Local SEO is a strategy to rank higher in local Google Search Results. It has different requirements than traditional Search Engine Optimization (SEO) because it needs you to understand what they are looking for when searching locally. Since as many as 46% of the total queries are local, such SEO is incredibly beneficial for a business. This guide will help you get started on Local SEO best practices and how to implement them.
What is Local SEO? How does it work?
Local SEO is a search engine optimization strategy that helps businesses appear more prominent on local search queries. All businesses that have physical locations or serve geographical areas can benefit from Local SEO. However, it’s is especially important for businesses that are considering geographic expansion because it will help them attract new customers by enabling their businesses to rank higher on local SERPs.
Existing businesses can also use local SEO in the same way—to share their business with new potential customers. This strategy helps businesses grow in the midst of tough competition and online advertising saturation.
29% of SERPs include a local pack in the result. It, therefore, seems that locally based searches represent a massive chunk of the SEO world, and if you are looking for your company to succeed, it’s important to get your product to the top of the local search results.
What matters for local SEO?
Regional and geographical data packs are inserted into the Standard Google organic search SMS listing page. A different algorithm runs the main Google results for the search result maps. Website content and local link popularity are factors similar to Google’s primary search algorithm.
A location is another consideration that can have an effect on local SEO rankings, like businesses found in Google My Business. There are SEO tools focused on Google local search that can be helpful to develop region-focused SEO audits, such as developing a keyword analysis about your local audience.
10 tips for local SEO
Now that you know a bit about what we’re dealing with — let’s dive right into the tips.
Create a GMB (Google My Business) listing
The Local packs show the map and all businesses in that particular area. Creating a GMB listing is important for your business to rank well on Local SEO because they will be ranked higher with Google’s algorithm as long as you provide appropriate, accurate information about your company.
Optimize for Voice Search
Voice searches are getting more and more popular—76% of people who own a smart speaker conduct local voice searches at least weekly. In addition, 46% of the users perform voice searches on their devices daily to search for information about small businesses in their area.
You need to adjust your SEO strategy for how people might ask verbally, just like you optimize it for keywords on the page. For example, your customers would rather perform voice searches with long-tail key phrases than traditional queries. What this means is you’ll have to adjust SERPs and accommodate conversational tone.
When thinking about SEO, remember that there are different forms of search queries. For example, traditional searches often focus on what, when, and where the resource is used. Meanwhile, user intent has a greater effect on voice searches, most commonly done when people want specific information.
Local SEO Keyword Research
Local Search Engine Optimization Keyword Research is a one-off process. Unlike blogs, you shouldn’t keep trying to find new keywords constantly. In most cases, all you need is some keywords that people search for their local businesses. This section will show how to get qualified local search terms into your SEO campaigns and cover this approach in more detail than I previously had time to do so.
Optimize your website for mobile
A study by Perficient shows that the shift to mobile devices compared to desktops has been more drastic since 2020. Phone-based website visitors grew from 63% in 2019 to 68% in 2020. Local content can be particularly lucrative, with 18% of any mobile search that exhibits local intent producing purchases within 24 hours. A. It confirms that you must optimize your website for mobile to be a player for local SEO.
Apart from just getting your site optimized, it should also be intuitive in terms of UX. There are some golden rules of UX that you need to follow to be successful with your website.
If your local business is expanding into new cities and neighborhoods, you’ll need to consider website localization. Again, it’s all about adapting your pages to fit with the local culture. For example, New York has the highest Hispanic population anywhere in the US, so if you’d be a branch there, it would be worth translating your site to Spanish and redesigning it with Hispanics in mind.
NAPs are imperative
Google uses the citations on your website to confirm that it has all the correct information for your business. These citations confirm that you have an accurate address and phone number, but also about other aspects of your company, such as the services you provide, operating hours, and more. This is how a neighborhood business can rank when looked up on Google.
Some services, such as USPS, are notoriously hard to call. There are even websites with instructions on how to get through. Don’t be one of those services and land on such a site. Your NAP should be as accessible as possible, not only for Google but also for the customer.
A study found that negative reviews can hurt you in terms of SEO, and the more positive your reviews are, the better. Google considers reputable review sites when ranking businesses locally too. Responding to reviews for positive actions on your page is also a good idea if done respectfully because it not only gives potential customers confidence in trusting you, but this level of trust will also show up in Google’s search rankings.
“Regular” SEO is still necessary.
Google has traditionally treated local searches a bit differently, with a distinct ranking system than other search terms. Still, companies that come in higher in organic search rankings will also have high placement locally. Therefore, it’s important to make sure your website content and link-building practices are optimized for local SEO, given its unique ranking system that accounts for a position on the map. For competitive keywords, I recommend a Local SEO strategy combined with the other aspects of Local SEO.
Inevitably, businesses will want to rank for keywords that are more general (e.g., ‘coffee shops’) in addition to their specific location (Maple Valley). But these two approaches must be used together through regular SEO tactics and traditional Local Optimization techniques so that Local SEO can be more effective.
Create local content
Google doesn’t focus on search engine optimization anymore. Its main focus is to provide the best article content possible for its users, not just SEO articles for engines. The user’s experience comes first. Therefore, you want to write blog posts that go beyond sales tactics and target creative topics where you can be entertaining or informative as well as a local authority about your niche.
Local content is beneficial for your SEO because it helps establish you as a credible and authoritative resource in the industry, which then increases traffic to your site and improves rankings on Google’s search engine result pages (SERPs).
Get inbound links with relevance and authority.
Google considers inbound links from other websites to be a sign of relevance for your company’s website. Inbound links can also affect your website’s domain authority. Consider starting with people who are already involved with your company — perhaps Chamber members or suppliers — and then extending the circle from there.
Hosting a community event is one good opportunity. Another thing you can do is listing on local business directories. Here’s a list of some of the most popular ones:
- Angie’s List
- Local Guides
Google’s Autocomplete feature can be a goldmine for Local SEO. It’s easy to see what people are searching for in your industry and how they’re spelling those words, so you can plan new content around them before they even know it exists.
Combined with free tools like Keyword Surfer, it can give you a good idea of what your customers are looking for, which you can then create new content about.
Local SEO is a constant battle for business owners, but Local Optimization can give you an edge in the hyper-local search engine results pages. It means creating content that’s relevant to your company and its location- — whether it be specific keywords or new topics altogether.
It also includes getting links from sites with relevance and authority so that Google knows how well known you are locally (and nationally). Still, online reviews and local directories are the most powerful signals for local SEO. So make sure you keep them in check.
Image Credit: provided by the author; thank you!
How to Bypass Bandwidth Throttling: Tips and Tricks for Increased Speed
Has your ISP been throttling your bandwidth during different hours of the day, and it’s getting on your nerves?
It’s understood how frustrating it may be, especially when your ISP decides to limit your speeds regularly. But, unfortunately, this throttling ruins your online streaming and gaming experience, something no one wants to experience.
Don’t worry anymore! Follow this guide to see how you can bypass bandwidth throttling by your ISP and enjoy seamless network speed.
What is Bandwidth Throttling or ISP Throttling
“ISP Throttling” or “bandwidth Throttling” means ISPs impose limits on connections and cut down average Internet speeds you’re getting without any prior warning or notice. Excessive load and bandwidth distribution challenges are the most typical causes of internet throttling.
These Internet Service Providers not only throttle your internet speed but also track your online activity. They have control over your network, and they can analyze your data packets.
Why Do ISPs Throttle User Bandwidth?
Data caps are the primary cause behind this. If you have a monthly bandwidth restriction that you can’t exceed, your ISP will slow down your connection if you consume too much data.
ISPs also limit customer bandwidth during peak traffic hours to avoid network congestion. This allows them to improve their services and eliminates the need to invest in expensive storage equipment or additional bandwidth.
As reported by Avast, ISPs prioritize the services that are paying them more, and if the user is using those services, then they get the priority and are not throttled. This is especially common with streaming services like Amazon, Netflix, HBO, and Hulu Plus. Conversely, if the streaming provider doesn’t pay the ISP more money, this has deprioritization.
Finally, your bandwidth may be throttled if you’re doing anything your ISP doesn’t approve of, such as downloading torrents.
How To Tell If You Being Throttled
One of the indicators is when you notice that your speed is lowering at regular intervals during the day, especially in the evening or at night when there is likely to be a lot of user traffic on the servers.
You can test your upload and download speed by trying tools like “Speedtest by Ookla” and notice the drops on it. If you keep pushing your service speed at different times during the day, you will start to see the throttling when your speed is low and at other times would be high.
Follow these key steps to see if your ISP is throttling you:
- First, check if your Internet plan is still active; delinquent accounts may experience reduced service.
- Disconnect all users from the WiFi router and do speed tests simultaneously.
- If you download torrents, you will almost certainly experience ISP throttling.
- Use a reliable VPN provider like Astrill VPN, and repeat the speed tests (with and without VPN).
As soon as you start noticing that your ISP is throttling your bandwidth, jump to the solution that we are about to discuss next:
How to Bypass Bandwidth Throttling
The best and only way of bypassing bandwidth throttling is to use a VPN. Even if you visit a forum like Quora, you will notice that everyone has mentioned VPN as the best solution. This is because when connected to a VPN, your traffic is encrypted, and your ISP can no longer control your bandwidth or track your activity.
When you connect to a VPN server, your IP and DNS are masked, and your ISP is changed. This way, your ISP loses control over your bandwidth. However, your ISP can still notice that you are using a VPN.
The best thing about VPN servers is that they are highly optimized to provide seamless service to binge-watchers and gamers. This is why they provide unlimited bandwidth and have very low ping on their service. So using a VPN will not only bypass bandwidth throttling but also enhance your experience as you will be getting better speed.
Follow these steps to bypass bandwidth throttling:
- First, subscribe to a VPN provider having highly optimized VPN servers.
- Next, download and install the VPN client or app.
- Next, sign in to the app using your credentials.
- Finally, connect to a server from the region that you want to access.
- Once the connection is established, you can start using the web as you wish without worrying about ISP throttling.
Is it Possible to Bypass Throttling Without VPN?
Without a VPN, it isn’t that easy to bypass throttling, or we can say that the other methods aren’t effective enough. Some additional ways to bypass throttling without a VPN are:
Using a Tor Browser
Tor Browser encrypts the traffic passing through it and through different nodes, securing the user from any external threats. Since the traffic that passes through it is encrypted, the ISP loses its control and is unable to throttle bandwidth and track user activity. However, two things need to be understood over here:
- Although you are using Tor and your browser traffic is encrypted, your overall network is still not secure. That means the ISP may not be able to throttle bandwidth passing through the browser, but they can still throttle the bandwidth you are using on different apps and streaming services.
- The speed over Tor browser is very slow, and if you are using it to bypass throttling, you will not have a very good experience.
- This means that using a Tor browser is not a very good option. It’s a valid option for safe and secure browsing but not for bypassing ISP throttling.
Contacting your ISP
Another option over here is to contact your ISP directly and ask them not to throttle your bandwidth. But, this seems to be a long shot, expecting the ISP to provide you exclusive service.
Switching to a new ISP
You can also switch your ISP and choose someone who provides better service. However, it is highly unlikely to find an ISP that does not include throttle bandwidth. Almost all ISPs out there are engaged in bandwidth throttling because they have to handle the server loads and prioritize users.
Can I use a Free VPN to bypass ISP Throttling?
Free VPNs are a big no! Be it for streaming, gaming, or even bypassing ISP throttling, you cannot trust Free VPNs at all. There are numerous reasons for that, like:
- Free VPNs keep user-activity logs: There’s a reason why their service is free. They may not charge users for the service, but they keep user activity logs and sell them to their-party sources. This is how they earn and market themselves as a free service.
- Free VPNs are not safe: The security protocols of free VPN providers are weak, and if you are using them, then you are putting yourself in harm’s way. In addition, they will keep leaking IP and DNS, which means they can’t really protect your privacy nor provide you safety from malware and hackers.
- Low speed and poor connectivity: Since their service is free, they do not have optimized servers and do not provide unlimited bandwidth. They have specific bandwidth caps and start throttling your connection once you reach that limit.
So by now, you would have understood what bandwidth throttling is, why ISPs do it and how you can tackle it. Using a VPN is the best solution to bypass ISP throttling, and also, the VPN should be premium, not free. Any other means, like Tor, are not helpful in this regard, so stay away from them.
The best thing is that if you use a VPN, you will not only be bypassing ISP throttling, but you will also be protecting your online privacy through it. In these dire times, bandwidth throttling is not that big of an issue compared to the cyber threats that exist online. So stay safe from every possible threat and surf the web anonymously.
Image Credit: by Yan Krukov; Pexels; Thank you!
A Complete Guide to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Implementation
Have you ever wondered how certain businesses manage to stay ahead of the curve no matter how many pandemics hit? Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based solution that combines ERP and CRM to offer the full power of innovative technology. One of its primary benefits is the seamless connectivity across your organizational systems that makes data siloes a thing of the past. In addition, it has predictive intelligence that enables businesses to preempt challenges and predict changes in the market.
A successful Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation can take your business to new heights.
APPLICATIONS OF MICROSOFT DYNAMICS 365
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based platform that combines CRM and ERP systems. It unifies the prime operational areas in a business such as finance, supply chain, retail, HR, Sales, customer service, project operations, field service, marketing, and the entire gamut of operations, through CRM, Finance, SCM, and Business central applications in the platform. These applications can talk to each other and thus help implement best practices as per customer requirements.
Dynamics 365 ERP
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software manages and integrates business processes end-to-end. An ERP implementation optimizes modules such as Finance and Operations, Retail, Human resources, Supply Chain Management, and more:
- Finance and Operations: Dynamics 365 Finance automates financial processes and provides better planning tools for back-end operations.
- Human Resource: It is an end-to-end employee management platform that handles complex HR functions and saves time, money, and resources.
- Retail: The retail industry benefited the most from the ERP implementation as shopping became digital.
- Supply Chain Management: A cloud ERP provides the data necessary to monitor supply chain activities and helps companies to keep expenses in check.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation has become a top priority to most SMEs because of its capabilities to digitally transform organizations.
Dynamics 365 CRM
A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution serves as a single application to host all the tools of the prime business operations such as Sales, Marketing, Field Services, Project Service Automation and Customer service.
- Sales: Dynamics 365 delivers sales process automation for access to insightful customer data and a complete picture of each prospect’s journey.
- Marketing: combine sales and marketing modules to automate business processes and to maximize ROI.
- Customer Service: Dynamics 365 records all customer communications across several channels, which makes it easy to create more personalized communication strategies with customers. It helps organizations to create, manage and track cases and see them to their logical conclusion.
- Field Service: Built-in intelligence resolves service issues and reduces operational expenses.
- Finance and Operations: Microsoft Azure caters to unique business requirements across industries and helps businesses thrive in challenging economic conditions without infrastructure worries.
- Project Service Automation: Optimizes project management and predicts the profitability of ongoing projects.
With AI and powerful intelligence tools, Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 CRM implementation has helped countless companies across multiple industries grow their business.
HOW DOES DYNAMICS 365 WORK?
A Dynamics 365 implementation enables enhanced performance with advanced features and robust architecture. It integrates seamlessly with financials and business management solutions that are comprehensive and easy-to-use.
- Connects Internal Teams to a Unified Solution: Dynamics 365 easily integrates with other Microsoft business applications such as Office 365 and Outlook, operations that run on Azure, and third-party plug-ins. Additionally, the entire Microsoft suite of business applications shares the same UI. Dynamics 365 can also be integrated easily with other 3rd party applications using available APIs.
- Enhanced Communication: With a cloud-based business platform, employees can work from anywhere and anytime, regardless of network accessibility. Employees can stay connected to Dynamics 365 and operate on web browsers available across several devices.
- Highly Scalable: Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation services use simple yet flexible low-code custom tools to customize views, reports, forms, workflow, and security. It also combines data with AI to produce insightful results. Power users of the application can develop low-code/no-code based apps that help in day-to-day business.
HOW TO GET DYNAMICS 365 FOR YOUR UNIQUE BUSINESS REQUIREMENTS?
Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides different deployment productivity tools. Experienced implementation partners can help you leverage these to their fullest potential. Dynamics 365 professionals are essential to analyze business requirements and ensure a smooth implementation. Be sure to select and evaluate the right partner who can fully understand your business challenges.
HOW MICROSOFT DYNAMICS 365 BENEFITS YOUR BUSINESS OPERATIONS
Dynamics 365 suite of applications includes the following modules:
Dynamics 365 for Marketing
Acknowledging the need for a new Dynamics marketing platform, Microsoft set out to build a new cloud-based marketing automation platform. Here’s what it brings to the table:
- Know your leads better: It shares the entire Information about your leads from every part of your business
- Personalization and Branding: It helps you develop a coherent brand by providing an easy-to-use email editor, personalized customer journeys, and coordinated information on leads common to different departments.
- Insights and actionable feedback: The data analytics feature provides extensive insights about the performance of your marketing strategies.
- Configuration and expansion: Basic functionalities of Dynamics 365 can be easily customized and there are several third-party tools available to leverage its benefits.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales
Dynamics 365 offers actionable insights, better customer engagement, and collaboration capabilities. Benefits of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales:
- Efficient sales processes – Increase the work efficiency of your sales team by automating sales processes.
- Scalable CRM platform – The cloud-based CRM system provides the flexibility of processes across teams and departments.
- User-friendly application – A user-friendly and intuitive user interface enables you to work with more productivity.
- Unified systems – All customer processes in one system help you track the entire customer life cycle and offers all customers’ data in a single source.
- Fully integrated Power BI solution – The Power BI integration gives you access to intelligent and handy dashboards and reports that save you from cumbersome manual data entry.
Dynamics 365 Business Central
Business Central is an ERP platform that can harmonize your business and offer you a holistic view of your organization. Dynamics 365 Business Central is now seeing a 200 percent annual user growth across all industries because of its numerous benefits.
- All in one flexible and secure solution
- Financial and project management
- Helps control costs
- Most powerful ERP to increase sales and customer service
- Simplify supply chain optimization
Dynamics 365 for Customer Service
Dynamics 365 Customer Service enables companies to offer better customer support and have a clear understanding of their requirements. Furthermore, its artificial intelligence and automation features help businesses prevent and solve complex problems anytime, anywhere and provide personalized services that help strengthen business bonds.
- Engage with customers across several channels and devices.
- Helps businesses meet and exceed increasing customer demands.
- Easily integrates and connects with other applications.
- Artificial intelligence provides brilliant customer insights.
Dynamics 365 for Field Service
Dynamics 365 for Field Service enables companies to exchange critical business-related data easily to smooth operations. It deftly manages intra- and inter-team communication and coordination. Built-in intelligence preempts challenges and seamlessly solves them in advance, increasing productivity. In addition, it offers a holistic view of user records and helps personalize customer experiences.
- Offer a self-service portal and proactive updates to customers
- Predictive analysis of data resolves problems in advance.
- No-code visual editors and flexible tools seamlessly manage end-to-end operations
- HoloLens mixed reality headsets provide maintenance services anytime, anywhere.
Dynamics 365 Project Automation
It helps plan, execute, and keep track of projects and manages tasks and resources accordingly. In addition, the Project Automation module optimizes project management to keep your time and budget in check. Its advantages include:
- Increase productivity
- Operate in a modern, agile, and flexible platform
- Intuitively predict project profitability
- Unified system for project sales, resourcing, delivery, and billing teams
Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations
Finance and Operations apps are enterprise resource planning (ERP) software built on the Microsoft Azure platform for medium and large-sized companies. They offer complete custom ERP functionality for organizations to help them thrive through the tides of changing economic times. They benefit businesses in the following ways:
- Optimize and automate business processes
- Plan your finances with ease
- Make better business decisions with real-time data
- Deliver exceptional end-to-end customer experiences
Dynamics 365 Commerce
This module combines in-store and back-office operations. It is tailored for the retailers and helps them create innovative shopping experiences. Dynamics 365 Commerce enables customers to enjoy both online and offline shopping experiences. Some of its most prominent features include:
- Brilliant shopping experiences increase customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and ROI.
- Adapt to increasing customer demands and manage multiple stores in a unified platform.
- Intuitive customer insights help increase profitability.
- Drive innovation with a flexible application that easily integrates with other services and applications.
Dynamics 365 Human Resources
Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation for Talent empowers the HR team to hire, train, and retain employees who accelerate results. It integrates with Office 365 and LinkedIn to find the right candidate for the business. It helps the HR team manage the entire recruiting and onboarding process and automates routine tasks such as tracking attendance. It provides the full information employees need in a single, easily accessible portal:
- Payroll, budget, and tax return management
- Create employee profiles
- Holiday and absence tracking
- LinkedIn Talent Solutions
STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS OF IMPLEMENTING MICROSOFT DYNAMICS 365
Step 1: Business Process Review
Careful evaluation of current processes is essential to implement Dynamics 365 without disrupting existing processes. It is the primary step toward a successful implementation.
Step 2: Dynamics 365 Review
Understand the features, functionalities, and capabilities of Dynamics 365 to plan implementation costs, identify performance gaps, and zero in on processes that can be automated.
Step 3: Create a Data Migration Plan
Create a robust data migration plan to ensure a smooth implementation process. Before migrating data, eliminate redundant, inaccurate information to ensure high-quality information and optimum value from your new ERP system.
Step 4: Test Extensively
Test the implementation using a sample database, check whether integrations are in synchrony, and validate system output. Test extensively to identify and weed outperformance or data accuracy issues before rollout.
HOW MUCH DOES A DYNAMICS 365 IMPLEMENTATION COST IN 2022?
Different components affect the price of a Dynamics 365 implementation. Therefore, organizations must consider the cost of the implementation including people resources.
Ongoing costs can include solution version upgrades and ongoing application maintenance.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 has Three Licence Types to Choose From:
a) Essentials: $70 per user per month
This license entails the following:
- Financial Management
- Supply Chain Management
- Customer Relationship Management
- Human Resources Management
- Jobs/Project Management
- Warehouse Management
b) Premium: $100 per user per month
This license comprises the following:
- Everything in Essentials
- Service Management
c) Team Members: $8 per user per month
This license is open to the following:
- Read anything within Business Central
- Update existing data and entries in Business
- Approve or reject tasks in all workflows assigned to a user, with the limit that approvals and rejections can only update data in records that BC team members can access.
- Create, edit, or delete a sales or purchase quotation
- Create, edit, and delete personal information
- Enter a timesheet for Jobs
- Use Power Apps/Power Automate Use Rights with Dynamics 365 license
Dynamics 365 Finance – $180 per month per user
Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management – $180 per month per user
Dynamics 365 Marketing:
- $750 per month per organization (A minimum of ten users)
- $1500 per month per organization (Less than ten users)
Sales Professional plan – $65 per user/month
Sales Enterprise plan – $95 per user/month
Microsoft Relationship Sales – $162 per user/month
Customer Service Professional plan – $50 per user/month
Customer Service Enterprise plan – $95 per user/month
These plans come with a 30-day free trial, and many of the paid features are not available during the trial period. Microsoft Dynamics 365 allows users to buy add-on apps that can precisely help organizations meet their business requirements.
INDUSTRY EXPERTS, YOU CAN TEAM UP WITH
Selecting the right Microsoft partner for a smooth implementation and integration is important. DemandDynamics is a trusted Microsoft Gold certified partner that has worked with numerous companies for Dynamics 365 implementation and migrations. It has been providing Microsoft services for years through various business sectors. Its On-Demand Services are popular with clients for its ability to meet technical, operational, and financial goals.
Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Thank you!
Why Online Proctoring is Important for an LMS
Proctoring plays the utmost importance for an LMS. With the implementation of LMS, learning becomes more accessible. Online learning is taking place worldwide. Meanwhile, it’s stressful for educators and learners to keep pace with it.
Secure testing and exams seem challenging to handle in a learning management system. Proctoring software is an intelligent solution for live monitoring of the candidates and secures tracking of tests and other necessary verification.
With increased interest in online learning globally, proctoring software is the need of the future.
What is an LMS?
LMS stands for Learning Management System. A Learning Management System is a software application that offers a digital learning platform.
It includes the management of all factors of a company’s many training programs.
LMS consists of tracking and reporting, learning programs, educational courses, documentation, administration profile, user information, etc.
Moodle, Blackboard Learn, Docebo, etc., are examples of LMS.
About Proctoring Software
Before we discuss other details, let us first understand what proctoring is about?
Online proctoring software is an integrated platform that preserves the online exams’ righteousness by offering the tools that check the identity and behavior of the exam-taker. Furthermore, this software allows the instructor to create online exams and tests in the learning management system with specified rules and security testing to avoid cheating.
It helps keep the online exams’ integrity. Online proctoring software monitors using audio and a webcam. It’s beneficial for the identification of any suspicious activities in LMS. It comes with ultimate features and functionalities. Below are the mentioned features of this software.
Many features play a vital role in proctoring for LMS. These features are as follows.
Multiple Device Detection
There are various types of devices available to students as well as instructors. These devices consist of cellphone, tablets, smartphones, laptops, etc. Unfortunately, few proctoring services have reached the point where they can detect multiple devices.
This feature helps prevent other cheating and other doubtful activities. In addition, this feature acts as a bonus point for the instructors. Thus, the multi-device detection feature plays a vital role. It will be interesting to see how further changes and updates take place in the future — also — how the new updates will pan out with additional new functionalities.
There are endless features of proctoring software in the field of technology.
Quick Implementation in Voice Detection
Another feature that shows the advantage here is voice detection. An excellent online proctoring software has the ability of voice detection.
It adds another step in protecting the verification and prevents the cheating process. In addition, the software includes voice detection AI that proves as helpful in reducing false flags. Over-flagging causes stress for not only students but for the instructors too.
The use of robust AI by proctoring allows a stress-free environment for both parties. Among many features of proctoring, voice detection is the major one that is fruitful in Learning Management Systems.
Regarding online learning, data security is the top-most priority for any user or in any technology practiced. It offers the privacy of students’ data.
Careful monitoring of a student’s data privacy profoundly impacts students, instructors, and institutions. For proctoring services, protecting the data and maintaining data privacy remains the top-notch priority.
The privacy policies followed tell about the why and how the data privacy needs to follow-up. Data security and privacy are essential because they prevent hacking and leaking of information.
No one wants to see the loophole in protecting the user’s privacy. Thus, the system needs to follow this in Learning Management System Platforms.
Another essential feature that falls in this category is identity verification. Many proctoring software comes with the feature of identity verification. Identity verification is critical to record the exam-taker’s identity and track fraud activities.
Moreover, identity verification plays a crucial role in proctoring. This ultimate feature makes the proctoring stand apart in the services.
Ease of Use
Another essential feature that falls into the category is ease of use. Most proctoring software comes with the feature of simple working and is easy to handle.
Common Types of Online Exam Proctoring
Online exam proctoring categorizes into four common types:
1. Lockdown Browser – Lockdown browser helps forbid the students from using other websites, browsers, or any applications while taking a test. It stops other functions and keyboard shortcuts as well.
Working on the lockdown browser takes place via the integration with the LMS, and it stops exam-takers from accessing browsers, websites, functions, etc.
2. Live Proctoring – Live proctoring doesn’t include the services like automated proctoring. In general, in this process, live remote proctors keep a watch on students during the examination.
Its working takes place by live remote proctors keeping an eye on students when students sit for the online tests. If any issue persists, remote proctors can intervene. After completion of the examination, live remote proctors make a report of the exam and send the recording to the instructors for further review.
3. Automated Proctoring – Automated proctoring uses AI-related technologies to keep the tracking of students in an online exam.
It works by inspecting the students using AI technologies in the online exam. Then, the recording session review takes place and reports to the instructor.
4. Blending Automated Proctoring and Live Online Proctoring – It offers the advantages of automated as well as live proctoring. But, again, it depends on the institution or organization to decide the standard method that suits them.
Importance of Proctoring for LMS Integration
Now, after looking at the in-depth detail of the online proctoring software.
Many questions arise like:
- Why is proctoring necessary for Learning Management System integration?
- How does it act as a fruitful software system for LMS?
- Or what is the need for online proctoring software in LMS?
Proctoring does consist of great importance for seamless LMS integration.
Online proctoring software is essential and is the need in Learning Management Systems because LMS is a vast platform that consists of its reaches worldwide.
Within incremental increase in the number of Learning Management Systems — online proctoring software is a requirement for them. Proctoring software targets the academic integration, helps scale online programs, provides data protection for suspicious activities — and shows progress in students’ success and improvement.
Understanding the student’s needs and providing them with a convenient online exam experience is essential for all Learning Management Systems.
For the peace of mind of administration and faculty, the proper online exam proctoring must-have software selection.
With well-crafted policies, universities and colleges can maintain their reputation.
But as the interest in online exams is increasing, the LMS platforms need to stay one step ahead in the fastest advanced technologies and keep their reputation on the line according to the industry standards.
Thus, proctoring plays a crucial role in seamless LMS integration.
By selecting the right proctoring software, prevention of cheating takes place, and online courses are provided without degrading their quality.
Right proctoring software system offers the students two key things- the first one is academic rigor, and the second one is convenience.
Requirement in LMS
For those students who remain part of digital programs, online exams are necessary for them to take. In such a scenario, services like proctoring offer the students the convenience of taking their exams anywhere and prepare them for this.
In LMS, it increases the chances of student success. Besides, it provides a stress-free environment for the students, faculties, and administration. Thus, proctoring is essential for LMS platforms.
Also, it is the ultimate need of the future. It is important and helpful in maintaining the integrity of the Learning Management Systems.
Did you know that the federal government’s 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act depicts that the higher education institution with Title IV funding needs to verify the online students’ identity by using at least one mentioned below method:
- New technologies that verify identity
- Online proctoring services
- Secure login and password
The points mentioned above show the importance of proctoring software for LMS platforms.
Working on Proctoring Software
Now, we have a deep understanding of the online proctoring software. But, first, let us understand the working of proctored software.
The software is dynamic and reliable. In general, the whole architecture is operated using a cloud-based system.
It is hard to imagine the working of an online proctoring software without a cloud-based system.
Moreover, there is a rise in online learning programs. Thus, online proctoring software is much dependent on the cloud-based system.
In the beginning, proctoring starts with the authentication process. This software examines the authentication of the examiner.
Also, the proctoring software can terminate the questionable behavior during the examination.
The software “reads” the photo identity of the students while taking any test. Once the proctors authenticate students’ identities — the student can begin the test.
The next step consists of monitoring the candidate during an exam. Again, it comes with an algorithm beneficial for monitoring the exam-takers and flushing out a suspicious activity or doubtful cases.
Last but not least is the data storage and review step. The examination audio and video recording take place, and the information is stored on the cloud. Once the exams are over, you or your team has the choice to recheck the cases.
These steps make proctoring available for those in need who could not access help with their learning programs in any other way — and is essential for LMS platforms.
It is interesting to note about more features it adds in the future. Online Proctoring Software is essential for the LMS platforms and is a current need in online learning. This system and its software have been needed for a long time and will stay in the education industry and be improved both now and into the future.
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