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History And Timeline Of Digital Marketing Online

History And Timeline Of Digital Marketing Online

Markethive Header History of Digital Marketing

Where have we been and where are we heading?

Let's travel back in time and check out the history and timeline of digital marketing and how we got to where we are now in 2020, also where we are heading in the future. This year has seen a remarkable change in habits and a tremendous leap in users online. 

Everything from social catch-ups on Zoom, even viewing your favorite sports game from your lounge chair on the Zoom platform as a part of the live audience at the game’s venue. 

Also, corporate working from home, more recently-unemployed looking to work from home to earn a buck, and an ever-increasing number of traditional offline businesses now have a presence on the net adopting digital marketing strategies.

Pretty much everybody has a connection to the internet in some form or another. Grandmas and grandpas are being urged to get online for their banking needs and grocery deliveries. So, of course, every time you go online, you experience digital marketing where someone is trying to sell you something albeit directly or indirectly. 

It’s fair to say businesses just can’t thrive now without online marketing to help generate sales. All businesses, big and small are increasingly moving online with a direct-to-consumer approach that reaches a huge worldwide audience more easily and takes advantage of an unlimited marketplace.

On a global scale, digital advertising spend was projected to hit $336 billion in 2020, pre- COVID, now adjusted to $332.84, but as you can see by the graph, stronger times are just ahead. 

Worldwide digital ad spending will make up 62.6% of the total media spend by 2024.

Digital Ad Spend

 

The Rise In Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing is an umbrella term for promoting and selling services or products using online strategies as outlined in this article which is beneficial for all types of business and allows companies to; 

  • Reach their target audience wherever they are.
  • Use data to observe their online behavior.
  • Use analytics to understand which marketing messages to send them.

These digital marketing elements outlined in the infographic help you reach your customers wherever they are, engage with them, and encourage them to purchase something from you. You create brand awareness, generate leads, convert new buyers, build trust, and increase sales.

digital marketing infographic

Marketing has always been about connecting with your consumers and potential buyers in the right place, at the right time. Currently and into the foreseeable future the best place to meet them is where they are spending time – on the internet. 

Digital marketing is also referred to as 'online marketing', 'internet marketing', or 'web marketing' however, the term digital marketing has grown in popularity over time. 

Digital marketing is constantly evolving, with new technologies making it faster and easier to master especially for small businesses and marketers, but where and when did it all start? 

Let’s go way back and visit the history and timeline of digital marketing with some of the more major milestones in technology.  

 

Digital Marketing Became A Thing 30 Years Ago

The term “digital marketing” was coined back in 1990 and considered integral to technology development and advancement on the whole. 

One of the first key events took place back in 1971, when Raymond Tomlinson, a computer programmer from New York, USA, implemented the first email program on the ARPNET system, even before the internet launched. 

Tomlinson sent his first test email on a system that was able to send mail between users on different machines that previously could only be sent to others using the same computer. 

He was inducted into The Internet Hall of Fame in 2012 which stated "Tomlinson's email program brought about a complete revolution, fundamentally changing the way people communicate".

1990 – Web 1.0 Was Invented

This was a memorable year with the new terminology of digital marketing and that same year, Tim Berners-Lee who invented the World Wide Web in 1989, wrote the first web client and server in 1990. Classed as Web 1.0, it was limited to read-only. Meaning the early web allowed us to search for information and read it but very little user interaction or content generation. 

 

1993 – The First Clickable Banner Ad Was Born

The very first true, linked, clickable, paid advertisement on the WWW was from a website called the Global Network Navigator, (GNN) which in 1993 sold a clickable ad to a Silicon Valley law firm. 

However, the first to do rotating banner ads was pioneered by HotWired in October 1994 and the internet has not been the same since. Despite users’ aversion to online ads, particularly pop-ups, the business models of most websites still revolve around advertising. 

Advertisers will spend $52.1m on banner ads in the U.S. this year, according to Statista, with a projected annual growth rate of 7.9% resulting in a market volume of $71.5m by 2024. 

Those ads may annoy some users, however, they help fund many digital publishers. This is what helps keep platforms predominantly free for users. Banner ads were cutting-edge 26 years ago and gave birth to the internet ad industry.


The first banner. Image credit: Wired Formerly Hotwired

AT&T paid $30,000 to run a dedicated placement for this banner for 3 months in Hotwired. It initially got a 44% click-through rate. The metrics in those days consisted of a person manually counting the clicks and the first Web analytics tool was a highlighter pen. 

1994 – Yahoo Hits The WWW Scene

Yahoo, AKA ‘Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web”, named after its founder Jerry Yang, launched and to its success, received nearly a million hits within the first year. The human-edited Yahoo Directory provided for users to surf through the Internet became their first product and the company's original purpose. 

This set the tone for comprehensive changes in the digital marketing world, which led to companies to start optimizing their websites to obtain higher search engine rankings.  

Over the years, Yahoo evolved, then in 2000, they made what they thought was a strategic move in the history of search, when they partnered with Google. They let Google power their organic results, so in every Yahoo search result it displayed “Powered By Google”. 

At the time, Google was not well known, so essentially Yahoo introduced their largest competitor to the world and Google became a household name. 

Also in 1994, the first blog was created by Justin Hall of Swarthmore College. Soon after blogs became an opportunity for brands to connect with consumers. The original term was “weblog”, and shortened to “blog” in 1999.

 

1995 – LookSmart Comes Onboard

LookSmart was founded as Homebase in 1995 in Melbourne, Australia by husband and wife Evan Thornley and Tracy Ellery. The original concept of Homebase was to build a female and family-friendly web portal.  

On 28 October 1996, the company launched its LookSmart search engine. At launch, the search engine listed more than 85,000 sites and had a "Java-enhanced" interface.

These days, LookSmart is a search advertising, content management, online media, and technology company. It provides search, machine learning, and chatbot technologies as well as pay-per-click and contextual advertising services.

 

1996 – Alexa Internet Launches

Alexa Internet was founded in April 1996 by Brewster Kahle and Bruce Gilliat and has an interesting history. Alexa was founded as an independent web analytics company in 1996 and acquired by Amazon in 1999. 

The evolution of Alexa has seen its claim to fame being a key metric known as Alexa Traffic Rank also simply known as Alexa Rank. It is also referred to as Global Rank by Alexa Internet and is designed to be an estimate of a website's popularity.

The Alexa Traffic Rank can be used to monitor the popularity trend of a website and to compare the popularity of different websites.

This was also the year that the phrase, “content marketing” was born at a discussion for journalists and the American Society for Newspaper Editors, and quickly became one of the most pivotal terms in digital marketing.

 

google 1998

1998 – Google Was Incorporated

Starting out as a project in 1996, by Larry Page and Sergy Brin. They theorized about a better system that analyzed the relationships among websites. They called this algorithm PageRank which determined a website's relevance by the number of pages, and the importance of those pages that linked back to the original site. 

Page and Brin originally nicknamed the search engine “Backrub”, because the system checked backlinks to estimate the importance of a site. After much funding, Google was incorporated and launched in 1998, based in a garage.

In the same year, Microsoft launched the MSN search engine, and Yahoo introduced Yahoo web search.

 

Veretekk Automated Marketing 1998

1998 – Veretekk Launches  – Automated Marketing

Marketers needed an edge to reach out to potential customers so a new technology arose as marketing automation. 

Thomas Prendergast built the first automated marketing system in 1994 and was the foundation of Wavefour, which was one of the many firsts. It included a self-replicated website, self-replicated PDF (a formatted receipt to print out sign and fax or mail-in), the first read-write to a server database, the first autoresponder email system, the first remote broadcasting system, and all incorporated into the first Automated Marketing system.
 
Launching in 1998, this system poured new customers and evolved into a service called Veretekk, a standalone Application Service Provider with “Aweber” like email systems, lead capture portals, and Internet Marketing training that ran for nearly 20 years. It was private labeled to hundreds of companies and built a verifiable database that numbered into the hundreds of millions and produced revenues in excess of 5 million.

From 2003 onwards, many automated marketing platforms followed suit such as Eloqua, Salesforce, and later in 2006 came Hubspot and Marketo to name a few. This gave rise to SaaS or Software as a Service. 

The company Veretekk has since been re-built from the ground up to include Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, combining an inbound marketing platform, social network, and digital media broadcasting platform. Now called Markethive, it’s known as the first next-generation Market Network on Blockchain.

inbound Marketing Comparison

This also saw the birth of the term “Inbound Marketing” derived from automated marketing with a focus on content marketing which is proven to bring credibility and integrity to any organization and be considered a trusted source. 

 

2000 – Google Launches AdWords

Google’s AdWords program is a service that provides advertisers with advertising campaigns managed by Google. For those who want to manage their own campaigns the AdWords self-service portal was introduced soon after. 

Google then launched its AdSense program, originally named content targeting advertising in March 2003. It’s a program through which website publishers of content sites serve text, images, video, or interactive media advertisements that are targeted to the site content and audience. 

These advertisements are administered, sorted, and maintained by Google and generate revenue for the publisher on either a per-click or per-impression basis. Today over 11.1 million websites use AdSense.

 

2002 – Linked Is Launched

Reid Hoffman founded LinkedIn in December 2002 – making it the first-ever business-oriented social networking platform. It’s primarily used for professional networking, job posting by company, and by job seekers.

As of 2015, most of the company's revenue came from selling access to information about its members to recruiters and sales professionals. Since December 2016 it has been a wholly-owned subsidiary of Microsoft. 

 

2003 – Myspace Launches

Myspace, an American social networking service was the largest social networking site in the world from 2005 to 2009, reaching more than 100 million users per month. In June 2006 Myspace surpassed Yahoo and Google to become the most visited website in the United States

Myspace has had a significant influence on technology, pop culture, and music. It was the first social network to reach a global audience and it played a critical role in the early growth of companies like YouTube. However, in April of 2008, Myspace was overtaken by Facebook in terms of the number of unique visitors. 

 

2003 – The Genesis Of WordPress

b2/cafelog, more commonly known as b2 or cafelog, was the precursor to WordPress with an estimated 2,000 blogs installed as of May 2003. WordPress then became its name and is a joint effort between Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. 

WordPress was originally created as a blog-publishing system but has evolved to support other types of web content and plugins assisting publishers to increase their reach across the internet. 

By October 2009, WordPress was enjoying the greatest brand strength of any open-source content management system. As of June 2019, WordPress is used by more than 60 million websites which include 33.6% of the top 10 million websites. 

WordPress is one of the most popular content management system solutions in use.

Wordpress Markethive plugin

 

2004 – Web 2.0 Is Introduced, Then Came Facebook

The terminology, Web 2.0 was initially invented in 1999 by Author and web designer, Darcy DiNucci, who also predicted the influence it would have on public relations. However, it was in 2004 that it became popularized when introduced by Tim O’Reilly and Dale Dogherty at the O’Reilly Media Web Conference. Web 2.0 was the start of a participatory or social web. 

The same year “TheFacebook” founded by Mark Zuckerberg, became a thing, initially for the students at Harvard which later that year expanded to many other colleges across the USA. But it was in 2005 the name changed to just Facebook and started to take hold globally in 2006 when it opened to the public. 

Google also released Gmail on April 1, 2004. It started as a beta release and didn’t end its testing phase until July 7, 2009. 

 

2005 – YouTube Hits The Scene

YouTube was the brainchild and founded by Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim, all were early employees of Paypal. Karim said the inspiration for YouTube first came from Janet Jackson's embarrassing wardrobe malfunction in 2004 at the Super Bowl

The very first video of “Me at the zoo” with founder Jawed Karim, was uploaded on April 23, 2005. Then YouTube offered the public a beta test of the site in May 2005. At the time of the official launch on Dec. 15, 2005, YouTube didn’t have much recognition as Vimeo was already operational as it launched in 2004. 

However, as history denotes YouTube is a hit and in 2006 Google acquired the video-sharing platform for $1.65 billion in Google stock. Today, YouTube accounts for 2 billion users worldwide.

2006 – Growth In Search Engine Traffic 

By 2006 there were considerable advancements in the digital marketing space. Search engine traffic grew to approximately 6.4 billion in the month of March alone.

Microsoft also introduced Live Search to compete with Yahoo and Google.

Twitter also launched in 2006 and created by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams. Dorsey explains,

“…we came across the word 'twitter', and it was just perfect. The definition was 'a short burst of inconsequential information,' and 'chirps from birds'. And that's exactly what the product was.”

So although classed as a social media, Twitter is more of a microblogging platform and information network. Furthermore, statistics demonstrate that Twitter users spend 26% more time with ads than users of other social media platforms.

Twitter Jack Dorsey Founder

 

2007 – Automation Marketing Became More Widespread. 

As the pace of the World Wide Web increased, so did the marketing climate and more companies and marketers came onboard utilizing marketing automated software that replaced conventional marketing processes. 

These tools automated the tasks of lead segmentation, marketing campaigns, and the ability to provide customers with personalized information. Its development during the 1990s and 2000s, changed the way brands and businesses use technology for marketing as digital platforms became increasingly incorporated into marketing plans and everyday life. 

 

2010 – Instagram Launches

The photo and video sharing platform was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, in 2010  After its launch, Instagram rapidly gained popularity, and was acquired by Facebook in 2012. Instagram users are spending an average of 28 minutes per day on the platform in 2020.

A large portion of those users (around 200 million) visit at least one business profile a day, indicating that Instagram has become a focal point in the digital marketing arena. 

Although praised for its influence, Instagram has been the subject of criticism, most notably for policy and interface changes, allegations of censorship, and illegal or improper content uploaded by users.

Also noteworthy, the digital marketing industry saw a substantial rise in 2010, with the digital media growth of an estimated 4.5 trillion online ads served annually, and digital marketing expenditure experienced a 48% growth.

 

2011 – Google’s Panda Algorithm launches.

First released in February 2011, Google Panda brought a major change in Google’s search engine ranking algorithm. The name "Panda" comes from Google engineer Navneet Panda, who developed the technology that made it possible for Google to create and implement the algorithm.

It aimed to lower the ranking of “low-quality sites” and rank “higher-quality sites” near the top of the search results. Google Panda affected the ranking of an entire site or a specific section rather than just the individual pages on a site.

Panda’s updates were rolled out once a month in the first 2 years, and consequently influenced the ranking and traffic which negatively impacted some sites that upset a few people, to say the least. In some cases, it forced companies to change names, business models, fire employees, and even go out of business altogether. 

Google stated in 2013 that future updates would be integrated into the algorithm which would make it less noticeable and continuous.

 

2012 – Saw The Launch Of Zoom 

Zoom is a video-telephony software program that launched a beta version on September 10, 2012, that could host conferences with up to 15 video participants at the time. In January 2013, version 1.0 of the program was released with an increase in the number of participants per conference to 25. 

By the end of its first month, Zoom had 400,000 users, which rose to 1 million by May 2013. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic Zoom experienced an exponential gain in users of 2.22 million in 2020.

On one day in March 2020, the Zoom app was downloaded 2.13 million times. In April 2020, Zoom had more than 300 million daily meeting participants. On August 24, 2020, Zoom experienced widespread outages for several hours before service was restored.

However, this year, Zoom has been at the center of some controversy with its attendee tracking feature, sharing personal data, shady techniques, and lack of transparency. It is recommended you “Zoom” at your own risk. 

 

2014 Long Form Content more prominent

 

2014 – Upsurge In The Amount Of Smartphone Users

Reportedly, 2014 saw a rise in the number of mobile users, to 4.55B which is 70% of the global population, with smartphone users reaching 1.75B. 

2014 also saw the launch of the Facebook messenger app and not long after came the Apple Watch. 

 

2015 – Markethive, The Genesis of The Next Generation Market Network  

Markethive, (previously Veretekk), was trademarked and incorporated in mid-2015 and opened the doors to a private Beta phase for Veretekk founders and users. The company then went into full public Beta launch in January 2016. 

Over the next couple of years, while operating as an inbound marketing platform and social network, Markethive methodically worked on creating its primary vision of being a decentralized Blockchain driven Social Market Network integrating cryptocurrency forming an entire ecosystem for aspiring entrepreneurs, marketers, companies, small business, and commercial artists. 

January of 2019 saw the launch of the Markethive Coin (MHV) within the Markethive ecosystem. Now it is possible to earn coins on every task and activity performed, whether it be facilitating your business with the inbound marketing tools or engaging on the social media platform.

Markethive is a sovereign entity offering transparency and self-sovereignty on all levels including autonomy, privacy, and security to its users as well as financial well-being. A community-focused culture of collaboration is the fabric of Markethive and proving to be a much-needed resource in the online world today. 

Markethive Wallet App

By years end of 2020 will be the launch of the Markethive wallet app and exchange which will open the floodgates bringing in the millions who are looking for a genuine way to earn and conduct their business in the online space that in many ways has become a jungle and cesspool of fraud, scams, data harvesting, political bias, and dystopia. 

This is all part of the Web 3.0 or 3rd generation internet which has started to emerge as a movement away from the centralization of services.  Markethive was built for the little guy and gal in mind, at little to no cost to join, utilize all the facets of an inbound marketing platform and social network, build their business relationships, and get paid for doing so, all while enjoying free speech, privacy, and autonomy in a collaborative environment. 

Sound like utopia? Pretty much is! 

Markethive Infographic

 

Staying At The Forefront Of Technology

So there you have it… Technology has come a long way over the past three decades with no signs of it slowing down any time soon. The successful company for the long term will need to have an innovative culture and be tuned in to the fast-paced, ever-changing technology and behaviors in this revolutionary world.    

One thing is for certain, content marketing, along with email marketing integral to inbound marketing which is a prescribed marketing strategy under the digital marketing umbrella is crucial to the success of any organization, large and small. 

Statistics show that:

  • Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing and generates 3x as many leads
  • Content marketing has lower up-front costs and deeper long-term benefits than paid search.
  • Small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads than those without blogs.
  • Content marketing rakes in conversion rates 6x higher than other methods.
  • 87% of B2B marketers say email is one of their top free organic distribution channels.
  • 80% of B2C businesses believe email marketing increases customer retention. 

We have evolved into a more human approach towards marketing and advertising. Even  Google’s search engine is adopting that approach with their latest algorithm in 2019, BERT, that helps better understand the context of words in searches and language a bit more like humans do. 

At the height of the automated, inbound marketing boom in the mid-2000s, not only was it expensive but overwhelmingly complicated for many businesses to integrate. Larger companies would have it done for them, but what about the little guy and gal? 

Enter Markethive, the complete Market Network. 

 

ecosystem for entrepreneurs

 

 

Deb Williams
A Crypto/Blockchain enthusiast and a strong advocate for technology, progress, and freedom of speech. I embrace "change" with a passion and my purpose in life is to help people understand, accept, and move forward with enthusiasm to achieve their goals. 

 

 

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Tips For Developing Your Business

What is Business Development?

Five Tips For Developing Your Business

 

1. Introduction

I’ve got a bit of bad news for you. The term “business development” is undefined. This lack of a definition helps to explain why one can apply for a job in business development and end up in a pure sales job, and why others think of “business development” as somewhere between sales and marketing. Despite this lack of definition, Googling the term returns 456 million results. Including the word “lawyer” only knocks the number of results down to 49 million. Among these results are websites with tips, checklists, and even entire books on the subject. All for a phrase with no definition.

I think we can do better than “undefined,” especially if this article is going to be useful to anyone. I therefore, propose the following definition, based on what I thought the term meant the first time I heard it:

[1]Business development encompasses all activities a company [2]takes to maintain or expand its customer base and ultimately sell its product or services to those customers.

[For the purposes of this definition, the word “company” includes all forms of business (think sole proprietorships and non-profit organizations); “customers” includes “clients;” and “sell” is construed very broadly with reference to non-profit organizations, as their end goal is some form of charitable giving rather than an exchange of goods for money.]Under this definition, “business development” becomes an umbrella term, with at least the following functions falling under the umbrella: 

  • Marketing: the process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers, for the purpose of selling that product or service.
  • Advertising: marketing communications used to encourage or persuade an audience to take or continue to take some action.
  • Sales: the exchange of goods, property, or services for an agreed sum of money or credit.
  • Networking: to cultivate people who can be helpful to one professionally, especially in finding employment or moving to a higher position
  • Some Customer Service Functions: especially where the customer service agent attempts to resell or up-sell a product or thanks you for shopping with their company.
  • Research and Development: where the company’s products require continued upgrades in order for the business to stay competitive.

2. The Myth 

Conventional wisdom suggests that successful entrepreneurs are the ultimate “one-man show,” skillfully handling every aspect of their business with the kind of competence that comes from years of training. But wait – that’s a bit of a list…and each item on the list has its own skill set…and the list doesn’t even mention the management and financial aspects of running a business…

Fortunately, this is one of those times where conventional wisdom is wrong. Our fictional works often tell the story of a person who overcame great odds to become successful on his own, but real-life success stories often involve a hero whose mentor does not die at the end of Act 2.[3][4] Here, YOU’RE the hero, trying to move your company from one phone call per week to “I need help answering the phone,” and there’s nothing that says you have to do it alone. So, what can you do? 

3. The Ideal

Graduate-level programs that taught students business skills first appeared in the early 20TH century.[5] Since that time, there have been a number of changes to these programs, and schools have even introduced undergraduate-level business programs. These programs generally require the student to take a core of general classes (management, finance, accounting, etc.) in addition to a group of specialized classes in an area of their choosing. For the purposes of the business development skills listed above, marketing is the clear winner.

Why marketing? Remember, the definition we are using for “business development” is comprised of two main tasks: (1) increasing the size of your audience, or the number of people looking to obtain legal advice from you, and (2) getting as many of these people to utilize your services as possible. The skills learned in marketing program directly relate to task (1), thus giving you the best opportunity to learn how to increase the size of your audience.

Given a choice between learning these skills on the undergraduate level and the graduate level, I would personally opt for undergraduate if I knew that my only reason for going to school was to improve my company’s opportunities.  Undergraduate classes are cheaper. I would not have to study for, and then take the GMAT, just to get into school. And most importantly, there may not be a significant difference between the materials covered on the undergraduate and graduate levels (at least there wasn’t when I was an undergrad) to justify the time and expense associated with a graduate degree. However, graduate classes are generally smaller and have more students who are willing to participate. This benefit alone may make a graduate program a better option for some. Therefore, I’d suggest contacting colleges and asking about these factors before making decisions regarding your education.

4. The Reality

School only provides a foundation. What one learns in actual practice – “the real world” – is often quite different from what one learns in school. The difference usually stems from the fact that theory often starts with perfect conditions and rational actors. Real life rarely presents us with perfect conditions, and sometimes people just aren’t that rational. Therefore, direct experience is vitally important if you wish to translate business education into your company’s bottom line.

One of the many ways to gain marketing and advertising experience is through event planning. In my last piece, I talked about how planning events can assist your networking efforts. This strategy only works if you can get people to show up to your event – which means that event planning is a great way to gain marketing and advertising experience that you can later use in your company. In the school setting, the student activities staff can be of immense help: letting you know what to expect, giving you information about past successful events, and even helping you to pick the right rooms. Outside of school, you may wish to speak with people and organizations that plan events (and even offer to help) in an effort to gain this same kind of experience.

Unlike advertising and marketing, sales and networking don’t have three-month classes devoted to gaining expertise in these areas. Learning to be an effective networker or salesperson is often a matter of trial and error, supplemented by books on sales techniques and overcoming objections. There are only a limited number of ways to ask for a sale or a business card, after all. As a result, the best possible option is to take on a job in sales for a limited amount of time – if you can be sure that the company in question will train you. If you can find such a person, they can help you learn what techniques work best for you, and what types of clients might be most amenable to you and your style.[6]

5. The Problem 

The problem with this particular course of action is, again, time. The “ideal” path involves two or three years of classes, at least a year of sales experience, and time to meet the “right” people and have them show you how to speak with people, put together events, and sell products to people. In the interest of full disclosure, I actually engaged in all of these activities – before I became a lawyer – all in the ten-year span from my undergraduate graduation in February of 2004 to my admission to the New York Bar in February of 2014.

Coincidentally,[7] Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers popularized the idea that any person can become an expert at something if they practice that thing for 10,000 hours or ten years. Taking the time to engage in all these activities might work for an undergraduate, but it certainly works less well for someone who’s been practicing law on their own for any amount of time. Once your career gets going, you may simply have enough time to go back and pick up such a wide array of skills while trying to maintain your business.

To make matters worse, Mr. Gladwell’s work is often misquoted. Outliers actually state that a person with a talent for a thing can become an expert after ten years of practice. Imagine spending all of that time and effort to become an expert in all of the different business development skills only to find out that you’re not good at any of them. This would be a monumental waste.

6. The Solution 

Fortunately, getting help to learn skills is not the only option available to you. You can also contract work out to others who are better at or better equipped to handle tasks than you are. In fact, most businesses can contract out nearly all of their functions other than management. This arrangement might not work as well for a law office, once one takes ethical rules into account, however. With respect to business development in a law office setting, here’s what I suggest:

  1. Know Your Strengths: This heading is based off of Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham. This book and its predecessor First, Break All The Rules discuss job satisfaction in terms of whether a person is doing the things that they are best at. In short, the theory is that one’s greatest chance for job satisfaction is if they spend their time engaged in things they do well. StrengthsFinder 2.0 is a tool Gallup developed based on the studies that comprise the heart of these books to help people determine what they are best at, thus leading to the best possible jobs. I would first suggest reading the book and taking the assessment test to see which of the business development skills might naturally fit in with your strengths.
  2. Nurture Your Strengths: Rather than dealing with an entire MBA or BBA program, try to find specific classes on the elements of business development that you might be good at. You may be able to audit a class (that is, take it without getting school credits for it), and you may be able to find continuing education classes that fit the bill. During or after the class, you can also seek out an advisor who can give you tips or suggest good books to read. In the end, you still have to try your hand at your new skills to see what comes of your hard work.
  3. Hire Others With Complementary Strengths: Let’s say that you learn you’re no good at advertising, but you want to use an advertising campaign to grow your business. You’ll need to hire someone. That person might be an intern, a paralegal, an attorney, or an outside firm specifically hired to create an advertisement for your company.[8] In every case, you can’t contract out the management responsibility, so you are ultimately responsible for the look, feel, spelling, and message in your advertising. But the actual work of creating the ad, not being your forte, is not a task you should be engaged in.
  4. In Every Case, You Have to Learn Sales: Unlike every other skill (except maybe learning how to practice law), learning to sell is a step you must take, even if you’re not good at it. You might be able to ignore the skill if you have a partner who is a “rainmaker,” and doesn’t mind being the person who brings in the business and ultimately sells the clients on using your law firm rather than another. Unfortunately, we cannot predict the future – and there is no way of telling if a partnership will last. If it doesn’t, the partner who did not focus on his ability to sell prospective clients on their service will be at a great disadvantage if he tries to go it alone. So, try to get at least some experience in selling – cookies, flowers, something. You might not become the greatest salesman in the world, but at least you’ll have the experience.
  5. Be a Good Attorney: There are a number of oft-told marketing rules. One of these is that if people like what you’ve done for them they will tell three other people about you. If they don’t like what you’ve done, they’ll tell ten people about you. I don’t know where this rule comes from, but there is evidence to support the idea that negative feedback has a much stronger effect on us than positive feedback does.  And each of your prospective clients knows plenty of people they can tell you about. Treat one person bad, and that’s an entire network of people that may never seek you out for legal services. Treat them well, and although it may work slowly, keep up the good work and you may eventually benefit from the best marketing money can’t buy: word of mouth.

You may notice that where many articles say that you must engage in this or that activity (Facebook and Twitter pages stand out as examples) in order to attract clients to your business, I do not advocate any specific method of business development. My reason for this is that not everything works for everyone. Facebook and Twitter are essentially useless without constant updates. Networking works only if you keep in contact with people after you meet them and build relationships with those people. Even advertising can go horribly wrong. Rather, focusing your initial business development around those areas you already have some competence in and finding others to assist in areas that you are not, gives you the best chance effectively obtaining new clients.

7.  Conclusion

Understanding business development is important to the success of any business. Where that business is a small law firm, the attorneys in charge must be (at least) competent lawyers, decent managers, and fair salesmen. If these attorneys are looking to expand their business by increasing their client base, they should know what business development skills they might be good at and seek to improve those skills (along with their lawyering skills). They should then hire out for those skills they might not be good at, saving them time and money in the process. Even if they sell the same percentage of clients, improving their business development will increase the number of clients the company has. They also have a second option – improve their sales skills, which will result in a higher percentage of clients choosing to hire them as attorneys.

Using this formula, it is not necessary for the small office owner to become an expert at everything. Rather, the small office owner can increase his chances of financial success by being an expert at what he can and utilizing the help and mentorship of others where he cannot.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Visit the Kairos webiste https://cabinet.kairosplanet.com/register/#111b0e

Valentus Specialty Chemicals

 

Valentus Specialty Chemicals

Acquires Wood Floor Finishes Business

 

Huron Capital Partners LLC has announced that its portfolio company, Valentus Specialty Chemicals, Inc., has acquired the wood floor finishes a business of New Rochelle, NY-based Paint Over Rust Products, Inc.  The wood floor finishes business will continue to operate as Absolute Coatings, Inc. This transaction represents the third acquisition for Valentus, an ExecFactor initiative launched by Huron Capital and coatings industry veterans Ray Chlodney, John Ragazzini and Bob Taylor.

A family-owned business founded in 1923, Absolute manufactures high-performance, environmentally-friendly wood floor finishes primarily under the ABSCO, Last-n-Last, and TREK-Plus brands. A leading manufacturer of waterborne coatings, Absolute adds technological expertise to the Valentus platform along with expanded distribution in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

As part of the transaction, David Sherman, CEO and owner of POR Products, will join Valentus’ Board of Directors. David Sherman will retain a significant ownership stake in Valentus and will remain actively involved in leading Absolute; no other staff changes are expected.

“We believe the partnership with Absolute will significantly enhance our growth trajectory,” said Ray Chlodney, CEO of Valentus. “ABSCO, Last-n-Last, and TREK-Plus are premium brands with differentiated technologies and excellent growth opportunities, and they’re a great complement to our existing portfolio of brands at National Paint Industries (NPI). We are eager to work with David as we seek to build on the legacy that he and his family have established in the marketplace.”

“I believe Valentus is the ideal partner to guide Absolute through its next phase of growth,” said Sherman. “Valentus is committed to preserving Absolute’s family of brands, and they are investing in resources that will strengthen our distribution, product innovation and ability to serve our customers.” 

“We believe Absolute is a phenomenal addition to Valentus’ portfolio, and we are fortunate to add David to Valentus’ dynamic leadership team,” said Mark Miller, Vice President at Huron Capital. “With three acquisitions in eight months, the Valentus buy-and-build model is progressing in line with our expectations. We will continue to work with our leadership team to identify and pursue strategic acquisitions as we seek to grow the Valentus platform.”

Valentus also owns National Paint Industries and Precision Technologies. These three acquisitions, Chlodney said, are poised to position Valentus as a leading provider of coatings technologies on a larger, national scale.

 
Chuck Reynolds

 

 

Visit the Kairos webiste https://cabinet.kairosplanet.com/register/#111b0e

The Basics of Search Engine Friendly Design & Development

The Basics of Search Engine Friendly Design & Development

 

Search engines are limited in how they crawl the web and interpret content. A webpage doesn't always look the same to you and me as it looks to a search engine. In this section, we'll focus on specific technical aspects of building (or modifying) web pages so they are structured for both search engines and human visitors alike. Share this part of the guide with your programmers, information architects, and designers, so that all parties involved in a site's construction are on the same page.

Indexable Content

To perform better in search engine listings, your most important content should be in HTML text format. Images, Flash files, Java applets, and other non-text content are often ignored or devalued by search engine crawlers, despite advances in crawling technology. The easiest way to ensure that the words and phrases you display to your visitors are visible to search engines is to place them in the HTML text on the page. However, more advanced methods are available for those who demand greater formatting or visual display styles:

1. Provide "alt" text for images. Assign images in "gif",jpg, or png format "alt attributes" in HTML to give search engines a text description of  the visual content.

2. Supplement search boxes with navigation and crawlable links.

3. Suppliment Flash or Java plug-ins with text on the page.

4. Providae a transcript for video and audio content if the words and phrases used araea meant to be indexed by the engines.

Seeing your site as the search engines do

Many websites have significant problems with indexable content, so double-checking is worthwhile. By using tools like Google's cache, SEO-browser.com, and the MozBar you can see what elements of your content are visible and indexable to the engines. Take a look at Google's text cache of this page you are reading now. See how different it looks?

 

 

"I have a problem with getting found. I built a huge Flash site for juggling pandas and I'm not showing up anywhere on Google. What's up?"

Whoa! That's what we look like?

Using the Google cache feature, we can see that to a search engine, JugglingPandas.com's homepage doesn't contain all the rich information that we see. This makes it difficult for search engines to interpret relevancy.

Axe Battling Monkeys Comparison

Hey, where did the fun go?

Uh oh … via Google cache, we can see that the page is a barren wasteland. There's not even text telling us that the page contains the Axe Battling Monkeys. The site is built entirely in Flash, but sadly, this means that search engines cannot index any of the text content, or even the links to the individual games. Without any HTML text, this page would have a very hard time ranking in search results.

It's wise to not only check for text content but to also use SEO tools to double-check that the pages you're building are visible to the engines. This applies to your images, and as we see below, to your links as well.

Crawlable Link Structures

Just as search engines need to see content in order to list pages in their massive keyword-based indexes, they also need to see links in order to find the content in the first place. A crawlable link structure—one that lets the crawlers browse the pathways of a website—is vital to them finding all of the pages on a website. Hundreds of thousands of sites make the critical mistake of structuring their navigation in ways that search engines cannot access, hindering their ability to get pages listed in the search engines' indexes.

Below, we've illustrated how this problem can happen:

Index Diagram

 

In the example above, Google's crawler has reached page A and sees links to pages B and E. However, even though C and D might be important pages on the site, the crawler has no way to reach them (or even know they exist). This is because no direct, crawlable links point pages C and D. As far as Google can see, they don't exist! Great content, good keyword targeting, and smart marketing won't make any difference if the crawlers can't reach your pages in the first place.

shepherdLink tags can contain images, text, or other objects, all of which provide a clickable area on the page that users can engage to move to another page. These links are the original navigational elements of the Internet – known as hyperlinks. In the above illustration, the "<a" tag indicates the start of a link. The link referral location tells the browser (and the search engines) where the link points. In this example, the URL http://www.jonwye.com is referenced. Next, the visible portion of the link for visitors, called anchor text in the SEO world, describes the page the link points to. The linked-to page is about custom belts made by Jon Wye, thus the anchor text "Jon Wye's Custom Designed Belts." The "</a>" tag closes the link to constrain the linked text between the tags and prevent the link from encompassing other elements on the page.
 
shepherd
 

Submission-required forms

If you require users to complete an online form before accessing certain content, chances are search engines will never see those protected pages. Forms can include a password-protected login or a full-blown survey. In either case, search crawlers generally will not attempt to submit forms, so any content or links that would be accessible via a form are invisible to the engines.

Links in unparseable JavaScript

If you use JavaScript for links, you may find that search engines either do not crawl or give very little weight to the links embedded within. Standard HTML links should replace JavaScript (or accompany it) on any page you'd like crawlers to crawl.

Links pointing to pages blocked by the Meta Robots tag or robots.txt

The Meta Robots tag and the robots.txt file both allow a site owner to restrict crawler access to a page. Just be warned that many a webmaster has unintentionally used these directives as an attempt to block access by rogue bots, only to discover that search engines cease their crawl.

Frames or iframes

Technically, links in both frames and iframes are crawlable, but both present structural issues for the engines in terms of organization and following. Unless you're an advanced user with a good technical understanding of how search engines index and follow links in frames, it's best to stay away from them.

Robots don't use search forms

Although this relates directly to the above warning on forms, it's such a common problem that it bears mentioning. Some webmasters believe if they place a search box on their site, then engines will be able to find everything that visitors search for. Unfortunately, crawlers don't perform searches to find content, leaving millions of pages inaccessible and doomed to anonymity until a crawled page links to them.

Links in Flash, Java, and other plug-ins

The links embedded inside the Juggling Panda site (from our above example) are perfect illustrations of this phenomenon. Although dozens of pandas are listed and linked to on the page, no crawler can reach them through the site's link structure, rendering them invisible to the engines and hidden from users' search queries.

Links on pages with many hundreds or thousands of links

Search engines will only crawl so many links on a given page. This restriction is necessary to cut down on spam and conserve rankings. Pages with hundreds of links on them are at risk of not getting all of those links crawled and indexed.If you avoid these pitfalls, you'll have clean, spiderable HTML links that will allow the spiders easy access to your content pages.

Links can have lots of attributes. The engines ignore nearly all of them, with the important exception of the rel="nofollow" attribute. In the example above, adding the rel="nofollow" attribute to the link tag tells the search engines that the site owners do not want this link to be interpreted as an endorsement of the target page.

Nofollow, taken literally, instructs search engines to not follow a link (although some do). The nofollow tag came about as a method to help stop automated blog comment, guest book, and link injection spam, but has morphed over time into a way of telling the engines to discount any link value that would ordinarily be passed. Links tagged with nofollow are interpreted slightly differently by each of the engines, but it is clear they do not pass as much weight as normal links.

Are nofollow links bad?

Although they don't pass as much value as their followed cousins, nofollowed links are a natural part of a diverse link profile. A website with lots of inbound links will accumulate many nofollowed links, and this isn't a bad thing. In fact, Moz's Ranking Factors showed that high ranking sites tended to have a higher percentage of inbound nofollow links than lower-ranking sites.

Google

Google states that in most cases</a>, they don&#39;t follow nofollow links, nor do these links transfer PageRank or anchor text values. Essentially, using nofollow causes Google to drop the target links from their overall graph of the web. Nofollow links carry no weight and are interpreted as HTML text (as though the link did not exist). That said, many webmasters believe that even a nofollow link from a high authority site, such as Wikipedia, could be interpreted as a sign of trust.

Bing and Yahoo

Bing, which powers Yahoo search results, has also stated that they do not include nofollow links in the link graph, though their crawlers may still use nofollow links as a way to discover new pages. So while they may <em>follow</em> the links, they don't use them in rankings calculations.

Keyword Usage and Targeting

Keywords are fundamental to the search process. They are the building blocks of language and of search. In fact, the entire science of information retrieval (including web-based search engines like Google) is based on keywords. As the engines crawl and index the contents of pages around the web, they keep track of those pages in keyword-based indexes rather than storing 25 billion web pages all in one database. Millions and millions of smaller databases, each centered on a particular keyword term or phrase, allow the engines to retrieve the data they need in a mere fraction of a second.

Obviously, if you want your page to have a chance of ranking in the search results for "dog," it's wise to make sure the word "dog" is part of the crawlable content of your document.

 
Keyword MapKeyword Domination

Keywords dominate how we communicate our search intent and interact with the engines. When we enter words to search for, the engine matches pages to retrieve based on the words we entered. The order of the words ("pandas juggling" vs. "juggling pandas"), spelling, punctuation, and capitalization provide additional information that the engines use to help retrieve the right pages and rank them.

Search engines measure how keywords are used on pages to help determine the relevance of a particular document to a query. One of the best ways to optimize a page's rankings is to ensure that the keywords you want to rank for are prominently used in titles, text, and metadata.

Generally speaking, as you make your keywords more specific, you narrow the competition for search results, and improve your chances of achieving a higher ranking. The map graphic to the left compares the relevance of the broad term "books" to the specific title Tale of Two Cities. Notice that while there are a lot of results for the broad term, there are considerably fewer results (and thus, less competition) for the specific result.

Keyword Abuse

Since the dawn of online search, folks have abused keywords in a misguided effort to manipulate the engines. This involves "stuffing" keywords into text, URLs, meta tags, and links. Unfortunately, this tactic almost always does more harm than good for your site.

In the early days, search engines relied on keyword usage as a prime relevancy signal, regardless of how the keywords were actually used. Today, although search engines still can't read and comprehend text as well as a human, the use of machine learning has allowed them to get closer to this ideal.

The best practice is to use your keywords naturally and strategically (more on this below). If your page targets the keyword phrase "Eiffel Tower" then you might naturally include content about the Eiffel Tower itself, the history of the tower, or even recommended Paris hotels. On the other hand, if you simply sprinkle the words "Eiffel Tower" onto a page with irrelevant content, such as a page about dog breeding, then your efforts to rank for "Eiffel Tower" will be a long, uphill battle. The point of using keywords is not to rank highly for all keywords, but to rank highly for the keywords that people are searching for when they want what your site provides.

On-Page Optimization

Keyword usage and targeting are still a part of the search engines' ranking algorithms, and we can apply some effective techniques for keyword usage to help create pages that are well-optimized. Here at Moz, we engage in a lot of testing and get to see a huge number of search results and shifts based on keyword usage tactics. When working with one of your own sites, this is the process we recommend. Use the keyword phrase:

  • In the title tag at least once. Try to keep the keyword phrase as close to the beginning of the title tag as possible. More detail on title tags follows later in this section.
  • Once prominently near the top of the page.
  • At least two or three times, including variations, in the body copy on the page. Perhaps a few more times if there's a lot of text content. You may find additional value in using the keyword or variations more than this, but in our experience adding more instances of a term or phrase tends to have little or no impact on rankings.
  • At least once in the alt attribute of an image on the page. This not only helps with web search, but also image search, which can occasionally bring valuable traffic.
  • Once in the URL. Additional rules for URLs and keywords are discussed later on in this section.
  • At least once in the meta description tag. Note that the meta description tag does not get used by the engines for rankings, but rather helps to attract clicks by searchers reading the results page, as the meta description becomes the snippet of text used by the search engines.

And you should generally not use keywords in link anchor text pointing to other pages on your site; this is known as Keyword Cannibalization.

Keyword Density Myth

Keyword density is not a part of modern ranking algorithms, as demonstrated by Dr. Edel Garcia in <a href="http://www.e-marketing-news.co.uk/Mar05/garcia.html">The Keyword Density of Non-Sense

If two documents, D1 and D2, consist of 1000 terms (l = 1000) and repeat a term 20 times (tf = 20), then a keyword density analyzer will tell you that for both documents Keyword Density (KD) KD = 20/1000 = 0.020 (or 2%) for that term. Identical values are obtained when tf = 10 and l = 500. Evidently, a keyword density analyzer does not establish which document is more relevant. A density analysis or keyword density ratio tells us nothing about:

1. The relative distance between keywords in documents (proximity)
2. Where in a document the terms occur (distribution)
3. The co-citation frequency between terms (co-occurance)
4. The main theme, topic, and sub-topics (on-topic issues) of the documents       

The Conclusion:

Keyword density is divorced from content, quality, semantics, and relevance. That should optimal page density look like then? You can read more information about On-Page Optimization in this post.

The title tag of any page appears at the top of Internet browsing software, and is often used as the title when your content is shared through social media or republished. 

Using keywords in the title tag means that search engines will bold those terms in the search results when a user has performed a query with those terms. This helps garner a greater visibility and a higher click-through rate.

 The final important reason to create descriptive, keyword-laden title tags is for ranking at the search engines. In Moz's biannual survey of SEO industry leaders, 94% of participants said that keyword use in the title tag was the most important place to use keywords to achieve high rankings.

Title Tags

The title element of a page is meant to be an accurate, concise description of a page's content. It is critical to both user experience and search engine optimization.

As title tags are such an important part of search engine optimization, the following best practices for title tag creation makes for terrific low-hanging SEO fruit. The recommendations below cover the critical steps to optimize title tags for search engines and for usability.

Be mindful of length

Search engines display only the first 65-75 characters of a title tag in the search results (after that, the engines show an ellipsis – "…" – to indicate when a title tag has been cut off). This is also the general limit allowed by most social media sites, so sticking to this limit is generally wise. However, if you're targeting multiple keywords (or an especially long keyword phrase), and having them in the title tag is essential to ranking, it may be advisable to go longer.

Place important keywords close to the front

The closer to the start of the title tag your keywords are, the more helpful they'll be for ranking, and the more likely a user will be to click them in the search results.

Include branding

At Moz, we love to end every title tag with a brand name mention, as these help to increase brand awareness, and create a higher click-through rate for people who like and are familiar with a brand. Sometimes it makes sense to place your brand at the beginning of the title tag, such as your homepage. Since words at the beginning of the title tag carry more weight, be mindful of what you are trying to rank for.

Consider readability and emotional impact

Title tags should be descriptive and readable. The title tag is a new visitor's first interaction with your brand and should convey the most positive impression possible. Creating a compelling title tag will help grab attention on the search results page, and attract more visitors to your site. This underscores that SEO is about not only optimization and strategic keyword usage, but the entire user experience.

Meta Tags

Meta tags were originally intended as a proxy for information about a website's content. Several of the basic meta tags are listed below, along with a description of their use.

Meta Robots

The Meta Robots tag can be used to control search engine crawler activity (for all of the major engines) on a per-page level. There are several ways to use Meta Robots to control how search engines treat a page:

  • index/noindex tells the engines whether the page should be crawled and kept in the engines' index for retrieval. If you opt to use "noindex," the page will be excluded from the index. By default, search engines assume they can index all pages, so using the "index" value is generally unnecessary.
  • follow/nofollow tells the engines whether links on the page should be crawled. If you elect to employ "nofollow," the engines will disregard the links on the page for discovery, ranking purposes, or both. By default, all pages are assumed to have the "follow" attribute.
    Example: <META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW">
  • noarchive is used to restrict search engines from saving a cached copy of the page. By default, the engines will maintain visible copies of all pages they have indexed, accessible to searchers through the cached link in the search results.
  • nosnippet informs the engines that they should refrain from displaying a descriptive block of text next to the page's title and URL in the search results.
  • noodp/noydir are specialized tags telling the engines not to grab a descriptive snippet about a page from the Open Directory Project (DMOZ) or the Yahoo! Directory for display in the search results.

The X-Robots-Tag HTTP header directive also accomplishes these same objectives. This technique works especially well for content within non-HTML files, like images.

Meta Description

The meta description tag exists as a short description of a page's content. Search engines do not use the keywords or phrases in this tag for rankings, but meta descriptions are the primary source for the snippet of text displayed beneath a listing in the results.

The meta description tag serves the function of advertising copy, drawing readers to your site from the results. It is an extremely important part of search marketing. Crafting a readable, compelling description using important keywords (notice how Google bolds the searched keywords in the description) can draw a much higher click-through rate of searchers to your page.

Meta descriptions can be any length, but search engines generally will cut snippets longer than 160 characters, so it's generally wise to stay within in these limits.

In the absence of meta descriptions, search engines will create the search snippet from other elements of the page. For pages that target multiple keywords and topics, this is a perfectly valid tactic.

Not as important meta tags

Meta Keywords: The meta keywords tag had value at one time, but is no longer valuable or important to search engine optimization. For more on the history and a full account of why meta keywords has fallen into disuse, read Meta Keywords Tag 101 from SearchEngineLand.

Meta Refresh, Meta Revisit-after, Meta Content-type, and others: Although these tags can have uses for search engine optimization, they are less critical to the process, and so we'll leave it to Google's Search Console Help to discuss in greater detail.

Well, How do you like this offering?

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Visit the Kairos webiste https://cabinet.kairosplanet.com/register/#111b0e

Why Search Engine Marketing is Necessary

Why Search Engine Marketing is Necessary

 

An important aspect of SEO is making your website easy for both users and search engine robots to understand. Although search engines have become increasingly sophisticated, they still can't see and understand a web page the same way a human can. SEO helps the engines figure out what each page is about, and how it may be useful for users.

 

 

A Common Argument Against SEO

We frequently hear statements like this:

"No smart engineer would ever build a search engine that requires websites to follow certain rules or principles in order to be ranked or indexed. Anyone with half a brain would want a system that can crawl through any architecture, parse any amount of complex or imperfect code, and still find a way to return the most relevant results, not the ones that have been 'optimized' by unlicensed search marketing experts."

But Wait …

Imagine you posted online a picture of your family dog. A human might describe it as "a black, medium-sized dog, looks like a Lab, playing fetch in the park." On the other hand, the best search engine in the world would struggle to understand the photo at anywhere near that level of sophistication. How do you make a search engine understand a photograph? Fortunately, SEO allows webmasters to provide clues that the engines can use to understand the content. In fact, adding proper structure to your content is essential to SEO.

Understanding both the abilities and limitations of search engines allows you to properly build, format, and annotate your web content in a way that search engines can digest. Without SEO, a website can be invisible to search engines.

The Limits of Search Engine Technology

The major search engines all operate on the same principles. Automated search bots crawl the web, follow links, and index content in massive databases. They accomplish this with dazzling artificial intelligence, but modern search technology is not all-powerful. There are numerous technical limitations that cause significant problems in both inclusion and rankings. We've listed the most common below:

Problems Crawling and Indexing

  • Online forms: Search engines aren't good at completing online forms (such as a login), and thus any content contained behind them may remain hidden.
  • Duplicate pages: Websites using a CMS (Content Management System) often create duplicate versions of the same page; this is a major problem for search engines looking for completely original content.
  • Blocked in the code: Errors in a website's crawling directives (robots.txt) may lead to blocking search engines entirely.
  • Poor link structures: If a website's link structure isn't understandable to the search engines, they may not reach all of a website's content; or, if it is crawled, the minimally exposed content may be deemed unimportant by the engine's index.
  • Non-text Content: Although the engines are getting better at reading non-HTML text, content in rich media format is still difficult for search engines to parse. This includes text in Flash files, images, photos, video, audio, and plug-in content.

Problems Matching Queries to Content

  • Uncommon terms: Text that is not written in the common terms that people use to search. For example, writing about "food cooling units" when people actually search for "refrigerators."
  • Language and internationalization subtleties: For example, "color" vs. "colour." When in doubt, check what people are searching for and use exact matches in your content.
  • Incongruous location targeting: Targeting content in Polish when the majority of the people who would visit your website are from Japan.
  • Mixed contextual signals: For example, the title of your blog post is "Mexico's Best Coffee" but the post itself is about a vacation resort in Canada which happens to serve great coffee. These mixed messages send confusing signals to search engines.

Make sure your content gets seen

Getting the technical details of search engine-friendly web development correct is important, but once the basics are covered, you must also market your content. The engines by themselves have no formulas to gauge the quality of content on the web. Instead, search technology relies on the metrics of relevance and importance, and they measure those metrics by tracking what people do: what they discover, react, comment, and link to. So, you can’t just build a perfect website and write great content; you also have to get that content shared and talked about.

                                       The Competitive Nature of Search Engines

Take a look at any search results page and you'll find the answer to why search marketing has a long, healthy life ahead.  There are, on average, ten positions on the search results page. The pages that fill those positions are ordered by rank. The higher your page is on the search results page, the better your click-through rate and ability to attract searchers. Results in positions 1, 2, and 3 receive much more traffic than results down the page, and considerably more than results on deeper pages. The fact that so much attention goes to so few listings means that there will always be a financial incentive for search engine rankings. No matter how search may change in the future, websites and businesses will compete with one another for this attention, and for the user traffic and brand visibility it provides.

Constantly Changing SEO

When search marketing began in the mid-1990s, manual submission, the meta keywords tag, and keyword stuffing were all regular parts of the tactics necessary to rank well. In 2004, link bombing with anchor text, buying hordes of links from automated blog comment spam injectors, and the construction of inter-linking farms of websites could all be leveraged for traffic. In 2011, social media marketing and vertical search inclusion are mainstream methods for conducting search engine optimization. The search engines have refined their algorithms along with this evolution, so many of the tactics that worked in 2004 can hurt your SEO today.

The future is uncertain, but in the world of search, change is a constant. For this reason, search marketing will continue to be a priority for those who wish to remain competitive on the web. Some have claimed that SEO is dead, or that SEO amounts to spam. As we see it, there's no need for a defense other than simple logic:

Websites compete for attention and placement in the search engines, and those with the knowledge and experience to improve their website's ranking will receive the benefits of increased traffic and visibility.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Visit the Kairos webiste https://cabinet.kairosplanet.com/register/#111b0e

Data-Led Inbound Marketing

Data-Led Inbound Marketing

Columnist Chris Liversidge shows how a streamlined, data-led process can be used to set clear priorities and objectives that drive both social and SEO performance over time.

 

 

This is a follow-up to my post at the end of 2015, which looked at how you can take third-party tools and merge their data to create weighted segment reports that allow you to better target inbound link building campaigns.

 

 

This time, I’d like to focus on quantifying actions and impact so you can build data-led inbound strategies from the ground up.

I’ll share the outputs of that analysis, using our surfing "key phrase" sets to show the types of inbound content triggered by the analysis. And I’ll discuss how to embed them into a broader campaign planner to provide a performance-driven SEO planner you and your team can work through.

Mining Your Performance Data For Insights

Using our weighted Estimated True Value (ETV) model to find the best blend of positive social metrics and positive link data, we can segment our data to look at high-performing data like this:

Sorting data by our weighted ETV highlights the best blend of link volume, domain strength and diversity and social engagement metrics.

In this example, I’ve aggregated the social interaction across multiple social channels: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+. However, you can pivot the data to segment by each, should you so choose, and I’d recommend that approach if you know one particular social channel is more valuable to your marketing message than another.

We can see that our top-performing content has a common campaign dominating the ETV sorted data:

A single campaign takes multiple top spots in our report view.

A single campaign takes multiple top spots in our report view.

Quicksilver Japan’s “True wetsuits” campaign, rolled out in Spring/Summer 2015, has had excellent results across our data set for social impact that drives a high volume of high-value links from a diverse domain mix: the perfect storm and a great model for effective SEO and social campaign success crossover.

The actual YouTube video is ranked underneath a light-hearted Adweek press summary and follow-on posts by GrindTV and Surf Session (both of which embed the YouTube video). Crucially, the top-performing item goes into further detail on the range itself, pulling out different styles and options and pulling in other press content imagery that adds greater depth to the video.

It’s also very obvious that this top-performing article content isn’t from the original release country.

So what are our takeaways? Well, we can see that niche site performance is a trend; in addition to the two previous examples, Nakisurf also performs strongly.

Embedding the release video is important, and provision of additional release collateral — going the extra mile to tell the full story and support the message of the release — has worked strongly.

Also, and most importantly, our target audience is global. When we consider the other high-ranking content around our target terms in the report, we can see the UK version of Business Insider, a new Zealand stockist, ION’s US site and a Spanish editorial on the Quicksilver campaign from Xataka.

So in addition to having go-to sites and social influencers that are highly valued in our target niche from the report (and supporting data in the previous part), we have much clearer definition of the content that succeeded for those publications:

  • Clear, catchy, light brand message, expressed via video storytelling, tone matched to product lifestyle.
  • Supporting product range information (detail, detail, detail!).
  • Supplying technical specification in depth (2 mm. neoprene and so on),
  • High-resolution PR shots made available, extensive shots from filming made available.
  • Targeted launch outreach to international publications.
  • Lightweight light opinion/release pieces targeted to niche publications to support.
  • Follow-up campaign collateral and opinion pieces two to three weeks after initial campaign promotion (see Xataka).
  • Remove language barriers in collateral.

It goes without saying there are further tone and messaging learnings to be had from reviewing the social promotion during the campaign, and I recommend using a tool like True Social Metrics to gain visibility on the archived fire hoses from your key social channels and to perform sentiment and tone analysis to validate your approach success.

Looping launch planning into these data insights is straightforward. Choosing the right projects to work on and prioritize simply requires comparison. Because we start our process by choosing key phrase targets, we can rerun our reports for multiple terms or sets of terms to gain output like the above and compare the absolute numbers (Domain Strength, Link Volume, Strength, Diversity), to prioritize those that have higher point of impact.

Align that list of high-impact content areas with your current content and PR planner, and you can conduct a rationalization piece to set your priorities. After that, you need to define your baseline KPIs and agree on what success looks like. We can use the same data sources to set that.

Benchmark To Measure Growth

I often speak to businesses that are slipping behind their competitors’ SEO or social performance, and invariably there is a lack of appropriate benchmarking that underpins their underperformance.

Let’s use an example benchmark to illustrate the point.

Re-visualising True Social Metrics data and calculating a moving average to benchmark gives a clearer starting point.

The benchmark above shows, for Twitter only, the “Social Engagement” rates for seven brands and a calculated “Moving Average” of the group. The underlying data is from True Social Metrics, and their key engagement types are highlighted for a single domain versus the moving average.

Absolute numbers give context to our benchmark.

Providing further context to the existing reach of competing profiles is important for social, and so in the above part of the benchmark, we frame the engagement rates in absolute terms.

This is an excellent starting engagement point to measure social improvement from and dovetails with the previous report to supply a baseline you can use to show improvement over time.

Setting SMART objectives against increasing engagement rates against your selected competitor moving average, increasing follower counts to allow for future campaign amplification and backfilling seasonally slow times for social will all merge with the content priorities discussed as outputs from the weighted true value inbound campaign analysis.

So although we are jumping across multiple tools, I hope it’s clear that a streamlined, data-led process can be used to set clear priorities and understandable SMART objectives that drive both social and SEO performance over time in a virtuous cycle.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Visit the Kairos webiste https://cabinet.kairosplanet.com/register/#111b0e

Capture more Leads with Inbound Marketing

Capture more Leads with Inbound Marketing

The Best Inbound Marketing Tool

Marketing has changed. Today’s consumer take their time to get informed about a product before buying it. Thanks to Google, Yelp, Wikipedia, and a wide variety of websites, your customers can easily gather enough information to be well-informed on any topic in minutes, and that information dictates which companies they choose to work with.

People have adapted their habits when it comes to browsing the internet, but there’s a way to take advantage of those new browsing habits. Just think about the last time you made a purchase decision – did you “Google It” before making up your mind?

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is where your customers find you!… Instead of you chasing them down. Inbound marketing is a method of creating SEO friendly (i.e. people can find you on Google), customer-centric content that your audience is looking for, rather than trying to reach out to someone who may or may not be interested in what you have to offer.

Outbound marketing has been the standard way of doing things for a while now. You buy ads, set up a newsletter, send out cold emails, make cold calls, and generally shout into the darkness about your site in hopes that someone will hear you and respond. And to be completely fair about it, if you shout loud enough, you will attract some visitors to your site, but they might not be the visitors you were hoping for.

Inbound marketing works differently. Instead of doing everything in your power to reach outward in hopes of finding your audience, you create high-quality content like blog posts, videos, podcasts, and interactive demos. By doing so, you’re ensuring that your audience will want to find you. Outbound marketing yields a mixture of visitors who are interested in what you have to offer and visitors who had the wrong idea about your business. Some of those leads are warm, and some aren’t; it’s a mixed bag. With inbound marketing, every visitor is a warm lead. They’re coming to your site because they’re interested in what you offer, not because you were the loudest voice on the internet.

Why should you use inbound marketing?

Let’s start with the cold hard facts. According to Hubspot, inbound marketing costs 61% less to implement than outbound marketing, and it has been proven to generate 54% more leads. If your marketing budget looks a little like the piggy bank above, those two facts alone should be reason enough to give it a try, but there are plenty of benefits beyond the severely decreased cost per lead. For starters, each lead you get will be warm. With inbound marketing, your audience finds you naturally; in other words, they’re already interested in what you have to offer before they ever hear your sales pitch. Even better, if you start with great content, your visitors will come back to your site, again and again, giving you more chances to take advantage of a warm lead!

You have good content! Now how do you make that content work for you?

If you start with good content, every visitor to your site will be a warm lead. All you have to do from there is capture those leads, and that’s where Digioh comes in. Our lightbox is a robust and powerful tool that helps you put the right call to action in front of the right visitor.

Once you’ve used inbound marketing to bring warm leads to your site, the Digioh Lightbox can help you to capture your visitors’ interest by presenting a compelling offer to them. By offering a free guide, a one on one consultation, or a discount on their next purchase, you can get your visitors to subscribe to your mailing list, or provide their contact info. Once you have that contact info, you can help them understand why they should buy your product.

The Digioh Lightbox is designed to put the power in the marketer’s hands. Once it’s installed on your site, you won’t need to deal with the IT department to make changes. Just log into Digioh, and use our user-friendly editor to change your call to action, or alter the appearance of the lightbox, and then just hit the publish button to push those changes to your site.

Our lightbox also offers a suite of powerful rules you can use to set who sees them and when. You can create a lightbox that will only show to users who came to your site from a specific referrer, you can target your lightbox based on the visitor’s geographic location, and you can target it based on the page your visitors are viewing. These customization options make it easy to put the right call to action in front of the right visitor.

All of those customization options make easy to create an engaging form to present to your visitors. If you know where they came in from, and what page on your site they’re reading, it’s easy to craft a message that’s going to appeal directly to their needs. You know what they’re looking for, and now you can craft an opt-in form that shows them you can give them what they need!

With all of these powerful tools at your disposal, it’s easy to turn visitors into leads, and leads into conversions!  Don’t let all that time and effort you put into making great content go to waste; use the Digioh lightbox to engage your visitors, and you’ll be able to take full advantage of the audience your content has brought to your site!

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Visit the Kairos webiste https://cabinet.kairosplanet.com/register/#111b0e

What is Impact-Based Advertising?

What is Impact-Based Advertising?

Impact-based advertising is a form of advertising designed to have a lasting psychological effect on viewers so they will remember the product or vendor. This approach can help advertising produce the greatest results for a given expenditure.

Impact-based advertising is often contrasted with impression-based advertising, which is focused on the number of times that an ad is seen and does not differentiate between segments of the audience. Impact-based advertising seeks to give the user something of value, whether that is entertainment or information and create a positive association with the product or service advertised.

On the Internet, impact-based advertising applies mainly to Web-based content although it can take the form of marketing email messages. With the increasing availability of high-speed Internet connections, sophisticated Web-based ads have become practical. A good example is a video that plays while the viewer looks at a Web page. Such videos often have distracting features such as handsome heroes, dancing dogs, crashing cars or marauding monsters.

When an advertiser wants to maximize the impact of an ad, the placement of the ad is a critical consideration. Effective ad locations are in transitional Web pages or in pages that viewers are likely to look at for a sustained period of time. Some advertisers use pop-ups that block desired content or pop-unders that remain on the screen even after the user exits the browser. However, many Web users find these tactics annoying and may react to them negatively.

Ads that come between users and the content they have requested are a form of interruption marketing, a category that also includes telemarketing calls during the dinner hour and commercials during your favorite television show. According to a report from IBM, The End of Advertising as We Know It, the advertising world will go through more change in the next five years than it did in the previous 50. An increasing trend towards impact-based and permission-based marketing is expected to be a part of that change.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Visit the Kairos webiste https://cabinet.kairosplanet.com/register/#111b0e

How People Interact With Search Engines

How People Interact With Search Engines

One of the most important elements to building an online marketing strategy around SEO is empathy for your audience. Once you grasp what your target market is looking for, you can more effectively reach and keep those users.

Robot Evolution

Build for users, not for search engines

We like to say, "Build for users, not for search engines." There are three types of search queries people generally make:

  • "Do" Transactional Queries: I want to do something, such as buy a plane ticket or listen to a song.
  • "Know" Informational Queries: I need information, such as the name of a band or the best restaurant in New York City.
  • "Go" Navigation Queries: I want to go to a particular place on the Internet, such as Facebook or the homepage of the NFL.

When visitors type a query into a search box and land on your site, will they be satisfied with what they find? This is the primary question that search engines try to answer billions of times each day. The search engines' primary responsibility is to serve relevant results to their users. So ask yourself what your target customers are looking for and make sure your site delivers it to them.

The True Power of Inbound Marketing with SEO

Why should you invest time, effort, and resources on SEO? When looking at the broad picture of search engine usage, fascinating data is available from several studies. We've extracted those that are recent, relevant, and valuable, not only for understanding how users search but to help present a compelling argument about the power of SEO.

A Broad PictureGoogle leads the way in an October 2011 study by comScore:
  • Google led the U.S. core search market in April with 65.4 percent of the searches conducted, followed by Yahoo! with 17.2 percent, and Microsoft with 13.4 percent. (Microsoft powers Yahoo Search. In the real world, most webmasters see a much higher percentage of their traffic from Google than these numbers suggest.)
  • Americans alone conducted a staggering 20.3 billion searches in one month. Google accounted for 13.4 billion searches, followed by Yahoo! (3.3 billion), Microsoft (2.7 billion), Ask Network (518 million), and AOL LLC (277 million).
  • Total search powered by Google properties equaled 67.7 percent of all search queries, followed by Bing which powered 26.7 percent of all search.

Billions spent on online marketing from an August 2011 Forrester report:

  • Online marketing costs will approach $77 billion in 2016.
  • This amount will represent 26% of all advertising budgets combined.
     

Search is the new Yellow Pages from a Burke 2011 report:

  • 76% of respondents used search engines to find local business information vs. 24% who turned to print yellow pages.
  • 67% had used search engines in the past 30 days to find local information, and 23% responded that they had used online social networks as a local media source.
     

An August 2011 Pew Internet study revealed:

  • The percentage of Internet users who use search engines on a typical day has been steadily rising from about one-third of all users in 2002, to a new high of 59% of all adult Internet users.
  • With this increase, the number of those using a search engine on a typical day is pulling ever closer to the 61 percent of Internet users who use e-mail, arguably the Internet's all-time killer app, on a typical day.
     

StatCounter Global Stats reports the top 5 search engines sending traffic worldwide:

  • Google sends 90.62% of traffic.
  • Yahoo! sends 3.78% of traffic.
  • Bing sends 3.72% of traffic.
  • Ask Jeeves sends .36% of traffic.
  • Baidu sends .35% of traffic.
     

A 2011 study by Slingshot SEO reveals click-through rates for top rankings:

  • A #1 position in Google's search results receives 18.2% of all click-through traffic.
  • The second position receives 10.1%, the third 7.2%, the fourth 4.8%, and all others under 2%.
  • A #1 position in Bing's search results averages a 9.66% click-through rate.
  • The total average click-through rate for first ten results was 52.32% for Google and 26.32% for Bing.
     

That's Some Spicey Data You Got There

All of this impressive research data leads us to important conclusions about web search and marketing through search engines. In particular, we're able to make the following statements:

  • Search is very, very popular. Growing strong at nearly 20% a year, it reaches nearly every online American, and billions of people around the world.
  • Search drives an incredible amount of both online and offline economic activity.
  • Higher rankings in the first few results are critical to visibility.
  • Being listed at the top of the results not only provides the greatest amount of traffic but also instills trust in consumers as to the worthiness and relative importance of the company or website.

Learning the foundations of SEO is a vital step in achieving these goals.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Visit the Kairos webiste https://cabinet.kairosplanet.com/register/#111b0e

How Search Engines Operate

HOW SEARCH ENGINES OPERATE

Search engines have two major functions: crawling and building an index, and providing search users with a ranked list of the websites they've determined are the most relevant.

Crawling and Indexing

Imagine the World Wide Web as a network of stops in a big city subway system.

Each stop is a unique document (usually a web page, but sometimes a PDF, JPG, or other files). The search engines need a way to “crawl” the entire city and find all the stops along the way, so they use the best path available—links.

Crawling and indexing the billions of documents, pages, files, news, videos, and media on the World Wide Web. Providing

Providing answers to user queries, most frequently through lists of relevant pages that they've retrieved and ranked for relevancy.

The link structure of the web serves to bind all of the pages together.

Links allow the search engines' automated robots, called "crawlers" or "spiders," to reach the many billions of interconnected documents on the web.

Once the engines find these pages, they decipher the code from them and store selected pieces in massive databases, to be recalled later when needed for a search query. To accomplish the monumental task of holding billions of pages that can be accessed in a fraction of a second, the search engine companies have constructed datacenters all over the world.

These monstrous storage facilities hold thousands of machines processing large quantities of information very quickly. When a person performs a search at any of the major engines, they demand results instantaneously; even a one- or two-second delay can cause dissatisfaction, so the engines work hard to provide answers as fast as possible.

 

Search engines are answer machines. When a person performs an online search, the search engine scours its corpus of billions of documents and does two things: first, it returns only those results that are relevant or useful to the searcher's query; second, it ranks those results according to the popularity of the websites serving the information. It is both relevance and popularity that the process of SEO is meant to influence.

How do search engines determine relevance and popularity?

To a search engine, relevance means more than finding a page with the right words. In the early days of the web, search engines didn’t go much further than this simplistic step, and search results were of limited value. Over the years, smart engineers have devised better ways to match results to searchers’ queries. Today, hundreds of factors influence relevance, and we’ll discuss the most important of these in this guide.

Search engines typically assume that the more popular a site, page, or document, the more valuable the information it contains must be. This assumption has proven fairly successful in terms of user satisfaction with search results.

Popularity and relevance aren’t determined manually. Instead, the engines employ mathematical equations (algorithms) to sort the wheat from the chaff (relevance), and then to rank the wheat in order of quality (popularity).

These algorithms often comprise hundreds of variables. In the search marketing field, we refer to them as “ranking factors.” Moz crafted a resource specifically on this subject: Search Engine Ranking Factors.

 You can surmise that search engines believe that Ohio State is the most relevant and popular page for the query “Universities” while the page for Harvard is less relevant/popular.

How Do I Get Some Success Rolling In?

Or, "how search marketers succeed"

The complicated algorithms of search engines may seem impenetrable. Indeed, the engines themselves provide little insight into how to achieve better results or garner more traffic. They do provide us with Knowlege concerning optimization and best practices is described below:

 
 

SEO Information from Google Webmaster Guidelines

Google recommends the following to get better rankings in their search engine:

Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Don't deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users, a practice commonly referred to as "cloaking."

  • Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.
  • Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content. Make sure that your <title> elements and ALT attributes are descriptive and accurate.
  • Use keywords to create descriptive, human-friendly URLs. Provide one version of a URL to reach a document, using 301 redirects or the rel="canonical" attribute to address duplicate content.
 

SEO Information from Bing Webmaster Guidelines

Bing engineers at Microsoft recommend the following to get better rankings in their search engine:

Ensure a clean, keyword rich URL structure is in place.

  • Make sure content is not buried inside rich media (Adobe Flash Player, JavaScript, Ajax) and verify that rich media doesn't hide links from crawlers.
  • Create keyword-rich content and match keywords to what users are searching for. Produce fresh content regularly.
  • Don’t put the text that you wanted indexed inside images. For example, if you want your company name or address to be indexed, make sure it is not displayed inside a company logo.
 

Have No Fear, Fellow Search Marketer!

 

In addition to this freely-given advice, over the 15+ years, that web search has existed, search marketers have found methods to extract information about how the search engines rank pages. SEOs and marketers use that data to help their sites and their clients achieve better positioning.

Surprisingly, the engines support many of these efforts, though the public visibility is frequently low. Conferences on search marketing, such as the Search Marketing Expo, Pubcon, Search Engine Strategies, Distilled, and Moz’s own MozCon attract engineers and representatives from all of the major engines. Search representatives also assist webmasters by occasionally participating online in blogs, forums, and groups.

 
 
 

 

 

There is perhaps no greater tool available to webmasters researching the activities of the engines than the freedom to use the search engines themselves to perform experiments, test hypotheses, and form opinions. It is through this iterative—sometimes painstaking—process that a considerable amount of knowledge about the functions of the engines has been gleaned. Some of the experiments we’ve tried go something like this:

  1. Register a new website with nonsense keywords (e.g., ishkabibbell.com).
  2. Create multiple pages on that website, all targeting a similarly ludicrous term (e.g., Yoo ew gally).
  3. Make the pages as close to identical as possible, then alter one variable at a time, experimenting with placement of text, formatting, use of keywords, link structures, etc.
  4. Point links at the domain from indexed, well-crawled pages on other domains.
  1. Record the rankings of the pages in search engines.
  2. Now make small alterations to the pages and assess their impact on search results to determine what factors might push a result up or down against its peers.
  3. Record any results that appear to be effective, and re-test them on other domains or with other terms. If several tests consistently return the same results, chances are you’ve discovered a pattern that is used by the search engines.

An Example Test We Performed

In our test, we started with the hypothesis that a link earlier (higher up) on a page carries more weight than a link lower down on the page. We tested this by creating a nonsense domain with a home page with links to three remote pages that all have the same nonsense word appearing exactly once on the page. After the search engines crawled the pages, we found that the page with the earliest link on the home page ranked first.

This process is useful but is not alone in helping to educate search marketers.

In addition to this kind of testing, search marketers can also glean competitive intelligence about how the search engines work through patent applications made by the major engines to the United States Patent Office. Perhaps the most famous among these is the system that gave rise to Google in the Stanford dormitories during the late 1990s, PageRank, documented as Patent #6285999: "Method for node ranking in a linked database." The original paper on the subject – Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine – has also been the subject of considerable study. But don't worry; you don't have to go back and take remedial calculus in order to practice SEO!

Through methods like patent analysis, experiments, and live testing, search marketers as a community has come to understand many of the basic operations of search engines and the critical components of creating websites and pages that earn high rankings and significant traffic.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Visit the Kairos webiste https://cabinet.kairosplanet.com/register/#111b0e