Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Why SEO is important?

Why SEO is important?

Search engine optimization is nowadays more important than ever and it is necessary for every web master to understand the true meaning of SEO as well as the potential it creates for every business.

What is SEO?
Search engine optimization or SEO in short, is a set of rules that can be followed by web site (or blog) owners to optimize their web sites for search engines and thus improve their search engine rankings.
In addition it is also a great way to increase the quality of their web sites by making them user- friendly, faster and easier to navigate. SEO can also be considered as a framework since the whole process has a number of rules (or guidelines), a number of stages and a set of controls.

Why is SEO important?
In today’s competitive market SEO is more important than ever. Search engines serve millions of users per day looking for answers to their questions or for solutions to their problems.  If you have a web site, blog or online store, SEO can help your business grow and meet the business objectives.
Search engine optimization is essential because:
  • The majority of search engines users are more likely to choose one of the top 5 suggestions in the results page so to take advantage of this and gain visitors to your web site or customers to your on-line store you need to rank as higher as possible.
  • SEO is not only about search engines but good SEO practices improve the user experience and usability of a web site.
  • User’s trust search engines and having a presence in the top positions for the keywords the user is searching increases the web site’s trust.
  • SEO is also good for the social promotion of your web site. People who find your web site by searching Google or Yahoo are more likely to promote it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or other social media channels.
  • SEO is also important for the smooth running of a big web site. Web sites with more than one author can benefit from SEO in a direct and indirect way. Their direct benefit is increase in search engine traffic and their indirect benefit is having a common framework (checklists) to use before publishing content on the site.
  • SEO can put you ahead of the competition. If two web sites are selling the same thing, the search engine optimized web site is more likely to have more customers and make more sales.
An introduction to SEO for beginners
For beginners to SEO the above definition may sound complicated so in simpler terms Search Engine Optimization is a way to improve your web site so that it will appear closer to the top positions in the search results of Google, Yahoo, Bing

When you perform a search on Google (or any other search engine) the order by which the returning results are displayed, is based on complex algorithms. These algorithms take a number of factors into account to decide which web site (or blog) should be shown in the first place, second place etc.

Optimizing your web site for search engines will give you an advantage over non-optimized sites and you increase your chances to rank higher.

What are the main stages of the Search Engine Optimization process?
As I mentioned above, SEO is not a static process but rather a framework with rules and processes. For simplicity though SEO can be broken down into 2 main stages:

On-site SEO: What rules to apply on your site to make it search engine friendly
Off-site SEO: How to promote your web site or blog so that it can rank better in search results.

On-site SEO
In my search engine optimization tips for beginners article I have explained with examples the 15 most important rules for on-site SEO. These are simple tweaks you can do to your web site and increase your search engine visibility. If followed correctly these 15 SEO tips will also increase the usability and credibility of your web site or blog.
In addition to the above guidelines the structure of a web site is also very important for SEO purposes. You can read about the essential components of an optimised web site.  Which pages should not be missing from your web site, what is a high quality site and why the navigation and URL structure is vital for good SEO?
If you seriously take into account these 2 factors i.e. web site structure and the seo tips, then that’s all you need to do to help search engines trust your web site. There is no need to spend more time than needed with on-site SEO neither you should over optimize your web site or blog because it can sometimes (under certain conditions) generate the opposite results.

Off-site SEO
Besides the changes you can do to your web site (on-site SEO) so that it ranks higher in the SERPs, the other way to improve your web site’s ranking position is by using off-site SEO techniques.

Off-site SEO is generally known as link building but I prefer to use the term web site promotion since a proper way to promote a web site involves much more methods and techniques than building links.

In general, search engines are trying to find the most important pages of the web and show those first when a user enters a search query. One of the factors to determine the position a web page will appear in the results is the number of incoming links.
Incoming links are a signal of trust and depending from where the links are coming, they can greatly affect your ranking position (either positively if the links are coming from well-known and trusted sites or negatively if they are paid links, article directories, link farms etc.).

What can you do to get more links?

That’s a very good question and I am sure that if you search the Internet for that phrase you will get hundreds of different answers. In my opinion, and this is what I will try to explain in this web site, you should forget about building links and concentrate on creating good quality content for your web site.
Good content will get you natural links which in turn will give you good rankings and traffic. If you try to buy links or get them the easy way (read this: Guest posting for links), you may have a temporary success and then see your web site disappearing from the top pages after the next Google update.

What is the difference of SEO and Internet marketing?
Some people often ask me “Is SEO the same as Internet Marketing?” The simplest answer I can give is that SEO is one of the tools available in your Internet Marketing arsenal. It is not Internet Marketing as such but it can be part of your overall Internet Marketing campaign which normally includes other things like social media promotion, content strategy etc.

Good content is still the most important success factor with or without SEO
Before closing this introduction to search engine optimization you must have very clear in your mind that SEO cannot help you if you don’t have good content.
In other words if you try to SEO a web site with not very good content your chances of succeeding (in the long term) are minimum. On the other hand a web site with good content can do well with or without SEO. SEO will just give the web site an extra boost.

SEO is a must for every web property
To sum it up, Search engine optimization or SEO is a way to optimize your web site so that search engines will understand it better and give you higher rankings. It is important since a good SEO approach can drive more traffic to your web site, blog or on-line store and gain more customers, make sales and fulfil your business purpose.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Is Artificial intelligence a threat to human kind?

Is Artificial intelligence a threat to human kind?

Discussions about Artificial Intelligence (AI) have jumped into the public eye over the past year, with several luminaries speaking publicly about the threat of AI to the future of humanity.

Over the last several decades, AIcomputing methods for automated perception, learning, understanding, and reasoninghave become commonplace in our lives. We plan trips using GPS systems that rely on AI to cut through the complexity of millions of routes to find the best one to take. Our smartphones understand our speech, and Siri, Cortana, and Google Now are getting better at understanding our intentions. AI algorithms detect faces as we take pictures with our phones and recognize the faces of individual people when we post those pictures to Facebook. Internet search engines, such as Google and Bing, rely on a fabric of AI subsystems. On any day, AI provides hundreds of millions of people with search results, traffic predictions, and recommendations about books and movies. AI translates among languages in real time and speeds up the operation of our laptops by guessing what we’ll do next. Several companies, such as Google, BMW, and Tesla, are working on cars that can drive themselveseither with partial human oversight or entirely autonomously. And they are taking help of robots to assemble car parts, this has reduced their assembling cost but has increased threat to mankind like happened just two days before where an assembling robot in VOLKSWAGON killed a technician without a purpose. Now nobody can be blamed for this.
Beyond the influences in our daily lives, AI techniques are playing a major role in science and medicine. AI is at work in hospitals helping physicians understand which patients are at highest risk for complications, and AI algorithms are helping to find important needles in massive data haystacks. For example, AI methods have been employed recently to discover subtle interactions between medications that put patients at risk for serious side effects.

The growth of the effectiveness and ubiquity of AI methods has also stimulated thinking about the potential risks associated with advances of AI. Some comments raise the possibility of dystopian futures where AI systems become “superintelligent” and threaten the survival of humanity. It’s natural that new technologies may trigger exciting new capabilities and applicationsand also generate new anxieties.

The mission of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence is two-fold: to advance the science and technology of artificial intelligence and to promote its responsible use. The AAAI considers the potential risks of AI technology to be an important arena for investment, reflection, and activity.

One set of risks stems from programming errors in AI software. We are all familiar with errors in ordinary software. For example, apps on our smartphones sometimes crash. Major software projects, such as HealthCare.Gov, are sometimes riddled with bugs. Moving beyond nuisances and delays, some software errors have been linked to extremely costly outcomes and deaths. The study of the “verification” of the behavior of software systems is challenging and critical, and much progress has been made. However, the growing complexity of AI systems and their enlistment in high-stakes roles, such as controlling automobiles, surgical robots, and weapons systems, means that we must redouble our efforts in software quality.

There is reason for optimism. Many non-AI software systems have been developed and validated to achieve high degrees of quality assurance. For example, the software in autopilot systems and spacecraft systems is carefully tested and validated. Similar practices must be developed and applied to AI systems. One technical challenge is to guarantee that systems built automatically via statistical “machine learning” methods behave properly. Another challenge is to ensure good behavior when an AI system encounters unforeseen situations. Our automated vehicles, home robots, and intelligent cloud services must perform well even when they receive surprising or confusing inputs.

A second set of risks is cyberattacks: criminals and adversaries are continually attacking our computers with viruses and other forms of malware. AI algorithms are no different from other software in terms of their vulnerability to cyberattack. But because AI algorithms are being asked to make high-stakes decisions, such as driving cars and controlling robots, the impact of successful cyberattacks on AI systems could be much more devastating than attacks in the past. US Government funding agencies and corporations are supporting a wide range of cybersecurity research projects, and artificial intelligence techniques in themselves will provide novel methods for detecting and defending against cyberattacks. Before we put AI algorithms in control of high-stakes decisions, we must be much more confident that these systems can survive large scale cyberattacks.

A third set of risks echo the tale of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Suppose we tell a self-driving car to “get us to the airport as quickly as possible!” Would the autonomous driving system put the pedal to the metal and drive at 300 mph while running over pedestrians? Troubling scenarios of this form have appeared recently in the press. Other fears center on the prospect of out-of-control superintelligences that threaten the survival of humanity. All of these examples refer to cases where humans have failed to correctly instruct the AI algorithm in how it should behave.

This is not a new problem. An important aspect of any AI system that interacts with people is that it must reason about what people intend rather than carrying out commands in a literal manner. An AI system should not only act on a set of rules that it is instructed to obeyit must also analyze and understand whether the behavior that a human is requesting is likely to be judged as “normal” or “reasonable” by most people. It should also be continuously monitoring itself to detect abnormal internal behaviors, which might signal bugs, cyberattacks, or failures in its understanding of its actions. In addition to relying on internal mechanisms to ensure proper behavior, AI systems need to have the capabilityand responsibilityof working with people to obtain feedback and guidance. They must know when to stop and “ask for directions”and always be open for feedback.
Some of the most exciting opportunities ahead for AI bring together the complementary talents of people and computing systems. AI-enabled devices are allowing the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and the disabled and elderly to walk, run, and even dance. People working together with the Foldit online game were able to discover the structure of the virus that causes AIDS in only three weeks, a feat that neither people nor computers working alone could come close to matching. Other studies have shown how the massive space of galaxies can be explored hand-in-hand by people and machines, where the tireless AI astronomer understands when it needs to occasionally reach out and tap the expertise of human astronomers.
In reality, creating real-time control systems where control needs to shift rapidly and fluidly between people and AI algorithms is difficult. Some airline accidents occurred when pilots took over from the autopilots. The problem is that unless the human operator has been paying very close attention, he or she will lack a detailed understanding of the current situation.

AI doomsday scenarios belong more in the realm of science fiction than science fact. However, we still have a great deal of work to do to address the concerns and risks afoot with our growing reliance on AI systems. Each of the three important risks outlined above (programming errors, cyberattacks, “Sorcerer’s Apprentice”) is being addressed by current research, but greater efforts are needed.

We urge our colleagues in industry and academia to join us in identifying and studying these risks and in finding solutions to addressing them, and we call on government funding agencies and philanthropic initiatives to support this research. We urge the technology industry to devote even more attention to software quality and cybersecurity as we increasingly rely on AI in safety-critical functions. And we must not put AI algorithms in control of potentially-dangerous systems until we can provide a high degree of assurance that they will behave safely and properly.