Tag Archives: search

Work

Six things to look for to improve your website’s SEO

Search remains key to the success of any website. Get on the front page of Google search results for the key search terms for your business, and things start to fall into place. But there’s a lot of nonsense spoken about it by those selling search engine optimisation services (SEO).

The truth is that when you, or your developers, are building your company website, if you keep an eye on these issues, you won’t go far wrong. And if this seems a bit techy, then use it as a cheat sheet to keep your web builders on their toes.

The things you need to think about to keep your website visible in search are:

 

Content
Content is king. It signals a page’s relevance to crawlers (the term given to the process by which Google investigates your page), allowing them to understand what the site is about and what keywords it should be ranking for in search engine results pages (SERPs). Unique body copy for every page is essential.

 

Site performance
The speed and weight of a site can impact heavily on the quality of experience for users and crawlers. Search engine crawlers won’t have time to crawl an entire site if it’s slow, limiting its performance in SERPs and scoring it badly for user experience.

 

Crawler efficiency
You want crawlers to be able to reach all of your pages and gain as much context from the content as possible, in order to position it well in SERPs. Maximising their efficiency when crawling your site is crucial.

See also: The step-by-step guide to making Google love your school website

User experience
Search engine crawlers increasingly attempt to recreate human user behaviour when assessing websites. In order to rank well, sites need to demonstrate logical and engaging usability.

 

Inbound links
Inbound links are still one of the dominant SEO factors influencing a website’s rankings. The quantity and quality of these links are equally significant and can help provide a good idea of your site’s SEO performance.

 

Visibility footprint
An initial look at where your site is currently ranking for keywords/themes found on your website and in its industry space.

 

Get all those right, and you’re well on the way.

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Education

6 Kid-friendly search engines for the classroom and home

Search: that thing you do when you need to know something. Years ago, we may have asked questions or looked in books for answers, but now, we turn to the web. The internet may be a wealth of information, but we all know that not all information available on the web is appropriate for all ages – even when you’re searching for something innocent and legitimate.
For search, Google may still be king, but how can you ensure that your students are only going to find kid-friendly search results? Even if sometimes the site content is “safe”, advertisements may not be. Luckily, there are a number of different search engines available that were designed with kids in mind.
In the handy infographic below, you’ll find six different search engines for kids. Depending on the task at hand, these search engines may not find older students all the information they need, due to some of the filters applied, so you’ll find that these are most appropriate for kids up to middle school aged. You’ll notice most of them are pretty similar, so it’s more about finding the one you like than about features.
Do you have some favorite kid-friendly search engines that you use in your classroom or at home? Share with the Daily Genius community by leaving a comment below, heading over to our  and giving us a shout there, or dropping us a line on Twitter.

6 Kid-friendly search engines for the classroom and home

Kidzsearch
Kidzsearch is basically a site that runs a ‘custom’ Google search, and only returns “strict” results. While that in and of itself isn’t super special, it saves you and your students from having to set up custom searches in Google and instead is a totally separate website, so the students won’t be tempted to search other channels or use less safe settings.
KidRex
KidRex is also another custom Google search, returning “strict” results. It emphasizes kid-centric content and has a super cute design to boot.
Kidtopia
Kidtopia: Yes, it’s another custom Google search web page (are you seeing the theme here?), but this one additionally offers some subject-based browsing ability. For example, you can head over to “Science and Technology” and then “Human Body” to find some videos on the human body along with the search bar and some related links to resources curated by the folks at Kidtopia.
Teach the Children Well
Teach the Children Well is a collection of links to sites carefully selected by a teacher
for students as well as their parents and teachers. Users can browse by topic or use a custom Google search that returns “strict” results.
GoGooligans
GoGooligans is designed for younger students, and functions as a custom Google search returning “strict” results. The makers of this site also offer a version for slightly older students as well, as well as the ability to view “student” results and “teacher” results (both are filtered).
KidsClick
KidsClick is an annotated searchable directory of websites created for kids by librarians. Searchable by subject, reading level and degree of picture content. We think you’ll find this one particularly useful for the younger students.
6-Kids-Safe-Search-Engines-Infographic
 
Featured image via Flickr

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Education

4 Ways to Reverse Image Search on Your Phone

A couple of years back, Google introduced Reverse Image Search, allowing users to search for information with an image rather than words. This was great news for anyone who has ever wanted to know details of a particular picture or item that they’ve found online (or taken a photo of!), but the feature has been limited to desktop use. The feature to reverse image search was only available on the desktop edition of Google Image Search. While Google’s own search app offers an image search, we’ve found it to be slow and inefficient – simply not the best tool for the job.
Since so many folks use mobile devices to access the internet, desktop-only access was a bummer to many. Luckily, a number of developers thought so too, and now there is a selection of apps and web services available that allow you to reverse image search from your mobile device. Reverse image search is a great way for students to discover more information about the images they have, and you can create a variety of classroom tasks centered around searching for information with images. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite tools below. If you have a favorite tool that we haven’t included, let us know! Share with the Daily Genius community by leaving a comment below, dropping us a line on Twitter, or heading over to the Daily Genius Facebook Page and leaving us a note there.

4 Ways to Reverse Image Search on Your Phone

From your mobile browser: Tech guru Amit Agarwal has put his skills to work making a wrapper for Google’s tool that works on mobile browsers. First, ensure that you’ve saved the photo you want to search with to the Galley on Android or to Photos on your iOS device. Simply point your browser here, click the ‘Select Image’ button, and upload the photo you want to search with. Click ‘Search’, and voilà. The developer, Agarwal, says that the tool doesn’t share any information with other apps, so you don’t need to worry about student privacy.
Google Goggles
Goggles is a free Android App from Google that not only allows users to reverse image search, but can also search text in multiple languages and functions as a QR code reader. As a free app, it offers a lot of bang for your (non!) buck in the classroom.
Veracity
Veracity is a free iOS app that allows users to upload photos from the Camera Roll or Dropbox and search to find the original source of the photo online, as well as information about the image. The app offers a simple and easy to use interface, and offers a clipboard where you can save images to search.
Blippar
Blippar is already a popular app for classrooms, and while it may not be the focus of the tool, it offers the ability to search for information based on an image. We’ve talked about this awesome augmented-reality app before, and a simple reverse image search is really an overly simplified version of what it can do. Blippar can trigger videos by scanning the photo, and students can be challenged with associated quizzes, animations, and follow-up reading.
 

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Work

Declara could very well become the ‘Google of learning’

It’s not often that I come across truly innovative ideas that make you say ‘well if they can deliver on at least half of that, they’re going to change the world.’

Declara is one of those ideas. It’s got big goals and some innovative ways to help you learn. What’s better than that?

how-declara-works-1024x237

So what is Declara?

declara-logo-big-300x85It’s essentially a search engine for learning. But before you say ‘we already have Google for that, Jeff!’ read on. Declara is promising to be a novel way to discover and store your knowledge. This is done through what they’re calling the CognitiveGraph® which “makes individual and organizational learning easier and faster through a powerful search and recommendations engine.”

But what does this really mean? We don’t yet know. The tool is not yet released but you can pre-register here.

What should I expect?

From what I can glean from the site so far, it’s positioning itself as a tool for enterprises and businesses. In other words, they’re looking not at advertising to users for their financial viability. This is great news for those in the education world who are unable to truly use many paid or advertising-based apps and web tools.

Declara has been raising heaps of money and is poised to deliver on its promise of next generation social learning. Co-founders Ramona Pierson and Nelson González explain why this matters:

“At Declara we understand that personal and professional development are lifelong pursuits, and we are delivering technology to enable people everywhere, at every stage of their lives, to learn and grow. We recognize an expansive opportunity to help companies and people come together to collaborate, learn, and innovate.” -Ramona Pierson

declare-wallpaper-300x149While it remains to be seen how Declara will be adopted by educators, students, and everyone else, it’s hard to not get excited by what Pierson and González are describing.

“With Declara, we’ve built an intelligent social learning platform that combines collaboration, intuitive search, and deep analytics, powered by an extremely innovative user interface to help organizations work smarter.” -Nelson González

Investors include GSV Capital, EDBI, Data Collective, Founders Fund, Catamount Ventures, and Susa Ventures.

So, could it be the future of professional development or personalized learning?

Only time will tell. There is a lot of money, expertise, and enthusiasm behind Declara and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it used by more and more schools and businesses very soon.

For now, pre-register to stay in the loop and watch the video. See you in the future!

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Education

The surprising role social media plays in the college search process

What a world we live in. You can’t swing a high school diploma without hitting someone talking about how much today’s students are using social media. I believe most blogs even go so far as to say students are addicted to social media. So it’d be a natural idea to think that prospective students choose their university based on social media interactions. Right?
Not so fast.
A new survey from Eduventures polled more than 10,000 prospective students about the college search process. As you can see in the below tweet, social media is at the bottom of the list. I’m quite surprised by this to be honest. I definitely thought the ‘school website’ would be at the top but wouldn’t have thought the online school comparison sites to be the second biggest tool. Perhaps it’s because they’re easier to find while doing some online research and relatively easy to use? No matter. I just found it interesting – do you?
Would you have expected a bigger or smaller role played by social media? I figured it’d be much higher – not the top of the list to be sure – but at least a few spots above where it currently sits.
university application process

Advice For College Admissions Offices

A great note to all you admissions offices and school marketing departments – don’t rely on social media as much as you think. Spend your time creating a great school website, a good Google search presence, and some beautiful brochures (preferably interactive online ones!) to share with your prospective students.
As someone who previously worked in a university’s admissions office, I know how much work it takes to do any single one of those things I just listed – so be sure to focus on the top part of this list rather than the bottom since all items are very time-consuming!

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Education

How to use Google tools in Project-Based Learning

When you think about some of the key features of Project-Based Learning (PBL), what do you think of? PBL should be student-driven, with a real-world connection. It should be core to learning, include structured collaboration, and have a multifaceted assessment. Giving students a real problem to solve, getting them engaged in their work, having them work with others, and assessing their work with more than just a grade sounds a lot  like how many things in the ‘real world’ work, doesn’t it? After all, aren’t we trying to prepare students for the world after school?
Many of the tech tools used in classrooms are made especially for classrooms. This is a great thing in many ways, but if you can integrate tools that students will also encounter in the real world, that should be considered a bonus, too. So why not dig deep into your awesome Google Toolbox and build your project based learning tasks to use these tools? On top of being things your students will likely use once they’re out of school, they’re free, they integrate seamlessly with one another, and you likely already use at least some of them. If you think this is a smart idea, but aren’t sure where and how you can implement some of the tools, take a gander at our handy graphic below. And as always, if you have awesome ideas you think we should include, give us a holler! Drop us a line in the comments below,mention @DailyGenius on Twitter, or head over to the Daily Genius Facebook page and say hello there!

Google tools and project based learning

Planning:

Where do you start when deciding on a project your students will spend significant time on, have some say in, that will address a number of learning goals and be meaningful and relevant? Start with what most people know Google for: Search. Whether you’re exploring current events, looking back on history, or seeing what’s popular around the globe, you’ll be able to find it with Google.

Inquiry:

Once you’ve decided what the students will be focusing on, they’ll need more information on the topic. Google’s general search is a great place to start, but there are a number of other more specific tools that can help them both become better searchers and narrow down their searches a bit.

Connecting and Collaborating: 

As a part of their work, students will likely need to connect with others – with collaborators in the classroom and with folks around the globe that can help them learn about what they need to know.

Student Voice:

An integral part of PBL is students having a voice in their work. When you need to get feedback from your students, put Google Forms to work for you. You can pose specific questions and pool the answers. Alternatively, creating a Site for your class can allow for a collaborative online space. A discussion forum using Groups can keep everyone in the loop and give everyone a voice.

Sharing, Presenting, Feedback, and Assessment:

PBL encourages sharing work and getting feedback that is more meaningful than just a grade. Students will be sharing their work with more than just the teacher or the rest of their class. They can build websites, create photos, videos, maps or multimedia presentations. With many of these tools, the ‘showing’ doesn’t need to be static. The documents and products can continually evolve along with the project over time.

Google Tools and PBL (Conflict Copy) (1)

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Education Work

How your Google Images search may someday work

If you’re a fan of search engine optimization (SEO), run a blog, have a website, or use the Internet at all, then listen up. The folks at Google are endeavoring to integrate an incredible new way to help you find and be found online using images.

Basically, a recent competition called the ImageNet Large-Scale Visual Recognition Challenge (ILSVRC) has brought us a whole new way of viewing (literally) images online. Done through a variety of next-generation algorithms and computer programming, there’s a whole new way Google may index your website’s images.

How Your Website Images Currently Work

Here’s how it probably works for you, more or less. You write a blog post or need to update an image on your website. You go to a search engine for images like Google Images or Flickr and then punch in your keywords and do some filtering and scrolling. You find an image, do some adjustments if needed, add it to your site, source it, and publish it. The image you found is certainly good enough and makes sense for your needs. Job well done, right?

See Also: 10 tips for getting started with Google Classroom

But what if you could actually find dozens of high-quality and highly relevant images for your website? What if that unlocked a few more ideas for future blog posts or put you in touch with another website that is right up your alley? Well, that’s the idea behind the future of Google Images search.

How Google Images Search May Someday Work

The goal of the projects at this competition? To push “beyond annotating an image with a bag of labels” and figure out a way to make image search results as relevant as possible. What’s this mean for SEO and how you’re going to be uploading images? Well, it actually means a bit less work for you. That’s because Google is going to potentially do the work for you. The mega-computers at the Googleplex will crawl, analyze, and automatically catalog the contents of your image rather than relying on whatever data you provide. This is great news for people who have been sorta gaming the ‘image search’ system by mislabeling images or adding a pantload of keywords to images in order to get them found easier.

Here’s a few examples of how Google will view your pictures, according to the work done at the ILSVRC:

About The New Technology

This technology is not yet integrated or live on Google just yet (I don’t think) but it’s easy to see why it could be useful for the Images search functionality. Here’s a bit more about the geekier side of things courtesy of the official Google blog:

This work was a concerted effort by Wei Liu, Yangqing Jia, Pierre Sermanet, Scott Reed, Drago Anguelov, Dumitru Erhan, Andrew Rabinovich and myself. Two of the team members — Wei Liu and Scott Reed — are PhD students who are a part of the intern program here at Google, and actively participated in the work leading to the submissions. Without their dedication the team could not have won the detection challenge.

These technological advances will enable even better image understanding on our side and the progress is directly transferable to Google products such as photo search, image search, YouTube, self-driving cars, and any place where it is useful to understand what is in an image as well as where things are.

I look forward to seeing if and when this tech gets used on a global scale. It’ll be very interesting to see how search results change!

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Education

How Google search works (Google's official visual guide)

If you’re into search engine optimization (SEO), love building websites, or simply use Google a lot, then this guide is for you. It’s Google’s official visual guide, albeit a basic one, to how a typical Google search works. The guide comes in the form of an interactive scrolling visual that you can see here. It’s also embedded below so you can just start scrolling to your heart’s content.
So, how does a Google search actually work?
Great question! In order to answer that, it’s important to understand how Google itself works. You need to know how it indexes sites, how it fights webspam, who is doing what, and more. Basically, there are a lot of things to know including:

  • How the Google algorithm works and how it changes (well, that’s a secret really but they do share some details from time to time)
  • How Google views and fights webspam (it notifies site owners who can either take action or not)
  • How big is the entire Google index (about 100 million gigabytes and growing all the time!)
  • How many searches are done every second (way more than you think!)

This graphic is an incredibly basic look into how Google searches and the entire search process works. As you can imagine, it’s extremely complicated and there’s a reason Google has hundreds of employees working every day on refining and perfecting the search process and algorithm.
visual guide to google search

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Education

What we think about people (according to Google autocomplete)

Everyone is different. There are a ton of wonderful variations that make humanity so fabulous. But there are a lot of thoughts we have about other cultures. Thoughts that are only shared with our most intimate friend: the Google search engine.
Google is always listening and writing down what you’re saying, mind you.
You can see what people are asking Google by simply asking similar questions. Google attempts to finish your question using the ‘autocomplete’ functionality by using previous search requests by your fellow humans.
What follows is a look at what people most commonly search for when looking for certain cultures and people. According to Google autocomplete, that is.
It’s fascinating.
google autocomplete guide
Source: The Visual Communication Guy

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