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As part of my job at the company where I work, I basically “taught myself” how to do SEO.

It wasn’t easy and it didn’t happen overnight.

I don’t claim to be an absolute SEO expert, but I have learned a few tricks and shortcuts – I’m talking about ethical, effective, SEO strategies and tactics – not the sleazy and self-defeating kind that gets your site banned by Google. 

Unfortunately, I gained this knowledge from hard-earned experience – by having a few run-ins with unqualified, unreliable SEO vendors.

The fact is, there are too many bad SEO firms out there who make unrealistic promises, use weird and shoddy methods, and cause more harm than good.

Especially a few years ago, the field of SEO services was kind of a Wild West, with too many fly-by-night firms claiming to be able to deliver results that were ultimately unsustainable as Google tweaked its algorithm. 

The good news?

Good SEO matters and it makes a difference in your business results.

It is definitely possible – more than ever – to do SEO the right way to drive better search results and get more traffic to your site, without doing unethical tricks to game the system and without making your site sound like a robot wrote it. 

Here are five things I wish I had known before I hired my first SEO vendor.

1. SEO Guarantees Are Often Unrealistic

If an SEO firm is promising you “top 10 search results on Google,” just run.

It isn’t realistic.

In fact, it’s impossible to guarantee a top spot on Google, especially for some of the more popular and competitive search keywords.

It takes a lot of time and work to get your site to climb the ladder on Google.

Don’t expect it to happen overnight, and don’t trust anyone who tells you they can do it. 

2. SEO Takes Time

SEO is not something where you flip a switch and watch the results pour in – it’s an ongoing process.

You need to constantly tweak your site and adjust your SEO strategies, and then wait to see how Google views your results.

It’s like planting a garden – you have to plant the seeds, see which ones sprout and grow, and then you have to tend the garden over time to maintain the progress you’ve made.

The Google algorithm is constantly learning and adapting, so your SEO strategies need to keep up. 

3. Don’t Worry About Keyword Density

My first SEO vendor tried to get me to rewrite the content for our site as if a robot could read it, and put way too much focus on including a certain percentage of keywords within the overall text.

After a certain point, keyword density just starts to sound ridiculous – it changes the whole voice and flow of your content, and makes it feel like you’re writing for a robot.

Maybe this worked back in 2009, but Google has gotten smarter since then.

Google tends to reward websites that have higher quality content, where the website actually is “about” what it claims to be about – you can’t just stuff your website full of “business” terms and expect Google to send customers to you.

By all means, include keywords and try to target the keywords that are important for your business, but don’t go crazy with calculating keyword densities.

Write with humanity, for a human audience.  

4. Quality Links, Not Quantity Links

The SEO game used to be all about getting lots of links back to the site, even if you had to pay for links from shady link farms and other dark corners of the Internet.

The truth is: low-quality links are a loser’s game.

It isn’t about getting tons of links from lower-ranked sites; in fact, that’s bad.

Today, you want really good content that people want to read and share.

It’s better to work harder to get a few good links from well-respected sites (like Search Engine Journal) than to scrape the bottom of the barrel with an outdated link-building strategy.

Google judges you by the company you keep. If too many low-quality sites are linking to your site, your Google results will suffer.  

5. Want Quick Results? Use Google Ads

If you need an immediate boost in your SEO, buy Google Ads for your most important search terms. This puts you at the top of the listings right away.

Check out the Google Ads Keyword Planner tool to get started.

Keep experimenting and learning.

Try new things and see what gets results.

Conclusion

SEO never ends, so you must commit to it as an ongoing process.

Spend some time every week or every day on doing some of the simple everyday things, such as:

Creating new content.

Updating your website.

Posting links to your site on social media.

And more.

All of this will help you build a sustainable, long-term SEO strategy. 

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5 Things To Consider Before You Accept An Offer Letter

blog / Career 5 Crucial Things You Need to Know Before Accepting an Offer Letter

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You’ve shared your resume with various companies, cleared multiple rounds of interviews, and finally bagged that elusive job offer! But before you accept an offer letter, there are several important questions you must go over to ensure that you receive a fair job offer. An employment offer letter is a formal document sent to extend a job role to candidates. It generally has an overview of the position and carries information regarding the benefits, compensation package, starting date, work hours, etc. 

A good salary package is a key deciding factor for accepting any job offer; however, there’s more to consider before you do that. Besides the remuneration, some crucial aspects to consider are the company culture, the scope of career growth and development, the work environment, bonuses, and perks, among other things. 

So before you say yes to the job, here are five important questions you should ask an employer. 

5 Questions to Ask Before Accepting an Offer Letter

A new work opportunity can bring about a lot of excitement and enthusiasm in terms of making that next big career move. Whether it is a transitional shift or a drastic change of industry, learning all that you can about a job role and the company culture is incredibly important before you accept an offer letter. It is essential to evaluate the job offer carefully, check if you must negotiate the salary, analyze long- and short-term benefits, and most importantly, understand the company culture i.e. ethics, management style, mission, goals, etc. According to a McCrindle study, company culture greatly influences organizational success by enhancing employee engagement by 83% and achieving organizational goals by 80%. Moreover, having a checklist with the right questions will help you understand the company’s expectations and ensure that it meets your expectations and professional goals. 

Before you accept an offer letter, consider asking these five questions to make an informed career choice:

What is the New Role? Is it Better Than What I Have?

It’s important not to rush into a new job role you are unsure about. Evaluating what the daily responsibilities entail will help you get a better understanding of the job and be well-prepared. It is best to speak with the hiring manager to determine your immediate priorities, who to report to, an overview of your day-to-day or weekly responsibilities, and so on. Based on these factors, you can make your decision. Think about whether it excites you, help you grow in your career, or enables you to learn more and get closer to your long-term goals.

Does the Company Have a Good Reputation?

If you’re interested in exploring an opportunity with a certain organization, it is best to do a quick background check before you accept an offer letter. Read up on the company’s mission, vision, values, goals, and management style and get a general feel on how the company is doing in the current market. You don’t want to work for a company that has a bad reputation or may close its doors soon. Check out employee reviews on reliable websites and find out customers’ opinions about the company. While online reviews may not be 100% accurate, they will give you a better perspective on the company’s work culture.

ALSO READ: 10 Signs of a Toxic Work Environment and How to Spot Them Quickly

Is the Remuneration as Per My Expectation?

As we’ve mentioned before, the salary scale may not be the only point of consideration while taking up a new job but it is surely a major deciding factor. Evaluate the organization’s current remuneration and check if it aligns with your expectations and financial responsibilities. Consider negotiating a salary if you feel like it isn’t much of a leap from your previous job despite the experience you bring to the table. Go over the entire compensation package and discuss any matters regarding bonuses, perks, or insurance to make sure there is no confusion once you start working.

ALSO READ: How to Negotiate a Salary Offer That’s Lucrative (The Secret is Out!)

What are the Company’s Policies?

Every organization has different policies regarding onboarding, the training period, paid leave, bonuses, vacation time, etc. It is necessary to gather all the information you can about the company’s policies and how they will impact your responsibilities. Most companies have policies around code of conduct, health, safety at work, data protection, work hours, Paid Time Off (PTO), employee performance, etc. Learning about the company’s policies beforehand will help you decide if the job fits you.

Is There Good Scope for Growth? Accelerate Your Career with Emeritus

When it comes to new job opportunities, asking the right questions can help you find the role perfectly aligned with your career goals. To target these career goals, expand your professional growth by enrolling in globally accredited courses on Emeritus and taking your career to the next level! 

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I Drove Chevrolet’S New Bolt Euv Crossover And Now I Have An Ev Headache

I drove Chevrolet’s new Bolt EUV crossover and now I have an EV headache

The 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV has a problem and, embarrassingly for the new electric crossover, the headache is a family affair. Having spent time behind the wheel of the new EV last week, I can tell you it’s perky, affordable, and practical in its own way, as well as that it offers tech you’d previously have needed to splash out on a Cadillac to enjoy.

I can also tell you that the very elements that allow Chevrolet to make the Bolt EUV so attainable are at the root of its biggest issues. For all the new sheet metal – unique from the 2023 Bolt EV hatchback that launches alongside the crossover – there’s only so much that can be altered without pulling out the cards from the very bottom of the pyramid.

For Chevrolet, one of the primary charms of the Bolt platform today is just how familiar it is. The original car was launched in 2023; four years on, the supply base has matured, economies of scale have improved, and generally it’s become cheaper to manufacture. Now, it can reuse that platform for both the 2023 Bolt EV and Bolt EUV.

You can see the Bolt EUV’s recycling as either clever or cynical. While there may be some cannibalization of sales – would-be Bolt EV buyers opting for the 6-inch longer Bolt EUV – Chevrolet seems confident that there’ll be a net-gain overall. It’s also prepared to be flexible: there are enough common components that shifting the production mix between EV and EUV depending on how demand ends up breaking down shouldn’t be too much of a hassle.

Picking the crossover would be a whole lot easier, for example, were the Bolt EUV available with all-wheel drive. Sadly, like the regular Bolt EV, it’s front-wheel drive only, despite how Chevrolet brands the body style. That’s a limitation of the underlying platform and, though the engineers probably could revamp it to fit in a rear electric motor if they had sufficient time and cash to spare, right now that’s not on the roadmap and it’s hard to imagine the situation ever changing.

GM’s focus is on Ultium, its new platform for all-electric vehicles. There’ll be Ultium-based models across all of the company’s nameplates eventually, though they’ll kick off with the GMC Hummer EV and the Cadillac Lyriq SUV. Both are, conspicuously, high-price luxury models: a Hummer EV Edition 1 is three times what a Bolt EUV would cost you.

Eventually, assuming everything goes to plan, GM expects Ultium to be cost-effective for more affordable electric cars too. For the next couple of years at least, though, it’ll be the playground of the high end.

As I said in my Bolt EUV first drive, I suspect the absence of AWD as an option will hurt Chevy in some markets. Rivals in the segment, like the VW ID.4 and Tesla Model 3, offer AWD after all. Though a front-wheel drive EV on decent winter tires can be much better than an internal-combustion FWD car with the same rubber, there’s no escaping that for some drivers AWD is non-negotiable.

The Super Cruise situation is similarly complicated. Certainly, for the Bolt EUV to offer GM’s hands-free driver assistance technology – and to be the first outside of Cadillac to do so – is a feather in Chevy’s cap. All the same, it’s the old version of Super Cruise, not the new, “Enhanced” version which launched to great fanfare recently on the 2023 Escalade.

That means it can’t do automatic lane-changes, just keep you centered in the same line and maintain pace with the traffic ahead, without demanding you keep your hands on the wheel at the time. GM’s camera based driver-attention monitoring and Super Cruise’s stability are great, and it would be my assistance-system-of-choice were I planning a highway road trip any time soon, but the limitation is another reminder of how Chevrolet has revamped older technology for another release.

The reality is that the gap between the 2023 Bolt EV and the 2023 Bolt EUV is small. Very small. That extra space in the rear is literally just for legroom: the hatchback actually has a tiny bit more head, shoulder, and hip space, and even a slightly larger trunk than the crossover. Chevrolet’s usability improvements, like the latching one-pedal driving mode button, are for the most part present on both versions.

You can’t get Super Cruise on the 2023 Bolt EV, and it doesn’t come with the fancy dual-voltage charger the crossover includes, but it also starts at just $31,995. That’s $2k less than a base Bolt EUV, though if you want to add the $2.2k Super Cruise option you’ll need the crossover in Premier trim, which is from $38,495 (and throws in leather seats and a 360-degree camera, among other extras).

I’ve always had a soft spot for the Bolt EV, and like a lot of people who cover cars it’s an electric vehicle I often recommend as a solid budget option. Charming as the new Bolt EUV is, and as much as I enjoy Super Cruise, I’m not sure that’s all enough to sway the recommendation from its regular hatchback sibling. If low price without a range compromise are your primary motivators in buying a new electric car, I suspect the 2023 Bolt EV should still be your first port of call.

David Vs. Goliath, Part I

Less than a year ago, Brent Ruggles, IT manager at Snow Engineering & Corp. (SE Group), had no worries about the various high-speed internet service providers (ISPs) the company’s six U.S. and two international offices use. Because many of SE Group’s offices are in rural locations, the company, a ski industry consultancy, has to rely on smaller, local ISPs and doesn’t have the option of using one nationwide provider for all its locations.

That didn’t matter until Ruggles, offhandedly surfing the Web, happened upon news that the ISP providing service to SE Group’s Seattle office was about to cease operations. The second blow came months later when the company’s New Hampshire ISP came inches away from shutting its doors. What was once hassle-free for Ruggles has now become a time-consuming chore as he is forced to reevaluate the health of his existing ISPs, not to mention size up a second string of potential partners.

At a Glance

Company: SE Group

Location: Seven U.S. offices, including headquarters in Bellevue, Wash.; plus one office in Banff, Alberta, and another in Tokyo, Japan

Issue: A couple of the company’s small ISPs are closing down and SE Group needs to get alternative providers in place quickly.

Ruggles is not alone in his pain. Many small and mid-sized businesses over the last year have been waylaid by the financial problems hammering smaller ISPs, particularly those focused on digital subscriber line (DSL) services. DSL carriers that did not diversify their offerings have particularly suffered, because the service hasn’t taken off as expected. Some of the providers like Ruggles’ Seattle partner, Zyan Communications Inc. of Los Angeles, have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and are in the process of reorganizing. Others like his New Hampshire office ISP, Vitts Networks of Manchester, N.H., are struggling to get additional funding to keep their businesses afloat. The list of near-casualty ISPs grows on a daily basis. One of the most recent is one-time high-flyer PSInet Inc. of Asburn, Va., which in March shuffled around its top management deck and announced a plan to restructure debt.

Do your homework

What does all this market instability mean for business customers like SE Group? Mainly, that they are going to have to sink a lot more time and energy into how they evaluate and choose ISPs, especially when they’re looking for partners to be around for the long haul. It’s not like there’s an imminent shortage of players. International Data Corp. (IDC), a market research firm in Framingham, Mass., estimates that even with market consolidation, there are over 7,000 ISPs in the U.S. alone. And there is still strong revenue growth projected for the ISP category. According to IDC, total revenues for IP services among ISPs and traditional telecommunications players was $24 billion in 2000. That number is expected to surge to over $80.6 billion by 2005, a compound annual growth rate of 27.5%, say IDC analysts.

The complicating factor in all this for small and mid-size businesses is how to choose the right player amid all the hype, and now, hysteria over market consolidation. During the early heyday of DSL, many small and mid-size businesses were won over by the upstart providers’ state-of-the-art new services, ability to deliver personalized attention, and more competitive pricing options compared with what was offered by traditional, large telecommunications providers or regional bell operating companies (RBOCs). Until the market settles, however, experts say these may not be the best criteria upon which to evaluate an ISP partner. Instead, companies may now feel pressure to avoid the risk of new ISPs in favor of the long-term financial stability of established players, even though they may not necessarily offer the most compelling deals or services.

“Finding stable ISPs that will be around several years from now may be hard,” notes Steven Harris, senior research analyst with IDC, in New York. “Companies may be loath to go with a major RBOC for [Internet services], but they will survive and be around.”

Tomorrow, find out what you should look for when evaluating an ISP.

###

How Do I Learn About Bitcoin?

Introduction

The earliest and most well-known cryptocurrency is called Bitcoin. Through the use of a decentralized protocol, cryptography, and a means to reach international consensus on the status of a regularly updated public transaction record known as a “blockchain,” it permits peer-to-peer exchange of value in the digital sphere.

‘Practically speaking, Bitcoin is a type of digital money that exists independently of any government, state, or financial institution, can be sent anywhere in the world without requiring a centralized middleman, and has a well-established monetary policy that arguably cannot be changed.

Bitcoin may be viewed as a political, philosophical, and economic system deeper. This is because of how many technical elements it incorporates, how many actors and stakeholders it engages, and how the protocol modification process works. The term “Bitcoin” refers to the digital currency known as Bitcoin and the software system that underpins it. Both carry the ticker symbol BTC.

How does Bitcoin work?

We know that it may be challenging to comprehend what Bitcoin is all at once, but don’t worry—we will walk you through every aspect of the technology and help you buy your first bitcoin to get started.

Blockchain technology is the basis behind Bitcoin. The Bitcoin network is based on the blockchain, a shared public record. Blockchains are updated with any verified transactions, including freshly added bitcoin.

Blockchains verify new transactions that users conduct (sending or receiving bitcoins). Bitcoin uses public-key cryptography. To authenticate communications, this system requires two bits of information.

Important terms to learn about Bitcoin

Altcoins are other cryptocurrencies from Bitcoin.

Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, and more examples.

Bit − A fraction of a bitcoin million bits equals one bitcoin (BTC).

Reminder − It’s possible to purchase and sell fractional bitcoins.

When the B is capitalized, it stands for the overall idea of bitcoin, which includes its technology, community, protocol, and software.

Bitcoin − The monetary unit is identified when the b is not capitalized.

Common acronyms for bitcoin include XBT and BTC.

Note − These two acronyms are identical to one another.

Confirmation − The blockchain verifies a Bitcoin transaction’s legitimacy as it occurs. The validation process, carried out by “miners,” can take between one minute and an hour.

How can regular users like you and me benefit from Bitcoin?

First, neither a person nor a bank is in charge of keeping track of our transactional records. Everybody has access to the ledger, and transactions are associated with our Bitcoin address.

The only information anyone will see is your Bitcoin wallet address, unlike regular transactions requiring us to input our personal information. This guarantees online anonymity and security.

Your Bitcoin software uses your private key to sign transactions when you create them. This cryptographic signature serves as the mathematical foundation for ownership proof.

What is mining for bitcoin?

Miners verify and validate transactions before grouping them into blocks and adding them to the public ledger (a.k.a, the blockchain). A mining fee and a block reward are paid to them in exchange for their work. Herein lies the Bitcoin algorithm’s magic − the total number of Bitcoins that may ever be created is 21 million. Hence the quantity of newly mined Bitcoins will be limited. Never surpass this figure. Until then, anybody may check the precise amount of Bitcoin the miners earn.

How and where should Bitcoin be kept?

Bitcoins are kept in a specialized digital wallet, much like ordinary coins are kept in your wallet. Every single one has a public digital address where coins may be sent.

The address is a 30-character string of numbers and letters in English. Creating a wallet is free, and the number of wallets you may have is unrestricted. Digital wallets come in various forms, and they differ primarily in terms of security.

How is bitcoin purchased?

The quickest and most straightforward way to purchase Bitcoin is online through a trustworthy exchange or through a Bitcoin ATM, which is widely dispersed worldwide.

You may purchase Bitcoin with a credit card on CryptoPotato through Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, which is the most popular in terms of users and volume.

Where do I get a Bitcoin transaction history?

All transactions on the public ledger are available on the block explorer interface.

On the other hand, the public ledger maintains a live record of all Bitcoin transactions. Remember that the Bitcoin network is entirely transparent? When a block is added to the network, the actual transaction is completed. The ledger is divided into blocks, each of which contains several log commands

Where can I find the location of a Bitcoin transaction?

The interface where all transactions on the public ledger are accessible is called the block explorer.

Conclusion

Many people can benefit from bitcoins. Since they are a global currency, you may use them anywhere without having to exchange your money. Because of how secure the Blockchain is, you can be confident that your money is going to or coming from the correct individual. The recipients of Bitcoins won’t be required to pay anything for the transactions, and Bitcoin is widely accepted. All these will undoubtedly encourage more people to adopt Bitcoin, and if everyone does, it may eventually supplant traditional money. Yes, it has some drawbacks, but some are inherent to the fact that Bitcoin is a relatively new concept, so that they will diminish with time. The rest are readily avoidable.

Comment: I Can See Only An Expensive Solution To Apple/Foxconn’s Legal Problem

Foxconn’s legal problem, reported this morning, is also Apple’s problem.

Apple has long worked hard to ensure suppliers like Foxconn comply with labor regulations, conducting regular audits to ensure underage workers are not employed, and enforcing Apple’s own rules on things like maximum overtime hours.

However, there is one breach of China’s employment laws that would seem almost impossible for either Foxconn or Apple to resolve, at least in the short term…

It’s been reported this morning that Apple has admitted that Foxconn is in massive breach of one law in China.

The Chinese Labor Watch group released a lengthy report alleging several violations of Chinese law against Foxconn, the key iPhone assembler. Apple said it investigated and denies most of the allegations but did say that it found Foxconn’s iPhone factory workforce was made up of 50% temporary labor, way above the 10% rule according to the law.

Apple said that it is working closely with Foxconn to resolve the issue, but Chinese Labor Watch claims that Apple is allowing Foxconn to continue using the workers, despite it technically breaking Chinese law.

That’s a tough one to solve.

iPhone assembly is the very definition of seasonal work. If you look at Apple’s iPhone revenue (courtesy of six colors), there is a completely consistent pattern, exactly as you’d expect:

A step up when new iPhones go on sale in the last week or two of a quarter

A huge jump in the following quarter, when most new iPhone sales are made

A drop in sales afterwards

A slump in the quarter leading up to next year’s models

It doesn’t matter whether Apple launches one, two, or three new models each September — that pattern isn’t going to change. And when demand in fiscal Q1 is around twice that of fiscal Q3, there is no sensible way to meet production requirements without taking on a massive influx of temporary staff. Foxconn’s legal problem seems almost insoluble.

I can see only three logical options for compliance, two of which Apple would never support.

Option one would be unethical behavior, like making conditions so unpleasant for staff during the off season that they choose to leave. A company of Foxconn’s stature isn’t going to consider that, and even if it were willing to do so, Apple would shut down any such initiative within a heartbeat.

Option two is to technically comply with the law while flouting its intent. The obvious example here would be give all the temporary staff “permanent” positions, then offer them financial incentives to resign their posts afterwards. Or create subsidiary companies that are formed when demand is needed and dissolved when it isn’t. But I can’t see Apple permitting that type of sketchiness, either.

Which leaves option three: to remain at peak employment levels throughout the year (or within 10% of same). That would be legal and ethical — but it would massively increase labor costs just to have a lot of staff twiddling their thumbs for much of the year.

The problem can be solved in the long term. Foxconn is moving increasingly replacing human workers with robots, and its end goal is completely automated factories. No labor, no labor law problems.

Medium-term, Apple can also continue to open up production facilities in other countries, whose governments may favor temporary work over no work at all.

But in the short term, I don’t see what Foxconn and Apple can do, other than option three. And at a time when Apple is already having to absorb the costs of US tariffs on some products entering the country from China — and will have to do the same with iPhones from December — a substantial additional production cost is something the Cupertino, California, company really doesn’t need.

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