Make the Most out of Microsoft Outlook

I honestly cannot remember how I made it through the days without email. I don’t know about you, but email has become such a vital part of my everyday life that picturing a world without it is just plain terrifying. In fact, using Microsoft Outlook consumes so much of my day that I could probably add contacts, search through my address book, and send emails blindfolded. Obviously, it’s no surprise that I owe Microsoft Outlook my life at this point, but what if my favorite program got even easier and even more beneficial to my mental health? With the three new Outlook add-ons that I discovered, it is possible to further feed my Outlook addiction. Now we all know there are plenty of Outlook add-on options, so it’s definitely necessary to pick a certain few so that they don’t hinder Outlook’s performance. I’ve narrowed it down to three that I simply can no longer live without.

* Xobni

o In all of its small, space-effective glory, Xobni, (inbox spelled backwards), offers the perfect contact searching capabilities. Without taking up much of your screen, (an annoyance we’ve all faced with various add-ons), Xobni can forward, reply, or open a message or file. It can even pull information from Facebook, Skype, LinkedIn, and Hoovers. Added data includes the stats of your email relationship with each of your contacts and their ranking in terms of email frequency.

* Gwabbit

o Yes, Gwabbit is $19.95, but it is an extremely helpful address book builder that gives you the most bang for your buck. Just by scouring the signature block of an email, Gwabbit is able to create a full contact record in Outlook’s address book that goes much more in depth than the information added by right clicking. As useful a program as Gwabbit is, it does have its few glitches. If someone entered their own information incorrectly, all on one line for example, then Gwabbit will record the contact as is. You may have trouble trying to correct the information since Gwabbit will see the contradiction between the email message and the information that you added. All things considered, Gwabbit is a handy little tool for the dependent users of an electronic roladex.

* Google Calendar Sync beta

o Google has such a massive electronic presence that it only makes sense that you should be able to sync your Google and Outlook calendars. This free beta program allows you to since events to or from one calendar to the other, and two-way syncing is also an option. You pick your time interval, and Google takes care of the rest.

More Tips about Assessing Your Website: Diagnose Your Problems

Today I’ve got more tips about ways to better the traffic to your website by pinpointing the exact issues that are hampering your site.

Again, it’s all about self-diagnosis and understanding your website’s problems. Without knowing the root of the problem, it’s impossible to fix it. Is your website brand new? Is your content informative and interesting enough? Have you broken any of the ethical SEO commandments? You may have to take a step back from your website to truly observe the problems that you’re having. Most importantly though, make sure you actually have a problem before you start changing your website and fixing things. Yes, that fact should be an obvious one, but you will probably be tempted to believe that a decrease in your overall indexed pages means that you have a serious problem. However, Google may have just de-indexed any ineffective or duplicated pages that you might have. If your search traffic hasn’t dropped off, chances are you don’t have a significant search problem. Remember, sometimes change can be good. If you’re still convinced that there is a problem with your website, these tips should help direct you towards any traffic dilemmas that you’re facing.

* Crawl efficiency – it’s one of the keys to getting on the good sign of your friendly search engine crawlers. You’ve got to let them know which pages are the most important for crawling purposes. You want the engines spending their time on the pages that are important to your site rather than the non-productive error and registration pages that take away from your valuable content.

* Be sure to create comprehensive sitemaps for each of your categories by creating a sitemap index file that links your multiple sitemaps and submitting it to Google Webmaster Central. This will give you great insight into how well Google is crawling all of the different aspects of your site. You also gain access to all of the tools and graphs in Webmaster Central sitemap reports. This way you can see how much and which areas of your content is being crawled and how much of that content is being indexed. For example, you might notice that Google is crawling all of your content in one category, but indexing only 25% of it. This will give you a great place to start trying to figure out why.

Asessing Your Website Tips: Diagnose Your Problems

Today’s tip is about correctly diagnosing your website problems.

Have you observed a drop in traffic to your website? Before you jump to conclusions, take the time to correctly diagnose the problem. Scary as it sounds, you’ll have to approach your website the way a doctor would approach a patient. Granted, there’s a reason you’re interested in SEO and not in biology, but you’ve got to make a correct diagnosis before you can begin treatment. A traffic problem is not always a ranking problem. It’s important to remember that a drop in traffic isn’t always the result of an issue with search rank. You may not have a problem with your ranking at all. You have to explore all of your options, including issues with crawling. Maybe your site is being crawled but not getting indexed. It could even be an issue with extraction, but it’s up to you to figure it out. How? Start here:

* Develop an infrastructure to diagnose your website dilemmas. Start with ranking report benchmarks so that you can get a better sense of where you stand in the rankings for some of your top queries. Once you get an idea of how you compare with your competitors in those queries for the search engine ranking pages, you’ll be able to stay up-to-date on any significant ranking movement.

* Organize your pages into categories. Look at your server logs for search engine bot activity on a per category basis. Once you implement this, you’ll be able to better understand about how well the bots are spidering/indexing your content. You might see that certain categories are being actively crawled by the search bots, while others are getting very little attention. Different category pages might also be crawled at different rates, which is important to remember. Rates can range from 10 to 100 pages per day. Being able to see how many pages the crawlers pick up from the individual categories will tell you a lot about how long it takes the bots to get through your whole site.

SEO Tactic to Avoid #4: Sister Site Link Farms and Rings

Today’s tip: Don’t become a victim of LINK FARMS!

Everyone knows that one of the top secrets to achieving the best SEO results: powerful, contextual, relates LINKS. Okay, maybe it’s not such a secret anymore, but the right links are definitely the best way to gain the most popularity on the web. The SEO beginner may grab for any link he can get his inexperienced hands on, but you know better than that. You know that the beginner’s lack of expertise could very well make him the ultimate candidate for any disreputable link farm. As a website constructed solely for the purpose of increasing the link popularity of other sites, a link farm is a threat to any credible website. Generally, the list of links on a link farm site are totally unrelated – posted simply for the purpose of being posted and increasing the number of incoming links to each individual site. Sure, sometimes these sites post links related to just one topic, but that doesn’t make them any more legitimate.

Chances are, you know when you’re looking at a link farm, but just in case you’re apprehensive, it’s very easy to tell. Look for mass links; we’re talking pages and pages of links. Maybe they’re related links, maybe they’re not, but either way there will be plenty. Look for very little content. These link farms are definitely not interested in sharing valuable information. Poor maintenance of a site is also usually an indication of a link farm. To a link farm webmaster, the links are all that matter, so the organization of the site is of little importance. A low page rank on top of these other signs is another good indicator. As long as the site isn’t brand new, it could already have been penalized by Google. If it hasn’t been removed completely, then it could very well have a low page rank.

Considering the extensive knowledge of the search engines, it seems crazy to think that these link farms could possibly work. And that’s right, they don’t. Most link farms are hosted on the same C-block and registered to the same company or person. Since the search engines are also registrars, they know the hosting and registration details for every site. The search engines have no trouble tracing every one of these links, which will undoubtedly be traced back to the same owner. So what will they do to you? Not only will the search engines immediately remove the link farms, but you can bet that they’ll penalize your site, too.

SEO Tactic to Avoid #3: Buying and Selling Links

Today’s tip warns against the dangers of buying and selling LINKS.

An obvious disregarding of the rules of the web, buying and selling links indiscriminately for search engine optimization purchases definitely deserves to be punished. Essentially, paying for links is paying to be popular, and no one likes a cheater. This kind of etiquette never worked in high school, and it certainly won’t work on the internet. Think about why people use Google in the first place: to find the most relevant answers to their questions. Say Google allowed its site contributors to pay more money to be listed at a higher position on the results page. Eventually, the search engine would lose all of its credibility because it put price before relevance. Search engines are vital resources, and it’s crucial that they be able to maintain their integrity. And this explains why Google’s patent on its Adwords PPC ad-serving system is so valuable because advertisers are listed according to the relevance of their ad, not just a big price.

Even the search engines, the self-proclaimed police of the internet, have to play by the rules – just look at what happened to Google Japan. In February of 2009, Google, king of the internet, had to penalize one of its own, Google Japan, when it began paying bloggers to write articles about the “hot new keywords” function at the top of its homepage. It consisted of a list promoting the most searched terms typed on the search engine. When selected, these keywords linked to their respective Google searches. Problems arose when Google Japan hired an online marketing company to create buzz about their new tool, which was already available as a widget to webmasters through none other than the pay-per-post function. Although Google rules the web in many countries, Japan is not one of them. Facing heavy competition from Yahoo’s search engine, Google Japan chose to disregard its own rules in order to increase its popularity. Without fail, the almighty Google came down hard on Google Japan. The campaign was stopped immediately, and the frantic apologies began. Clearly, Google Japan’s remorseful email was not enough, and the search engine had to be punished. Google imposed a tough PageRank penalty upon the Japanese version of itself, bringing its rank down from a 9 to a 5.

If Google is willing to penalize one of its own, its fair to say that no one is safe. Who knows what havoc Google will wreak on your website if it finds out about any shady business? The search engine could drop your page rank, throw out your links, or ban your site from the index for any given phrase. No matter what Google does, you can bet that your site will feel its harmful effects. The best advice: be honest. Don’t purchase shady links, and only link to sites that you’ve looked at to ensure their relevance and quality. If you’re really nervous that a link might be seen as manipulative for the Google ranking system, you can request a rel=”nofollow” attribute that keeps the link from passing any parameters. Avoid buying and selling bad links at all costs to allow your website to thrive with a clean conscience.

SEO Tactic to Avoid #2: Faking URL Rewrites

Today’s SEO tip is about the importance of using discretion in all of your URL writing.

Let’s face it – even the most diligent SEO guru has a lazy moment or two. Spurred on by that devilish voice in your head, it takes all of your will power to deny taking the easy way out when it comes to handpicking keywords to put in your URL. What you want to do is throw a few directories in front of your previously existing URL; what you should do is take the time to rewrite the elements that actually propel the page’s content. Although that tiny addition to your URL seems completely harmless, you have been warned! True, if the legacy URLs are redirected to the new keyword URL to maintain link popularity and de-index the legacy URLs, you’ll probably see no consequences. Sure, your now much longer URL will probably get indexed and therefore be free of any impact, but beware! You would hate to be accused of the ultimate sin: keyword stuffing!

The best way to avoid keyword stuffing is to keep it simple. A URL of four or five words that sounds natural can be perfectly normal. I would warn against using a URL that looks like this:, (yes, this is actually real). First off, it’s just too long. No one would ever physically type a URL of that length if they saw it in print. Second, it looks spammy! A URL like that combined with this particular site, itself, is constantly losing credibility. Not only are almost all of The Guardian’s URL’s typically like this, but its articles are full of pointless and annoying links. Generally, it’s very easy to associate these over-stuffed and obnoxious URLs with a lack of value. Is sacrificing quality really worth a few measly SEO points? Make sure to consider keyword proximity and density before writing your URLs to avoid sacrificing the integrity of your website. Stick with keywords and leave out the junk – adverbs, adjectives, pronouns – think about exactly what your target audience is looking for and what they would type into Google to find it.

Here are a few examples of search engine friendly linking, which is really easy to do when use a content management system that enables you to just type in the keywords you want to use in your URL, and it creates the links for you. (Btw, you would not believe how many ecommerce sites still use links with SKU numbers instead of model names).

SEO Tactic to Avoid #1: Hiding Texts and Links

Today’s tip for copywriting tactics related to search engine optimization goals will cover what to do with LINKS and how they appear on your site.

When worrying about how to conserve the polished simplicity of a clear-cut website, hiding texts and links can appear to be the obvious solution.  Not only are you able to save the sleek style you worked so hard to create, but you can also achieve many of the traffic related advantages found through SEO actions. Even better, using this tactic doesn’t seem to be cheating since it doesn’t entail the distinction of user agent or bot detection that “cloaking” employs. But wait! Before you start hiding a million links, consider this: do you dare to underestimate the intellect of today’s search engine? These engines can crawl CSS and JS files, leaving no stone unturned.  Nope, not even your white-on-white text or the off-page positioning of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are free from the engine’s prying eye.
Cascading Style Sheets is a style sheet language that describes the look and formatting of a document written in a markup language, or a set of annotations to text that explains how it needs to be structured.  CSS is primarily used to allow the content of the document to be separated from its presentation, including its colors, fonts, and layouts.  If you plan on using CSS, it needs to be for legitimate reasons regarding either accessibility or usability.  Generally, spiders can see that CSS is used responsibly when it is added sparingly and in short, small doses.  However, it can look bad to have long sections of text hidden on your page.  If it’s invisible to the website visitor but seen by the engines, it’s fair game for spam, so it’s best to avoid using CSS altogether.
JavaScript, the scripting language of JS files, is most commonly used to add interactive features to webpages and perform dynamic tasks.  In its most abused form, a JavaScript redirect will send website visitors to a different page, while search engines index only the code on the initial page.  Because of this, the initial page can be full of keywords that only the search engine would be able to see.  Sneaky?  Yep.  Spam?  Absolutely.  Abuse JavaScript in this way, and chances are, you’re getting caught.
It recently came out that The Financial Times website contained hidden links in some of its articles.  Using the very common tactic of writing the link in white on a white background, The Financial Times hid a link to multiple times.  Because the online newspaper has such a credible reputation and a vast following, a hidden link would seriously boost the ranking of any site, bringing more visitors and more business.  Obviously, even respected websites can use shady tactics, and if the hidden links are the result of the efforts of just, The Financial Times website seriously needs to tighten its procedures.  The bad links were removed almost immediately, but it is yet to be known whether or not Google will penalize The Financial Times.

On my own site at for example, where we sell magazine subscriptions, you can see that there is a clear linking hierarchy in terms of using color and size to set links apart using the ecommerce platform from Adrecom.

Tip to switch email accounts safely [from HARO]

If you do search engine optimization like we do out of our Los Angeles office, it means you have a lot of email addresses for your clients that you are constantly adding and changing for your SEO activities. is a simple service that does one difficult thing really well: it helps you switch email accounts safely, simply, and professionally. It does all six things you should do when you switch email addresses, but just don’t have the time for.  If you’re still hanging on to an old email account because you can’t risk losing clients or contacts, this service makes it completely painless to switch.  Leave all the old junk behind, but make sure you don’t risk losing anyone you care about — or who cares about you.  Best of all, the authors are active members of the HARO community so they’re giving it to you for FREE through the July 4th weekend. Check it:

Persuasion sales tactic courtesy of Michael Campbell

Michael has some great ideas for internet marketing. These tactics are useful for anyone in the web design business because you can suggest these strategies to clients and look brilliant. Below is the first idea in the category of Persuasion Secrets.


Persuasion Tactic #1


Work by social psychologists provides proof that we make decisions based on immediate comparisons and perceptual contrasts. That means its very important to frame your best selling product with higher and lower priced offers.


For example, if you sell 32, 42 and 52 inch TVs, the 42 inch will always be the best seller. Never worry if your highest price item experiences a slump. At least 5% of your buyers may still choose it. Removing your highest priced model can have a negative effect on your sales. Or in other words, with no 52 inch, the 42 is top end, so the 32 will become the best seller.


The good news is, it works the other way too. If you want to sell more of your highest priced product, add another “higher end” item above it.


Cool huh? By adding a more expensive 60 inch TV, sales of the 52 will automatically increase. Takeaway Hint: You can apply this psychology to ebooks and digital products as well.


to see more of his brilliance visit:

Use ICE for your Mobile phone emergency contact number

I just received this incredibly useful idea via email today to ensure you get the most rapid response and suppport in case of an emergency where you need medical help.

— Apparently this is a standard procedure all paramedics follow at the scene of an accident when they come across your cell phone.

– ‘In Case of Emergency’ We all carry our mobile phones with names & numbers stored in its memory but nobody, other than ourselves, knows which of these numbers belong to our closest family or friends.

If we were to be involved in an accident or were taken ill, the people attending us would have our mobile phone but wouldn’t know who to call. Yes, there are hundreds of numbers stored but which one is the contact person in case
of an emergency? Hence this ‘ICE’ (In Case of Emergency) Campaign. 
The concept of ‘ICE’ is catching on quickly. It is a method of contact during emergency situations. As cell (mobile) phones are carried by the majority of the population, all you need to do is store the number of a contact person or
persons who should be contacted during emergency under the name ‘ICE’ (In Case Of Emergency). 
The idea was thought up by a paramedic who found that when he went to the scenes of accidents, there were always mobile   phones with patients, but they didn’t know which number to call. He, therefore, thought that it would be a good idea if there was a nationally recognized name for this purpose. In an emergency situation, Emergency Service personnel and hospital Staff would be able to quickly contact the right person by simply dialing the number you have stored as ‘ICE.’

For more than one contact name simply enter ICE1, ICE2 and ICE3 etc. A great idea that will make a difference!  
Let’s spread the concept of ICE by storing an ICE number in our Mobile phones today! 

  ICE will speak for you when you are not able to.


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