13 Semantic Markup Tips For 2013: A Local SEO Checklist

One of the least-tapped areas of local business website optimization continues to be semantic markup. Semantic markup can increase chances that information from your website will be highlighted in search engine results pages via rich snippets, attracting greater attention and clickthroughs. So, read on and use this checklist to see if you’re exploiting all elements possible for your local business website.

While special markup likely may not directly improve your rankings in search, it does apparently increase clickthrough rate or “CTR,” as consumers are more drawn to your site’s listings. The increase is reportedly 15% on average, and potentially higher!

Just this increase in CTR alone could benefit your rankings over time, as clickthroughs can influence rankings; so, there are a few reasons why semantic markup is worthwhile. Semantic markup optimizes for Google, Bing, and Facebook search, too.

If you think most Microformats/RDFa/Micro Data/Schemas don’t apply to your local business website — think again! While only a few of these may impact your listing in the local 7-pack or in Google Maps, your site can also attract customers via the regular, keyword search results pages; and, regular listings can and do appear on the same results pages as the 7-pack!

So, check to see if you’ve added the following semantic markups to your local website (if applicable). Improving your traffic, even on search results which are not directly related to something you sell, can help benefit all the rest of your website as your overall popularity becomes augmented.

13 Semantic Markup Strategies For Local Business Websites

1.  Authorship Markup

The number-one, best semantic markup is likely authorship — it allows your personal photo to appear with pages you author, and your website, when they are listed in search engine results.

For instance, check out listings of articles from Search Engine Land, and you’ll frequently see icon pics and names of authors paired up with their article listings.

For local search, this may be even more compelling in Google, making your listing appear far more interesting and professional in the 7-pack. In the search below for personal injury attorneys in Seattle, the first two listings sport pics of the attorneys:
Photos in Local Search Listings 7-Pack - author tags

To enable this to happen, you must have a Google+ profile for the business proprietor, link to it from your website including a querystring with rel=author:

a href=”[profile_url]?rel=author”Google/a

Then, link back to your site from your Google+ profile in the “Contributor To” section. It’s also a good idea to have a good author photo for Google+.

2.  Local Business Schema and Geotag

Schema.org provides a few different types of semantic markup that I’ll be listing in this article, and the prime one is for describing local businesses. Essentially, you can use this to markup your address and contact information on your site, although there are additional fields you can include such as hours of operation, payment types accepted, and more.

Example markup:
Local Business Schema.org Markup Code

You can also geotag your location (or “Place” in Schema.org lingo) by including your geocoordinates with your LocalBusiness code. As I’ve noted before, if you’ve been using hCard Microformat for this purpose, you can continue to do so, although Schema markup has become more preferred.

If desired, you can use both simultaneously, such as what I’ve done with my business address on my homepage at Argent Media. For LocalBusiness Schema instructions, go here.

3.  Testimonial

Testimonials on a business website can often aid in persuading visitors to become customers.

Because of this, Google allows local businesses to disclose that they have a testimonial by using semantic markup for reviews, and Google sometimes will display that information in conjunction with the business’s listings in SERPs. I believe tagging your testimonials can increase their chances of being displayed in the snippet text beneath your listing, and in the sample text callouts shown variously in the cached image of your webpage.

For instance, check out the EagleLift foundation repair company in Los Angeles which has a testimonial page marked-up with the Schema for testimonials — and that testimonial text now shows up in both the description snippet and the cached page callout:
Testimonials displayed in snippet text via Review Schema

4.  Breadcrumbs

Many sites I run across neglect to use breadcrumb navigation, despite it being highly useful, according to usability experts. Even on relatively small sites, breadcrumbs can help a user orient themselves in the site’s hierarchy, and provide them with related pages that they might wish to visit. For this reason, Google began bubbling-up this data to display in rich snippets as additional links beneath the hyperlinked page name.

Simply from a statistical perspective, having additional links to your site on search results pages increases the odds of you having users click through over time — so, breadcrumb links are highly desirable! Google does a fair job of automatically detecting these, but there are times when a page’s breadcrumb code isn’t interpreted successfully by them in order to be displayed in the snippet. To increase your chances, use the breadcrumb markup on your site pages.

For local sites targeting a few local city names or with multiple offices around a metro area, breadcrumbs are very worthwhile. For example, here’s a breadcrumb from my company site:

Argent Media breadcrumb navigationOnce you’ve coded your page, check the code in Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool, which should reflect the breadcrumb links properly. The tool shows a search listing preview for my page at Argent Media, in addition to the extracted structured data.

5.  Events

If your company participates in some events or provides special services at different times/dates during the year, you might consider incorporating the Events Schema markup. If you are too intimidated to do structured data on your site, or you don’t feel confident at doing the coding necessary, Google does give you another option for Events at this time.

In your Webmaster Tools account, Google has provided a beta service called the Data Highlighter for Events. Using this interface, you can highlight elements of events and tell Google which data item is which event element — Name, Date, Venue, Address, URL, etc.

Data Highlighter In Use - example screengrab

 

*If Google deems the Data Highlighter to be successful, they’ll likely expand it to include other types of rich snippets as well. I hope they do — this would be a great boon for small business websites!

6.  Coupons/Offers

If you have coupons or special offers, use the Offer Schema. It’s not clear to me that Google or Bing does any special snippet treatment for coupons or offers at this time, but they included it in Schema.org, and it would make sense for them to consider incorporating it more visibly at a future date, since they’re obviously interested in it, and it would be the sort of thing that end users would like a lot.

7.  Videos

Google recommends that you use the VideoObject Schema to help them to better interpret and represent your video content in search results. If you’re not using videos on your site, you should — video listings in search results take up more room in search results and are more attention-grabbing.

Consumers apparently like seeing videos of products or of businesses providing services, so this can help with conversions as well. Here’s an example video page listing in search results from the Wasp Barcode Technologies company in Plano, Texas:

Wasp Bar Code Video Page in Search Results

8.  Recipes

White House Honey Ale RecipeRecipes get tons of searches on the net, and for that reason search engines highlight the presentation of their listings in search results.

Most local businesses don’t feel that they really lend themselves to food themes, so it might not occur to them to show a recipe or two on their site and mark it up for search engines. True, recipes may make more sense for a restaurant, hotel, caterer, or even a coffee shop, but there’s no reason why a business couldn’t publish some favorite recipe and get some extra traffic and ranking power by doing so.

For instance, a lawyer recently made headlines by filing a Freedom of Information Request with the government in order to obtain President Obama’s beer recipe (“White House Honey Ale”). The lawyer was likely satisfied that the recipe is now published on the White House’s website, but he’s missed out on the opportunity of publishing the recipe on his own website and marking it up for search.

The White House’s recipe is actually very non-optimal, because it was published in a couple of images instead of in text, and it won’t look as pretty in search results as recipes at the Food Network or AllRecipes.com.

Your reason for publishing a recipe doesn’t have to be dramatic, though — just do it to interact with the Web community more and your business may benefit.

9.  Individuals

I’ve written before on how highlighting your employees can help with local search rankings. In addition to displaying author information, you can also mark up information about executives and employees on your site as well by using the Schema for a Person.

10.  Tables Bulleted Lists

This doesn’t really require any special semantic markup — but, if you have tabular data or content that lends itself to presentation in a list, providing this on your website can again make your listing in search results get more attention, and it affords you the opportunity to display more info about your products and services before potential customers have even reached your website.

Example — rental cabins in Gatlinburg, TN:
Cabins of the Smokey Mountains listing in search resultsThe Cabins of the Smokey Mountains webpage presents their rental properties and features in a table, and Google has featured that below their listing. To enable this to happen, consider whether you have any information that might lend itself to a table or bullet list format, and create a page for it.

For example, this could work great for many restaurants, if they put their menu in an HTML table — preferable, compared with the Flash/PDF/image formats that many eateries use instead.

11.  Products

If your business sells products, seriously consider incorporating data about them on your site and marking it up with the Product Schema. The product markup can enable your listings to show price, ratings, and availability in the search results:
Note that the Product markup can be particularly effective in combination with breadcrumbs! (Shout out to Zachary Palmer for reminding me of this one.)

12.  Meta Descriptions

While it doesn’t involve Schema, Meta Descriptions have been one of the earliest and longest surviving semantic markup elements. They’re possibly the most-influential as well, since they often appear as the entire snippet text in search results.

Despite all this, the Description Meta Tag is still frequently neglected on many small business websites. The Meta Description should briefly describe what a particular page is all about, incorporating good keywords. You should not use the same description for all pages, or even more than one page on your site!

Don’t just parse the first sentence of a blog post into the description field, either — make them custom, describing the page. Twenty-five words ought to do it. Check in your Webmaster Tools and see if any changes are recommended, too — warnings about being too short or duplicated tags should alert you to adjust.

13.  Facebook Open Graph

Instead of cooperating with the search engines to make life easier for millions of webmasters and developers, Facebook uses the Open Graph protocol. To help ensure your site’s pages are presented well in Facebook search and various interfaces, incorporate Open Graph for local businesses as I suggested previously. Use it simultaneously with Schema.org protocol — the two do not conflict with one another.

Each time you insert semantic markup, be sure to check it using Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool (previously called the “Rich Snippet Testing Tool”). I’ve seen many instances where designers and programmers think they’ve incorporated semantic markup, but instead it’s incorrectly configured and erroneous.

So, go through this checklist and add any of the semantic markup options you can, and it may help you achieve a very rosy year for your website and business in 2013!

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Local Search | Schema.org

Article source: http://searchengineland.com/13-semantic-markup-tips-for-2013-a-local-seo-checklist-143708

iTunes playlists, tags, and track durations

In the last Ask the iTunes Guy column of the year, I look at playlist views, a quick way to make playlists from folders of songs, adding tags to your tracks, and how to see the duration of selected tracks in iTunes 11.

Q: I use playlists to sort classical music and when I click a playlist, I like to see its albums in Grid View. I could manually click through dozens of playlists and turn on that view for each one, but is there a way to turn this view on, all at once, for all my playlists?

Unfortunately, no. iTunes assumes that you want playlists in List view, so you can see individual tracks. In addition, your playlists are at the left of the window, and the View button at the right, so if you have a big screen, you’ll be mousing a lot to change it. I’d recommend making the iTunes window as small as possible to still show playlists and the View button, then going through all your playlists and changing views.

For more information on the changes to iTunes’ views, see “Understanding the new views in iTunes 11”.

Q: I have a lot of music stored in folders. Each folder contains an album or live sets. I’d like to import these folders to iTunes as playlists, where each folder becomes a playlist with the folder name containing the music stored in that folder. Is there any way to do this?

If you have the sidebar visible (View Show Sidebar) you can drag individual folders to the right of the word Playlists in the sidebar. iTunes will then create a playlist with the name of the folder and copy the contents of the folder over.

A more robust option, however, is Doug Adams’ Drop to Add and Make Playlists AppleScript. Drag a folder containing an album or live show onto the applet, or double-click it and choose a folder. (You can also drop multiple folders on the applet, or a folder containing other folders.) You’ll get two options: You can either have the playlist named after the folder name, or in Artist-Album format. The applet will then import the files to iTunes, and create the playlist with the name format you have chosen.


Use this AppleScript to turn your folders of music files into iTunes playlists.

Q: Before version 11 of iTunes I could always highlight subsets of my playlist to see how much time all the songs would take to play. With version 11, I can’t seem to find how to display subsets of time. The total time of the playlist is visible at the top but that is not adequate. Is there any way to get this information?

Yes, but by default, iTunes 11 has hidden it. In iTunes go to View Show Status Bar. Select some tracks in your playlist, then look in the status bar to see their total time.


The iTunes Status Bar shows the total time of any tracks you select, whether in a playlist or in any of your libraries.

Q: Is it possible to place one’s own tags or flags on songs? I would like to mark tracks that I have used for certain purposes, and can’t find a way to do so.

There are a couple of ways you can do so. If you don’t rate many of your songs, you could use ratings to flag them. For example, when I listen to music, I rate as one-star any tracks I encounter that have problems in them, such as ripping glitches.

Another way to do this is to add comments to your tracks. Select a track, press Command-I, and you’ll see a Comments field in the Info window. You can put any text you want here: for example, a keyword or tag that you’ve decided you want to use to mark specific tracks.


In the Info window for a track, you can add comments. As you can see here, I’ve added the word “Live” to this track, as it’s part of a live album. I have a smart playlist to find all of my live Bob Dylan tracks, searching for the artist and for this keyword in the Comments field.

When you’ve added comments, you can search for tracks based on the text in the Comments field in a smart playlist. Choose File New Smart Playlist, then choose Comments Contains in the Smart Playlist window, and enter the text you want to search for in the empty box to the right of your rule selections.

You can also sort by comments, if you’re in Songs view. Press Command-J to display the View Options window, and check Comments in the Personal section. This displays a Comments column. Click the column header to sort by comments in alphabetical order.

The smart playlist method is probably easier, since you can create a playlist for each specific tag you use.

Q: I regularly purchase music content from iTunes and then convert the ACC files to Apple Lossless. I think I am hearing a sound quality improvement on my home stereo system, but after doing a bit of research, I am wondering now if the only thing I am accomplishing by upsampling a purchased ACC audio file to Apple Lossless is using up more hard drive space?

Short answer: Yep.

Long answer: Lossless files are great for letting you keep full sound quality in a smaller size than with uncompressed audio. But you can’t get back any of the information discarded when encoding lossy audio files (such as AAC or MP3), so converting them to Apple Lossless only does what you suspect: Balloon the file size without any improvement in sound quality.

[Ask the iTunes Guy is a regular column in which we answer your questions on everything iTunes related. If there’s something you’d like to know, send an email to the iTunes Guy for consideration.]

Article source: http://www.macworld.com/article/2023478/itunes-playlists-tags-and-track-durations.html

Every actor is an attention seeker: Anushka Sharma

Hailing from an army background, Anushka Sharma has led a very quiet and disciplined life, but confesses her profession has now made her an attention-seeker – an “occupational hazard” for all actors.

“I am not spoilt as I was brought up in an army background. But every actor is an attention-seeker. It is an occupational hazard for us. If I don’t seek attention, I will not be doing my work well,” said Anushka in an interview.

The actress made her Bollywood debut in 2008 with Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and later went on to do films like Badmaash Company, Band Baaja Baaraat, Ladies v/s Ricky Bahl and most recently Jab Tak Hai Jaan.

In a short span of four years, Anushka has carved a niche for herself in Bollywood and the 24-year-old says she wants to use her success to do things on her own terms.

“You should use success as a way of doing your work in a better way. I want to be successful to be able to do things on my own terms. You should use your stardom and success to be able to pull people into the theatre. That’s what I would want to do with my success,” Anushka said.

Asked what her mantra to survive in the industry is, she said: “Do your work and mind your own business; that is the only way.”

Anushka admits she wasn’t sure about the film industry before she joined it, but her views changed once she became a part of it.

“I used to think it is a dirty field because of these news channels playing dumb stories. But now I feel that when you get a lot here, you need to give back equally too. So whoever is the biggest star right now is working that much harder,” she said.

After garnering critical acclaim for her performance in Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Anushka will now be seen in Vishal Bhardwaj’s “Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola” opposite Imran Khan and Pankaj Kapur. It releases on January 11.

The actress found the role of Bijlee challenging as it was difficult for her to relate to it.

“This is the first time I dealt with something which I just could not relate to. When I was growing up I was not at all spoilt. There was no scope for throwing tantrums in my house. Plus, she (Bijlee) is not a stereotypical spoilt brat. I could not look at my personal references for this. I had to be like someone else totally,” she said.

Anushka admits that though she felt intimidated by Pankaj Kapur, she had learnt a lot from the veteran actor.

“Pankaj Kapur is one of the best actors one has ever seen because he has been a theatre actor. He has learnt to blank out people and the crowd and focus. That is one of the strengths an actor must possess,” she said.

“I was intimidated by him. He doesn’t talk much so you are always on tenterhooks around him. But it is such a pleasure seeing him act. He doesn’t drink and he has played an alcoholic,” she said.

Article source: http://movies.ndtv.com/movie_story.aspx?section=Movies&Id=311616&keyword=bollywood&subcatg=MOVIESINDIA&nid=311616

Programming for all, part 2: From concept to code


Do one thing, and do it well

In our first installment, we wrote several programs that really did nothing more than illustrate a concept. Let’s turn the complexity up a notch and compose a program that actually solves a problem. The problem we are tasked with: given the high temperature of the past three days, compute the average and standard deviation.

To do this, we are going to need to implement an algorithm, the programming equivalent to a set of directions. It gives the major steps that one must take in order to solve a problem, but the details of how are left up to the programmer who implements the algorithm. For our problem at hand, we could write out our algorithm as follows:

  1. Read in three values
  2. Compute the sum of these values
  3. Compute the average by dividing the sum by 3.
  4. Figure out how far each value is from the average.
  5. Add the distances obtained in step four
  6. Take the square root of the value in step five
  7. Divide by the square root of 3

So, let us set out to implement our remedial algorithm in MHF:

PROGRAM weatherStation
    NUMBER temperature1    # tell the computer that we're going to need
    NUMBER temperature2    # space set aside for the three temperatures
    NUMBER temperature3    # plus space for the average and standard
    NUMBER averageTemp     # deviation results
    NUMBER stddevTemp
    NUMBER sum, sqDist1, sqDist2, sqDist3 # we can define multiple
                                          # variables of the same type
                                          # on one line
    READ temperature1      # interface with someone or something
    READ temperature2      # to get our three temperature readings
    READ temperature3      # algorithm step 1

    # algorithm step 2
    sum = temperature1 + temperature2 + temperature3  
    # algorithm step 3
    averageTemp = sum / 3.0  
    # steps 4 and half of 5 from the algorithm
    sqDist1 = (temperature1 - averageTemp)^2
    sqDist2 = (temperature2 - averageTemp)^2
    sqDist3 = (temperature3 - averageTemp)^2  
    # other half of 5 and step 6 from the algorithm
    stddevTemp = ((sqDist1+sqDist2+sqDist3)/3.0)^(1/2) 

    PRINT "Average temperature = ", averageTemp, "+/-", stddevTemp
END PROGRAM weatherStation

The weatherStation program follows the algorithm laid out above and calculates the average and the standard deviation of three temperature readings. But it’s not possible to directly map the steps of the algorithm to the code. Some steps are split over multiple lines; other lines do more than a single step.

This example is reminiscent of real world development—as programs grow in complexity and size, it can be harder to track what individual steps are meant to accomplish.

To make the code easier to follow, and to allow the same operation to be done at multiple locations in the code, it’s often useful to compartmentalize your code. All major programming languages (that I am aware of) support what are called functions, methods, or subroutines. These allow programmers to pull out related operations and place them in their own module, where they are separated from other parts of the program.

Functions, as we’ll call them in our toy language, can be thought of like a mini-program within a program. They allow developers to isolate pieces of logic or complex operations and then refer to them by name later in the development cycle. In our weatherStation example, we could create one function for computing the average and another for computing the standard deviation.

One principle that drives developers is that each logical block of code should do one thing, and do it well—ideally without affecting things outside of its scope. Functions enable this to happen. Many programmers create collections of side-effect free functions; those that do what they are purported to do and nothing more. So a function to compute the average of three values would not format your hard drive, or order a pizza for you, or other less nefarious things (such as change the numbers themselves).

Let’s take a look at how we could rework weatherStation to modularize some of its functionality. We see that there are three key things that occur in this program: we read in some values, calculate the average, and calculate the standard deviation. The latter two can easily be rolled into stand-alone functions.

A function in MHF will look a lot like a little program, it will start with the keyword FUNCTION, followed by the name of the function, then a parenthetical list of the inputs to the function. (These inputs are formally known as the arguments.) Finally, a function will contain a RETURNS keyword, which identifies any value that gets sent back when the function is complete. Let’s look at a modularized weatherStation program

PROGRAM modularWeatherStation
    NUMBER temperature1    # tell the computer that we are going to need
    NUMBER temperature2    # space set aside for the three temperatures
    NUMBER temperature3    # plus space for the average and standard
    NUMBER averageTemp     # deviation results.  Just like before
    NUMBER stddevTemp

    READ temperature1
    READ temperature2
    READ temperature3

    # we will call a function that computes the average for us
    # at this line, control of the program will be transferred
    # to the computeAverage function
    averageTemp = computeAverage( temperature1, temperature2, temperature3)

    # likewise for the standard deviation
    stddevTemp = standardDeviation( temperature1, temperature2, temperature3, averageTemp)

    PRINT "Average temperature = ", averageTemp, "+/-", stddevTemp
END PROGRAM weatherStationRefactor

FUNCTION computeAverage( NUMBER n1, NUMBER n2, NUMBER n3) RETURNS NUMBER
    NUMBER sum
    # the values passed into this function will be mapped to
    # the values n1, n2, and n3--only in this function
    sum = n1 + n2 + n3
    # at a RETURN statement, the program will return to the
    # point where it left off
    RETURN sum/3.0
END FUNCTION computeAverage

FUNCTION standardDeviation( NUMBER n1, NUMBER n2, NUMBER n3, NUMBER avg) RETURNS NUMBER
    NUMBER sqDist1, sqDist2, sqDist3

    sqDist1 = (n1-avg)^2
    sqDist2 = (n2-avg)^2
    sqDist3 = (n3-avg)^2

    RETURN ((sqDist1+sqDist2+sqDist3)/3.0)^(1/2)
END FUNCTION standardDeviation

Program modularWeatherStation will produce the same results as our previous weatherStation program (assuming we give it the same three inputs). However, the ideas and implementation of the average and standard deviation are encapsulated in a function. The consumer of these functions—the main program—doesn’t care what happens in the functions, as long as it gets the average back.

When the main program begins, it will set aside space for all the variables we tell it we will need then it will read in the three temperatures that we are interested in. When we reach line 15, we call the function computeAverage with the arguments temperature1, temperature2, and temperature3. Once the computer reaches this line of the main program, it will transfer its control to the computeAverage function, which is defined later.

In computeAverage, temperature1, temperature2, and temperature3 are now referred to by their local aliases, n1, n2, and n3. We define a local variable— variable that will only exist as long as the execution of the program is within the computeAverage function—for the sum. The algorithm for computing the average is carried out as before. Before we reach the final line in the computeAverage function, however, we encounter a RETURN statement.

On the line where we first describe the function, we also noted that it would return a NUMBER-type variable. In this case, the RETURN statement contains an expression that evaluates to a NUMBER-type variable. That value gets returned to the point in the main body of the program where the function call was made. The program will then continue to run from that point on as before.

Article source: http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/12/programming-for-all-part-2-from-concept-to-code/

What Are Your 2013 Internet Marketing/ Lead Generation Resolutions This Year?

It’s that time of year; a time to reflect, assess, and think about what can be optimized for inbound marketing in 2013.

Internet marketers are under more pressure than ever to deliver high quality leads to the sales folks.  That, coupled with the continued role of social media, remains a challenge to most.

2013

It sounds like a broken record; we need to generate more traffic, enhance our brand, improve content, increase conversions, target better, figure out this social media thing, prove ROI, and more.  For B2B firms, lack of staffing and resources is the number one challenge to marketing success as noted on the chart below.

sherpachallenges

Let’s get more granular, and review some internet marketing 2013 resolutions that you can optimize now:

Planning

  • Really understand your target audience; why they buy; what pains they have; why they need your product or service; perform better buyer persona research
  • Re-evaluate your firm’s value proposition; what makes you different, how do you communicate your uniqueness;  have a white board meeting with your executive team, and reassure what you sell and how you sell it is on target

Search Engine Optimization

  • Update your SEO strategy; re-evaluate the keywords your buyers use to find you; and make content adjustments to reflect those keywords.
  • Stop the automated link building schemes.  Utilize a PR professional to begin pitching unique content to high quality blogs and online content websites.  This is the new SEO; I call it “relationship SEO”

Paid Search-Pay-per-Click

  • Really understand the search terms people use to find you and click your ad. Review “Matched search query” reports to reassure your keywords are aligned to your products; then adjust and take advantage of negative keywords.
  • Go through each campaign, and take advantage of the following- the integration of analytics website metrics with Adwords, Sitelinks, automated bidding rules, keyword insights, etc.  Many new features in Adwords as well as Bing.  Understand them, and increase your paid search effectiveness

Conversion Architecture

  • Test landing pages for conversion. i.e. headlines, calls-to-action statements, offers, etc.  By utilizing A/B tests, you can significantly increase landing page conversion rates.  And, keep those form fields to a minimum
  • Reassure that when audiences click your ads to get to your landing pages, include trust factor content such as testimonials, case studies, association logos, and a privacy policy link.
  • Take advantage of responsive design for your website, or at least, insure that your website and landing pages are mobile friendly.  The future awaits, and it’s mobile.

Online Display

  • Improve efficiency and increase message reach by considering buying campaigns via a DSP (demand side platform), by taking advantage of real-time bidding and 3rd-party data for better targeting
  • A must for increasing conversions- utilize retargeting or remarketing to bring audiences back to your website or landing page, with a special offer just for them.

Video Marketing

  • Video is a proven marketing tactic that increases engagement and conversions.  Include video on your website and landing page, and let me see your service in action; include motion graphics as well as a powerful voice to attract attention.
  • Utilize event tracking within Google analytics to measure video plays; in fact use event tracking to measure all of your content downloads and other website activity.

Social Media

  • If you’re not actively posting content, engaging prospects, and measuring your activity; readdress your needs and priorities- either rethink your strategy or outsource, but prospects don’t like to see limited Twitter use, or a blog updated rarely.   Think about it.
  • Are you measuring your social activity correctly?  I recently did a blog post on social media measurement and analytics.  You need to prove that your efforts are improving, or time to optimize. Read about social media measurement here.

Content Strategy

  • Assess all of your white papers and content assets.  Are they targeting the right audiences?  What are your content goals?  Review your editorial calendars and content mapping.  Have a plan to promote this content via search, display, and social.  We can help you with this.
  • On the chart above, firms have challenges in developing the right content.  For 2013 review your internal sources, and if necessary, consider outsourcing content strategy, which include not just the planning and writing, but the promotional and SEO elements of content marketing as well.

Analytics

  • Really understand the value of Google Analytics; take advantage of the multitude of reports and advanced audience segmentations.  Why?  Only with these tools can you really determine the effectiveness of your website once you define your conversion goals, and your metrics for success.
  • Finally, just don’t review the data without having an action plan for improvement.  It’s not what the numbers say; it’s how you utilize those numbers to increase conversions and revenue.  Right?

Well, that ends a brief checklist for your 2013 inbound marketing resolutions.  This is just the tip of the iceberg, but if you’re not consistently optimizing lead generation, you’re not doing your job.  Let’s grow in 2013.  Take the steps to improve your successes.

What steps are you taking to optimize in 2013?

This article is an original contribution by Paul Mosenson.

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Article source: http://www.business2community.com/online-marketing/what-are-your-2013-internet-marketing-lead-generation-resolutions-this-year-0366094

App-y New Year: The Star tablet app – FREE DOWNLOAD

We also have a great new subscription deal, see bottom of this page, with 25 per cent off and a Frankie Benny’s voucher if you want to get the paper version six-days-a-week.

The Star web site – at thestar.co.uk – is our top platform for on-line news, sport, features and commercial highlights, including jobs and property.

With exclusive on-line video, audio and slideshows, thestar.co.uk now attracts around ONE MILLION views every WEEK.

But the most stunning way to look at us on-line now is by using our free tablet apps – see links below.

Not only do you get all our usual web coverage, in a new, easy to navigate site, but for the first time ever on-line you can now read The Star, page for page.

Never before have we uploaded all our features or any of our supplements – like Full Time, our Monday sports round up, and Retro, our popular Saturday nostalgia pull-out.

An Archive section allows you to view not only the latest edition of The Star but also past issues, all brought vividly to life with amazing ‘page-turning’ software.

You can even search through all the editions using a smart keyword search tool.

And if there’s any edition or page you want to keep, simply download it. You can even read these later when you are off-line.

The app includes a digital version of the latest edition, which is updated throughout the day with all our breaking news and multi-media extras, including video, audio and picture galleries.

The easy-to-navigate format makes it simple to find our Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham, Doncaster and Chesterfield news, sport, what’s on, features, columnists and opinion, business and national content.

It’s all delivered to your tablet as the paper is published.

So if you are looking for an in-paper classified bargain or a specific advertisement, including a job, you will be among the first to spot it here.

And the best bit? It’s free!

The Star tablet app is available for use on all web browsing tablets, including iPads, Android and even devices like the new Kindle Fire book reader.

Find the apps simply by searching for The Star in the Apple App Store, Google Play and Amazon Appstore. If you are using your tablet to browse this page, click on the appropriate link below.

iPAD DOWNLOAD: Apple iPad users can download The Star tablet app to your device at the Apple App Store – CLICK HERE.

ANDROID DOWNLOAD: Android tablet users can download The Star tablet app to their device at Google Play – CLICK HERE.

KINDLE DOWNLOAD: Kindle tablet users can download The Star tablet app to their device at Amazon Appstore – CLICK HERE.

* More than 10,000 football fans have already downloaded The Star Football App for iPhones and Smartphones. It provides all our coverage – plus live reports of games in play, statistics, reports and social network updates – direct to your phone. And like the tablet app, it’s FREE.

THE STAR FOOTBALL APP DOWNLOAD: For more details and links to download to your phone – CLICK HERE.

** On-line you can now also browse The Star’s free new national what’s on site, with more than 500,000 events in the database, including hundreds of local and regional things to do at www.wow247.co.uk – watch out for our @SheffieldStar Twitter messages, with the hashtag #wow247.

We also have a great New Year offer for those who want The Star delivered as a newspaper, as tens of thousands of you do, Monday to Saturday.

***Subscribe to buy The Star six-days-a-week for 12-months and you will get 25 per cent off. It means The Star costs just £2.70 a week. Plus you will receive a £15 Frankie Benny’s voucher, if you sign up for this newspaper offer before March 30, 2013.

To subscribe call 0844 991 6464 or, for full details and to sign up on-line, visit www.subscriptionline.co.uk/STA – click here.

Article source: http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/app-y-new-year-the-star-tablet-app-free-download-1-5264292

Nerd Chicks Adventures: Websites can help you monitor your diet – Record

Now that 2012 is nearing its close (and we all made it through that “end-of-days” Mayan calendar thing), the dawning of 2013 heralds a new opportunity to make those life changes you shelved over the busy holiday season.

In the next few weeks, we’ll explore ways your computer or mobile device can help you keep this year’s resolutions, from eating better to learning a new skill.

One of the most common resolutions year after year is to eat better. Whether it’s to lose weight or simply be healthier, the temptation to fall off the wagon assaults you every time you grab a bite. This year, use your computer or mobile handheld device to help you stay on track.

Sparkpeople (http://www.sparkpeople.com/) is a great wellness resource, offering tools and information to help you make healthy lifestyle changes in diet and fitness as well as offering articles on skin care, mental health and more. Membership is free and allows you to use their online food and fitness trackers, create personalized meal plans, and access expert advice via articles and message boards. Meal programs are customizable, allowing you to tailor suggestions to your health goals, such as “low sodium” or “high protein.”

The site offers motivational tips when you log in as well as “challenges” that you can accept with other users (such as skipping fast food for a week). You can even set up a meal plan using the database of recipes and printable shopping lists. Its statistics boast that it’s the “No. 1 Health website,” with the highest average amount of time spent by users on the site — visiting various pages to enter data, gather information and get guidance.

Most diet and nutrition experts will tell you that a key factor in improving your eating habits is to maintain a food journal, detailing what you eat and tracking calories ingested. A study published in the August 2008 edition of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that dieters who kept a food diary lost about twice as much weight as those who did not.

Yet maintaining a handwritten journal can get tedious — writing notes, looking up food values in a book, tallying up your day’s calories. This leads many to ditch the practice before they gain the true benefit: becoming aware of the food they eat and how much they’re truly consuming.

Sparkpeople’s online food journal makes it easy. Its food database is extensive and easily searchable, allowing you to quickly and easily log your intake.

However, if you find Sparkpeople’s social aspect and motivational tidbits more annoying than helpful, Fitday (www.fitday.com) is a great basic, free online diet journal and calorie tracking tool. Just about any food (even brand name or prepared meal items) is included in its database, allowing you to add items with a few clicks. Create a free account to start your personalized log. Enter a keyword such as oatmeal and select the specific oatmeal product and amount (easy drop-down options) to add it to your daily intake log.

With both sites, calories are automatically calculated and tallied for you. You’re prompted to log your daily activity to compare calories ingested with calories expended. The selection of available activities is more extensive at Fitday than Sparkpeople, but the food database is harder to navigate. For example, that “oatmeal” keyword entry on Fitday gives you 12 pages of results in which you have to locate the specific oatmeal you’re looking for. However, it gets faster once you enter some of your favorite foods, get familiar with its categorization and learn how to effectively search.

The Fitday site is simple and sleek, making it easy to use but not necessarily compelling. It’s a tool, pure and simple. For those seeking information and support as well as a tool to track diet and exercise, Sparkpeople is a great option.

Finally, if you are looking for a more tailored diet program, keep in mind that the most well-known names in dieting now maintain extensive web-based resources. You can join Weight Watchers, NutriSystem or South Beach online (fees vary) to gain access to the programs you’d normally have to sign up for in person.

Nerd Chick Adventures is written by Andrea Eldridge and Heather Neal from Nerds on Call, an on-site computer and laptop repair company in Redding. They can be reached at nerdchick@callnerds.com.

Article source: http://www.redding.com/news/2012/dec/30/nerd-chicks-adventures-websites-can-help-you/

The Top 10 SEO Blogging Tips

The following SEO blogging tips are in order—the earlier a tip appears in the list, the more impact it will have on improving your site ranking. But that doesn’t mean the later tips should be ignored. If you want to rank well on Google and other search engines, I suggest you follow all of these ten SEO blogging tips.

SEO Blogging Tips #1: Content First

The best thing you can do for your site is publish quality content. Too many bloggers today focus on other SEO blogging tips to the detriment of their blog quality.

The other tips in this article and other articles all require a base layer of great blog posts. If you have great posts, improving your search rank or ranking for new keywords will be easy. Without great posts, you’ll have to work several times as hard for the same results.

But WARNING: Just remember that content is not the only king. You should never rely on great content alone.

SEO Blogging Tips #2—Get Incoming Links

Although Google relies less on PageRank now than ever before, the number of incoming links is still the most important thing about your site to Google.

But getting incoming links can be hard. The best way to get incoming links is by getting people to link to your site—and the best way to get people to link to your site is to get them to read your site. But who will read your site if they can’t find it in Google Search? It’s a Catch–21 scenario.

To get incoming links, you need to work with other people on the Internet who already have established sites. Offer to guest post on their sites, or offer them something else in exchange for a link (for example, if you’re a Google Analytics expert, offer to setup their Analytics Goals for free).

Just keep talking to people and rewarding them for linking to your site.

SEO Blogging Tips #3—Keyword Optimization

None of the other tricks on this list will help you if you choose the wrong keywords for your site. What are wrong keywords?

1. Keywords which don’t attract customers. We’ll discuss the importance of customers versus visitors later, but choosing keywords based on traffic is not the best strategy for most sites.

2. Focusing on high-profile keywords will keep you in constant competition with other sites which may have more resources than you. It’s better for you to find medium-popular keywords which you can easily rank for.

3. Keywords which don’t match your content. Most people make this mistake when choosing a too generalized keyword. For example, you don’t want to make your core keyword “soap” if your site is about making your own soap because most people searching for soap will be interested in using store-bought soap to clean something.

SEO Blogging Tips #4—Outgoing Links

Outgoing links are an often-neglected SEO strategy which can pay huge dividends. The main reason most SEO blogging tips talk about outgoing links is because Google may reward sites which link to authority sites such as Wikipedia.

But outgoing SEO links can be more useful to you as a strategy for generating incoming links. All serious webmasters monitor their referral report which tells them which sites referred visitors to their site.

If you link to someone else’s site, they’ll see your site on their referrers report and they’ll probably investigate your site. Not everyone will link back to you, but the more people who know about your site, the more people who can link to you.

SEO Blogging Tips #5—Make Content Obvious

Search engines don’t see your page the way people do. An important part of the reason they see your page differently is that they don’t typically read your Cascading Style Sheet (CSS), so all they see is the bare text of your page.

That’s a problem, because the text on your page includes not just your content, but also your advertisements, navigation links, and footer—things which distract from your keyword-optimized content.

HTML 5 introduced a bunch of new tags to help you mark parts of your page as navigation, footer, or inline content for the benefit of search engines, but even if your blog software doesn’t support HTML 5 yet, you can optimize your site by removing extraneous elements which don’t support your keyword optimization.

SEO Blogging Tips #6—Customers, Not Visitors

Another frequent mistake made in SEO is thinking only about website traffic in terms of visitors instead of customers.

A visitor is anyone who visits your site, regardless of what they do during their visit. A customer is someone who makes you money—whether they bought a product or clicked an advertisement.

It’s easy to increase visitors, but it’s harder to increase customers. The biggest blogs on the Internet have a terrible visitor-to-customer ratio because they’ve focused solely on increasing the number of visitors.

You need to focus on getting more customers—even if that hurts the number of visitors you get.

SEO Blogging Tips #7—Small Site, Long Tail

As mentioned earlier, if you have a small site, you don’t want to compete with larger sites for valuable keywords. Instead you can focus on what’s called “the long tail.”

The long tail are specific search terms only a few people search for every month. Because they’re low-traffic, you can rank for these terms easily—often by simply writing just one blog post.

Although ranking for a low-traffic term may sound nearly worthless, ranking for dozens or hundreds of low-traffic search terms can attract to your site more visitors than you would get if your ranked well on a high-traffic search term.

SEO Blogging Tips #8—More Is More

High-quality content is the best way to boost your SEO, but more content is also a good way to boost your search engine ranking.

Before I tell you more, let me note that I don’t recommend scam ways to boost your content, such as pirating content or spinning content.

If you can add more content to your site, you increase the number of opportunities you have to attract traffic and rank for various search terms. Even if this content isn’t as good as your best content, it’s still better published on your site than buried in your Drafts folder—or, worse, left unwritten because it didn’t sound interesting to you.

SEO Blogging Tips #9—Forget Google (For A Moment)

Google is undoubtedly the king of search engines, but too many SEO blogging tips come from people who forget that Google isn’t the only search engine, so take a moment and think about optimizing your content for Bing, Overture, Ask, and other search engines.

(You should especially pay attention to alternative search engines if your target audience speaks something besides English. Google’s market share is much smaller outside of the anglosphere.)

SEO Blogging Tips #10—Make Partnerships

For small and medium-sized blog sites, other sites in the same niche aren’t competition as much as they are potential partners. Consider: if you and I both write about the same subject, we also probably share much of the same audience. If we fight, our audience may split—my partisans sticking with me and your partisans sticking with you.

But if two sites in the same niche work together, than can both sell to their total combined audience. It’s even better if the two blogs are in related niches—for example, a blog about leaf blowers and a blog about lawn mowers can work together under the assumption that anyone with one device probably has (or wants) the other.

Find as many sites as you can in or around your niche and send them an email asking if they want to be partners. As partners, you both agree to mention the other site in a blog once a month or so. This repetitive mentioning improves your standing to the other audience, while the repetitive linking improves your search rank, so don’t skip this or any of the other SEO blogging tips.

This article originally appeared on Lets Build Websites and has been republished with permission.

Find out how to syndicate your content with Business 2 Community.

Article source: http://www.business2community.com/blogging/the-top-10-seo-blogging-tips-0363703

Jean Paul is punchy. Eric yells around

Saturday, December 29, 2012   by: SooToday.com Staff

CITY POLICE

NEWS RELEASE

Article source: http://www.sootoday.com/content/news/details.asp?c=51565

5 Custom Searches You Should Enable In Your Browser Right Now


Custom search engines are one of the coolest features of any modern browser. With just a few keystrokes, you can search Wikipedia right from your address bar, do a custom Google search for Lifehacker articles, or even get driving directions to a specific location. Here are five searches you should enable right now.

Please enable JavaScript to watch this video.

These custom searches are very easy to set up. In Chrome, just right-click on the address bar and choose “Edit Search Engines”. You can edit existing ones or add your own, giving them a name, URL and a keyword that you’ll type to initiate the search (like the example of lh above. Firefox users just need to create a bookmark with the necessary name, URL, and keyword, and it’ll work like a custom search engine when you type that keyword into your browser. See the video above for an example of how this works.

Of course, there are some obvious uses for this, but we asked you what your favourite clever searches were and you responded with some great ones! Here are five that just about everyone can (and should) use to make their life easier.

Search For Pages Within The Past Year On Google

Ever do a search on Google, but come up with a bunch of old pages that aren’t relevant anymore? Reader scottsmith17 has a way around this:

I have found with Google, especially when I search for tech-related things (Linux), I get a lot of out-of-date results. If I am searching to see if someone else is having trouble with CUPS, I don’t care what was happening in Ubuntu 11.04. So, I added this as my default search in Chrome:

https://www.google.com/search?hl=entbo=1tbs=qdr:yq=%s

It searches for results in the past year, giving me recent, relevant results.

You can do this with any time frame you want, like one month, two month, or two years, as we’ve noted before.

Search Wikipedia For TV Episodes Or Music Albums

Searching Wikipedia with a custom search engine is easy, but Wikipedia has a lot of cool stuff built-in that you can take advantage of, too. For example, Wikipedia has a list of episodes for just about every TV show out there. So, you can create a custom search just for TV shows with:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Search?search=list+of+%s+episodes
Give it a keyword (like ep), then just type ep doctor who in your address bar to get a list of Doctor Who episodes right away.

Reader txhoudini took it a step further and created a similar search for music albums:

OK, the TV show trick just blew my mind. This is probably 20 per cent of my Wikipedia searches. I tried this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Search?search=%s+discography
And sure enough, this works for a list of a bands albums. Oh man, I am going to have fun with this.

You could adapt any other “series” of pages on Wikipedia with this same concept, which could be all sorts of useful.

Get Driving Directions To An Address

Reader ustice shared a bunch, but one of the ones we liked best was the ability to get driving directions from your house to any location. Just use this as the URL:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=qsource=s_qhl=enq=from+my+home+address+to+%s
Replace my+home+address with your actual home (or work, or whatever) address. Give it a keyword like maps, then type maps 123 main street in your address bar to get immediate directions to 123 Main Street.

We’ve actually shared this one before, along with a number of other address bar “tricks” (that aren’t exactly search, but are still insanely useful). Check out our guide to doing anything with your address bar for more fun, similar uses of custom search engines.

Search Whatever Site You’re Currently Viewing

So you’ve set up searches for your favourite sites, but what if you discover a blog and you want to search its archives for something specific? Instead of setting up a custom site search for that blog right then and there, you can use a custom search engine that just searches your current domain:

javascript:location='http://www.google.com/search?num=100q=site:'%20+%20escape(location.hostname)%20+%20'%20%S'%20;%20void%200
Give it a keyword like cd, then run it like you would any other search. Go to a site, then type cd windows 8 into the address bar, and you’ll get results from that site pertaining to Windows 8.

Search Any Site You Can Think Of — Besides The Obvious Ones

Most of the above searches use clever URL tricks that you might not have thought of yourself. However, it’s also worth mentioning that you can still use this for just plain searching on any site you want: IMDB, YouTube, Wikipedia, Lifehacker, or anything else you can think of. Here are some of the more clever ones:

Look up words in a Dictionary or Thesaurus: Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com are extremely useful. To look up a word in a dictionary, just use:

http://dictionary.com/browse/%s
And to look it up in a thesaurus, use:

http://thesaurus.com/browse/%s
Translate words: A few of you mentioned using Google Translate, which is great if you’re learning a new language. To do so, create a search with the URL:

http://translate.google.com/#auto|en|%s
This translates a word in another language to English, though you can tweak the auto|en part to fit whatever you want.

Use “I’m Feeling Lucky” on Google: If you know your search term will reveal a certain page, Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” is useful to have as a keyword. Just use this URL:

http://www.google.com/search?q=%sbtnI=Im+Feeling+Lucky

Find out if a site is down: ustice recommended a custom search for Down For Everyone Or Just Me that checks if a URL is down. You can use the URL http://www.downforeveryoneorjustme.com/%s, but that requires you to type in the URL of the “downed” site yourself. I tweaked the Javascript search from the “Search Current Domain” engine above to work for Down For Everyone Or Just Me:

javascript:location='http://www.downforeveryoneorjustme.com/'%20+%20escape(location.hostname)%20+%20'%20%S'%20;%20void%200
If you use that, you can use it right after you visit the site. Say you visit Lifehacker and its down. You can just go to the address bar, type your keyword, and press Enter. Your browser will search for the current domain on Down For Everyone or Just Me so you can see whether the site’s having problems.

Okay, so that probably ended up being a bit more than five, but these five general ideas can spawn all kinds of awesome uses for this feature. There are a lot of other great ideas out there, too — these are just a few of the best you guys shared with us. Check out the discussions on our original poll for more, and play around with your favourite sites and see what you can come up with. Armed with a few of these, you can reduce a lot of the typing you do day in and day out.

Article source: http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2012/12/5-custom-searches-you-should-enable-in-your-browser-right-now/