" />

Tag Archives: TCC

China’s Blockchain Invasion

China’s Blockchain Invasion

  

Word in China is out about blockchain technology,

as the government made clear in an Informatization Strategy published in December of 2016. The strategy states, "The internet, cloud computing, large data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain … will drive the evolution of everything – digital, network and intelligent services will be everywhere." It was an official endorsement for the new digital age and a big boost for blockchain technology. In a country with $5.5 trillion in digital payments last year (50 times the U.S.), blockchain is now a buzzword among the titans of industry. And in the race to participate, Chinese banks, builders, suppliers and retailers are pumping out blockchain solutions.

Survival of the Fittest

Even with millions of dollars, many of these new blockchains may not make it very far. In a recent WeChat post, Antshares executive Erik Zhang stated that 90 percent of the enterprise blockchains we are seeing are doomed to fail. Without an open-source code that anyone can build upon, Zhang argues, private solutions will not see the network effect of a healthy ledger. The big question for China, however, is whether a country known for its centralized authority, and a penchant for all things made-in-China, will allow an open-source, global standard solution sit on its internet. With Bitcoin, Ethereum and Hyperledger vying for dominance, there are big names within China making moves into the space.

A few of these big names include:

The People's Bank of China (PBOC)

The PBOC is reportedly close to the release of a government-backed digital RMB currency, which would put China at the frontier of digital currency adoption. And there are whispers within China that Shenzhen will be ground zero for the new digital economy. In September, Bloomberg reported that PBOC Vice Governor Fan Yifei wrote: "[T]he conditions are ripe for digital currencies, which can reduce operating costs, increase efficiency and enable a wide range of new applications." This would pave the way for blockchain startups in China to move forward in digital banking, finance, record-keeping, supply chains, IoT, AI and more.

Wanxiang Blockchain Labs

Working with Ethereum, Wanxiang is the largest blockchain development backer in China. After purchasing 500,000 ETH tokens last year, they pledged $30 billion for the development of a smart city in Hangzhou. They offer open-source platforms for anyone to build upon, and launched an accelerator fund for developers, intending to put money into promising projects and integrate digital apps into China's 21st-century cities. At a recent Fintech Summit in Hangzhou, Dr. Xiao Feng, GM of Wanxiang Blockchain Labs, said, "The first generation of internet technology has brought great changes to society. In China great companies like Alibaba, Tencent and Ant Financial have emerged. The blockchain represents the second generation of the internet," adding that big changes will come with artificial intelligence, encryption, decentralization, finance and the transfer of value.

Wanda Group

Wanda Group is the world's largest private property developer, with its own hotels, theme parks, shopping malls, AMC Theatres, media companies and department stores. In 2016 Wanda joined Hyperledger, intending to build smart apps for its businesses. Five months later, Wanda announced its blockchain platform Polaris for smart supply chains, pharmaceutical management, finance and invoicing. Now the company is working with China's Ministry of Industry and Information to draft domestic blockchain standards and a Chinese blockchain white paper. And Wanda insists Polaris will be an open-source blockchain for all. When announcing Polaris at the Shanghai Hyperledger Hackathon in March, Ji Zhoudong, GM of Wanda Feifan Technology Research Center, said, "Wanda attaches great importance to being open source, the core of which is to foster progress through community, openness, collaboration and sharing."

Alibaba

Alibaba took a small step onto the blockchain in March, when it teamed up with PwC to build a pilot platform to prevent counterfeit foods. Food fraud is a big issue in China, as are fraudulent goods across Alibaba's many online platforms. If the pilot is successful, blockchain tracking may be applied to all goods on Alibaba's supply chain. Alibaba's financial arm, Ant Financial, is also embracing blockchain technology, as CEO Eric Jing recently told CNBC . According to Jing, "[T]hese technologies will be used … to bring more, a high level of security," also saying that in the future, artificial intelligence and blockchain will be "deeply" integrated into Ant Financial's business.

ICBC

The largest and most valuable bank in the world, ICBC is adapting quickly to the fintech revolution. Speaking at a conference in March 2017, ICBC's Huiman Yi said, "We place great importance on the research of advanced technology and the cultivation of technical talents. We have established seven innovation labs in ICBC's head office for artificial intelligence, cloud computing, blockchain, bioidentification, big data and internet finance." And according to Yi, a blockchain-based financial trading system is coming to the public soon.

Other Chinese companies making moves onto the blockchain include:

  • Foxconn – The producer of Apple's iPhones (for supply chain finance)

  • JD.com – A leading online retailer (for consumer finance applications)

  • Juzhen Financials – Banking and finance (to bring distributed tech to financial markets)

  • Zhongnan Construction – A property conglomerate (for trading agricultural products)

  • CreditEase – Microfinance and wealth advisors (as a supply chain tool for businesses)

  • Shanghai Insurance Exchange – An insurance trading platform (for securing trades)

  • Qtum – To bring decentralized applications to China

  • Antshares – For decentralized registration and issuing, transactions, settlements and blockchain-based digital payments

Who Will Rule the Kingdom?

Just before Ethereum's Devcon2 in Shanghai, Vitalik Buterin tweeted, "Chinese ethereum community full steam ahead." Since then, blockchain tech has taken Chinese industries by storm. With so many new blockchain solutions, it's hard to keep an eye on the developments in China. Things are moving fast, and it's great to see such energy devoted to the technology. As word continues to spread, expect to see more Chinese blockchains entering the fray, until we see leaders emerge, and then consolidation. In the meantime, grab a noodle bowl and watch it all unfold and marvel at the swiftness of China's blockchain invasion.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive

Reasons Social Media Marketing Is Still Underrated

Reasons Social Media Marketing
Is Still Underrated

  

The numbers on social media marketing are impressive.

More than half of small businesses in the United States are planning to increase their social media marketing budgets in 2017, and the number of businesses using social media marketing has increased, year over year, for more than a decade.Still, social media marketing remains underrated. Business owners and marketers frequently treat it as a second thought—something for an intern to handle, rather than a strategically deep mode of building your reputation and attracting new traffic. Some have even abandoned the idea altogether, refusing to spend any time or money on a strategy that nets a positive ROI for up to 92 percent of businesses that use it. So what’s the deal? Why isn’t everyone on board with the strategy?

The "fad" angle.

Believe it or not, some people still believe that social media—or its use as a marketing strategy—is still a fad just waiting to fizzle out. This is an argument I could have understood back in 2007 when social media platforms were only in use by a small percentage of the population. But now that Facebook has reached more than 1.2 billion users and is still growing, with a corporate foundation that rivals those of Apple or Google, it’s a hard argument to defend. Users have gotten used to the idea of socially interacting online, and platforms keep evolving in new ways to maintain their interest.

You get what you pay for.

Psychologically, people tend to place more value on things that cost more money. For example, in a blind taste test of identical wines whose only difference is price, people claim that the more expensive (yet compositionally identical) wine tastes better. Take this principle to social media marketing; it’s free to claim and build a business profile and to post regularly (as long as you aren’t leveraging paid advertising). Because of that, people don’t value it as much as they do paid advertising. They’re also less likely to pay a professional to work on a social media campaign, knowing that—technically—anyone could do it for free (even if they never actually do it).

Unmeasurable effects.

The return on investment (ROI) of social media is hard to measure, and I’ll be the first to admit it. One of your biggest goals is attracting a large following of people who are enthusiastic about your brand, and improving both your brand’s reputation and brand awareness. These aren’t as objectively measurable as on-site conversions, but they can and do lead to greater consumer interest, which manifests as sales eventually. Trying to pin down an exact value for all these benefits is next to impossible, even for the pros, so the value of a social media campaign is almost always underreported.

Anecdotes.

People also use anecdotal evidence as a basis for their opinions about the strategy. For example, they may know of another business who used social media and didn’t see any results, so they stay away from it in the present. However, these anecdotal examples often don’t examine the types of tactics these businesses used, and they certainly don’t represent the average across multiple businesses.

Apples and oranges.

Ironically, these same business owners often cite the fact that anecdotal evidence can’t prove a strategy’s effectiveness for everybody. They point to major influencers or big businesses in the social media world and explain that social media works for them because it fits naturally with their industry, or because they have the resources to invest in a heavy campaign. It’s true that some industries may be naturally inclined to perform better on social media than others; tech companies and consumer-facing businesses are two good examples. However, social media marketing can be used by practically any company—it may just require an adjustment to your approach.

Poor targeting.

Some businesses look at their own results and use those results as a gauge of the long-term potential of their campaign. But they may not realise that their strategic targeting is interfering with their results. For example, if you buy 1,000 followers using some super cheap follower-adding service, but only 4 or 5 of them ever interact with your posts or visit your site, it could be that the remaining 995 don’t belong to demographics relevant for your business, or that you haven’t been using the right engagement strategies to cultivate interest. Don’t underestimate the potential of a well-researched, strategically focused campaign.

 Lack of investment.

Effective social media marketing can’t be done on a whim. It needs to be planned, researched, and strategically executed. That means you’ll need to spend a significant amount of time or a significant amount of money to see results; and since many business owners aren’t willing to make that investment, they never see a fraction of their potential results. By that point, they’ve seen what a small investment does, and they’re unwilling to make the jump to a larger investment.

Social media marketing isn’t an “underground” strategy; it’s talked about heavily (and I should know), and there’s no shortage of content covering its feasibility and best tactics. But the perceptions of marketers and business owners are still lagging behind the evidence, and they’re only hurting themselves in the process. The more you learn about the effective implementation of social media marketing, the more plainly beneficial it seems—but you have to treat it as a legitimate marketing strategy if you want to research it appropriately.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive

Cryptocurrency Exchange Poloniex Set to Delist 17 Altcoins

Cryptocurrency Exchange Poloniex
Set to Delist 17 Altcoins

Cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex

recently announced that it will be delisting 17 altcoins, effective May 2, which saw the price of the coins drop significantly.

On Twitter, the U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange said:

On May 2, 2017, the following will be delisted: BBR, BITS, C2, CURE, HZ, IOC, MYR, NOBL, NSR, QBK, QORA, OTL, RBY, SDC, UNITY, VOX [and] XMG.

Since Poloniex’s tweet, the prices of the listed currencies have dropped in value by between 31 percent and 92 percent over the past seven days. The biggest drop in value was C2, which is currently ranked 323rd on CoinMarketCap. Over the last seven days, it fell by 91.08 percent. Boolberry, who was one of the altcoins mentioned to be delisted, and who has had a 64 percent price drop over the past seven days, responded to Poloniex’s tweet., and asked:

“Hey Poloniex, anything we can do to avoid delisting?”

Coin Magi XMG, which suffered a 58 percent drop following the announcement, also reached out to Poloniex via Twitter, stating:

Poloniex Magi is with you for a long time. Last months volume is growing, new developments are in progress. Pls reconsider!!

Many, however, have taken to Twitter to either voice their support in the expected removal of the announced altcoins while others have voiced their anger in how Poloniex have handled the situation.

One person responded by saying:

They opened a company to make money … @Poloniex in the same breathe [sic] screw people over …

While another said:

Lol our hedge group only lost like $250000 in earnings in like 20 minutes … 11 failed transactions trying to close positions!!! All gone.

A third said:

@Poloniex who the F%^& makes these decisions? I see at least 4 with active develop, solid community & solid project that should remain.

Criticisms of Poloniex

In the past, the cryptocurrency exchange has received its critics about its security procedures. Last October, an anonymous security review undertaken by Xavier59, revealed three vulnerabilities after alleging that Poloniex had failed to reply to his emails with information relating to security bugs. Furthermore, last year, the exchange announced that it was suspending its services in New Hampshire due to that state’s digital currency regulations. It added the same suspension to the state of Washington earlier this month for the same reasons.

Of course, while the cryptocurrency exchange is considered one of the biggest, this latest news from Poloniex and its planned delisting of 17 altcoins is not going to do any favours for the exchange. It begs the question, then: is this the start of more delistings from the exchange?

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive

Suddenly, Europe is Starting to Become Bitcoin Haven

Suddenly, Europe is Starting to
Become Bitcoin Haven

  

Suddenly, Europe is Starting to Become Bitcoin Haven

Countries like France, Germany and the UK have already established regulatory frameworks for Bitcoin companies, users and traders. Other European countries have offered their unique regulatory frameworks with clarity, to ensure there exists no conflict between local businesses and regulators due to ambiguous regulations and policies like India. Smaller countries such as Malta, an archipelago in the central Mediterranean between Sicily and the North African coast, have begun to consider Bitcoin as a legitimate currency and revolutionary technology.

Bitcoin and Blockchain included in national strategy

In particular, local publications including Malta Today reported that the country’s prime minister Joseph Muscat announced the approval of a national strategy to promote Bitcoin and Blockchain technology. Muscat said at a conference organized by the financial affairs parliamentary committee:

“This is not just about Bitcoin and I also look forward to seeing Blockchain technology implemented in the Lands Registry and the national health registries. Malta can be a global trail-blazer in this regard. I understand that regulators are wary of this technology but the fact is that it’s coming. We must be on the frontline in embracing this crucial innovation and we cannot just wait for others to take action and copy them. We must be the ones that others copy.”

Although Muscat raised several positive use cases of Bitcoin and Blockchain technology, Muscat specifically addressed the Bitcoin Blockchain’s ability to handle, store and process sensitive data such as lands registry in a secure, immutable and decentralized ecosystem.

Land records

Most recently, Ubitquity, a US-based Blockchain startup, partnered with one of the land records bureaus of Brazil to utilize the Bitcoin Blockchain technology to integrate land records to the public Blockchain of Bitcoin. Such method enables land bureaus and other government organizations to store data within an unalterable ledger. “We are incredibly excited to announce our partnership with the land records bureau, a Cartório de Registro de Imóveis [Real Estate Registry Office] in Brazil. This partnership will help to demonstrate to government municipalities the power and benefits of using Blockchain-powered recordkeeping,” said Ubitquity founder and president Nathan Wosnack.

Malta to become the Silicon Valley of Europe?

The rest of the government, including Labor Minister of Parliament Silvio Schembri, revealed the government’s vision to transform Malta into the Silicon Valley of Europe. The country will focus on the development of innovative technologies such as Bitcoin and Blockchain technology to stay at the forefront of European technological innovation.

Schembri stated:

“We should aim to have the world’s best environment for the development and commercialization of fintech models and disruptive innovation. The government should ensure that Malta has the appropriate regulatory framework, the right tax system and the best infrastructure to support this ambition. With our geographical position and weather conditions, strong financial system, skills base, entrepreneurial spirit and can-do approach, Malta can truly serve as a test-bed for new sectors and foreign firms to test their new technology and products locally.”

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive

Blockchain Innovation Means Greater Financial Inclusion in the Middle East

Blockchain Innovation Means Greater Financial Inclusion in the Middle East

  

Financial inclusion,

something as simple as possessing a basic chequing account is significantly lacking in the Middle East, especially when compared on a global scale. Digital innovation, coupled with high mobile penetration rates, especially those aged 25 and under, can, however, open the door to reshaping the fate of the region’s estimated 85 million unbanked adults. According to the 2014 World Bank Global Findex Database, a report that measures global financial inclusion, account penetration in the Middle East, that is, individuals without access to even the most basic financial services sat at just 14 percent.

Last month, Dr. Nasser Saidi, a leading economist for the Middle East and North Africa region who served as the Minister of Economy and Industry and as the Vice Governor for the Lebanese central banks, reiterated the 14 percent figure in an interview. Saidi added, however, that the situation is even more dismal for women.He claimed that only 9 percent of women in the Middle East region owned an account. This is a stunning figure, especially when placed alongside the global average which sits at around 50 percent, according to World Bank data.

Furthermore, account ownership is at near-universal levels in high-income Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) economies, with 94 percent of adults from OECD nations having reported owning an account. Financial inclusion is critical for employment creation, for raising income levels and to consequently reduce poverty. To achieve inclusive economic growth, of course, requires the easing of barriers to accessing the broader financial system. The key to easing the barrier to financial access in today’s online environment is digital innovation, more specifically, advancement in financial technology and mobile banking.

The United Arab Emirates, one of the richest Gulf nations, has an internal battle amongst its top two cities. “There is a rivalry between Abu Dhabi and Dubai to become the fintech hub in UAE,” said Omar Soudodi, managing director of Dubai-based payments processor PayFort, as reported by Kadhim Shubber of the Financial Times, in December. Companies in the financial technology sector, including within the rapidly emerging space of blockchain technology, see the critical opportunity that exists for banking innovation. “More and more of the Arab millennials are getting into the banked world before they even graduate,” said Soudodi. “Before the trend was, ‘I graduate, I get a job, I get my first paycheck and think, oh my God, I need a bank account’.” There is potential to capitalise on the shifting demographic trends.

Changing Demographics

The UAE was cited by Google amongst the highest in smartphone penetration rates per capita as of September 2015. The UAE was in fact listed among global leaders with an overall smartphone penetration rate of around 75 percent. The mobile phone user base in the Middle East and North Africa region was second only to that in Asia-Pacific. “Just over 606 million people in the Middle East and Africa [region] have at least one mobile phone this year, and the total will pass 789 million in 2019,” reported eMarketer, an independent market research firm, in tandem with Starcom Mediavest Group as part of their 2016 Global Media Intelligence report.

The UAE has retained its regional standing as the highest per capita country for mobile phone penetration with an estimated 80.6 percent of the population reported to possess a mobile device. Further, this number is projected to inch up to 82.8 percent by 2019, as per the Global Media Intelligence report. From a usage perspective, the trend is similarly moving toward complete saturation. In 2012, only 54 percent of UAE users under the age of 25 went online using a smartphone at least as often as on a computer. This rocketed to 90 percent by 2015.

Fast-forward to data obtained in January 2017 and the trend upward continues, with the Internet and mobile use remaining high in the Middle East, according to We Are Social’s and Hootsuite’s Digital in 2017 Global Overview. Of an estimated total regional population of 246 million there are 147 million Internet users in the Middle East — a 60 percent penetration rate. Furthermore, there are 312 million mobile subscriptions, which amounts to a 127 percent rate against the overall population.

“You have a very young population, using modern technologies. Yet, the financial and banking side is lagging. Fintech therefore, can play a very important role in financial access and inclusion,” said Saidi. Top digital users are of course the youth segment, according to economist Saidi, who added, 60 percent of the population in the Middle East are aged under 30, which highlights the ripe opportunity to mobilise the current and upcoming generations.

Blockchain-Based Innovation

“The Arabian world is ripe for innovation,” said Mohammed Alsehli, chief executive officer at ArabianChain Technology, a Dubai-based software developer. “Blockchain technology is at the center of innovation in the region that is made possible by the direction and the vision of some of the countries here. In Saudi Arabia and the UAE it’s all about the digital revolution and how to digitally transform these countries in the future.” ArabianChain Technology, based in the Dubai Technology Entrepreneurship Center, recently launched its own public blockchain.

In addition to the blockchain, ArabianChain is developing a suite of blockchain-based features and products, including its own digital currency called DubaiCoin-DBIX (previously, DubaiCoin-DBIC), an exchange, and a regionally-focused marketplace. “DBIX is a secure and economical means to conduct payments and asset transfers,” Alsehli said. But ArabianChain is just a single player amidst a growing base of fintech ventures, blockchain-based and otherwise. Last September, the Dubai Future Foundation launched its inaugural Dubai Future Accelerators, a 12-week program connected international technology startups with government entities for the purpose of creating prototypes and pilots for the City of Dubai.

According to Bitcoin Magazine reporter Diana Ngo, The program “enlisted 30 companies with seven of Dubai’s public services: Health, Energy, Knowledge, Municipality, Police, Transport and the investment portfolio, Dubai Holding.” In fact, the United Arab Emirates is moving to adopt sweepingly adopt blockchain technology with aims “to become, by 2020, a leading centre for innovation and the first government in the world to execute all of its transactions on a blockchain.”

The power of this, from a financial inclusion and digital innovation standpoint, will be unmitigated access for a population that lives online, connected via a computer or mobile phone, with the latter’s penetration rate at a nearly universal level. Further, integration and adoption of a regionally-focused, feature-filled public blockchain has the capacity to heighten interaction and connectivity from business-to-business,  business-to-consumer, and peer-to-peer positions.

Daniel Diemers, a consultant with the strategy and consulting arm of PricewaterhouseCoopers, pointed to another reality in the region, that of disconnection, stating, “If you’re a payments fintech start-up in the UAE and you’ve gone through all the approvals, it [still] doesn’t give you passports in other Gulf countries.” ArabianChain and other public blockchains like Bitcoin have the potential to alter this dissociative relationship, allowing businesses and people to interact without thought of border, according to Alsehli.

Mobile banking and the advancement and adoption of financial technology applications can also shatter the often insurmountable barrier physical access predicates while alleviating costs to the account owner and the banking institution. In short, Blockchain-based innovation could mean significant progress by way of financial inclusion through digital. This guest article is authored by Brandon Kostinuk, communications lead at Vanbex Group, a Vancouver, Canada-based professional services firm and consultancy that specialises in the digital currency and blockchain technology sector.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive

Tips for Combining SEO and Content Marketing

Tips for Combining SEO and
Content Marketing

  

Gone are the days when search engine optimisation was enough

to land your website onto Google's good graces. Now you must to add content marketing to your arsenal of digital marketing tool if you want to gain search engines’ approval and ultimately win the heart of online users. Given the important role content marketing now plays in the success of an online business, it's time that SEO ties the knot with content marketing.

The two digital marketing tools that were once viewed as separate entities are now an inseparable couple, promising to inch businesses closer to the proverbial “overnight success. ”The amazing duo can greatly help your online business reach the pinnacle of success and outwit your competitors. Here are ways you can ensure that the two digital marketing tools work in harmony:

Set common goals.

Setting common goals is the first step to make SEO and content marketing work together to bring additional revenues. Ask yourself what activities overlap between the two digital marketing techniques. Is it increased online traffic, rankings or links? How can you align the activities to achieve common goals? The answers to these and other similar questions will give you a starting point in creating an integrated SEO and content marketing strategy with clear and focused goals and strong communication.

Establish key performance indicators.

Another way to optimise synergy between SEO and Content Marketing is to establish key KPIs that will track performance, and ensure that it is on track for achieving common goals. These KPIs include content sharing, links to content, online user engagement, call-to-action conversion rates and several others. 

Understand your target audience.

Understanding your audience is the key part of an SEO and content marketing strategy. Create personas of the target audience and develop a unique digital marketing strategy for each group. The personas can be based on age, location, gender, hobbies or interests. Don’t undertake any digital marketing activity without considering what your audience wants, and also what you want them to do in return of fulfilling their demand.

Create SEO-optimized content.

Google places great emphasis on quality content. You can make the content more relevant for the search engine by incorporating high-impression keywords. Optimising the content in this way will allow your Web pages to become visible to online users by appearing in the search results. Avoid overstuffing keywords into website content. In order to play it safe, limit the keyword density to 1 percent or less. This will ensure that your site doesn't get penalised by the search engine, decreasing online traffic.

Research high-impression and relevant keywords.

Include high impression and relevant keywords in the website. Each keyword that you select should be researched properly using online tools such as Google Planner, Google Trend, Word Stream and other similar tools. optimising your content in this way will ensure that your online content is able to attract maximum number of online users.

Attract online consumers through link building.

Another way you can make SEO and content marketing work together is through link building. Link building is a pure SEO strategy that results in a distribution of online content to a large number of targeted, qualified audiences. You can greatly increase your content’s effectiveness through these efforts. The links pointing to the published online content is placed on various high authority and high page ranked sites. These sites attract thousands of online visitors that can be diverted to your site by placing targeted links on the site they first visited. Enlist SEO professionals to enhance your link building strategy. Here are some reputed SEO companies, based on user reviews:

  • TIS India
  • SE Media Online
  • Anpee Media

Focus on internal link building.

Internal link building works wonders in increasing your website’s ranking along with your published content. Moreover, creating internal links will also result in improved user experience due to easy navigation around the site. Internal link building is simple to implement and should be part of your digital marketing arsenal. This will help to improve your ranking and guide users with the content that is relevant to them.

Optimise your website content’s title and headings.

Your website content’s title and headings should also be optimised using relevant keywords and phrases. The title is displayed on top bar of the browser, and headings are included inside the content. Your title should be descriptive, persuading users to click. Headings should be catchy enough to make the content readable. Both must also be SEO-optimized to make your content more visible in the search results page.

Measure your results.

Make use of various online tools to measure the outcome of your combined SEO and content marketing efforts. Google Analytics can track changes in search volume over time. You will also know which pages and content attracts the most visitors, and the keywords they type to enter the website. The information gathered can help you fine-tune your content.

Keep your efforts going.

Combining SEO and content marketing must be an on going effort that should not stop at any time. Make the most of the opportunity and watch the extraordinary combination of SEO and content marketing work wonders for your organization or client. It will position you perfectly on the fast track to success.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive

Poloniex Altcoin Exchange Review

Poloniex Altcoin Exchange Review

Poloniex Certainly Has Its Merits

Poloniex is by far the superior altcoin exchange, base don trading volume and the number of users. The customer support is its Achilles heel, though, and the verification procedure can take longer than needed. Moreover, a few recent server and API outages have caused a fair bit of issues.In this day and age of cryptocurrency exchanges struggling with their partnering banks, the number of platforms unaffected by issues are fairly limited. So far, the Poloniex exchange has successfully avoided most problems, which allows them to continue generating significant amounts of trading volume. They are also the premier cryptocurrency exchange for altcoins traders, but is everything as good as people want the world to believe?

Trading on a cryptocurrency exchange is always a matter of positive aspects and compromises. For the Poloniex exchange, it appears the benefits far outweigh the downsides as of right now. They list a good amount of alternative cryptocurrencies and also actively remove trading pairs that are no longer relevant. Poloniex is also offering multiple exchange markets, including Bitcoin, Monero, and Ethereum. Alternative trading markets are always interesting to take notice of, even though not all coins can be traded against these three currencies.

Poloniex has been around for some time now and even underwent a major overhaul in early 2015. Ever since that time, some notable features were added, including cryptocurrency lending. Speaking of the lending service, not all supported coins are listed here either, but it does cover the most prominent currencies as of right now. It is a useful feature for traders who want to earn a passive interest on their Poloniex balances, although one should never store too much money on an exchange in the first place.

On the security front,

Poloniex seems to check the right boxes as well. Two-factor authentication is possible – and advised – which is a positive touch. Then again, nearly every cryptocurrency exchange offers this feature, as 2FA has become somewhat of the norm in the crypto world right now. Volume-wise, Poloniex seems to generate a fair amount of revenue every single day, as it is way ahead of its closest competitor Bittrex.

Unfortunately, no cryptocurrency exchange is without its issues, and Poloniex is no exception. The platform has suffered from slow trading, order book issues and even plain outages every time there is an unusually high trading activity on the exchange. Most recently, the site and its API utterly crashed when Ripple was seeing significant trading volume all of a sudden. This affected quite a lot of traders and a fair bit of money was lost due to trades not executing properly.

Moreover, some users have complained about horrible customer support from Poloniex staffers. Exchanges have a big problem in this regard, as it appears a lot of platforms suffer from bad customer support at all times. That is not acceptable by any means, and we can only hope things improve sooner rather than later.  Especially considering how the platform supports fiat currency support, aiding customers in a quick and convenient manner becomes even more important.

Speaking of support,

Poloniex conducts a thorough AML and KYC procedure for all users, even if they do not deposit or withdraw fiat currencies. This means users will need to upload documents to verify their identity, a process that can take days, if not weeks, for some users. It seems evident everyone’s mileage will vary when dealing with the Poloniex exchange. For the most part, the company does the job just fine, but there are obvious areas that need improvements.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive

US Government Hacks Global Bank System, Necessity of Bitcoin

US Government Hacks Global Bank System, Necessity of Bitcoin

The US government’s ongoing extensive surveillance

on the global banking system and payment, transfers are demonstrating an urgent necessity of a decentralized financial network such as bitcoin. Over the past few months, various organizations including Wikileaks and Shadow Brokers have exploited most of the malpractices of the National Security Agency of the US. One of the recent tools of the NSA that was leaked and exploited on the dark web was the NSA’s surveillance tool on the Swift global banking system.

Motive of the US Government

Government agencies and law enforcement are required to undergo a lengthy process of filing a complaint and request to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (Swift) in order to gain necessary financial information of certain bank accounts of businesses and individuals.

With a surveillance and hacking tool, however, the NSA can surpass the above-mentioned process by simply gaining access to the actual Swift network without alarming its system and infrastructure. According to representatives of Shadow Brokers, a hacking group that has leaked many pieces of malware in the past, the hacking tool of the NSA allows the US government to surveil financial transactions settled within the Swift network with full transparency. Matt Suiche, founder of the United Arab Emirates-based cyber security firm Comae Technologies, said in an interview with Reuters:

“If you hack the service bureau, it means that you also have access to all of their clients, all of the banks.”

While some security analysts and firms including EastNets denied the claims of Shadow Brokers, prominent whistleblowers and security experts including Edward Snowden explained that if the exploitation of the NSA hacking tool by the security firm Shadow Brokers is in fact, true, it could be described as the “Mother of All Exploits.” In the meantime, Swift announced that its cyber security and research team were not able to find any evidence to conclusively determine the surveillance allegation against the US government.

“We have no evidence to suggest that there has ever been any unauthorized access to our network or messaging services,” said the representatives of Swift.

Necessity of Bitcoin

Whether the US government actually utilized the NSA’s hacking tool to surveil the Swift network without permission from Swift and its clients is not the major issue. The main problem is that such hacking tools exist and they are capable of unraveling transactions settled across the world. Any centralized financial networks such as Swift impose such vulnerability, as any network, server or database connected to the Internet is vulnerable to hacking attacks, surveillance and data breaches if it is not designed to be immutable or decentralized, unlike bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Each transaction on the bitcoin blockchain is identified with cryptographic proof and it can be accessed on the bitcoin blockchain. Most importantly, because the bitcoin blockchain is public, it cannot be manipulated by a government agency like the NSA with sophisticated hacking tools. Although there exists strict Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer systems in place on the majority of the world’s bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges, government agencies and law enforcement agents must go through proper channels to obtain the data.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive

Georgia Records 100,000 Land Titles on Bitcoin Blockchain: BitFury

Georgia Records 100,000 Land Titles on Bitcoin Blockchain: BitFury

  

Georgian government and the Bitcoin company BitFury

In April 2016, the Georgian government and the Bitcoin company BitFury initiated a project to record land titles on the Blockchain. Following the project initiation, on Feb. 7th, 2017, in Tbilisi, the government of Georgia signed an agreement to use the Bitcoin Blockchain to verify property transactions.

And on 19th of April 2017, Valery Vavilov, CEO of BitFury during his speech at the Russian Internet Forum in Moscow, said, that since the launch in February 2017, when his company along with the government of the Republic of Georgia implemented the property registration on Blockchain had registered more than 100,000 documents.

Earlier this year, Tomicah Tillemann, Trust Accelerator co-founder and New America director of the Bretton Woods II program, commented about Georgia’s decision to use the public Bitcoin Blockchain:

“If you think about this happening at a time when a lot of people are struggling to separate what’s real from what’s fake, this is a powerful tool to prove what’s real. Especially when you’re dealing with something as fundamental as your home or property, it’s important to have that added layer of security that’s provided by Blockchain validation.”

Vavilov also said, that there is going to be more services to follow. Since Blockchain implementation, there is no possibility to manipulate the property registration data. It is not only a government implementation deal for BitFury, on April 13, the Bitfury Group has announced its partnership with the government of Ukraine, to bring a variety of Blockchain solutions to the electronic services of the latter.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive

SEO Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide

SEO Made Simple:
A Step-by-Step Guide

  

Guess how many blog posts are published each day.

Any ideas? Over 2 million. That means 46 people have pressed publish by the time you read these 4 sentences. This makes it kinda tough to stand out. But you have to, if you want to make your blog a successful one, that is. While I often spend 4-5 hours on writing my blog posts, the 10 minutes I spend optimizing each post are easily the most important.

No wonder millions of people google the term “SEO” each month. In a world where over 90% of online experiences start with a search engine, showing up on the front page of Google can be the deciding factor between a business that’s thriving and one that’s, well, bankrupt. But what does SEO even mean? Sure, you know that it stands for search engine optimization, but what gets optimized? Is it the design? Or the writing? The links maybe? Yes, yes and yes. It’s all of them and more. But let’s start this SEO guide at the beginning.

Definition

According to Wikipedia, SEO is “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results”  Alright, let’s translate that to English. Here’s my go at it: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your online content, so that a search engine likes to show it as a top result for searches of a certain keyword.

Let me break that down even further: There’s you, doing the SEO, the search engine and the searcher. If you have an article about how to make vegan lasagna, you want the search engine (which, in 90% of all cases, is Google), to show it as a top result to anyone who searches for the phrase “vegan lasagna.” SEO is the magic you have to work on your article, in order to make Google very likely to include your article as one of the top results whenever someone searches for that keyword.

Overview

Now what does that magic look like and why does it even matter? 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, 68% of which use Google to do so. Combine that with the fact that the first 5 results in Google get 67% of all clicks, and you get an idea of why search engine optimization is so important. There’s a joke going around the web that highlights how crucial it is to hit the first page of Google: If you ever need to hide a dead body, you should place it on the second page of Google search results.

Your blog post, article or product being linked on any other page of the Google search results than the first is equivalent to not being ranked at all.

But to understand how to show up first in the search engine results, you first need to know how search even works. How Search Works: Now that you have an idea of the basics of SEO, I’ll take a look at some of its components in detail. While Google guards their search algorithm pretty well and not all of the over 200 determining factors are known and verified, Backlinko did a great job of compiling as many as possible of them into one big list. But first, I need to get one thing straight. There are 2 sides of the SEO force, and you need to choose yours, right now.

White Hat vs. Black Hat

As you know, I’m playing the long-term entrepreneurial game, instead of just trying to get a quick buck out of it. It’s the same with search engine optimization. Some people are in it to make a few grand really quickly, others are in it for the long haul.

If you want to work SEO like a get-rich-quick scheme, you’ll probably end up doing what’s called black hat SEO.

This type of SEO focuses on optimizing your content only for the search engine, not considering humans at all. Since there are lots of ways to bend and break the rules to get your sites to rank high, these are a welcome way for black hat SEOs to make a few thousand dollars fast. Ultimately this approach results in spammy, crappy pages, which often get banned very fast, often leading to severe punishment for the marketer, ruining their chance of building something sustainable in the future. You might make a few grand this way but will continuously have to be on the lookout for search engine updates and come up with new ways to dodge the rules.

White hat SEO, on the other hand, is the way to build a sustainable online business.

If you do SEO this way, you’ll focus on your human audience, trying to give them the best content possible and making it easily accessible to them, by playing according to the search engine’s rules. (Inbound Marketing Inc. does a great job at explaining the difference) Needless to say, you’ll only hear and see me talking about white hat SEO. Choose your side of the force wisely, young Padawan.

Cleaning inside your house and outside: On-Page SEO vs. Off-Page SEO

There are 2 broader categories of SEO: on-page SEO and off-page SEO.  On-page SEO concerns all of Google’s ranking factors that are determined by directly looking at the page you try to optimize, such as headlines, content and page structure. Off-page SEO refers to all variables Google takes a look at, which are not exclusively in your own hands, but depend on other sources, such as social networks, other blogs in your industry and the personal history of the searcher.

They’re different, but you need to get both right, in order to do well with SEO. To give you a better idea of what that means, here’s an example:

Let’s say you have a house with a garden in the front yard, and a little pathway, that leads through your front yard to your house. Imagine these two scenarios:

Scenario #1: Your house is super clean on the inside, but your front yard is a mess.

What happens in this scenario? Well, even if you have the cleanest Mary Poppins-style looking house on the inside, if your garden looks like the forest from Sleeping Beauty, no one will come in in the first place.It’s the same if your page is super optimized around on-page SEO, has great content and looks stunning, but no one gives you credit for it or points to your page. No one will ever see your beautiful masterpiece, because you won’t get any traffic. What about the other way around?

Scenario #2: Your front lawn is neatly trimmed, but inside your house is a mess.

Turn things around and they look similar: Having a neatly mowed lawn will attract plenty of people to come visit your house, but if your living room reminds your guests of a war zone, they’ll leave quicker than you can pronounce SEO. When a visitor leaves your site after viewing only one page, in Google’s eyes that visitor is considered as a bounce. The higher your bounce rate (=number of visitors who leave your site instantly), the worse your page will rank in Google.

That’s why you need to do both on-page SEO and off-page SEO.

You can do several things on your page to get the former right and then even more things outside of that (off the page if you will) to ace the latter. We’ll take a look at on-page SEO first.

On-Page SEO

There are big categories in on-page SEO, that you’ll need to take a look at. The first and most important, is content.

Content

You’ve probably heard it before: “Content is king.” Bill Gates made this prediction in 1996 and it’s as true as ever today.

(here’s the original article by Bill Gates)

Why? Because a Google search engine customer is happy when he finds the result that serves his needs in the best way.

When you Google “quick and easy homemade mac and cheese,” Google will put all its energy into delivering to you what Google believes is the best recipe for homemade mac and cheese (that takes little time and uses few ingredients) on the entire web. It doesn’t look for the quickest recipe, the easiest recipe, or throw out a bunch of online shops for frozen dinners. Google always tries to give you the best possible experience by directing you to the greatest content it can find.

This means your number one job, to do well with SEO, is to produce great content. Bummer, right? You still have to put in a ton of work. SEO is no different than any other skill – the great results will always come from big effort. Just like the best marketing in the world won’t help you sell a bad product, super advanced SEO will be useless if you’re content plain sucks. Here are the factors that make up great content in Google’s eyes:

Quality

While the times where just delivering the best quality content would make you stand out from the crowd are long gone, it is still the starting point for any successful SEO effort (and online business, really). But coming up with great content is not easy, after all, it means you have to become a teacher and a good one at that. Yet, you don’t have to start from scratch. Okdork has published a great guide on how to create great content by piggybacking on what others have done.

Maybe you have your own ideas already, then it might be worth to brainstorm for a while and then come up with a compelling headline to start out with. Once you start writing, make sure you include all the important ingredients of great content in your blog post. Even if you’re a complete newbie, you can always take a professional approach to great content by simply committing to making writing a daily habit and work your way up in increments from there.

Keyword research

Doing your keyword research up front is a crucial part of great content. Since you ideally want to include your targeted keyword in your post’s headline and throughout the article, you need to choose your keyword before starting to write. I’ve covered keyword research extensively on Quicksprout, but if you’ve never done keyword research before, you might want to take a look at Hubspot’s guide for beginners.

Out of all on-page SEO factors, this is the one you should spend the most time learning. You don’t even need to buy a book, Backlinko’s definitive guide to keyword research will do. When I say don’t sleep on this, I mean it. There’s a reason we took the time to compile the top 40 posts on keyword research on KISSmetrics.

Use of keywords

Google has gotten smarter over the years. While you should, of course, use your keyword throughout your content, jamming your keyword into your text as much as possible will hurt your rankings, rather than improve them. Keyword stuffing is an absolute no-go these days.

In 2015, the use of keywords is much more about semantics. Google has gotten so good at interpreting the meaning of the keywords that searchers use, it’s creepy. It not only looks at your keyword but also synonyms of it, to understand what you mean when you type in, say “five guys nyc”. Google will know that you’re probably not looking for 5 random males, but rather guesses that you’re looking for the fast food chain “Five Guys, Burgers & Fries” by looking at similar searches that may include the keywords “burgers” and “fries.”

As long as you make sure your keyword is present in strategically important places (like headlines, URL and meta description), there is no need to mention it tons of times in your text. Just focus on the reader and seamlessly integrate your keyword a few times.

Freshness of content

Hubspot has done a benchmark this year that showed, once again, that posting more frequently improves Google rankings. However, posting new content is only one way to signal Google freshness. There are plenty of things that you can do with already published content to make it more up-to-date. Brian Dean from Backlinko, for example, has only published around 30 posts in 2 years. Yet, he keeps all of his posts up to date by rewriting them and adding new information as he finds it. While it is important to publish regularly, you can still get great results with posting once a month, as long as your content is thorough and in-depth.

Direct answers

Finally, one of the more recent updates provides searchers with direct answers. If your content is written clearly enough for Google to recognize it as an answer to a particular question, it will show up directly beneath the search bar. Matt Cutts, former head of Google’s spam team and often public voice for the latest in SEO and algorithm changes, announced last year that people who were cutting the jargon would be right on track.

That’s why detailed guides and long how-to’s  have become more and more popular. So make sure you clear up your writing, fancy buzzwords and complex sentence constructions will neither make you sound smart nor help your SEO game. Moz has listed out all critical aspects you have to keep in mind, if you want to do well with direct answers.

HTML

The next big chunk you have to take care of, once you’ve made sure your content is evergreen, is HTML. You don’t have to be a professional coder or get a degree in programming by any means.  But, running an online business without knowing the basics of HTML would be the same as driving without knowing what the colors of traffic lights mean.

Thankfully, with places like Codecademy or Khan Academy, there are more than enough possibilities to learn everything about HTML that you need in the blink of an eye and for free. Heck, you can even learn it on the job, by just using a simple cheat sheet, like this one. Let’s take a look at the 4 parts of HTML you should optimize for each and every single piece of content you produce.

Title tags

Title tags are the online equivalent of newspaper headlines. They are what shows up in the tab of your browser when you open a new page. The HTML tag used for them is called title, but in the case of blogs, it often becomes an h1-tag, which stands for the heading of the first order. Every page should only have one h1-tag to make the title clear to Google. We’ve shown you how to do this at Quicksprout University, but the website First Page Sage has compiled a few more things that you can do to get these right.

Meta description

Meta descriptions are what shows up as an excerpt when Google displays your page as a result to searchers. It’s easy to spot who’s done their SEO homework and who hasn’t by the meta description. Optimized meta description results will never be cut off and end with “…” or seem like they end mid-sentence. They also often mention their keyword up front. You can learn how to come up with great meta tags in Quicksprout University, and should also check out some good examples to get a feel for descriptions. Don’t overthink this 160 character text snippet though. When writing it, you should keep the searchers in mind, much more so than the search engines.

Schema

Schema is the result of a collaboration of several search engines and is basically just a subset of specific HTML tags, which will improve the way your content is displayed on the search engine result pages (also called SERPs). The rating from the above example with Bitcoin was created using Schema, for example. It’s a rather small factor, but definitely good practice. Moz has some good tips on how to get the most out of Schema. When you’re done, don’t forget to test your page to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Subheads

I’ve previously identified subheads as one of the 7 things every great landing page needs. Not only do they help format and structure your content and give your readers easy reference points, but they also affect SEO. Compared to your h1-tags, h2, h3, h4 and further subheads have less SEO power, but still, matter and should therefore, be used. Plus it’s one of the easiest SEO wins you can get in WordPress.

3. Architecture

The third and last part of on-page SEO, that I’ll cover, is site architecture. While this part gets super-techy, super fast, there are a few simple things everyone can and should take care of, to improve SEO rankings. A good website architecture leads to a great experience for the user when he navigates your page, through things such as fast loading times, a safe connection and a mobile-friendly design.

Ideally, you’ll map out the architecture of your site before even buying the domain, which allows you to really get into the head of your user and reverse engineer your way to a great user experience (UX). ConversionXL has published a great guide on how to make sure your UX rocks. You also need to optimize a few things in order for a great “search engine experience.” The more accessible your website is to Google, the better it will rank.

Easy to crawl

Remember the spiders from the introductory video? These are the programs that “crawl” from one page on your site to the next through links. Depending on how well they can index all the pages on your site, they’ll be more likely to report back to Google that you are a good result. The thicker the web of links between pages of your site, the easier it is for the spiders to reach all of them, giving the search engine a better understanding of your site. You can make this job easier for Google by creating a sitemap, using a simple plugin if you’re on WordPress or an online XML sitemap generator.

Duplicate content

There are a lot of myths ranking around duplicate content, and how it hurts your rankings. A common mistake is to think everything on your page should be original. Re-posting your content on other websites or publishing your guest posts again on your own site, doesn’t hurt your SEO, unless you do it the wrong (spammy) way. For example, if you re-post your exact same content to a big outlet like Medium, it might hurt your rankings, because Google indexes your Medium article first, as it’s on the more authoritative domain. In order to make sure you don’t get penalized, educate yourself about 301 redirects, which are a great way to handle duplicate content. I’ve also put together a guide to show you how to address the issue with rel=canonical tags for links on Quicksprout.

Mobile-friendliness

Let’s face it, if your page isn’t mobile-friendly, you lost. Consider this: Over 500 million Facebook users (that’s half a billion, just for clarity) ONLY uses facebook through their mobile phone on a daily basis. While there are several ways to make your page mobile-friendly, I recommend you start by checking with Google’s tool how you hold up right now. Most WordPress themes are mobile-friendly from the get go these days, and if not, you can always install a plugin to take care of it. You can also just implement Google’s suggestions from the tool yourself or hire someone to make the changes.

Page speed

Don’t fool yourself, you know just how important this is. Remember how angry you were the last time the wifi took 20 seconds to load a page? Today, we value our time more than anything, and long loading times can absolutely kill your conversions. Again, Google has a tool to easily test this. Another way to see if you’re doing okay is to use this free test by Pingdom. ConversionXL has identified a few low hanging fruits for increasing your website speed and at Crazy Egg we show you how to squeeze out that extra second to improve your user experience.

Keywords in URLs

Including your targeted keywords in the URLs of your blog posts is a can’t miss. You shouldn’t squander those SEO points. You might have to change the structure of your permalinks on WordPress, and should certainly keep your human users in mind, but including your keyword in your URLs is a no brainer.

HTTPS and SSL

Google announced that security is now considered a ranking signal. There are two common security protocols: HTTPS (a secure version of HTTP) and SSL (Secure Socket Layer). Both of the works and are worth considering, even if they won’t up your SEO game too much. Moving from a non-secure connection to HTTPS or SSL is a bit of work, but worth your time. If you’re starting out with a new domain, consider purchasing it as an option from your domain registrar or web hosting service. Pro tip:  You can save a lot of on-page SEO by using a tool.  For example, if your blog is a WordPress site, Yoast SEO will help you with many of the important on-page elements we just discussed.

Off-Page SEO

Alright, time to step outside your house and take a look at the front yard. I’ll now show you 4 big areas of off-page SEO. If you want a solid overview on one page, consider looking at Shane Barker’s great infographic.

Trust

PageRank, the famous formula invented by the founders of Google is by far not the only measure they take when ranking pages in the top 10 search results. Trust is getting increasingly important and most of the recent Google updates have hit spammy and obscure websites. Trustrank is a way for Google to see whether your site is legit or not. If you look like a big brand, Google is likely to trust you, for example. Quality backlinks from authoritative sites (like .edu or .gov domains), also help. There are 4 parts to building trust.

Authority

The overall authority of your site is determined by a mix of 2 kinds of authority you can build:

  • Domain authority, which has to do with how well known your domain name is (coca-cola.com is very authoritative, for example), and
  • Page authority, which relates to how authoritative the content of a single page (for example a blog post) is.

You can check your authority here, based on a scale of 1 to 100. To improve your authority, use the cheat sheet I that came up with to increase your authority without cheating.

Bounce rate

Your bounce rate is simply a measure of how many people view only one page on your site, before immediately leaving again. Content, loading times, usability and attracting the right readers are all part of decreasing your bounce rate.  The math is simple- the right readers will spend more time on a site that loads fast, looks good and has great content, right? Video is another great way to do so, but you need your video content to stand out and deliver (Buffer’s 5-step process is a great place to get started with video).

Domain age

Remember the times before young entrepreneurs like me were all the hype? Who were the most respected businessmen around?

The old guys. The Jack Welchs and Warren Buffetts of the world.

With domains on the internet,

it’s similar. Domain age matters, if only a little. If you haven’t got your site up and running yet, consider finding an affordable, expired domain and using it.

Identity

As mentioned above, having a brand or personal identity online is a huge trust signal for search engines, but it takes time to build. You know you’re a brand when you google yourself and something like this pops up. You don’t have to have a brand name, creating your personal brand works just as well. What’s more, building brand signals prevents you from future penalties through Google updates.

2. Links

Just by how far you’re into this search engine optimization guide already shows you that the common conception of “backlinks are everything” is just wrong. hey’re only a part of SEO, just like all the other areas I covered already. There are plenty of ways to get backlinks. But, no matter what you do, don’t just wait for people to link to you, that’s a fool’s game, you’re going to have to take initiative and ask for them. Consider these factors when trying to get backlinks:

Quality of links

While links are not everything, when looking at links, their quality is everything. The quality of your links matters much more than the amount of links you have. Building quality backlinks is all about reaching out to the right sources and offering value in exchange for a solid link, and I show you tons of ways in our advanced guide to link building.

Anchor text

The anchor text is the text used when other sites link to you and yes, it matters. Differentiating between the types of anchor text is part of the nitty gritty, but a good rule of thumb is:

The more natural the link text sounds, the better.

Here’s an example: You could either link to a guide on anchor text best practices by linking the word “click here” or just naturally mentioning it in the flow of your writing. The second category is called contextual backlinks, and that’s the one you should strive for.

Number of links

Lastly, the number of total links you have does of course matter as well, and you need to over time build high quality backlinks at scale.

Personal

The third category of off-page SEO, that’s worth taking a look at, is personal factors. While most of these are out of your control, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of reaching a certain audience.

Country

All searchers are shown results relevant to the country they’re in. Open times of recommended stores and restaurants are displayed in your time zone.

(Country – it’s all about where you’re from)

Words are interpreted differently. Someone searching for “comforter” in the US will be displayed blankets for their bed, whereas someone in the UK might see pacifiers because that’s what the term means there. A way to signal Google that you want to target certain countries is of course including them as keywords, but definitely, ask yourself is it worth it to go multinational.

City

The geo-targeting goes even further, down to a city-level. That’s why, when you google any fast food chain, you are usually shown results from right around the block. Again, using city names as keywords helps, but don’t paint yourself into a corner or you’ll end up being considered as a local authority only.

Searcher’s history

If the searcher has been on the same page before or even just visited your site in general, you’re more likely to show up, because Google thinks you’re a relevant result for the searcher.

Socialization

Do you have a YouTube channel or a Google Plus profile for your brand? If so, the more people like you, the better. When google recognizes that you’ve signaled you like a brand on social networks, it’s more likely to show you results from those brands or even personal contacts you have.

Social

Lastly, let’s take a look at the social factors of off-page SEO. Besides social signals directly from the searcher, there are other ways good results on social media will help you rank better. Whether that’s directly through more links, or indirectly through a PR boost, social matters. I’ve done several case studies on Quicksprout, proving social media is well worth your time.

There are 2 main factors of influence.

Quality of shares

As with the quality of backlinks, who shares matters more than how often. Google recognizes influencers and when they share your content that share has more SEO juice than your neighbor’s. A great way to get influencers to share your content is to give them a heads up before you even publish, or still better, include them by quoting or interviewing them. Of course, you should also tell plenty of online celebrities who are already interested in your topic. You can find a similar article (maybe one you fund one during your research), plug it into a tool called Topsy, and find influencers who shared it. Then let them know you published a new piece on the same topic.

Number of shares

The secondary social metric is the number of shares. Landing a viral hit is every marketer’s dream, but it is overrated. Okdork’s guide on what it takes for an article to go viral gives you a few ideas what to optimize, but know that “going viral” is mostly a matter of consistently publishing great content. Oh, and promoting your blog post like crazy.

Conclusion

I hope this guide helped you realize that in 2017, search engine optimization isn’t optional anymore. While it doesn’t take a lot of effort to get a few basics right, it might kill your online presence if you don’t. Don’t worry if you’ve already made some SEO decisions in the past that might not have been the perfect choice. Just commit to getting started today. Do your keyword research before you write your next blog post and optimize the basics, like title tags, using your keywords and adjusting your description. And who knows – maybe the next time you press publish, you’ll stand out. After reading this guide, how will you change your attitude towards SEO?

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive

Ecosystem for all Entrepreneurs