How Rich Results Could Make You Rich

Search results are no longer exclusively text links. Depending on what you search for, you’ll receive a mixed bag of visuals, text, video links and possibly maps. If you’re a written blog, you’re competing directly with video at times. It doesn’t seem fair, but it’s the way the internet is moving and you have to move with it. Your SERPs depend on it. Aiming for the top of a pile of content rather than just the top of a text link list is called “aiming for rich results.” This means you will need to change your content strategy to compete. First, we’ll go over the various kinds of rich results and later we’ll talk about strategies. 1. Video Results Google recently began to feature video content in its own special section on a results page. This section stands out prominently to any user and will attract more attention. Before Google began […]

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15 Local SEO Tips That Are Bound to Change Your Game

Did you know that 71% of people who use the internet look and confirm the location of a business before heading to it for the first time? Think of the last time you did? You might have been looking for the time a business opens or closes. Local search is now as integral to our lives as toilet paper. We probably wouldn’t be able to navigate our world without it now. So, if your local SEO game isn’t on, you probably want to pay attention to these relevant tips. 1. Start Outside the Internet It’s weird, but when local journalists cover your business, you get a linkback on their online journal. Funny how that works, right? But connecting to local news sources is one incredible way to show Google you’re a local star. 2. Get Scheming With Schema Markup If you’re not using schema.org, you’re not telling Google enough information […]

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Our Habits Make Us: Weekend Habits of Highly Successful People

If you’re feeling restless, demotivated, and sleepless, you might want to look at your screen habits. Patient.info recently did a survey of over 2,000 people. They found that people who binge-watch tv are three times more likely to feel depressed, anxious, sleepless and empty. This was especially true of the 18-24-year-old crowd. But highly successful people will not be among those surveyed. Why? Because they spend their weekends wisely. This doesn’t mean they’re workaholics. On the contrary, many habits of highly successful people have nothing to do with work. So here’s a list of the most interesting weekend habits of highly successful people. 1. Unplug for 24 Hours Fortunately, we don’t stone people for not doing this anymore. But an ancient practice might be useful for contemporary citizens. I’m talking, of course, about the Sabbath. In Hebrew and Jewish culture and lore, God worked on creating the earth for six […]

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Organic Traffic Has Nothing to Do with Pesticides

The word organic has always had a Cronenberg-esque quality in my mind. I imagine the intersection of machine and biology. And really, when talking about the internet, the word “organic” is apt. Psychology and biology influence every aspect of our lives including how we interact with content online. We’re not machines. And while largely, we follow specific patterns, it’s still hard to predict when a piece of content will go viral and when one might flop. A good example of this is the film John Carter. Everyone from the higher execs to the actors thought this film would be the next “Star Wars.” And that’s most likely where the true problem lay; when you’re too close to a project, it’s almost impossible to have an objective opinion. John Carter is the forced content of an overly micro-managed content marketing plan. It’s the inability to trust your audience and your own instincts. […]

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The No-Collar Workforce: What’s Next for Man and Machine?

“In a properly automated and educated world, then, machines may prove to be the true humanizing influence. It may be that machines will do the work that makes life possible and that human beings will do all the other things that make life pleasant and worthwhile ”  -Issac Asimov I’m obsessed with the idea of AI world domination. And not because I’m afraid our machines will decide to subjugate us, but because our machines will free up so much of our time. But this all depends on how we decide to proceed. I am an optimist even though I often write fiction that features machines gone rogue. My stories are about the consequences should we decide to treat AI and sentient machines as objects. I think it was Heinlein who proposed that a sentient machine would go mad if we simply put it in a box and gave it no […]

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The Whiter the Hat the Higher the Ranking

As an above-the-board white hat SEO, you don’t get to polish your badge every morning. You don’t get nickel-plated six-shooters. And you don’t get a pair of spurs. But you can rest assured that all is well in the land of Google for your website. You won’t have any drops in ranking you intentionally created. And you’ll be able to sleep well at night knowing that if anything happens, it’s all Google’s fault. But what does it mean to be a white hat SEO? How do you ensure your efforts are in line with Google’s policies? Below you’ll find a few white hat SEO techniques that will increase the likelihood you won’t get a penalty from Google. 1. Focus on UX SEOs tend to obsess over everything but user experience. And it’s a backward way to approach SEO. Google, on the other hand, wants their users to have a great experience […]

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Some Grey Hat SEO Techniques that May or May Not Work

In classic westerns, the bad guys and the good guys were easy to identify. The good guys wore a white hat and the bad guys wore a black cowboy hat. But if you wanted to add a little mystery to your characterizations, you would have your cowboys wear a grey hat. Their motivations would be extremely ambiguous. And their actions might only benefit themselves. In SEO, we have white hat and black hat methods. With white hat methods, you’re toeing the line. You’re following Google’s rules as closely as possible to gain better ranking on Google. In black hat SEO, you’re trying to circumnavigate Google’s rules and hoping those methods will help you rank. Often, black hat SEO is consider a shortcut method. You’re buying aspects of SEO that you might have otherwise worked hard to attain. And often these shortcuts result in backfires. And then there’s grey hat SEO. […]

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A Young College Student’s Plan to Change His Life

You can do a thousand and one things to make money. Most of the time, people just don’t know how to start out. They’ll just “come up with an idea” and run with it. And they have no clue if their business idea will actually work. Of course, there is always some uncertainty when starting a new business. This is why a majority of startups fail. But you can mitigate that risk by doing a few wise things. Pulling a business idea out of your derriere is the last thing you want to do. It takes observation and research. I’m going to tell you about a student I recently met who plans to do just that. 1. Find a Niche Nobody Has Filled This can backfire, of course. You could have found a niche nobody has filled and no customer would ever respond to. Then you really are wasting your […]

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What Comes After the Cloud? The Future of Cloud Computing

Before 2007, cloud servers for businesses and consumers just didn’t exist. Yeah, we had accessible servers all over the world, but the way we do cloud computing wasn’t a thing. In just three years, the number of cloud providers went from nothing to 550,000. We entered the age of cloud computing full tilt. But now that cloud computing is ubiquitous and most people don’t even think twice about storing and accessing data on the internet, something else must be coming. Well, sorta. Cloud technology isn’t going to disappear any time soon. It’s like the internet and computing technology. We merely build on what we’ve created and then call it something different. Machine to Machine Interaction The cloud facilitates much more than we ever dreamed possible. But one area we’re seeing explode recently is the realm of the independent machine. We’ve talked for years about “The Singularity.” A moment in time […]

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Four Freelance Productivity Tips That Will Have You Slaying Work Projects

It’s the eternal struggle with working from home. You could call the dentist, watch the show you’ve been meaning to watch, clean the bathroom. Even the most mundane things can seem more interesting than another article about search engine optimization. But there’s no excuse to slack off at making money as a freelancer. There’s plenty of work to be done. Your e-mail is probably full of opportunities right now. It’s time to don the headphones and get to work. Here are some ways you boost your productivity while working as a freelancer. 1. DO NOT DISTURB I had to have a talk with my wife a few months ago. I’d be deep in a project. My door was closed. And she would burst in after her 9-5 was done and just start talking about her day. I made it clear that she needed to ask if I was at a […]

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Five Coffee Facts to Impress Everyone With on Coffee Day

Did you know that more than 1/3 of all Americans drink coffee. And they spend more money on coffee each year than they do on investments. I personally could take a lesson from that last stat. Imagine how much money you might have if you put your coffee money into investments each year. Suffice it to say, coffee is a booming industry. Over the past ten years, coffee culture has gone from mere fru-fru Starbucks lattes to single-origin obsession. If you’re investing in the coffee industry or write a blog about coffee, you might note that tomorrow is Coffee Day. So, in honor of Coffee Day, we bring you five fascinating facts about coffee. 1. Instant Coffee is Old Instant coffee appeared in 1771. The problem was, it would go bad pretty fast. Most likely due to the fact it was merely dried coffee. But about 100 years later, David Strang […]

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What Your I.T. Department Can Learn From the I.T. Crowd

We’re in a dark and dank dungeon. It smells of sweat, drying milk, and ozone. A server ticks and hums one room over — did you hear something rustling in there? You get a call from “upstairs.” Before they have a chance to tell you what’s going on, you say, “have you tried turning it off and on again?” This probably sounds familiar. Not because I.T. departments actually look, sound, smell, and taste like this, but because it sometimes feels like that. So, let’s take a look at the ultimate parody of the I.T. department and find out what Moss, Roy, and Jenn can teach us about running an I.T. department. 1. People Are Absurdly Predictable It’s now such an old-hat joke it’s not even funny anymore. “Did you try turning it off and on again.” But it’s really the go-to fix for a lot of computer problems. We all […]

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Five Vacation Rental Website Mistakes That Will Ruin Your Business

There are more than 23,000 vacation rental companies in the United States. Because of crowd sharing sites like Airbnb and VRBO, the market is becoming extremely saturated. Small towns and cities are cracking down on crowd shared rental houses and imposing silly regulations. And if you aren’t careful, you could wind up on the bad side of your local city council. The market is competitive and any mistake you make could sink you. Here are a few things you shouldn’t do if you want to succeed with your vacation rental website. 1. Neglect Your Regional Expertise Section Even if you won property where you rarely visit, people want to stay in the homes of people with local expertise. Local information is valuable to any tourist and even if your information is second hand, you should have something to offer. Local restaurant gems, oft-missed side attractions, and really anything the tourists […]

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How Does Search Engine Optimization Actually Work?

Prior to 2016, I had no clue what SEO was. I used the internet oblivious to the fact Google meddled in our search results. Honestly, if you’d asked me in 2015 how Google worked, I’d probably say “magic.” I type in a question and out comes an answer. Who cares, right? Since then, I’ve become a wise SEO wizard. But if you’re here right now, you’re probably befuddled by SEO. So, I’ve set out to give you a simple and quick cheat sheet on SEO. What Is SEO Anyway? Simply put, search engine optimization is the constant adjustment to hundreds of factors on a website Google might be monitoring. We do this to hopefully increase our ranking for various search terms. If you Google search engine optimization, you’ll see topics like keyword targeting, site speed, mobile optimization, etc. Many SEO topics deal with on-page factors like content, keywords, and links. […]

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Searching for the Perfect Snake Oil: Vibes Up

I felt like Dana Scully debunking werewolf legends in a cold, dark forest. But it was a sunny day in Walla Walla, Washington when I walked by a store claiming it wasn’t a pot shop. (In Washington that’s always a possibility with anything decorated a medical shade of green.) Curious, I made a right turn and found myself in a particular kind of forest. One filled with crystals and bracelets and water bottles and flip-flops. The place smelled of lavender and pine and the two store reps (a man and wife duo) pounced as soon as my wife and I entered. Not a Pot Shop After the requisite small talk, the man began his spiel. He avoided terms like vibrational energy and new age. Instead, he asked if we’d experienced any pain, anxiety, or depression lately. He seemed disappointed when this ultrarunner lied and said no. But he continued anyway, telling […]

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Your Sales Funnel is a Sieve: Here’s How to Plug the Holes

“They went to sea in a Sieve, they did,    In a Sieve they went to sea: In spite of all their friends could say, On a winter’s morn, on a stormy day,    In a Sieve they went to sea! And when the Sieve turned round and round, And every one cried, ‘You’ll all be drowned!’ They called aloud, ‘Our Sieve ain’t big, But we don’t care a button! we don’t care a fig!    In a Sieve we’ll go to sea!’       Far and few, far and few,          Are the lands where the Jumblies live;       Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,          And they went to sea in a Sieve.” Are you a sales Jumblie? I bet you are! Here are a few ways to fix that Sales Sieve of yours before you drown in the sea. 1. Where Are the Holes? In […]

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6 SEO Myths That Prove We’re All Idiots

Humans will do anything to look smart and competent. Comedians like Jimmy Kimmel feed off of this propensity for hubris. And then we all benefit from it. Try it for yourself sometime. Go up to a random stranger and ask, “Do you think Bill Clinton gets enough credit for ending the Korean War?” (HINT: He wasn’t old enough to be President of the United States during the Korean War.) Ironically, this behavior often exposes our ineptitude. SEOs and bloggers are no different. We want to look like experts so bad we bullshit our way into corners all the time Here are a few ways SEOs B.S. themselves all the time and really make themselves look like idiots. 1. Do What These Massive Brands Are Doing When I was a kid, I played the game Lemmings. Often, I’d get bored with a particularly difficult level and just set up traps for […]

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How to Fail Gracefully: What Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Ultrarunners

On July 25th, 2018, I ran 53 miles on technical single track through the Elkhorn Mountains. I climbed a total of 12,000 feet and descended an equal distance. I wanted to quit more than once, but I didn’t give in to my human desires. I am now an ultrarunner. Over the six months I trained and through the grueling challenge of the Elkhorn Crest 53, I learned some extremely precious lessons for life and business. In the next few paragraphs, I’ll give you a little bit of insight into what entrepreneurs could learn from ultrarunners. “Fail Early, Fail Often” In ultrarunning, especially at the longer distances of 100 miles or more, failure is highly probable. Anything could happen in the 24-48 hours you’re in the woods and scaling canyon walls. You could break an ankle, get euhydrated, or go into kidney failure. Even taking a wrong turn, like ultrarunning hero […]

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Education Matters: Interesting Courses for the Entrepreneur

When I left university, I thought I was done with school. I’d learned the basics of reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic. I could get a job and make a living now. The more I talk to people with higher ed degrees, the more I realize how much education really matters. It’s not about knowing facts but improving your own emotional intelligence. Some of us might not be able to take the time to go get a Master’s degree. This doesn’t mean we can’t continue in our education. Entrepreneurs love to read books. And they love to give courses. But one thing many of us neglect is real coursework. If you’d like to continue in your education, here are some of the most interesting courses any entrepreneur could take right now. 1. Digital Marketing with Udacity Digital marketing is such a broad topic. And when you don’t know where to start, you might just […]

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How to Automate the Hell Out of Your Business

The point of building a business is to eventually fire yourself. Yes. Your job as an entrepreneur is to be so successful that you eventually train your replacement. This could mean selling your website or it could mean scaling to the point where you only make decisions and do none of the work. But until then, you should constantly be looking for ways to lessen the burden on yourself and your employees if you have them. “The market rewards business leaders for making things more efficient.” So, why not seek that reward by automating as much as possible in your business? In the next few paragraphs, I’ll outline some awesome ways you can automate various aspects of your business. 1. Automate Your Marketing A 1500 word blog post takes the average marketer 3 hours to complete. That includes research, editing, images, promotion, and SEO. Add on top of that PPE, marketing […]

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