SEO – What is Search Engine Optimization and How it Can Benefit Your Business

What is Search Engine Optimization?Search Engine Optimization, which is also known as SEO, is the process of increasing the volume and quality of traffic to a website from search engines via organic or search results. The higher your company’s website ranks on Search Engine Result Page (SERP), the more searchers will visit your site.As a marketing strategy for increasing site’s relevance, SEO consultants consider how search algorithms work and what people search for. A SEO process may involve a site’s coding and structure, content and copywriting, site presentation, as well as fixing other problems that will prevent search engines from indexing your company website. If your company’s website is not indexed by search engines, there will be no chance at all for your site to get high visibility rankings on search engines. Therefore, it is extremely important for businesses to take note of SEO and make sure that their websites are properly indexed by search engines.The term “SEO” can also refer to “Search Engine Optimizer”. This is an industry term that refers to agencies and consultants that carry out search engine optimization process on behalf of their clients, and by employees who perform SEO services in-house. Every agency and consultant has their own SEO methodology; therefore they may use different methods to achieve high organic rankings for websites. In most cases, in order to have effective SEO, it may require changes to the HTML source code of a site, SEO tactics will be incorporated into website development and design. That is why almost all credible SEO agencies and consultants will first look at the design and back-end architecture of a website before starting any SEO process. This will ensure that SEO is carried out effectively.Search Engine Optimization as a Marketing Strategy for BusinessesSo how should businesses use SEO as a marketing strategy? The primary objective of implementing SEO to a company’s website is to drive targeted traffic to it. Eye tracking studies have shown that searchers scan a search result from top to bottom and left to right, looking for relevant results. Therefore, if your site is near the top of organic listings rankings (organic listings refer to the web results that are listed on the left hand side of the SERP), it will most likely increases the number of searchers who will visit your site.A successful online marketing campaign may usually involve SEO, but it also consists of the use of paid advertising on search engines, building high quality websites to engage and persuade site visitors take action either through enquiries or online sales, setting up analytic programs to allow site owners to measure their successes and improving a site’s conversion rate.Benefits of SEO for BusinessesBusinesses can benefit from SEO in a lot of ways, be it to increase brand awareness, get sales leads or increase sales revenue. The following is a list of benefits that businesses can get from SEO:o Get more targeted traffic. SEO can increase the number of visitors to your site who are actively searching for your product or service.o Increase brand awareness. SEO can give your brand a high international profile. You can also use SEO to create brand awareness for any new service or product by optimizing related product/service key phrases to rank higher on search engines.o Marketing your brand 24/7. With SEO, your website will get exposure 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – without stopping.o Higher sales. As SEO brings you targeted traffic, it can mean increased sales of your product or service.o Long term positioning. Once a properly optimized & designed site is in place, rankings on organic listings should be consistent whereas the cost for Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising is ongoing.o More value for dollars. Once your company’s website has achieved high organic rankings for various key phrases, you will not have to pay for each visit. Whereas for PPC Advertising, to enjoy high ranking visibility on search engines, you need to pay for each click or visit to your site.However, to make sure that you have a successful SEO implementation, you need to make sure that your dedicated SEO agency abides to the guidelines of search engine when optimizing your site…White Hat SEO VS Black Hat SEOWhen it comes to SEO, there are 2 schools of thoughts – White Hat SEO vs Black Hat SEO. White hat SEO is techniques that search engines recommend as good practice and black hat SEO is those techniques that search engines do not approve of. For SEO consultants who practise white hat SEO, they tend to produce results that last a long time. Black hat SEO techniques may get a website to rank well initially, but the site will eventually be banned either temporary or permanently once search engines discover what they are doing.So it is very important for you to know the best practices in the SEO industry and make sure that the SEO agency that is handling your account uses techniques that conform to the search engines’ guidelines and involves no deception.White hat technique is generally summed up as creating content for users, not the search engines. The content that is created should be easily accessible to search engine spiders, rather than intending to trick the algorithms from its intended purpose. So, the general rule of thumb is to stay on the safe side by creating content that is relevant to your target audience. Search engines value relevancy – they will definitely want to rank a site higher their organic listings if the content on the site is what searchers are looking for.Black hat technique usually involves techniques that attempt to improve rankings that are disapproved by search engines, or involve deception. One common black hat technique is to use hidden text, either as text coloured similar to the background of the website, or positioned off-screen. Another common technique known as cloaking is to load a different page depending on whether the page is accessed by a human or a search engine spider.Search engines will penalize sites which use black hat techniques, either by reducing their organic rankings or even eliminating them from their database completely. This is a very costly mistake on the business point of view as you will lose out a lot of grounds as your competitors are enjoying free organic traffic from search engines due to their high rankings for major key phrases. One infamous example was in February 2006, whereby Google removed BMW Germany from its database for use of black hat methods. However, the company has quickly apologised and cleaned up the offending pages and were eventually restored to Google’s database.Therefore, it is very important to make sure that your SEO agency is moving away from black hat methods. You will not want to be blacklisted by search engines which will translate into loss in sales and profits.Keyword Research – The Key Factor to Successful SEO ImplementationMajor search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN Live and AOL get a lot of searches every day. Before you implement SEO to your website, you must know what key phrases or keywords your target audience is using to search for the product or service that you offer.Whether you like it or not, there is a good chance that many people have never heard of your company. These people might be your customers, if only they can find you on search engines and buying from you. It is well accepted that building awareness is the first step to land a new customer. For example, when someone sees a TV advertisement about that new car, you hope that he or she is in the market for a car at the moment. However, relatively few people are in that situation at any one time. Majority of people who saw the TV advertisement have no interest in buying a car at the moment. But someday they will. So advertisers know that the messages – the model of the car and company name in their commercials will stick in viewers’ minds, who might remember the message later when they are ready to buy a car. It is the same for SEO.Searchers might not know that your company offers a particular product or service unless they see your site listed on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP). Unless they see your listings, they will not think of you. Most of the time, searchers looking for a product or service for the first time might not be aware of any specific company or brand name as they are just gathering information. However, according to a research done by search marketing consultancy iProspect, more than 55 percent of searchers expect to see big brands listed at the top of search results. The same study also shows that over 66 percent of searchers believe that sites that are listed at the top of search results are the top companies in their field. So can you imagine how this affects your company’s brand awareness? If your company’s website is not listed at the top of search results, they will not see your company as a “big brand” in their mind. Therefore, it is extremely important for you to optimize keywords or key phrases that your target prospects will use to find the product or service that you are offering.So what types of keywords or key phrases should you choose? Businesses should target keywords that are relevant to the content of their websites. Basically, keywords can be categorized into 3 types, which are: “Too Hot Keywords”, “Just Right Keywords”, and “Too Cold Keywords”. Too Hot keywords are single word search terms like “Aircon” and “Translation” which do not seem to be targeted enough to get conversions. These keywords usually bring in high search volume (which is naturally tempting to optimize) but the conversion may not be as ideal as targeting keywords which falls into the “Just Right” category. (For examples: Aircon Servicing, Translation Agency Singapore”) By optimizing those “Just Right” keywords, businesses can get more targeted traffic to their websites and increase the chance of conversions.Choosing the right keywords is the real beginning of any SEO effort. After you have determined the right set of keywords to target, you can start the work of search engine optimization.Why do you need to outsource SEO?SEO is a very time-consuming process as continual fine-tuning and monitoring need to be done. Therefore, it is advisable for you to hire a search engine optimization agency to plan out the optimization plan for your company.A professional SEO agency will look at your site and make recommendations to increase your search engine ranking and website traffic. Once they start to optimize your website, they will provide recommendations and monitoring reports for you to know the progress of it.Last but not least, in order to achieve successful optimization results, it is very important for your SEO agency to work closely with your website designer if you have your own IT department. This is because your company website needs to be both visually appealing and search engine friendly in order to achieve high organic rankings, as well as conversions.

Top Tips on Shopping for Discount Software

Most business today, graphic and IT businesses in particular, are in need of legal and efficient computer software. However, this can be quite expensive especially for beginners. Good thing there are licensed software available at much affordable price than the product’s suggested retail price. You can find and purchase these discount software online.Even though there is a lot of inexpensive computer software on the Internet, some people are anxious when buying because of the widespread online fraud and scam happening these days. Even so, hunting for the cheapest deals on stores can be challenging. But if you shop around, you can certainly find good deals on discount software. All you need are some tips on how to avoid the frauds.Safe Discount Software ProgramsThe Internet is indeed an extremely engaging place due to the amount of stuffs you can find and discover. Shopping for discount software online can be confusing, especially if it’s your first time to purchase it on the Internet. There are things you need to learn beforehand about how to search for websites that offer the best deals on the most popular software programs.To do this, you have to understand coupon code sources, comparison shopping and the websites that offer educational discounts on computer software. If you are either upgrading your software or buying a new one, it is very important that you know exactly what you are looking for.
Research the specific product you want and look for reviews. Online discount shops allow users who have bought the product to post comments and share their experiences about the software. This will make it easier for you to decide whether buying the program is worth its price.
Your computer has to meet the requirements of the software. If you are not sure about this, you may talk with your computer technician.
Check the descriptions and features of the software before making the final decision of purchasing it. A lot of times, companies do not allow refund once the product has been opened and used. Make sure that it is the software has the type of program you need before paying it.
Scams and frauds are very common when buying online. Make sure to only buy from reputable websites that guarantee genuine software and high quality customer service. Double check the information and make sure you have a copy of every purchase transaction details.
Check the website’s policy regarding the procedure, charges, shipping fees and mode of payment. Paying through PayPal or credit card is highly recommended when buying online.
Buying Genuine Software for LessHere are some pointers to take note when purchasing licensed software programs on the Internet that come with discounts.1. Make sure to compare the different available software. There are sites that provide comparison for software shopping. Just because you find a popular site, doesn’t mean it offers the best deals. Widen your research and make good use of the Internet for this.2. Do not forget to check the extras such as shipping fees. There are sites that offer free shipping, but make sure the price is still reasonable. Others do offer free shipping cost, but they are much more expensive than others. See if the price is balanced and appropriate for the services provided.3. If there is a specific software program that you want to buy, you can go to the manufacturer’s website and join their email list or follow their blog, Facebook page or Twitter. This way, you will be updated if they have posted any new deals.4. If you want to save money, prefer getting the upgraded versions of the software that are already in your computer. Most software companies offer discount upgrade for people who already have an older version of their products. You can check out your existing software and see if you already own an older version of the software you want to buy.5. There are companies that will ask you to purchase their software upgrade with certain requirements. Go to the company’s website to know what these requirements are.6. Most software companies offer big discounts for their full version software but only to registered users of their trial versions. Turns out, registering your email is worth it after all.7. Before you buy any software, check how many computers the program is eligible to run on. There are software programs that can only be used on three computers such as the Microsoft Office Home. Some programs are available in family packs, wherein the price will be cheaper for each computer.8. If you need specific features in your program, pick the software that includes these features. There are programs that come with multiple features, but they also cost more. You will be able to save considerable amount if you purchase a program with just the features you need.9. If you decide to use coupon codes with your order, make sure the company permits the use of all the promotions. In most cases, using several discounts is not allowed if the product is already on sale. If so, the coupons may not be used into your shopping cart.10. Students of specific educational institutions, including staff members and faculty are given numerous discount software offers by companies such as Microsoft, Coral, Apple, Adobe, Google (SketchUp) and Symantec. These programs are the same with the retail versions. However, you cannot use them for commercial purposes.11. Older versions are still very reliable and cost a lot cheaper. You can still use these instead of getting an upgrade, especially if you cannot find discount software.Discount Software for Students, Educators and ParentsThere are many discount software available for students, educators, parents and other non-profit community members. Some websites even offer unbelievable deals and discounts on software programs. All you need is to fax your academic proof and once it is confirmed, the company will ship the product to your home. You can continue using the software even after you leave your school or college.Shopping for discount software online can be confusing, but it is also a reliable source especially for those who prefer shopping on the Internet instead of going from one store to another. If done properly and safely, this can save you money as well as time.

Forget About Achieving Forex Trading Success If You Do Not Have a Robust Trading Plan

It’s a commonly known fact that all forms of financial trading involves risks, Forex Trading is no exception. And in order to achieve Forex Trading Success, the first and foremost step is to have a robust trading plan.Serious Forex Traders like myself who make a living trading the currency markets treat this as a form of “Business”. And like all brick and mortar business models, our “Trading Plan” is the equivalent of a “Business Plan”. Imagine if you are planning to loan money to a new business as a form of investment.Would you fork out your hard earned money to someone who don’t even have a decent business plan or to someone who said they were going to start their business based on their “Gut” feeling? Logically speaking, it is not feasible for a person to start a business solely based on gut instincts alone, yet alone trading with your hard earned money.Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that majority of new traders have the tendency to start their trading endeavors in exactly that manner. Newbie traders often do not have any trading plan or agenda at all. In fact, most beginner traders barely have a valid reason for entering a trade, they simply shoot from the hip.Now, how do you expect to achieve Forex Trading Success if you don’t even have the faintest idea what you are getting yourself into?Luckily, creating a trading plan is actually not that difficult.In my book, there are several essential components of a trading plan and these include the following:
Trading Goals & Targets.
What Currency Pairs To Trade & When To Trade Them.
Proper Money Management.
Effective Trading Strategy.
Trading Mindset
Trade Analysis & Reflection.
Trading Goals & TargetsFirst and foremost, you got to ask yourself why are you trading in the first place?What are your goals and objectives for trading? How much return on your investment do you want to make in a month? Are you going to be a day trader or a swing trader?These are the typical questions you need to know before you even begin trading.Next, you need to define your trading goals and targets. Most newbie traders have totally unrealistic goals. I actually met a new trader who have no prior trading experience, bought a best selling e-book on Forex Trading on the internet and sworn he will be able to turn his initial $10,000 investment turn into $100,000 in one year’s time. Although this is possible, it is highly improbable. These unrealistic expectations are often the Achilles Heels of most newbie traders.From my experience, I reckon that if you are able to break even in the first year, give yourself a pat on the back. Most beginner traders I know can’t even achieve that.What Currency Pairs To Trade & When To Trade ThemFor some weird reasons, most traders have the tendency to trade their own currency, perhaps this is their way of showing “Patriotism” or something like that.But my personal preference is to trade currency pairs that are fairly volatile and have tight pip spreads. Personally, I prefer to avoid trading currency pairs that are illiquid and choppy. Currency pairs like the EUR/USD and the USD/JPY are my favorites. Other traders I know love trading choppy pairs instead, well, it’s entirely up to your own trading preference.Next, you also need to decide when is the best time to trade these currency pairs that you have selected.Since I trade around the clock, I choose to trade these currency pairs when their respective foreign exchanges are “Active” and where trading volumes are high.Proper Money ManagementMoney management is probably the one of the most important aspects of trading.Would you rather be a fantastic trader, but used poor money management? Have 9 small wins and 1 major loss that practically wipes out your entire winnings. Or would you rather be an average trader, but have prudent money management, making a tidy profit even when your win-to-loss ratio is against you. I think the answer is pretty obvious.Even the best traders will eventually blow out their account if they don’t manage their risk levels properly.Most successful traders are only willing to risk only 1-3% of their account equity on each trade, this ensures that they stay longer in “Business” if you encounter a draw down.Effective Trading StrategyThe other aspect of Forex trading success most traders are concerned about is perhaps the Trading Strategy used.I can’t stress enough that there is no such thing as the “Holy Grail” of Forex Trading, there is no perfect trading strategy that ensures you win 100% of the time.Traders should instead focus on using a trading strategy that gives then a trading “Edge”, one that stacks the probabilities in their favor, allowing them to win more than they lose in the long run.Without an effective trading strategy, proper money management will only mean that you lose your account equity slowly but inevitably.Trading MindsetTrading mindset deals with a trader’s thoughts, habits and emotions. It is by far, the most important component that determines your Forex Trading Success. Four human characteristics of “Greed”, “Hope”, “Fear” & “Ignorance” will always rear its ugly head in every trade we make.Without a properly trained mindset, newbie traders have the tendency to change their strategies whenever they encounter a draw down.Draw downs are common, and they can happen to the best of traders, it is how we return to basics and not deter from our trading plan that makes us successful in the long run.The currency market is not just the largest financial market in the world, it is also the largest mirror to our soul.Trade Analysis & ReflectionThe final component of a good trading plan is to keep a journal of all your trading results.For starters, you can use a spreadsheet to keep a simple record of your trades made in terms of the currency pair traded, time of entry, reasons for entry, profit or loss made etc.Next, analyze what are the trades that cost you money and how you can avoid making the same mistakes again.Correspondingly, analyze the trades that made you money and how you can fine tune it so that it has a higher chance of achieving similar results in the future.The statistics on this spreadsheet will allow you to identify problems with your trading strategy so you can fix them.Remember to track everything in monetary dollar value instead of pips as a 100 pips profit may represent only $10 depending on your risk management ratio.In my book, all successful traders have some sort of a trading plan, and it is imperative that all newbie traders formulate theirs and stick to it in order to achieve Forex Trading Success.Have a safe and profitable trading day ahead.