Tigga.org – How I got into SEO

Tigga was a university project I undertook to understand the challenges of crowdsourcing content. At the time I didn’t have the understand I have today regarding SEO, in particular link-building, therefore I opened the doors to too many do-gooder content writers which were actually trying to acquire back-links for their clients/websites.

tigga.org print screen

How I learnt about blogger outreach

As Tigga offered the opportunity for external writers to submit content, I received hundreds of emails each month from companies/agencies wanting to submit content to the website. I learnt a lot from their outreach tactics and adapted the most creative ones to my own outreaching strategies.

Tigga helped me learn about blogger outreach which aided me tremendously when developing blogger outreach strategies for a major German travel platform. – Flavio Longato

Bloggers and SEO agencies – a continuous bombardment of spam

It was getting extremely difficult to filter out good content from spam, I’ve used many tools such as Akismet to filter them out, but what happens when your sites model is completely around user generated content? It is a constant battle to  read through emails and trying to understand the biases of each writer. Therefore I  found myself asking 3 simple questions;

  • What are the goals of this writer?
  • Why are they interested in submitting an article?
  • Are they representing a client and want to acquire free advertorials?
Example of spammy comment left on tigga.org

Example of spammy comment left on tigga.org

Sadly the answers to these questions where mostly directed towards cheap seo agencies looking for quick wins for their clients.

Search engines like google has proactively gone against these practices and have since then update their webmaster guidelines to include:

Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links – Google Inc

I personally welcome Google’s efforts to try and decrease the benefit of these backlinks so that these stakeholders will decrease their efforts of spamming the internet.

Where is Tigga now?

Since then I’ve tried to clean up the content and get the website to focus more on international affairs. Sadly I found it to be too much time consuming and therefore I have placed the website off-line until I can properly assess what direction (if any) to take with this project.

MySwissHoliday.com – The SEO experiment

I wanted to really dig into how SEO plays a role in the travel industry, I knew from past experience that it is a very competitive industry with billion dollar players which have hundreds of thousands of backlinks.

I was realistic and completely understood that ranking on the first page of Google would require years of commitment, thousands of travel articles and natural back-links from many good sources.

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SEO for HolidayCheck AG

HolidayCheck AG is the leading hotel review portal of the DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) markets. With over 5.5 million hotel reviews, pictures boasting 20-30 million unique page visits each month.

holidaycheck.com

The challenge of search engine optimization for HolidayCheck:

Doing SEO for a platform which has almost 16 million pages is a major challenge and after grasping its sear size, it becomes apparent that content itself is not the only factor why such a great platform needs top SEO specialist which can handle big data.

Now imagine performing SEO for the UK, French, Spanish, Italy, Czech, Chinese and Russian platforms and having to deal with Baidu, Yandex, Seznam?

Online Marketing Specialist – Search Engine Optimization

My primary responsibility was to ensure that all new markets platforms (.COM, .ES, .IT, .CZ, .RU, .CH) were optimized for SEO. I was also an internal SEO consultant and assisted many major company wide projects. As an English native, it was also my task to ensure that all written content on .COM was accurate and relevant to our target audience.

Other duties including but not limited to:
• Increase site content through partnerships / acquisition
• Manage external SEO / Marketing agencies ensuring that all obligations are fulfilled
• Create and maintain relationships with journalists, bloggers and industry leaders.
• SEO reporting for new markets platforms and strategic recommendations

You can find more about what I did on my LinkedIn profile.

There are other aspects which I managed that I may not discuss due to a non-disclosure agreements.
 

What I learn from doing SEO for HolidayCheck AG:

chicken-egg

When you do SEO in such a scale, you really start understanding the impact of internal linking and how it can  dramatically affect the rankings of major pages which are located deep inside the platform. Finding ways to promote top travel destinations, hotels and POIs on an automated scale is not an easy task, sure you can use Analytic data but the question which always comes up is:

a) Does that destination have a lot of organic traffic because our algorithm has increased its internal position, thus indicating to search engines that more “link juice” / domain rank equity should be associated to that page?

b) If the destination were to rank lower on our site, would it still have the same volume of visitors?

Off-page SEO and HolidayCheck

Another unique factor is how natural hotels and poi’s link to HolidayCheck’s site, so much so, that I needed to monitor our back-link portfolio so that Google did not think we were doing something artificial (which we were not). Every back-link was earn via link bates and hotels just linking to their reviews (Good Content).

Marketing Campaigns:

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As my key strength is DATA, I helped other marketing managers with their online marketing campaigns: one task I had was to find travel related websites and contact them so that they may communicate some of our marketing campaigns. I devised a crawler which would go into the top 20 personal travel blogs, go to the “blogroll” and crawl those blogs for more “blogrolls” I limited the search to 10 levels and found almost 30,000 blogs with and contact information. From there I ranked the blogs based on relevance, Alexa, PageRank, Domain authority and contacted the top 20% with the hope that others would follow.

Reducing Printing and Copying Costs of a Business

With the current plummeting economic rates, minimizing input while maximizing output is a necessity that guarantees whether your business thrives or crumples. Research affirms that even 3% of the business expenses are attributed to printing and copying expenditures. An even more worrying is that in the bid to minimize operational costs, most businesses overlook the costs of printing and copying, which as we have found out are eating up a big chunk of business resources, especially when it goes unnoticed.

Below are some of the ways in which you can cut down printing and copying costs and cut down the overall operating overhead.

Invest in High Quality Printers

The first step towards cutting down on printing and copying costs is to invest in the right printers for your printing needs. While these devices are more expensive at first, in the long run their use will save a lot of money for your business because they generally use much less toner. When choosing a printer you need to decide the amount of printing and the kind of documents needed. If most of your printing is just black and white text, you do not require multiple color printers.

Additionally, a laser printer is a better option since it is faster and thus suitable for business that print a large number of pages. Inkjet printers normally guzzle a lot of ink and are more suitable for home use. Buying a printer that turns off automatically is a good idea since it will also save on energy bills.

Upgrade Your Devices

Being stuck with an old device means that your business not only produces work that is below standard but also that it translates to more expenses, since such devices require time to operate. A business should conform to the current technology to improve production and simplify maintenance.

Decrease Your Printing

While printing, the most important thing to consider is what part if the document you want printed. Many employees will hand out a whole file for printing whereas they only needed a few pages of the printed. They usually later discard the pages which they don’t need, thus wasting time, paper and color.

Decreasing the number of prints you make per month will also help your business go green.

Implement Good Printing Practices

Good printing practices mean the following: utilizing photocopying of documents where multiple copies are required, this is because photocopying is more economical as opposed to printing. Teach the employees how to utilize the printer’s capability to produce varying degrees of quality depending on the purpose of a document. This means you save on ink. Avoid using dark-colored paper but instead use light paper that is cheaper and easier to recycle.

Establish Printing Rules

A lot of waste occurs when employees print documents that are not useful to the business. These can be anywhere from personal documents to unnecessary pages being printed regularly. To avoid this, establish rules to ensure only required documents are printed.

However, for all these tips to work for your business, it is advisable to step up and lead your people by example. That is the best way to ensure the new procedures are followed.

HTC one mini: Same but smaller?

HTC is surfing on the wave with its HTC one. The Taiwanese brand has been proposing a new experience to costumers with its flagship phone, and is planning doing it again. With over 5 million units sold, can the HTC one mini follow the same success story as its big brother?

HTC one

Design

First look and it appears the One Mini’s design is faithful to its big brother. It provides us with the same quality materials and the famous “zero-gap” full metal design. Most innovative functionalities such as the front-mounted Boomsound speakers, the “ultrapixel” technology and the Zoe features camera that allow multi-still/video functionalities are still present.

This new smartphone measures 63.2 mm wide by 132mm high with a 4.3 inches LCD screen . The total weight is estimated at 122g (slightly heavier than the Samsung Galaxy S4, 107g). The device thickness is an impressive 9.25mm which make the One mini , one of the thinnest device in the market. Therefore, at a glance the HTC one only appears smaller and identical in term of features proposed from its predecessor.

Innards

The most challenging aspect for a manufacturer in the miniaturization process is to provide high-ended quality product, at a lower cost without damaging the brand or product image.  Competition is tough in this market segment and Samsung is perceived as the main competitor. Its main successful device series; the Galaxy has been proven extremely successful and set standards high in this ultra competitive market.

The One Mini is powered by a 1.4GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with 1GB of DDR2 RAM and 16GB of internal storage.

The 4G, Dual-band Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth (4.0) are also from the party.  Regarding the front-facing camera. It is a 1.6-megapixel unit that supports 720p HD video, while the main camera supports full-HD 1080p video recording. GPS is also of course present along with compass, gyro, accelerometer and light sensor. The Li-polymer battery (1,800mAh) is less powerful than the S4 mini ( 1,900mAh). However HTC claims up to 20.72 hours GSM talk time and 500 hours on standby. Moreover, according to different benchmarks, both phones have the same performance in term of battery drainage. As an example, a 90 minutes HD video would drain approximately 19% battery. We have seen much worse! What is missing from the One mini in comparison to the One is the infrared remote control feature, Sense TV and NFC support. HTC explained that it was a decision made due to space reasons.

Conclusion

As a cheap 4G smartphone , the HTC one appears to be an excellent device. Two prices point below its big brother. The rollout of the HTC One mini, which will be available in silver or black, starts in August at price of 450 Euros. Germany and the UK will be delivered first, and available everywhere as soon as September.

BP – Fixed Term Annuities

Fixed Term Annuities

Making a decision on which annuity is right for you can often be a challenging and somewhat confusing task. For many people, it’s a stressful decision that can have a major impact on their income for the rest of their lives and therefore making the right decision is really important. There are a number of different annuity options available on the market, but for people who are looking for security and stability, fixed term annuities can prove to be a popular choice.

What is a fixed term annuity?

Fixed term annuities are exactly what their names says – annuities which are fixed for a certain amount of time, in most situations this is either five or ten years. Fixed term annuities ensure that you receive a certain amount of income over a certain period of time and they are a way of guaranteeing you an annuity over that period.

Who might select a fixed term annuity?

Anyone who is looking for a bit of stability in their annuity purchase may consider taking out a fixed term annuity. This specific investment is not reliant upon the market and therefore won’t deviate as many of your other investments could. Fixed term annuities also offer a level of income security to your beneficiaries, meaning that if you were to die unexpectedly before you had finished your annuity guarantee period, your remaining income could be paid to your beneficiaries, minus tax.

What are some benefits of a fixed term annuity?

Fixed term annuities provide you with a guaranteed income, and each month you know exactly how much you are going to receive which can give you peace of mind and some level of financial stability. Although your income might not be quite as high as someone who is on a variable annuity, in the current often volatile economic it can be a way of ensuring that you receive a reasonable and secure annuity income.

What are some disadvantages of a fixed term annuity?

One of the main problems associated with a fixed term annuity is that in some cases the return rate can be a lot lower than that of a traditional annuity. Most annuities move with market fluctuations and therefore can go up or down depending on the current economic situation. This could generate a higher income for someone who chooses to go with a flexible annuity.

About the author:

Paul is a freelance pension advisor from the UK working with The Annuity Specialist

How Technology Is Great In Every Aspect of Life

Even if you don’t realize it, technology plays an important part in your everyday life. It doesn’t matter if you don’t work with computers or get on the internet, technology is somewhere working behind the scenes to make things a little easier. Advances in technology, even if they do not affect you personally, advance the lives of every member of society.

  1. Advances in Education

Technology has revolutionized the education system. Today, students can take notes electronically and access their books online. Technology has helped teachers streamline the grading process which frees them up to concentrate on new ways of teaching. Students can now do a large amount of research online. They have access to resources they would have never known about without the internet. Schools today are equipped with technology that past generations only dreamed about. Everything from electronic tablets to digital microscopes are available to help students learn. Technology has made education systems around the world more efficient and more connected.

  1. Social Media

There is no getting around social media. It seems like everyone has at least one social profile. Social profiles are not the only way humans use technology to socialize. Cell phones have become necessities in our modern society. People contact each other through text and voice calls. They can check their email or social media profile. They can even surf the web almost wherever they are.

  1. Safety

Technology also plays an important role in the safety of our society. Law enforcement officers use technology to ensure people are driving safely. They use it to catch criminals. They are also coming up with better way to detect and alert the public when hurricanes, tornado’s, or other natural disasters are imminent. This is all thanks to technology.

  1. Medicine

If people were forced to live without a phone or the internet, they wouldn’t like it, but they would do it. One thing most people would never give up that technology has given us, is advances in medicine. Everything, from vaccines to x-rays, owes their existence to computers and technology.

Without innovative humans who move technology to new places every day, the world would be an entirely unrecognizable place. People are so used to technology, that they sometimes forget how important it is. No matter what you decide to do, where you decide to go, or who you decide to be one thing is certain; technology will play a major role.

Enjoy the Wonderful Spain even if you are Disabled

Spain is a beautiful place which has its natural beauty and the man made beauty. This is the reason why people are highly attracted to the place and every year numerous people come to visit the place in order to enjoy the calm and serene beauty. There are disabled people who are also interested in visiting the country like Spain. There are many holiday opportunities now available for the disabled people and they can be prepared to fall in love with the place.

Spain is considered to be one of the most desired tourist destinations in the world and every person has a strong wish to visit the place. There are specialized travel agent who is in charge of arranging the disabled holidays in Spain which comes up with some extra facilities that can make the trip a comfortable one for the people who are disabled. There are different types of accommodation facilities available for the people such as the wheelchair friendly resorts, hotels, guest house, villas and self-catering apartments which gives the flexibility to enjoy the entire tour.

Spain tourism destinations

The disabled holidays offered by the agents need to be informed before time so that they can make proper planning for the person in order to avoid any kind of inconvenience. They need to understand the problem of the person and take the necessary step that can help them ensure the best travel experience for the disabled person. There are different popular attractions found in Spain which the disabled person needs to visit and therefore, the wheelchair accessible in necessary.

In case you are availing the disabled access holidays, you need to look for the kind of accommodation before booking it. You can follow the website and check the facilities offered by them for the disabled person. You can also confirm their service by communicating them. Once you know about the accommodation you can have the peace of mind. The travel agent will also take the initiative of booking the hotels through telephone or email and can ask them in order to confirm the booking along with the reference code.

Most of the holidays are now becoming more and more accessible to the individuals with the disability. There has been a huge improvement in the facilities that is now being offered by the hotels and the transportation system that is being arranged for the disabled person. Now, the disabled person can also reach out to the desired location with the help of the specialized travel agent. It is important on the part of the disabled people to carry out the medication to cope up with the difficult situation and can avoid any illness.

800px-Bilbao_Spain

You should always carry the medication and the medical certificate of the doctor that will prove that you are physically for for the holidays. When booking of the holiday you need to make sure that the booking agent is aware of the disability so that he can take the necessary measure and ensure you have a joyful trip.  The amenities will enable you to enjoy the holiday completely.

Alternative Ways Students Can Fund Themselves Whilst Studying

Paying for college is expensive, and it can take years to pay off student loan debt. Scholarships and financial aid packages often don’t cover everything. With all of the expenses, you may worry that you’ll end up eating noodles every night for four or more years. It does not matter where you study in the world from Richmond University in the UK, to Harvard University in the US luckily, students are still facing the same issues. Luckily, for those pro-active students there are a number of alternative ways you can fund your education and decrease your debt.

  1. Find out if your employer offers tuition reimbursement. A surprising number of companies will pay for your classes, especially if the coursework is relevant to their business and will help make you a better employee in the long run.
  2. Work on campus. Campus jobs often limit the number of hours students are allowed to work, so you will still have time to study. Even if work-study isn’t included in your financial aid package, it is worth looking into. Some students who are offered work-study may not use it, so there could be spots available. If not, ask your university to wait-list you for when an opening becomes available.
  3. Get a summer job. If you find it too stressful to work during the semester, a summer job can be a valuable source of money. Even if you don’t earn a lot or work full time, it will give you work experience that will make you more employable in the future.
  4. Search for scholarships from professional organizations. You may find a professional group related to your major that will provide you with a scholarship.
  5. Check out campus contest and raffles. A lot of times, universities will offer prizes for completing surveys about student life. They may be giving away free books or credit on your meal plan.1375685165_ea09e082ca_o[1]
  6. Buy used textbooks. College bookstores often sell books at much higher prices than online retailers. Selling them online can also get you more money then campus book buybacks. If you don’t need to write in a book, see if it’s available at the university library.
  7. Start your own business. Starting a business is easier than you think because everyone has a unique, marketable skill. Maybe you’re skilled at graphic design or have experience babysitting. These are the kind of jobs you’ll be able to schedule around your studying that require minimal start-up investment and can prove to be a handy and reliable source of income.Tutor other students. Students may be struggling in a class that you’ve already taken, and tutoring is a great way to earn income from your knowledge. Some colleges have programs that will pay you for your specialization, but don’t be afraid to advertise on your own.7658219802_46bbb17722_o[1]
  8. Be a research subject. Colleges and universities often conduct research studies and will pay you to participate.
  9. Do your dorm mate’s laundry? You never know – your fellow class mates may need some help with certain things around campus. Most college students hate doing laundry, and you will undoubtedly find people in your dorm who will pay you to do it for them. This job is especially easy because you don’t even have to leave your dorm.

Although the expense of college can see intimidating, you shouldn’t let it hold you back from getting an education. There are plenty of creative ways to fund your studies if you are determined and prepared to put the work in.

Tips To Improve Your Mental Health and Reduce Stress

It is impossible not to get stressful, especially in modern times. There is too much content for the brain to process and too much work to handle for the body. This leads to exhaustion which is one of the major causes of stress and depression.

But stress is curable, all you need to say is Álohamora, open the lock of your caged mind and walk through avenues of relaxation and entertainment. And here are some magic spells to take you away from stress and improve your mental health.

  1. Say Friend and Be Freed

Medical studies say friends can have a great impact when it comes to stress relief. Everyone has friends who will simply tell you to shut up when you feel like whining and letting out all your stress and tend to call you by names. But everyone also has who friends can be your anti-depressants. You can simply vent out your frustration and fears and empty your mind off negativity. It personally works for me and is honestly my way of relieving stress.

  1. Say Nature and Be At Peace

Nature is the remedy to almost all diseases, mental and physical. Those living in the fold of nature do not possess any kind of mental illnesses and even if they had previously, once shifting to nature gives them unlimited peace. It is free of noise, air, light and water pollution, and all of this contributes to the betterment of the mind.

If you have national parks near your city or parks within the town’s vicinity go there on weekends or evenings. Lie in the grass, looking at the trees and the sky and the little animals going around. Listen to the chirping of the birds and find melody in it. Smell the freshness of the grass and scent of flowers. Let go of everything related to your family and work and friends and your life and just give in to the bliss being gifted by nature. Meditate lying in the grass, be one with the earth, feel alive.

  1. Say Comedy and Have A Hearty Laughter

Sitcoms are instant stress busters. They tend to create humour around even the most serious of topics. This will not only let you feel connected to the positive vibes of the comedy but also, overtime, make you find comedy in your life too as you start relating to the sitcoms. In the age of smartphones, you can always watch them in your phone during your way back from work or in your bed or lying on the couch.

  1. Say Healthy Food and Exercise

Healthy, leafy vegetables in the form of salad can reduce stress exponentially. Also make fresh fruit and vegetable juices. Do not go for artificial juices, junk and processed food. Buy from farmers’ market.

Exercise every day. You do not need to join the gym for exercise. A basic jog and stretching in the morning will be enough.

These four spells will cast away your stress like Harry Potter’s Expecto Patronum sends Dementors flying.

Author Bio:

Lucy is an online content writer promoting ppi reclaim and other financial services. She is also an avid nature lover and finds meditation his key to staying fit.