Google launches Nexus 5 handset with Android Kitkat

Google has officially unveiled the latest incarnation of its flagship Nexus smartphone.

Nexus 5

Made by LG, the handset is smaller, slimmer and lighter than the Nexus 4 but its 4.96in (126mm) touchscreen is bigger.

The Nexus 5 has been developed to show off the capabilities of the new version of the Android operating system.

Called Kitkat, the software has been designed to work well on both high-end smartphones and cheaper feature phones.

The alliance with Google has helped bolster LG’s fortunes even though, according to statistics from Gartner, it is still a long way behind rivals Samsung and Apple.

In the April-to-June quarter, the consultancy indicated 3.8% of all smartphones sold were LG handsets putting the South Korean firm in third place.

By contrast, Apple accounted for 18.8% of all sales and Samsung 29.7%.

Memory cut

The specifications for the new phone were widely leaked before it was announced on the official Google blog.

The gadget shares some of the hardware from LG’s G2 handset and can record and play back HD video at the full 1080p resolution. Its camera also has a rapid burst system that captures several photographs at the same time so owners can pick the best shot.

The handset is due to go on sale on 1 November in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan and Korea.

“Nexus devices serve an important function for Google,” said Ben Wood, head of research at analyst firm CCS Insight.

“The company collaborates closely with the chosen phone maker as it rolls out a new version of the Android operating system and this results in a ‘vanilla’ version of the software that acts as a reference platform for developers and tech enthusiasts.”

Google said a base 16GB version of the device would cost $349 in the US (£299 in the UK), unlocked and without a contract. The 32GB version should cost $399 (£339 in the UK).

With Android Kitkat, Google said it had made the software use less memory so it could be used on handsets with much lower specifications than top end smartphones.

In addition, Google has begun moving some services off Android’s core software and onto its app store. Many see this as a way for it to maintain more control over the security of the software and its associated applications.

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How to Perform a SEO Audit

If you associate the word “audit” with taxes and IRS, then probably the very word itself makes you shiver but fear not -when SEO is concerned, “audit” is a nice word and a very, very necessary activity. This article will teach you in details how to perform a SEO audit and you will see for yourself that not all audits are a nightmare.

Seo audit

 

Why Do You Need a SEO Audit?

When you think how much time SEO takes, you might frown at the very idea to spend more time on it. While this could be true for many SEO activities, like getting thousands of low quality backlinks that are not just a waste of time but they could really hurt your rankings, the case with SEO audits is different. SEO audits are not a waste of time for sure. Yes, a thorough audit of a big site could take days or even weeks but without it you are left in the dark.

Basically, the main purpose of a SEO audit is to give you an idea where your SEO efforts have got you to so far. Without this knowledge, it makes no sense to perform any SEO activities, since you don’t know what the return from them is. This is why a SEO professional can’t do without occasional (but preferably regular) SEO audits.

Crawl Your Site

Before you start with the analysis steps of a SEO audit, you need to perform some prep steps. The first one is to crawl your site. This will tell you if you have sections of your site that are not accessible to search engines. If you there are such pages/sections, you know right away why they don’t rank well – actually, they don’t rank at all because they are not included in the databases of search engines.

To perform a crawl of your site, you need a tool. The choice of tools here is pretty rich but we can whole-heartedly recommend the Search Engine Spider Simulator tool. It’s a straightforward tool that tells you what is indexable from your site and what isn’t.

Check What Search Engines Say about Your Site

A crawler gives you a rough idea about what from your site is indexable and what isn’t but this is not all the data we need. The fact that a page is crawlable doesn’t always mean it’s included in search engines’ databases. Therefore, we need to check what of our crawlable pages made it there and what didn’t.

Unfortunately, in order to do so, we need to hack the databases of Google, Bing, and the other search engines and this certainly isn’t a viable option. The next best thing is to use the sets of Webmaster tools these search engines offer for free. If you are not familiar with Google Webmaster Tools or Bing Webmaster Tools, it’s high time to correct this and start using these tools regularly. The data you will get from them is not everything you need but for a start, they are enough to perform a SEO audit.

Time for the Actual SEO Audit

After you prepared yourself by checking what’s crawlable from your site and what webmaster tools report, now we can start the SEO audit itself.

1. Analyze Accessibility and Indexability

The first step in the accessibility and indexability analysis is to make sure you haven’t by accident blocked crawlers from your site.

A. Analyze Robots.txt

To check if you haven’t blocked crawlers, have a look at your Robots.txt file to see if there are no user agents banned, or sections of your site that should be indexed put by mistake in the banned area. You can check this in the file itself or use Google Webmaster Tools to see which URLs it lists as banned.

B. Check 404 Errors and Redirects

Another common area of problems are 404 errors and redirects. While you crawl your site, pay attention to these errors and if you find any, correct them immediately. As for redirects, as you know, there are good redirects and bad ones. Therefore, make sure you use good ones only (i.e. 301 redirects) and not bad redirects, such as 302, meta refresh redirects, JavaScript-based or anything similar.

C. Examine the XML Sitemap

XML sitemaps are way too important to neglect. This is why, no SEO audit is complete without a check if your XML sitemap is up-to-date, readable, and functioning. Your XML sitemap must contain only pages that are really on your site and all your pages you want indexed must be included in the sitemap. Any deviation from this rule is a potential problem, so you need to find it and solve it now.

Also, double check if your XML map is submitted to search engines. You might have the perfect XML sitemap but if it isn’t used by search engines, this makes it pointless.

D. Web Design/Development Audit

When we discuss availability, we can’t skip such very important factors, such as site architecture, speed of loading, uptime, use of Flash/JavaScript. Your site architecture is directly related to availability – the more menus and submenus you have, the harder to access it (and all equal, the more broken links).

If your site takes ages to load and/or is frequently down, this is also a turnoff to both human users and search engine spiders, so these issues also need to be corrected asap. Just find a good host and your problems are over!

Flash and JavaScript are two of the major nightmares of any SEO professional. While very often their use can’t be avoided completely, if there is Flash- or JavaScript-based navigation, this spells huge SEO problems and a SEO audit should spot these as severe issues that need to be fixed.

In addition to accessibility, site indexibility is also something you need to check, when you perform a SEO audit. Here are some quick ways to do it.

E. Check the Number of Pages Indexed by Search Engines

The simplest way to check the number of pages indexed by a particular search engine is to type this in the search bar:

site:yoursite.com

where you replace yoursite.com with the actual name of your site.

This command gives you the number of pages from your site indexed by the search engine. If the number of pages indexed by search engines is close to the actual number of pages on your site, this is the best because it shows that your site is indexed successfully.

If the number of pages indexed by search engines is much smaller than the actual number of pages on your site, this shows that many pages are inaccessible and you need to check why this happens.

If the number of pages indexed by search engines is much bigger than the actual number of pages on your site, this suggests you have lots of duplicate content you need to clear as fast as you can. Just use site:yoursite.com&start=990 to see if Google will report duplicate content.

If you find nothing when you issue the site:yoursite.com command, you can scream with pain because (unless this is a new site) this usually means one thing – you have been excluded from the search engine’s index. This is the most severe penalty a site can get!

2. Analyze On-Page Ranking Factors

The group of on-page ranking factors is huge and so is its importance. We could add some more on-page factors but here are the basic ones you shouldn’t skip:

A. Site URLs

Site URLs need to be user friendly (i.e. no dynamic URLs, if possible), with the relevant keywords in them, and have no overlap (i.e. no two URLs should point to the same page, unless you use redirects because for search engines this is duplicate content).

B. Page Content

Page content is a topic on its own because you can devote lots of time to SEO auditing your content. The points to consider are numerous but the main ones include:

  • Is your content thin – i.e. do you have pages with just a few words/sentences of content?

  • Is your content unique – i.e. do other sites in your niche have similar stuff or not?

  • Is your content keyword-rich – i.e. do you have a good keyword density for your target keywords (without going in the keyword spamming direction, though)?

  • Do your keywords appear in the right places – i.e. headings and the first paragraph?

  • Do you have duplicate content on page and/or sitewise – i.e. if you use the same footer/sidebar on each page, this is also duplicate content, though it certainly is less severe than having the same articles two or more times on the site.

C. Outbound Links

The quantity and quality of outbound links is of vital importance. This is why you need to double check that you have no more than 1 outbound link per 500-1,000 words of text and that this link points to a reputable site. Of course, you can use nofollow for outbound links but still this isn’t a guarantee because not all search engines (even Google itself) honor it at all times.

D. Meta Tags

Meta tags are frequently underestimated but they do matter for good rankings. For instance, you might want to make sure that each page has a unique meta description. You should also check that the <title> tag is properly filled with the name of the page it refers to.

E. Images, JavaScript, etc.

In addition to the text on a page, you also need to check non-text elements, such as images, videos, Flash, JavaScript or anything else you might use to enhance your pages. Images and videos must have a good description in the alt tag, and JavaScript and Flash must be indexable.

3. Analyze Off-Page Ranking Factors

On-page factors are important and their analysis certainly takes a lot of time. However, off-page ranking factors are also important but the good news is that their analysis isn’t that time-consuming. Here are some of these off-page ranking factors you need to consider.

A. Number and Quality of Backlinks

The number and quality of backlinks is very, very important. This is why, when you are performing a SEO audit, you should check these:

  • Do your backlinks come from reputable sites in your niche?

  • Do you have many unique backlinking domains or do your links come from just a couple of unique domains?

  • Do you have toxic backlinks (i.e. links from bad/spammy sites)?

  • Do you have nofollow backlinks (you should because if you don’t, this is very suspicious)

  • Do your backlinks have keywords in the anchor text and are these keywords different from one another?

If you have a huge amount of backlinks, you might need a lot of time to analyze them. To make your job easier, you need a good backlink checking tool.

B. Position with Recognized Ranking Services

Even if your site has a good backlink profile this doesn’t mean it is a good ranking site. In addition to your rankings with Google and the other search engines, one more factor to consider about your position on the Web is how reputable ranking services, such as Alexa, PR, Page Authority, Domain Authority, etc. rank you.

C. Presence on Social Media

Social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, Slideshare, Pinterest, and the other social networking (and some social bookmarking) sites are a good indicator about your site’s popularity. If you have a large following on these sites and a good number of reposts, this is a huge plus.

4. Compare Yourself to the Competition

Finally, the last step in the SEO audit process is to see how you fare compared to your competitors. This is also a time-consuming step, especially if you have lots of competitors but you shouldn’t skip it.

This SEO audit surely took a lot of time and effort but this wasn’t in vain. You got valuable information that can save you long hours of meaningless work. Now, put all the conclusions of the audit in writing, save the file(s) somewhere safe, so that when you decide to perform another audit sometimes in the future, you have what to compare with. SEO audits can be very time consuming but it is best if you perform them regularly, i.e. once a month or once in three months because this way you will know how you are doing and will save yourself the trouble to do SEO activities that have no (positive) effect on your rankings.

 

6 Tips for Sorting Your Gmail Contacts

gmail

You’re proud of your status on team #inboxzero. You have labels, lots of labels. Your filtering system acts like a good defensive line; nothing’s getting through there.

But have you organized your contacts yet? The “Contacts” tab on your Gmail account is probably like most users’: a desolate wasteland of misspelled versions of email addresses, networking connections you don’t remember and personal contacts.

Well not anymore. We’re going to give you our very best tips for cleaning out that contacts clutter and making your email address book useful again. For clarity’s sake, we’re focusing on Gmail as an email client here, but several of these tips will carry over to other services.

1. Make Google Contact Groups

Google has already taken the liberty of organizing your contacts based on your Google+ circles and your Android favorites list (if you have one), but sometimes that just isn’t enough.

If you do nothing else, separate your contacts into groups to make for a more organized list. For professionals who regularly message small teams, this feature is a must. Add contacts that you regularly email into one group instead of selecting each individual email address separately and potentially missing someone.

2. Find and Merge Duplicates

Google allows you to find and merge duplicate entries or entries that it perceives to be related. To do this, go to the “More” drop-down tab and select “Find & merge duplicate contacts…” from the list. You can then save multiple email addresses under one name or reject Google’s suggestions. Remember that the service isn’t perfect, and you may have to go back in and manually merge one or two contacts that Google doesn’t recognize as related.

duplicates

Regularly reviewing your contacts and merging them is a great way to take inventory of your connections and keep your contact list organized.

3. Adjust your Auto-Save Settings

Google saves every single email address you contact in your “Other Contacts” folder. While this can be okay sometimes (never lose another email address!), for people who use Gmail accounts to mass message prospective clients or other large groups of strangers, this isn’t exactly helpful for keeping your contacts organized.

To disable this feature, go to the “Settings” menu in the upper right hand corner under the gear icon. From the “General” tab, you’ll see a section labeled “Create contacts for auto-complete.” Change the radio button to “I’ll add contacts myself.” Don’t forget to save your settings and to save email addresses from new contacts from now on. No more autotype for you.

4. Export LinkedIn Contacts

Unless you’re extremely active on the site, LinkedIn can be where networking connections go to die. You meet someone at an event, share business cards, add them on LinkedIn and then poof. They’re a useless number on your profile that you never speak to again. Exporting your contacts on LinkedIn and importing them into your Gmail account make those connections more readily available to you.

On your LinkedIn page, go to the “Network” tab and click “Contacts.” Then, in the header labeled “Contacts,” click the settings icon. From this screen you can sync your Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook or iPhone address book to your LinkedIn Contacts, or you can export your LinkedIn connections on the right hand side under “Advanced Settings.”

linked-in

A note on LinkedIn Contacts: One benefit to using LinkedIn as your primary address book (at least for business) is that it puts the burden of updating contact information on your contacts, not you. So you don’t have to remember that John switched jobs, John does and LinkedIn will automatically update your contact list.

Export your contacts in whatever file makes the most sense for your email client, and then go back to your email contacts list and import the file there.

5. Manually Update

Enough with the eye rolls. We know it’s a pain, but if you want something done perfectly, do it yourself. The best place to start is the “Other Contacts” group. Start filling out as much information as possible. Another way to manually update your contacts is to delete misspelled email addresses (we all have at least one saved) and old email contacts whose addresses are either invalid or out of date.

6. Export Your Contacts

Export your contacts and resave the file regularly. If your account is compromised, you change jobs or, for some reason, your contacts are sucked into the Interwebz and never heard from again, you’ll be happy you did. You can also import those contacts into other services like LinkedIn or another email address (professional to personal account, for instance).

What tips do you have for keeping your email contacts neat and tidy? Let us know in the comments.

Russia Launching New Search Engine ‘Sputnik’ to Compete With Google

Core

The name Sputnik stands tall in history books as the vessel that helped spark a space race with the U.S. But a new Russian project with the same name is planning to play catch-up in an area where the U.S. already has a huge lead: search engines.

Rostelecom, the country’s state-controlled telecom service, has been charged with creating a search engine to compete with the likes of Google, as well as well local search-engine leader Yandex, which is based in the Netherlands, according to Reuters.

Even with state backing, however, Sputnik will face stiff competition. On its website, Yandex claims that it currently generates 62% of all search traffic in Russia.

But recent events have destabilized the company. Yandex lost its popular co-founder, Ilya Segalovich, in July to cancer. That led to a brief dip in Yandex’s stock, and doubt about the company’s long-term future.

So while Yandex is currently the market leader — and Google is close behind with roughly 25% of Russia’s search users — Rostelecom may be launching Sputnik at just the right time.

Rostelecom has already spent $20 million on the search engine, according to a report in Russia’s Vedomosti. The site will reportedly be accessible at http://www.Sputnik.ru, and will launch some time in the first quarter of 2014.

What Does Google’s Hummingbird Update Mean For Your SEO Efforts? Nothing

googlehummingbird

News broke at a Google press event that the largest upgrade to its search algorithm since 2001, dubbed Hummingbird, had already rolled out last month. “Algorithm?” you ask. “Isn’t that the thing the determines how websites are ranked? And you say this is the biggest change in their algorithm in 12 years?! What about all my SEO work? Is it ruined? Do I have to change everything?” Rest easy, you don’t have to change anything about your SEO efforts, at least not if you’re already doing what you should have been doing all these years.

If you’re looking to get all the details on the Hummingbird update then head straight on over to Danny Sullivan’s Hummingbird FAQ at Search Engine Land. But if you just want to know what you need to do about Hummingbird, then I’ll save you the task of reading Sullivan post and cut to the chase. It comes near the end where Sullivan asks the question “Does this mean SEO is dead?” He answers:

No, SEO is not yet again dead. In fact, Google’s saying there’s nothing new or different SEOs or publishers need to worry about. Guidance remains the same, it says: have original, high-quality content. Signals that have been important in the past remain important; Hummingbird just allows Google to process them in new and hopefully better ways.

Nothing has changed. If you have original, high-quality content, and you have high-quality and relevant websites linking to your own website, then your website is still going to rank well. If anything, your website’s rankings will improve just as they should have after the Penguin and Panda updates rolled out.

The key to making the right decisions about SEO is to understand where Google is going. Google’s goal is that when someone creates a new search, what Google shows that person is exactly what the person wants or needs. We’ve all had the experience of searching on Google and seeing websites come up that obviously aren’t what we want. We don’t even need to click on the link to figure that out, because what Google shows us is enough. When this happens to me I think “Good heavens, why in the world would Google think that’s what I wanted when I typed in those words?” Google wants to get to the point where I never think that again. To lose sight of this goal would be the death of Google. This is, in part, why Google employs a few thousand PhDs.

Many people have been frustrated by Panda and Penguin, and they’ll now see Hummingbird in a negative light. Don’t fall into that trap. If you’re the best at what you do, these updates Google has been rolling out are opportunities to separate yourself from your competition. They may have been engaging in spammy tactics to get good rankings, but if you’ve been focusing on creating content that provides real value to potential customers, their days are numbered. These changes will help you rise above, and the good news, as mentioned above, is if you’ve been doing the right things for your SEO you don’t need to change a thing.

Have you seen any impact to your website(s) as a result of the Hummingbird update? Do you see any details in the update you feel will give you an advantage?

Search Engine Optimization Guide For Beginners (PART 2)

As I have already discussed about Search Engine Optimization Technique in my first part:  Search Engine Optimization Guide For Beginners (PART 1) .

Lets discuss about Google Guidelines and many more Advance SEO techniques.

google guidlines

 

Google Guidelines

Here are some of the important tips and tricks that can be employed while dealing with Google.

do

  •  A website should have crystal clear hierarchy and links and should preferably be easy to navigate.
  • A site map is required to help the users go around your site and in case the site map has more than 100 links, then it is advisable to break it into several pages to avoid clutter.
  • Come up with essential and precise keywords and make sure that your website features relevant and informative content.
  • The Google crawler will not recognize text hidden in the images, so when describing important names, keywords or links; stick with plain text.
  • The TITLE and ALT tags should be descriptive and accurate and the website should have no broken links or incorrect HTML.
  • Dynamic pages (the URL consisting of a „?‟ character) should be kept to a minimum as not every search engine spider is able to crawl them.
  • The robots.txt file on your web server should be current and should not block the Googlebot crawler. This file tells crawlers which directories can or cannot be crawled.

Not to do

  • When making a site, do not cheat your users, i.e. those people who will surf your website. Do not provide them with irrelevant content or present them with any fraudulent schemes.
  • Avoid tricks or link schemes designed to increase your site’s ranking.
  • Do not employ hidden texts or hidden links.
  • Google frowns upon websites using cloaking technique. Hence, it is advisable to avoid that.
  • Automated queries should not be sent to Google.
  • Avoid stuffing pages with irrelevant words and content. Also don’t create multiple pages, sub-domains, or domains with significantly duplicate content.
  • Avoid “doorway” pages created just for search engines or other “cookie cutter” approaches such as affiliate programs with hardly any original content.

Crawler/Spider Considerations

Crawler

Also, consider technical factors. If a site has a slow connection, it might time-out for the crawler. Very complex pages, too, may time out before the crawler can harvest the text.

If you have a hierarchy of directories at your site, put the most important information high, not deep. Some search engines will presume that the higher you placed the information, the more important it is. And crawlers may not venture deeper than three or four or five directory levels.

Above all remember the obvious – full-text search engines such index text. You may well be tempted to use fancy and expensive design techniques that either block search engine crawlers or leave your pages with very little plain text that can be indexed. Don‟t fall prey to that temptation.

Ranking Rules Of Thumb

thumb

The simple rule of thumb is that content counts, and that content near the top of a page counts for more than content at the end. In particular, the HTML title and the first couple lines of text are the most important part of your pages. If the words and phrases that match a query happen to appear in the HTML title or first couple lines of text of one of your pages, chances are very good that that page will appear high in the list of search results.

A crawler/spider search engine can base its ranking on both static factors (a computation of the value of page independent of any particular query) and query-dependent factors.

Values

values

  • Long pages, which are rich in meaningful text (not randomly generated letters and words).
  • Pages that serve as good hubs, with lots of links to pages that that have related content (topic similarity, rather than random meaningless links, such as those generated by link exchange programs or intended to generate a false impression of “popularity”).
  • The connectivity of pages, including not just how many links there are to a page but where the links come from: the number of distinct
    domains and the “quality” ranking of those particular sites. This is calculated for the site and also for individual pages. A site or a page is
    “good” if many pages at many different sites point to it, and especially if many “good” sites point to it.
  • The level of the directory in which the page is found. Higher is considered more important. If a page is buried too deep, the crawler
    simply won’t go that far and will never find it.
  • These static factors are recomputed about once a week, and new good pages slowly percolate upward in the rankings. Note that there are advantages to having a simple address and sticking to it, so others can build links to it, and so you know that it’s in the index

Query-Dependent Factors

google-confused

  • The HTML title.
  • The first lines of text.
  • Query words and phrases appearing early in a page rather than late.
  • Meta tags, which are treated as ordinary words in the text, but like words that appear early in the text (unless the meta tags are patently
    unrelated to the content on the page itself, in which case the page will be penalized)
  • Words mentioned in the “anchor” text associated with hyperlinks to your pages. (E.g., if lots of good sites link to your site with anchor text
    “breast cancer” and the query is “breast cancer,” chances are good that you will appear high in the list of matches.)

Meta Tags (Ask.Com As An Example)

Though Meta tags are indexed and considered to be regular text, Ask.com claims it doesn’t give them priority over HTML titles and other text. Though you should use meta tags in all your pages, some webmasters claim their doorway pages for Ask.com rank better when they don’t
use them. If you do use Meta tags, make your description tag no more than 150 characters and your keywords tag no more than 1,024 characters long.

Keywords In The URL And File Names

It’s generally believed that Ask.com gives some weight to keywords in filenames and URL names. If you’re creating a file, try to name it with
keywords.

Keywords In The ALT Tags

Ask.com indexes ALT tags, so if you use images on your site, make sure to add them. ALT tags should contain more than the image’s description. They should include keywords, especially if the image is at the top of the page. ALT tags are explained later.

Page Length

There’s been some debate about how long doorway pages for AltaVista should be. Some webmasters say short pages rank higher, while others argue that long pages are the way to go. According to AltaVista’s help section, it prefers long and informative pages. We’ve found that pages with
600-900 words are most likely to rank well.

In case for any queries feel free to comment.

Social Media Doesn’t Have to be Hard. 8 Tips to Get You Started

8-social-media-tips

Getting started with something new is always the hardest part. I’m going to share tips with you on the very basics of social media that writers will need to start building a social media platform to sell their books. As with any new habit, working it into your schedule and making it a priority are important. Investing the time on your social media now will benefit you in the long run for your book sales.

Why do you need an author platform?

  • Connect with readers
  • Build an audience for your books
  • Meet other writers and network
  • Start building your email list

Authors need to build a social media platform but also balance the time that they need to write therefore making wise choices is essential for success.

Remember that writing is only part of your job as an author, you need to be able to market your book. Social media marketing is a great way to do it. I like to work smarter and not harder, I want to show you tips I’ve learned that will make it easier for you.

Tip 1: Be consistent

The first thing you need to think about is how you want the world to meet you. This is called your personal brand online. One important thing to remember is that you need to be consistent. I would recommend setting up everything with your name so people can find you. Consistent spelling and/or abbreviation are helpful for people wanting to learn more about you. Many authors are tempted to use the name of their book but what happens when you write book number two or three? Using your name helps everything get bundled together on Google or in other search engines.

Tip 2: You don’t need to be on all the social media sites

The next choice that you need to make is what social media sites you should go on. Each has different benefits and styles. I don’t recommend that you join all the different social media sites because you’ll immediately be overwhelmed. I would try one, learn it and then add another once you’re comfortable. They are all used in similar and yet different ways. Which you use and how you use them will be the challenge, we’ll cover more on individual platforms later in the series. I’ve included a few resources at the bottom if you’re curious. You’ll create your own cocktail of social media to make the mix that works best based on your style, where your audience is and what you have time to do.

Tip 3: Use the same photo on all the social media sites

Having a good profile photo or avatar is crucial. This is how people will see you each time they log on and they’ll be able to recognize you when they see it pop up in the Twitter stream or show up in a Google search. I recommend having a professional photo shoot for your photo and these could also be used for your author photo on your book as well as on your website.

Tip 4: Create a full profile on each site

Don’t set up camp and leave the default avatar without text. When you decide to sign  up for a new network, allow yourself the time needed to properly add a bio and fill it out completely. Use a few keywords that summarize who you are such as novelist or business writer to put out crumbs across the web for search engines.

You’ll need to update these later as things change but starting out with a good foundation profile with a strong photo gets you started on the right foot.

Tip 5: Make a list of all the social media accounts that you open and write down all the user names and passwords

Trust me on this one, you’ll be glad that you did.

Tip 6: Be original

It seems silly to mention it but one thing to remember is that you want to present your best ideas and show your personality. While you might gain inspiration from someone else, being unique and original is one of the keys to social media. Don’t copy other people’s content whether it’s a Facebook post, photo, Google+ post, tweet or blog content, give proper credit for other people’s work. If you see something on Facebook that you like, share it from that person and mention them in your post. It helps build a relationship with the other person and it’s just the right thing to do.

Tip 7: Plan time each day for social media. Set a timer

You’ll need to spend time each day on your social media to post something new, comment on other’s posts and share things. Decide how much time you have to spend and set a timer. This will help you stay focused and not get drawn into clicking on too many things that can distract you from your work. Stay Focused is a Chrome Extension that you can restrict your web browsing activities.  You can set a maximum time allowed per day or set a weekly schedule. This can definitely help you stay on track.

Tip 8: Be generous

One mistake to avoid is sharing only your own content. Many authors are so focused on their own book that this is all they talk about…constantly. Imagine that in real life at a party. It turns into a blah blah blah type of message and everyone tunes out. Honestly, no one is that interested in your book. Sorry, but it’s true. You’d even be exhausting your mom. Mix up your social media conversation with interesting facts, quotes, entertaining stories, and other people’s content. Don’t be the person that everyone hides from their Facebook timeline and mutes on Google+.

Be interesting and by that I mean don’t talk about yourself and your book all the time. 15% to 20% of your overall message can be your content, the rest should be other people’s content.

 

Feel Free to comment for suggestions or queries

Search Engine Optimization Guide For Beginners (PART 1)

“This Post is a hard-hitting guide that gives you the information you need to make the adjustments to your site right away to help improve your search rankings and benefit from the increase in organic search traffic” – COREVISION TECHNOLOGY TEAM

SEO

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is simply the act of manipulating the pages of your website to be easily accessible by search engine spiders so they can be easily spidered and indexed. A spider is a robot that search engines use to check millions of web pages very quickly and sort them by relevance. A page is indexed when it is spidered and deemed appropriate content to be placed in the search engines results for people to click on.

The art and science of understanding how search engines identify pages that are relevant to a query made by a visitor and designing marketing strategies based on this is called search engine optimization. Search engines offer the most cost effective mechanism to acquire “real” and “live” business leads. It is found that in most cases, search engine optimization delivers a better ROI than other forms such as online advertisements, e-mail marketing and newsletters, affiliate and pay per click advertising, and digital campaigns and promotions.

What On Earth Is An Algorithm?

algorithm

Each search engine has something called an algorithm which is the formula that each search engine uses to evaluate web pages and determine their relevance and value when crawling them for possible inclusion in their search engine. A crawler is the robot that browses all of these pages for the search engine.

GOOGLE Algorithm Is Key

Google has a comprehensive and highly developed technology, a straightforward interface and a wide-ranging array of search tools which enable the users to easily access a variety of information online.

Google users can browse the web and find information in various languages, retrieve maps, stock quotes and read news, search for a long lost friend
using the phonebook listings available on Google for all of US cities and basically surf the 3 billion odd web pages on the internet!

Google boasts of having world‟s largest archive of Usenet messages, dating all the way back to 1981. Google‟s technology can be accessed from any conventional desktop PC as well as from various wireless platforms such as WAP and i-mode phones, handheld devices and other such Internet equipped gadgets.

Page Rank Based On Popularity

The web search technology offered by Google is often the technology of choice of the world‟s leading portals and websites. It has also benefited the advertisers with its unique advertising program that does not hamper the web surfing experience of its users but still brings revenues to the advertisers.

When you search for a particular keyword or a phrase, most of the search engines return a list of page in order of the number of times the keyword
or phrase appears on the website. Google web search technology involves the use of its indigenously designed Page Rank Technology and hypertext-matching analysis which makes several instantaneous calculations undertaken without any human intervention. Google‟s structural design also expands simultaneously as the internet expands.

Page Rank technology involves the use of an equation which comprises of millions of variables and terms and determines a factual measurement of the significance of web pages and is calculated by solving an equation of 500 million variables and more than 3 billion terms. Unlike some other search engines, Google does not calculate links, but utilizes the extensive link structure of the web as an organizational tool. When the link to a Page, let‟s say Page B is clicked from a Page A, then that click is attributed as a vote towards Page B on behalf of Page A.

Back Links Are Considered Popularity Votes

Quintessentially, Google calculates the importance of a page by the number of such „votes‟ it receives. Not only that, Google also assesses the importance of the pages that are involved in the voting process. Consequently, pages that are themselves ahead in ranking and are important in that way also help to make other pages important. One thing to note here is that Google‟s technology does not involve human intervention in anyway and
uses the inherent intelligence of the internet and its resources to determine the ranking and importance of any page.

Hypertext-Matching Analysis

Unlike its conventional counterparts, Google is a search engine which is hypertext-based. This means that it analyzes all the content on each web page and factors in fonts, subdivisions, and the exact positions of all terms on the page. Not only that, Google also evaluates the content of its nearest web pages. This policy of not disregarding any subject matter pays off in the end and enables Google to return results that are closest to user queries.

Google has a very simple 3-step procedure in handling a query submitted in its search box:

1. When the query is submitted and the enter key is pressed, the web server sends the query to the index servers. Index server is exactly what its name suggests. It consists of an index much like the index of a book which displays where is the particular page containing the queried term is located in the entire book.

2. After this, the query proceeds to the doc servers, and these servers actually retrieve the stored documents. Page descriptions or “snippets” are then generated to suitably describe each search result.

3. These results are then returned to the user in less than a one second! (Normally.)

“Approximately once a month, Google updates their index by recalculating the Page Ranks of each of the web pages that they have crawled. The period
during the update is known as the Google dance.”

Do You Know The GOOGLE Dance?

The Algorithm Shuffle

Because of the nature of Page Rank, the calculations need to be performed about 40 times and, because the index is so large, the calculations take several days to complete. During this period, the search results fluctuate; sometimes minute-by minute. It is because of these fluctuations that the term, Google Dance, was coined.

The dance usually takes place sometime during the last third of each month.

Google has two other servers that can be used for searching. The search results on them also change during the monthly update and they are part of
the Google dance.

For the rest of the month, fluctuations sometimes occur in the search results, but they should not be confused with the actual dance. They are due to
Google’s fresh crawl and to what is known “Everflux”.

Google has two other searchable servers apart from http://www.google.com. They are www2.google.com and www3.google.com. Most of the time, the results on all 3 servers are the same, but during the dance, they are different.

For most of the dance, the rankings that can be seen on www2 and www3 are the new rankings that will transfer to www when the dance is over. Even
though the calculations are done about 40 times, the final rankings can be seen from very early on. This is because, during the first few iterations, the
calculated figures merge to being close to their final figures.

You can see this with the Page Rank Calculator by checking the Data box and performing some calculations. After the first few iterations, the search results on www2 and www3 may still change, but only slightly.

During the dance, the results from www2 and www3 will sometimes show on the www server, but only briefly. Also, new results on www2 and www3 can disappear for short periods. At the end of the dance, the results on www will match those on www2 and www3.

GOOGLE Dance Tool

This Google Dance Tool allows you to check your rankings on all three tools www, www2 and www3 and on all 9 data centers simultaneously. The Google Web Directory works in combination of the Google Search Technology and the Netscape Open Directory Project which makes it possible to search the Internet organized by topic. Google displays the pages in order of the rank given to it using the Page Rank Technology. It not only searches the titles and descriptions of the websites, but searches the entire content of sites within are related category, which ultimately delivers a comprehensive search to the users. Google also has a fully functional web directory which categorizes all the searches in order.

Submitting your URL to Google

Google is primarily a fully-automatic search engine with no human-intervention involved in the search process. It utilizes robots known as „spiders‟ to crawl the web on a regular basis for new updates and new websites to be included in the Google Index. This robot software follows hyperlinks from site to site. Google does not require that you should submit your URL to its database for inclusion in the index, as it is done anyway automatically by the „spiders‟. However, manual submission of URL can be done by going to the Google website and clicking the related link. One important thing here is that Google does not accept payment of any sort for site submission or improving page rank of your website. Also, submitting your site through the Google website does not guarantee listing in the index.

Cloaking

Sometimes, a webmaster might program the server in such a way that it returns different content to Google than it returns to regular users, which is often done to misrepresent search engine rankings. This process is referred to as cloaking as it conceals the actual website and returns distorted web pages to search engines crawling the site. This can mislead users about what they’ll find when they click on a search result. Google highly disapproves of
any such practice and might place a ban on the website which is found guilty of cloaking.

————————————————( END OF PART 1)———————————————————-

In our next post we will be discussing about:

  • Google Guidelines
  • Crawler / Spiders
  • Ranking Rule of Thumb
  • Values
  • Query – Dependent Factors
  • Meta Tags

Do comment for any queries or suggestions

20 Ways to Be More Creative on Your Blog

blog-creativity

Between attempting to monetizing your content and trying to build your community, it’s easy to forget that at its core, blogging is an outlet for creativity. Yes, professional blogging allows you an avenue for educating, inspiring, and entertaining your readers, but it can also be a channel for you to explore your ideas about a topic in a creative way.

When’s the last time you infused a little creativity into a blog post?

The fringe benefit is that a bit of creativity creates a pattern interrupt. It isn’t just good for the soul; by doing something different, you give your readers a little jolt that can be extremely effective in sparking them back to life. That’s why humor is so popular. So much of what we read online is serious that something funny catches our attention.

Creativity isn’t just about being funny (though that can be one form). Here are some other tips to help you be more creative on your own blog:

1. Challenge yourself to imitate a blogger you admire.

Humans learn by intimidating, so one of the best ways to grow creatively is to emulate bloggers your respect. It seems like an oxymoron, that copying someone can help you be more creative, but the innovation comes from expanding your horizons and trying new things. (When imitating, remember to never cross the line into plagiarizing. Always respect others’ work.)

2. Get out of your comfort zone with content creation.

Do you usually write short posts? Write something longer. Does video scare the crap out of you? Record one instead of always posting text. The comfort zone is, well, comfortable, but doing something a little scary can help get the creative juices flowing.

3. Tell a personal story that you might not otherwise share.

Creativity comes in many forms, but one of the most underutilized is storytelling. Telling your story, especially a personal one that you wouldn’t normally share, can help you more creatively blog about a topic.

4. Write about the opposing opinion.

It can be an awesome challenge to talk about the other side of a debate. Play devil’s advocate, even if you feel strongly about a specific topic. When you’re done, you might not what to publish your blog post if you stand strongly on the other side of the argument, but writing the opposite can help you strengthen your own argument. And you never know, you might expand your way of thinking. Questioning our own ways of thinking can help us grow.

5. Change your scenery.

Want to be more creative? Go outside. Or take your computer to your local coffee shop. Or even just work in another room. It’s amazing what a change of scenery can do for your creativity and productivity.

6. Get visual.

Usually, I start with a post idea and at the end, I find images to fit. When I want to get creative, I do things backward. I find an image that I think is beautiful or inspiring or interesting, and I try to write a post around it. An example? This post: “Blogging and the Candy Corn Problem.” While searching for an image for another blog post, I came across this shot of candy corn on a black background, which I thought looks striking, so I decided to get creative and think of a way to incorporate the idea of candy corn into a post about blogging.

7. Look for a connection between two seemingly-unrelated things.

Think about the things that inspire or interest you in life. For me, this happens when I learn something new. I like to share what I’ve learned with others. But what if it’s not related to my niche? How can I tie these two things together? Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but looking for these connections can help you get creative. Remember, you don’t have to publish every experimental post you write!

8. Open your mind about your own skills.

What are you really good at?

Okay, now what if I told you that everything you knew about that topic is wrong? Questioning your own skills and knowledge is a great way to think creatively about a topic. For example, this doctor gave a TED talk about how questioning his knowledge about diabetes helped him think about the problem in a new way. Be confident, but always ask questions, even of yourself.

9. Stop asking yourself how you’re going to monetize or drive traffic.

The pressure to make money or drive traffic to a blog can stifle your creativity, because we’re worried about failure. Give yourself permission to fail by not caring at all about the ROI of a post. Certainly, if you want to make money with your blog or are otherwise using it to support a business, ROI is import, but we occasionally need to let loose and simply be creative.

10. Take a risk.

Risk-taking is scary. Again, the fear of failure is very real and can be suffocating when you’re trying to be creative. Every once in a while, though, you have to take that leap of faith and just do something different. Put yourself out there and do something that just might be a flop. It’s okay to fail occasionally, because that’s how we learn and grow.

11. Do some mind-mapping.

I’m not a huge fan of brainstorming. There are actually studies that show this isn’t a super effective tool because there is no criticism (see the next point). However, mind-mapping is a different beast. With mind-mapping, you’re organizing your thoughts, which allows you to see holes in your place. It can help you pull some creative ideas out of those nooks and crannies of your brain.

Lifehacker has a really great post on five mind-mapping tools you can use to help you with this process.

12. Be critical of what you’re doing.

Brainstorming is supposed to give you a safe environment to dump everything you can think of onto a paper or whiteboard or whatever, no matter how bad your ideas may be. The thought is that if you aren’t inhibited by being worried that your ideas stink, you’ll come up with some great, creative ideas, even if most of what you brainstorm is crap.

Except this model for creativity doesn’t really work. What works better, according to some studies, is to freely brainstorm ideas, but to debate and critique these ideas as you go. So as you’re coming up with some creative ideas for blog posts, look at them with a critical eye. Or, better yet, work with a friend or a mastermind group to “brainstorm” some ideas, but using the debate model, where you think about each idea critically.

13. Consider Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats.

The Six Thinking Hats that de Bono wrote about can help you with thinking…and with being creative about your blog posts. These hats are:

  • White: the facts
  • Yellow: optimism, benefits
  • Black: judgement (devil’s advocate, see point #4)
  • Red: feelings, intuition
  • Green: possibilities, alternatives
  • Blue: management of the thinking process

The last hat, the blue one, is more about how the other five types of thinking work together, but take a look at what the white, yellow, black, red, and green hats represent. When you write a post, “put on” one of these hats and think about how you could rewrite differently. For example, if you wrote a highly emotional post (red), could you put on the white hat and go back to add in more facts? Or if you wrote a most about why something is great (yellow), could you go back into the post and address the downsides (black)?

You can learn more about the six thinking hats here.

14. Think about alternative realities.

It’s a lot of fun to play “What if…” Think of some crazy scenarios and write about them.

15. Solve a problem with limitations.

Sometimes, the best way to think outside of the box is to put yourself inside of the box. Set some crazy limitations for yourself and see what you come up with! For example, if the readers of your fashion blog could only buy black and white items, how would you suggest they add style to their wardrobe? Or if the readers of your food blog needed to prepare a satisfying vegan meal that the meat-eaters in the room would also enjoy AND that was low-carb, what would you suggest?

16. Practice.

Like anything, creativity takes practice. The first post you write might stink. That’s okay. Don’t publish it. Try again tomorrow!

17. Keep a journal and use note-taking tools.

Sometimes, a creative idea may come to you from an unlikely source. Once, I was at a Holocaust museum in Israel when I realized it would be the perfect feature for a post about storytelling. If I didn’t have Evernote to jot down my idea on the spot, I would have forgotten it by the time I got home.

18. Work with people from different backgrounds.

Blogging is often a lonely endeavor. But as writers, we can sometimes benefit from working with our peers. Lots of bloggers belong to mastermind groups, but I actually think you need to go a step farther. Get out there and work with some people who aren’t in your current circle of friends. Look for people who come from different backgrounds, like different countries/cultures, different niches, and different experience levels. Fresh eyes on your project (and lending your critiquing skills to their projects) helps everyone get more creative.

19. Work on projects that make you excited.

It’s hard to be creative if you couldn’t give a you-know-what about the blog post you’re writing. Stop what you’re doing and move on to a project that does make you excited.

20. Ask why.

I’ve found that when I question the norm, people get uncomfortable. But it also allows me to say, “I’m not going to take this rule at face value. I’m going to get creative and come up with another solution.” If everyone is saying there’s one best way to do something, question it.

Bonus Tip: Stop reading, thinking, and planning. Start doing.

To be creative, you need to get out of your head and start DOING. Stop thinking about how you can make your blog post more creative. Just try something. Don’t plan out every little detail or outline your post. Start writing.

And for heaven’s sake, stop reading this post. Get out there and start working!