Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Most Bizarre ICD-10 Codes


Although ICD-10 implementation will mean a set of nearly 70,000 codes, some clearly stand out as more bizarre than others.
This year’s winners include:
In the Animal Category


W56.52 – struck by other fish (excludes sharks and orca)
W53.21XA – bitten by squirrel, initial encounter
W 55.22 – struck by cow
In the Injury Category
W56.21XA – bitten by orca, initial encounter
W55.39 (includes accidental contact with goat)
X37.8 (includes injury from torrential rain)
In the Strange Places Category
Y92.511 (includes injured at café)
Y92.331 – roller skating rink
Y92.026 – swimming pool of mobile home
In the Just Plain Weird Category
W42.0 – exposure to supersonic waves
W49 (includes exposure to abnormal gravitational forces)
W20.1XXA – struck by object due to collapse of building (unfortunate, although on the plus side, you survived the building collapse)

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How Google Manually Rates Your Website


Google Page Rank

Over the years, Google has made reference to its stable of human raters used to determine the quality of sites, helping to improve the algorithms used for search. Those raters use the “Human Rater Handbook” to check for a wide variety of things Google has dubbed important, and they rate sites according to how they fulfill all that criteria.

Sounds like a valuable tool for SEOs to get their hands on, huh? Well, in July a copy of the handbook leaked out onto the Internet, and people have been trying to glean insights from it ever since, looking for the key to rising through the Google ranks.

The truth is, there’s no one magical key. This document doesn’t deliver any earth-shattering revelations about how Google decides its rankings. But it is a good reminder about what Google considers important, and for that reason it should be required reading for SEOs.
Of course, the document itself is also super long, 160 pages, so if you’re looking for the Cliff’s Notes version, read on for a quick primer on what we can learn from Google’s “Human Rater Handbook.”

The Role of Human Raters
But first, a quick summary of the role of human raters. Google uses algorithms to deliver what it believes are the most relevant results to people doing searches.
The human raters give input to ensure that these are, indeed, useful search results. Their job in a nutshell:
  • Determine the effectiveness of search results
  • Test changes to the algorithm
  • Analyze the quality of different websites
  • Assess a site’s reputation
  • Note a site’s supplementary content

What Are Some of the Most Important Points in the Quality Rater Guidelines?

The quality rater guidelines are long and very in-depth, touching on dozens of different things raters should keep an eye out for. Here is a summary of the most important and most relevant takeaways for SEOS.

1. High-Quality Content is King
What you have heard is true: content is indeed the make-or-break part of search. Google rates sites with the best content the highest. This means content that is not only useful to people searching it out but also written clearly and easily understood. The best thing your web site can do, based on these guidelines, is hire a professional writer to ensure you have the best content.

2. It’s Key to Link to Other High-Quality Sites

Google has its raters be on the lookout for links to other high-quality sources on the web. The logic is if your site is reputable, you will be linking to other reputable places and not to spammy sites that are just looking for a sale. High-quality sites include trusted resources such as The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal. Low-quality sites include link farms and places where anyone can give “expert” commentary, such as Yahoo Answers.

3. Updating Your Website Regularly is Critical

SEOs have been telling their clients for years to keep their sites updated with fresh content. These rater guidelines remind us why. Google puts a high value on information that is up to date, and for good reason. When you do a search on, say, “latest SEO guidelines,” you don’t want to read resources from two years ago. They are dated and unreliable. As a consumer, you want the fresh stuff. This is one thing SEOs and Google can agree on.

4. Including Contact Information Can Boost Your Site

Google hates spammers; this we all know. So anything that makes your site appear less-spammy is going to play well with the human raters. This includes putting contact information on your pages, so that people can get in touch with you. Leaving such information off is a hallmark of webspam. Include your information under a heading such as “contacts” or “how to get in touch.” This way it’s obvious to the Google team you are legit.

5. Positive Reviews Can Make a World of Difference
The Google human raters have been trained to be wary of sites that receive negative reviews. While they will not necessarily punish sites without any type of review, they will crack down on those that have complaints logged against them. And they will reward those with positive reviews. Monitoring your reputation online is thus all the more important, because not only do you not want negative reviews coming up in queries about your company, you also want to boost your search results.

6. Supplementary Content Is a Helpful Tool
The human raters at Google are always looking for ways that websites can help out their users. That is why Google rewards sites with supplementary content, such as resource pages or informative articles, with better search results. To give your site a lift, think about what other content might be useful to visitors.

7. Beware of Your Ad Placement
Advertising can be a hindrance when it comes to search rankings. Raters are told to keep an eye out for any disruptive advertising that distracts from the content of the page. Sites with lots of
ads at the top or ads that are hard to ignore will be penalized.

In Google’s Own Words

What better way to figure out what Google is looking for in a web page than to hear it from the company itself? The good news is the leaked guidelines largely confirmed SEOs have been taking the right approach with most of our search tactics for years. If you are getting good results, there’s probably no reason to change what you are doing.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How to Use Hootsuite to Manage Your Social Media

We all know how important social media is to our small business marketing strategy. We know that it’s a powerful and essential way to connect and engage with our audiences.
However, we also know that finding the time to invest in social media is difficult.

What’s more, there are small businesses that seem to live on their social media platforms tweeting and posting updates every few minutes. It may seem impossible that anyone involved with running a small business would have enough time to update their social media accounts a dozen times an hour.
But, with a service like Hootsuite, it’s entirely possible.

Hootsuite allows you to update and pre-schedule posts and tweets for all your social media accounts in one central location.

Best of all, it’s free and includes three different social networks. (Of course, you can upgrade to their advanced plan with more features for a small monthly fee).


Here’s how to get started with Hootsuite

Sign-up for a free account.

Once inside the application, you will use a different tab for each of your social media accounts.
Different social media tabs
Within each social media tab, you can add different streams.
For example, for your Twitter account you can have streams that show:
  • Your general Twitter feed
  • When you are mentioned in a tweet
  • Your follower’s tweets
  • Tweets from a custom-made list
  • Your scheduled updates
Different streams
And, for your Facebook tab, you can have:
  • Private messages
  • Wall posts
  • Scheduled updates
Facebook streams
One of the most useful features of Hootsuite is that you can schedule all of your daily updates in one sitting.

At the top of the Hootsuite home page, there is a Compose Message box. Write your message and use the pins to the left to post the message to different social media accounts.
Create message
If you are posting to a social media account other than Twitter, Hootsuite previews your message so you can preview if the correct image is included.
Click Send Now to immediately post to any social networks you choose.
Send now
Or, select Schedule to pick a specific time for your message to post. You can schedule a post to go live in 5 minutes or several weeks later.
Hootsuite ensures that you aren’t wasting time on your social media platforms. In fact, you can schedule all of your upcoming Tweets and status updates for the upcoming week in under an hour flat.

Now that you are equipped with how to post more effectively, make sure that you know what type of content to post on Facebook and Twitter.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Email vs Social Media Marketing



You’ve undoubtedly heard that you should be investing significant time in social media. That you need to have a Twitter account to be a digitally viable business. That you may as well shut down your company if you don’t have 15,000 “likes” on Facebook.

Social media is important, yes, but its importance can vary greatly depending on your industry. And let’s be honest: Some industries simply aren’t destined for social media success.

This is not “Field of Dreams.” There’s no such thing as “if you build it, they will come.” It’s possible to devote significant time and resources to social media and not develop much of a following.
Here’s the truth: In that case, it’s better to shift your focus elsewhere, away from social media to something that will work. And that something is email.

Why Email?
Somehow email marketing has developed a bad rep ever since the social media revolution began. Many see it as outdated and ineffective, simply because it’s not new and sexy. That perception is flat-out wrong.

Here are the facts on email:
  • It’s growing: By 2018, there will be 2.8 billion email users, up from 2.5 billion this year.
  • It’s relevant: People send an average of 121 emails each day.
  • It’s business-oriented: Businesses send 108 billion emails annually.

People engage with email all day long, even during their work hours. That’s not the case for social media, which is restricted mostly to personal time.

And email marketing is extremely effective. According to one study, it accounts for 16 percent of customers acquired, which is way higher than social media. And those customers who are acquired via social media? They’re actually worth less to businesses, probably because they are responding to a one-time ad and don’t become a long-term client. On the other hand, in cases where emails lead to purchases, the order value is 17% higher on average.

The Advantages of Targeting
Here’s the thing about social media: It’s a lot like throwing darts. You toss something into cyberspace and hope it will hit a bullseye. But you are not actually aiming for a particular demographic with most social media posts. Anyone can find you on Twitter or Facebook. And just because they like or follow you doesn’t mean they’re truly interested in your product. They may have followed you just to enter a contest, get a free coupon, or access other like-gated content.

Email marketing is very different. Someone receiving your emails had to opt in, which means they are truly interested in what you are peddling. It also means you are reaching a more targeted audience, one willing to share some personal information to get on the mailing list. On social media, it’s all too easy to follow someone without revealing anything of value about yourself or what you’re seeking.

According to Johannes Selbach of Axandra, proper targeting is one of the most important considerations to make when you are testing out advertising in email newsletters. “We have tried many different email newsletters and you can waste a lot of money if you advertise in a newsletter with the wrong subscribers.”

Better targeting means, of course, a better chance the person will buy your product. One random “like” on Facebook probably won’t lead to a sale. But an article in a newsletter that’s of interest to a subscriber can. For instance, take CJ Pony Parts, which sells Mustang parts. It has had a great deal of success advertising in niche interest newsletters for Mustang enthusiasts.

Email Remains Dominant
Undoubtedly you know a few people who have resisted the social media revolution. They pride themselves on staying off Twitter and Facebook and not even knowing what a hashtag is. But those people still have email, don’t they. Email remains the most dominant form of digital communication. Ninety-one percent of consumers use email daily.

By contrast, only 74 percent of online adults use social networking sites. By focusing on social media at the exclusion of email, you could be missing out on millions of potential customers.

The simple fact is, people are more likely to buy something they see via email than something they see on social media. You can build trust with your customers via email because they have opted in to your list. This sounds simple, yet it’s sort of like inviting someone into your house. You only do it when you’re convinced that it’s safe. People don’t hand out their addresses to what they consider shady companies. If you’ve gotten an email address, you are likely already 25 percent to a sale.
Of course, using a targeting service such as NetMediaReps can also help you advertise on reputable, effective email lists to help get the message out to new customers. It’s important to experiment with different ways of delivering your message via email in order to reach the optimal mix of potential clients.

I spoke to several of NetMediaReps’ advertisers. Selbach, mentioned above, was beyond happy with his return on investment. And Jennifer Horowitz of EcomBuffet explained, “A good chunk of our business is due to the email marketing we have done through them. We’ve been able to increase our opt-in rate up over 60% and generate tons of leads and close many sales.” In both Horowitz’s and Selbach’s cases, NetMediaReps’ newsletters targeting business owners were perfect for their companies.

Email Will Always Be Important
Social media can be an important component of building awareness of your business. But to push purchases, social media can only help so much. Different social networks rise and fall in popularity quickly, and there’s always the danger that you will put too much effort into a site that, in a matter of months, will become the next MySpace.

But email, on the other hand, faces no such uncertainty. Email has been around for decades, and even as the internet matures, it shows no signs of becoming less important. It’s arguably more important these days, because it has become such a central part of how we communicate.

Spending time and energy on email marketing is essential to the health of your business. Don’t waste your time trying to grow a social media account that’s only attracting minimal interest when
you could be reaching potential clients via email.

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Friday, October 10, 2014

How to Turn Your Followers Into Content Marketers for Your Brand



Businesses today look for the best ways to reach potential customers online. The interruptive forms of advertising, such as “pop-up” ads, are no longer seen as effective. Consumers are more apt to close an ad after giving it the briefest of glances. For this reason, brands are turning to content marketing as the best way to draw in customers.

Content marketing is not about writing descriptions of your products, giving them a title and posting them across the Web to any site that will have them. It is to provide valuable information to consumers, which is relevant to your brand. In doing so, you are presenting yourself as an expert and a business that can meet a person’s needs.

One of the keys to a successful content strategy is to incorporate it, hand-in-hand, with your social media strategy. Once you produce content, social networking channels are the best way to share it with your audience.

A challenge that companies face in this strategy is producing enough content that is going to encourage the audience to interact and engage. A way to keep unique content coming is to encourage your followers to create content for you.

There are apps available that will make it easier to invite your audience to make and share content
that is related to your brand:

Put It to a Vote

Using voting apps, create a topic that your followers can vote on. For instance, a T-shirt design or the name of a new menu item. Voting not only gets people to cast a vote for their favorite, but it also starts a conversation within the comments. You gain valuable insight from the people who support your brand.

Choose a topic, ask your followers to vote and see how far the conversation goes.

Personalize the Experience

You can use engagement apps to provide your followers with a more individualized experience. For example, if you are a clothing brand, you can send each user suggestions for clothing pieces that match their style profile.

Find ways to make the fan feel as if you have singled them out for a new product or service. This level of service is something that they will be quick to share among their own social networks.

Invite Fans to Submit Content

When you invite your followers to create something for your brand, it contributes to that sense of community that you are trying to build. It makes your fans like an important part of your business.
Ask them to submit videos, stories and photos for you to post on your site and share on social media.

Throw Down a Challenge

People like to test their knowledge against others, so putting up a quiz is a good way to engage with your followers. Ask people to submit their own questions that will be informative for the audience while relating to your brand.

For example, if you are a travel company, you can post questions that relate to your favorite destinations. These types of posts see a lot of engagement on social media because they are fun and interesting.

Encouraging your audience to take an active role in your content marketing doesn’t just make things simpler for your brand, it also creates a connection with your followers that cannot be created in other ways.

People want to feel like the things they have to say matter to you. Bringing them in as a part of your content creation leads to stronger bonds with your customer.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Five Tactics for Making More Money from Your Amazon Store



Even if you’ve only been paying attention halfway, you’ve probably noticed a huge surge in talk about selling on Amazon or a program called Amazon FBA recently. That’s because Amazon gives individuals and companies a massive, global marketplace to sell to with very low entry fees. There’s little wonder that droves of people are rushing to find out all they can.

Did you know…

• reported that Amazon has 164 million visitors quarterly in the United States alone.
• Comscore named Amazon as the most popular site in Europe.
• USA Today placed Amazon as No. 6 on its “10 Websites Where Surfers Spend the Most Time” list.
• The New York Times reported, “Product searches on Amazon have grown 73 percent over the last year while searches on Google Shopping have been flat.

Amazon can be a moneymaking machine… and there lies the problem.
When it comes to Amazon sales, breaking out of the overcrowded marketplace and establishing your products as different, better and worthy of buying is crucial. If you want to create better visibility and make more sales, one key element on your product-listing page is the content.
Engaging titles, compelling bullets/features and product descriptions that make shoppers think, “Yes! This is the one for me,” are what will make your inventory steadily go down while your weekly bank transfers go up.

Here are five product listing strategies that can bring you significant success:

  1. Position Your Products Differently – Differentiation is your Amazon advantage and the surprising secret to making more sales at higher prices. If your products look exactly like other products, most customers will default to buying the one with the most reviews and the lowest price. How do you figure out ways to set your product apart from the rest?
1. Bundle it with another product(s)
2. Mention another use others aren’t talking about
3. Focus on benefits instead of features
4. Take the healthy approach
5. Take the fast approach
6. Take the easy approach
7. Take the affordable approach
8. Position it as family friendly
9. Position it as luxurious
10. Position it as a real value
11. Solve a specific problem
12. Relate your product to a news event
13. Relate your product to a celebrity
14. Relate it specifically to men, women or children
15. Offer a better guarantee
16. Offer free shipping
17. Make it Prime eligible
18. Give a bonus
19. Mention your Bestseller status (if applicable)
20. Mention that you have an enormous number of positive reviews (if true)
21. Offer a lower price
22. Offer more colors
23. Offer sets (if most others are open stock)
24. Offer open stock (if most others come in sets)
25. Relate it to vegetarians or vegans
26. Position it as allergy-free
27. Position it as dairy-, wheat-, casein, gluten-free
28. Position it as the latest technology
29. Position it for an age group (senior citizens, young kids, teens, over 50)
30. Position it for a medical condition (arthritis, high blood pressure, migraines, menopause)
  1. Build a Better Keyword List – The addition of just one targeted keyword to your list can drive droves of traffic to your products. Where do you find keywords?
  • Look on Amazon’s site (in the dropdown menu in the search box)
    • Search on Google
    Web CEO (free and paid options)
    Merchant Words (free and paid options)

In addition to the product itself, think about relevant holidays (Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Christmas), seasons and occasions (back to school) that would be a good fit.

  1. Capture Attention with Enticing Product Titles – Your product title doesn’t just show on your product listing page. It also pops up in the Amazon search results page as well as Bestsellers pages and other places. In addition, Amazon counts keywords that are included in the title when considering where to rank products in its internal search results.

Your title is the first exposure shoppers have to your product so it needs to be descriptive and engaging. Think about the way you’ve positioned your product. Include words that allow people to experience the product, not just read about it.

A general guideline (not carved in stone) is:

Brand + Description + Classification (Item Type: Running Shoe) +Something Unique
  1. Create Compelling Bullets/Features – When writing bullets (one of the most-read sections of the listing page) consider:
  • Who you are selling to – What do they want/need when buying this product?
    • What sets you apart from all the other products?
    • What features/benefits can you list with regard to the product?

  1. Develop Product Descriptions that Set You Apart – Answering the question, “Why should I buy from you instead of all the other sellers” is vital. Your product description should answer this question in detail. Do you offer a bundle that includes items no one else offers? Do your baking trays come with a free cookbook? Are you the manufacturer of your own products and no one else is allowed to sell them? Do you position your frozen food trays as a way to feed your family healthy food instead of being a mere storage unit?
f every other listing for French press coffeemakers is focusing on simply making coffee, position yours as a gourmet way to start your day. See point one above for ideas.

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