2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 400 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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North Korea Warns Attacks on Mainland United States

                                                                                                                                        Report by – Lakshmi L. Lund

What started off as a cyber attack has now escalated into an international incident raising many-a-questions about the cyber security of the United States of America. The obvious question on the average American’s mind is how cyber safe is America today? If movie giant Sony Pictures can be hacked, tomorrow our defense, stock exchange, banks, other corporate houses and hospitals can be also be prone to hacking.

Sony Pictures received threats

Threats after Cyber Attacks (N.Korea)

Story of the hacking scandal of Sony Pictures is getting complicated by the day and it more complex that the original plot of ‘The Interview’ movie. As the news of Sony Pictures being hacked, hit international headlines, North Korea remained a mere silent spectator. They continued to stick to their claim of being innocent, until President Barack Obama stepped in. Only a day after President Obama, officially accused N. Korea of coordinating the cyber attack, the latter broke its silence.

North Korea proposes joint investigation

N.Korea reacts

The N. Korean government spokesperson, making an appearance on state-run television channel, said that North Korea would target The White House, The Pentagon and all of mainland USA, if the American government, does not agree to join hands with them in the investigation. The spokesperson added that a joint investigation with America will help N. Korea prove their innocence in this cyber scandal. As expected, the Obama government turned down North Korea’s offer.

Sony Pictures reacts to threats

Sony Pictures claim that the hackers, who have identified themselves as ‘Guardians of Peace’, did not just stop with making public, details of the script of unreleased Sony films and e-mails exchanged between their (Sony) employees and Hollywood stars. Post the cyber attack, movie giant Sony Pictures admitted that they have also received threats, that movie theaters would be attacked, if they (Sony Pictures) went ahead with the screening of ‘The Interview’.

Such threats of violence, has forced Sony Pictures to call off the scheduled screening of movie ‘The Interview’, a move condemned by President Obama. We learn that this movie was originally scheduled to hit cinema theaters this Christmas. While the motive and the identity of the hackers is yet unknown, it is believed that plot of ‘The Interview’ which is about the assassination of N. Korean leader Kim Jong-un could have prompted a few North Korean loyalists to plan and execute this cyber attack.

President Obama assures Americans that hackers will be punished

Obama reply's to N. Korea

President assures Cyber security in United States

In an interview to CNN, President Obama clarified his take on the attack. “I don’t think it was cyber war. It was active vandalism that proved to be very costly, very expensive.” Obama said. Post this cyber attack, the Obama administration is also considering putting N. Korea, back on its list of state sponsors of terrorism. However, President Obama promised that his government would react ‘proportionately’ to this serious cyber attack. An average American would only hope that the Obama government identifies and punishes those involved in this gruesome crime, thus safeguarding the United States of America from such cyber scandals in the future.

Kindly share your views on Comments.

Top 4 Content Marketing predictions for the year 2015

Content marketing includes almost any marketing strategy that centers in the use of Content. And the year 2014 witnessed considerable rise of content marketing. More and more small and medium companies started using blogs and social media marketing effectively to reach out to their clients.

As we know a good content will bring in leads for life time if crafted and marketed effectively. There need for information regarding products and services has seen considerable rise in blogging over the last few years.

So how will the year 2015 open for the world of Content marketing? What are the predictions that content marketers should adapt for in 2015? Let’s see 4 most common predictions.

Top 4 Content marketing predictions for 2015:

  1. Death to the Spammers
  2. Rise of Social (ism)
  3. Blogging will see a Sharp Rise
  4. Mobiles will take over

Death to Spammers:

SEO Spamming

Link Spamming will end

One of the most annoying topics about marketing is spamming, and it actually affects non spammers as well. The year 2015 might witness a sharp reduction in Link and other forms of spamming. Hopefully major Search Engines will bring in even more restrictions for Link building to restrict spammers.

Rise of Social (ism)

Social Media prediction 2015

Hey, I am not speaking about China..!!

Social Media has already seen considerable rise, and for the past 2-3 years social platforms were constantly on the rise. And the same will most likely continue in 2015. Content marketing in 2015 will surely include Social Media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, Google + and more.
Mobile will Specific social modems will also see a considerable rise and will benefit from increased mobile Rush.

Blogging will see a Sharp Rise:

Blogging

Again along with Social Media, content marketing in 2014 saw considerable use of blogging. The demand for informative and helpful contents has considerably increased and most business websites now has a blog. Blogging
The word “Social Blogging” was use more often to my knowledge in 2014 and it seems the same will continue in 2015 as well.

Mobiles will take over:

Not making website mobile-friendly

Over the years mobile users have increased at a massive rate and now there are more mobile browsers than desktop browsers in USA. As the age-old Marketing rule “marketers will follow where ever their customers go” and hence the mobile space is supposed to see considerable changes as mobile marketing will be an important of Content marketing strategies in 2015.

Thanks for reading, kindly share your views and suggestions as comments.

Sales vs Marketing – General misconception and understanding

sales_marketing

Just the other day, I was discussing this with my team about the difference between sales and marketing, and I wish to share it as a blog.

One of our new prospect  asked us (before becoming our client):

 “How many clicks (using ads) do I need to my business website to get enough sales”

Number of clicks (visitors) to your website will not guarantee sales at least not on its own, ads can only generate traffic not sales.

But why is it so?

There are several reasons for this, for instance there is no guarantee that they are all potential customers. Visitors range from people who are searching for information, your potential competitors, and alternatively people who know about your business might also want to have a look at it.
And then we have tons of other factors before a potential visitor will become your potential lead and then possibly buy your products.

Special notes for SEO People:
The same applies for organic traffic as well and it too cannot assure massive sales on its own; this is because impressing search engines are easier than convincing your customers.

A visitor (assuming he/she is a potential client) needs to be convinced by informative and friendly content (text, pictures or videos) before he or she can even consider buying your products or services.

So what is the reason for this issue?

Build and organize your websites and contents for visitors and not for marketing elements such as search engines.

Marketing earns leads not sales (money):
Sales is completely different from a lead and if you can understand this, it is easier for a company/business to increase their sales.

Sales is more important than marketing:
The problem is most businesses invest tons on marketing, while completely ignoring the part of User Interface or User Experience, the point is simple marketing can only bring leads, not sales. Sales friendly website gets more sales and market friendly website gets more visits, you can choose it accordingly.

4 common issues that affect your website’s sales:

  1. Trust Worthiness
  2. Lack of Information
  3. Sales Bombardment
  4. Website Navigation

Trust Worthiness (Brand):
For instance if a user didn’t trust your business website then he/she might not buy anything.
Lack of Information:
If a visitor didn’t find the right information (features of your products or anything) he is looking for then he/she might simply leave.
Sales Bombardment:
If a visitor is bombarded with your sales texts and no reliable information, they will surely leave your website for good.
Website navigation:
If a visitor finds it hard to navigate your website, he or she might leave even before you can impress them.

In the end, making your website more friendly and targeted for your specific clients is more important than marketing your website.

3 big challenges that marketers are facing today?

Alright I was asked a Question on Quora.com and I thought I would rather post it here as a blog so that it would make it easy for me to share my thoughts.

Question:

3 big challenges that marketers are facing today?

And here is the Answer:

Having been in the industry (Internet Marketing) for more than 6 years, I can think of pointing out a wide range of challenges that a marketer faces.

Marketers face challenges from 3 different circles (from my experience and position).

  1. Management or (&) clients (CEOs, Project Manager, Clients or anyone who is above in the Hierarchy)
  2. Ourselves  (Competition)
  3. Market Itself

Alright let’s see it a bit in detail:

Management or (&) clients:

Bad Boss
Unreachable and Greedy targets set by management or clients is one common issue faced by many marketing people. Alright, what to do..! there will always be some dumb ass CEO around, and these people expect more than what can be achieved. The problem is they simply believe that setting a bigger target will produce more results like, Aim for the sky and you’ll reach the stars”. Unfortunately it works quite the opposite, as marketing is like eating, “you can only eat what you can digest”. By trying to everything marketers end up doing almost nothing (perfectly). And thus such greedy Management teams provide the marketers with one of the most common challenge.

Ourselves (Competition):

Competitive market

Just as they say “Diamond Cuts Diamond”, one of the greatest challenges for marketers is they themselves. The marketer of your competitor is your competitor and vice versa. The problem is most marketers follow shortcuts and other back door strategies to achieve their goals rather than using the most ethical and practical strategies. This makes it complicated for marketers who follow most common and ethical paths.

Market Itself:

unstable Market

            The most complicated challenge for a marketer is presented by Market itself, with its constant changing and evolving character. “Change is the only constant” said Heraclitus of Ephesus and marketing is a perfect example of it.

The biggest challenge here is there are tons of strategies that are developed as with the evolution of Marketing trends, and it is up to the marketer to choose the right strategy.

Not just the marketing strategies and practices, market itself changes steadily and each and every marketer is forced to adapt and learn new stuffs on a daily basis. A software developer or Human resource manager has little need to update on a regular basis, however a marketer is completely the opposite. When it comes to any debate or discussion a successful marketer will most likely win it, regardless of the topic that is discussed.

Special thanks to Paul Writer for asking.

Top 20 Link Building Strategies – Detailed Analysis – What Works and What Not? – Part V

Continuing on Top 20 Link Building Strategies, and it now takes a small diversion.

Local Business Citations:                                             

Local business citation also called as Local business listing is not a direct part of Link building, however this process has considerable significance in Local (& GEO targeted SEO). Use the same business name that is used on your website when adding your business to local listing websites such as Yelp or yell.
Some Search Engines use Local listing as a factor in ranking Geo targeted keywords, and local business directories also send direct leads and clients. A good practice is to forget about SEO and concentrate on convincing the visitors to your local listing profile (within the local listing website) to visit your website or contact you. By providing convincing content, business details such as portfolio and images you can easily attract your potential leads via Local Business Citation sites.

A few Local Business Citation Websites in USA: (Local citation changes from nation to nation)

  1. Google Places
  2. Yahoo Local
  3. Yelp
  4. Yell
  5. Yellow pages
  6. Bing
  7. Merchant Circle
  8. com
  9. Four Square
  10. Hot Frog

Try using different contents for all of them, so that SEs can value your Listing and rank it high when someone searches for local area based result. Also always ensure your provide enough means to contact you, for most customers visiting local listing website prefer to call or mail directly to you rather than leave a message within the Local business directory. If effectively done, local citations will certainly help you reach beyond SEO in to safe zone where your business will not just be depended on Search Engines.

Next to Come on Top 20 Link Building strategies after Panda – Classified Ads

Top 20 Link Building Strategies – Detailed Analysis – What Works and What Not? – Part IV

You missed previous parts of “Top 20 Link Building Strategies – Detailed Analysis – What Works and What Not?”  Part I Part II Part III?

Let’s continue from where we left yesterday, link building has always been one of the most complicated tasks in SEO process. Google Panda & Penguin has made it even more complicated, lets continue our analysis further with other link building strategies.

Question & Answer Websites

Q & A Websites link building

Q & A Sites:

How much time did you landed in site such as Quora.com or Yahoo Answers, when searching for a question on Google? People search for questions and issues they have on Google not using keywords but by typing questions. And this is exactly why content marketing experts’ always advice having Faq section on a service/product based websites. “How to” and “What is” type of search terms are increasing over time, thanks to Google’s ability to understand Questions and provide appropriate results these Question and answer type website had grown in popularity.

Although Question and answer based websites are mostly no follow by nature, these are still effective means of diverting targeted traffic back to your website. Having active participation in such websites will also count more or less like Social participation and will improve a website’s reputation among visitors and search engines alike.

Much like Forum participation, Q & A sites too will ban users who engage actively in link spamming, so providing more value through content should be your priority. Adding links can happen over time, using your website’s blog section in an effective way to answer commonly asked questions and then linking your blogs from such websites will be an effective mode of bringing both traffic as well as SEO benefits.

Directory Submission:

Directory Submission is one of the oldest and most common strategies to get High PR Dofollow backlinks. However ever since Google Penguin update, Directory Submission has evolved into one of the most complicated and risky Link building method. One of the most important reasons behind Google’s Penguin update is Paid Directories and other paid link providing websites. As a result directories have become far less reliable among both users as well as search engines. Submitting to instant approval directories with disregard for specific category of business niche is another reason behind directories losing their value in SEO link building process.

Directory Submission Tips after Google Penguin – 2014 & 2015:

However directory submission is still effective, but requires more time and patience. Planning your directory submission process is critical; first make sure the directory is specific to your niche. Then follow up and ensure the directory is not hosted with multiple other directories. Finally always opt for free submission directories as Paid directories could lead your website into trouble as Google might see it as paid link building strategies which are directly against Google’s guidelines.

Top 20 Link Building Strategies – Detailed Analysis – What Works and What Not? – Part – III

Link Building Strategies

Top 20 Link building strategies of 2014 after Google panda and penguin updates

Lets continue on Top 20 Link Building Strategies – Detailed Analysis – What Works and What Not?, if you missed previous parts, visit PART I, PART II before reading this.

Social Blogging:

Social Blogging is one of the few remaining content marketing strategies that are still considered to be valuable in the SEO industry. The demand for good quality content by online users and searchers drives Search Engines such as Google to recommended Social Blogging. Social blogging is exactly the same as weblog (onsite blogging) but written and posted out of your website, particularly on a Social blogging Platform. Social Blogging is also easy to access, you can simply register a wordpress.com blog (subdomain) which is free, and start blogging with information related to your niche (industry).

However unlike Guest blogging or Article Marketing, Social blogging doesn’t have its own traffic source or reputation at start. However a new WordPress or Tumblr blog can be improved over time and it too can generate traffic and attain higher PR, which can then be diverted to your website. Although it takes a lot of time and energy, Social Blogging is a safe modem of link building as well as traffic generation. Since you control your social blog, there is no need to worry about the quality of the links.

Social Media Sites:

Although most social media switched to no follow, it is still valuable to get links from social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google Plus. Google counts these links as signals from your social audience and hence the benefits that these links provide are more important than a Dofollow Link. Furthermore social media sites can also send a lot of visitors to your website adding more to incoming traffic.

Social Media has already emerged as a potentially important internet marketing strategy almost equal to search engine optimization, and for some business niches Social Media sends more clients than Search Engines can, so focusing on Social links and participation is critical for present and (most likely) future Internet marketing success.

Forum Posting:

Unlike many other link building strategies, forum posting has endured time and tons of Search Engine updates. Although most popular forums are still ready to provide Dofollow backlinks, forum submission for link building is not that easy to achieve. Most forums strictly monitor each and every post that are submitted. Users who contribute to the community (other users) can get their share of high PR Dofollow backlinks from these forums in return for valuable information of their posts.

Having said that, it is important to understand that the best practice for forum posting is to start with providing information for some time and over time adding your links on signatures would give better chances of approval. Using anchor text is allowed on some forums while others prefer plain website link like www.example.com rather than visit site.

Choosing forums that are directly related to your niche, would also add more value to the backlinks as Google recommends links from quality as well as related websites.

To be continued  – Part IV of this article will soon follow…!

Top 20 Link Building Strategies – Detailed Analysis – What Works and What Not? – Part – II

Dofollow Link building tips  - 2015

Link Building tips and Strategies – Explained

Continuation of Top 20 Link Building Strategies – Detailed Analysis – What Works and What Not? – Part – I

Top 20 Link Building Strategies in SEO:

  1. Article Submission
  2. Guest Blogging
  3. Social Blogging
  4. Social Media Sites
  5. Forum Posting
  6. Q & A Sites
  7. Directory Submission
  8. Local Business Citations
  9. Classified Ads
  10. Blog Commenting
  11. Social Bookmarking
  12. Press Release Submissions
  13. Broken Link Building
  14. Link Baiting (Killer Content)
  15. Reciprocal or Link Exchange
  16. Paid Links
  17. Image Sharing
  18. Video Submission
  19. White Paper Distribution
  20. Profile Links

As explained before recent Google algorithm updates such as Google Panda and Penguin has considerably influenced the modern SEO process. And accordingly not all the above mentioned link building strategies are guaranteed to work in 2014. Let’s first see each and every link building strategy in detail and see which among the above mentioned link building strategies still work (after Google Penguin update).

Top 20 Dofollow Link Building Strategies – Explained

Starting from article marketing to Directory submission all these link building strategies have all proved their importance at least at one point of time. Some are content oriented, while others are promotional directories, yet all these tactics are unique in their own way and have their own set of rules and procedures.

Article Submission:

Article submission works just as per the name, webmasters will write informative (at least in theory) articles and submit them on famous article directories such as Ezinearticles.com or Goarticles.com along with links back to their websites in Author Bio. Most article directories themselves provide a high PR backlink and besides there was a chance that people will republish a good article from these directories on their website possibly along with the backlink.

However this strategy was doomed to failure as most of such articles were poor in terms of contents and a single article were usually submitted across multiple directories creating duplicate content issue. This eventually led Google to take actions against Article Directories (Content Farms) through Google Panda Update; this update effectively ended the value of Article submission as well as Article Directories.

Guest Blogging:

Guest Blogging, the name says it all; you write and post a blog on another website as usual along with a link back towards your website. If a good writer, posts a blog on a website, the host website gets the advantage of quality content while the writer gets a backlink in return. Guest blogging was considered as an effective alternative to article submission after Panda update.

However as with the case of Article submission the overall content quality has always been a worry and furthermore website with high PRs started to sell links from their page, a concept known as “paid links”. Google considered paid links as illegal and accordingly responded with yet another update to its algorithm, known as Google Penguin.

To be continued –  Part III – Top 20 Link Building Strategies – Detailed Analysis – What Works and What Not? – Part – III

Top 20 Link Building Strategies – Detailed Analysis – What Works and What Not? – Part – I

20 Link Building strategies after recent Google updates - A detailed discussion - 2015

Link Building after Google Panda & Penguin Updates – 2015 a detailed Analysis

  1. What is a Link?

In terms of hypertext (HTML) a link is a reference from one web page to another web page (or website to website) that provides access to one page to another page when clicked on them. A link works like a vote (Recognition) for a website, from another website.

Link Building an overview

        Building quality links for a website is just one of many factors that helps increase a website’s Search Engine ranking (SERP). Building high quality links from a website that is closely related has always been one of the painstaking processes in SEO. Search Engine Optimizers use a variety of link building strategies to acquire valuable links from across the web. Link building is also the most important factor that determines a website’s Google PR.

How Link Building Works for SEO?

For SEO links carry 3 distinctive benefits,

  1. Anchor Text
  2. PR
  3. Constant engagement on web

1. Anchor text, is simply the words that make up the click-able link.

Example: Web Designing Company

Here in the above example “Web Designing Company” is the anchor text, (site posted) is the linking site and www.integrawebservices.com is the page that gets this backlink.

2. PR, stands for Page Rank commonly known as Google PR, is a value for any given webpage primarily based on the number of incoming links and the domain’s age.

3. Constant Engagement on Web, a website that gets links regularly is more likely to outperform any other website.

Link Building after Google Panda & Penguin

Despite the recent algorithm updates such as Google Panda or Penguin, Google still considers links as a major factor in determining a website value. However the recent Google updates such as Penguin has completely changed the link building process. Some of the previously used link building strategies are now considered as spamming and such practices could result in serious penalties in Google’s ranking.

 Most commonly use Link Building Strategies:

Web masters use a variety of link building strategies to build valuable backlinks for their website. The following are some of the most commonly employed link building methods.

To be continued  – Wait for Top 20 Link Building Strategies – Detailed Analysis – What Works and What Not? – Part – II