SEO mantra for genuine search engine success

It’ll be a cold day in hell, if they stop generating articles after articles on SEO by the minute. Much has been said and it has been put to some great use. The advice I come across most often is to write for the real user! As searchenginewatch.com explains, In SEO, It’s Not What You Do, It’s How You Do It!

Essence of SEO

How goes SEO in reality

I suggest the mantra to do genuine optimization activities and to understand the importance (or lack of it) for any SEO activity is to tell yourself that,

Search engines are just hyper-vigilant end-users!

I decide on SEO tasks, based on this criteria:

If a site visitor does not want it, search engines definitely look down upon it.

Any SEO guideline I look at, fulfills the above criteria. Ask yourself a question, ‘Would an end-user want this?’ and if the answer is yes, then it is a good SEO task to do. How badly would the end-users want it, defines the priority for the SEO task. Some example below.

User expectation SEO guideline
Would a user want a faster page load time? Yes. Needed sorely. Right now. Load time of a page/site decides their positioning in search results. See this.
Would a user want the content to be accessible? Yes. The more, the better. Accessibility indeed helps in SEO tremendously. See this and this.
Would a user like link spam, say from a source you paid money to buy links? No. Users hate to be spammed! Do not engage in any link building that is nefarious. See this.

Hence the recent move in the industry towards Search Experience Optimization (SEO), rather than Search Engine Optimization. The essence of all SEO activities is to provide the best possible experience to the site visitor. All SEO tactics are rooted in the principles of usability. Optimization for the search engine is just a means to an end.

Edited, May 22, 2015: Even Google officially recommends this approach in as many words! Check out their guiding questions in the section ‘What counts as a high-quality site?’, in the article More guidance on building high-quality sites. “We encourage you to keep questions like the ones above in mind as you focus on developing high-quality content rather than trying to optimize for any particular Google algorithm.

Create custom menus to personlize FrameMaker

I blogged on my team blog here about how to create menus in FrameMaker.

FrameMaker lets you do the following with no coding involved!

  • Create new menus.
  • Add tags as menus.
  • Modify existing menu commands.

How does it help you?

  • Remove options to edit template components, from an author’s FrameMaker installation.
  • Personalize the existing FrameMaker menus by rearranging commands on menus or moving out a sub-menu command that you use frequently.
  • Shorten FrameMaker menus by removing distracting (for you) options.

Let me know how and why you use FrameMaker menu customization, in the comments section.

How to easily manage formats in FrameMaker

  • You want to see which formats are currently in use?
  • You want to see only the relevant formats in the catalog to quickly format a document?
  • You imported formats from a different document and want to delete the unused ones?
  • You want to bring up a format in the list temporarily to be able to apply formats using keyboard shortcuts?
  • You want your settings to be applicable to all documents you edit on your machine?

The answer to all your questions are the new paragraph, character, and table catalogs in FrameMaker 10. Watch the video demo below to figure.

Continue reading

Suppress FrameMaker alerts

Your document uses unavailable fonts.

FrameMaker alert for missing fonts

missing fonts

Your document was created using a previous FM version.

FrameMaker alert about old release document

old release document

Your document has unresolved cross-references.

FrameMaker alert about unresolved cross reference

unresolved cross reference

Helpful when we want them, but irritating when we know about the issues, right?

Don’t sigh anymore. FrameMaker 10 has options to turn them off! Continue reading

Quickly apply formats and insert variables in FrameMaker using keyboard shortcut

In Adobe FrameMaker we normally apply paragraph and character formats, and insert variables using the catalogs and the pod, respectively. This typically takes half a dozen clicks for each format. It is slow, involves using both, the keyboard and the mouse, and requires us to focus on what’s happening in the UI. Hey in all these 26 formats that my corporate template uses, where is the second level bullet?! So how does one get rid of all these nuisances? Adobe FrameMaker offers keyboard shortcuts for almost all the commands you know. And then some 🙂

Watch the Captivate demo below to know how to quickly apply paragraph and character formats, and insert variables with the help of keyboard shortcuts. The demo also shows how to design templates to increase their usability, for such usage. Turn on the volume while watching it to listen to the instructions.

Leave a comment below or over at this YouTube page of the tutorial.

Further reading:
Paragraph and character formats in FrameMaker
Keyboard shortcuts for text formatting in FrameMaker

A misplaced button is user’s plight!

I was trying to log into eRoom application in office today and guess where is the OK button you have to click to log in (or even submit e-mail for password recovery).

I am a first time user of this application (now) owned by Documentum. I did not know where to look. They should have thought of the most obvious place where any user would look (i.e. on  the right side of or below the radio buttons). Besides the login screen, from what I hear eRoom is a great application!

eRoom Documentum login screen usability fail

eRoom Documentum login screen usability fail

Hyperlinks in Flash Player or Adobe Captivate demo not working

You have a SWF file, containing a hyperlink. You click the link but it doesn’t go to the URL it should be going. And you know for sure that the link is there! What’s up with Flash Player?

Go to this link, add a folder on your machine, and select always allow to trust the folder. Beginning with Flash Player 10.3, the Local Settings Manager supersedes this Online Settings Manager for managing global settings. The Local Settings Manager can be accessed in the Control Panel on Windows and in System Preferences on Mac.

You can test your Flash files say, output of Adobe Captivate project, by keeping them in a trusted folder. The default output folder in Captivate is already trusted by Flash Player.

Global security setting for Flash Player

Global security setting for Flash Player

Security settings in the Flash Player do not allow links in SWF file to be clicked. You must have noticed the following error when viewing SWF files.

Flash Player message

Imagine if scripts in flash file could (automatically) click hyperlinks in flash based advertisements, while you are surfing the net! It would become a usability and a security nightmare. This is just a default security settings which you can change.

Happy and safe surfing!