Archive for April, 2018

Forget the Algorithm: 16 Ways to Get Your Business to the Top of Search

Monday, April 30th, 2018

Forget the Algorithm: 16 Ways to Be SEO Friendly

Getting your website ranked higher through search engine optimization (SEO) is pretty important, but how does it really work? So many of us focus on “beating the algorithm” to get the coveted high rankings, even though they change all the time. What does it take to get to the top and stay there? We asked 16 entrepreneurs for their best tips on working SEO to their advantage. This is what they had to say.

“Trying to take advantage of SEO can be a challenge, thanks in large part to constantly changing algorithms that emphasize different aspects of your content. Given these frequent changes, how can you create SEO-friendly content that lasts?”

How to Be SEO Friendly

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Create Industry-Leading Useful Content That Fills a Need

“Don’t just create content to create content. Create content that solves a problem, explains a solution or answers your customer’s questions. Invest in quality research and design to present that content to your customers in a way that isn’t boring, is easy to navigate and is better than anything else on the topic.” ~ Shawn SchulzeNames.org

2. Write to Connect With Your Customers, Not Search Engines

“The biggest mistake we see comes in writing for search engines at the expense of the customer. Remember that while the copy gets them to the front door, if they hate what they find when they walk in, they’ll leave. Since Google takes customer experience into account when ranking, a site that continually turns off visitors won’t rank well long term, even if the content is perfectly optimized.” ~ Jeff JahnDynamiX

3. Ensure Your Content is Mobile Friendly

“To keep your content SEO friendly, ensure your website is mobile responsive. Compress heavy image files, remove flash videos or animations, disable intrusive pop-ups and make sure all titles, tags and descriptions are optimized for mobile devices. Additionally, all content should provide value, but also be easy to consume.” ~ Kristin MarquetCreative Development Agency, LLC

4. Don’t Just Focus on Keywords

“Keywords are obviously an important part of the algorithms, but loading your content up with keywords is the opposite of what you want to do. Focus on fulfilling a need for your customers and answering their questions via your content. While the content can and should be centered around keywords, the quality of the content is what matters and will help it stand the test of time.” ~ Kristy KnichelKnichel Logistics

5. Go Above and Beyond

“What can you do to blow away all of the other search results for your target keywords? If it’s a list, create a custom list plugin with as much additional information about the topic that you can find. If it’s a difficult subject, create videos and mix them into the content. If it’s simple, perhaps the topic isn’t broad enough to create amazing content for. Go above and beyond and see how Google will reward you.” ~ Ajay PaghdalOutreachMama

6. Just Create Amazing Content

“The days of gaming search engines with little hacks and tricks are over. Google is far too advanced for that now. So what’s the secret to modern SEO? Just create amazing content that your audience is looking for. Simple as that. Sure you have to follow basic fundamentals like a responsive website, fast page load times, etc. But don’t get hung up on tiny details or trying to game the system.” ~ Jeff CayleyWorldwide Cyclery

7. Don’t Forget to Link

“Adding internal links not only shows your authority in a particular sector, but it can also lead to more posts that offer additional value. A string of value-added posts can make it easier for search engines to interpret your primary themes. External links to evidence-based, reputable source material show that you are a subject matter expert that is able to support your information with other outside facts and statistics. Be sure not to go overboard with the linking. Only link to internal or external sources that make sense. They should add something to what you are offering. Excessive linking can cause you to rank lower in searches.” ~ Blair ThomaseMerchantBroker

8. Keep Creating Relevant and Fresh Content

“One of the biggest challenges with content marketing is creating fresh content on a regular basis. This is even more important than keywords or any advanced SEO tactics. Google favors sites that consistently publish new content that addresses readers’ needs. Don’t neglect other factors such as keywords and backlinks but consistency is the most important factor.” ~ Shawn PoratScorely

9. Optimize Your Thinking

You search for content every day. Next time take notice of what you’re typing into the search box. You’re either typing in words, phrases or questions. Now apply that approach to your content. Keywords are important, but the way you phrase your title and h2 tags should encompass the question, then the phrase, then finally keywords that you’re trying to hit — in that order.” ~ Stanley MeytinTrue Film Production

10. Create Evergreen Content

“Providing SEO content is an investment that will render results three to six months down the line. By making it evergreen, you’re ensuring that your content will always be relevant. It’s information that can pop up in search engine results for years to come as long as the product you’re selling is still in demand.” ~ Patrick BarnhillSpecialist ID, Inc.

11. Bring Value to Every Piece of Content

“It cannot be said enough, don’t focus on SEO tricks, focus on value. The more you generate value for people, the more likely you will be to rank for the content. Yes, you need to have the right kind of distribution for the content and an effective strategy to engage any potentially relevant and influential blogs that may want to reference you. Otherwise, you must focus on value.” ~ Nicole MunozStart Ranking Now

12. Keep Audiences Engaged Over Time

“Extensive research is often the key to creating content that will keep your target audience interested and entertained. Creating content takes more than just writing ability. It also requires a level of expertise in your subject matter and knowledge of industry trends. It is unlikely that any singular piece of content will be a permanent resource for your audience, but regularly churning out insightful, consistent and up to date pieces will keep audiences engaged over time.” ~ Zohar Steinbergtoken payments

13. Enhance Social Media Management

“Sites like Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin rank very high in search engines. Maintaining and updating your businesses’ social media profiles is an easy way to piggyback off the giants who have mastered the art of SEO.” ~ Cassie PetreyCrowd Surf

14. Focus on Retention

“With SEO algorithms shifting constantly, it can be a Sisyphean task trying to update every piece of content to each change. What I focus on is providing excellent SEO when content is first published in order to drive up exposure and then attempt to retain as much of that exposure as possible through engagement strategies. This ensures that my content doesn’t have to be consistently SEO friendly to last.” ~ Bryce WelkerCPA Exam Guy

15. Don’t Overthink the Technical Side

“Much like how truly SEO-friendly content is all about adding value (not tricking the algorithm), your approach to technical optimizations should prioritize fastidious organization. Is it easy for visitors to find any and all content? Are your pages, written content and media files as simply organized and as clearly labeled as possible? Optimize to the readers, not search bots.” ~ Ryan WilsonFiveFifty

16. Allow Length to be Your Advantage

“Everyone repeats the same thing: “Forget about ‘The Algorithm.’ Just write for your audience.” However, “The Algorithm” adds more weight to longer content than your audience does. Plus, “The Algorithm” loves to see synonyms of your keyword. Longer content will automatically have more keyword synonyms. Longer content (with additional keyword synonyms) will appease “The Algorithm” and your audience.” ~ Christopher TedderClinger Holsters

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Forget the Algorithm: 16 Ways to Get Your Business to the Top of Search” was first published on Small Business Trends

Source

Forget the Algorithm: 16 Ways to Be SEO-Friendly

Monday, April 30th, 2018

Forget the Algorithm: 16 Ways to Be SEO Friendly

Getting your website ranked higher through search engine optimization (SEO) is pretty important, but how does it really work? So many of us focus on “beating the algorithm” to get the coveted high rankings, even though they change all the time. What does it take to get to the top and stay there? We asked 16 entrepreneurs for their best tips on working SEO to their advantage. This is what they had to say.

“Trying to take advantage of SEO can be a challenge, thanks in large part to constantly changing algorithms that emphasize different aspects of your content. Given these frequent changes, how can you create SEO-friendly content that lasts?”

How to Be SEO Friendly

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Create Industry-Leading Useful Content That Fills a Need

“Don’t just create content to create content. Create content that solves a problem, explains a solution or answers your customer’s questions. Invest in quality research and design to present that content to your customers in a way that isn’t boring, is easy to navigate and is better than anything else on the topic.” ~ Shawn SchulzeNames.org

2. Write to Connect With Your Customers, Not Search Engines

“The biggest mistake we see comes in writing for search engines at the expense of the customer. Remember that while the copy gets them to the front door, if they hate what they find when they walk in, they’ll leave. Since Google takes customer experience into account when ranking, a site that continually turns off visitors won’t rank well long term, even if the content is perfectly optimized.” ~ Jeff JahnDynamiX

3. Ensure Your Content is Mobile Friendly

“To keep your content SEO friendly, ensure your website is mobile responsive. Compress heavy image files, remove flash videos or animations, disable intrusive pop-ups and make sure all titles, tags and descriptions are optimized for mobile devices. Additionally, all content should provide value, but also be easy to consume.” ~ Kristin MarquetCreative Development Agency, LLC

4. Don’t Just Focus on Keywords

“Keywords are obviously an important part of the algorithms, but loading your content up with keywords is the opposite of what you want to do. Focus on fulfilling a need for your customers and answering their questions via your content. While the content can and should be centered around keywords, the quality of the content is what matters and will help it stand the test of time.” ~ Kristy KnichelKnichel Logistics

5. Go Above and Beyond

“What can you do to blow away all of the other search results for your target keywords? If it’s a list, create a custom list plugin with as much additional information about the topic that you can find. If it’s a difficult subject, create videos and mix them into the content. If it’s simple, perhaps the topic isn’t broad enough to create amazing content for. Go above and beyond and see how Google will reward you.” ~ Ajay PaghdalOutreachMama

6. Just Create Amazing Content

“The days of gaming search engines with little hacks and tricks are over. Google is far too advanced for that now. So what’s the secret to modern SEO? Just create amazing content that your audience is looking for. Simple as that. Sure you have to follow basic fundamentals like a responsive website, fast page load times, etc. But don’t get hung up on tiny details or trying to game the system.” ~ Jeff CayleyWorldwide Cyclery

7. Don’t Forget to Link

“Adding internal links not only shows your authority in a particular sector, but it can also lead to more posts that offer additional value. A string of value-added posts can make it easier for search engines to interpret your primary themes. External links to evidence-based, reputable source material show that you are a subject matter expert that is able to support your information with other outside facts and statistics. Be sure not to go overboard with the linking. Only link to internal or external sources that make sense. They should add something to what you are offering. Excessive linking can cause you to rank lower in searches.” ~ Blair ThomaseMerchantBroker

8. Keep Creating Relevant and Fresh Content

“One of the biggest challenges with content marketing is creating fresh content on a regular basis. This is even more important than keywords or any advanced SEO tactics. Google favors sites that consistently publish new content that addresses readers’ needs. Don’t neglect other factors such as keywords and backlinks but consistency is the most important factor.” ~ Shawn PoratScorely

9. Optimize Your Thinking

You search for content every day. Next time take notice of what you’re typing into the search box. You’re either typing in words, phrases or questions. Now apply that approach to your content. Keywords are important, but the way you phrase your title and h2 tags should encompass the question, then the phrase, then finally keywords that you’re trying to hit — in that order.” ~ Stanley MeytinTrue Film Production

10. Create Evergreen Content

“Providing SEO content is an investment that will render results three to six months down the line. By making it evergreen, you’re ensuring that your content will always be relevant. It’s information that can pop up in search engine results for years to come as long as the product you’re selling is still in demand.” ~ Patrick BarnhillSpecialist ID, Inc.

11. Bring Value to Every Piece of Content

“It cannot be said enough, don’t focus on SEO tricks, focus on value. The more you generate value for people, the more likely you will be to rank for the content. Yes, you need to have the right kind of distribution for the content and an effective strategy to engage any potentially relevant and influential blogs that may want to reference you. Otherwise, you must focus on value.” ~ Nicole MunozStart Ranking Now

12. Keep Audiences Engaged Over Time

“Extensive research is often the key to creating content that will keep your target audience interested and entertained. Creating content takes more than just writing ability. It also requires a level of expertise in your subject matter and knowledge of industry trends. It is unlikely that any singular piece of content will be a permanent resource for your audience, but regularly churning out insightful, consistent and up to date pieces will keep audiences engaged over time.” ~ Zohar Steinbergtoken payments

13. Enhance Social Media Management

“Sites like Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin rank very high in search engines. Maintaining and updating your businesses’ social media profiles is an easy way to piggyback off the giants who have mastered the art of SEO.” ~ Cassie PetreyCrowd Surf

14. Focus on Retention

“With SEO algorithms shifting constantly, it can be a Sisyphean task trying to update every piece of content to each change. What I focus on is providing excellent SEO when content is first published in order to drive up exposure and then attempt to retain as much of that exposure as possible through engagement strategies. This ensures that my content doesn’t have to be consistently SEO friendly to last.” ~ Bryce WelkerCPA Exam Guy

15. Don’t Overthink the Technical Side

“Much like how truly SEO-friendly content is all about adding value (not tricking the algorithm), your approach to technical optimizations should prioritize fastidious organization. Is it easy for visitors to find any and all content? Are your pages, written content and media files as simply organized and as clearly labeled as possible? Optimize to the readers, not search bots.” ~ Ryan WilsonFiveFifty

16. Allow Length to be Your Advantage

“Everyone repeats the same thing: “Forget about ‘The Algorithm.’ Just write for your audience.” However, “The Algorithm” adds more weight to longer content than your audience does. Plus, “The Algorithm” loves to see synonyms of your keyword. Longer content will automatically have more keyword synonyms. Longer content (with additional keyword synonyms) will appease “The Algorithm” and your audience.” ~ Christopher TedderClinger Holsters

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Forget the Algorithm: 16 Ways to Be SEO-Friendly” was first published on Small Business Trends

Source

Marathon/Andeavor: Refined approach

Monday, April 30th, 2018

A blockbuster deal happens after an activist leaves

Oil tops $75 as Israel claims proof of Iranian nuclear weapons activity

Monday, April 30th, 2018

38% of Small Businesses Believe Employee Talent is Key to Success, WalletHub Says

Monday, April 30th, 2018

2018 Small Business Owner Survey

The 2018 Small Business Owner Survey from WalletHub has revealed access to a talented workforce is an important factor for their success. More than a third, or 38 percent, of small businesses, said this issue was more important than other factors.

2018 Small Business Owner Survey

Access to talent was more important than limited regulations (25 percent), low taxes (21 percent), easy access to credit (13 percent), and government incentives (3 percent). With a low unemployment rate and more jobs being created (241,000 jobs in March 2018) the job market is tight, which explains why this is a big concern for small businesses.

This issue was also highlighted at the Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Business Summit: The Big Power of Small Business held in February of this year. One of the key takeaways from the summit was 70 percent of small businesses are struggling to find and retain skilled employees.

The data from WalletHub comes from a nationally represented survey of more than 150 business owners carried out from 4/9/18 to 4/19/18. WalletHub offers free credit scores and full credit reports along with credit-improvement advice, savings alerts, and wallet surveillance.

Highlights From the Survey

Besides the challenges of finding the right talent, small business owners are generally optimistic. Seven in 10 said now is a good time for growth.

When it comes to financial windfalls, in this case, the savings from the Trump tax reforms, 40 percent said they are going to spend it on business development. Another 28 percent said it was going to executive/investor bonuses and 23 percent are adding it to their cash reserves. Only seven percent said it would go to employee compensation, while the remaining two percent said they would use it to hire more people.

As a company specializing in credit monitoring, WalletHub also asked small business owners their thought on credit cards and banks.

For 29 percent of the respondents, low fees was the most important feature in a business credit card. Expense management tools, good customer service, ongoing rewards and low regular APR was indicated by 18, 14, 11, and 10 percent of the respondents respectively.

Close to two thirds or 63 percent also said they pay too much on the processing fees for their credit card. Addressing the issue of security, an overwhelming majority or 90 percent said user protection on their business cards should be at least just as good as on personal cards.

As to business bank accounts, good customer service, monthly fee, and interest rate were the top three important features for 33, 26, and 18 percent of business owners respectively.

You can take a look at the rest of the WalletHub data in the infographic below.

2018 Small Business Owner Survey

Images: WalletHub

This article, “38% of Small Businesses Believe Employee Talent is Key to Success, WalletHub Says” was first published on Small Business Trends

Source

10 Steps to Becoming a Global Small Business

Monday, April 30th, 2018

10 Tips for a Small Business Going Global

Small businesses should always be looking for a competitive advantage. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of American companies export and over half of those ship goods and services to only one other country.

Small Business Trends spoke with Jeremy Melis, a Director of Small Business Marketing and Digital Customer Engagement for UPS. He supplied some tips on how smaller enterprises can take advantage of international markets.

Tips for a Small Business Going Global

Get Online – If You Haven’t Already

“Traditionally you’d see more small businesses start local, then expand regionally, nationally and then internationally,” he says. “Today we’re seeing a slight shift in that trend with some start-ups and business in the artisan communities beginning online.”

He says websites, web stores and online marketplaces are important building blocks for going global.  GoDaddy offers one version with good photo editing tools.

Market via Social Media

Taking advantage of social media platforms is a great way to market a local business that wants to go national or international. Some of the bigger players in the social media management space can be a big help by simplifying the process.

Use Multiple Channels

It’s good to spread the net wide. You can comple, a web store on your website by adding several marketplaces to further your online reach.  Look for technology here that allows you to pull these in with a click of the mouse. Check out places like Shopify.

Dig into Pricing Models

One of the problems small businesses find when they try to go global is competing with bigger competition and free shipping. Melis says a little detective work should pay off and allow for some wiggle room. Specifically, looking to see if “free shipping” is really baked into a competitor’s pricing model can work to your advantage as you can adjust your pricing accordingly.

Develop a Good Returns Policy

This is one spoke in a successful business wheel you can’t afford to ignore if you want to go global. Unfortunately, lots of smaller companies don’t place a necessary focus here.

It’s especially important online so you need to develop and communicate a clear policy.

Fid Tools for Managing Those Returns

“Once you have a good returns policy in place, small business should look for tools to make the process part of returns easier,” Melis says pointing to UPS Returns Manager.

These should bolster the customer experience through pre-set options and the click of a mouse. They are a great way to drive customer loyalty.

Ask for Help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Tweaking your small business or setting one up to go global can be daunting. The Small Business Administration has a portal where you can team up with small business counselors.

Consider Compliance and Tax Issues

There might be different tax codes and other compliance issues you’ll need to look at. For example, you might need licenses to ship some products like technology outside America.

Find a Local Business Contact

You can learn a lot about what you need to know about a foreign market online. However, contacting local business associations to get some names can provide important insider information about how business gets done in new destinations.  

Start with A Logical First Step

Melis points to a proven path for small business globalization and Canada as a first step. Small companies often stay on the continent but jump the border to become international that way.

“It’s a huge population relatively close so it’s a common first step to go north,” he says.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “10 Steps to Becoming a Global Small Business” was first published on Small Business Trends

Source

Oil prices tick higher ahead of Netanyahu’s Iran announcement

Monday, April 30th, 2018

The Tech Skills Gap

Monday, April 30th, 2018

Sponsored Post

The Tech Skills Gap

Each year, thousands of vacant tech positions go unfilled. Companies want to hire top-notch, highly skilled information technology professionals, but they just can’t seem to find them.

The overwhelming demand for qualified candidates has made it increasingly difficult for businesses to attract new talent and retain their existing employees. Additionally, the sheer pace of technological change can put companies’ technological infrastructures at risk due to the need to frequently train incumbent workers.

This IT skills gap is only expected to grow over the next five years. The 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study (GISWS) predicts as many as 1.8 million IT jobs could be unfilled by 2022 opens in new window. That’s a 20 percent bump from what the same study revealed two years earlier.

Two critical forces contribute to the difficulties companies face with hiring, retention and skills:

  • The rapid pace of technological change
  • The impact of IT as a core function of modern business

Pace of Change

In recent years, technology has evolved at a such a breakneck speed, it’s hard to keep pace. Colleges and universities, for one, have fallen behind. Schools cannot create and deliver programs quick enough to accommodate technological change. Consequently, less than 3 percent of college graduates obtain a degree in computer science opens in new windowor information systems.

Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan suggests the key to closing the “digital divide” begins at the K-12 level opens in new window.

“It’s clear our educational institutions are not producing enough workers to keep up with the demand that rapid innovation has imposed on our economy,” Duncan said.

IT at the Core of Modern Business

The rapid evolution of IT has established it as a critical function and embedded it into the core of contemporary business. This shift has developed across all industries, even those that are historically non-technical. As a result, more and more companies compete for talent in the marketplace, which makes hiring and employee retention a greater concern.

Always in ‘Hiring Mode’

Despite the skills gap, companies are still looking to expand their IT staffs. According to the GISWS, one-third of hiring managers indicated they expect to increase their workforces by at least 15 percent.

That’s likely because most IT department heads do not believe their existing employees have the desired skills needed to address the company’s needs.

Of the 1,300 IT leaders surveyed by TEKSystems opens in new window, more than 60 percent of them said the skills gap “severely or moderately impacts their team or organization.” As a result, these companies remain in an unending “hiring mode.”

Not only are lengthy candidate searches burdensome, they are expensive. Costs — direct and indirect — associated with going outside to fill a $60,000-per-year position can reach $100,000. Tack on another $50,000 for a bad hire, something more than two-thirds of U.S. employers experience at some point.

The Software Guild Talent System

To help companies mitigate extraneous hiring costs and successfully attract, retain and develop technology workers, The Software Guild has implemented a talent system that attracts high-quality talent and upskills existing employees — from IT and other departments within the organization — to fill in-demand roles.

The talent system provides up-to-date training in a range of programs designed for skill levels from beginner to advanced, including:

  • Java (Expertise Level: Beginner)
  • .NET/C# (Expertise Level: Beginner)

As a corporate partner, The Software Guild assists in identifying a company’s technology needs and develops a system to fill much-needed positions with external candidates and current employees. The Guild then cultivates a professional development track for employees to stay engaged and hone their skills, which ultimately improves retention.

Republished by permission. Original here.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “The Tech Skills Gap” was first published on Small Business Trends

Source

Ludogorets is the Champion for the Seventh Consecutive Year!

Monday, April 30th, 2018

Ludogorets’ team has become champion of Bulgaria for the seventh consecutive year! This happened after today’s loss of CSKA Sofia with 1:2 from Botev (Plovdiv). Four rounds before the end of the season the Eagles lead 13 points in front of the Reds and are unreachable at the top of the standings.

In the next round the champions will visit CSKA Sofia in a match that will be only for prestige. From now on, the goal for the Razgrad players would be to improve records of successive victories.

The Ludogorets hegemony started in the 2011/2012 season and since then there has been no club to oppose the Razgrad team and win the championship title. The trophy will be given to the champions of the match against Levski at the Ludogorets Arena on May 12th.

Source

Barcelona Win LaLiga and Remain Unbeaten

Monday, April 30th, 2018

Marca – Barcelona have been crowned champions of LaLiga at Estadio Riazor with four games still left to play on the league calendar.The title, combined with the Copa del Rey, represents the club’s eighth double in their history, with Ernesto Valverde and his players writing their names into Blaugrana legend with a level of domination that has never been matched before.Nobody has been able to compete with them throughout the season as Real Madrid all but gave up after a woeful start to the season, losing substantial ground early on.Valencia started strongly and kept up the pace but ran out of steam whilst Barcelona went from strength to strength. Atletico Madrid have been their closest rivals since Los Che fell away, but they have never really threatened the Catalans.At one point they were just five points behind as Valverde’s side went through a blip which saw them drop points against weak rivals, such as Espanyol, Getafe and Las Palmas.That came to an end with Barcelona’s victory over Atletico at the Camp Nou and ever since then their consistency with Valverde’s strongest line-up has made lifting the title look comfortable.The former Athletic Club coach has stuck to his guns with few rotations throughout the campaign, even after losing Neymar and suffering a thrashing at the hands of Real Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana.

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