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Navigating the SEO Landscape

SEO has long been the hot topic of online marketing. While some question the relevance of optamizing web content for search engine rankings, other spend millions each day ensuring that their content ranks high with major search engines. Many trying to make a place for themselves among all the organic searches out there try to read websites, such as 10 things that will happen to SEO in 2015 to find the latest insights and booming SEO trends. With all the information about SEO on the web, it is difficult for a person starting out in Internet marketing to know what is hot and what is not. With a little forward thinking, it is certainly possible to zero in on some of the SEO strategies that are up-and-coming and a few old standby techniques that the clever minded keep for their own use.

Keyword Stuffing Is Old News

Although packing pages full of trendy keywords to drive targeted traffic was all the rage in the past, modern search engine algorithms no longer tend to support this fading SEO strategy. The goal of major search engines like Google has been to take a more sammantic approach to optamizing web content page rankings. Instead of using one or two words over and over again in an article or website, more sophisticated LSI standards employ a wider variety of keywords to encourage a better fit to tangential searches.

The Social Media Augmentation

While many people imagine that the content they write and the way they place keywords makes all the difference, it is perhaps not as essential as online marketers imagine. Since major search engines want what is perceived to be high quality content to offer to those doing searches, a websites social media presence is proving to be a more reliable factor to use in SEO algorithms. The idea here is to produce content that is popular, such that content with a wide circulation among social media sites tends to gravitate to the top of the ranking pile. Consequently, online marketers need to focus as much, if not more, on their social media presence than on other SEO page ranking factors.

A Clever SEO Marketing Tactic

While keywords will always tend to matter in some capacity or another to SEO ranking algorithms, knowing how to use keyword phrasing to grab targeted leads is always a strategy that deserves some attention in a SEO campaign. According to an article on WordStream, long-tail keywords will help to give an online marketer access to a more carefully targeted customer searching for their products or services. The idea is that trying to reach a customer with a single popular keyword is somewhat counterproductive. In the case of most products, generic search terms, such as furniture and cars, tend to involve too much competition fighting for higher rankings using such terms. To avoid this problem, choosing a more specific and longer keyword to focus on helps to snag customers who already know precisely what they want. These informed shoppers search using more specific terms. This may imply that you will get less traffic from a high ranking long-tail keyword, but the trade off is that the audience you are targeting has a greater potential to buy.

 

Technology is Changing the Consumer Mindset

Technology is always changing; however, never before has technology evolved at such a swift pace. The capabilities we now have are allowing those in the tech industry to rapidly build upon preexisting ideas and produce revolutionary products and services that transform every area of our lives.

Power to the Consumers

Specifically, changes in technology over the past decade have changed how consumers buy. An entirely new billion-dollar industry has popped up – ecommerce – and buyers are no longer restricted to purchasing goods and services in physical stores. While businesses have benefited from this new sales channel, so have consumers.

Information Overload

The most notable advantage today’s consumers have is access to incredible amounts of information. No longer are you limited to the information retail sales associates and newspapers give. You can find an answer to any question you have with a few strokes on your keyboard.

This ability to research purchase decisions, ask questions, and find answers has made every shopper more prepared. No longer are consumers forced to trust what they’re told. Instead, they can comparison shop and find the best price or quality for themselves. This is raising up an army of smart, sophisticated consumers that demand good deals and flexible terms.

Revolutionizing Industries

It’s especially interesting to note how internet technology has revolutionized industries like real estate. Where you were once forced to hire an agent or look for signs in front yards, you can now browse the market from the comfort of your phone or computer. Websites offer detailed pages with listed amenities, search features, and helpful community information. As a result, most homebuyers already have an idea of what they want before calling an agent.

Disappearing Boundaries

Most notable is that physical boundaries are disappearing. A consumer living in Los Angles can order a product from New York City and expect it to arrive within a week. If he wants it sooner, he can probably order overnight shipping and have it the next day.

This ability to buy what you want, when you want, from wherever you want is transforming the way people buy products. It means you’re never limited by where you live and gives you leverage to find the best prices and terms for everything you buy.

From Buyer to Seller

It’s also interesting to note how easy it has become for buyers to become sellers. With sites like eBay and Amazon, anybody can become a seller with a little intuition and effort. This rise of third-party marketplaces has given other buyers the ability to find good deals on used products. It’s just another example of how new technology has changed the consumer mindset.

What the Future Holds

If the past 10 or 15 years are any sign of the future, we’re in for some incredible technological developments in the coming years. It will be interesting to watch how these technologies change an already complex consumer marketplace.

 

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last update: April 26, 2015

Computing Problems That Can and Cannot Be Solved

Computers are amazing machines. Ultimately, computers are used for the purpose of computing. Though modern ideas of what computing is all about may be wrapped up in technical jargon, the reality is that computing involves carrying out the steps of a task to reach a specified result. With modern computers, enhanced with memory database services speed storage capabilities, the steps involved in a computational task will be carried out at a furious rate of speed. In addition to having in-memory capabilities, modern technology is providing us with memory storage chips that are able to store incredibly large volumes of data. Yet, despite all these advancements, there are still many tasks computers struggle to carry out. In fact, one might dare to say that there are tasks a computer is incapable of carrying out. But, such a result should not worry people too much. Humans often struggle and cannot carry out the same computations.

Beyond the Computational Limits

As man continues to progress in knowledge, there are still some computational feats humanity has never been able to overcome. Among these computational challenges are problems such as producing an exact value for the mathematical constant pi. Try as one might, the values past the decimal point of pi continue without end. In other words, no matter how fast a computer happens to be, it will never reach the end of such a computation. In like manner, no matter how much memory a computer has at its disposal, it will not likely ever be possible for such a computer to store the number pie in its entirety. When challenges like this emerge in the world of computers, it leaves many with concerns as to how to overcome them. The reality is that such computing challenges should not halt progress forever.

How Precise Do Computers Need To Be?

According to an article by Rice University, there are going to be many instances where computers give answers that are simply wrong.The goal of a programmer is to determine how much of a margin of error can be tolerated for a particular application. When absolute precision is not achievable, then the next best thing is to reach a compromise and settle for a close enough approximation. Over time, new computational methods arise that help people to improve the margin of error to a point where it produces a truly negligible result. This sort of phenomenon has been experienced in the realm of digital computing for audio devices. In the past it was very easy to distinguish between digital and analog sound. Today, processors exist that fool the ear of trained professional audio engineers. This is a testament to how technology and innovation have improved the computing capacity of modern computers and electronic devices. Even though computers may never give exact solutions to certain computing challenges, it is okay to accept that absolute precision is not always all that important of a requirement to meet. Sometimes an imprecise solution is just as useful as a precise one. It really depends on what type of computing you are doing.

 

Lifestyle:

4 Must-Have Apps for Real Estate Investors

Whether an individual is a first-time homebuyer, a real estate agent, or a broker, scoping out homes and putting together all the necessary paperwork to complete the purchase is a daunting task that requires a significant investment of time and effort. Thanks to modern apps available on desktops, tablets and smartphones, the amount of time it takes to locate, valuate, determine the best mortgage for, and get all the needed paperwork to close on the home can be substantially reduced. Melanie Haselmayr writing for Forbes suggests taking advantage of some of the best apps available to help with different aspects of real estate investing. Four of these apps stand out as absolute must-haves for anyone hoping to invest in real estate.

Zillow

With the purchase of its largest competitor, Trulia, in 2014, Zillow is now the most comprehensive source of real estate information on the Internet, including maps, details and statistics on properties as well as values over time, MLS numbers, and more. While homeowners can list their homes for free on Zillow, most homeowners work with agents who can maximize Zillow’s benefits, according to Joe Levy of Business2Community. With apps available for desktop and mobile, Zillow is now an indispensable resource for real estate brokers and agents, as well as potential homebuyers interested in professional tools to locate prospects and gather information about properties. The app also includes mortgage calculators and other tools to help estimate closing fees and other costs.

Waze

Having grown from a traffic-tracking app to a social phenomenon, Waze is near-essential for a real estate investor on the go. The app, available for Android and iOS devices, is designed so that traffic stops and other problems can be quickly reported, which then alerts other nearby users so that they can avoid those same traffic errors. For time-strapped real estate professionals moving from location to location or potential homebuyers unfamiliar with the area a property is in, this app is not only a time-saver but an invaluable stress reducer. Rachel Metz of Technology Review noted that Google’s purchase of Waze was likely due not only to its usefulness, but its massive community of over 50 million users (though the fact that Google’s purchase kept the app—and its community of users—out of  rival Apple’s hands was probably also a bonus incentive behind the purchase).

Mortgage Calculators

One of the most bothersome parts of dealing with home purchases has to do with the mortgage. More properly, it has to do with interest rates. Whereas previously, this was mostly handled with a calculator and a phone call to determine what interest rates were against the rates of specific companies, apps that function as mortgage calculators have changed the way that professionals and even first-time investors deal with the math of investment. GuaranteedRate.com has a page for investors and real estate professionals which contains not only mortgage calculators, but comparative interest rate charts.

Cam Scanner

Whether a professional on the go or a first-time buyer, paperwork is one of the more tedious parts of real estate investment. Using a program like Cam Scanner, which converts photos of documents into usable scans, documents can be signed and sent by email from any location, without the need to go to the office or run home. With a scanner app program, listed at #6 on Forbes’ top ten apps, paperwork can be handled up-to-the-minute when required, reducing the chance of missing or lost documentation later.

Social:

How Social Media Can Affect Future Business Functionality

Business-Social-Media

Building future strategies for your business can be based on information cultivated on social media. Using the data provided, you can alter everything from the kinds of products you offer to methods of advertising and marketing. Social media is more than just an outlet for people to chat or play games. It can be an invaluable tool to improve your business and increase monthly net income.

Finding Your Target Audience

Unlike the days of old, determining your target audience doesn’t require extensive cold-call surveys. Using the information provided by those that find your business interesting on social media sites, you can quickly determine your audience. In some situations, you may be surprised by the numbers as those you didn’t think would engage your business find it alluring.

Using Exported Data

When using sites such as Facebook, you can download data concerning your business and import it into spreadsheet software such as Google Sheet. According to PatientSites.com, this information can show you what posts were the most effective in your online strategies. If you could create a different approach regarding the same subject, you could improve your business visibility among those on the social site.

Reputation Management

The Internet and social media have given virtually anyone a voice that can be heard among many. Should a customer have a bad experience with your company, it can become well known throughout his or her own social circles. Social media gives you the opportunity to discover what it is that people do not like about your business and improve. According to Carolyn O’Hara of Forbes, the interactions of these individuals can be spread quickly and damage your reputation if you don’t address it early.

Connecting with Consumers

Social media provides a platform in which your business can connect with consumers on a deeper level. Many people like to be singled out by a large corporation and addressed directly. This platform allows you to placate to those individuals and give a more personable appearance. It can help remove the facade of the “faceless corporation” and introduce a more friendly element. These connections could easily turn into future sales of products and/or services as occasional consumers become fans.

Cost and Time Efficiency

Social media use doesn’t take a great deal of time or money in order to be effective. By spending less than a half-hour per day, you can reach out to thousands of potential customers with a single post or tweet. An active social media account resonates within various consumers and gives them that connection mentioned earlier. In some ways, an inactive social profile and website is as bad as a deserted building in terms of attracting people.

Social media can be used to enhance your business platform in a variety of ways. Whether you’re developing video, blog posts or sending out Twitter messages, it’s another viable method of getting your brand noticed. Use the data you collect from these sites and give the consumers a greater experience.

 

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Children and the Technology Explosion

Anyone who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s can testify to the mind-staggering growth of technology that has occurred over the past 30 or more years. What was once an amazing hand-held calculator has now been incorporated into a “phone” that can perform hundreds of actions that would have once required a computer that filled an entire room.

Growing Up in a World Flooded with Technology

Gone are the days when electronic entertainment consisted of a daytime television lineup of soap operas during the week, Saturday morning cartoons and golf on the weekends. Today, children are exposed to an excessive amount of electronic stimuli in the form of video games, computers, social networking and 24-hour television programs that are comprised of almost every genre.

The Information Age

We live in a fast-paced world that requires us and our children to stay updated with current technological advances in order to stay competitive and ensure success. As a result, we find our families spending less time interacting on a personal level and more time communicating through technology by texting, email messaging and talking on the phone. According to an article published by SFGate, the toddlers and pre-school age children of today make up the first “digital generation.” It is not uncommon to witness a child, who is still in diapers, successfully navigating through his or her parent’s cell phone or tablet.

Encouraging Creativity in Our Culture

It is easy to spend our leisure hours immersed in beautifully designed electronic games that capture and keep our attention for hours. It is important as humans, though, that we develop and foster creative skills in order to properly develop our minds. If children are not encouraged to engage in activities that promote individual expression, an important part of their minds will fail to be developed. It is important for parents, extended family and educators to make a concerted effort to pull children away from the magnetism of electronics and introduce them to the joy that is found in creative expression.

Limiting Exposure to Electronics

It is easy for both adults and kids to become preoccupied with electronics and neglect other activities that promote relaxation and exercise. Limiting exposure to games, entertainment and hand-held devices is a good way to keep individuals from spending too much time disconnected from the physical world. Parents and caregivers can set rules that work well for their families such as turning off all electronics at a certain time and banning devices from the dinner table.

Taking Breaks from Technology

Scheduling trips to a local museum, the beach or to other fun places is a great way for families to rediscover the joy that is found in simple activities. Many communities sponsor festivals that have a specific theme, and some areas have day camps such as Fitness By the Sea that embrace the unique, inquisitive nature of children and engage them in educational activities. Making a commitment to schedule an outing once a month is a great way to encourage anticipation and excitement in children for an upcoming, exciting event.

 

Science:

5 Ways the Smartphone Can Help in Physical Therapy

Accidents can happen frequently when you subject yourself to extensive physical activity. Sometimes, physical therapy is needed in order to regain your range of motion and strength in the limbs. During your therapy, there are several ways that your smartphone can play an active role to increase your rate of healing. Although it may not be a medical device, the apps and capabilities of this phone can help keep you focused and on task during your therapy.

Nutrition Apps

One of the most important aspects to physical recovery is through monitoring your diet. As mobile devices continue to develop across the planet, many developers have created some of the most intricate applications for monitoring your food intake. These apps can show you what you shouldn’t be eating compared to what edibles are ideal for a speedy recovery. You may even find yourself using the app after your therapy has been a success in order to maintain nutritional fitness.

GPS Tracking for Movement Monitoring

Many apps will utilize the GPS functionality of the smartphone in order to track physical movement. Apps such as Run Keeper will calculate your movement and time lapsed in order to provide an accurate portrayal of your physical activity. Some therapy may require you to walk a certain distance per day. This kind of software can display all of the pertinent information that you and the physical therapist may need for developing a treatment strategy.

Receiving Messages About Therapy

Mobile marketing is developing at an astounding rate and can help you find affordable physical therapy regardless of your needs. Facilities may use SMS marketing that can send you coupons or discounts for therapy through texts should you sign up for these kinds of offers. According to this post, discounts and deals are often used by therapists to encourage visits allowing you to maximize the experience at an affordable rate.

Email Notifications

One of the most utilized pieces of technology ever created is email. Setting your smartphone up for receiving these messages can help you keep your day organized regardless of where you are. It can help you stay in immediate contact with your therapist while scheduling sessions. According to this post by Mike Vardy, email is efficient through your smartphone because it’s a device that you have with you and use on a regular basis.

Weight Training

Another aspect of some physical therapy is monitoring weight training. There are many apps that can integrate with each other for enhancing the experience of lifting weights that can make it fun as well as therapeutic. Apps such as WeightTraining.com use points to compete with others to become number one. However, you want to check with your therapist regarding weights and exercise to make sure you don’t over exert yourself while you heal.

Smartphones can be used for far more than searching for nearby restaurants or chatting on social media channels. This unit can be one of the most profound tools for everyday life ever conceived for the 21st century. Explore the possibilities of what the phone in your pocket can help you achieve and become more efficient throughout your day.

 

Lifestyle:

5 Tools To Increase Your Lending Potential

Small businesses were hit hard by the recession and they have still not fully recovered. However, there has been a slow and steady climb in the right direction and lending numbers for small businesses are on the rise. ImperialAdvance.com states that with the close of 2014, demand for working capital loans surged and, with the CRA-reporting that lenders have $206 billion worth of loans out to small businesses, the outlook is optimistic. Here is what small businesses can do to improve their lending potential in a still semi-hostile environment.

Be Financially Prepared

One of the most important places to start in the pursuit of a small business loan, according to David Mielach writing for BusinessNewsDaily, is getting one’s personal finances in place. Banks will, as part of their process, take a look at the personal credit history and financial conditions of the parties applying for the small business loan. Running a credit check preemptively will help any applicant be prepared and handle any red flag issues that may hurt their chances. Getting credit card debt in check and having any assets appraised, such as a home, are also two things that can be done to make one more attractive to lenders.

Have Financial Documents Prepared

It’s not just having one’s personal finances in place, the business also needs to be completely prepared before beginning the application process. Some of the papers the lenders are sure to want to see include the business plan, existing financial statements, tax returns and bank statements. The business plan should include projections for future sales, profits, cash flow and income that can be compared against the balance sheets and income statements of the preceding years. Any additional research on similar businesses that can be handed in with the documents that prove the viability of the business in the market can also be a big boost.

Consider SBA Loans or Financing

Looking outside of the traditional big banks and into the Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs are another way to increase lending potential. According to the SBA, it doesn’t loan money directly, but it does help small businesses get funding at low interest rates and add somewhat more flexibility, as the lending standards are somewhat lower. That being said, applying for this type of loan still requires thorough documentation and is much easier when the applicant has healthy personal finances.

Make the Business Compelling

Making a compelling argument for why the business is relevant can also aid the loan application process. The story needs to be fast, compelling and easy to communicate with lenders. Being able to come up the business and define the mission/vision in a few sentences, like pitching a movie, is key. This should include how and why the business will grow, what makes it stand out against the competition, and ultimately why a small business loan is necessary and why the lender should jump on board. After all if the applicant doesn’t know why they deserve a loan, why should the lender give them one?

Have an Attractive Internet Presence

The Internet plays a huge role in business these days and having an active and attractive presence is a good way to appeal to lenders. Having an established and well built website with an active blog and social media pages can be ways to demonstrate consumer appeal and engagement. There are all manners of business promotional tools available, from video interviews to analytic services, and they can help prove to lenders that a business is worthy of a loan.

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