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Thursday, 28 January 2016

What Does Google’s Trial of 4 Ad Positions Tell Us About the Future of Search?

No doubt you’ll have heard by now that Google is trialling 4 top ad positions on some searches in the United States, and the trial looks to be in full swing.
A quick search in AdWord’s preview tool returned one of what I’ve affectionately called “the 4 tops”. (Not one of these – they’re much more fun.)
4 ppc ad slots

Why are Google doing this?

The cynical view would simply be that it’s a test to see if more ads equal more revenue. More ad positions would result in more ad clicks and therefore more revenue for Google. The cynics among us might even guess the move is in response to the Adblockalypse – the rise of ad blocking software which is undoubtedly affecting Google’s display network revenues.
But the non-cynical view is that most of the changes rolled out by Google have the user’s best interests at heart. And if I’m really honest, there are some searches where the sponsored results return better, more relevant options. Speaking from experience, any time I search with the intent to purchase or transact, I find the sponsored results much more useful. As long as Google continues to use the 4 tops when it makes sense, I, for one, will be happy.

Thinking about the future of search

I think there is one obvious takeaway, and one that’s a bit more philosophical.
The obvious takeaway is, if you’re not investing in paid search, you should. Now.
Increasing the number of ad positions above the organic results means your customers are going to have to scroll a long way down the page, past some very enticing adverts, before finding your organic result.
Granted, not all searches will return the 4 tops, and in some instances organic results are preferable. But increasingly the searches that have purchase or transactional intent return a results set heavily weighted toward sponsored results.
This segues nicely into my more philosophical takeaway…
The time has come for marketers to stop thinking about organic and paid search as different entities. Instead, we should think about what’s best for our users in terms of what kind of result makes sense for them in this context.
Let’s face it, neither organic nor paid are free. Both have a cost per click. Both require us to understand the language (keywords) of our users, creating engaging landing pages and optimising campaigns for a desired result. Both have their place in any user-centric digital marketing strategy.
Yes, tactically you need to do different things and use different skills but, at a strategic level, search should just be search.
“What do my users want to do when they enter a query into a search engine?” is the question every marketer should be asking when creating their search strategy. The answer that comes back will define how and when to use paid versus organic.
For example, if your business has a fast-moving, price-sensitive inventory, you might decide paid search gives your users the best results because your ads can react to the changes in your inventory in near real-time. If your business has a much longer sales process, where the user conducts a lot of self-paced research before purchasing, you might decide organic search will provide the best results.

What do you think?

Are you managing search with a strategy that combines organic and paid? Or do you have a separate strategy for each type of search? Please share your thoughts.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Why Small Businesses Need Strong Logos

You’ve heard the saying about how we get only one chance to make a good first impression. For a small business, branding is that opportunity. And more often than not, it’s a missed opportunity.
In my opinion, roughly 95 percent of small businesses have a poor logo -- meaning it delivers a neutral or negative brand promise. If your business is in the minority and embraces the power of its brand, this is great news, because you’re already standing out.
A strong brand, after all, inspires consumers who have no prior knowledge or experience with your company to believe that you deliver an amazing product or service.
What's more, without a strong logo, you may never get the chance to prove your quality to consumers. If your branding does not make it look like you do great work, consumers may choose a competitor instead.
Give your brand the attention it deserves.
"Giving attention" means that the logo you choose to represent your business won't be an afterthought; instead, it will define your whole brand.
Yes, starting or growing a business is an arduous experience that involves many considerations and a careful use of precious resources. But when making decisions about how to invest your time, energy and capital, you should remember that in today’s marketplace, you cannot afford to shortchange your branding. It’s likely the single most important decision you’ll make.
Follow these five tips to create a logo that will build a strong foundation for your brand, and ultimately will empower your business to thrive.

1. Don’t be generic.

First, make sure that your logo is clear and easy to interpret, because you don’t have the years of brand recognition behind you that ensure that people will associate your name with your product or service.
Second, unlike large companies, you don’t have the large advertising budget required to brand icons too generic to help consumers understand the nature of your business.
In short, then, your logo needs to convey what you do and who you are, and leave a positive brand impression. That’s why small business logo design is a different animal from corporate logo design. Corporations can throw enough money into marketing to ensure that people associate any symbol or graphic with their name.
Small businesses don’t have that luxury: Each impression is so important. You need to very quickly connect with your audience members and give them something to latch on to -- at the same time that you give them something disruptive in your competitive space.

2. Pick typography that reflects what you stand for.

The vast majority of small business brands are built upon two primary elements: their typographic elements and their graphic or iconic element. Together, these factors form the basic structure for most logo designs.
Next to the graphical element or icon, the typography used in your logo design is the most critical choice that a designer makes in representing your small business brand. Typography communicates much about your brand -- whether it’s a brand that's whimsical or elegant, established or common, fresh or futuristic. Your typography should be in harmony with, and balance with, the graphic or icon in order to optimize the audience’s first impression.

3. Choose colors wisely.

Certain industries have very typical color palettes that are traditional to their industry. For example, heating and air conditioning companies often use red and blue in their branding.
But, try to think outside of the box when devising your brand colors. Look closely at your competitors, then choose a color scheme unlikely to be confused with that of existing brands. Again, think about being disruptive in your space by choosing unique hues.

4. Consider how your logo will be used.

Whenever possible, avoid using a logo that requires a lot of explanation. If your small business relies on outdoor media, such as signs or vehicles, a memorable icon is especially important. It should link the viewer to the message, quickly and efficiently. One simple test is to cover up the lettering and simply look at the graphic. Does it give the viewer an idea as to the nature of the business?
It’s also vitally important to think about the big picture. How is your logo going to look in the various executions of the brand? Will it thrive in one format but suffer in another? Or, are there certain marketing channels you might use in the future, wherein the logo will need to work well? Consider these future projects before finalizing your logo design:
  • Business cards and stationery: Think of how your logo will appear on your card. Think in terms of different features, such as two-sided cards, rounded corners and unique paper stocks.
  • Signage: Resist the urge to modify your logo’s proportions to fit the available space.
  • Vehicles: Make sure your trucks are designed to stand out rather than fit in, with your branding as the primary message.
  • Uniforms: Employees are your brand ambassadors, so make sure they are dressed neatly and professionally -- and all brand colors are integrated.
  • Web design: Your website should integrate your branding in its design and architecture, and should clearly and thoroughly relay your brand promise.
  • Social media: Change your logo on your profiles and use your social media channels to announce your new look.

5. Hire a pro.

With so much of your success riding on how well your branding performs, this isn’t the place to cut corners. Yet, so many businesses look for the least expensive option, because they don’t understand the value of a good brand and how it will affect their chances of success.
The most important part of any branding exercise is an open dialogue between the brand strategist and the client. Choose a firm where you will speak directly with the person developing your brand. Make sure all artwork created is original, not derived from clip art. Choose a firm with a thorough understanding of all those applications where your brand eventually will be deployed.

Build a foundation.

With so many small businesses suffering from poor brands, you have the opportunity to be unique and stand out. One look at your logo should provide a reasonable expectation of a good experience. The logo is the hub for your brand and sets the stage for all of your strategic messaging.
If you create a logo that will build a strong foundation for your brand, you will empower your business to thrive.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

The 15 Success Habits All High Achievers Have

The 15 Success Habits All High Achievers Have
Ever wondered what success habits separate high achievers from the rest of the dreamers?
Some people perform better. They achieve more and always succeed in what they do. But what more do they have that helps them get such results?
Truth is, they aren’t any different from us – at the beginning we’re all equal. But what differentiates them from the rest is the behavior they adopt on the way to achieving their dreams.

15 Success Habits High Achievers Have

High achievers have different habits than the average people. Their days consist of others activities and their head is full of other thoughts.
So here are the success habits and best practices of such people that make them stand out, get things done and move forward:

1) They Get Up Early

The average person needs a lot of time to wake up. That’s because he usually goes to bed late, stays in front of the computer, and is now hitting the snooze button, trying to put off starting the day.
But if that’s the firth thing you want and think about in the morning – how to avoid an early start of the day – then how do you expect the rest of it to be any better?
A different approach, however, is to go to bed earlier and have a good sleep. To wake up motivated to take action because you got stuff to do. To face the day, make the most of it, realize what a gift it is and be excited about what it will bring.

2) They Read

Instead of checking email and using your phone all the time, watching TV, being on all social medias and constantly updating random statuses, you should sit down and do some reading, or writing.
That’s an activity for your free time that will make you think, grow, learn and improve in general. And it’s what high achievers do daily.

3) They Have A Morning Routine

Another thing you’d better do after getting up early is to have a success ritual.
The benefits are amazing – you get energized, boost productivity, jumpstart the day, have time for yourself, plan out the stuff you need to get done later, and have a peaceful morning.
So think about it if you don’t have a routine already.
When you’re serious about becoming successful and achieving more in life, sleeping in is not an option. But it’s also important how you spend that first hour after leaving bed. And filling it with productive, positive and creative activities like meditation, a quick workout and some writing or reading, is the best option.

4) They Have A Vision

A life without direction is pointless.
Those who actually achieve something and get somewhere, are seeing that place much earlier than the time they actually get there. Because in their minds, they’re constantly visualizing the upcoming success in details.
That’s a powerful technique that can get you closer to whatever it is that you want in life. No matter how big.

5) They Rest Properly

Successful people sleep well, take breaks, power nap, meditate to clear their mind every day, and have other rituals that help them relax, rest their body and mind, and not feel drained at the end of the day.
This helps them work harder, be more focused, get better results, and eliminate stress and depression.

6) They Take Responsibility for their Actions

Blaming other people, or even circumstances or life in general, is an awful habit many people share. But that’s not how a determined person sees things.
Instead, he takes responsibility for his actions, even if he’s made a mistake, learns from it, accepts it, and moves on trying to do it right next time.

7) They Talk About Ideas with Other Purpose-Driven People

If you’re surrounded by negative people who let you down, complain about their lives all the time, or are just talking about other people and events in their life, you won’t change for the better.
But you can still turn that around and choose to communicate with positive individuals, spend time with creative people, full of life and positivity, ambitious human beings with goals and dreams.
And soon you’ll see yourself thriving.
After all, environment is crucial for success and we’re the average of the five people we spend most time with.

8) They Have an Evening Routine

For maximum results you should start the day with a morning routine, and end it with a bedtime ritual.
It may include stuff like examining the day and assessing your performance, making a plan for tomorrow, brushing your teeth and flossing, meditating (again), and doing some reading so that you can go to sleep faster.
And it definitely doesn’t include any food, electronic devices, alcohol, or falling asleep on the couch in front of the TV.

9) They Prioritize

Even if you have 50 things to do today, there are just a few that are really important. Your job is to define them and focus on them first.
These are the things that help you move towards your goals, that help you improve, earn more, be in a better shape, etc.

10) They Say ‘NO’ to Some Things

High achievers know they have to say ‘no’ to stuff that seems pretty tempting now, but which can only harm them in the long term.
So they often miss parties or other social events, get up early even though they really want to stay in bed, work out when their mind tells them to stay in front of the computer for a little more, and don’t eat the junk food they crave.
Sacrifices like that are what shapes your character and make you the person you need to become in order to lead the lifestyle you imagine.

11) They Grow Spiritually

As I mentioned, some of their best (and daily) practices include reading, meditating, interacting with creative and passionate people, etc.
And all that helps them grow. Soon, it becomes a habit for them to look for chances to learn new stuff, try new things, gain experience and evolve.

12) They Eliminate Distractions

Distractions are everywhere. And always will be. But if we realize how important our current activity is, and choose to focus only on it, other people coming in the room, notifications, worries, fears and random thoughts won’t matter that much.
So concentrate on what you’re doing now. And if it’s connected to your dreams, you’ll find a way to eliminate everything that distracts you and will actually get some work done.

13) They Take Immediate Decisions

People usually spend too much time trying to make a decision. Even if it’s an easy one, they struggle with choosing an option as they try to choose the best one.
But you should let go of perfectionism. And, instead, just take one of the two things and make the best of it.

14) They Get Rid of Time-Wasting Activities

Most of the things we do daily aren’t productive. In fact, they are only slowing down our self-improvement process. And the best we can do is stop doing them and do more of what works and has helped so far.
Reading newspapers may not have any positive effect on you, but if you spend that time planning out your whole day in details, you’ll be much more productive and will see the bigger picture of where you’re heading in life.

15) They Approach Other Successful People

Often we’re too scared to even try to talk to someone that’s superior to us. But people like that are usually friendlier and more open-minded than we expect.
After all, they too started somewhere and wanted to change and ask more successful individuals for advice. So they might as well take the time now to give you some tips, help you in some way or encourage you and give you feedback.

Great habits, right? And none of them are hard. You can start applying them right now. But start small – one change at a time.
Can you add other practices that lead to greater results in life?

Monday, 18 January 2016

Try These Effective Strategies To Create Balance In Your Life

Life is demanding, and it’s very easy to feel that life is out of control. But you have a choice. You can bring balance to your life if you make it a priority. It’s easy to spend all day chasing objectives, only to feel that you’ve accomplished nothing at the end of day. Rebalancing your life is possible.
Balance In Your Life
A busy life can be meaningful, interesting, and invigorating.

Try these effective strategies to create balance in your life

1. Learn to be more patient. Your life might be more balanced that you realize, but it’s hard to see it if you’re impatient. A lack of patience makes every situation more challenging. A little patience makes many challenging situations manageable.
* Impatience is one way you agitate yourself. You also make yourself less capable in the moment.
2. Simplify. It’s very easy in today’s world to buy more things than you need and take on more responsibilities than you can manage. Every extra item and responsibility in your life can create imbalance. Eliminate the superfluous and bring more harmony into your life.
3. Give your health a priority. When life gets hectic, our first response is to sacrifice ourselves for everyone and everything else. This is a mistake. Without good health, life becomes very unbalanced.
* If you don’t give your health the priority it deserves, your resulting bad health will eventually get your full attention.
4. Create a schedule that includes downtime. Downtime isn’t just the time that’s left over after your responsibilities are completed. Downtime is something you do on purpose. Plan for it. Make time for it. Knowing you have a break scheduled in the near future will motivate you to spend your time more effectively.
5. Get started early. It’s challenging to start the day and common to procrastinate. Time is such a valuable resource. It’s possible to increase your wealth or to receive more love, but we’re all limited to 24 hours. Once you fall behind, the entire day is out of balance.
* Get started on your day with a purpose and the rest will fall into place.
6. Spend time on the activities that mean the most to you. Your family is likely a priority, but what else do you find meaningful? Hiking? Playing the violin? Reading? Working isn’t the only priority in life. The more time you’re able to spend on enjoyable activities, the more you’ll enjoy your life.
7. Spend time on your relationships. This includes, but isn’t limited to, your romantic relationships. Keep up with your friends and extended family too. It takes time, but you’re probably wasting time on something less meaningful, like television.
8. Get enough sleep. Do you sleep less than seven hours each night? Even if you’re highly successful, you could be doing even better. Studies have shown that performance increases for many tasks, both physical and mental, when subjects receive at least seven hours of sleep.
* If you don’t have time for seven hours, it’s time to reexamine your priorities.
9. Make yourself your biggest priority. When you take good care of yourself, you can take better care of others. When you’re at your best, your performance at work is at its highest. It might seem selfish to prioritize your own needs and happiness, but everyone in your life will benefit from this mindset.
Define what having a “balanced life” means to you. Balancing your life will be impossible until you clarify what balance means to you. How much time would you spend at work? How much time would you spend at home? How many leisure hours do you need each week? How would you spend those hours? Create a well-balanced life by choosing your priorities wisely.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

SEO 2016 Predictions

Last week I had the pleasure of moderating a discussion for the Austin SEO Meetup. At that discussion, our focus was on uncovering what we expect to change next year — basically, an SEO 2016 Predictions session.
The event took place at Orange CoWorking in south Austin. Thanks to owner Shelley Delayne for hosting the event. Orange is a great spot for southies like myself, so give a look if you are in the market for a place to get away and work.
Orange Coworking in south Austin, TX
You can see the handwritten notes from the event in the feature image above. While that snapshot might give you a general indication of the topics we covered, it makes sense to dig a bit deeper.
Not to mention that my handwriting isn’t always the easiest to interpret, so let’s review the discussion here. I also have a couple of separate predictions from attendees of the event at the end.
As with any good looking-forward discussion, it makes sense to start by looking backward first.

SEO 2015: What Changed In The Past Year

  1. Mobilegeddon: The label given to April 22, 2015, the day Google changed the rules so that mobile friendly sites are required to show up on SERPs for mobile searches in the vast majority of cases.
  2. Rankbrain: Announced on October 26, 2015, Rankbrain is Google’s machine learning technology that adds a level of Artificial Intelligence to their indexing and ranking processes.
  3. Blocked Resources: While this was technically announced in late 2014, it began showing up in Google Webmaster Tools / Search Console in March of 2015, so we included it for that reason.
  4. E-Commerce Update: Rolling out in early February, this update primarily impacted E-Commerce websites and typos on brand terms. Some in the industry complained that it further advanced the lead that big brands have over smaller brands, while others speculated that duplicate product descriptions became more problematic.
  5. Quality Update in May: Without full understanding of the exact changes made. we were informed by Google that they updated how website and content quality is assessed during May. This led to noticeable shakeups of the SERPs when it rolled out. Quite a few news sites complained of losses in ranking and traffic, but none were able to pinpoint exactly why one site was impacted more than others.
  6. Panda 4.2: Google progressively rolled out Panda 4.2 over the late summer and into October. No one is quite sure exactly what “tweaks” were rolled into this update, as there was a slow deployment and impact was nearly impossible to measure. Perhaps they’ve gotten it down and are no longer causing collateral damage on each rollout.
  7. Big Brands Increased Their Lead: As a topic that has been discussed for nearly four years now, members of the panel agreed that big brands have a distinct and growing advantage with SEO. Whether it be due to years of link building and earning, deeper pockets, or large teams to manage SEO priorities, it has become very hard to compete for smaller businesses.
  8. Snack Pack Update: Many in the industry have adopted this nickname for Google’s early August change to the Local Pack. This update reduced the number of standard results for local searches from seven to three. This was a rather big update for companies who rely on local ranking heavily but have yet to make it into the top three in the local pack.
  9. Google+ Rebirth: Later in the year, Google announced that they are changing the description and positioning of Google+. Allegedly a response to user feedback, it would also be logical to assume that this was a follow on to their previous decision to sunset authorship indefinitely.

SEO 2016: What We See Coming This Year

Below are the unfiltered predictions that were brought up by the group. Some of these were my own assertions, and I will call out which of those were my own below. The rest were either generated through open discussion or volunteered by one or more members of the group.
All-in-all, the ideas were pretty insightful. Let’s go through them now:
  1. Bot Traffic and Black Hat techniques attacked head on: One member of the audience suggested that Google will get even more aggressive about uncovering cheating, automation/bots, and black hat SEO.
  2. SEO more focused on integration to marketing and compliance with guidelines: Old school SEO is clearly past its prime, and it is time to look at SEO less as tricks and more as an integrated piece of the marketing mix. This is the year that most SEOs finally move over and accept that it should be done properly as a part of an overall business strategy, and in compliance with ethical standards that are practices elsewhere.
  3. More Focus on Social: Much of the group agreed that this has to continue to grow in importance as we get more sophisticated with websites and rankings. With Google’s Rankbrain and other recent announcements, it is clear that they are factoring in a range of items including Trust. Social is a huge input point for determining whom and what content is the most trustworthy and worth sharing or ranking.
  4. Brands, Brands, Brands: Brands have grown their lead and will continue to do so. As they learn more about SEO, they will only improve their advantage over smaller companies and agencies.
  5. Penguin Folded into the Algorithm: This one is a no-brainer since Google already announced it, but we had to include it since it’s still yet to be done.
  6. Algorithm vs. Point Updates: Following on #5 above, it is pretty apparent that Google’s goal is to evolve away from penalties to algorithmic spam management. Not only will they start to build these tweaks into the algorithm itself, but I anticipate that they will be less open about the details behind each major change. The only exception will be for massively impactful modifications like Mobilegeddon in 2015.
  7. Video Will Become More Important: One member of the audience suggested that video will start to grow in importance this year. This point elicited a good debate, as some in attendance posited that video was already a huge impact. It is worth including, though, because video is clearly a key medium for sharing and social in addition to SEO. So why won’t it grow in importance? We shall see.
  8. Massive Growth of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) Functionality by Google, and a Bigger Shift to Intent Based Results: Following up on the Rankbrain announcement in late 2015, this is a logical prediction for 2016. The question is how much more advancement Google can generate over what they have already built since mid-2013 in this area. Personally, I can’t wait to see what they manage to figure out in the coming year.
  9. Voice Search Will Become a Huge Deal in 2016: This was my prediction, and one that I stand by staunchly. It is the logical follow up to the huge emphasis on semantic search and mobile over the past couple of years, and the leading smartphone platforms are clearly working on it by way of Siri, Cortana, and Google Now on the top three mobile platforms.
  10. More Semantic: With so many websites finally starting to adopt semantic markup, and Google’s latest advancements in machine learning, semantic will dominate in 2016 and beyond (everyone in attendance agreed on this one). Old keyword only strategies will continue to fade, and it is becoming more and more important to understand the growing importance of  topic targeting, synonyms, and link/content relevance on ranking.
  11. Fear of Google: As another one of my own predictions, I expect fear of Google to reach a fever pitch this year. It will take them at least 2016 and possibly longer to convince website owners that they are following the mantra of “Do No Evil” after years of penalizing and slapping websites for spammy behavior. Building updates right into the algorithm and simply ignoring behaviors that don’t follow the guidelines will help, but some PR may be in order to repair their image with owners of smaller and mid-sized websites that have been burned in the past.
  12. AMP- Mobile Fast Render to Impact Rankings: Google is part of a movement to help content render faster on Mobile, and Austin SEO founder Scott True expects this to start impacting mobile SERPs before the year ends.
  13. Other Search Engines Grow Their Share: Simply put – several members of the group expect Bing and Yahoo to continue chipping away at Google’s market share in the US. Based on the trends in recent years, this is a reasonable expectation. You can find the current market shares of leading search engines in key markets here.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

10 Legit Websites that Make it Easy to Make More Money

Everybody wants to make more money. Problem is, making money takes a lot of time and effort. Or does it? Sure you can make extra money the old fashion way; by getting a second or third job. And that’s fine, as long as sleeping isn’t important to you. Or, you can join those living in the 21st century and make extra money using a little thing called the Internet.
While most websites that promise riches are just scams designed to sell worthless books and DVDs, there are nonetheless some genuine opportunities on the Internet you’d be foolish to pass up if you want to make extra money.
The 10 Best Websites for Making Money
Keep in mind that no one is saying you’ll get rich using these sites but some, like HyreCar.com can provide you a tidy second income for doing almost nothing. So without further ado, our choice of the top ten legitimate ways to make money on the Internet.
  1. HyreCar.com – A lot of Uber drivers are not car owners. So where do they get the cars they pick you up in? Through HyreCar.com. What does this have to do with you? If you own a car you can register it with HyreCar.com. When Uber drivers in your area need a car they go to HyreCar and select yours to rent. You can make $1000 or more a month for doing virtually nothing. Definitely one of the best ways to utilize the Internet to make money. Learn more about renting your car on HyreCar here.
  2. YouTube.com – Youtube is, to a certain degree, a kind of numbers game in that the more videos you have posted the more likely it is that one of them will get significant views. Once that happens you have a chance to make money from advertisements on your videos: anywhere from $1 to $3 for every 1000 views. The key to success is to provide quality content and build a following.
  3. Fiverr.com – If there’s something you’re willing to do for 5 bucks you can post it on fiverr. If someone needs what you’re offering they contact you and bingo, you’ve made $5. The secret is to offer something a lot of people need and that doesn’t take you more than a few minutes to do. Easier said than done, sure. But there are people doing quite well from fiverr.
  4. mturk.com – Mturk, or mechanical turk, is run by Amazon. Anyone can sign up and become a doer of human intelligence tasks or HITs. Other companies use the information gathered from these HITs for research and development purposes. If you’re really good at doing these simple mechanical tasks you might be able to earn a few dollars an hour while you’re sitting around the house on a lazy Saturday.
  5. usertesting.com – In today’s ultra competitive business environment everyone wants to know their website is as intuitive and easy to use as possible. Sign up at usertesting.com and they’ll hook you up with websites and apps that need to be tested. You’ll navigate the site or app and share your thoughts as you go. The company will use this info to make their site more effective. You’ll make $10 for your trouble.
  6. zirtual.com – Zirtual hooks busy people up with online assistants (that would be you). You may be asked to write emails or do some research or you may be asked to order candy and flowers for the wife of the person you’re working for. It’s like being someone’s personal assistant without ever dealing with them in person. The hours involved can make it more of a real job than something you do in your spare time, but then, maybe that’s what you want.
  7. izea.com – Izea connects journalists and other content creators with brands and sponsors that can help monetize their popularity. This assumes you already have some form of established online presence as well as a following. Izea can either help you get more out of your current efforts or hook you up to website and media outlets higher up the food chain who can help turn you from a relative unknown into a sought-after commodity
  8. swagbucks.com – Take online surveys and make a few bucks. Companies are hungry for feedback on their products so they can tweak them to make them more appealing. Somebody has to supply that feedback and with swagbucks and other survey sites you’ll be able to turn an afternoon with nothing particular going on into earnings you can redeem for gift cards from sites like Amazon.
  9. skillshare.com – If you have particular knowledge in a subject skillshare allows you to create instructional videos that others will then watch. You get a share of the money those people spent to access your instructional video. Maybe the best part is that you don’t need to have a degree in education or be a licensed teacher to create educational videos for the site. You won’t make the same money as a full-time professional teacher but you may be able to finance next year’s vacation with the money you make creating videos in your spare time.
  10. eLance.com – Another site that hooks up freelance professionals with clients in need of their services. While it’s likely you won’t make a ton of money through eLance what it can provide you with is some extra income and a way to hone your skills while you cultivate a client base.
While all of these websites will provide you with extra income perhaps none will provide you with as much potential passive income as HyreCar.com. You won’t need to create videos and hope people click on them. You won’t need to be on call in case someone needs you to write a series of emails. You won’t need to sit there for hours completing intelligence tests or hope that people looking for a Justin Bieber video click yours by mistake. HyreCar makes earning real money, real simple. As simple as registering your car with their site. Give it a try.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

An Easy Way To Get a 205% Boost In Search Engine Traffic

Your TITLE on your blog posts can make a huge difference to your rankings.
You know you need to rank.
You need that ‘google traffic‘.
It’s how you’re going to get leads cheaply, and for a long time, so it’s important to know as much as you can about SEO.
What if I told you that you could improve your rankings by changing a couple of words in your title?
You can. It’s easy, I’ve done it.

how to boost search engine traffic
Well, to start off with let’s think about how Google ranks pages.
Google ranks pages to match up to people’s search terms. Terms which, by the way, are ever changing. As society changes and trends rise and fall the WORDS people type into search engines change.

In order to stay always on top you need to show Google that your site is better than all of the others. Content is part of this situation.
Your CONTENT, that is the actual ‘stuff’ on your page needs to be great. It can’t be mediocre in today’s world. It needs to be unique, interesting, helpful, easy to read and free. So you work hard to get all of that stuff on the page, and usually what happens is you give it an average title.

Your Blog Post Title

Now, the title of your blog post can be argued to be THE most important thing about your post. Why?
It’s the first, and in many cases the last thing your readers will ever see about your blog. If someone sees your title in the SERPS and doesn’t click it, that’s very bad. Your title needs to draw people in like a magnet.
Now, what invariably happens is that as people learn about online business, SEO and so forth, they’ll have it drilled into them that ‘keywords are key’ and you need to put your keywords in your title, somewhere near the start.
This is somewhat true, but what’s even more important?
Well sure keywords are important.
You should always have the keywords you want to be found for somewhere on your page, preferably more than once and in different formats (meta tags, alt text, headings and in content) but if no-one clicks your page then it doesn’t matter.
If people are clicking OTHER sites over yours, and they KEEP doing this, then after a while your site sinks down further, and this in turns gives you less chance to be clicked on and it’s a horrible cycle to get into.
You want to make sure that when Google ‘tests’ your site (they show your site nearer the top for a short period of time to test how many people click it and like it) it performs well.
Google has been known to show new sites or posts higher in the search results for a short period of time to test the click through rate, and how long people stay on your page. If your content is great, they should want to stay on there for a while, right?
But they won’t get there in the first place if your title isn’t good enough.

A Case Study

I’ve got a niche website which I don’t want to reveal here as it’s not relevant to internet marketing but just by adding a number to the title, I increased the click through rate to WAY above the average and within a few weeks it was raking number one.
Not only that, but it was ranking number 1 ABOVE sites that had MORE links, MORE content and MORE social shares.
How Does That Happen?
Because more people (by far) clicked my post over the other ones, and when they got there, I had great content which kept them interested enough to keep reading. Click through rate is very important.
So, what was the title?
Without giving the niche away, I had a keywords which was very similar to this –
‘things to do in XXX’
‘XXX’ is my niche.
So my blog post TITLE was this –
“40 things to do in XXX, especially number 5”
Now, all of the other posts for this keyword has the keyword in the title in one way or another. None of them had my little addition of ‘especially number 5’.
People saw this (at the time it was raking on the second page, and then a few days later, bottom of page 1, then now the first result) and clicked it because they were curious.
They wanted to know what ‘number 5’ was! Then when they clicked there, they stayed to read because I had written a great article.
That ranking is still staying there. I’m still the number one post for that search term and several related ones and I’m ranking above other better sites. It’s been several months now and nothing’s changed. Maybe my competition haven’t thought about changing their title?
Okay, so we understand that titles are important.

So What Makes A Great Title?

Several things.

1 – Your Actual Keyword

This is important so that people know your post is about what they’re searching for, and it helps search engines to show your post at the right time
searches related to keywords - feature of Google

2 – Some Engaging Words or Phrases

Things that turn the experience from someone searching a load of random posts to a conversation. Think along the lines of if you were talking to a friend.
You wouldn’t say ’15 pictures of cats’ you’d probably say something like ‘Look at these pictures of cats, the last one is hilarious!’

3 – A Number

Numbers have been shown to increase click through rates. People like specific numbers.
For example, which one are you more likely to click on –
‘How to make money online’ or 
‘How I Started Making $4567.70 per hour from my room’
It makes it more relatable and interesting.
So that’s it for now, but next time you writer a blog post, think about the title you’re going to give it. Great titles can help your article get that boost it needs.

Important Note!

Make sure that no matter how great your title, your content is even BETTER. If you have a great title but terrible content then people will click on your site, then instantly click back to the search results.
This sends a signal to Google and after not too long they’ll put your further and further down the list. It’s known as ‘pogo sticking’ when a searcher jumps from your site right back to the search results and it tells the big G that they didn’t find what they were looking for.

What do you think?
Are you working hard on your blog post titles?
Please share your views in the comments below, thanks!