engines have no formula to understand how important the content is for people. They track what people do: what they discover, react, comment and link to on your website, and measure the importance and relevance on that basis. So, along with SEO, market your content to make sure it gets seen to the audience.

Reference- moz.com

Sunday, May 20, 2018

What is SEO - For Beginners

Moved your business online? Have your website ready? Confused how to make it to the list of ‘top searched websites’? Well, one of the solutions to become one of the top searched websites is ‘SEO’ also known as ‘Search Engine Optimization’.

Search Engine Optimization is on-page optimization wherein the website is created with a clear hierarchy and text links to make it easy for the search engines to ‘crawl’ through the site. Search engines are ‘crawlers’ or ‘automated robots’ which go through (crawl) the website and store the relevant information. This process of storing relevant information is called ‘indexing’ and these information are recalled when needed for a search query. When an online search is performed, these search engines go through their database and show the results which match the search queries. Also, it ranks those results as per the popularity of the websites showing relevant results. Hence, ‘relevance and popularity’ are the two things which are influenced by the process of SEO.

To show the ‘relevant’ results to the search query, match your keywords to those queries. Create keyword rich content and URLs. Make a website which is rich in valuable information and its pages clearly describe the content (it is not buried inside JavaScript, Adobe Flash Player).

Search engines assume that more popular a site more useful the information it would contain. To rank these sites in order of their popularity mathematical algorithm is employed by these search engines.
*Following are some of the characteristics of web-pages that tend to rank higher:
  1. Domain-Level Link Features: Based on link/ citation metrics such as quantity of links, trust, domain-level PageRank, etc.
  2. Page-Level Link Features: PageRank, trust metrics, quantity of linking root domains,links, anchor text distribution, etc.
  3. Engagement and Traffic/Query Data: Data SERP engagement metrics, clickstream data, visitor traffic / usage signals, etc.
  4. Domain-Level Keyword Usage: Exact-match keyword domains, partial keyword matches, etc.

Search Engine Optimization makes websites understandable for search engines as well as users. It helps the engine find out what each page is about, and its usefulness to the users.

*Source- moz.com