Building effective links has become a struggle in the last few years, as Google continues to crack down on manipulative link practices, including web directories. Does this mean web directories are never a good idea?

No, but there are a lot of precautions that need to be taken.

For example, never list on any low-quality directories or websites. Instead, choose fewer directory listings with better quality. Look for niche directories that are more likely to be valuable to users. And, make sure any directory you submit to has some sort of parameters for sites they will and won’t accept.

Good directories have editorial teams that review submissions and edit listings, titles and descriptions. Directories that accept any and all links will not be valuable.

Directories are Also Good for Local SEO

Directories have changed – they are no longer good for getting thousands of links to your site so you can game Google. Today, directories are valuable when used carefully and most often for local SEO. Sites like Yelp will almost always rank higher than branded sites for, say, ‘pizza Jacksonville’. Getting listed on directories can be highly valuable for local search in particular.


“I have seen many SEO examples of how these top-quality directories help improve direct traffic and also search engine ranking results. The Directories listed in this article are an outstanding value and provide long term SEO benefits.” -Tom Forrest
There is so much confusion around whether directories are still a good idea and which ones website owners should utilize.

The truth is, high-quality links will never go out of style — whether those links are from directories or not.

Links from high-quality, niche directories are still considered ‘good’ links by Google and will help a site generate more organic traffic.


High-Quality Directories

The directories listed below are valuable when used correctly, particularly when it comes to local SEO.

All Business Now
Yellow Pages.com
Better Business Bureau
Seek On
Pick N Buy
Best of The Web
Joe Ant
Map Quest
City Data.com
Health Fitness Nutrition
Starting Point
Search Pure

Final Note: Do Not Automate Directory Submissions
Do not automate directory submissions. Why? Because web searchers are looking fo unique content, not the same exact listings on tons of different directories. This will yield the best results with the search engines, and prevent penalties.

More importantly, writing unique descriptions creates a better quality directory that visitors will actually find useful. Google does not want to see hundreds or thousands of free low-quality directory listings with the same word-for-word descriptions. That isn’t useful. And that approach is exactly what Google penalizes.

Please sign up for SEOWA.com to use our SEO tools and for Expert online SEO Advice.

Source:  https://www.searchenginejournal.com/directory-submission-sites-google-likes-162689-2/162689/

Categorized in Search Engine

On the last day of I/O, Google's ATAP division has finally given us some firm details on when it will release a very real Project Ara modular phone. A developer edition running Android with a 5.3-inch screen is shipping this fall, while a consumer version of the phone will be available some time in 2017. To get your hands on a device this year, you have to head over to ATAP's dedicated Ara website and fill out the form indicating what type of module you'd like to develop for the phone.

Ara has come a long way since it was first demoed at I/O 2014. In fact, more than 30 people are now using Ara phones at Google as their primary device, according to Wired. Google has also decided to spin out Ara as another division inside Google, effectively "graduating" the project to indicate its a real business and a serious initiative for the company.

For the upcoming developer kit, the Ara team has been "working with a new set of technologies." The phone technology is integrated into the frame now, instead of being its own module. That would appear to mean parts like the CPU, battery, and display will not be immediately swappable, at least not with the first-generation version. That said, Ara now has six modular slots — each one is generic, so you can put any module in any slot. They're all interconnected via an advanced "Unipro" network. That standardization should help each module withstand being connected and disconnected constantly, as well as helping them charge when plugged in and simply not break from heavy use.

Google's modular Project Ara phone is almost ready to ship

On stage, we watched an engineer put a camera module in and take a photo — all without rebooting the device. You can remove a module just by going to the settings app to select it for removal. Or say, "Okay Google, eject the camera." When that was demoed, the crowd went wild. All of the modules are now controlled directly via software. With a button on the side of the phone, you can bring up an overview of all your modules. This is designed to prevent any mechanical failures, and it also introduces the potential for password-protected modules, according to Wired. (Ara ran into some delays last year after a pilot program in Puerto Rico, supposedly to help perfect how the modules connected to the device.)

The are a number of intriguing possibilities. Early development partners include Panasonic, TDK, iHealth, E Ink, Toshiba, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, and Samsung, all of which are working on modules for the phone ranging from displays to cameras. But there's also untested potential for add-ons like projectors, fitness trackers, lights, and improved speakers. Not to mention all the cosmetic upgrades a modular phone allows. The Ara team is calling aesthetic change-ups to its device "style" modules.

Whatever third-party companies end up creating, it will have to be intriguing enough to sell consumers on a radically different type of smartphone. An Ara device is as much a product of its parts as it as it a cohesive whole with a recognizable identity. Where it goes from there depends on what you want to do with it, and that's an exciting future even if it's a year away for everyday buyers.

Google atap project ara 2016 6.0

Source: http://www.theverge.com/2016/5/20/11721284/google-atap-project-ara-phone-shipping-developers-fall-2016

Categorized in Search Engine

For those with a head for details and a knack for ferreting out facts, a career as a professional researcher can prove to be both satisfying and lucrative. Research as a career provides you with some flexibility: you can choose to strike out on your own as an independent researcher or to work for a company that needs your expertise. Both have some basic requirements you’ll need to meet to make sure you are up to the task.

Step 1

Pick a type of research that interests you and that you have the skills and experience to handle. You can choose from many different areas such as science, genealogy, advertising or marketing.


Step 2

Take college courses designed to help you learn how to become an effective Certified Researcher. Include classes relevant to the subject you want to research. A bachelor’s degree may be enough to get you started as a researcher in many fields, but if you want to do any kind of technical research you’ll most likely find that you need a master’s degree or a Ph.D. Market research will also require that you study psychology, consumer behavior and survey methods. If you already have a degree you may just need to add a few research classes to make yourself eligible for many jobs.

Step 3

Obtain certification from a recognized professional organization, such as the Marketing Research Institute, the Association of Internet Research Specialists or the Association of Professional Genealogists. While this step isn’t always required, certification can help to boost your credibility and increase your chances of getting hired.

Step 4

Contact companies that need researchers, and apply for a job with any of them whose needs match your skills. Often you must apply for a job that is conducted in person, but in some cases you may be able to find a job working from home. Check online job boards as well as postings made through professional organizations, colleges and marketing companies.

[Uploaded by the Association Member: Bridget Miller]

Categorized in Online Research

Jordan Koene is a SEJ Summit veteran, having spoke at a few of our search marketing conferences last year. This year, we’re happy to have him at SEJ Summit Chicago, speaking on how to improve search visibility.

Jordan’s insights below are always enlightening and cover everything from moving past a plateau to how e-commerce SEO is different from other channels.

Your SEJ Summit presentation is titled Surviving the Search Plateau: 3 Tactics to Bring Your Website’s SEO Visibility to New Heights. How do you determine if you are in an SEO plateau? What signs would you look for?

You’ve plateaued if you reach a period where, despite your efforts, you’ve been unable to affect positive change on your site – usually quarterly for most businesses. It usually presents itself either in slow downs in site traffic or declines in conversion rates. Traffic is the more obvious metric, since most SEO teams are measured by it, but there are times you may see an increase in clicks that don’t reflect in your total conversions. That bears investigating.


One of the examples you give for breaking free from the plateau is by igniting your content. Does that mean blending content marketing into your SEO strategy?

That can be a piece of it, though that can take a lot of time and money. From a search perspective, the low-hanging fruit is to simply refresh the content you already have with new material, or by making minor changes. Like layering a cake, you can build on top of your old content with structured data or info to create something interesting and new. Minor changes can bring big rewards.

I did a little bit of stalking and saw you are interested in wearable technology. What is your favorite wearable piece of tech—either already on the market or coming soon?

Personally, I’m really interested in the Internet of Things – items within the home like Nest or Ring that are beginning to talk to each other and to you. Similar to how 3-4 years ago, when wearables for fitness like Fitbit started to provide us with data around our health and well-being to aid self improvement, we’re now starting to see that same thought process transition into devices for the home, helping make utilitarian improvements to the way we live., These kinds of futuristic gadgets can solve a lot of problems for our world like reducing consumption of fossil fuels and other things that have a direct impact on our environment.

You have a background in e-commerce, having worked for eBay in the past. How does SEO differ for big e-commerce brands versus, say, a service based brand.

E-commerce has this mentality of short-term gains: everything is about making short-term progress in a competitive ecosystem, especially here in the US. For that reason, a good deal of the decision making is relatively short-sighted, and you might not see them invest in long-term plays like you would for a news or media outlet. Service-based companies are more focused on having an online to offline presence since they essentially evolved from the big directory business.

A lot of service companies are moving into a transactional service model to marry in e-commerce behaviors, like Yelp, which now offers a bidding service for consumers looking to nail down a service for a particular price. In that way, they’re becoming more similar as more companies adopt that model.

Bonus Question: What was the last book you read?

I’m currently starting Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. I’ve been interested in selling in an era where e-commerce didn’t exist, and was looking for parallels into how shopping is changing today. People like Phil Knight are pioneers who broke down lots of barriers in the market to rise to success, but it’s interesting to dig into how much of his success was based on societal changes at the time – and how societal changes today might reflect market changes to come. 

Categorized in Online Research

Online reviews and public customer feedback have a major impact on consumers’ purchase decisions. They happen to play an increasingly important role in local search, too.

Looking to leverage reviews and feedback to drive your brand’s local search ranking and performance? Here are key insights and best practices to help you get started.

Online Reviews and Local Search

According to a local SEO report by Moz, online reviews are one of the top seven factors influencing where and how a business appears in local search results.

The number of reviews that your brand or organization has, the speed at which these reviews are generated, your numerical ratings, the diversity of sites where you have reviews, even the authority of the people who write your reviews: these are all ranking factors across local pack and organic results.

According to Moz’s survey, these “review signals” are considered an even bigger factor than “social signals.” Even Google itself has recently made it clear that reviews play a major part in local search rankings. In a help article, the search engine identified three primary factors:

Relevance is how well your business listing or your branded content matches what people are searching for. Complete, detailed, and up-to-date business information improves your relevance and helps match your listing and content to relevant local searches.

Distance refers to the proximity of your business listing’s indicated location and/or service area on Google to the location term used in a Google search query. The location term is the user’s location, determined based on location information about the device they used for searching.

Prominence refers to the offline and online prominence of your business. “Some places are more prominent in the offline world,” reads the Google help article, “For example, famous museums, landmark hotels, or well-known store brands.” Online prominence, meanwhile, is based on the kind of information available on the web about your business. This includes the quantity and quality of your online reviews, as well as online scores and ratings.


Improve Your Local Search Ranking Using Online Reviews
Claim Your Business Listing on Google My Business
The first step is to get your brand or organization on Google. This means creating or claiming your business listing using Google My Business.

There will be other sites where your business gets reviewed or rated: Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook, Citysearch, Foursquare, what-have-you. But if improving your local search ranking is your priority, a Google My Business account is a must.

Local search results on Google come in a few different shapes and sizes. Say, if you search for the “best Japanese restaurant (in) Chicago,” you’ll see a set of Maps-based results, the “local pack” (since reduced from 7 to 3 listings), and the localized organic results (usually in that order).

Local Map Pack

A well-managed listing on Google My Business fosters significant improvements in local search performance, with particular emphasis on the “relevance” factor of local search. Business listings that have been claimed and updated on Google My Business — and which also boasts of strong reviews and ratings — are the ones most likely to rank at the top of local search, or even be featured in Maps-based results and the “local pack.”

Claim Your Business Listing on All Relevant Review Sites
Once you have planted your flag on Google, do the same on online review sites.
Yelp, TripAdvisor, Citysearch, and Facebook are the recommended places to start with, but make sure you also establish your brand presence on industry-specific review sites and feedback channels, like Zomato (for restaurants), Cars.com, DealerRater (for automotive businesses), and Vitals and Healthgrades (for doctors and healthcare providers).

Look closely at the results for the “best Japanese restaurant in Chicago.” See those organic results just below the local 3-pack?

Page 1 Real Estate

A well-managed listing on Google My Business fosters significant improvements in local search performance, with particular emphasis on the “relevance” factor of local search. Business listings that have been claimed and updated on Google My Business — and which also boasts of strong reviews and ratings — are the ones most likely to rank at the top of local search, or even be featured in Maps-based results and the “local pack.”

Claim Your Business Listing on All Relevant Review Sites
Once you have planted your flag on Google, do the same on online review sites.
Yelp, TripAdvisor, Citysearch, and Facebook are the recommended places to start with, but make sure you also establish your brand presence on industry-specific review sites and feedback channels, like Zomato (for restaurants), Cars.com, DealerRater (for automotive businesses), and Vitals and Healthgrades (for doctors and healthcare providers).

Look closely at the results for the “best Japanese restaurant in Chicago.” See those organic results just below the local 3-pack?

Page 1 Real Estate

The source of almost every single result, save for one, is an online review website: Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zagat. (Results from Foursquare and Gayot, two sites that also display customer reviews and ratings, have actually been cropped out of the image. But they’re on Page 1, too.)

What isn’t on Page 1 is a list of results sourced from a brand website — or, in this case, the website of any of those Japanese restaurants.

This isn’t to point out certain limitations of on-site optimization or domain authority; it’s to offer a glimpse into how much value and trust search engines place on specific review and ratings websites, at least as far as local, non-branded search queries are concerned.

Simply put, in local search, brands and organizations that perform well on online review sites have an edge over those that don’t.

So, create or claim your business listing on all relevant sites. Your presence on these digital properties lets Google know that your business is an active participant in the local search community it has built.

Ensure NAP and Local Data Consistency

When you’re claiming all those listings, always provide correct, consistent, up-to-date business information. You can’t get your local signals wrong.

Hundreds of SEO experts have written particularly about the importance of NAP (name, address, phone number) consistency. But not all businesses are actually paying attention.

In the US, 37 percent of companies have at least one incorrect or missing name on their listings. 43 percent have at least one incorrect or missing address. And 18 percent are missing their phone numbers.
The estimated cost of wrong local data is $10.3 billion in potential annual sales.
This isn’t to mention the effect it has on local search: if your business information across the Web appears unstable or inconsistent, search engines are less likely to reward you with a high-ranking in local search results.

Add Reviews to Your Website

Online reviews count as dynamic content that can boost your SEO efforts: 800 words of review text, say, can make up as much as 70 percent of fresh content for your page.

Reviews can also boost conversion:

Product page visitors who read and interact with online reviews convert at a 58 percent higher rate than those who don’t.
Shoppers who read and interact with product reviews reflect an increase of 62 percent in revenue per visit.

The average order value increases to 3 percent when shoppers engage with reviews.
Reviews also encourage user interaction and boost shopper confidence: important components of any successful SEO strategy.


That’s why it makes sense to add customer reviews to your website pages. The beauty sector in the US, for example, has already embraced this tactic, with 83 percent of beauty brand websites now incorporating reviews as a regular feature of their pages.

It’s not even necessary for you to spend hours every week manually copying and pasting reviews.

You can simply use a widget. Some review websites — TripAdvisor and Yelp, among others — offer widgets or badges that enable you to display your latest reviews and ratings from those sources on your website.

Third-Party Review Website Snippets

You can also install a plugin, which works great if you have a website powered by WordPress. There’s a wide range of plugins that let you build your own review pages, syndicate customer feedback from other sites, collect star ratings and testimonials, and display review content on your pages. Here are a few options:

WP Customer Reviews
WP Review
WP Product Review
Try to find a solution that enables rich snippets for those reviews and ratings. That way, your review content can stand out in search results, similar to how these ones from TripAdvisor are displayed after a local search query (“hotel reviews in London”):

Example of Rich Snippets

Share Reviews on Social Media

Some will say there’s actually little SEO value in social media marketing. The above-mentioned Moz report even describes social signals as having less impact on local search than reviews.

This doesn’t mean you should stop updating your Facebook or Twitter. After all, it won’t hurt your bottom line to have an active social media presence and a community of engaged fans and followers.

Just don’t treat social as another billboard where you shove your products and services in people’s faces. They’ll be more inclined to click on a link if the content seems trustworthy.

Customer reviews happen to play a major role in fostering trust. According to Forrester, reviews are viewed by consumers as more trustworthy than organic search engine results and promotional posts on social media.

Got a new 5-star review on Yelp, Google, or TripAdvisor? Don’t hesitate to share it. Post a link to the review on Facebook or Twitter. Or grab a screenshot and upload it to Instagram.

Screenshot of Review

Mine Reviews for Research

Online reviews can also be analyzed in ways that allow you to refine your SEO strategy. Bigger companies that receive a lot of feedback, for example, utilize text analytics and sentiment analysis tools to mine their review and feedback data and achieve a more complete and accurate picture of the customer experience.

Reviews can also be particularly useful in researching keywords. Here’s a great example: fashion brands used to insist on calling hoodies “hooded sweatshirts.” But trends showed that shoppers preferred to type “hoodies” — either when they were searching online or writing a review of a hoodie they had already bought.

Using Reviews for Keyword Research

If you’re one such fashion brand, it makes sense to switch to “hoodies” in your product descriptions and catalogs, right? With a simple adjustment, you can improve your search relevance and ranking.

Respond to Reviews and Optimize for Search

Responding to reviews lets customers know you’re listening to their feedback. It’s also a neat trick for creating fresh content that’s typically crawled by search engines — not to mention, a fantastic engagement driver.

According to TripAdvisor research, businesses that respond to reviews enjoy 17 percent higher engagement and are 21 percent more likely to receive booking inquiries. So, while rankings are cool, qualified leads and improved conversion rates are cooler.

You don’t have to respond publicly to every single review, but when you do respond, be nice. Address the customer’s concerns. If the review was full of praise, say thank you.

Don’t forget to add a keyword or two to improve the visibility of the reviews you’re responding to. Here’s a great example of the subtle art of optimizing your review response:

Optimized Review Response

Generate Positive Reviews and Hide Negative feedback

Given the impact of reviews on local search, it’s important to have a strategy for acquiring or generating new reviews.

This can be an e-mail or social media campaign, a customer feedback survey, or an awareness blitz telling people to find and rate you on Google or TripAdvisor.


By generating new reviews, you:

Create more opportunities to increase click-through rates (CTR) through rich snippets for ratings and reviews

Encourage an increase in the crawl frequency of pages where your brand is listed or can be reviewed
Build review quantity, velocity, and diversity (studies show that improvement in these areas correlates with better rankings and higher CTR).

It’s important to know when you should and shouldn’t be aggressive in your efforts to generate customer reviews.

First of all, don’t fake your reviews and give yourself five stars. As search engines evolve and become more sophisticated, they’ll get better at weeding out the fakes. It’s not worth gaming the system.

Secondly, avoid requesting reviews and customer feedback on sites that don’t allow the practice. Yelp, for instance, considers review solicitation a violation of its content guidelines and terms of use.

Thirdly, implement a system that helps you identify who among your customers are happy — and who aren’t. You don’t want to usher in a wave of one-star reviews that could destroy your reputation.

The Net Promoter Score (NPS), for example, offers a proven methodology for grouping people according to how willing they are — on a scale of 0 to 10 — to recommend your business, with 0 being likely and 10 being extremely likely.

If you’re able to tap into your NPS data, you can filter your review generation efforts and reach out only to those who are likely to post positive reviews and feedback. So there would be no “Review us on Google” messages that end up in the hands of dissatisfied customers.


Search engines love online reviews for the simple reason that consumers trust, actively look for, and depend on what their fellow consumers think. It’s fair to assume that Google has assigned increasing value on reviews because that’s what its users look for and click on. And while search tactics will continue to evolve and vary, they will always be grounded in a simple notion: speak the language of your customers and it will do wonders for your search performance and bottom line.

Source:  https://www.searchenginejournal.com/how-to-improve-your-local-search-ranking-using-online-reviews/164501/?ver=164501X3

Categorized in Online Research

Seeking out facts, and even basic information on a topic, is relatively easy. Enter 2 or 3 relevant keywords at your favorite search engine. But going beyond the basic, or conducting investigative research, often means using advanced search commands, not to mention additional or more targeted finding tools. This article examines the first issue - using advanced search commands to manipulate or improve search results.


Word Order Counts. Although not a command, per se, the order in which you enter search terms affects the ranking of the results. Be sure to enter the keyword representing the most important concept first. Witness the difference between the queries, asthma allergy link and link asthma allergy.


To Filter or Not. To reduce the number of results from any single Web site, Google automatically filters matches so that only 1 or 2 from the same source appear. But in intellectual property, or other types of investigative research, you may want to see all the hits from particular sites. Add the command, &filter=0, to the URL Google generates when it displays the search results. See: filtered example and unfiltered example.


Limit Scope to a Web Site. It's unfortunate, but some key Web sites have lousy search engines - or worse, no search engine at all. You can limit the results of a query to just one Web site with the site command (site:). Alternatively, you can use it to limit the scope of the research to a particular top-level domain (site:.gov).


Yahoo enables a refinement of sorts. The command, hostname:, lets you limit the scope of a search to a particular computer name or host. For instance, suppose you want to find the keyword, bites, where it appears within the accidents and injuries section on FindLaw. (I don't mean to imply that FindLaw has a lousy search engine. It does not.) Note how the URL (injury.findlaw.com) for this section reflects a distinct computer name. By using the hostname command, you can eliminate matches from other sections of FindLaw like this: bites hostname:injury.findlaw.com.


Note how the results differ from a query entered like this: bites site:injury.findlaw.com. Using the hostname command is even more limiting than the site command. In this example, it excludes several articles because the URL for these begins with another host name; e.g., usatoday.injury.findlaw.com.


Limit Scope to Part of a URL. To avoid missing potentially relevant information, such as the articles mentioned in the previous paragraph, you could alter the query slightly and use the inurl (inurl:) command. For example, the query, bites site:findlaw.com inurl:injury, finds more than bites hostname:injury.findlaw.com and less than bites site:findlaw.com. Which you use depends on the research issue and how thorough you want to be.



Screenshot 1




Limit Scope to a Type of File. In company research, it's often entertaining, if not enlightening, to limit the scope of a search to certain types of files. I once limited a company search to PowerPoint presentations and found a file the company probably hadn't intended to release.


The command you use depends on the search engine. At Yahoo, its originurlextension: (originurlextension:ppt). At Exalead, Live (Microsoft) and Google, it's filetype: (filetype:ppt). The command is not available at Ask.


Using Cached Pages. Cached pages have lots of uses in research. You might want to examine information as it previously appeared. Or the page you need might not be available. Sometimes you just want to weed out all the bells and whistles to read the matching content. Recently, one corporate security researcher told me she uses cached pages to find information about defunct companies.


For many purposes, you would simply follow the labeled cache page in the search results. But if you are using cached pages as a way to avoid the site's server (concerns about malicious code, workaround network filters), then you want to limit the browsing to the text cache.


As far as I know, Google is the only search engine to enable viewing just the text on a page. To do this, add &strip=1 to the cached page URL. Since the cached page defaults to pulling non-textual elements from the Web site's server, you should activate the command without following the cached link. To do this, right click the cached link, copy and paste the URL into the browser address line, and add &strip=1 to the URL.


Each of the search engines, except for Ask, lets you view caches of certain file types as HTML. For instance, run a query, companyname filetype:ppt. Remember to replace the filetype command with originurlextension: if you use Yahoo. Look for the cached links at Live, the preview links at Exalead, or the view as HTML links at Yahoo or Google. These options let you display the proprietary file type as HTML.


Google lets you display the cache of a particular Web page. Use the cache (cache:) command followed by the URL, like this: cache:http://www.virtualchase.com/index.shtml.


Proximity Searching. Exalead is the only search engine that provides a command (NEAR) for proximity searching. It finds keyword1 within 16 words of keyword2, in any order. For example, to find e-mail addresses at a particular domain, you might search, email NEAR domain.com.


While Exalead provides a familiar command, you can simulate this query at other search engines. Google and Yahoo let you use an asterisk as a wildcard so that the query, email * domain.com, searches for the word, email, within one or more words of the domain name, in that order. (15 October 2007. In the article as originally published, I stated that Ask and Live also support wildcard searches. I should have run more tests. They do not. Credit for the correction goes to search experts Gwen Harris and Greg Notess.)


At Google, you can use any number of asterisks between keywords, but doing so seems to narrow the query. While it's not always precise, 2 asterisks return matches with at least 2 words (not including stop words) between the key terms. See the difference between privacy * pretexting and privacy * * pretexting.


Because this technique is a word order search, don't forget to reverse it if the word order isn't important. For instance, in a search for information about treatments for a medical condition, you might try: treatment * conditionname, and then conditionname * treatment. You could combine the two search statements to run a single query, like this: treatment * dyslexia | dyslexia * treatment. (The vertical bar represents OR at Google.)


Date Searching. For the most part, date searching continues to be a problem because the date the search engines use is a server time stamp. Recently, however, Google added the ability to restrict queries to newly indexed Web pages. This helps somewhat by limiting a query to pages in the index, which Google recently discovered.


To find newly indexed pages, add the command, &as_qdr=qN - where q equals d (days), w (weeks) or y (years) and N equals a number - to the URL for the keyword search results, like this: new (to Google) Web pages on pretexting within the past 15 days.


Searching with Synonyms. In initial research, you might want to conduct trial-and-error queries to discover the keywords that retrieve relevant results. This technique may be especially useful if you are unfamiliar with the topic.


While it's best to use a thesaurus to identify possible synonyms, and then string them together with OR, you can do a quick-and-dirty synonym search at Google by inserting a tilde (~) in front of the search term. For example, the query, teens addictive ~behavior, also finds matches to teens addictive personality. Note that not all keywords will have synonyms at Google. Use of the tilde before teens or addictive, for instance, will not affect the search.


Source:  http://archive.virtualchase.justia.com/articles/advanced_search_commands.html



Categorized in Research Methods

Internet Regulations refers to limiting user’s access to information on the internet. This control on internet information is a highly deliberated topic, and the possibility of internet regulations resulting in internet neutrality has been greatly debated around the world. Forms of Internet regulation include domain registration and IP address control that could lead to censorship of data or media. The purpose of such regulations is to restrict and control certain aspects of information and access to them.

Most of the Internet control is levied by a country’s government when they are concerned with issues relating to censorship, in their effort to protect the best interest of the general public. By imposing such regulations, a governmental agency can track anyone who puts up unacceptable information on the internet.

Advocates and critics of internet regulations present sound arguments for and against such regulations.

People supporting the introduction of internet regulations argue that the best way to continue with the investment and innovation in broadband service is to introduce regulations. President Obama, also a supporter, said that this was necessary to preserve the “free and open internet.” According to the proponents, regulation would discourage the service providers from limiting the speed and access to the customers who pay for their service. This would bring greater equality in the internet usage.

The internet as a community should mirror the society as a whole. While free speech is important, there are certain rules and liabilities applied in a society. These rules and liabilities allowed in society should be replicated in the online community,hence calling for internet regulations. Such parameters can significantly reduce the amount of spam, fake websites, cyber crimes and online theft.

However, historically previous regulations have resulted in slower service, imposed market entry barriers, and suppressed innovation. Such barriers have also introduced price discrimination within the market with the absence of a free market, causing more inequality in the internet usage instead of greater equality. There have even been breakthroughs in the internet without the supervision of the government, therefore it is safe to assume that the innovations will continue. 

Freedom advocates also heavily oppose internet regulations while some others say that it should be regulated in a similar manner to other media, such as TV. TV, for instance should be regulated for children and to protect individual rights. However, with this kind of censorship, an internet user might miss out on information that would be useful to him, and that he intends to use for a productive purpose. This could in turn lead people to resort to unlawful means, and look for loopholes to bypass the censorship.

There are also some users who are particularly concerned about taxes. They believe with a regulatory body, probably the government, watching over the internet, taxes will be introduced. Progressive Policy Institute economists Litan and Singer did a study, in which they concluded that regulation imposed on the internet would result in an average annual increase in taxes between $51 and $83 per household. Users are concerned about taxes especially on the major traffic generating sites such as Wikipedia, Youtube and Facebook. However despite concerns, Kim Hart from FCC has assured that such regulations will not increase any taxes, under the Internet Tax Freedom Act.

Many people are of the view that internet usage will be compromised as a result of controls and regulations. It will not only be more expensive, but also there is a strong possibility that it will be slower. Involvement of increased red tape rarely does any good, and hence in this case as well it might not be beneficial. However, the government has repeatedly assured that this won’t happen, and regulation is better for freer internet and continued innovation. 


Categorized in Internet Ethics

A web browser is a software used to access the internet. It is the link between a user and the internet. A browser fetches the information from the internet, with the help of the URL that we provide, and displays it to the user. Most people are familiar with the “Big Five” in the browser industry: Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Opera. Although each of them have their pros and cons, 95% of the population uses one of these browsers. One may wonder what makes them so popular, when there are many other options available in the market. It is perhaps the ease of use, the easy availability and the fact that most of these are customizable with various add-ons and extensions that have made them so popular amongst the internet users.

People choose a browser that best suits them depending on many factors. When choosing a browser, the user may consider things such as overall experience, compatibility with most websites, the speed or customizability. Each of the major browsers differ slightly in these aspects. If speed and fast search results is your main concern, Chrome is your go-to browser. The fastest browser yet, it continues to improve its speed with every version, though it might lag in convenience and customizability. Latest version of Internet explorer is compatible with Windows PCs is high on customizability; however, it has lost most of its market share to faster browsers. Firefox too is not behind in both aspects: speed and customizability. It has a speed search option as well as a search bar tailored to your preference.

Apart from these obvious choices, you may want to go for one of the non-mainstream browsers that are specialized for a particular task. For frequent online gamers, ‘Coowon is designed with online gaming in mind with multiple windows to log into different game accounts and an option to increase in-game speed. If you are especially concerned with your security and privacy, ‘Whitehat Aviator’ might be something you may want check out. It doesn’t collect any private data, and opens in an Incognito mode by default. There are similar browsers which speed up downloads or have a better organization of data. These alternate browsers don’t have to replace your primary browser but can be used depending on your requirement.

Choosing the best browser depends highly on your personal preferences. From the various options available, each have their distinct advantage. Whether you prefer compatibility over speed, or customization over compatibility, you can find a browser that suit your need. However, you can also have the option of keeping a secondary browser for more specific tasks.


A browser presents the information from the internet. The big five competitors exist in the market due to their speed, compatibility and customizability among other features. Other options for secondary browsers exist as well. Choosing the best depends on your preferences at the end of the day 

Categorized in Internet Technology

Today the use of internet has increased to the extent that every individual and company is employing it to further their business goals. The internet is not only used for research but also for online trading of goods and services, which is a clear indication of the heavy dependence of companies on the internet for their revenue. With this increased reliance, the companies have the need to gain a better understanding of the activities on their websites. For this purpose tools such as ‘Web Analytics’ becomes important.

Web analytics is used to optimize the use of internet and to gain insight into the activity that customers engage in, when they visit a website. It keeps track of the number of visitors, and the amount of time they spent on the website while identifying the new visitors and returning visitors, for marketing purposes. This becomes useful when developing business strategy, especially for those businesses that are increasingly relying on the web for their revenue.

While Web Analytics present a variety of possibilities, and statistics, most of it might be irrelevant. Hence one of the first things you should do is to identify your key stakeholders, and what they are interested in. Recognizing the goals of the board of directors and the company will save you time and trouble of organizing irrelevant data. Also identify the valued customer, i.e. what is preferred most, whether a customer who visits most often or a visitor who stays longer? You should try to maximize the visitor’s experience, by understanding what he seeks when he visits your website.

Web Analytic Basics

After outlining the principle goals, identify the critical metrics needed. What are the signals that indicate the utility of a customer, and where do the gaps exist? How can we encourage consumers to sign up or make a purchase? After such metrics are identified, your task becomes relatively simple. You don’t need to go through the vast amounts of data and ratios. Instead you could do a targeted analysis of the metrics you have singled out, and prepare a presentation or report on the relevant statistics.

Understanding the basics of Web Analytics is the first task to utilizing it optimally. It may seem like a daunting task initially, but in reality there are just a few simple steps you need to follow.

You can start by taking a look at the basic figures given in the summary. The summary is available in any Analytics tool which includes the number of visits, bounce rate, average time on site etc. You should understand what they represent. See how they compare the recent trends, i.e. how the numbers of visitors, average number of pages visited and other statistics compared to last few weeks, or last month.

You should also have an understanding of where the traffic is generated from. Apart from direct traffic, i.e. the people who visit the website by typing in the URL, there are two major external sources that can guide traffic to your website; i.e referring URLs and search engines. You should take a look at the figures to see how much is contributed by the direct traffic; the people who know your website enough to know its URL, and from the external sources; the referring URLs.

Again the key is to look for trends and see which traffic generating source has grown the most, and which is lagging behind. You can try to identify keywords that become the source of most traffic generation, or keywords that direct traffic from Search Engines.

Since the homepage is not always the first page a visitor encounters when they visit your website, it is important that you see the individual bounce rates for each of the entry points. A visitor may click on a link to your website, and go deep into your website, instead of visiting the homepage first. You should identify the pages that are the top entry points, and analyse which of them are engaging enough for a visitor to want to browse more. Keep an eye out for pages with a high bounce rate, since those pages are not convincing the visitors to stay and browse more. This could be because those pages may not be fulfilling the consumer expectations.

After following these steps, by now, you should have narrowed down focus areas (pages and keywords) for you to concentrate on when tweaking your website to generate more activity and attract new and old visitors. Web Analytics is best employed when it is used for constant improvement of the customer experience on your website. However, from the range of Web Analytics tools available, choosing the best one might be a daunting task.

Types of Web Analytics

According to user reviews, Google Analytics seems to be the popular choice. It offers a sophisticated data integration free of cost, and hence is a great option for starters. Yahoo Web Analytics also follows closely. A bit of an upgrade from Google Analytics, it gives bit more insight into consumer behavior and demographics. Clicky is also undoubtedly one of the best, with an affordable price, and a more current report than Google and Yahoo. Clicky allows you to view what current users are doing on your website. Though many more options exist, the choice of the best tool depends on your requirement and budget.

Although Web Analytics is a breakthrough in conducting business online, use of the right criteria, data and tools is imperative to employ it successfully. Effective use of web analytics requires identifying the stakeholders, identifying the valued customers, and thereby identifying the relevant metrics. Also we should keep in mind our specific needs and budget while choosing the best tool available.


To use web analytics, we should identify the stakeholders and the valued customers, and hence identify the relevant metrics. Also while choosing the best tool available we should keep in mind our specific needs and budget.


Categorized in Internet Technology

Our Ethics Code distinguishes between our professional and our private lives. The code's second paragraph in the "Introduction and Applicability" section states, "This Ethics Code applies only to psychologists' activities that are part of their scientific, educational, or professional roles as psychologists .... These activities shall be distinguished from the purely private conduct of psychologists, which is not within the purview of the Ethics Code."

The Internet is providing ample opportunity to reflect on the relationship between the private and the professional by making available in the public domain what has customarily been considered private conduct. When information moves from the private to the public domain, there is an increased likelihood of its having an effect on our professional lives.

Psychology, of course, is not the only profession confronting this issue. An April 28 article in The Washington Post, "When Young Teachers Go Wild on the Web," discussed how school districts are assessing the propriety of their 20-something teachers' Web site profiles. Changes in how we experience the private/public distinction brought about by technology carry with them profound ethical implications for the profession and raise vexing questions for both psychology and society. For example:

  • How do we define "private" in the age of the Internet?

  • How do we assess the impact of events in one's personal life on one's work-related activities?

  • Does the availability of so much information place us at greater risk for confusing personal value judgments with assessments of professional competence?

I shall not attempt to answer any of these questions.

Language quoted above from the Ethics Code suggests there is a clear demarcation between private and professional behavior. We live in an age, however, when within the span of seconds a point and a click with a cell-phone camera can render public what would almost certainly have remained private just a short time ago. In the space of a few years, the realm of what is private has receded significantly with a corresponding expansion in the domain of what is public. Moreover, what becomes public on the Internet may remain available for a very long time.

Such a profound shift can be examined on multiple levels and it would not be surprising if evidence even on the neuronal level reflected a shift in the balance between the public and the private spheres. The shift challenges us to reflect on the implications for our professional lives: So much that had been confined to our private lives is now potentially disclosed and available to colleagues and others with whom we work. Another challenge is to explore how well we--at all stages of professional development--truly appreciate the extent to which the Internet makes our personal lives publicly available. It will be interesting and informative to see data regarding what percentage of our patients and clients seek personal, nonwork-related information about us on the Internet.

The concept of distinguishing between two separate aspects of a psychologist's life is found in other parts of the Ethics Code. For example, as the "Introduction and Applicability" section of the Ethics Code contrasts "private" with "professional," so Ethical Standard 2.06 contrasts "personal" with "work-related":

2.06 Personal Problems and Conflicts

(a) Psychologists refrain from initiating an activity when they know or should know that there is a substantial likelihood that their personal problems will prevent them from performing their work-related activities in a competent manner.

(b) When psychologists become aware of personal problems that may interfere with their performing work-related duties adequately, they take appropriate measures, such as obtaining professional consultation or assistance, and determine whether they should limit, suspend, or terminate their work-related duties.

Defining "personal" in the age of the Internet, like defining "private," is a significant challenge. One possible definition of "personal" for the purposes of the Ethics Code would be "taking place outside of a context or relationship related to work." Ethical Standard 2.06 focuses us on how challenges in our personal lives, for example substance abuse or a depression, can impair our abilities to function competently. Read more broadly, Standard 2.06 also highlights how our personal lives inevitably intersect our work lives.

A divorce and ensuing custody dispute, the death of a loved one, one's own or an adult child's wedding or commitment ceremony are all events that are deeply felt and that may intersect with similar events in the lives of our patients or clients. That intersection can become more complex, not always in a detrimental manner, as the information becomes available to our patients and clients. Again, research on how the Internet is narrowing the gap--or perhaps blurring the distinction--between our personal and our work-related lives will be interesting and instructive and will certainly have clinical implications.

Information about us is increasingly available by virtue of the Internet. The availability of more information to us likewise raises complex ethical questions. An earlier "Ethics Rounds" column (www.apa.org/monitor/jan07/ethics.html) offered a discussion vignette in which the director of a clinical training program, Dr. Net, struggles with whether and how to talk with his trainees about personal information they are posting on the Internet regarding their dating lives, as well as about their involvement in online chat rooms. Dr. Net wants to make the interns aware of how these activities may affect their work, but is also concerned about being unduly intrusive into their private lives. While most training faculty would agree that it would be highly appropriate for Dr. Net to have this conversation with the trainees on a theoretical level, there is likely far less agreement about how actively faculty should search for information about trainees and training applicants on the Internet or how information that comes to a faculty's attention by way of third parties should be handled. Many private sector companies conduct Internet searches before making job offers. There does not appear to be a similar consensus in psychology.

Arguments on each side of this discussion are compelling. On one hand, more rather than less data is generally better; psychologists are trained to assess the usefulness of data for a given purpose; information on the Internet is publicly available information, no less so than what is posted on the bulletin board of a local coffee shop or supermarket; and Internet searches may be developing into the standard of practice in the private sector. On the other hand, acting upon information that a trainee or applicant has not provided to a program may be inconsistent with a respect for that individual's privacy and autonomy; information on the Internet is notoriously unreliable; and there is a "slippery slope" to seeking and relying on such information that risks turning psychologists into private investigators.

Our values and our view of the relationship between the personal and the professional will be central to these discussions. Over the past several years, APA's Ethics Office has been asked about applicants or trainees who have engaged in activities such as exotic dancing or a naturist lifestyle, which have come to a faculty's attention through the Internet. We are at a moment in our history when technology is highlighting issues that have been present in a much less dramatic form, much like a wave raises the height and energy level of the water's surface and thereby calls part of the sea to our attention.

The lens of culture may prove helpful in our thinking about this issue, in terms of how different generations view their relationship to the Internet and what information they choose to make available as a consequence. Culture is also important in terms of how our values play a role in reacting to and assessing information about our present and future colleagues that is now in a public forum and, even 10 years ago, would almost certainly have remained purely private. Ethics, values, culture and competence will therefore be central to our ongoing discussions about psychology and the Internet. 

Source: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2008/07-08/ethics.aspx 

Categorized in Internet Ethics


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