This post by Melissa Pepers, Lure GraphicsSEO Article-300x249

Like all new digital industries the landscape of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has seen rapid change over the last few years. If you are reading this article, like me, you have probably identified that ranking highly on search engines might be a worthwhile way for you to generate new customers.

I taught myself SEO because I wanted to show search engines that my business Lure Graphics was a relevant result for those looking for a strategically focused design service. I now rank on page 1-2 for the most competitive search term in my target market – Melbourne graphic design studios – without having ever paid a cent for it. The best advice I can give you is to learn SEO for yourself.

The power of SEO hinges on one central concept – relevance. As long as search engines have existed they have focused on ensuring the most relevant results get displayed and every algorithm change builds upon the idea of improving machine understanding of what makes a website relevant for a given term.

In its infancy, this involved things like how often keywords appeared on your page and resulted in a lot of ugly, spammy sites being ranked highly. Fortunately the industry has come a long way since then, here are some of today’s most important SEO tips:

MOBILE-FIRST STRATEGY

There has been a global shift towards using mobile as a primary source of Internet access that is evidenced in Google’s ‘mobilegeddon’ algorithm change. This algorithm change means if your website is not optimized for mobile it won’t rank highly or at all on mobile searches, making it mandatory for all websites to be responsive.

Making your website responsive isn’t just about ranking highly in Google, it also means your users will find your website easier to navigate which leads to more traffic and potential customers. You can find out if your website is optimized here.

MAKE A BLOG

A blog is necessary if you want to rank highly because they demonstrate to search engines that your page is relevant. They bring new people to your website including potential customers (popularity) and they keep people on the website for a while, which demonstrates to search engines that your page offers people valuable content (quality). Blogs are also a great business tool for brand engagement as they enable you to show your customers why you are an authority on what you do.

The big question for everyone is of course what to post. I recommend a two-way approach of using posts to answer commonly asked questions about your industry (this creates a higher volume of traffic but is less likely to create leads) and cover specific areas unique to your business and its niche skills (this creates a lower volume of traffic but is more likely to create leads). You can also find guest writers through sites like Source Bottle who are able to write specialty content for you.

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PERSONALISATION

When you check how you rank for a search term it is important to ensure that the results are as accurate an indication of your websites ranking as possible. Unless personalization is forced off, most search results are bias as a result of your location, frequently visited sites and many other factors. To force personalization off, type your search query in and hit enter. Then add the text that is inside the quotation marks to the end of the text in the address bar: “&pws=0&filter=0” hit enter again and you will see your search results have changed.

So what does the future of SEO look like? Google, the largest search engine continues to be the trailblazer here and they are currently investing a lot of resources into a new team. Predictably, the work of this team is in line with that central concept of relevance – they are looking at the gargantuan task of defining what a fact is.

In the future they intend to rank highly those results that are most factual. For businesses, this means that those who rank higher will likely have content that demonstrates they are the best and know the most about what they are doing. Therefore customers will easily find businesses that are likely to actually be the best at what they sell – essentially ranking businesses based on quality of service.

Lure Graphics is a design strategy studio that solve business challenges through innovation.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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This post brought to you by Air Noise EnvironmentID-10070671

Noise management is an important part of any workplace, regardless of the industry you work in. Of course, there are some industries where noise may be more of an issue, but excessive noise will always affect productivity, especially with regard to positions that require a decent amount of concentration. There are plenty of ways you can reduce noise in your workplace on your own, but if you feel like you need some extra help, specialists such as Air Noise Environment can help you analyse and implement noise reduction strategies. If you’re keen to get stuck into it yourself, read on for a handful of helpful tips.

1. Eliminate the source

The easiest way to reduce noise in your workplace is to get rid of the machine or piece of equipment making the noise in the first place. Understandably, this may be difficult in some instances.

2. Substitution

Try and see if you can substitute the noisy piece of equipment for another. This may turn out to be more expensive than originally planned, but it will be worth it in terms of employee and workplace safety and productivity.

3. Protective Equipment

It is important to note that protective equipment is only a temporary preventative measure, but it can help reduce the effects of noise in the workplace. Earmuffs and earplugs should always be used when employees have to work in extremely noisy environments.

Protective equipment does help to reduce the amount of damage dealt to employees’ ears when working in close proximity to very noisy equipment; however, measures should also be put in place to reduce the amount of noise in general for other workers nearby.

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4. Segregation

Separating employees from the source of the noise in the workplace is another method you may want to consider. If at all possible, move the noisy equipment away from heavily populated areas. Sound barriers and specialised enclosures may serve to dampen noise from machines.

5. Sound Proofing

Sometimes separation from the source of the noise is not enough, and this may be due to the nature of the machine or equipment itself. Soundproofing materials can be used to reduce noise in the workplace, and these will have an impact on not only the sound but also the vibrations felt by employees. Noise-suppressing paint is also another option you might consider to aid in this process.

These five tips will help you to reduce noise in your workplace. Sometimes, you may not be able to completely eliminate the source of this noise, but you should try to dampen the noise as much as possible as to protect both yourself and your employees. You may find that you need to call in an expert company to help you with your noise concerns. But never believe that the noise is getting better: it’s your hearing getting worse.

Do you work in a noisy workplace? What methods have you tried to reduce the amount of noise? Leave your thoughts and advice in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Salvatore Vuono and stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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This post brought to you by DRA Safety SpecialistsID-10043361

What are the signs that your workplace is a safe place for employees? Of course, picking only three means the signs will be very broad, and very general – but that also means that these signs will applicable to almost any workplace, doing any kind of work. From construction sites to offices, here are three key signs that your workplace is also a safe place.

1. Safety is paramount

Safe workplaces are constantly thinking of safety. It’s not something that’s done once a week, once a month, or once a year, when you run that occasional fire drill or check on the first-aid kits. It’s a state of mind, where the staff are constantly working safely, and treating safety with the same level of seriousness as the work itself.

Workers know the safe practices, and incorporate them. They know how to lift heavy boxes, how to operate the machinery, how to avoid dangerous situations, and how to look out for fellow workers who may be faced with unsafe situations. And, just as importantly, they know what to do in the event of an accident, or when faced by an unsafe situation – where the alarms and emergency shut-offs are, what to do if someone has suffered an accident, who to call, what to report.

Management themselves, also have a role to play – make sure to hire suitably-qualified staff, and offering training and guidance in safe workplace procedures, and keep up-to-date with them – it’s worth checking out professional safety companies like DRA Safety Specialists, and perhaps setting up automated emails to keep your company abreast of the latest safety issues.

2. The workplace itself is safe

The people are one half of the equation. The workplace is the other half. There are guardrails, emergency equipment, and work equipment that’s safe and maintained. An unsafe workplace leads to unsafe work, just as sure as unsafe workers lead to unsafe work.

Are guardrails in place around machinery? Is the photocopier tested and tagged? Is there plenty of safety-related signage around? Do you have enough first-aid kits and fire extinguishers – and are they stocked and checked? Is there non-slip flooring?

It’s a symbiotic relationship – the workers have the responsibility to keep the workplace safe, and the workplace has the responsibility to keep the workers safe. The best way to prevent people from creating unsafe situations is to have an environment that doesn’t foster unsafe situations in the first place.

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3. There are few, if any, workplace accidents and safety issues

This is the sum total of the above two points – this is the payoff for all the work. A staff that keeps safety always in mind, and a workplace that is safe, results in safe work. It might seem painful to spend all that money on equipment, and all that time on training and safety meetings, without seeing any visible results other than the workplace doing the work it’s supposed to be doing. But that’s the whole point – to take the time and money so accidents don’t happen. Work isn’t interrupted, insurance costs aren’t raised, and workers or equipment aren’t lost.

Those are the top three. Simple in essence, but applicable to any workplace you might find yourself in. There’s many, many more, which will get more specific to certain workplaces – so get thinking about safety, and come up with your own checklist tailored to your space and industry.

Images courtesy digitalart & artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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This post brought to you by Evocca CollegeID-100248987

So you’ve decided that running a business isn’t for you and maybe a job is the way to go. After weeks, maybe even months of sending out applications and follow ups, you’ve secured a job interview. Fantastic! Stage one complete.

Now you’re worried about what kind of impression you’re going to make at the interview. To help your preparation for an upcoming interview, you may want to keep these tips in mind:

Get advice

If you’re still studying or recently finished, it is worthwhile having a consultation with a team member at the careers office of your learning institution. New-age education providers such as Evocca College are likely to dedicate more time to specialised guidance. In many career consulting meetings, there will be an opportunity for some interviewing technique practice. Tutors at colleges like Evocca are quite flexible too, so you’ll be able to approach them when preparing.

Stand Out

You need to stand out, in a good way, from your fellow candidates. Make sure you’re dressed appropriately for an interview, in a manner that mirrors the company and the people that work there. Even if you’re interviewing at a start-up company that takes pride in being casual (there are plenty of these now), dress neatly. Show a genuine interest in the position you’re applying for as well as the company. Let your determination shine through.

Prepare for Anything

Candidates that leave an unforgettable impression are usually the ones that can answer any question easily and think on the spot. As part of your preparation for the interview, memorise the details in your resume. Have a folio containing your best work, if that applies. Research the company and people you may ultimately work with. Be prepared to answer any questions they may have, as they’re likely to check if you really know about their company services and what they stand for.

Ask Questions

You’ll make an even better impression if you ask thoughtful questions. Ask questions specific to their company and the things they do. And to show them that you’re willing to work hard to be one of their best employees, try something like “What do your employees have to do to be considered the best?” or “What do you hope the person you select will achieve in this position?” Asking smart questions will impress the recruiters and put you ahead of those candidates who don’t do this.

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Present a project

This one will really set you far apart from other candidates. Try creating some sort of proposal for a project relevant to the job you’re applying for. For example –if you’re applying for a position in an advertising firm, you can present a pitch for a client that the company already works for. Present something in their style, so they know you’re capable of thinking like them.

An interview is always a nerve-racking situation, no matter how many you’ve experienced. You can start to ease the anxiety by following these few tips –it’s all about making yourself shine amongst the other candidates. Try to loosen up, as being tense will show and recruiters may see it as an “I’m not confident” indicator.

Remember, they wanted to interview you because something in your application stood out. Good luck!

Images courtesy of phasinphoto and Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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By Alli Price

Great Google Hangout on getting your kids organised for when they are starting school and kinder for the new year with Denise Childs of Systems for Order.

Points include:

  1. Routine: Responsibility for belongings
  2. Routines: Coming in the Door/Getting out the door/Leaving School
  3. Managing Desk space and homework
  4. Lunches & Witching Hour
  5. Handling all the paperwork that comes home

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