The Basic Concepts Of SEO Explained to Beginners

While SEO (search engine optimization) is not rocket science or brain surgery, it certainly isn’t the easiest paradigm to understand, especially to someone who doesn’t have a background in the internet or technology.

Whether it’s the way words sound (meta data optimization) or a particularly technical aspect of SEO (like schema markup), I tend to encounter confusion quite often with those customers who are new to the concepts of SEO.  In order to guard against a customer’s confusion or worse, feeling inferior, a successful sales rep has to create a bridge between the customer and SEO in order to grow a clear understanding of the practices of a successful SEO campaign.

This is vital to bringing the sales process to a successful close.  Having a customer leave a conversation confused in the least bit is often the death rattle of your sales cycle.  Never fear; analogies are here!  Just as the Internet is full of analogies (the web, crawling, server, etc…), SEO has some particularly helpful metaphors to improve anyone’s understanding of its basic (or even advanced) concepts.

Let’s look at three of these analogies in an attempt to acquire new tools to help others understand the basic concepts of SEO.

The Basic Concepts of SEO

Backlinks = Votes of Confidence

In attempting to explain the importance of acquiring relevant, authoritative backlinks into your website, I often hear silence or muttering at the other end of the phone. Who knew that simply placing the word ‘back” in front of a concept that is seemingly universally understood, ‘link’, would lead to so much misunderstanding?

I find that discussing backlinks in terms of their function is very helpful in establishing what they are in another’s mind.  This is where “votes of confidence” comes into play.  If one can understand that these websites linking to your site are vouching for your site to the search engines, one can begin to grasp the importance and role of backlinks in an SEO campaign.  This simple metaphor helps do the trick of engendering a growing understanding of a key concept.

Alternate Metaphor – Popularity Contest

Conversion Optimization = Billboard on the Side of the Highway

Any (extremely) lazy optimizer can drive more traffic to a website.  Heck, you can pay five bucks to boost your traffic overnight, and you don’t have to do any real SEO work.  The catch is that it is highly doubtful that this traffic will lead to a conversion on your website.  After all, the goal of a website is to guide a user to take some action, be it read an article, purchase a widget, vote on a picture, or fill out a contact form.

To get this idea across, a coworker of mine uses the billboard analogy regularly.  He says something like this: “Your website is like a billboard on the side of the road.  People can drive past it all day long, but, if they don’t pull over and write down your information, what is the point of having the billboard?” His point is that having all the traffic in the world matters little unless those users are converting.  I really like this analogy, and I have adopted it in my sales calls.

Alternate Metaphor – Restaurant menu

Schema Markup = Writing Your 11th Grade Term Paper

This is one of the more daunting challenges when it comes to SEO, and, to be honest, it took me several conversations with coworkers and family (Thanks, Mom) to come up with this one.  Just mentioning this word, much less explaining it, will cause eyes to glaze over and minds to be numbed.

So, and this is not a perfect analogy, think about when you had to write that high school term paper.

You likely had to use footnotes, MLA Format, and proper quotation practices or your teacher marked you off.  There were certain structures that you had to include in your paper to properly convey the meaning you wanted to convey to anyone reading it.  In the same way, schema markup is a way of coding a website so that the search engines better understand its content. Obviously, this explanation isn’t ground shaking in its intricacy, but this is the world of metaphor, so we are in the business of creating images, not math equations.

Alternate Metaphor – Please tell me if you know one

After writing my first two blog posts about SEO, much of the feedback that I have received from friends in family goes something like this: “I loved your post, and you write great, but I have no idea what you are talking about.”  I can’t help but think that if I am not going out of my way to help my client understand SEO, he or she is probably leaving our conversations with the same confusion.

It doesn’t have to be this way if we work hard to create analogies that explain our industry in terms of everyday things, they will go a long way to helping people understand the basic concepts of SEO.


“Smart City is no doubt one such initiative where we will get to see a lot of AI enabled technologies”


Artificial Intelligence and its application in our daily life is a hot topic of discussion, with pros and cons being looked at and worked upon in a major way. Recently IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for humanity, released its survey report Generation AI:  A Study of Millennial Parents of Generation Alpha Kids’, which shows how generation alpha – those born in 2010 and through 2025, and most tech-infused – will be impacted with ubiquitous presence of latest technology and smart devices in their lives. The report looks at how AI will have an effect on the quality of life of people in the coming years.

Main 3 of key findings of the report show:

#1: Parents are less worried if AI is behind the wheel: Getting a driver’s license is a new stage of independence for teens, but with self-driving car technology on the horizon, the IEEE survey found that 31% of the parents are more acceptable of their child riding/driving in an autonomous vehicle for the first time.

 #2: AI, not kids are preferred by millennial parents for care during golden years: 63 percent of the millennial parents would rather have AI help them live independently in their golden years. Experts say AI will power smart devices in the home that support physical, emotional, social and mental health, from monitoring and assistive devices like intelligent walkers to robot-assisted dressing.

#3: AI helping gen alpha kids learn faster; AI tutors are attractive option in future: In the future, smart toys and AI apps currently in development have the potential to respond to human language and a child’s behaviour or enable real-time monitoring and enhancement of vocabulary learning.  According to the IEEE survey, 80% of the millennial parents say AI technology increases their expectations that their Generation Alpha babies will learn faster and 74 percent of the parents say they would consider an AI-powered tutor for their child.

Sukanya Mandal, Data Science Professional and IEEE Member, shares some salient points with HPC Asia about how AI will have an impact on the Indian lifestyle, and how it may be adopted in this market.

How do you see AI taking over major aspects of our lifestyle in the coming years?

Whether we like it or not, AI is definitely going to be a part of our lives. Starting from personal digital assistant to children’s education to monitoring the food we eat – AI will be all around us. Automatically our lifestyle will change. Consider the time when we did not have a smartphone. Our lives were moving ahead without it. Then came a time when smartphone started booming and nowadays almost everyone uses one and a large extent of population has made it a part of their life. In the coming years AI seems to make a bigger effect. Our lifestyle will change from ‘trying to overcome the hard task’ to ‘just deploying a solution that will do the work for us’. While in some situation this shift would be helpful whereas in other situations it would just make one lazy.

(The report shows that to keep Gen Alpha kids engaged, millennial parents are using apps, interactive screens and artificial intelligence-powered devices. 44 percent say it also increases their own focus as parents.  Although two-thirds (64 percent) of millennial parents of generation Alpha kids say that AI and other technologies give them time to do other things, two-thirds (63 percent) agree that technologies, including AI, have diminished quality time with their child.)     

When people start adopting AI into their everyday living, what kind of emotional impact will this have?

AI can be of huge assistance to the elderly providing the much needed attention and care required at their age! Same goes for the toddlers while keeping their parents informed about every step. For teenagers, AI could be a very good friend helping and guiding them to take steps towards the right direction. On the other hand, AI could make teens lazy by doing those essential problems solving task which would otherwise improve their cognitive capabilities. Another aspect to consider in this context would be the ethics of AI.

People might just rely on technology so much that their absence might cause a sense of anger or irritation or helplessness. A sense of attachment would be developed between the human – robots, but it is also a concern that they should not overly attached. While AI can have many positive benefits on an individual, the other side must also be taken into consideration.

 (Millennial parents of Generation Alpha kids are nearly twice as likely to agree (45 percent agree, 23 percent disagree) that AI and other technologies minimize their frustrations as a parent. Two in five millennial parents of Generation Alpha kids (39 percent) have a great deal of trust in AI to help diagnose and treat their children if they become sick.  Almost half (46 percent) have some trust. Because AI is giving life to walking and talking robots that are becoming more adept at human behaviour, 40 percent of Millennial parents of Generation Alpha kids say they would be likely to supplement or replace a human nanny with a stay-at-home robo-nanny to help take care of their children.)

 Your report shows that AI will permeate our lives in a major way, are the Indian families geared up to adapt to this change?

Indian families are slowly getting adapted to the changes. They are slowly and steadily embracing the change and moving ahead with it. A few strong initiatives from the local or central government to educate the common masses regarding these new age technologies would be all the more beneficial. As we are aware – AI has huge potential in various sectors. In my opinion Indian families will benefit strongly in terms of education and healthcare when it comes to AI.

(Many experts believe that engineering is driving a myriad of world-changing activities, from space exploration, drones and computer science, to health, medicine and biology; and from vehicle technology to consumer electronics, to name just a few.  About three-quarters of Millennial parents of Generation Alpha kids (74 percent) say they will encourage their child at least somewhat to consider studying and pursuing a career in engineering (including 38 percent who will strongly encourage them) given the world-changing activities in that field.)

What are the technological advancements needed? What is the state of AI developments with major organizations working on AI today?

When it comes to common masses, education is the key. Other technological advancements require government and people working hand in hand to establish strong connectivity, leveraging necessary and required hardware solutions to implement AI. Smart City is no doubt one such initiative where we will get to see a lot of AI enabled technologies.

Major organizations are making breakthroughs in this arena inventing new AI related technologies everyday some of which we get to experience when it comes to life as a product. But, mostly it is all in research state although we have seen some initial steps towards product – Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, IBM Watson etc. but certainly there is a long way to go and actually influence people of all levels of the society.

Do you see the home segment or the enterprise segment adopt AI first, and how will that impact Indian market?

Although the early adoption of AI will be in the home segment in the form of small products, but in the near future the rate of AI adoption in the enterprise sector would be more.  AI is going to majorly affect the Indian market. With Smart City, Make in India and Digital India initiatives – many tech giants has already started investing in AI. India has already started transforming and we will get to see its result in the immediate future. As a result of these initiatives – India’s manufacturing sector has largely benefitted and is on the way to become the global hub of manufacturing, thus giving a boost to Indian economy. Many tech giants have expressed their interest to open their Research labs in India. The right implementation of AI in both public and private sectors and enforcing automation in certain sector while implementing proper skill up program for the existing workforce would result to huge potential within India.


Who’s on The One Show tonight? The Script appear at the Heart of the Glens Food Festival as The Big Causeway Crawl continues

THE One Show is back on the box tonight for its second episode in Northern Ireland on The Big Causeway Crawl.

It’s coming straight to viewers from a village food festival, but what else do we know? Here’s the low-down…

 Matt Baker and Alex Jones are back on the sofa tonight

Matt Baker and Alex Jones are back on the sofa tonight

Who’s on The One Show tonight?

Irish rockers The Script will be on The One Show this evening, and will perform.

Viewers may know Dublin-born lead singer Danny O’Donoghue from his time judging The Voice UK during its first two series on the BBC.

Their fifth album Freedom Child is coming out on September 1 so it’s likely they’ll be discussing that.

The band formed in the early noughties and released their first EP in 2005, before their debut album came out in 2008.

Their best-known tracks include The Man Who Can’t Be Moved, Hall Of Fame, If You Could See Me Now and Superheroes.

Earlier this year they were criticised for an awkward interview about the One Love Manchester concert, in which Danny said: “That’s the first show of support that musicians got behind. Where the hell is Bono? Where’s Jay-Z? Where’s Beyoncé?”

 The Script are featuring on the programme tonight

The Script are featuring on the programme tonight

Who is presenting The One Show tonight and where is it being filmed?

Show regulars Matt Baker and Alex Jones will front tonight’s episode of The One Showfollowing its break.

Matt made his name on Blue Peter before fronting Countryfile and The One Show, while Alex started out as a TV researcher before bagging the prestigious BBC gig.

The show this evening is coming from Northern Irish village Cushendall, in Country Antrim, as it’s the second date in their Big Causeway Crawl which will see them end up at The Giant’s Causeway on Friday.

The annual Heart of the Glens Food Festival is currently happening in Cushendall so it’s likely Alex and Matt will be stuffing their faces with some local grub.

 The Heart of the Glens Food Festival provides the setting for tonight's show

The Heart of the Glens Food Festival provides the setting for tonight’s show

Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie confirms on the One Show the band will go on a global tour in 2018


SEO: 8 Free Sources of Content Inspiration

Researching keywords and social chatter can uncover content ideas — and sources of new revenue. That's what happened with Elmer's glue when it discovered children used the glue for "slime."

Researching keywords and social chatter can uncover content ideas — and sources of new revenue. That’s what happened with Elmer’s glue when it discovered children used the glue for “slime.”

One of the hardest aspects of providing meaningful content on ecommerce sites is trying to determine what your audience members read as they’re shopping.

Coming up with ideas for new and compelling content isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Identify consumer desires and problems and solve them. Relax, and explore.

To be sure, generating a content idea is much different than turning the idea into, say, an article, or video, or infographic. But at this point, forget execution and lose yourself in finding the trends and patterns that indicate interest.

When you look for the trends, sometimes you find a windfall. The Elmer’s glue folks hit a home run when they saw the spike in their sales and dug into the source: the “slime” trend. Kids all over America were turning vast quantities of white glue into stretchy goop that can be pulled and twisted without making too large a mess. All Elmer’s had to do was ride the slime wave and offer great kid- and parent-friendly content that people searched for in droves.

When you’re ready to find your own slime-sized content trend, here are eight inspiration sources to investigate.

Sources of Content Inspiration

Keyword research. The first place to start when you’re looking for any content-based concept is Google Keyword Planner. Even though it only contains Google data and not information from the other engines, as the largest search engine it covers a sample size of primary data that’s unmatched by any other keyword tool. To learn more about keyword research, read “SEO How-to, Part 5: Keyword Research in Action.”

Autocomplete suggestion and question tools. As you type a search, Google shows suggestions for phrases it thinks you might be typing based on what other people have typed before you. Mine those other phrases using tools like Ubersuggest and KeywordTool. They return lists of keywords that, unlike keyword research, have no numeric value of search demand associated with each word. You can’t tell how many people are searching for each phrase, but it’s reasonable to assume that there’s enough volume behind the searches or Google wouldn’t bother to suggest them. Answer the Public offers a unique variation on the autocomplete arena, in that it returns all question-based keyword suggestions. These are especially good for determining which burning questions your customers might have regarding your products.

Competitors. What are your competitors doing? What are they missing and how can you do it better? Merely copying what the competition is doing won’t enable you to leapfrog ahead. So look for ways to improve and build on the concepts they have already begun. Let it be a source of initial ideas, not the end product.

One of the best ways to find out who your competitors truly are in natural search, and to identify what they’re doing, is to search for them. Any company that ranks anywhere on page one of the search results, or ahead of you, is a competitor regardless of what industry or niche they’re in.

Amazon questions and reviews. You may or may not sell products on Amazon, but it’s a good bet that someone sells something close to what you sell there. Scan those product reviews for areas that especially please or anger customers, and read the questions for areas that cause confusion. Those are all excellent places to identify customer passions that you can tap into to.

People do not write a review for something they don’t care about. When they do write a review or ask a question, they’re sending anyone who cares to look a signal about what’s really important — positive or negative. When enough of those signals combine on a single topic to interest you, you have something to write about.

Social listening. Social listening is a lot like keyword research — people ask or write about what they care about and push it out to anyone listening. Using free listening tools like Keyhole and Social Mention, enter keywords to identify how people are sharing related information across social networks. Depending on the tool, you’ll see sentiment, gender, related keywords, volume of activity, and the posts themselves. Try using especially interesting keywords you’ve sourced from your keyword research or autocomplete research in your social listening tool.

Sales trends. Dig into areas where your sales exceed expectations, or disappoint. You may already know what some problems or successes are around your product offering, but it’s likely you’ll uncover more using these methods. In addition to using them to create content that your customers will value, share your findings with management. A startling number of companies are blind to customer sentiment in their business strategies. Your research could fuel a larger and necessary change.

Customer service. Just as companies are blind to customer sentiment, marketing tends to be blind to customer support. Those teams work day in and day out with customers who are really excited, or more likely, really angry, about something. Learn what those somethings are. Set up a regular dialog. Creating content that speaks directly to customer support issues — answering the exact questions and complaints they receive the most frequently — will also help reduce the burden on their beleaguered support teams.

Friends and family. Don’t overlook the value of asking around. While they are nowhere close to a representative sample of your customer base, they probably have opinions about things. Ask them what they love and hate about your products or the process of buying your products. Ask them how they would find the products or information you think you want to generate.

What would they search for, and how would they talk about it in social media? Where would they buy it? Or would they even buy it, and if not, why? Promise them you won’t get mad — and keep that promise.

What’s Buzzing?

So many other places exist to find content ideas. Forums specific to your niche, customer-survey data that either has already been collected or will be collected soon, internal search keyword reports, and more.

Much of this is open-ended, free form data that needs to be trawled through and analyzed subjectively. The volume can be overwhelming. Be the judge of when you have enough data to make decisions.

Remember, you’re not looking to identify and solve every problem. You’re looking for a list of likely topics that can be turned into creative concepts. Other potential ideas can be explored in a phase two or three. This is not a one and done. Pick the biggest three or five or 10 and get rolling.

The best way to identify a truly interesting content area is to gather data from multiple sources and look across them all for trends that keep popping up. If people are buzzing about a topic in search, on Amazon reviews, in social, and on YouTube, or across other sources, it’s a pretty safe bet that there’s a large enough audience to target with your content.


James Gunn To Publish Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 Script

Breaking news from the ever-beloved Twitter: Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn will be publishing the script for recent Marvel hit Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

This news came about when a Twitter user contacted Gunn over the service to ask if Marvel Studios will continue to publish screenplays for their films, like they did for Captain America: The First Avenger. Gunn didn’t confirm whether or not it will be a studio-wide thing, but he did confirm that he himself will be doing it for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

This is a pretty cool move on Gunn’s part. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was a smash hit at the box office, and the Guardians of the Galaxy series has been one of the more widely beloved Marvel Studios series. The movie made over $500 million at the box office — an impressive feat even for a Marvel Studios film, which can’t seem to stop themselves from producing money in huge waves.

He didn’t say when the release will be, but, as you can see above, he does say that he is currently working on it. Hopefully it will be pretty soon for all you Guardians of the Galaxy fans out there who want to take a look at the bones of this film.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, directed by Gunn and starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Kurt Russel, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Michael Rooker, and Bradley Cooper, is set to come out on DVD and Blu-ray on August 22nd. For those who want it sooner and/or in digital, it is set to come to Amazon Digital and iTunes on August 8th. If you’re like me, Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl) by Looking Glass hasn’t left your head since you were at the theater.


Xiaomi previews MIUI 9 themes, features ahead of July 26 launch

MIUI 9 launch date

Xiaomi is hosting an event on July 26 where it is set to unveil a new smartphone, the Mi 5X. Alongside the Mi 5X, Xiaomi will also unveil its latest custom UI version, MIUI 9 based on Android 7.0 Nougat. Prior to the launch event, a preview of the new look and features on MIUI 9 have been revealed on its forum. The blog post has also revealed photos of the Mi 5X which are the same as the leaked ones.

To start with, three new themes including the default theme have been revealed. The home screen and lock screen are both displayed with the new themes which are called No Boundary, Color Fantasy and Cool Black. Judging by the look on the themes, there isn’t any drastic difference except for the absence of text below the dock icons at the bottom. The shortcut apps on lock screen will go through a slight change. Some commonly used shortcuts like Mi Home, Mi Remote and Torch will be accessible in one place on the lock screen.

MIUI 9 new theme

Torch can now be activated by swiping right and this feature will be beneficial for Xiaomi smartphones with front fingerprint sensor. On Xiaomi smartphones with rear fingerprint sensor, torch can be launched with long press on the Home button. The split screen feature which was introduced on Android 7.0 Nougat last year will finally arrive for Xiaomi devices with MIUI 9. Xiaomi says that the split screen feature will be available for smartphones running Android 7.0 Nougat and above. Some of the confirmed smartphones include the Mi 6, Mi MIX, Mi Note 2 and Redmi Note 4X. The recently launched Mi Max 2 already comes with the split screen feature. ALSO READ: Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Review: Large is an understatement

With the addition of new features, Xiaomi will also remove some redundant features will be removed such as Child Mode, WiWide (for China users), Contact Card and Showtime. Xiaomi will reveal more on the MIUI tomorrow at the launch event. The blog post further mentions that the first Beta ROM for MIUI 9 will be released on Friday, which the company terms as ‘Orange Friday’. It also lists out the devices which will first receive the MIUI 9 update and these include the Mi 6, Redmi Note 4, Redmi Note 4X. The second batch of devices will be the Mi 2 and Mi 2S. ALSO READ: Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 explosion reportedly caught on video, company responds

Speaking about the Mi 5X, the images shared in the blog post show the same smartphone with dual rear cameras leaked in past events. While the look and design of the Mi 5X is confirmed, its specifications are speculated as of now. Details on the dual rear cameras are still scarce but it is said that one would feature a telephoto lens while the other a wide angle sensor. The Mi 5X is expected to launch with a 5.5-inch full HD display, Snapdragon 625 SoC and 4GB of RAM. The smartphone could come with 64GB of onboard storage and pack a 3,000mAh battery underneath. ALSO READ: Xiaomi Mi 5X to go on sale from August 1, pre-orders begin: Report


What’s the Most Important Aspect of SEO?

What’s the Most Important Aspect of SEO?

Editor’s note: “Ask an SEO” is a weekly column by technical SEO expert Jenny Halasz. Come up with your hardest SEO question and fill out our form. You might see your answer in the next #AskanSEO post!

What’s the most important aspect of SEO?

This is one of the most common questions in SEO.

And debate rages to this day.

Is content the king of SEO?

How about links?

Is technical SEO just makeup? (Oh no you didn’t. –Editor)

The answer is that it varies by company, industry, and location. Read on for some generalized explanations of what should be “king” in different scenarios.

Local Brick-and-Mortar

The most important thing to focus on for businesses that have a physical location (i.e., a place customers visit, either to buy stuff or to get services) is local SEO. This includes service providers like attorneys, doctors, and house cleaners.

This is a specialized type of SEO that focuses on obtaining local links and mentions, making sure the company is referenced consistently, and optimizing for mobile and maps.

Local brick-and-mortar websites typically are small, around 30 pages or so. While technical SEO is always important, it isn’t likely to be a big issue these types of websites will encounter.

In addition to local SEO, local brick-and-mortars can benefit from online public relations (PR) and branding efforts. AdWords may also be a worthwhile investment (friendly reminder: investing in PPC won’t help you rank better in organic search).

Small Business Site (Non-Local)

SEO can be incredibly tough for small businesses. They can’t afford quality providers and larger agencies typically don’t want them as clients.

A small business site has to spend beyond its expected return. A good (but small) AdWords campaign may be a good option.

With small businesses, the key is choosing one aspect and focusing on it. Each of these elements all have their relative pros and cons.

Social media marketing helps build a following and usually has a good return on investment – but it’s time consuming. However, this will help businesses grow and get to the next phase.

A great content strategy will help small businesses perform better in SEO, but this is equally time consuming as social media. Plus, it’s difficult getting people to share content when they don’t know about it.

Link earning is incredibly important for small businesses, but be careful to only accept link building techniques that focus on PR and subject matter expertise. Any other link strategies can become problematic.

The most cost-effective solution for small businesses is to hire someone in-house.

Mid-Size Company

Budget dictates which aspect of SEO to focus on at a mid-size company. Similar to a smaller site, you’ll need to pick an area (content, social, links) and focus there, then move on to the others as time and budget permits.

A technical SEO audit is a worthwhile investment to highlight areas that haven’t been developed well, or which should be changed as time goes on. Keeping a mid-sized company website aligned technically can have a significant payoff as it grows.

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PR and social are important for these companies as they grow. Pick one or two social channels and focus on them; be careful not to spread yourself too thin.

Some content is a must, but posting daily isn’t necessary to get SEO benefits. Decide on a few topics to cover and try to carve out a niche for the company as the source to get a certain type of information.

Any content efforts are unlikely to pay off in the short term with sales/signups. However, it will help the company gain authority and trust, which will help it compete with larger competitors as it grows.

Any company with more than 3-4 employees should have at least one in-house person dedicated to marketing, ideally SEO (working with a mid-size agency or a consultant). Develop solid strategies, editorial calendars, social messaging, and other initiatives that will raise the company’s visibility.

Large Enterprise B2B Company

The focus must be on content and technical at large enterprise B2B companies.

You’re likely to have lots of problems with technical SEO that should be sorted out, maybe even low-grade algorithm impacts for thin content or poor link behavior. Fixing these issues is likely to be the quickest bang for your buck.

You should also have a strong content strategy that is aligned with a branding team and engage regularly on social (although probably not as critical as B2C).

The one area you can probably relax on a little is link earning. Large enterprises usually already have a strong link profile, which will help SEO performance.

Creating a great content strategy and pushing it out through social channels while engaging with your social influencers will probably be enough to keep you earning links regularly.

Large Enterprise B2C Company

If you have a large website with millions of pages and products that cater to consumers, you don’t get to focus.

Your budget should be big enough to include everything previously mentioned, including a strong content strategy, social media management, and regular PR and link earning.

You should also invest in reputation management, as consistent responses and regular monitoring are critical if you’re working with end consumers.

Multiple agencies are usually involved at large enterprises because no single agency can provide top-notch service in all of the needed areas.

Consider hiring a consultant or contracted CMO to manage your agencies and providers to keep them aligned on strategy and communication and resist the temptation to “put it all under one roof.”


These are just examples of strategies that could be used at each level and are based on my own experience. There will always be outliers, and specific situations, so go with what you know.

Similarly, watch your competitors. If they are investing heavily in one area, it’s likely that you need to be, too.

Whatever strategy or approach you choose, just make sure you:

  • Have a plan.
  • Stay focused on your long-term strategy.
  • Set a reasonable budget and stay within it.


Lessons I’ve learned about the internet in 5+ years of blogging

Lessons I've learned about the internet in 5+ years of blogging

After blogging for more than five years, I have logged a great deal of time on the internet. As a result, I’ve had a wide variety of experiences and I have learned a lot. A whole lot. Because knowledge is power, I wanted to share that information with you. Hopefully it starts some conversations with your kids.

There’s a lot of good on the internet.

I’ve seen some remarkable acts of true kindness, often between people who have never met.

People online share helpful information and resources, support each other, and build communities – all of which is wonderful.

People have united to change the world.

When I see goodness, I point it out to my teen. I encourage and expect her to put kindness into both the visual and real worlds. Help kids understand what a wonderful tool the internet can be.

There is also a lot of bad on the internet.

Few things in life fall into the categories of all good or all bad, and the internet is certainly no exception. It is a double-edged sword, to be sure.

There are scary people, including a fair number of child predators. There are also people looking to do harm to others, physically or financially.

Aside from the scary people, there’s a boat load of negativity. I’ve had commenters tell me that I am unfit to parent, that I’m perpetrating sexism and that I am awful excuse for a human being.

I’ve been called a host of really offensive names for a variety of reasons, including that I occasionally drove my child to elementary school and that I dislike Starbucks’ smores frappuccinos. (The horror!)

I’ve even had someone set up an email account with the name “[email protected]” to tell me how much I suck. I’m guessing that with the unusual spelling of my first name that that wasn’t just a coincidence, but hey, you never know.

Frankly, “delete your account” seems downright polite now.

When you go online, be aware. Know how you are going to handle threats. Remember that taking a screen shot and reporting are among the first actions you should take. Be prepared for criticism, often when you least expect or deserve it.

The internet is powerful.

As the two prior points illustrate, the internet is remarkably powerful.

Remember that with power comes responsibility.

In fact, there are television shows made about how quickly and dramatically the internet has changed people’s lives, including The Internet Ruined My Life.

There is a surprising number of people online with a surprising amount of free time.

I’m guessing that you rarely sit down at your computer and think “I have nothing at all to do and no responsiblities to tend to right now.” You have a full life that often keeps you busy, I suspect. Most people I know would say that’s true for them.

That is not, however, true for a lot of people online. Take the gentleman above who created an email account just to express his dislike of me. I know that’s not a huge time investment, but it did take at least a few minutes. There are people who have commented on things I’ve posted, saying “I don’t comment on posts that do X, Y, and Z.” I want to point out that they actually did comment, but, well, I don’t. Which brings me to my next point.

You can’t fight crazy.

When it comes to trolls, haters, people having really bad days and taking it out on bloggers they don’t know, I have a rule: don’t engage. It took me a while to learn this one, and I’d love to save you the time, if I can.

I tried to be polite, but it turns out that even “let’s agree to disagree” is a waste of your time (because you really do have better things to do) and it is giving them exactly what they want – interaction, or a reaction. Don’t feed the beast.

Trust that the rest of the reasonable world will see that you were logical, insightful, funny, and more. And you might be surprised that others will be upstanders for you.

You have very little control of what you post online. Actually, you have no control. None. 

Once you share words, photos, images, anything online, you have released it to the universe. And literally anything can happen after you do that, including:

  • people claiming your work as their own,
  • companies using what you’ve shared for commercial purposes without permission,
  • individuals posting your links on a webpage and encouraging others to head to your site and tell you that you suck,
  • websites using your photos to sell products that are not actually in the photos,
  • people completely misinterpreting what you’ve written,
  • posts going viral and being read by 1 million people.

All of those have happened to me as least once. And I’ve had posts go crazy viral twice. If you want to feel vulnerable, have 1 million people read something you’ve written. It’s oddly terrifying, in part because you can’t control how people interpret your work. That lack of control is scary. Invariably, people will take something in a manner other than what you intended, even those close to you.

The best way to address it is to be very careful when you post. Think about it. Then think about it again. Remember that there is no requirement that you post something online. If you’re not certain, don’t share/post/publish it.

The internet can be a great way to bond with your tweens and teens.

Whether laughing over a funny animal video, sharing a great meme or using a headline as a conversation starter (because kids are far more likely to start taking about people other than themselves). It can be a great way to find resources and support.

The internet can be a wonderful way to find a community of parents on the same or similar roller coaster ride of raising adolescents that you are.

May you and your family use it in good health and may it bring good things your way.


The Three Pillars of Blog Traffic

One of the saddest sights online is blogs that have been abandoned by their creators. Many of these are authors who have been told that blogs will help them gather raving fans who will promote their books. These authors didn’t know that there’s nothing more important when starting blogs than getting traffic. Traffic is more important than content, more important than which software is being used to run a blog, more important than a fancy blog header or editorial schedule.

Though it’s true that the quality of content will make or break a blog, and software and design are important, getting traffic is a blog’s existential requirement. That’s because if a blog doesn’t get traffic, it will probably die. It will become one of those melancholy abandoned sites people stumble across online. We don’t want that to happen, because blogging, when done right, really does return amazing rewards to the authors who pursue it.

By traffic, what we mean is people: people who come and read articles, who participate in discussions, who share passions and interests. For authors who are trying to build communities and prepare the ground for future books, learning to integrate three drivers of traffic—content, social media, and search—will deliver results.


The articles a blogger publishes are content. But bloggers need to make sure content attracts traffic. Each blog post needs a clear reason to exist and bloggers should ask themselves these questions before pushing the Publish button:

◗ Does it help someone solve a problem?

◗ Does it answer a question that a lot of people are asking?

◗ Does it make a necessary task easier or show a new way to do it?

◗ Is it written in a way that really communicates with the people who need it most?

Great blog content is unique, memorable, or helpful, or it answers specific questions. How-to articles, for instance, are highly valued by readers stumped by specific processes and can attract a lot of traffic. Product reviews have also become great traffic magnets, with millions of people relying on them for buying assistance. Interviews, opinion pieces, roundups of expert commentary—there’s no end to the kinds of content bloggers can produce if they know what their readers are looking for.

Social Media

A blog is the ideal hub to use when expanding marketing into social media. Social accounts are outposts to attract people who can then be encouraged to visit blogs for further information and engagement. Bloggers should ask these questions when evaluating their social media strategies:

◗ Do they provide their followers with great content, entertainment, links, or ideas?

◗ Have they become known as trusted or entertaining resources?

◗ Is there a good likelihood that their social media followers will heed their calls to action?

Savvy authors find people who are interested in their work on social media and then direct them to their blogs, building their own traffic—not just the traffic for the social media site.


Although Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites now account for a huge amount of web traffic, responses to search queries remain the single largest source of traffic to blogs. Bloggers need to have specific strategies to boost their search traffic and should ask themselves these questions:

◗ Have they spent time making sure that what they publish reflects what people are searching for?

◗ Do they know the keywords that are most important in the subjects they write about?

◗ Do they know how to do simple search engine optimization (SEO) on their blog posts?

◗ Do they use blog metrics such as those provided by Google Analytics (a free program) to find out which efforts are having results?

Although SEO is a complicated science, bloggers don’t have to learn very much to start getting results. There are very few authors who seem to pay attention to SEO, and that’s a big advantage for those who do, as they may be able to rank quite well with just a little work.

The point is that people—readers, viewers, buyers—come for a reason. There has to be something to attract them, and they may need repeated exposure before they discover it. That’s part of the job of authors’ social media outposts: to spread the word about their great and useful content.

Getting these three elements lined up and functioning properly takes some work, experience, and thought. But, with the right content, intelligently written to be friendly to searchers in a niche and circulated within an active social media network, a blog will prosper.

Joel Friedlander is a book designer and author; he blogs about book design, marketing, and the future of the book at The Book Designer.

A version of this article appeared in the 06/26/2017 issue of Publishers Weekly under the headline: The Three Pillars of Blog Traffic

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