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.

[“Source-chicagonow”]

Vietnamese blogger Mother Mushroom jailed for 10 years

Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, also known as "Mother Mushroom," stands trial at a courthouse in Nha Trang on June 29, 2017.

Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, also known as “Mother Mushroom,” stands trial at a courthouse in Nha Trang on June 29, 2017.

(CNN)Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh has been sentenced to 10 years in prison by the country’s authorities, according to state media.

Nguyen, also known by her blogging pseudonym, Me Nam — which translates to “Mother Mushroom” — was convicted of “conducting anti-State propaganda.”
The 37-year-old, whose pseudonym originated with her nickname, “Mushroom,” for her daughter, runs a blog which is frequently critical of the government, and covers issues such as land confiscation, freedom of speech and police brutality.
She is famous for using the tagline, “Who will speak if you don’t?”
Nguyen also came to the attention of authorities in 2009 for her outspoken views against China’s intervention in her country, including Beijing’s financing of a controversial bauxite mine in the Central Highlands.
She was arrested by the Department of Public Security on October 10, 2016, according to the state-run Vietnam News Agency (VNA), which referred to her in reports as an “anti-state instigator.”
She last posted on her Facebook page on the date of her arrest.

Condemnation

The US called on Vietnam to release Nguyen and “all other prisoners of conscience immediately.”
“We’ve seen some positive steps on human rights in Vietnam over the past few years. However, the trend of increased arrests and convictions of peaceful protests since early 2016 is deeply troubling,” said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.
Human rights and press freedom groups also condemned the trial and the sentencing.
“The Vietnamese government uses vague national security laws to silence activists and throttle free speech,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
“International donors should not watch silently as activists like Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh are jailed for a decade for defending the human rights of all Vietnamese.”
She was the recipient of a Hellman/Hammett grant in 2010, which “recognizes courage in the face of political persecution,” Human Rights Watch said.
Ahead of her conviction, PEN America released a statement calling for her “unconditional release,” while the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called the sentence an “obscene injustice.”
“The harsh measures Vietnam has taken against journalists like Nguyen Ngnoc Nhu Quynh should be an embarrassment to the country’s rulers,” CPJ Asia Program Director Steven Butler was quoted as saying.
“Quynh never should have spent a day behind bars. Condemning her to 10 years in prison for her writing is an obscene injustice.”
Nguyen was arrested and imprisoned for 10 days in 2009, for “abuse of democratic freedoms and infringing on the national benefit,” she told CNN in 2010.
As a condition of her release, she agreed to give up blogging, posting a handwritten letter on her site in which she explained that she loved her country, but that the government felt this was the wrong way to express herself. After being denied a passport two months later, she decided to blog again.
“I write another entry on my blog, that I gave up already, but they didn’t leave me alone,” she said. “I have to take the right to say what I think.”
[“Source-ndtvedition”]

10 things learnt from 10 years of blogging

10 things learnt from 10 years of blogging

Image via Shutterstock

For the past 10 years I have been writing a blog about Melbourne’s visual arts. My first blog post on Black Mark, Melbourne Art and Culture Critic was on February 16, 2008. It was ‘Faster Faster Pussycat’ about Phibs, Debs and other street artists painting a wall in Fitzroy. Now over a 1000 blog posts later this is what I have I learned about blogging.

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    1. It can motivate you The first thing I learned was that writing a blog was motivation to do more in life; I was already going to many art exhibitions but now there was more motivation to go to places, meet people and do other fun things. Soon I started to get invitations to do more things and meet more people. Blogging changed my life; although it wasn’t actually the writing, nor the taking endless photos, or the posting online that really made the change.
    2. You probably won’t make money Do not expect to make money from advertising on your blog but there are a variety of other ways that you can use a blog professionally from promotion to networking. My friend Professor Alison Young, who I met through blogging, uses her blog Images to Live By, to introduce herself. Middle-aged academics are not a typical part of the street art/graffiti scene but now Alison is ‘Banksy favourite criminologist’.
    3. You can make friends I have made many new friends through writing the blog, which has improved the quality of my life. One reason why I have made so many friends blogging is that I mostly write about what other people are doing.
    4. You learn how to manage enemies I have learned how to deal with hostile comments, trolls and other idiots. You can’t predict what will get people to write hostile comments – it could be pigeons in Coburg. I have never shied away from controversy, writing posts about the persecution of Bill Henson and Paul Yore. When I have hostile comments I always remember that the person writing them will forget about it after a day or two. If they don’t, that I can always block them from making comments, but I’ve only had to do this once in ten years. Comments are not indicative of anything; no comment does not mean a bad post. Out of 1,077 post I have only had 2,099 comments; half the comments are my own because I generally reply to all comments but I avoid feeding trolls.
    5. You need a focus My blog is focused on Melbourne’s visual arts but I do post about other things on it. Having a clear focus for a blog is important but it is a balance between a very narrow focus and ranging too far. With 13 categories on my blog I’m not sure that I’ve got it right but it is a lesson I’ve learned.
    6. You get to do a lot of people watching Vox pops can make a good local blog post. These don’t have to be direct quotes, but observations on how people are reacting. I like to watch how small children react at art exhibitions; are they engaged or bored? ‘Why does a tree need a sweater?’ is an example of how one observation of an angry man made a successful blog post about yarn bombing.Another local blogger and people-watcher is the writer Jane Routley, who writes about her day job in Station Stories, life as a Station Assistant.
    7. You might get a book published In 2015 my first book, Sculpture of Melbourne, was published by Melbourne Books. I started writing and researching the book on my blog and before I started my blog I couldn’t have imagined writing a history of Melbourne’s public sculpture. I am now working on my second book about true art crimes in Melbourne.
    8. You should follow your analytics I learnt from watching my stats the there was an interest in Melbourne’s public sculpture. What the public wants to read about art is different to what many arts writers want to write about. There are a lot of different kinds of feedback that you can get on blogs from comments to stats. Lots of stats, numbers of subscribers, views, repeat views. In ten years I’ve had approximately 537,000 views from 155 countries around the world (still no views from Greenland, Cuba, Iran, South Sudan and various central African countries). Stats can be addictive – you get the idea.
    9. Blogs can be works of art.My blog isn’t but the artist Peter Tyndall’s blog was exhibited at the NGV in 2013’s Melbourne Now exhibition and there are other less notable examples.
    10. It is hard work but satisfying

You are your own boss, your own editor and you make your own deadlines. Ignore the advice about blogging that you have to post regularly. Writing a blog may not be for everyone but it has worked for me and I will continue.

[Source:-Arts Hub]

8 ways SEO has changed in the past 10 years

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Few marketing channels have evolved as quickly or as dramatically as search engine optimization (SEO). In its infancy, SEO was the shady practice of stuffing keywords, tweaking back-end code and spamming links until you started ranking well for the keywords you wanted. Thankfully, Google stamped out those practices pretty quickly, and its search algorithm has never really stopped evolving.

Much of Google’s foundation was in place by the mid-2000s, but how has its algorithm — and as a result, our approach to SEO — changed in the past 10 years?

1. The rise of content

First, there’s the rise of content marketing as part of a successful SEO strategy. Google has steadily refined what it considers to be “good” content over the years, but it was the Panda update in 2011 that served as the death blow to spammy content and keyword stuffing.

After Panda, it was virtually impossible to get away with any gimmicky content-based tactics, such as favoring a high quantity of content while forgoing quality and substance. Instead, the search engine winners were ones who produced the best, most valuable content, spawning the adoption of content marketing among SEOs — and content is still king today.

2. The death of link schemes

Google has provided its own definition of what a “link scheme” actually is, along with some examples. Many find the guidelines here somewhat ambiguous, but the simplest explanation is this: Any attempt to deliberately influence your ranking with links could qualify as a scheme.

By the late 2000s, Google had worked hard to stamp out most black-hat and spam-based link-building practices, penalizing participants in link wheels and exchanges and paid linkers. But it was in 2012, with the Penguin update, that link building really became what it is today. Now, only natural link attraction and valuable link building with guest posts will earn you the authority you need to rank higher.

3. The reshaping of local

Compared to 2006, local SEO today is a totally different animal. There have been dozens of small iterations and changes to the layout (such as the local carousel, and today’s modern “3-pack” layout), but the biggest recent change to ranking factors was in 2014, with the Pigeon update.

With this update, Google more heavily incorporated traditional web ranking signals into its ranking algorithm, giving well-optimized websites a major edge in local search. Google also boosted the visibility of high-authority directory websites in its search results.

More generally, local searches have become more common — and more location-specific — over the last few years, thanks to mobile devices.

4. SERP overhauls

I can’t tell you how many times the search engine results pages (SERPs) have changed, and not many people could; some of these changes are so small, it’s debatable whether to even count them. But take a look at a SERP screen shot from 2006 and compare it to today, and you’ll see how different your considerations must be.

Google search results in 2006.

Google search results in 2006. (Source)

5. The rise of the Knowledge Graph

Another major influencer in modern SEO has been Google’s Knowledge Graph, which first emerged on the scene in 2012. The Knowledge Graph attempts to give users direct, concise answers to their queries, often presenting them with a box of information about a general subject or a succinct answer to a straightforward query. This is great for the user but often takes precedence over organic search results.

Accordingly, optimizers have had to compensate for this, either by avoiding generally answerable keyword targets altogether or by using Schema.org microformatting to make their on-site content more easily deliverable to the system.

6. Mobile prioritization

Mobile devices have exploded in popularity since the iPhone first emerged back in 2007, and Google has done everything it can to emphasize the importance of optimizing websites for those mobile users. Indeed, in 2015, mobile queries officially surpassed desktop queries in Google search.

Optimizing for mobile has become not only common, but downright required these days, in no small part due to Google’s continuing and escalating insistence. Its mobile-friendly update, which occurred in two separate phases, has been a major enforcer of this new standard.

7. The soft death of keywords

Panda and Penguin killed off the practice of keyword stuffing, but a smaller, more curious update in 2013 spelled the “soft” death of keyword optimization altogether. Hummingbird is the name of the update that introduced semantic search, Google’s way of deciphering user intent rather than mapping out individual keywords and phrases.

Today, Google attempts to understand meaning rather than matching keywords, so keyword-centric optimization doesn’t work the same way. However, keyword research is still relevant, as it can help guide your strategic focus and provide you with ranking opportunities.

8. Update pacing and impact

It’s also worth noting that for a time — in the few years following Panda — Google stressed out search optimizers by releasing seemingly random, major updates to its search algorithm that fundamentally changed how rankings were calculated. However, now that the search engine has reached a strong foundation, the significance and pacing of these updates have declined. Today, updates are smaller, less noticeable, and roll out gradually, giving them a much less dramatic impact on the industry.

Final thoughts

Understanding where SEO has come from and where SEO stands today will help you become a better online marketer. Hopefully, by now you’ve long ago eliminated any black-hat techniques in your strategy.

Google — and we, as marketers alongside it — are constantly pushing this now-fundamental element of our lives forward, so if you want to stay relevant, you’ll need to keep focused on the next 10 years of search engine updates.

[Source:-sEARCH Engine lannd]

Not Stopping Yet: Ten Years of Blogging About the Devils

Ten years ago at 9:29 PM EST, on a completely free Blogspot site, I put up my first post at In Lou We Trust. It was a short introduction to the site and it jumped right into the most current issue of the team. The New Jersey Devils beat the Florida Panthers 2-0 to end a three game losing streak. However, Scott Gomez was injured with some kind of groin injury. I listed four possibilities for Gomez replacement ahead of a Saturday game against Columbus. They were, in order, Patrik Elias, Zach Parise, a rookie named Travis Zajac, and putting Sergei Brylin there while moving Erik Rasmussen up and possibly calling up Petr Vrana or David Clarkson for a fourth line spot. Oh, and Claude Julien was the head coach. That was what it was like ten years ago in terms of the team. And I ended the post with not a thank you, but “Go Devils.”

As far as the larger hockey writing scene, well, there wasn’t much. Message boards were the most popular places for discussion. I spent more hours than I could care to count on the Devils board at Hockey’s Future. NJDevs.com was and remains a community as well. But there was no Reddit. There was no Twitter – at least, not like how it is now. Facebook had not blown up the way that it has either. Smart phones? Not ready – not yet, at least. Me? I was a graduate student at the Rutgers School of Engineering, I didn’t even have a proper day job yet (I think I was still a graduate assistant for a professor though), and I was nervous about my first post. Blogs? I liked reading blogs on other topics but lamented that there weren’t any Devils blogs. Or many hockey blogs. I was only aware of a few like Eric McErlain’s Off Wing Opinion and, Steve Ovadia’s Puck Update. I’ve had the thought of doing one myself and, back in 2006, I finally worked up the nerve to do it.

Since then, the nerves went away and I just kept doing it. Game previews. Game recaps. Reactions to injuries, shifts in lines and defensemen pairings, management and marketing issues, transactions, draft picks, and perhaps my biggest focus of all: the performance of the team on the ice. I’ve made thousands of posts, tens of thousands of comments, and surely more than 5 million words about the New Jersey Devils.

I remember catching James Mirtle’s attention and that led to the creation of this blog at SB Nation. I’m not sure, but I think I was the sixth or seventh NHL-team specific blog. I think Mile High Hockey, Pension Plan Puppets, Lighthouse Hockey, Winging it in Motown, Second City Hockey, and Die by the Blade predated me. Mirtle was the hockey manager for SBN as the network grew to include blogs for all thirty teams and a few other special ones. I’ve seen a lot over the eight years here at SBN. I saw the rise of hockey analytics and tried to figure it out and apply it to NJ as I went. Back when Gabriel Desjardins had Behind the Net, Vic Ferrari’s Time on Ice was the challenging-but-useful tool that pulled game stats, and many of the discussions were growing. I saw the rise of using social media for the blog. Twitter, I picked up on. Facebook, I don’t use. I saw and used three different blogging platforms with two completely different looks of the site on SBN – which in of itself is a big change from Blogger. Oh, and I oversaw a name change from In Lou We Trust because Lou did something I never would have guessed or dreamed or even wanted to think about: go to another team. Needless to say, I have a lot different memories scattered about from this whole adventure into blogging.

Among what I’ve taken away the most is that I really, really enjoy doing this. This site means a lot to me and it means a lot to me that people do read, share, agree, disagree, comment, link, and discuss what is up at the site. I’m definitely one of those people who can talk for hours about the Devils. Not having too many people to talk to about them meant that blogging was a perfect outlet for it. It was one of the first major decisions that I’ve made in my life all on my own. I didn’t ask anyone whether it was a good idea. I didn’t get it as a suggestion. I just wanted to do it, I found a way to do it, and, well, it’s led me to do things I’ve never expected.

Here is a short list of what I have done with In Lou We Trust & All About the Jersey that I likely would not have done if I didn’t do it: I’ve learned more about hockey and have been able to demonstrate what I’ve learned. I’ve helped others learn more about hockey. I’ve improved (somewhat) at writing. I’ve became a regular on a podcast about the Devils. I’ve made a video series about a hockey simulator. I was inspired to take on larger projects like reviewing all goals against in a season or all penalty kills in a season. The latter led me to present something at a hockey analytics conference from this past September. I was in the press box for the 2013 NHL Draft and asked an awkward question to Steve Santini about “Be a dude.” I was invited by the Vanderbeek management with media credentials for the Jersey Tour from years back. I was actually asked if I wanted press credentials – and I turned them down. I was on Hockey Primetime a few times. I’ve been asked a question by the Hockey News, which made it into one of their issues. I’ve had the 2010 Playoff ending recap quoted by a New York Times blog, which led to a thank you from the legendary Canadian band, No Means No. I was in books – specifically, the Hockey Prospectus annual series for a number of years. I even defined a mission statement for the site after the name-change; and it’s something I remind myself time and again as to what this is all about. (I’m proud of many posts, that’s one of them) And so many previews, recaps, and analysis posts that I or someone else wrote here. I sometimes look back and marvel of what was done. I’m sure I’m missing several other accomplishments; I’m actually still amazed that I can just think of this many off the top of my head. It’s a lot and I expected about none of it.

The biggest one is what I get on a nearly daily basis. The assurance that people read the site. I have never really got used to having people thank me or come up to me at a game or ask something aobut the Devils through a comment, a Tweet, or an email. I’m continually and pleasantly surprised when I get feedback. I really do appreciate it all. I don’t want to become so used to it. Thank you; I continue to work to earn your readership so to speak. I’ve never been good at networking or being all that social; I’d rather just write about hockey. And so I do. That you all read and use the site in your own ways justifies that there are Devils fans that want to read about hockey at a hockey blog that largely sticks to hockey. (Aside: It’s easy if you try, fellow bloggers, I’ve done it for just about a decade.) Not only that, but written pieces about the Devils that is more than just a slap-dash AP report or parroting the conventional wisdom or a thought that is has the value of a potato chip. Nothing against chips, but they don’t fill one up properly. I write a lot because I think the team deserves the detail and the fans want details. Thank you for justifying that thought every day for ten years. You’re as much as All About the Jersey as I am.

The second biggest one is related also a near-daily reminder: that there are other writers on this site. Ever since I asked TibbsBeastoftheEast to help out at ILWT, I’ve had a lot of help and a lot of great posts from others on this very blog. I’m especially proud that I have been able to ask you, the reader, to be a voluntary writer and take on some role on the site to make it what it is today. I never liked rejecting those entries because I am honored, in a way, that someone wants to spend their free time to be a part of this. And that just about all of those who have applied just “get” what the site is all about. So I thank in no particular order for their contributions to this site and spending their time, no matter how much or how little it was – all of the writers (and I’m sorry if I missed a name or two): Tibbs, Steve Lepore, Matt Ventolo, Kevin Sellathamby, Tom Stivali, David Sarch (not a writer, but with so many episodes of TR, I’m including him), Jerry Tierney, Matt Evans, Karen Meilands, Rob Watson, CJ Richey, Nate Pilling, Josh Weinstein, JT Sroka, Mike Stromberg, Brian Franken, Steve Wozniak, Chris Moxley, CJ Turtoro, Alex Potts, Gerard Lionetti, Nicholas D’Alessio, Shane Kinsley, Ryan Stimson, Matt Mowrer, Matt Torino, Devin Yang, and Trevor Post. I don’t make it to ten years without their assistance in some way or form; the site certainly wouldn’t be what it is today. I thank them all too.

And I especially have to thank others as well. I have a day job that allows me to have this be a hobby. I thank them for that. I have a family plus one that has been nothing but supportive of this whole blogging thing. And I so thank them for their support. I thank James Mirtle and Tyler Bleszinski (who is a Devils fan and thankfully did an A’s blog that kickstarted the whole network) for on-boarding me here at SBN and the SBN staff for providing the tools and the platform for this site. I thank them all, too. I still look forward to Devils games and what they do; the passion has not ceased. So I have to thank the Devils for being the team that I still love.

What is my end game? I was asked this in a phone conversation by Timo Seppa of Hockey Prospectus back in 2010. (Aside: I respect what he and the HP people were doing back in the day, from Cory Pronman to Tom Awad to Rob Vollman). We were catching up and he wanted to know if I wanted to help with the Devils for the HP book. I wasn’t quite an author; just a part of the “special thanks” section and listed before Wayne Gretzky. I didn’t have much of an answer then. I don’t have one now. When it’s the offseason, I get asked what I’ll do with the site. I answer, “Keep writing, the hockey doesn’t stop.” That’s not always true, unfortunately. The 2012 portion of the 2012-13 season was lost due to a lockout. Even then, I made plans to try to keep the site somewhat active while the NHL and NHLPA engaged in labor strife that I didn’t really care to pick sides on because I just want the Devils to play. And we did. It wasn’t easy, but I made the effort. Looking back now, the blog never stopped even when the Devils were stopped. But with an active league somewhere, the hockey really doesn’t and so neither does the site. So I don’t.

I do have a mental list of what would lead to the end of my blogging about the Devils. I don’t think we’re near any of those points even though a lot has changed in ten years. I’m older, some of the energy isn’t there, but I still enjoy doing this. And with other writers to fill in the gaps when I’m unable, the site has continued to be A Thing. I don’t know what it will lead me to do for the next ten years, but as long as the Devils don’t stop for good, none of those points on that list are hit, and you all keep reading and supporting the site, I can see myself writing a post celebrating a twenty year anniversary and listing a whole new set of accomplishments I could not predict would happen. I haven’t fully stopped blogging. I don’t intend to now. When it comes to blogging about the Devils, whether it’s here or elsewhere on my own again, I’m not stopping yet.

[Source:-all about The Joursy]

Durga Puja 2016: Themes mark this year’s festival

Durga Puja 2016: Themes mark this year's festival

Kolkata: From Kolkata of yore to replicas of important monuments to imaginary fantasy land – this year’s Durga Puja festival is marked by theme-worship as the organisers focus on a blend of aesthetics and tradition.

In a throwback to the good old days, the Hindustan Park Puja in south Kolkata has put on display everyday use items like ‘janta’, stitched kantha and needle and reinvented the era when children flocked to their grandmas to hear fairy tales.

“We are recreating the ambience where the elderly lady would dry her grey hair under the afternoon sun in the courtyard of her house and the children would surround her for stories of ‘Bangoma-Bangomi’, one of the organisers said.

At Bhabanipore 75 Palli, visitors will be introduced to ‘Arshinagar’, the city of mirrors, where one can see his true self.

Through the gate of a 45-foot elephant the revellers will go to the ‘garbha griha’ (main spot) where the glass-panelled walls will retain references of Rajasthani folk art and mirror ourselves.

“We are also laying astro-turf grass before the pandal which speaks about saving green,” a puja committee spokesman said.

At 83-year-old Shovabazar Burtola Sarbojonin Durgotsab, north Kolkata’s dwindling number of cafes were highlighted.

“Our intention is to portray Kolkata’s once-vibrant coffee culture, there will be rows of old world cafes which will lead upto the main pandal named interestingly Sri Durga Cabin”, Puja committee secretary Sayak Nandi said.

“The cafes in north Kolkata used to be frequented by people, including puja committee members, for a healthy discourse. Now big fast food joints threaten to usurp their places,” he rued.

At ‘Kolkata Pouro Karmochari Sarbojonin Durgostab Samity’

pandal, in Hazra area, ‘Bisorjon theke Bodhon’ is the theme.

“There are 13 idols which reflect different Durgas (including the half-finished ones or the ones brought up by little boys after immersion,” a puja committee spokesman said tracing the history of the puja, since it was started in 1942 by Netaji.

At Baghajatin Rabindrapally Sarbojanin Durgapuja Committee, the celebrated British Wax Museum Madame Tussauds has come up.

At Singhi Park, where the committee is celebrating the 75th Year, the pandal is built as a replica of the Ambaji Mata Temple situated near Mount Abu.

“The temple is a major Shakti Peeth of India. And there will be distinct sand stone architecture and a golden tomb on top like the original one,” a member said.

Not departing from the traditional Chandernagore ‘gharana’ – giant 3D electronic structures would be moving around.

At Lake Youth corner ? “the lost city” theme goes back to hundred years. There is a dilapidated temple having roots of banyan tree grown on it while on the background there will be tribal music and sound of cricket.

[Source:-Zee News]

Search in Pics: Google NYC 10 years, keyboard pranks & a folding table

In this week’s Search In Pictures, here are the latest images culled from the web, showing what people eat at the search engine companies, how they play, who they meet, where they speak, what toys they have and more.

Google NYC 10 year anniversary birthday cake:

Google NYC 10 year anniversary birthday cake
Source: Instagram

Google’s John Mueller pranks Gary Illye’s keyboard:

google keyboard pranks
Source: Twitter

Google pool table cues:

Google pool table cues
Source: Twitter

Google folding table:

Google folding table
Source: Flickr

 

 

[source :-searchengineland]

10 ways link building has changed over the last 10 years

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Search engine optimization (SEO) is a dynamic digital marketing discipline, and few SEO tactics have evolved as much (or as frequently) as link building.

What was once a spam-laden nightmare of link pyramids, spun content, automated spam posts and other gimmicks has changed dramatically, and over the course of the past decade, link building has become more refined and quality-driven.

Much of this evolution was spurred by search engines directly — Google, for one, played an enormous part in cleaning up the web with itsPenguin algorithm updates.

Combined with increasing user distaste for poorly placed links and a collective commitment from webmasters to give their users better experiences, we now exist in a world where link building is respectable, valuable and viable.

Take a look at these 10 major ways link building has changed in just 10 years:

1. Penalties are harsher

Link schemes have always been bad, though they haven’t always been penalized. In recent years, however, Google has stepped up its effort to penalize sites with spammy backlink profiles.

If you engage in a link scheme, you’re more likely than ever before to face a manual penalty that will drop you from the SERPs. Recovery is always possible, but these types of schemes have the potential to set you back months, or even years.

2. Crappy links don’t work anymore

Just 10 years ago, a link was a link. You could easily get away with posting a non-contextual link pointing back to your domain as a forum post, spammy blog comment, article on an article directory, or even a free community blog.

Today, such tactics are no longer tolerated; site editors know that if they don’t keep their sites free of spammy links, Google will penalize them. And if Google catches what it considers to be spammy links, it will neutralize the link’s value, leaving you with practically no authoritative gains. If Google detects a pattern of spammy links, you’re likely in for a manual or algorithmic penalty.

3. Same-source links have greater diminishing returns

Links from different domains have always returned more value than additional links from the same domain; this is because links serve as third-party indicators of credibility, and links from the same domain offer a redundant vouch for authority.

However, this effect of “diminishing returns” has escalated over the past 10 years. Today, same-domain links probably still have some value, but they are also probably less valuable than ever.

4. Guest posts have become the gold standard of off-site link-building tactics

Guest posting, the process of writing an article and getting it published on an external publication, has come to be the “gold standard” of link building. Because the focus is on creating quality content to reach a new audience, it has far more value than just SEO value. There’s virtually no risk of penalty, and it’s not so complicated or intensive that the effort it takes outweighs the reward.

Guest posts were always a good strategy, but in my opinion, they are currently among the best strategies when it comes to off-site tactics.

To clarify, I’d argue that publishing quality content to your own website that attracts inbound links on its own merit is the absolutely best tactic for link building, but I don’t consider that an off-site tactic. It’s also impractical to build links this way in many industries (or without a pre-existing audience, which necessitates off-site tactics).

5. Content standards have risen

This isn’t to say that anybody can contribute as a guest anywhere they want. The popularity of guest posting has had another effect on online communities: Thanks to increasing competition and awareness of the value of link building, most major publishers have significantly increased their content standards from outside contributors.

This means it’s much harder to land guest posting opportunities, necessitating building real relationships with editors and webmasters, and it’s much harder to produce high-enough quality content for those publications.

6. Press release links are pretty much worthless

Press releases were once a popular tactic for link building. News sources were extremely high in authority, and as long as you had a newsworthy topic, it was fairly easy to get yourself a featured link by writing and submitting a press release through one of the major press release distribution hubs.

However, thanks to the surge in popularity of this tactic, Google has significantly downgraded the authoritative power of links from press releases.

7. Keyword-rich anchor text can get you in big trouble

A decade ago, using keyword-rich anchor text was the best way to give specific ranking power to your inbound links. Today, Google’s quality evaluations are so sophisticated that they can detect unnatural use of anchor text for manipulative purposes, and it’s now among the most recognizable indicators of a spammy link. Anchor text should be natural to avoid triggering a penalty.

8. Link earning is a viable tactic

The phrase “link building” refers to the manual process of placing links on external sites. But as I mentioned in #4, there’s an even better way to get natural links: earn them on your own with fantastic content that acts like a magnet to attract links.

Years ago, this wasn’t a very attractive link-building tactic because even though Google had guidelines on spammy links, those guidelines were not enforced. So the fastest and cheapest way to improve your search visibility was through spammy, manipulative tactics that were highly popular. Most importantly, those tactics worked.

Now that Google does a good job at discouraging spammy, manipulative link-building practices, link earning is once again a viable tactic.

9. It’s harder than ever to break in

Though many of these developments have made link building simpler (just create, publish and distribute high-quality content), it’s actually harder than ever to build good links.

If you’re going with the “link earning” method, getting natural inbound links on the merits of your own content requires an established audience or some level of pre-existing authority, which makes starting from scratch a major obstacle for new startups and small businesses. It often takes a boost from an existing authority, perhaps through guest posting, to start building an audience and your brand.

10. It isn’t all about rankings

Yes, the primary focus of link building is earning more authority to rank higher in search engines, but there are far more benefits than just rankings. Brand visibility, author reputation and referral traffic are just some of the peripheral ways you can benefit.

Today, link building is about giving customers better content and better experiences in general. If you provide more original, practical, valuable content, every guest post or on-site piece you publish is going to earn more visibility (and therefore, more inbound links).

Though there’s still a bit of a technical science to it, link building can no longer be reduced to tricks and gimmicks. It makes link building more complicated, but at the same time, infinitely more rewarding.

 
[source :-searchengineland]