The internet is a dog-eat-dog world for online businesses; hundreds of thousands of sites within the same niches are all competing for the best rankings, top keywords, and valuable attention from consumers. It is critical for business owners to not only know the rules and guidelines of current SEO practices, but to also be able to stay ahead of the curve by recognizing new patterns as they emerge.
Since SEO best practices are changed more often than coffee filters, it can sometimes be hard to stay on the ball at times. For that reason, marketers and business owners are constantly under pressure while conducting hours upon hours of SEO research and investigatory work to be certain that they are in-the-know and their website will outperform the competition.
To help save you all those hours of arduous online analysis, here is what you need to know about the direction SEO is heading and what factors are absolutely vital to success.
Keywords have always been a defining factor in SEO, however, many sites are not harvesting the results that have been seen in years prior for the same keywords. This is in partly due to the growing competition. Everyday new sites emerge making the competition pool that much larger. In order for sites to generate the amount of attention necessary for survival and prosperity, a bit of creative thinking is required.
Businesses must expand their SEO vocabulary through exploring alternative terms that folks may be searching to find what they are looking for. Mid-tail and long-tail keywords are quickly becoming more popular as Google’s voice search feature often has people posing casual questions while on the go.
When identifying keywords, it is fine to start with the most commonly used terms, but only as a starting point. From there, you will want to come up with as many variations and associations as possible. Once you have racked your brain for every keyword possibility, turn your attention to digital tools for help. Some useful resources for keyword identification include:
Related searching in Google, Yahoo, and Bing
Yahoo Search Assist
Harvesting keywords from top-ranking competitors’ meta tags
Much of a site’s success has to do with its appearance and usability. Sites that seem outdated, cluttered, or not intuitive simply aren’t trusted by most and will not get the amount of traffic desired.
In order for your site to be not only appealing (but more importantly trusted) by consumers, there are certain elements that must be present. But it isn’t just consumers that are concerned with your site’s appearance; Google is too.
Google is continually trying to provide users with the best possible listings in SERPs. This means that Google also analyzes a site’s bounce rate and how much time users spend on a site. If your site looks like it hasn’t been updated since 1999, they will move on quickly and Google will recognize this and factor it in to your ranking results. Make sure your site is as modern and user-friendly as possible if you want to rank well.
Backlinks are still a factor in SEO. You should take full advantage of this by incorporating links to content you have previously published in newer posts. This will help increase the time users are on your site, engagement, and shares of your content. It is equally important to create external links wherever possible, but do be cautious about the external links that you select. Links that are irrelevant to the subject at hand, spam-like, or just plain low-quality will do more harm than good.
It is also imperative to keep in mind that linking can be overdone. Not only will link-riddled copy be a turn-off to readers, but this will not bode well with Google either. And be sure to regularly review links to ensure they are still active and high-quality. Broken links will make for unhappy readers and unhappy site owners.
This point has been stressed for some time now, especially with all the lead up to “Mobilegeddon”, but a surprising number of sites have still not implemented the changes that Google recommended. And as for those who did? An 11% increase was reported by mobile-friendly sites in the six weeks following the update.
Mobile is the preferred device for the next generation; plain and simple. More people are searching on mobile devices than on desktops and this transition will only continue to progress as time goes on. Google has even commented on this sentiment stating that, “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries, including the US and Japan.”
The bottom line is that your site must be mobile-friendly in order to move into the future. To get an idea of just how mobile-friendly your site currently is, check out Google’s Mobile Friendly Test Tool. And, if you have yet to optimize your site for mobile screens, get on it.
Local listings are becoming increasingly paramount for online businesses. When people search on mobile devices they are often looking for a quick, local solution. To make sure that your city’s residents can find your business, be sure to register with Google My Business to optimize your local traffic. After filling out a basic profile, Google My Business will include your company’s information on Google Search, Google Maps, and Google+ making you that much easier to find.
SEO is always changing, and it always will be changing. There will never come a time when the rules are set in stone, never be amended again. To become a master of this art, you must learn to recognize the changes to come before they occur by analyzing the current status of SEO and societal search patterns. The constant evolution of SEO is just the name of the game.
What do you think the next major change to SEO will be? How do you think mobile dominance is set to affect SEO in the future?
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Shortcuts to Quick-Starting a Business
We live in the world of startups – they’re everywhere, customers dig them and they are successful. The whole idea of a startup, however, is quick establishment and low investment, which is quite challenging to achieve. Although the point of startups (contrary to popular belief) is in no way to crash and burn quickly, this is often the end result, owing to the fact that entrepreneurs still aren’t used to this new way of doing business. Fortunately, everything about startups is logical and easy to wrap your head around, as this article aims to show.
Everything starts with an idea
There is nothing more fruitful for a business than an original idea – something that has never been done before and that is completely innovative. Of course, we live in a world of technology, connectivity, and being the first one out of almost 8 billion people to come up with an idea is not only difficult, but borderline impossible. Unfortunately, even if you spend hours researching and reading, it doesn’t necessarily mean that an innovative idea will come to you.
Fortunately, the majority of modern startups are based on an existing idea, only improved in some way, or in a different niche. For example, opening a flower shop is in no way a new idea, but opening a flower shop that uses cute little colorful cardboard flowerpots might turn out a success.
Everything starts with an idea that needs to be either original or innovative.
Having a partner is always a cool idea
…especially if these are your baby steps in the world of startups. Ideally, a likeminded friend with similar interests and with the same amount of passion for the project is the perfect choice.
Firstly, the world of business is scary – going through it alone is not only frightening, but also difficult. A partner to share your business successes and failures with is a welcome thing.
Secondly, you might have a huge network of sources, such as investors, testers, potential employees, etc. but it will never be as big as when pooled with a partner’s group of contacts. For example, you might know the perfect candidate for an IT expert for your future business, but your partner may contribute with an awesome web designer.
Finally, there is nothing more rewarding than coming up with something with someone else – this will deepen your friendship and turn out to be a hugely valuable experience.
Round up a passionate team
You don’t have time for CVs, cover letters and recommendations when recruiting – you need to rely on your own personal contacts and the help of big data. Don’t be afraid to spend days on social media research – the perfect candidate might not become obvious by their CV qualifications, but by what they post on their social media pages. For example, a good SEO professional will have a ton of necessary prerequisites, a college degree, more than a couple of finished SEO courses and a neat, professional LinkedIn profile picture. On the other hand, an awesome SEO professional will constantly post about interesting SEO-related stuff on their social media – this means passion, and passion is invaluable, especially when it comes to startups.
Don’t be afraid to outsource
Unless you are incredibly lucky, you won’t be able to fill every position that is required for your startup, and even if you do, you might not be financially able to employ everyone full-time.
This is why outsourcing is a perfectly viable option; for example, if you can’t afford a personal assistant while starting up your business, but you’re tight on time, hire appointment setting services for making cold calls and generating leads.
Name and domain
Remember that you don’t have to rush with the name. Despite the fact that you’re planning on starting a startup, you still have time enough for the perfect name to pop into your head. However, if the perfect name does happen to come to you, make sure that you check the domains for availability and that you coin it as soon as possible – there are a lot of people in the world and someone may well come up with the identical name.
These tips are the basics of what you need to know before getting a startup going. Keep in mind that your idea doesn’t have to be original, but innovative; don’t be afraid of having a partner; be especially focused when it comes to hiring, but don’t be reluctant about outsourcing if necessary. Finally, coin your future domain name on time.
Four Steps to Branding your Blog
Setting a firm foothold in the online community is not easy, no matter what industry and niche you are pursuing. Still, the digital environment is the biggest promoter of every story and every event in the world. It should only come natural that millions of people around the world are yearning for glory by writing their personal blogs, each and every one with a mission to inspire others with their infinite wisdom and make a connection on a deeper and more meaningful level. In other words, the competition is tough. Here are a few tips on how to make your story stand out from the reeds and gather a loyal following.
Boost visual identity
Humans are visual creatures. According to the Social Science Research Network, 65 percent of us are visual learners. In our story, visitors will decide whether to go on with your content or leave your blog in less than a second. Bloggers often make mistakes by overcomplicating the design of their websites. The success of your blog will be determined by the ease of use – navigation, commenting, sharing via social media. So, instead of trying to bombard your visitors with information, go with a transparent and minimalistic design that is original enough to grasp the visitors’ attention. Remember, your goal is not only to make them read through your website but also to share it with their friends.
Tip: In addition to unique visual identity, you need a stunning logo and catchy colour set that will make your brand instantly recognizable to the public.
Provide useful content
While the visual identity of your blog will grab the reader’s attention, the focus of your brand should be your stories. The quality of your writing, as well as the point of view your offer and the feelings you evoke is what makes them addicted to your website. You should have realized by now that you won’t be able to cater for everyone out there, so be sure to target a specific niche based on research. Focusing on the desired audience will allow you to develop a loyal pool of followers that will promote your brand further on. Don’t be discouraged by the initial size of your niche community. Even the smallest of niches can have a large fan base.
Tune in tone and style
The third important element of branding is to develop the style and tone of your voice. It has been proven that people react differently to distinct styles, while they respond indifferently to styles that are hardly distinguishable from one another. You need a style that is both simple enough to understand and engaging enough to draw attention. Finally, your content has to breathe authority. If you manage to position yourself as an authority figure, your Google ranking will improve, and people will gladly recommend your blog for guidance.
Keep it alive
Your content will be shared more and if you develop a living personality and use your blog to communicate with people. As a result, not only will you maximize your brand recognition, but also manage to personalize your blog. When they share their opinions, people want feedback, they want their questions answered. Failing to meet this leads to decreased return rate and even worse, creates ambivalence among the visitors. Apart from communication skills, you also need to include some old-fashioned yet effective methods of engagement like gifts, contests, giveaways and promotional items People who specialize in industrial design in Melbourne can provide you with unique and interesting ideas for promotional items.
Creating a blog people will connect with takes careful planning, time and effort. Following these guidelines, you will be able to develop a long-lasting brand and achieve wide publicity and prominence within your industry.
Small Home Office Design Tips for Maximum Productivity
Whether you have a small corner in your living room or a spacious empty room, turning it into a home office will boost your productivity and creativity. Not only will you feel more motivated to work, but you’ll also get rid of any distractions that might be keeping you away from the task at hand. In just a few easy steps, you can design an office that radiates with style and comfort and that will ensure your maximum efficiency.
Inspiring color scheme
Since colors can greatly affect your state of mind, it’s important that you pick a stimulating yet not overwhelming color scheme. If you want a hue that will evoke calmness and concentration, green is the perfect choice because it can create a balanced atmosphere of freshness, vitality and natural energy. Yellow is an optimistic color that will bring positivity and liveliness into your office, but too much of it can be quite distracting and even cause anxiety. Another energetic color is red that brings about excitement, but since it’s quite a powerful hue, it’s better to use it for accent details.
When painting your office, you should aim for a balanced look because an excessive use of a particular color can have a negative effect. For example, using too much red can cause unease, irritability, and even aggression.
A simple yet stylish solution would be opting for a neutral color palette for the backdrop while introducing colorful and bold details to add character to your office. Pale gray, white, ivory, and beige are all elegant hues that will create an ambience of openness in your small home office.
Lighting is one of the most important design elements for your home office that will not only inspire productivity, but also bring style and comfort. Try to use natural light as much as possible by placing your desk by the window. When it comes to artificial lighting, you should have plenty of bright and clear light that will enable you to focus and avoid straining your eyes. In addition, lighting fixtures, such as vintage desk lamps or stylish standing lamps, will make for lovely decorative details.
Organization for productivity
Designing an organized, tidy, and structured look in your home office is crucial for your focus and productivity. By giving every item in your office its own place, you’ll keep the clutter under control and minimize any possible distractions. Not only will you be able to focus on your work, but you’ll also emphasize the beautiful features of your workspace. Therefore, you should declutter your office, keep it clean, label your documents, and have a tidy and organized desk.
Trendy storage solutions
Open and floating shelves, decorative boxes, hidden compartments, antique bookshelves and plenty of other storage solutions will elevate your office design while eliminating chaotic and cluttered look. Instead of cluttering your desk with piles of papers and office materials, you can introduce stylish storage compartments that will maximize the functionality of your office. If you have a small corner office, you can hang floating shelves on an empty wall or add vintage wooden boxes where you can keep your old papers and files. Another great solution is picking multifunctional furniture with hidden compartments. For example, if you need an additional seat in your office, you can introduce a trendy ottoman with hidden storage.
Personalizing with accessories
Your home office should reflect your personality and taste and you can use interior design to achieve this. By using stylish accessories, you can add character to your office while expressing yourself. In addition, if your office features a monochromatic design, accessories will bring in colors, patterns, and texture. For example, you can use stylish area rugs to introduce lovely patterns and create an atmosphere of coziness. Paintings will reflect your personal style and elevate your office décor, while house plants are natural accessories that will both embellish your office and increase your indoor air quality.
When designing your home office, you should focus on functionality, order, and aesthetic appeal to create an atmosphere of coziness and stylishness that will ensure your maximum productivity.
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