6 Reasons to optimize your mobile SEO now!

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Out of the study of keyword searches comes the practice known as search engine optimization (SEO), in which the individual who is responsible for setting up a website knowingly includes the appropriate keywords in the text in the hopes that it will rank more highly in the search results list. This is an especially useful tool for business sites, whose ability to make money is, after all, dependent on people visiting the site and buying things therefrom. The rest of this article will be confined to mobile SEO and, more specifically still, to the reasons why you, as a businessperson and an owner of a website, should optimize your mobile SEO.

Reason #1: So many people surf with smartphones.

The smartphone has become so popular as a means of surfing the web – indeed, they may surpass PCs in that role in terms of number of surfers as early as this year!  Similarly, statistics gathered by the computer and Internet blog Econsultancy reveal that about 40 percent of all views of videos on YouTube are done via smartphone. Consequently, the SEO strategy for any web business that is “worth its salt” should include a system of mobile SEO optimization.

Reason #2: Optimization of SEO for mobile phones is rewarded by Google.

Yes, it is true: Google has actually devised a system of rewards for sites that employ responsive web design (RWD), which is a way of designing sites so that they can easily be viewed on both desktops and smartphones without the need for resizing or other adjustments. RWD, it should be mentioned, is valuable not only because it saves all that trouble, but also because it can improve the standing of the site with regard to mobile SEO. Conversely, Google also penalizes certain types of behavior by reducing a site’s SEO rankings. Such behavior includes, but is not limited to:

  • the mobile landing page being too slow
  • having links on a smartphone site that direct to a desktop site
  • including videos that are hard to play on mobile devices

Reason #3: There tend to be fewer characters (an average of fifteen) in mobile searches.

When people are making a web search on a smartphone they use fewer characters, on average, than they do when searching on a PC. Consequently, mobile SEO requires considerably less work than PC SEO as it requires less typing. This is the best reason of all so far why mobile SEO optimization is so important.

Reason #4: It can increase the number of visitors considerably.

SEO optimization for mobile phones can result in considerably more visitors to your site than you would from PC users alone. It is estimated that this increase may be as much as sixteen percent. In companies that operate in certain industries, the figure may be even higher, sometimes up to 29.9 percent.

Reason #5: Mobile surfers have different habits.

Just as web surfers using mobile devices use fewer characters, so too the types of searches they make are in many ways quite different. They are more likely, for instance, to make searches that are more closely related to information about a company itself – its history, the type of company it is, the products and services it has to offer, driving directions, the menu (if it is a restaurant, of course) and so on. Mobile SEO optimization can therefore be used to draw in more customers and make more sales than would otherwise be possible.

Reason #6  -  USING Flash WILL HURT YOU

Sites that run Flash assets are generally not supported by smartphones and will now be penalized in the search results lists by Google.

Reflections on Parental Leave

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Note:  The following is a preview of my post on the Big Daddy Kreativ Blog

Paid parental leave for men – it’s a concept that blows some people away. Daddy gets to stay home with the baby for months while the job waits for him to return. It is a blessed concept that we are lucky to have here in Canada: After an initial 17 week Maternity leave, 35 weeks of paid parental benefits are available between both parents as long as they paid into EI during their employment.

I know that, if I lived in most other countries, including the US, I wouldn’t have parental leave. I would look back on my life and regret not getting more baby time. Thankfully though, I will view my life with two daughters under the age of 2 as having been a great balance of work and family.  I regularly work long hours, so my commitment to my family was that I would take parental leave with each child.  As I tell everyone who asks me about why I took parental leave, “No one really looks back on their life wishing that they had spent more time working, but a lot of people do wish that they had spent more time with their family”   …..  to read the rest of this post please visit -  http://www.bigdaddykreativ.ca/reflections-on-parental-leave/

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The Grass is Already Green – Living Life with a Positive Attitude

 

Sheikh Husain Abdul Sattar is an Islamic scholar and medical doctor who practices surgical pathology at the University of Chicago Medical Center. He is also an assistant professor of pathology at the University of Chicago’s Prizker School of Medicine.

Sheikh Husain discusses the universal behavior of comparing oneself with others in his video entitled “Is the Grass Greener on the Other Side?” He discusses how all people experience hardships in life. Through successfully working through our challenges, we are better able to learn from our experiences. By believing that those who are outwardly “more blessed” than us do not have hardships in their life and that their lives are more fulfilling, we miss opportunities to learn about ourselves.  We don’t have insights into the financial, medical, social and mental problems that others have and thus Sheikh Hussain points out that the grass may actually be greener in our own life. People’s inner realities are different than the outward facade.

In his video, Sheikh Hussein is helping people who are not content with their life to move towards acceptance and move on to greater things. If one can accept the state that they are in, it becomes easy to be content with one’s life and attain happiness.  A seeker of meaning embraces the tests of life and does not use comparisons to others as a means to being. They have a positive attitude and reflect on all the bounties that they have.

I had the opportunity to attend one of Sheikh Hussein’s lectures on spirituality and metaphysics in Chicago in September and it was a great experience. You can find a selection of his motivational lectures at:  http://www.sacredlearning.org/general-talks/

Review: Cirque de Soleil’s “O” – An Aquatic Masterpiece

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The last time I visited Vegas  (in 2009) I had a chance to see “KA” and immediately fell in love with what the Cirque has to offer.  This time I had the opportunity to see “O” while in town for the PubCon digital marketing conference. Presented on a spectacular custom stage built in the Bellagio in Las Vegas, “O”  was one of the most fantastic and beautiful performances I’ve ever seen.  After reading almost 100% positive reviews of this show, I was excited to see this famous Cirque production for myself, and I was not disappointed. The inspiring acrobatics of the Cirque de Soleil were featured in tandem with a uniquely innovative and equally dazzling moving water stage that produced realistic wild waves during the artistic performance. Watching any Cirque de Soleil performance is like reading a love letter to performance art, and “O” added the element of being a beautiful reminder that all living things are dependent on water.

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Before I even got into the uniquely designed theater in the Bellagio, I was diverted with the rest of the audience through the Richard MacDonald art gallery, a sculpture gallery that makes up the entryway to the “O” theater, full of MacDonald’s beautiful bronze sculptures of Cirque performers and acrobats. I had never heard of Richard MacDonald before, and none of the reviews I read mentioned the gallery, so I wasn’t expecting to see his amazing bronze statues leaping, dancing, and hanging in space. Inspired by poses from Cirque de Soleil aerialists, acrobats, and clowns alike, some of MacDonald’s pieces seem to defy gravity; his aerialists and acrobats look truly weightless, and the poses look reading to burst into life at a moment’s notice. Though it was an unexpected surprise, the gallery turned out to be a perfect introduction to the show, and somehow managed to get me even more excited to see “O”, one of the best performances in Vegas.

The title of the aquatic extravaganza “O” is a play on the French word “eau” pronounced the same way, meaning water. Even when the 1.5 million gallon pool that makes up the stage is not in use, which is almost never, the actors and performers always seem to illustrate the fluidity and freedom of water. Complete with wave effects, special lighting and underwater breathing systems for performers, the water stage is a really impressive feat of engineering and design. The show’s amazing synchronized swimming, underwater acrobatics and other acts were all given a beautiful and original soundtrack by the Cirque’s incredible live music acts, but the musicians were all tucked up and above the stage behind protective barriers, which turned out to be a good thing once water started flying.

I was sitting further back in the house so I didn’t get wet, but it looked like the first couple rows got a pretty good splashing to go with their evening’s entertainment. Even without a light soaking, “O” left me awed at what the human body can do, and what a dramatic and beautiful part life giving water can play in all that.

Criss Angel “Believe” Review: Magnificent Illusions in Las Vegas

This October I took some time off from my parental leave to attend the PubCon online marketing conference in Las Vegas.  I don’t drink or gamble so my favourite Vegas activity is attending the great shows they have to offer throughout the city.  On my last trip to Vegas I saw the Cirque show “KA” and fell in love with what the Cirque has to offer.   I have always been mesmerized by the YouTube videos of Criss Angel’s illusions and I loved the idea of seeing him live in the Cirque du Soleil production “Believe”.

I lucked out since the show was playing at the Luxor, where I was staying during my trip.   I stayed at the Luxor the last time I was in Vegas also and I love the Egyptian theme of the building. Every night I was taken in by the powerful light streaming from the top of the Pyramid that houses the Luxor shows, the Titanic Exhibition and Casino.

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When it was time for the show, it was easy to navigate from my hotel room to the performance stadium. The theater had a dark and eerie feel which, to be honest, spiked my anticipation. I could tell other audience members were excited to be there as well.

The show itself was very good. I had read a number of reviews claiming that he is the best magician in  Las Vegas, and he did not disappoint. The strip promotes a lot of fun and quirky magicians to see; after all, it is one of the trademarks of Las Vegas. The program brochure claims that he performs over 40 illusions, and I have to say he delivered on every one.

This show is much more than a magic show. It is fun, it is engaging, and it is even dangerous at times. I applaud Criss Angel on the right combination of lights, music, and fire along with the entertainment. I was particularly engaged at how he keeps eye contact with the audience. It is as if he’s personally welcoming you to the show.

Although I had a great time at the production, there were a couple of downsides. One is the comedic breaks he takes between the acts where his goofy assistant does some lame stand-up and simple tricks.  It’s not quite as well executed as the comedic breaks in the other Cirque shows I have seen.  At the same time, I understand all performers need a break during their shows.  The other is his self-promotion. Do not get me wrong; I feel every performer should have the opportunity to promote their work, but I think he does it a little too often.   He also spent several minutes talking about how he is rated the best magician in Vegas, how he has the most YouTube downloads, and how he has the most time on TV etc.  All those quick facts could have been put into the program brochure instead of interrupting the flow and fun of the show.

I do not want to give away too much of his performance, but his introductory mind reading trick on people that were clearly chosen at random was stunning and had me at the edge of my seat for the rest of the show. If you like watching variety shows like “America’s Got Talent” or have never been to a magic show this is a must attend show while you are in Vegas.

Thoughts as I get ready for parental leave …

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My wife and I had our second child, Maarya, on September 29, 2012. She was born only 14 months after our first baby girl, Amina. Both babies were premature, making the postpartum period very challenging. The second time around it was a lot easier since we knew what to expect and how to deal with everything. I took a week off from work, but this time, I didn’t have to really run around getting baby items together because we had all baby items and girl clothing from our first baby.

Many things are easier the second time around due to experience, but it’s really hard having two babies so close in age!  Amina is still a baby but compared to Maarya, she’s a big and strong “Godzilla baby”. We have to be very careful not to leave Maarya on the floor playing in her gym while Amina is around. Amina has slapped Maarya in the face, threw a book and a couple of toys at her, wiped the spit off her face very forcefully, and applied pressure on her sister’s stomach while trying to stand up.  She doesn’t know her strength yet and how to pass a book or toy gently.  On the other side, Amina has a tremendous sweet and caring side to her. Her first clear word was ‘Baby’ and that’s what she calls her baby sister. She kisses her head when Maarya is playing in the gym. She becomes distressed when Maarya cries. She pulls Maarya’s hands away when Maarya has her hands in her mouth.  When Maarya is sleeping, she tells us to ‘shhh’ and puts a finger to her lips. She finds Maarya’s blanket and puts it over her, but sometimes it’s thrown over her face. She finds toys for Maarya to play with while Maarya is drinking milk.

I’m taking paternal leave this year from July to December and can’t wait to spend time with my girls. I plan on taking them to the park, toys r us, swimming, and anywhere and anything else a dad can do to spoil his babies!

Parental leave is such a huge benefit and we are lucky to have it as an option for working men in Canada.   People often ask me if it is hard to step away from work for several months and I tell them that it is not hard at all:  When people are older and look back on their life it is rare to find anyone regretting not having worked longer hours, but people often regret not having spent more time with their families.

Should a Las Vegas-Style Casino Come to Toronto?

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The city is divided on whether a Las Vegas – style casino is advantageous or detrimental for Toronto.  There is debate whether a casino should open up in downtown Toronto at Exhibition Place or the Metro Convention Centre and also grow a current gambling facility at Woodbine Racetrack in Etobicoke.

There are some convincing arguments made for going forth with opening a casino. There would be the expansion of the convention centre, thousands of new jobs, and increased tourism.  A formula has been proposed where the province of Ontario would get 50% of the profits with a maximum of 100 million dollars annually. Of course, the city of Toronto would be allotted more of the shares than other cities in the province.

There are also very convincing arguments against the development of a casino, and many Torontonians are  against opening a casino in their city.  There are a number of concerned downtown residents saying that giving away the waterfront might  be a mistake.  It would be something the city would have to live with forever and they refer to data that shows Casinos can lead to the following due to gambling addiction:

  • An increase in bankruptcies
  • Unemployment
  • Welfare
  • Medical/counseling and criminal justice costs
  • Adverse impacts on families

 Those that are against the casino have setup a petition that you can sign until May 7th at the following link: http://nocasinotoronto.com/take-action/