Monday, January 25, 2016

Video SEO: How To Get Your Video Ranked on Page 1 of Google

So, you have finally figured out how big a boost video marketing can be to your overall Internet marketing efforts. Let’s face it; people would rather watch videos nowadays than read an article. And a lot of businesses are now leveraging that trend by posting tons of video content on their YouTube channel designed to create brand awareness, introduce and sell new products and services, promote upcoming events and generate new business.

Now, posting great video content on YouTube is one thing, making it easy for your target audience to find the video is another. Yes, posting a video on YouTube will generate traffic organically from YouTube searches and possibly from social media shares, especially if the content is of high value. However, imagine how wonderful it would be if your videos appeared on the first page of Google for your target keywords. That would be just amazing, right? But the real question is how do you do this.
Well, it’s not as difficult to get a YouTube video ranked on Google as you may think. All you need is a little video SEO and a bit of elbow grease and you should be able to get there.

Here are 3 key steps to help you along the way:

1. Optimize Your YouTube Video Page
The YouTube page where your video is posted is just like any landing page or website. It has the same on-page elements that Google uses to evaluate for search placement. So, like any landing page, you will want to optimize it for the keywords you are targeting. Here are the things you will need to do.
  • Title: Write a compelling title that contains your target keyword. As much as possible, don’t exceed 70 characters, and make sure to have your target keyword within the first 5 words of the title.
  • Description: Write a description of no less than 300 words. Insert your target keywords generously into the content. 4 to 5 exact match instances of the keywords you are targeting is a good rule to follow. The keyword should also appear in the first sentence of the description and in every paragraph thereafter. Including other relevant keywords in the description also helps. Finally, don’t forget to include links to your website and relevant links to other videos that can be found on your YouTube channel.
  • Tags: This portion should contain all the keywords that matter. Your target keywords as well as other relevant tags. For instance, if you are targeting the keyword “Video SEO” for that particular video page, consider adding tags like “video”, “video marketing”, “SEO”, and “search engine optimization”.
  • Transcript: If your video has voice-over or features someone talking, then it will be definitely worth your while to upload a transcript of the video script. Now, this only becomes beneficial if the keyword is mentioned at least 2 times in the video. This is an optional optimization technique since there have been cases where a video that didn’t have voice-over or a transcript still ranked on Google. In any case, having this element on your video page helps a lot, so consider getting it done.

Additionally, the audience retention rate of a video plays a factor in Google and YouTube search placement. In order to maximize this, you will want to not only produce great video content but keep the length of the video below 5 minutes. Shorter videos tend to generate better audience retention rates.

2. Get Immediate Traction for Your Video
Once your YouTube video has been published and the video page optimized for search, the next thing you will need to do is to get instant traction for it. This is because YouTube tends to rank videos that have a good deal of views, likes, comments, and social shares high on searches. Eventually, those same factors will increase the video’s visibility on Google.

So, how do we do that? Here are some actionable steps you can take:
  • Embed the video on your website or blog. Doing this will not only create a high valued, relevant backlink to your YouTube video page, but will also provide the video with instant activity, especially if your website or blog gets a steady stream of web traffic.
  • Share the video via your social media accounts. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+ are just some of the social networks you should share your video on. Ask your network of friends and followers to watch, comment on, like, and share the video. If you have a Facebook Fan Page or a Google+ business page, consider sharing or embedding the video there as well.
  • Email the video to your friends, colleagues, clients.
  • Try to ask everyone you know that has an active account on YouTube to create a video response to your video. Every video response your YouTube video gets increases the page’s trust factor and popularity, which will have a significant effect on search placement on both Google and YouTube.
  • Submit the video to social bookmarking sites like Stumbleupon and Delicious.
3. Get Some Consistent Link Building Done
Again, Google treats a YouTube page like any other landing page. With that being said, link building will play a significant role in getting your video to the top of Google. This is especially true if the keywords you are targeting are highly competitive. A steady monthly link building campaign consisting of a variety of link types such as social bookmarks, blog articles, web 2.0 posts, article directory submissions, and video syndication, will greatly affect the video’s visibility on Google over time. Typically, with consistent link building, you can get a video ranking on page 1 of Google for your target search terms in less time than you think.

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

How to Land Your First Consulting Client

It’s not surprising that consulting is attractive to many people who want to launch a business. After all, if you have a saleable skill, it’s an easy business to enter. But just how do you break into the consulting field and get those all-important first clients?

Consulting is a big--and growing--business.

The market for consulting services is estimated to be between $130B and $150B annually, and professional consultants are among the highest paid workers, earning more than many doctors, lawyers and other professionals.

It’s not surprising that consulting is attractive to many people who want to launch a business. After all, if you have a saleable skill, it’s an easy business to enter. No one will stop you from calling yourself a consultant and startup can cost as little as printing business cards and getting a business license.

On the flip side of the coin, consulting is fiercely competitive. Just ten firms own almost 40% of the consulting market share in North America alone, and they fight for every opportunity to grow.
Today, clients have instant access to legions of experts at the click of a mouse, and they have found low-cost, offshore alternatives for many consulting projects.

The beauty of this market, though, is that many of the large, lumbering consulting firms focus on thin slices of the market. That creates an opportunity for smaller firms and individual consultants who know how to use guerrilla methods to snag their share of profitable business.

Think about Your Fourth Client First
As a new consultant, you should be able to generate a project--or maybe several--through your networks of friends, past employers, and colleagues. After all, research shows that clients use their networks to select consultants more than any other method, and they, no doubt, know someone who knows you.

Unfortunately, your address book alone won’t sustain your consulting business long term. If your goal is to build a sustainable consulting practice, the real question isn’t how to get your first client, but how to create a business that will attract the second, third, and fourth clients to your practice.
Before you ask your contacts--or anyone else--to hire you as a consultant for that first project, ensure your success by taking a longer view of your business. Work hard to land that first client, but also put the marketing and consulting fundamentals in place that will secure your future as a consultant.
Start with these four simple tips:
  • Know exactly what to say--in one minute or less--to prove you are the best consultant a client can find.
  • Create a marketing strategy that emphasizes action over planning.
  • Become a master of the consulting process, not just a subject-matter expert.
  • Win with value and results, not price.

Have Something to Say…
Prospective clients rarely look for consultants until they have a pressing need. In other words, “we just can’t do it ourselves; let’s get outside help fast.” A recent client admitted that his team had been spinning its wheels trying to resolve a complex transportation problem for three years before they hired consultants and gave them four weeks to come up with a solution. They did.

The point is that, when most clients are in the market for help, they want it yesterday. And they want the best consultants they can find, at an affordable price. So, take the time to define what makes you the best consultant a client can find.

Many consultants mistakenly believe that by defining their expertise broadly, they’ll appeal to a wider audience and land more clients. The less specific you are, the less likely it is clients will think of you when they need help.

Why would clients turn to you for their most important projects? Be prepared to answer these questions during your first conversation with them:
  • What, exactly, are you offering? Is it strategy development, financial management, operations improvement, sales and marketing advice, technology development, change management assistance, or something else?
  • Why is it needed? What specific business problem or opportunity will your services address?
  • How will the client be better off after having worked with you?
  • What’s really different about your firm, its services, results or approach?
  • What quantifiable benefits and results can your client expect?
If you can’t articulate the answers in a minute or less, keep working. You may only have that one minute to make a first impression on a client, so make it count.

And Someone to Say It to
The market has no shortage of prospective clients, but truly profitable projects can be few and far between. If you want to work for the most profitable clients, you'll have to compete for and grab their attention. And for that you must have a plan. A real one.

Many veteran consultants haven't looked at their marketing plans since they were first created. As a result, they drift from project to project, getting by on meager profit margins. Guerrilla consultants, however, leave the low-profit projects for others and focus on attracting and keeping the clients that give them the opportunity for financial and professional growth.

Guerrillas begin that process by creating a one-page marketing plan that lays out how to get and hold onto profitable clients.

Forget the reams of fancy charts, detailed analyses and bullet-proof competitive intelligence. You can draft your first marketing plan in seven sentences:
  • Sentence one explains the purpose of your marketing.
  • Sentence two explains how you achieve that purpose by describing the substantive benefits
  • you provide to clients
  • Sentence three describes your target market(s).
  • Sentence four describes your niche.
  • Sentence five outlines the marketing weapons you will use.
  • Sentence six reveals the identity of your business.
  • Sentence seven provides your marketing budget.

As you create your marketing plan, remember this: you are building a platform from which to consistently communicate your ideas to prospective clients. That's the fastest way to launch a new practice because prospective clients equate the success of a firm with consistent visibility.

So create a marketing plan that maximizes your visibility in the market. Over time, keep your business networks healthy with constant attention; establish a credible Web presence; speak for industry and trade groups; participate in studies and surveys; publish articles; and make contributions to your targeted industry association and local business community.

And, most importantly, once you begin your marketing program, never stop. You'll reap the benefits for the long haul if you stick to your marketing guns.

When a Client Asks What Time It Is, Don’t Take His Watch
Perhaps the most serious challenge facing consultants is client skepticism. In a study by business analysis firm Ross McManus, only 35% of clients are satisfied with their consultants.

Part of the problem is that many consultants are deep subject-matter experts, but less familiar with the consulting process. Before you get too far into the business, get a firm grasp of the fundamentals of consulting, including how to:
  • Qualify each project to determine your ability to win the work and earn a profit. These two don’t always go hand-in-hand.
  • Scope projects so you and the client know what work will be done and the anticipated results. Your profit can evaporate if you have an ambiguous statement of the project scope.
  • Find the pricing strategy that’s fair to clients and protects your bottom line. Pricing services is as much an art as a science, and there are at least fifteen different pricing strategies you can use.
  • Prepare proposals that make the most of this time-consuming activity. Make sure you’re talking to the decision-maker and that the project has funding.
  • Deliver flawless work and communicate effectively with your client.

Do those five things well and you’ll have more client work than you can handle.
If you’re new to the business, interview consultants on how they handle these aspects of the business; read books, articles and reports by leading thinkers in the field; and consider joining one of the many professional associations for consultants. You can save years of learning things the hard way.

The End is the Beginning
Your clearest path to a new client is your network of former employers and others who can make introductions to get that first project kicked off. Keep in mind, though, that consulting begins and ends with results.

To succeed, you must offer and deliver undisputed value to your clients and everyone else in your network. Value is also the foundation on which you must build your marketing. Your network of colleagues won’t support you, or your business, if your value is questioned anywhere along the way.
So, before you launch your practice, give these ideas some thought. They’ll help put you on the road to long-term success.

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Sunday, January 17, 2016

How To Create An Elevator Pitch

Crafting an Elevator Pitch

Introducing Your Company Quickly and Compellingly

(Also known as an Elevator Speech or Elevator Statement)

How to write an elevator pitch

Stand out with an effective elevator pitch.
You've just bumped into a former client at the airport. After exchanging pleasantries, he asks you what your new company does. You open your mouth, and then pause. Where on earth do you start?
Then, as you try to organize your thoughts, his flight is called, and he's on his way. If you'd been better prepared, you're sure that he'd have stayed long enough to schedule a meeting.

This is one situation where it helps to have an "elevator pitch." This is a short, pre-prepared speech that explains what your organization does, clearly and succinctly.

In this article, we'll explore situations where these are useful, and we'll look at how to craft an effective pitch.

About the Technique

An elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive speech that you use to spark interest in what your organization does. You can also use them to create interest in a project, idea, or product – or in yourself. A good elevator pitch should last no longer than a short elevator ride of 20 to 30 seconds, hence the name.
They should be interesting, memorable, and succinct. They also need to explain what makes you – or your organization, product, or idea – unique.

When to use an Elevator Pitch

Some people think that this kind of thing is only useful for salespeople who need to pitch their products and services. But you can also use them in other situations.
For example, you can use one to introduce your organization to potential clients or customers. You could use them in your organization to sell a new idea to your CEO, or to tell people about the change initiative that you're leading. You can even craft one to tell people what you do for a living.

Creating an Elevator Pitch

It can take some time to get your pitch right. You'll likely go through several versions before finding one that is compelling, and that sounds natural in conversation.
Follow these steps to create a great pitch, but bear in mind that you'll need to vary your approach depending on what your pitch is about.

1. Identify Your Goal

Start by thinking about the objective of your pitch.
For instance, do you want to tell potential clients about your organization? Do you have a great new product idea that you want to pitch to an executive? Or do you want a simple and engaging speech to explain what you do for a living?

2. Explain What You Do

Start your pitch by describing what your organization does. Focus on the problems that you solve and how you help people. If you can, add information or a statistic that shows the value in what you do.


Ask yourself this question as you start writing: what do you want your audience to remember most about you?

Keep in mind that your pitch should excite you first; after all, if you don't get excited about what you're saying, neither will your audience. Your pitch should bring a smile to your face and quicken your heartbeat. People may not remember everything that you say, but they will likely remember your enthusiasm.


Imagine that you're creating an elevator pitch that describes what your company does. You plan to use it at networking events. You could say, "My company writes mobile device applications for other businesses." But that's not very memorable!

A better explanation would be, "My company develops mobile applications that businesses use to train their staff remotely. This results in a big increase in efficiency for an organization's managers."
That's much more interesting, and shows the value that you provide to these organizations.

3. Communicate Your USP

Your elevator pitch also needs to communicate your unique selling proposition , or USP.
Identify what makes you, your organization, or your idea, unique. You'll want to communicate your USP after you've talked about what you do.


To highlight what makes your company unique, you could say, "We use a novel approach because unlike most other developers, we visit each organization to find out exactly what people need. Although this takes a bit more time, it means that on average, 95 percent of our clients are happy with the first beta version of their app."

4. Engage With a Question

After you communicate your USP, you need to engage your audience. To do this, prepare open-ended questions (questions that can't be answered with a "yes" or "no" answer) to involve them in the conversation.

Make sure that you're able to answer any questions that he or she may have.


You might ask "So, how does your organization handle the training of new people?"

5. Put it all Together

When you've completed each section of your pitch, put it all together.
Then, read it aloud and use a stopwatch to time how long it takes. It should be no longer than 20-30 seconds. Otherwise you risk losing the person's interest, or monopolizing the conversation.
Then, try to cut out anything doesn't absolutely need to be there. Remember, your pitch needs to be snappy and compelling, so the shorter it is, the better!


Here's how your pitch could come together:
"My company develops mobile applications that businesses use to train their staff remotely. This means that senior managers can spend time on other important tasks.

"Unlike other similar companies, we visit each organization to find out exactly what people need. This means that, on average, 95 percent of our clients are happy with the first version of their app.
"So, how does your organization handle the training of new people?"

6. Practice

Like anything else, practice makes perfect. Remember, how you say it is just as important as what you say. If you don't practice, it's likely that you'll talk too fast, sound unnatural, or forget important elements of your pitch.

Set a goal to practice your pitch regularly. The more you practice, the more natural your pitch will become. You want it to sound like a smooth conversation, not an aggressive sales pitch.

Make sure that you're aware of your body language as you talk, which conveys just as much information to the listener as your words do. Practice in front of a mirror or, better yet, in front of colleagues until the pitch feels natural.
As you get used to delivering your pitch, it's fine to vary it a little – the idea is that it doesn't sound too formulaic or like it's pre-prepared, even though it is!

Tip 1:

You may want to keep small take-away items with you, which you can give to people after you've delivered your pitch. For example, these could be business cards or brochures that talk about your product idea or business.

Tip 2:

Remember to tailor your pitch for different audiences, if appropriate.

Key Points

An elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive speech that you can use to spark interest in what your organization does. You can also use one to create interest in a project, idea, or product.
It needs to be succinct, while conveying important information.

To craft a great pitch, follow these steps.
  • Identify your goal.
  • Explain what you do.
  • Communicate your USP.
  • Engage with a question.
  • Put it all together.
  • Practice.

Try to keep a business card or other take-away item with you, which helps the other person remember you and your message. And cut out any information that doesn't absolutely need to be there.

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When and How to Quit Your Job


Some people know when it’s time for a job change. Others may not even realize how unhappy they are until someone points it out to them. For whatever reason, when you’ve decided to quit, there are both good and not-so-good ways of doing it. We’ll get to those soon, but let’s take a moment to consider if quitting your job is truly in your best interests.
You probably feel it in your gut but, if you want to double-check yourself, FlexJobs’ CEO, Sara Sutton Fell, has a good checklist of 14 signs that your job is no longer a good fit. Wait to read it until you’re in a calm emotional state.
Often, the issue is a boss who keeps increasing your responsibilities but never gets around to hiking up your pay to match those new duties. Maybe there are broken promises or a two-faced manager who takes credit for your work and bad-mouths you for things that go wrong. Travis Bradberry echoes conventional wisdom that bosses come and go, so just wait out a bad one. But if that boss is well-liked by upper management and internal transfer is not possible, then it may be time for you to leave.

Sara Fell’s 14 signs raise legitimate concerns but there may be an overriding lesson to be learned here. Realize that no one else is going to step in and fix things for you. It usually takes time for a job to become intolerable, did you see these issues coming? What have you done about it so far? Can anything be done now to make the job worthwhile again?

The first step is to speak directly with those giving you problems. Be non-confrontational but clear about your concerns. Be willing to listen, but take the liberty of voicing concern about lame excuses. If direct interaction is not possible – or you tried and failed – go a rung higher. If the organization is worthwhile, bring your concerns to your boss (or if he/she is the problem, seek another with whom you have a good rapport). If the issues are with co-workers or your direct supervisor, be sure to ask for confidentiality. Rehearse your stories to make them clear, concise and based on non-exaggerated facts.

With a mind unfettered by your troubled emotions, evaluate your situation. Seek the counsel of a trusted source outside the organization. If you’re sure it’s time to move along, make your plan to find a new opportunity. You might want to hold off on your quitting until that next job is at hand.
There was a big question at stake when I said earlier, “If the organization is worthwhile …” Is it on a path of sustainable success or headed down the drain? If the culture is something that you still believe in, despite things going awry, then stand up. Speak to that senior exec you trust. Your efforts may help get the culture back on track. Your insight and bravery might even earn you deserved kudos.
But if the culture is not worthwhile, or if senior management only pays lip service to it, then speaking up may only hasten your departure. In these cases, keep your lips buttoned while you line up your next job.

Once you’ve decided  it’s time to leave, follow Andrew Oliver’s advice. Don’t go public with your complaints (including social media). There’s also no need to get too specific about why you’re leaving. You risk soiling your reputation, so just smile and say “… this new opportunity is just too good to pass up.” After all, once you’ve said you’re leaving, most of the people listening are those looking to brand you as unfair or a whiner.

Offer two weeks’ notice and to help with transition, but don’t be surprised if they let you go immediately. The day you announce your decision, seek letters of and/or LinkedIn recommendations. Others may seek you out to share gripes. Do not participate and, once you’ve left, don’t go back to the workplace without an invitation.

The feedback you get on your last day might be helpful. Knowing you’re gone, many people will be more honest in their assessments of your strengths and weaknesses. Finally, a vibrant network is critical to your future success. Keep in touch with those co-workers you will really miss.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

EAT and YMYL: Google’s New Site Standards



Earlier this year, Google released its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.

Designed to help Google’s own ranking engineers know what to look for in websites and why, this 160-page document offers a whole host of helpful information for people trying to make their pages as high-quality as possible.

Two of the most interesting things from the guidelines, however, are the acronyms YMYL and EAT. These help site owners navigate and understand the quality Google searches for in order to reward good content.

Here’s what you need to know.

You’ve probably noticed that some pages on the Web are more important than others, right? For example, “10 Must-Do Steps to Sell Your Home This Year” arguably possesses more important and more authoritative content than “101 Best Cat Saturday Photos of the Year.” Right? Right.
At the core, though, there’s a big difference between these two pages. One page is what Google calls a YMYL page. The other is just funny Web content.

YMYL stands for “Your Money or Your Life” and is a term that Google’s guidelines use to describe pages that offer high-quality information on topics that could reasonably affect a reader’s health, happiness or wealth. Examples of YMYL pages include the following:
  • Shopping and financial exchange pages. Any page that allows users to make a purchase, transfer money, or pay bills online.
  • Pages that offer financial information. These include investment or tax advice pages as well as those focusing on retirement planning or purchasing/selling a home.
  • Medical information pages. Including any page that offers advice about drugs, diseases, medical conditions, nutrition, mental health concerns, or a related topic.
  • Pages offering legal advice. These include pages related to child custody, divorce, creating a will, etc.
  • Other. Google makes it clear that pages on topics like child adoption and car safety and maintenance can also be considered YMYL pages, depending upon their content.
YMYL pages are evaluated on a higher ranking standard than most other Web content pages. Because YMYL pages can present dire consequences if they’re not factual, not written by expert authors, or not up-to-date, Google goes to great lengths to ensure that these pages are high quality.
YMYL pages that feature anything less than expert content or feature content riddled with mistakes, inaccuracies, or outdated information will be down-rated by Google.

E-A-T is the second acronym the guidelines present. Like YMYL, E-A-T is a ranking standard Google uses to determine which pages are high-quality and which aren’t. E-A-T stands for “expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness” and ties directly into Google’s increased focus on “Expert” writers.

Google’s new guidelines make it clear that, to be considered high-quality, content needs a high level of E-A-T. To be clear, we mean all content, not just YMYL content. To be authoritative and trustworthy, content needs enough expertise. The level of expertise, though, changes depending upon the type of content. For example, a humor page will require a different level of expertise than a page on mental illness. Google calls this the difference between ‘everyday expertise’ and formal expertise.
Some pages, such as those offering medical, legal, or financial information require high levels of formal expertise. In other words, these pages need to be written by experts to truly address the question at hand, offer valuable information for readers, and provide actionable advice. These pages must also be updated frequently and be as detailed, helpful, and useful as possible.

Less formal expertise is required for pages on topics like fashion, humor, and forums. While these pages still require a high level of E-A-T, the people writing them don’t necessarily need certifications (and, in fact, Google makes it clear its goal is not to “penalize the person/page/website for not having formal education or training in a field).” Google uses the example of a forum: many people participate authoritatively in forums without any professional certification. As long as the content these people provide is valuable and useful for readers, it will be considered expert content.
Google goes on to say that, while YMYL pages are important, it’s possible to have non-formal expertise in them. This is especially true in a forum or support page setting.

Expert Content vs. Expert Authors
Many people hear the words “Expert content” and they believe that content written by laypeople is a thing of the past. Not true. What Google is getting at with these guidelines is that, in order to be effective and useful, content needs a high level of E-A-T and that the person writing the content needs to have enough expertise, either formal or informal, to imbue the content with a high level of E-A-T.

High-quality pages possess a few distinct traits: they answer reader questions, provide actionable advice, offer links to and from reputable sources, and promote a high level of reader engagement. As long as the page has the needed level of expertise that will allow it to do its job well, Google considers it high-quality, expert content.

As we move into 2016, Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines provide a fantastic platform to base our content on. The guidelines for what comprises a high-quality page are quite clear and writers, editors, and marketers who take them to heart will soon find that, not only has their SEO improved, but their content and ability to adequately serve readers has improved by leaps and bounds, as well.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Support for Internet Explorer 8, 9 ,10 Ends Today


Photo By Ben Franske

Support for older versions of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser has come to an end.
As of today, only IE 11 — the most recent and last version of the browser – will be supported as Microsoft puts its focus on Windows 10 and its new browser Edge.

Internet Explorer 11IE 8, 9, and 10 have officially reach end of support, meaning there will be no more security updates, non-security updates, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates.

Running older versions of Internet Explorer will leave you wide open to a number of risks.
“Without critical browser security updates, your PC may become vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal or damage your business data and information,” Microsoft said.

If you have an enterprise line-of-business (LOB) application with a dependency on a version of Internet Explore, not to worry — Microsoft is introducing new features and resources to help customers upgrade without losing out on functionality. Enterprise Mode, for instance, permits the use of legacy web apps with Internet Explorer 11.

“Upgrading web apps to modern standards is still the best long-term approach, but commercial customers can leverage Enterprise Mode to upgrade to Internet Explorer 11 faster and easier than ever before,” Microsoft said.

“Microsoft offers numerous free and paid support offerings for customers and partners who wish to migrate to the latest version of Internet Explorer.”

The latest version of Internet Explorer can be downloaded here.

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