28 Feb 2016

How much does SEO cost?

SEO can either come by way of organic processes or by way of an optimizer. Deciding on whether you need to pay for optimization can be a huge decision. Are you looking to be optimized locally in your town? Are you looking to be optimized locally in your town for differnet keyword searches? Are you looking to be optimized more for regional searches? These questions leans on you decision of choosing your optimization plan. Regional plans are usually the best given that many businesses don’t serve just the municipality that their business is located in but the surrounding municipalities as well. Google wants to find your business in your respective municipality. If Google hasn’t found you yet, then you definitely need optimization as there could be some issues preventing them from gaining access to your information.

Standard prices tend to be in the range of $750 a month. Wow, some would say; that’s the price of a mortgage. But advertising has never been cheap. And while the price coild be similiar to print advertising, the rewards have the potential to be much better. SEO puts your information in front of your potential customers. When they search for things that you target with you optimizer, then they get your website on the front page.

Many SEO companies charge considerably less for many reasons, according to Toronto SEO Specialists, Thunder Rank. Once people understand what SEO is, they want SEO. But many small business owners won’t want to pay $750 a month for SEO. Given this, many companies lower prices in two ways. They frustratingly lower their prices for the same quality of service to say, $250 a month. This is disastrous for the industry. A true SEO campaign starts out, at the very least, with 40 hrs of works for the first month. SEOs with more experience and better tools can mitigate time management to achieve the same results, but your average SEO needs to spend this amount of time to kick off the campaign.

$250 / 40 = $6.25

That’s less than minimum of wage in many areas. The reason that this is disastrous for the industry harbors on the idea that low pay lowers the quality of the work creating both disgruntled SEOs and unsatisfied customers.

The second method to lower prices is to provide a service that requires less time and less resources. So let’s say that for $250 a month, the SEO spends 5 hours and offer to do some very specific things like create 3 keywords, register the domain at a few sites, etc. What this method does is still charge the customer money, but fails to optimize their site. Granted the longevity of the campaign (say $250 a month at 5 hours for a year) will make an impact over the long run, this method is slow and steady and could leave much potential ROI on the table. Considering what’s outline in the SEO agreement, there is a high probability that the site won’t be optimized to what the customer expected. This is also bad as now that customer have no faith in the merits of SEO and will be more skeptical in the future.

Everyone wants the number one spot! We, as SEOs can’t promise that. But we allude to having the potential to do so. However, for less money, are we alluding to having the potential to give the customer the ninth spot. The implications are destructive for a healthy industry.

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27 Feb 2016

Linux Distro to Try: Linux Mint

With more and more people looking for alternatives to Windows and MAC OS on their computers, the ever growing Linux world is always the next best option. The most popular solution when people are switching tend to be Linux Mint.

Linux Mint is arguably the best Linux distro and even is great for first time Linux users.

Here are four reasons to switch to Linux Mint.

No antiviruses, more secure

With Linux Mint, you won’t need to install any antivirus software onto your computer. Linux is known for it’s secure features and the terms virus and antivirus are but a myth in the Linux World.

Compatibility with low-end hardware computers

Got an old computer lying around that runs slow with Windows Vista, or 2000 or any other Windows Operating system of that matter? Well Linux Mint can be the upgrade to that old pc that you need. Linux Mint runs on just about any system regardless of the hardware and specs of that computer.

More customizable and looks better

Linux

When it comes to customizing your experience and desktop, Windows doesn’t stand a chance against pretty much any Linux OS. Whether it’s KDE, Cinnamon, Mate or Gnome, Linux is fully customizable to your liking. You can always find something that fits your choice or customize it to what you need. Windows restricts this to only changing colors, backgrounds and it pretty much stops there.

Hassle-Free updating and system startups

When using Linux I noticed a big difference in the speed of my computer starting up. Linux boots right up and I be ready to login within seconds.

That’s another positive with Linux OS. One more positive would have to be updating your Linux OS.

You will be regularly notified that updates are available. These updates include both system and security updates as well as available updates for different applications installed onto your PC.

Making the switch to Linux is probably one of the better choices I’ve made in my years of technology/computers. Linux Mint has never slowed down on me yet nor has it crashed.

Thinking about making the switch to Linux? Contact our Casanova team and get started loving your PC.

 

 

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24 Feb 2016

Google and Red Hat Discover Massive DNS Security Flaw

Both Google and Red Hat have confirmed the existence of a security flaw (CVE ID: CVE-2015-7547) in GNU software project glibc that allows the execution of arbitrary code via a specially crafted DNS response. The flaw is a stack-based buffer overflow in the send_dg and the send_vc procedures of the libresolv segement of glibc and has existed since version 2.9. The way an attack would work is this: The attacker would prompt the target machine to look up a specially crafted domain, which would prompt a DNS server to reply with a result that exceeds the maximum acceptable length and thus cause a buffer overflow on the target machine. This, in turn, could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code.

The good news, however, is that they have developed a patch for this issue. I strongly urge all system administrators to apply this patch if they have not done so already. The severity level of this issue is critical.

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13 Feb 2016

10 Simple But Important SEO Tips

SEO - Web Design and Development Basics

OK, so you’ve chosen your keywords. Now you’re ready to start creating the content of your awesome website, right?

Woah, not so fast! Back it up a little. SEO is an art, but it’s also a science. There’s a few things you want to map out before you pen your first article.

1. Pick one main topic for your site to maximize SEO

Search engines are clever programs, and it’s not difficult for them to determine when your site is unfocused. However, if the search engines determine that your site is focused and authoritative about a topic, then it will rank much higher than its less focused competitors. Making your site about one clear topic will also make it far easier to do keyword optimization. Your topic can be in your domain name, site title, within the names of post categories and mentioned frequently across articles. When your website lacks focus, it will be difficult or impossible to do this level of keyword optimization. Rather it is likely that no keywords will stand out, giving your site a uniformly low ranking without a very high number of inbound links.

Of course, this is not to say that your site cannot be about other things. It can. Just don’t place emphasis on those other topics.

2. Link to other pages on your website

Internal links serve three main purposes on a website:

  1. Internal links aid in the navigation of the website.
  2. Internal links define the architecture of the website.
  3. Internal links spread link juice throughout the website.

Suffice it to say, having strategically distributed internal links is excellent for both SEO and site usability.

A solid internal link strategy will look like the following;

  • No page should be more than three clicks from the homepage.
  • Use relevant anchor text for internal links. Don’t over-optimize.
  • The homepage should limit its links to the most important second-level pages.
  • Use breadcrumb navigation to make following these tips easier.

3. Include your SEO keywords in your permalinks

The default permalink format of most content management systems is pretty bad. Not only are the schemes ugly, they are terrible for SEO. URLs such as http://www.example.com/?p=2 or http://www.example.com/10/22/2015/ may be convenient for CMS programmers, but not for search engines. These permalinks give no indication as to what the content is about. Even http://www.example.com/seo_posts/10/22/2015 is a huge improvement.

4. Speed up your website

Google PageSpeed Insights for SEO

An example of running Google’s PageSpeed Insights on a webpage

Your page loading speed has an effect on your rankings, especially on Google, so remove any bottlenecks to your site speed. Besides, your visitors will appreciate any speed improvements you make to your website. Patience isn’t exactly commonplace on the web. Run Google’s PageSpeed Insights on your webpage and see if you could stand to make some improvements.

 

5. Provide rich answers to questions on your website

SEO rich answer

Rich answers to questions may just reward you with a free highlighted place in Google’s search results. While right now, rich answers appear in only about 20 percent of the queries used to trigger them, this is likely only to increase in the future.

6. Engage your vistors

Let’s be real. User engagement matters when it comes to rankings. If users are regularly interacting with your content, search engines are going to pick up on this, and they will see your content as relevant and of high quality, adjusting your position accordingly.

There are tools one can use to tailor one’s content to what gets the visitor to respond. SumoMe Heatmaps stands out in my mind. By creating a graphical view of where users are clicking and on what they are clicking, the content can be modified for topic and visibility to improve CTR.

SumoMe Heatmaps for SEO demo

Here’s a little demo of SumoMe Heatmaps

7. Avoid “black hat” SEO practices

Make no mistake, they can still work, but they are an extremely short-lived solution that will hurt your rankings long-term. Search engines are much more intelligent than they were in years prior and have recognized that sites with tens of thousands of spam links on unrelated sites are likely spammers and penalize them for this practice. Professional SEO specialists are happy to provide effective, long-term solutions for improving your ranking.

8. Create useful and relevant ALT tags

Sean Work has excellent advice for how you should write ALT tags.


Indeed, that is their one of their actual purposes, but I think many do not keep that in mind when creating them, if they create them at all–which they should.

9. Add deep links to your site

Rest assured, your homepage and Contact Us pages are your most visible. They don’t need any help. Now your content a few levels down, it could use some assistance. Create links to deeper content on the upper levels to improve their visibility. Deep links are also more natural when doing content marketing. This is important because you are writing for humans first, not web spiders.

10. If your content management system has a related posts/articles plugin, use it

This will improve user engagement which, as we noted, is important for SEO. Using such a plugin is also an easy way to automate generation of relevant internal links and improve time-on-site. If a user was interested enough to click on and read through a post or article on a topic, it is very likely that they will willing to click on a link to a post or article on a related subject, keeping them browsing.

 

Always remember that structure of your content and how it is presented is every bit as important as the content itself when it comes to SEO

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11 Feb 2016

SEO in Plainfield, Joliet, and Shorewood

Area and regional SEO is very important to a local businesses growth. To underestimate the value of optimization is to significantly leave out a huge part of your marketing campaign. Local optimization ensures that your business is known locally for searches. With ubiquitous smart phone use, most people are looking down instead of up. Having a website that is easily found via a mobile device generates leads. Optimized content geared toward niche audiences leads to ROI in big ways. In the Areas of Plainfield, Joliet, and Shorewood Illinois; there is ample opportunity to take advantage of SEO. Many industries in the area have not optimized their sites nor their content. Companies in this region may be able to gain advantage over there competitors by taking advantage of an SEO.

Local SEO

Local SEO for Plainfield, Joliet and Shorewood for your Web Design needs

Social networking, media campaigns, SEO; have been huge for the last 8 or so years, and are becoming more important than ever moving into 2016. Many large scale companies offer SEO services, however, some may be too large to provide adequate assistance. As we move more into the area of the semantic web, SEO become more complicated, personal, and niche based. Having a neighborhood SEO that knows the area, knows the business, and who is assessable for intimate conversations about your website and your business is optimal when looking optimize your site.

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07 Feb 2016

Linux Distro To Try: Zorin OS

With more and more people looking for alternatives to Windows and MAC OS on their computers, the ever growing Linux world is always the next best option. With many people making the switch, some tend to look for an alternative but one that reminds them of Windows and/or Mac OS.

One that resembles Windows closely but is a Linux operating system is Zorin OS. Zorin’s latest version is Zorin OS10 and a video review of Zorin OS10 can be found below:

The video is of Zorin OS10’s Release Candidate.

There also is a video of a guy showing what appears to be a preview of Zorin OS11:

Here are five reasons to switch to Zorin OS10:

User Friendly and Familiar

Zorin OS are designed specifically for newcomers to Linux operating systems. Thus offering an experience many will find familiar to Windows and Mac OSX. It seems with each Windows release there’s a Zorin release that’s similar to it right around the corner.

Customizable to Your Experience

2014-10-05-173344_1366x768_scrotYou can customize your Zorin OS interface and the look and feel to how you want it, whether that’s resembling Windows XP, 7,8 or even 10 or whether it’s throwing in a dock and resembling Mac OSX. The entire Zorin OS interface is customizable and can be very useful for people who want a user-friendly and familiar desktop. Windows 7, Windows XP and GNOME 2 interfaces are available in the free versions of Zorin OS.

 

 

Gets You Familiar With Ubuntu

Users can customize Zorin OS and get familiar with using a terminal as well as a side dock bar familiar with Ubuntu users. So while having an user experience that’s familiar to you, you’ll be getting a new experience into the world of Ubuntu.

Software Center

Zorin’s software center features tens of thousands of apps just waiting to be installed onto your computer. Many apps enhance your experience and make your productivity and everyday tasks much easier. From Office softwares such as Libre Office to Banshee music player, Zorin Software center is the place.

Workspaces

The ability to have more than one workspace on your desktop at once is beyond great. You can get more done while not having to declutter and close apps. Instead you can open them in workspace 2 or workspace 3 if need be and continue working while effortlessly switching back and forth.

Zorin OS is complete with man features and an experience many can’t beat. If you’re tired of laggy Windows 10 or your Mac OSX system why not dual boot Zorin OS on your computer?

Zorin OS can be installed here.

 

 

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06 Feb 2016

What is Big Data?

Big Data

Overview

While the term “big data” is often considered a buzzword, the intention behind the term and the concept itself is not quite so new. Simply put, “big data” is the act of gathering a large volume of information and storing it for later processing, specifically data sets so large that traditional methods for organizing and processing the data prove inadequate. One might argue that the creation of libraries were one of the first practices of what we now call “big data,” as that quantity of data in written form far exceeded what anyone until then would have encountered, and it forced the first librarians to develop new schema to organize it. While in the distant past, this information might have been measured in the number of scrolls or books stored, we now measure this in terabytes and petabytes–even exabytes occasionally. Suffice it to say, when we speak of “big data,” we speak of data sets so large that they prove problematic for the conventional means of managing data.

Data Center Photo

Big Data: A Constantly Moving Target

Because of the nature of its definition, when to use the term is not something that can be pinned down. There is no stable minimum size above which one can say that a data set officially qualifies as “big data.” It depends on the current levels of processing power, the nature of the data itself, and the what the end product is supposed to be. What also complicates matters is the exponential growth of data over time.

As technology advances, the rate at which data is produced increases, and as this production rate increases, advanced technology can harness this data to advance technology at an even faster rate. It is a self-accelerating cycle.

We’re seeing this culminate (currently anyway) in the internet of things. Data is being produced by and consumed by an ever growing list of devices via the internet, and this data is often captured by companies to form data sets of unprecedented size. We’re seeing two major forces working to expand this data.

The adoption of internet-connected embedded systems spreads awareness of their existence, even to “non-geeks,” further increasing their adoption. Second, this adoption drives down cost, which also, in turn, leads to further adoption. This leads to an ever-accelerating increase in the amount data produced and transmitted.

The other side of this is that as technology adapts to big data, data sets that were previously considered nearly intractably large because trivial to manage, let alone store, after some time.

We can see this even on a consumer scale. Only ten years ago, the idea that a consumer could even store 500 GB on a personal computer would have seemed laughable. Now it’s considered a little on the smaller side for a home PC. The search feature on consumer operating systems have also incorporated indexing to better cope with the markedly increased amount of data consumers can now store on their PC, among other adoptions and innovations.

So What is This Used For?

Glad you asked. Most commonly they are used in three major applications

  1. Descriptive statistics
  2. Predictive analytics
  3. Machine learning

ANOVA table

Descriptive statistics is a discipline that takes a data set and uses quantitative analysis to describe features about the data set itself. Very commonly encountered forms of descriptive statistics are the attributes of the performance of athletes. Things like average points scored per game and batting average are both examples of a descriptive statistic.

The Phases of Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics, on the other hand, is a discipline that uses data to construct models that are themselves used to predict the future. Generally these predictions are informed by the trends identified by descriptive statistics.

Machine Learning

Machine learning is field of computer science that has its roots within artificial intelligence, particularly pattern recognition. The goal of machine learning is to enable computer programs to “learn” without being explicitly programmed to do so, generally by recognizing patterns in data and using these patterns to predict results. This field can itself be broken down into three major fields:

  • Supervised learning: The computer program is given a training data set and what the desired outputs should be by the “teacher.” The goal of the machine learning algorithm becomes finding a general rule that maps the inputs to the desired outputs.
  • Unsupervised learning: As the name implies, there is no explicit “teacher.” The algorithm first must uncover structure within the data. Sometimes that is, in fact, the purpose of using this method: teasing out hidden structures within ostensibly unstructured data.
  • Reinforcement learning: This is sort of the hot-cold game for computers. There is no “teacher,” rather the program must maximize some value called the “reward.”

Big Data and the Future

Going forward, big data will likely only increase in prominence. With applications ranging from targeted advertising to cancer research, the utility and power it holds are too attractive to ignore. But as anything with the potential to do so much good, its potential for great evil is equally large. Already we’re seeing big data used by the Chinese government to collect detailed amounts of data on the behaviors of its citizenry, enabling them to conduct Orwellian surveillance. However, it’s important to remember that big data itself is neither good nor bad. It simply is. Like any other nascent discipline, we must decide as a society where the ethical boundaries lie.

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06 Feb 2016

Women in Technology

Although there has been a recent trend in people choosing to go into tech-based careers, women seem to be largely missing from the field. As a woman, I wonder why more of us do not choose this industry. The opportunities are tremendous and are only growing.

According to a 2012 report by the National Science Foundation, women make up only 18% of engineering, 18% of computer science and 19% of physics majors at the college-level.

Surprisingly enough, the same study showed that STEM-based electives at the high-school level had roughly the equal amount of women and men enrolled. As a woman in the technology field, I saw some of those disturbing statistics first-hand.

In my very first college-level scripting course, I was the ONLY female in a class of roughly 25. Imagine being the only woman in a class of 18-25 year old men. Strange, awkward, socially-inept, mouth-breathing men.

Ladies, where are you? Careers in these fields can be extremely rewarding. Seeing the website you just developed show up in a Google search, selling thousands of copies of that app you worked tirelessly on, hearing that the database you created for that Fortune500 company is error-free… The rewards are gratifying.

Although recent numbers show the trend heading upwards in our favor, we need to do better! Help break that stigma of mothers in Silicon Valley (or Shorewood, IL, as it is in my case).

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06 Feb 2016

Age Old Virus Scam, Beware!

There have been many Internet users who have fallen victim to virus scams recently. The virus that is the most scary is the fishing virus, which takes control of your computer and holds it hostage. It then asks you if you would like remote IT support. The unsuspecting individual will then proceed to give their financial and network information to the scammers. The scammers purport to fix the issues on your computer. However, just like with most scams, the scammer continues to squeeze the victim for every penny. A few weeks, months, etc. down the line, and they will be back to ask for more money. The virus was never removed from your computer. It’s still there, ready to be used when the scammer wants more money. Beware! If you run into these issues, call a professional.

scam_alert_image_computer_repair

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06 Feb 2016

SEO – 2016

SEO, in the world of 2016, is ever more of a pressing issue. Digital real estate is very important, especially to a business. The measure of a website’s success is typically based off ROI. One of the best investments that a business can make is in it’s digital real estate. SEO not only improves search rankings, but it also improves usability of a site, along with functionality and design. An SEO’s insistence on search and page rankings allow for a more concise site that it is readable by the search engines, and thus, more readable by the human engines. To create a website specifically for business and without utilizing SEO can be damaging to the business.

SEO

Casanova – SEO

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