Monday, February 16, 2015

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The eWatchFactory Classic Men's Stainless Steel Watch is built for adventure. Designed as a nod to classic diver and military watches, it features 100% stainless steel construction, adjustable bezel, and water resistance to +300 feet. Fully customizable watch face. Stainless steel case and adjustable bracelet with trifold closure. Three-hand quartz movement. Adjustable bezel function. Powered by battery (included).

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Use This Word to Motivate Your Online Marketing in 2015



A quick online search will yield hundreds of ways to improve your online marketing. Some common tips include using link building to improve your SEO, adding visual content and focusing on ad retargeting. All of this can be helpful, but if there’s only one thing you focus on this year, it should be engagement. Channel your energy into being more engaged on popular websites, social media and other content distributors.

Understanding Engagement
In a world where social media has driven companies to compete for ‘likes’ and ‘shares,’ the true meaning of engagement has become lost. Genuine engagement has been replaced with shallow involvement and has, unfortunately, set some organizations back.

While viewing a marketing piece, liking, and sharing are all key components to a successful campaign, they are not the be-all and end-all. According to Christopher M. Litster, “The next step is to find meaningful ways to engage those customers over the long-term.”

In other words, you have to find a way to get beneath the surface level gimmicks and actually get to know who your customers are. For most companies, this comes down to managing your time well, covering all your bases, and learning to pursue as opposed to push.

Managing Your Time
One of the most challenging aspects of marketing can be time management; ensuring you are spending the right amount of time on the right projects. This is especially true when working to increase engagement. How can you do this without putting in a plethora of hours? You can take comfort in the fact that everyone, from small businesses to large corporations, struggle with this. While there is no simple answer, there are some helpful tips you can implement to make sure you’re reaching optimal engagement with your audience.

One way to avoid wasting time while making the most of your effort is to set SMART goals. This memorable acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. By paying attention to each of these elements, you’ll be able to use your time more efficiently.
A second way to better manage time is to know your audience. If you’re wasting time trying to pinpoint your target market, when they’re online, and what they’re searching, you’re a step behind. Spend the money on the front end to figure these things out, and the time you save later will make up for it.

Covering Your Bases
If you’re managing your time well, you’ll be able to actually focus on engagement. Start by making sure all your bases are covered. Do you have the right social media accounts set up? Is your blog active and consistent with your brand’s message? Are your ads consistently pushing people through the sales channel? You need all of these things in place to be capable of pursuing high-level engagement with your customers.

Pursuing not Pushing
Finally, if your time is managed well and all your bases are covered, you’re set up for success. The last step involves pursuing, as opposed to pushing. Find tangible ways to build an online community that’s conducive to free-flowing conversation. You shouldn’t be pushing content or calls-to-action onto your customers. Instead, you should gently encourage them to pursue your resources as valuable answers to their pressing questions. For a good example of this, check out Park View Legal’s Facebook page. It offers helpful tips, curates valuable content, and asks engaging questions.

By managing your time well, supplying yourself with the right tools, and pursuing not pushing, you will be better able to engage with your audience this year and improve brand visibility.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Social Signals: Do They Impact SEO Rankings?


search engine rankings

Just beginning to tread the murky waters of social signals in relation to SEO rankings? It can seem like quite the daunting task considering the amount of confusion surrounding the topic. There seems to be a great deal of conflicting information put out by various respected sources, the SEO community, and even industry leaders themselves.

But first, what exactly are social signals?
Social signals is the term describing any activity by users that advances web content across social platforms. For instance; shares, Facebook likes, +1’s, and retweets could all be considered social signals. It was previously thought that these signals weighed heavily in favor of a business’s SEO ranking, essentially bolstering their position simply by acquiring more likes or +1’s on social media sites than their competitors. We now know that this not the case at all. Just a little bit of sleuthing can quickly uncover that at this point in time social signals are still not a serious factor in SEO rankings, despite the prior belief and hooplah. And that’s not likely to change any time soon.

So where did all of the confusion come from?

Much Ado About Nothing?
In 2010, Google spokesperson Matt Cutts was featured in a video endorsing the fact that Twitter and Facebook links were, at that time, being used as SEO signals. Shortly after in 2011 Google launched Google+ and set in motion their “authorship markup” campaign which was a way for authors to be connected to their content. These changes provided access to, and complete oversight of, a social media platform by Google. This was a dramatic new step for identifying and authenticating influencers online, and of course was aimed to further Google’s dominance across search and social platforms. These announcements contributed to convincing the world of SEO marketers into believing that social media was going to become a greater influence on Google’s algorithms.
This was later recanted in early 2014 by Mr. Cutts in a Google Webmaster series video where he was asked, “Are Facebook and Twitter signals part of the ranking Algorithm?” He responded by saying:
“Facebook and Twitter pages are treated like any other pages in our web index so if something occurs on Twitter or occurs on Facebook and we’re able to crawl it, then we can return that in our search results. But as far as doing special specific work to sort of say “you have this many followers on Twitter or this many likes on Facebook”, to the best of my knowledge we don’t currently have any signals like that in our web search ranking algorithms.”

Despite the fact that Google is not currently using social signals in their algorithms, some may still argue that there is a definite correlation between the number of shares a business receives on a piece of content versus their SEO ranking. While this may seem to be true, correlation does not necessarily equal causation as Matt Cutts pointed out. The relationship between these points toward the fact that great content inspires people to like it not only in Google, but on Twitter and Facebook as well. This is the key takeaway here; to simply focus efforts on creating great content that is relevant to your audience. In doing so, content will get shared more frequently, ultimately creating more traffic for your site and elevating your SEO ranking. This means that indirectly, social shares do help SEO, but the core is about great content, not social presence.

Social Media is Still Your Friend
This is not to say that you shouldn’t be on multiple social media sites, or that it won’t benefit your endeavor. Although social signals are not factored into SEO rankings directly, they still play a pivotal role in furthering a company’s brand. A compelling social media campaign can impact your SEO, which is one of the most significant reasons for building a solid foundation on social platforms.
Although not all shares are created equally, (meaning someone with 100 followers does not have the same influence as someone who has 10,000) the number of your followers isn’t as crucial as the interactions with them. It is all about engagement. Active engagement creates brand awareness among consumers where that truly great content is being produced; this results in more shares, likes, and retweets. Some of the additional benefits that may be received from a stellar social presence include:
  • Rapid exposure of content – instant eyeballs to your fabulous creations.
  • Referral traffic to content boosts the chances that people will link to it.
  • The potential for an upsurge in followers which leads to higher visibility and an increase in return traffic.
  • Content being shared at a greater rate increases the probability of it being seen and shared by a major industry influencer which can have a much larger impact.

The verdict is still out about whether or not Google and other search engines will incorporate social signals as a sincere ranking factor. Many SEOs and marketers hypothesize that these signals will one day play a more direct role on rankings, but for now it has still not come to fruition.

Although social signals are not currently incorporated in Google’s algorithms (at least not yet) for SEO rankings, they absolutely have an effect on how much traffic a site can generate based on brand awareness, in turn boosting rank. Social media remains an invaluable marketing tool that should be utilized to create awareness, trust, and loyalty for your brand. Just be aware of its power and limitations.

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Talent Solutions a Big Money-Maker for LinkedIn in 4Q


Photo by Ben Scholzen.

Powerhouse professional network LinkedIn continues to surprise Wall Street, posting a 44 percent leap in quarterly revenue for its final quarter of 2014.

The company’s shares jumped eight percent in after hours trading Thursday, after the company reported revenue for the fourth quarter came in at $643 million compared to the $447 million it posted in the 2013 quarter.

Jeff Weiner
Jeff Weiner

Revenue for the year came in at $2.219 billion, a 45 percent increase compared to $1.529 billion it posted in 2013.

“Q4 was a strong quarter, bringing to a close another successful year of growth and innovation,” said CEO Jeff Weiner in a conference call with analysts.

“One year ago, we began a number of multi-year strategic investments in the platform. We continued our transition from desktop to mobile, and also focused on initiatives in jobs, content, and global expansion. While still early, we made significant progress on these priorities in 2014, and maintained solid growth across all member ecosystem metrics while delivering record financial results.”

A big part of LinkedIn’s success this year is more and more companies are using its service, Talent Solutions, to hire employees. Revenue in that division hit $369 million, up 41 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2013. Talent Solutions revenue represented 57 percent of total revenue in the fourth quarter.

And LinkedIn sees that upward trend continuing as the company expands internationally, garnering new memberships from multiple countries. LinkedIn just entered the Chinese market earlier this year and already China is a large source of new members.

“In the fourth-quarter, more than 75 percent of new members came to LinkedIn from outside the United States,” Weiner said.

Premium Subscriptions are also on the rise, making the company $121 million in the fourth quarter, an increase of 38 percent compared to the same quarter in 2013.

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The Golden Rules of Onsite SEO


Google dynamic sitelinks

Feeling overwhelmed by the wealth of information about onsite SEO? Yes, it’s a wildly dynamic world. Yes, it’s essential that you play by the rules or else be invisible to the all mighty search engines. But take heart; SEO is not rocket science. It’s a bundle of best practices that when followed diligently, and coupled with stellar content and website flow, can equal huge wins for your business.
This article will decipher the current mysteries of effective onsite SEO: What’s working and what’s not. Prepare to be demystified.

Golden Rule #1: Focus on Your Audience, Not Search Bots
Before you implement a single onsite technique, create an ironclad mantra that your website is tailored to your customers’ needs, not the imaginary requirements of a search bot. Search bots are finicky little beasts; their algorithms change frequently based on – you guessed it – what your customers want. So cut to the chase and design for people, not machines.

Golden Rule #2: Metadata Still Matters
All those title tags and description tags may seem like little things, but don’t believe the hype that they no longer make a difference. They most certainly do. Title tags tell web crawlers what your content is about, description tags don’t effect ranking but definitely do dramatically effect usability, canonical tags protect you from significant penalties from duplicate text. Make friends with your meta data!

Golden Rule #3: Social Signals are Near Obsolete
Remember all that hullaballoo about how social signals were the next big thing in SEO? That ship has sailed. Matt Cutts did say in 2010 that social signals had a correlation to high rankings, but this was dramatically rebutted last year when he stated: “… there was an SEO that said, ‘OK, we see a lot of links on Facebook and those are the pages that rank well.’ But that’s correlation; that’s not causation. Instead, it’s probably that there’s something really awesome, and because there’s something awesome, then it gets a lot of likes on Facebook and a lot of people decide to link to it. That’s the sort of thing where the better content you make, the more people are [going] to like it not only in Google, but in Twitter and Facebook as well.”

Heed this call loud and clear; social signals don’t move your rankings, great content does. So just like you vowed to focus on your audience and not Google’s bots, promise you’ll worry about creating amazing content and not fret about likes and tweets.

Golden Rule #4: Get to Know Semantic Search
Semantic search was quite possibly the hottest new trend in SEO last year, and it’s growing in popularity all the more this year. Semantics as a general term references the study of meaning. Semantic search, then, is an in-depth discovery of the true meaning of search terms, in respect to what the searcher is consciously and unconsciously hoping to unearth. This also means the entire search term is dissected and understood, rather than the keywords. Even pronouns are crucial and indicate a deeper meaning. The end goal is simple: Give the search the most precise list of results that directly mirrors their intention. Yes, it’s complicated, but semantic search is here to stay. The moral of this for you is to be very aware of how your customers are finding you – down to the last word.

Golden Rule #5: Earned Links are Powerful

There’s three types of links prevalent in SEO these days:
  1. Owned media and owned links: These consist of anything you yourself (or your company) created and own.
  2. Paid links: Placements you pay for on sites like Google Adwords that advertise your goods and services.
  3. Earned links: These are the golden tickets; links to your content from credible, like-minded sources that only wish to tell the word about your efforts. With earned links, quality is everything. A few links from some low ranking sites won’t do you any favors, and if they’re guilty of spammy behaviors, can even hurt your cause. Links from top tier sites that relate to your industry, however, are immensely powerful.

Golden Rule #6: Go Mobile or Become Obsolete
Mobile optimization is a vastly different game than traditional SEO, but it’s becoming arguably more important. Depending on your audience, you could very well find that mobile is the only space you should focus your optimization efforts.

First of all, bear in mind that about 50% of all searches are for local content. 50% of searches have also purchased goods from their phones, however, so this is hardly just a local’s game. According to the Mobile Marketing Association, 43% of Americans now use their smartphones as their number one search tool. And as you can guess, this number keeps rising year over year. The rule of thumb here is simple: Know your audience. If the majority of your customers are looking for you on their mobile phones, then you need to make sure you’re there for them to find.

So there you have it! The most crucial elements of SEO in the here and now.

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Friday, February 6, 2015

Moonlighting: 5 tips from entrepreneurs who've been there



It takes a special kind of person to willingly take on the stressors that come with moonlighting. Those passionate enough to launch their startup after putting in their hours at a typical nine-to-five don’t often regret it — but they do have some tales to tell. These tips from the trenches will help moonlighting entrepreneurs succeed in the long journey that is transitioning a night job into a day job.

1. Find a free office

“Understand the nature of the work you are trying to do and think about what is necessary for you to accomplish this work,” says 27-year-old Scott Dettman, a senior data scientist and PhD candidate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Those launching a startup might be intrigued by a trendy co-working space, but all that’s really needed are tables, coffee, food, outlets and Wi-Fi.

“You can swap out an office for a lot of different places. Being entrepreneurial means you are able to find solutions to relatively widespread problems and be creative,” he says. “Maybe you don’t need to spend the funds on a co-working space right away. Maybe you don’t need to spend the funds on a co-working space right away.
Dettman works on his startup, VoxDel, with friends, so he simply looks for a place where they’d like to hang out like on campus, at a bar, in a park or at a 24-hour restaurant. “I don’t believe we need an office space — I look at that as a luxury,” he says. “I’d rather have one more sales person as opposed to having some great office.”

2. Make your day job work for you

While burning the candle at both ends is not ideal, there are multiple benefits to keeping your day job. For Jerry Lee of Los Angeles, his day job as a web developer eventually turned into a catalyst for his night job as founder of StoryLeather, an online retailer specializing in custom-made leather goods.

“Do something that is relevant to your day job so that you can build synergy between your day and night job,” Lee, 37, says. “For me, I engage on web development projects with companies that may become StoryLeather’s business partner or customer.”

Because of this synergy, Lee’s situation made a switch for the better: He now works on StoryLeather during the day and moonlights as web developer after hours.

3. Change up your environment

“Some days I felt like Superman,” says Vannessa Wade, an adult ESL teacher who moonlights as a public relations specialist. The 33-year-old entrepreneur from Houston, Texas, tried settling in a co-working space to get her public relations work done, but found herself needing a change of scenery.
“I’ve also frequented parks for inspiration, business centers, restaurants and coffee shops,” she says. But it turns out changing locations was beneficial for more than just idea generation and a chance to discover the city — it was great way to meet new people. “You never know who may need your services,” she adds.

Sites like can help you find places with free wifi in your area.

4. Work anywhere and everywhere

Advertising account executive Samantha Cole of Virginia Beach, Virginia moonlights as founder of Samantha Cole Digital Labs. The 27-year-old mother negotiates contracts outside of her son’s wrestling practice and runs content-planning meetings in the middle of a pedicure.

“I work mostly from my kitchen table, my car and on the go before work, during my lunch break and every night,” says Cole. “

I pack up each morning to leave the house with everything I need — for any client.

I pack up each morning to leave the house with everything I need — for any client.
Cole also recommends keeping all appointments and deadlines written or typed up in the same place. “Don’t try to separate daytime life with nighttime life — you’re always working on all of them,” she says.

5. Network, network, network

For Asha, the 33-year-old who runs FoodLY during the day and publishes NOURISHED Magazine at night, the day is reserved for teaching cooking classes and offering personal consultations. Her early evenings, however, are reserved for writing at a co-working space in Manhattan, which allows her to network with entrepreneurs who are just ending their day.

“The aspect of networking does not exist when you go to a free space — there are benefits of being part of a community and it’s a lot more than just a desk,” she says. Solopreneurs can find co-working spaces especially useful as sounding boards. “It’s very important to meet people, get ideas and collaborate, even if you’re not working with them,”  she adds.

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