Posted by Alicia Lawrence on Dec 4, 2013 in Travel
If you’re planning a European vacation, you should strongly consider visiting Venice. Located along Italy’s Aegean coast, this gem of a city has a ton to offer to everyone. Whether you’re a lifelong musician and want to see where Vivaldi composed his masterpieces or just want to sample some delicious Italian fare, you won’t forget a Venetian vacation any time soon. Here are some of the best things to do in Venice.
1. Gondola Rides
Taking a ride on a gondola is the number one thing you have to do when you’re in Venice. In case you don’t know much about the city, Venice is uniquely situated on a series of canals. Traveling by waterway is an entertaining way to get around town. The canal system is perhaps the most famous aspect of Venice. There are few places in the world where you can take a gondola ride, so don’t pass up the opportunity while you’re in the city.
Almost everyone who visits Venice wants to hear some Vivaldi. You’ll find plenty of opportunities to do so — however, if you have a discerning ear you may not find street-side performances to be up to
par. When I was in Venice, I had been playing the violin for thirteen years and wanted to hear music played by the masters. During my visit I splurged on the Venice Baroque Orchestra, and I would highly recommend their concerts. Friends have told me the orchestra of La Fenice (“The Phoenix”) is also one of the best in Italy. Even if you don’t like classical music, visiting the opera house, Teatro La Fenice, is worth it because of the stunning architecture.
3. St. Mark’s Square
Maybe you don’t want to spend an hour trying to find the Teatro La Fenice like we did. Although seeing the Teatro was definitely worth it, you may want to be more efficient with your travel time. By visiting St. Park’s Square — or Piazza San Marco in Italian — you’ll see three popular destinations at the same time. The Piazza San Marco is home to St. Mark’s Basilica, Torre dell’Orologio and Doge’s Palace. If you know a lot about churches you’ve probably heard of St. Mark’s — the basilica is of the most famous spots in all of Italy. If you’re less familiar with the other two destinations, Torre dell’Orologio is a clock tower built at the turn of the fifteenth century and Doge’s Palace is where much of the city’s judicial activity used to take place.
4. Art Displays and Museums
Venice was once home to some of the world’s most famous artists, so you shouldn’t be surprised that some of the greatest art is still there today. You can find some of Italy’s best art in the Gallerie dell’Accademia. Don’t just look for art in museums though — there are plenty of Venetian masterpieces on church ceilings and other structures. The frescos at the Pietà and Ca’ Rezzonico are nothing short of breathtaking.
5. Murano Glass Blowing
Venice is famous for its beautiful glass blown jewelry and trinkets. No visit to the city would be complete without a glass blowing demonstration. The Museum of Glass is located on the nearby island of Murano, but it’s easy to get to on foot or by public transportation. Admission to the museum only costs four Euros, and when my family and I went we saw a demonstration for no extra charge. We all bought a few pieces of glass for ourselves and friends back home. Murano glass is a unique and beautiful souvenir.
BIO: Patricia is a freelance writer for rbacentralpa.com and blogs about travel, health and communications.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and with it comes the chance to reflect on what you’re thankful for this year. And if you’re involved in business, somewhere on the list of what you’re thankful for should be your customers. But do your customers know just how much you appreciate them?
When you consider that it’s more cost effective for your business to retain existing customers than to try to recruit new ones, you can see the importance of showing your customers that you value them. There are all kinds of ways to get this message across. Below are just a few ideas to help you get started.
1. Say Thank You
Never underestimate the power of a simple thank you. A great example of this comes from Mike Mirau, author of The Growth Coach, who says that an optical shop he worked at took a picture of each customer wearing their glasses and then sent them a hand-written, personalized thank you for purchasing glasses through them. Incentives are another great way to say thank you: you can offer reward points for returning customers or discounts for customer referrals.
2. Designate a Day for It
Obviously, you want to show customers that you appreciate them throughout the year, but it doesn’t hurt to have a day where you make that the main focus. Choose a day on the calendar that your business will designate as Customer Appreciation Day. You could use this day to offer 20% off all products, host an exclusive event for your most loyal customers, hold contests, have a “Buy One, Get One Free” (BOGO) promotion, etc. Everyone loves free stuff, so what better way to encourage customer loyalty than to offer them freebies?
3. Initiate a Thank You Campaign
There are all kinds of ways that you could do this; whether you choose to create a video, an infographic or even a few photos on Instagram; the possibilities are endless. Use social media to make your fans and customers feel special by interacting personally with them.
4. Acknowledge Birthdays
People love to be thought of on their birthdays, so birthdays present a perfect opportunity for you to let customers know that they matter to you and you value them as individuals. Offer discounts, coupons or special deals in honor of their special day.
5. Center Your Marketing Efforts Around Your Customers
Maybe you feature images of your customers (obviously, with their permission) on your website, or perhaps you include client testimonials in your newsletters or emails. Just like you would display your child’s work on the fridge, people naturally want to show off what they are proud of, so show your customers that you are proud of them. Check out Havahart’s social pages, like Facebook, to see a brand doing it right.
6. Offer a Loyalty Program
Offer special perks, opportunities and rewards through club-style programs for members to enjoy. Picky Bars, a company that makes energy bars specifically to meet the needs of endurance athletes, caters to their customers with the club they offer. They claim that it’s “the swank, exclusive, uber-hard-core, member’s only club- scientifically designed for the biggest Picky Fan Addicts!” As members of this club, participants get access to all kinds of perks such as members-only discounts, the chance to sample new flavors and random free things (such as T-shirts and hand-written thank you notes). By taking this approach, the creators of Picky Bars make being a part of their club a fun and exciting experience. You could even start a punch-card program where customers get a card punched with each purchase they make, and once that card is filled, they get something free.
7. Go the Extra Mile With Excellent Customer Service
If you really want to show your customers that you care, do the little things that make a big difference. Listen to their questions and answer them to the best of your ability. Honor their requests and try to ensure their satisfaction, regardless of how many hoops you have to jump through. Your customers will notice, and the excellent service you give them will make them want to return.
8. Ask for Their Feedback
Getting opinions from customers about how your business is doing shows them that you care about what they think. Send out surveys and then follow up by thanking them for completing the surveys, perhaps including some kind of discount or special offer for the feedback they gave you.
You can show your customers you appreciate them in a variety of ways. What you do isn’t as important as the fact that you do it, because showing your customers appreciation will in turn make them appreciate you! And what’s more, you’ll have their loyalty, which is yet another thing you’ll have to be thankful for.
Posted by Alicia Lawrence on Nov 19, 2013 in Business
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” - Thomas Edison
I remember as a little kid I use to watch my mother work to the bone to ensure that my sisters and I had clothes on our back, food in our stomachs and a roof over our heads (and a rather beautiful one at that).
She was a momentum for me to do well with my life. To strive to be a better person because she was a woman with such talent, finesse and style – always ready to tackle the next challenge.
Like her, I wanted to possess all these favorable qualities and intertwine them with my work career.
But the journey was anything but easy … the journey is anything but easy.
The Start of the Journey
Believe it or not, I wasn’t always a motivated and ambitious person. I barely got by in grade school and high school was even a struggle. But something happened in college for me. It just clicked. I found a technique and a mindset that motivated me to work harder than I ever thought possible! Below you can read a few of the ways I was able to work a part-time job, have 18 credits, participate as an officer of 3 clubs, volunteer, be an honor’s student, and graduate in four years with 3 degrees!
The Motivation to Work Hard
1. Do it for someone you love. This is where the journey began for me and is where many women start. The disappointment, pity and sorrow in my mother’s eyes were harsh on me – and after that day, I told myself that if ever I lost focus again, I would work hard for her.
While my mother was my “someone,” yours could be someone entirely different. Your children, parents, spouse or friends could be that “someone.” Perhaps it’s your faith that motivates you.
Whomever you choose, just remember that they are your starting point and your fallback point to motivate you to work harder and be better. As you begin to gain momentum at work, school or whatever setting you are currently in – you will need to find other motivators.
2. Reward yourself after a good day’s work (or week’s work). Motivation to work hard can come from simple satisfaction after the job.
For example, let us say that you have an important presentation to present at work and you will need to spend the next several days working all-nighters to ensure it is not only done, but is perfect. Pulling through without procrastinating might seem like a tedious task, but you will need to plan a treat for yourself.
Such susceptible rewards might be a girl’s night out the upcoming weekend, shopping in your favorite stores or going on a much needed road trip in your Mustang by yourself. Knowing there is a reward ahead will ensure that the work is completed in a timely fashion.
I enjoy heading to the spa at least once a month (sometimes twice a month if I have accomplished a lot of my work). After my high school graduation, I began starting new writing business ventures that would wear me out. Heading to the spa rejuvenated my motivation and passion. The spa was one of my main motivators to work hard and, at times, is still my number one motivator.
Find what works for you.
3. Further your training or education. If your work is too difficult to accomplish and you dread having to do assignments, it might be time for you to get better training. Education and training your skills will only enhance the job experience and motivate you to get the job done quicker.
If classroom time can’t fit with your schedule, you have other options. Webinars (online seminars) are widely available to many. This will be advisable for those who work full-time hours and/or have a family to raise while having a job.
There are never any excuses not to be able to attain the education necessary to make the job easier. And most times, your work will pay or reward you for taking that extra mile.
4. Surround yourself with those at the top of your field. Certain people at your job will perform better than others – not everyone will be equally as successful. Use this to your advantage.
Surrounding yourself with top-performers will motivate you even further to do better. Not only will they be your source of motivation, they will also be your template to learn and adapt from in your line of work. In college, I would have never thought to join the Honor’s Program if many of my close friends weren’t already in it. Iron sharpens iron, and the ones you spend time with will dictate your motivation and success.
5. Take a break. Do yoga, read a book or write a story. Whatever you decide to do – ensure it is away from your work place.
Working every single day is not advisable and can cause you to lose motivation. Do not allow your work to dim your light. A personal day will only better assist you in progressing in your profession.
My Parting Words
“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
- Jim Ryun
While finding motivation is difficult, once you have it – let it fuel you. Form a good work ethic with your motivation and create lifelong habits.
What you do today will affect you tomorrow. After a few years, your motivation, or lack thereof, will edict your future. Mold your future with opportunities and success.
No challenge is placed in front of us if we are unable to handle it. So continue to place one foot in front of the other until it becomes second nature.
Be your own motivator – drive yourself to success.
Today’s guest blogger is Shandice. I love this quote she says on her blog: “As a young woman, I believe to breathe is not enough. I want to live! I want to be life, share life, and inspire others to live the best possible life they can.” Shandice is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Social Science and she wrote this awesome post below about the science of marketing!
Have you ever wondered what drives a consumer to walk an extra 10 minutes past their local coffee shop and right into Starbucks? Or, what about a consumer who will spend an extra $20 dollars on a pair of shoes made out of the exact material as the cheaper version? Well, there are many reasons for consumers making those decisions, but I’m going to focus on three realizations that not only fill company pockets, but most importantly they build brands.
Consumers are people
First I’d like to ask you a question, when reading the paragraph above did you connect with the word consumer? Personally… I didn’t, it makes me feel cheap, as if I am only capable of purchasing a product, rather than investing in a brand.
Companies can choose to either temporarily attract consumers or build a community who will buy into the vision of the company. One of the key factors of brand loyalty is the emotional connection people make with brands, you hardly hear someone say “I love my coffee machine”, you’d most likely hear them say “I love my Keurig Coffee machine”, the brand gives a product its identity, now what customers see is down to what companies show.
In all aspects of life, people want to feel appreciated. We buy products to fulfil a want or need, but we invest in brands which make us feel like valued customers. When we purchase items from a select company not only are we buying a product, we are supporting a movement, their movement which essentially becomes our movement.
What is the ideology behind your brand?
Brands tell us a story, in order to attract customers a company’s brand must hold substance, no one wants to buy a novel with empty pages but how do you get the customer to buy the book in the first place? The company must create a narrative that matches their vision, belief system and has room for growth. The narrative then becomes an ideology, one people can relate to and appeals to their five senses.
A company must stand for something. A fine example being the ‘One for One’ Toms shoes campaign, when you buy a pair of their shoes you are also supporting the belief that children worldwide deserve the opportunity for a better future though improving their health, education and well-being. There will be customers who are drawn to Toms shoes strictly because their design and comfort but there will be a great amount of customers who will invest in Toms vision because they also want a brighter future for young children worldwide, hence why Toms has a great number of giving partners who make his vision possible to fulfil.
Does your company have a Sociological Imagination?
A Sociological Imagination is all about your perspective, and opening yourself up to new perspectives as well as creating your own. We are born into a world filled with traditions and cultures that we naturally grow accustomed to but those who dare to break the mould not only break outside of the box, they create experiences worth paying for.
To name a few, Cold Stone Creamery designed their signature process of preparing custom ice cream on a frozen granite stone and Steve Jobs started an iTunes/iPod revolution which enhanced the musical experience. Remember when you were a child and the sky was the limit? You had a colourful imagination comparable to the rainbow. Well in order to build brands which break boundaries companies must not only be imaginative, they must be courageous.
The process of building brands does not belong to the arena of business and marketing, it stems for a single seed of inspiration, now you can call this my ‘ideology,’ my point is you cannot push a brand you don’t believe in, building brands is as much an emotional experience as a boardroom meeting. When you connect the two, the results are limitless.
So you want to travel the world all by your lonesome? Good for you. According to Budget Travel, 11 percent of all American vacationers are hitting the road alone.
There are definite advantages to solo travel, including but not limited to going where you want to go, eating whenever you feel like it and staying out all night — or going to bed at 7 — if you want to.
We put together some tips for our lone rangers so you can have a great adventure alone whether you’re going abroad or staycationing.
Tip #1 Research, Review, Repeat
Don’t just blindly purchase airfare to some exotic sounding locale. If you’re planning to travel by yourself, have an actual plan. This goes beyond earmarking pages in your destination guide or planning all your photo spots on TripAdvisor.
We want you to be well-prepared for your trip. So start by looking up local customs, crime rates and reviews from other travelers to the region. The more you know, the more comfortable — and safer — you’ll be in your destination. Bonus: Then you’ll also know how to handle the overzealous time-share push from resort staffers or what do to with a disgruntled hostel mate.
Tip #2 Make a Connection in Advance
A great way to travel safely and get the inside scoop on your final destination is to have a local connection. Thanks to Facebook and Twitter, friending a local before you get there is easy. And social media helps you research them to make sure they aren’t creepy.
If you’re really looking to get immersed in the culture, consider Couch Surfing. Thanks to this little community, travelers can crash on locals’ couches — or in their guest bedrooms — while exploring new destinations. You can read reviews of hosts before you book their couch, too.
Tip #3 Arrive during the day
Nearly all solo travel sites recommend this one. When you arrive at your final destination during daylight hours — no matter what time your internal clock says it is — your transition will be less overwhelming and less intimidating. Most places look quite a bit creepier at night.
It’s easier to get your bearings when you’re traveling from the airport during the day. You can really start to get a feel for the area when you can actually see it. Another plus to arriving in the daylight? You can spend the rest of the afternoon acclimating. Day Two will be much brighter if Day One includes some time to orient yourself.
Tip #4 Consider voluntourism
Voluntourism is a great option for newbie solo travelers. It works like this: Travelers head to a destination where they provide a voluntary service. It’s a great option for do-gooders who are really interested in being immersed in local culture. The other benefit is that you’ll be working with like-minded fellow travelers.
Trip itineraries include:
Biking trips — some cross-country — with stops to help build affordable housing
Distributing medical supplies or cooking for orphans while touring Tibet
Learning about Thailand elephants and their handlers while living with them
Tip #5 Take your own picture
Guess who is going to be a lot more interested in your hour-long PowerPoint presentation on your “Days in Deutschland” if your pictures include you. Everyone.
In the days of smartphones with front facing cameras, you’d think everyone would have mastered the “selfie.” But just in case you haven’t, you can find tips for perfecting your self-portraits.
If you’re not into taking your own pics, don’t rule out strangers. Sure you might bump up against a crabby local on a bridge overlooking the Thames, but odds are you’ll find more than enough friendly strangers willing to take your picture.
Tip #7 Safety first
Safety should always be a priority no matter how many people you travel with. It starts with choosing the right destinations. Travel + Leisure put together a great list of solo-travel-friendly destinations based on crime rate and friendliness of locals.
Once you arrive, remember to use the same common sense you would at home:
Stick to well-lit, public areas
Stay aware of your surroundings — this means don’t get hammered and try to stumble back to your hostel/hotel
Don’t be flashing your new iPhone and Prada all over the place
Almost all aspects of our lives require some sort of inspiration. Whether your job depends on it- drawing a picture, designing something new, writing something fresh- or you need to channel some inspiration in your personal life, we have all been in a rut. Even the most eloquent writers and talented artists have had moments when they simply come up blank. There is no surefire equation to guarantee instant inspiration, but there are a few ways that are sure to provide potential help.
Change of Scenery
Sometimes all we need to do is take a step back and clear our heads. Getting a change of scenery can be as simple as taking a 10-minute walk outside in the fresh air, or taking a weeklong vacation. Maybe you will fall in between the two and commit to a one-day break, spent outdoors, somewhere you’ve never been before, just enjoying the quiet time. CNN recently published an article discussing the vast importance of allowing yourself to take a break. Not only are these “vacations” good for your physical, mental and emotional health, they are one of the best ways to clear your mind to allow an inspirational idea to fill it.
Phone a Friend
You may find it helpful to literally call up your friends and pick their brains. Or simply talking to your friends or family can sometimes help us to relax and clear our minds as well. Other than directly calling people, there are other ways to gather insight from others who may say something simple that sparks inspiration for you.
At our SEO company we are constantly trying to think of creative pieces of content and more often than not our inspiration gauge is on empty. So we make a point to use family and friends as sounding boards to think up bigger and better ideas.
Sweat It Out
As much as some of us probably hate exercise, it is proven one of the best ways to relieve stress and remove tension in all aspects of our lives. WebMD mentions that exercising is one of, if not the best, way to manage stress. Exercise can come in many forms- anything from hiking to taking a bike ride will work. As long as you are sweating, you are releasing endorphins that will help to not only burn calories, but also burn any stress or worries keeping you from your inspirational ideas.
Take a Look Around
Often times, the inspiration we need can be found in simple ways that are already right in front of our eyes. Your next big idea may be hiding in that book on the shelf that you have been meaning to read or the newspapers piling up on your kitchen table. Many people also find peace in music- try listening to either your favorite artist or possibly someone new. CBS News often provides specific songs aimed at providing inspiration.
Similarly, It may be lying somewhere we least expect- like our Facebook newsfeed. Chances are you have many different friends, or opinions, constantly being shared on your social media sites. Go through and browse with more of a purpose next time (rather than simply passing the time) and seek out different topics or opinions that may just spark a great idea.
Everyone needs a little inspirational help sometimes. Often, these brilliant ideas come when we least expect it. Take some time to clear your mind using any of these mentioned tactics or whatever way you know works for you. Before you know it, you will be working on your next big thing.
Producing a successful social media profile doesn’t just involve content relevance; it has everything to do with placement, as well. Knowing where your consumers’ eyes go to on Facebook will help companies indicate which areas are most important. Several companies have already done the necessary eye-tracking studies and now all that’s left is to decipher the information.
Facebook Timeline Changed the Game, How Do Customers See Brand Pages Now?
When Facebook introduced the new Timeline layout, it changed how the social network is viewed from many different perspectives. Not only did it change the way a business profile was structured, it also adjusted the way consumers browse a page.
Thanks to a webcam eye-tracking study conducted by EyeTrackShop for Mashable, it was discovered that users now spend a majority of their time viewing a brands’ cover photo at the very top of their Timeline.
In addition, several other things were discovered about the new Timeline layout:
Ads are not the central focus anymore, resulting in lower visibility ratings
Cover photos are large and in charge, and nearly all attention is immediately placed on them
Timeline content is generally viewed last, meaning posts are an afterthought
Facebook likes, events, apps, and followers are all prominently displayed at the top of a profile now
What can we learn from this information that can be applied to all social media networks?
Include a Call to Action
Users may not direct the entirety of their attention to the top of a profile, but it is certainly one of the first things they view. In that same study mentioned above, it was revealed that LinkedIn users initially peek at a profile image, headline and then move to the sidebar content. Couple that with the fact that Facebook users initially turn to the Timeline cover photo, and you’re left with one logical conclusion. The top of a social media profile should be used wisely.
Though the topmost portion of any profile is never the sole focus, it serves as a call to action. Don’t just invite users to browse one or two appealing elements, inform them why they should view the rest of your profile. What will they get out of the deal?
Does your client make some of the best hot dogs on the east coast? Throw up an image of their delicious hot dogs as the cover photo, and direct users to discounts featured in the Timeline.
Is your client a CEO with tons of experience? Use the intro at the top of their LinkedIn profile to draw attention to that.
Content Isn’t Always King
Timely content and interaction are both important. After all, if there’s nothing to look at on your page then what reason would anyone have to pay it a visit?
That being said, when the Facebook Timeline was changed we immediately saw a shift in how consumers viewed a brand page. The cover photo took front and center, and the content became more of an afterthought.
When you think about it, the same holds true for other networks. It really depends on how social profiles are structured. Twitter, for example, includes a short description and cover photo at the top of a profile, followed directly by the most recent content. Naturally, Twitter users are going to spend less time looking at the profile as other networks, and more time browsing the content. That’s not to say users won’t look at a Twitter profile, it just means they will shift more of their focus to other elements.
The F Pattern is Key
In previous eye-tracking studies it was discovered that consumers browse pages in sort of an “F” shaped pattern. That description may seem a little confusing, so look at the some of the images in this study by the Nielsen Group and you’ll see what I mean.
While that study may be quite old (it’s from 2006), when Facebook switched to Timeline, the F pattern was still clearly visible. That means consumers have a sub-conscious habit when it comes to browsing social profiles. Use this to your advantage by placing important content right in their line of vision.
People tend to be lazy. If you can tell them the same thing with an image, as you can with text then choose the former option.
A heat map study published by Moz shows that in search engine results, video thumbnails steal a great deal of focus from the rest of the page. The same can be said of social media content. People tend to focus on visual elements the most. This also explains why the top cover photo is now one of the most viewed portions of the Facebook Timeline.
Visual matters, so use that to your advantage. If you’re going to make a point, find a video to go along with it. If your intention is to produce an engaging post, include a nice image to draw attention to it.
Keep It Direct
If there’s only one thing we can learn from eye-tracking studies, it’s that consumers don’t really spend a lot of time browsing an entire page. They draw in tidbits, and tend to focus on some of the most visible portions of a profile, like the cover photo on a Facebook Timeline.
That means you need to keep things direct and to the point. Don’t waste resources by covering your profile in worthless filler. Use your cover photo to drive home a point, and structure your content so it does the same.
You don’t have much time to draw in a user’s attention, let alone keep them interested. Don’t squander an opportunity by drawing things out, keep it simple and straightforward.
People generally understand that fresh fruits and vegetables are healthier for us than red meat and processed foods we normally get from online restaurant ordering. But beyond that, there’s a more detailed version of this story that’s mostly only recognized by nutritionists and people with a lot of interest in health food.
However, getting educated about food can be relatively easy, because the concepts in and of themselves aren’t that difficult to grasp. One example is that we can tell a lot about the health value of a food by its color.
When scientists looked more closely at our collective food pyramid, they realized that Mother Nature built color codes into the natural foods that are best for our health called phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are active substances in fruits and vegies that give it their colors. The thousands of phytonutrients in each plant protect it from pests, radiation, free radicals and disease. That’s why consuming these plants lower your risk for diseases (including cancers and dementia) and increases longevity.
What Purple Foods Offer
Reddish-purple foods are not only nice-looking additions to the dinner plate, they also appear in some of the fruits and vegetables that pack the most powerful punch when it comes to antioxidants and the elements that help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
This powerful flavonoid offers a big punch of vitamin C and E. When consumed, it can protect us from various forms of cancer, diabetes, infections, fibrocycstic and aging diseases, and inflammation.
Below is a list of fruits Anthocyanidin can be found in:
This special flavonoid helps maintain skin and blood vessel elasticity. This prevents wrinkles, spider veins and varicose veins. So instead of going to the doctor to get those spider veins removed from the back of your knee just eat pine bark, grape seeds and skins, bilberries and wash it all down with red wine.
Resveratrol is a flavonoid that can help prevent the growth of cancer. It also raises your good cholesterol (HDL), increases your longevity and prevents blood clots. Once again this flavonoid can be found in red wine, purple grape juice, red grape with the seeds. If you aren’t a big fan of eating grape seeds, freeze a bag of grapes that still have their seeds inside and blend them with a little juice and water to make a delicious and light smoothie. Great for the summer’s hot months!
The Big Picture
More than ever, scientists and health organizations are urging people all over the world to eat more fresh produce and unprocessed natural whole foods in order to feel better, live better, and conserve the environment. No matter what your dietary and health goals, understanding the link between physical properties like food pigments of fresh produce and the essential nutrients inside them is an important part of healthy living.
Posted by Alicia Lawrence on Oct 12, 2013 in Business, SEO
It’s easy to get lost within search results for your targeted keywords, and the further you are from the top three results in Google the more important standing out truly is for your click through rate. Here are four ways to really make your listing pop on Google SERPs.
1. Use meta descriptions to your advantage: Do you want your website listing to look like this?
There is nothing helpful, much less professional looking, about this meta description. That’s likely because this site doesn’t have a meta in place for this page. Instead, they’re letting Google decide what to drop in as a meta description which is often just the first lines of text it can find.
Instead, use keyword rich meta descriptions as keywords used in the search query are bolded and make your listing stand out. Take for instance this meta description from a local dentist office; you’ll notice a few keywords bolded from the search query. Also, make sure to use a clear call to action so visitors know what you expect them to do once they arrive on the site. This is also a great location for an enticing offer that might catch the attention of a searcher if you have one.
2. Use Google’s Rel=Author tag: Something else you’ll notice from the above example is a profile image associated with the SERP listing. This can really make your listing stand out, especially if your competitors aren’t yet taking advantage of rel=author. All you need to do is create a personal Google+ profile and link it to your website. You can find simple instructions on how to implement rel=author from Google Support. There are a lot of other benefits to obtaining authorship, but for now just know that within a few days of adding the rel=author code you should expect to see a profile image appear next to your listings which should definitely increase click through rates.
3. Use Google’s Rel=Publisher tag: This is quite similar to the rel=author tag mentioned above except that it gives your brand some extra real estate in SERPs for branded searches. You’ll see this show up on the right side of search results like the example below.
This requires the creation of a Google+/Local page which is easy to claim and setup. Once you do, you’ll also be able to solicit reviews from visitors that can also help make your SERP listing stand out like so:
Those stars really draw the eye to your listing AND make you look great so long as your reviews are positive! Not only will these reviews help your listing stand out, but they’ll also help you with local SEO. Be sure to get as many (positive) reviews as you can, especially on Google Plus!
4. Sitelinks and Structured Data: In the above you’ll notice a number of sitelinks to inner pages. These are automatically generated by Google, but by all means make sure these links make sense for viewers to see in your SERP! You can request Google not display a particular sitelink via Google Webmaster Tools. Within WMT you’ll also find Google’s data highlighter where you can easily help Google understand what certain data on your site actually is. Use this to markup your reviews, address, products, and more. This will make an impact on what data Google displays in your SERP listing.
Hopefully, a few of these tips were new to you! Naturally, start first by checking out your own listing for a few different searches, then get to work making it pop!
In an effort to target casual users on Pinterest, the social network has created a new hub called “Teachers on Pinterest” to help teachers by providing educational content in an easy-to-use hub. Pinterest has teamed up with several elementary school teachers and educational bloggers to provide lesson plans, crafts, activities, classroom decorating ideas, tips and tricks for teachers.
Pinterest’s Popularity With Teachers
They’ve collaborated with Edutopia to bring in some of the content, but the site is already a mecca for teachers. In their blog post announcing the launch of the Teachers hub, Pinterest reported that more than 500,000 education-related pins are uploaded or pinned each day. The site is so popular with teachers, in fact, that Edutopia reports Pinterest is among the top five professional development sites for teachers.
Currently, the content only focuses on elementary teachers, but the network may expand to more grades in the near future. Current Pinterest users can follow the hub and start pinning from the boards right away. They can also comment and tag their colleagues on pins. Casual users can use the hub as a starting point, and Pinterest hopes they’ll be converted to regular users to create boards of their own.
How Businesses Can Learn From the Teachers Hub
An important lesson for businesses to take away from the Teachers on Pinterest hub is that of targeting important demographics with their own pin boards. If you sell a product that could be useful in therapy, create a pin board for therapists and psychologists. If your service caters to mom bloggers, create a pin board that is the go-to resource when it comes to popular mom blogs, how to start blogs, best plugins and more. The idea is to create and pin content that becomes an invaluable resource to the primary demographics you cater to.
Pinterest as Part of Your SEO Strategy
If you think Pinterest is a waste of your time, think again. It’s popular with the social media scene, but it’s also popular in the search engines, too. Pinterest boards provide the perfect opportunity to rank for long tail keywords. If you have a hard time ranking for the terms on your site, you can piggyback off Pinterest’s popularity and authority while promoting your own site within the pin boards. In addition to getting pins to your own site, your pin boards will give your business more visibility in the search engine. In turn, traffic will be driven to your SEO site.
Pinterest’s foray into catering to specific demographics is expected to pave the way for the creation of hubs that cater to other professions and interests. This will provide more targeted content for current users and allow casual users to utilize the site without the hassle of signing up. Businesses can use this strategy with their own pin boards to not only target their primary demographics to provide valuable resources, but also to rank higher in the search engines.