Internet Marketing Search Engine Optimization and the Journey of Self-Discovery

What exactly is Internet marketing or search engine optimization and how could that possibly relate to a journey of self-discovery? What I can do is relate my journey into the world of SEO which began many years ago under the premise that I wanted my website on page 1 of Google. I had worked out that I would rule the world, make billions of dollars and retire overnight by simply relying on position one of Google page 1. All that would be required was to crack the Google algorithm and I figured there had to be a rulebook somewhere. Somewhere on the web someone would give me a step-by-step guide on how to build a website that would rank on page 1 of Google, that’s all she said… You will now make millions and millions of dollars, on deck-chair feet up, while the website generates money.What a load of bull! If you’ve been in the industry for a while you’ll notice there’s a lot more to this. Don’t be fooled by all the people out there who send you all sorts of hocus-pocus tricks & snake-oil magic guaranteed page 1 rankings. When Google can’t guarantee a page 1 ranking position, how the hell are companies that don’t own the Google algorithm making these guarantees?This is how search engine marketing, search engine optimization and Internet marketing is really a self-discovery journey for your business and as an entrepreneur; how you’re going to grow over time, how you will learn about your business, how you’re going to learn what people think you sell, what you sell and how to re-discover all of these perceptions.People start a business with a view to becoming self-sufficient & financially liberated out of necessity. Bills must be paid and families fed. 80% of new ventures fail; mostly because they’ve never taken the time to figure out what it is they are really going to do and if there is a market.What makes the situation even worse is that the people who want to start a business think it’s cool. It’s easy, we now own a company, we are rich or famous, and we can make lots of money… Before going down this road of starting the business and believing the Internet can make you rich and famous, consider what is required to make this a reality.Are you prepared to work 24 hours a day 3 days in a row? Are you prepared to go without money 6 to 8 months at a time? Are you prepared to cover the rent if things go wrong? Are you prepared not to go out partying with your friends when you don’t have money to pay for gas?If you’re not prepared to put in the sacrifices mentioned above, you’re probably going to be one of the 80% who have failed at starting their own business. There is work involved; a lot of hard work. There is sacrifice involved, a lot of sacrifice. As an Internet marketing company we come across many little companies who feel that they have the best mousetrap ever built and that they are going to be rich tomorrow with no startup capital, no marketing plan, no idea of what they’re doing and where not even basic keyword research on Google has been done to find out if people are actually searching for the best mousetrap ever built.They have built the latest greatest ironing board cover and they create wonderful spreadsheets again and again and become millionaires overnight… spreadsheet millionaires. Oh so easy the great Excel incubator! The numbers are there and all of a sudden you’re rich! The challenge comes off course, when you need to transfer that idea and those Excel spreadsheets into the real world; where people don’t like you; people don’t take your calls; people direct you to voicemail; people don’t want to do business with you. So, you have to come up with a creative approach to find ways into people’s hearts, into people’s minds, into people’s businesses.And generally it’s not that difficult. People like to do business with people. We want to meet with people; we want to see people face-to-face. We do not like talking to voicemail and yes it is hyper super efficient to do a video conference, but at the end of the day we’re still people. We like to talk to people and we like to work with people. This is why social networking has taken off as it has. But we hesitate in getting out there to meet people, so we compensate with technology to generate business, forgetting the basic rules of marketing, word of mouth, speaking the way others speak. Hang out where others hang out, understand what they want, offer them what they want and they will give you their money.If you can figure out how to hangout where I hang out and you can be my friend and you can teach me something, then there’s a very, very good chance that I will give you my money.The challenge today with Internet marketing is that the odds of meeting more people out there who you want to sell to, while competing with so many more people who also have a good idea, is not an easy task. You need to have a good idea which people understand, which people can relate to and then you need to express your good idea in a way which is clear to those people.Language is critical to any online marketing campaign. There are things such as persuasive copywriting, sales copywriting, informative copywriting, all fancy terms for creating copyrighting that is going to be engaging, that you will enjoy reading like a good novel and will WANT to share with your friends. If you share this copywriting with your friends, it means that you like what you’ve read, that you’ve learned something and if you’ve learned something, the chances are you will trust the person who wrote it, especially if you’ve applied it personally.Internet marketing or should we say search engine optimization, is a phrase probably coined back in 1994, before most people knew about the Internet bubble. Those responsible for coining the term, already understood that as long as there was going to be an Internet and as long as there was going to be search engines providing information free of charge, search engine optimization would be an ongoing necessity.The continued existence of the Internet and search engines for the foreseeable future means that search marketing, search engine optimization and paid for advertising are all going to exist for the foreseeable future. This also means turning back the clock in effect, to the origins of marketing; words, plain old-fashioned words and language.The study of journalism as a career is often considered questionable because journalists generally don’t make a lot of money, with only 5% in the top echelon earning good money, whereas the rest battle to make a living. But it’s a cool job, so we want to do it because we want to become war correspondents, so we go to school and we study language. I dare say the correct use of language for the Internet is going to be the future of Internet marketing.In order to make the language work for you, you need to understand what questions you need to ask to get the correct answers. The question is ‘what is the question supposed to be?’ This is where a journey of self-discovery begins in the world of Internet marketing. This is what makes search engine optimization and Internet marketing such a thrilling living and working environment. You are being challenged at every turn to understand what the potential client is selling and how his clientele will ask for that service. You then need to postulate and find niches in the search engine world that have not been targeted by lazy people using a bit of software. Lazy people who say ‘that looks like a good keyword, let’s rank for that, let’s not do a bit more work and see where else our industry is relevant, let’s not find out what is in people’s minds’.This may sound like a bit of a contradiction, but in actual fact you’re looking for a place where the competition is low and your relevance and importance are very high. This is pretty obvious but it is also a journey of discovery that you need to engage in, so as to discover where you are going to fit and into which little slot that no one else has thought about.It’s almost like having to be punished back in the days of junior high when you were up to no good and having to write a 5000 word essay on the contents of a Ping-Pong ball. I’m sure many of you have heard of or been exposed to this gruesome punishment!But if you think about it, there is a lot to write about the inside of a Ping-Pong ball and there is a lot of discovery and research. You write it in the hope it will be read. It probably won’t be. The same applies to Internet marketing & search engine optimization. You need to do the discovery and figure out what people are saying. Considering that 70% of search phrases used on any search engine have no exact match in a key-phrase, this is a huge opportunity for you to get a page 1 ranking for words that people are using if you consider that America alone has an online population of approximately 250,000,000 people. 70% of those people are using search phrases that have no exact match phrase, so why not have a page 1 ranking using a long tail keyword. If you add on to that the fact that the average search phrase is about 4 1/2 words long, then you should be able to rank easily.If you also consider the fact that people are looking for information and Google is in the business of connecting people to people and people to information, how do we go about finding information? We ask questions. We use questions to learn and those questions are where we generally start when we go to Google. ‘What is Justin Bieber eating for supper tonight’, ‘how do I kiss a girl’, ‘how do I find a boyfriend’. If you write content, shoot a video and create imagery that is relevant to these questions, chances are you are going to get that traffic because nobody else is competing for that space.Take the above into consideration and ask three key questionsQuestion one – are you famous?Question two – what do you think you sell?Question three – what does Joe public think you sell?Take these three questions and the fact that people are using, on average, four and a half words in a search phrase and that over 70% of search phrases have no exact match to the indexed search phrase, you could be on a winning wicket.What do we mean when we say you’re on a winning wicket? Well think about it in this fashion. If your competitors are not competing for the search phrases that you have identified for your industry, then you should be dominating that space.With traditional sales and marketing, we used to go and knock on doors, visit people, talk to them and build relationships. Once we understood what they want we were then able to provide a far better service. Today we look at statistics and data. We forget that people are still people. People want a hug and crave being touched. This is why there are so many dating sites. If we didn’t want to touch, to meet people, to do business with people, then there would be no social media.There would be no need to meet people or find a partner because technology would. Why would we need video? We could just use words, but we don’t because we need visual stimulation, we want to see, to smell, to engage. We all engage people. We need to understand that people want to engage with us, take a walk through the malls, look around, shop around and just talk to a store owner and engage with somebody.If people want to engage with other people so badly, we need to use the tools that are out there to help them engage with you and your business. Tools such as search engine optimization and website design.Internet marketing is a wonderful keyword but if you think about it, that’s exactly why there are tools to help you engage with other people. Google wants people to engage with people. Google has figured out that people want information, knowledge and that they want to learn, but Google cannot see, Google can only read code, so again, it stands to reason that words are the most powerful and effective way of getting your message across. That Google is simply going to index a website based on the words that are written has absolutely nothing to do with engaging the person who is looking at the website. This is where the pretty, pretty, the good-looking design kicks in. Google finds it and the video is viewed, the response is laughter perhaps; the person is engaging and happy. The displayed phone number is dialed and the excitement mounts. Someone will answer! Imagine the surprise and dismay when you speak to an answering service voicemail and are told to leave a message; someone will get back to you and does not.You go to the trouble of reading all these articles teaching you about search engine optimization and Internet marketing, which you implement, but you don’t bother to answer the phone. That’s just stupid.

Why Invest in Art?

When we invest in anything, we are attempting to maximize our return on that investment, given some level of acceptable risk. All financial investments involve a balance between return and risk. Investing in art is no different. We have to ask: “What is the expected rate of return, and what are the risks?” Besides these criteria, art investment offers other investment advantages. So let’s take a look at these issues in art investment.When we invest in anything, we are attempting to maximize our return on that investment, given some level of acceptable risk. All financial investments involve a balance between return and risk. Investing in art is no different. We have to ask: “What is the expected rate of return, and what are the risks?” Besides these criteria, art investment offers other investment advantages. So let’s take a look at these issues in art investment.Rate of ReturnCalculating a rate of return on art investment is difficult. The difficulty lies in devising a performance index that accurately reflects the movement in the prices of art. Since we are concerned with investment, I am considering only what I call investment grade art. This is the art that is offered by the major auction houses such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s — not the art you might find in a downtown gallery. Admittedly, this criterion is not precise. There have been several indexes created to measure the changes in art prices. One of the most respected indexes of investment grade art is the Mei Moses All-Art Index. The index was developed by two New York University professors, and is often quoted as the most reliable in describing art price fluctuations. This index indicates that art prices have almost matched the performance of stocks, and that over some periods, the rate of return on art has beaten the stock market. This would put the annualized rate of return somewhere close to 6%.Other estimates for price growth in art have not been so optimistic. In fact, some estimates place the rate of return near zero. A study directed by Luc Renneboog at Netherlands, Tilburg University estimates that the rate of growth from 1970 to 1997 to be around 4%. We can speculate that the long-term rate of return for investment grade art is somewhere between 2% and 6% with 4% probably a fairly decent estimate depending on the art bundle.In today’s economy where certificates of deposit are yielding close to 0%, a 4% yield on fine art would appear attractive.Asset DiversificationIt is a fundamental premise of financial management that asset diversification can reduce overall risk of a portfolio of assets. Adding new financial assets to any portfolio should serve to reduce risks, especially if the performance of the new asset does not correlate directly with other assets in the portfolio. Although price swings of stocks and fine art are often paralleled, they are not always perfectly in sync. Stock prices usually reflect economic activity whereas fine art is not as directly impacted.Inflation HedgeReal property can provide a hedge against inflation. Whereas inflation can eat into the value of monetary based assets such as bonds and certificates of deposits. Like real estate, coins, and gold, art is real property. Although the supply of art continues to grow, the demand for investment grade art is growing even faster. Renoir and Picasso have long stopped painting. Periods of hyperinflation, have always seen huge increases in the prices of investment grade fine art.Tax AdvantagesAs it has been noted earlier long-term profits are taxed at lower rates than ordinary income. Plus, a portfolio in art offers the possibility of other tax advantages if the owner donates the art to qualifying charities, especially museums. In the same vein, fine art assets can play a significant role in an individual’s estate planning.Although current reduced tax rates for long-term gains and estate taxes have worked to reduce many of these tax advantages, these tax cuts are scheduled to expire in the next few years. New tax schedules could emerge again favoring the tax advantages of art assets.The Joy of CollectingThere are other gains that can be derived from art investment — the joys of collecting and displaying an art collection. One might argue if you are going to collect art anyway, you might as well pursue the collecting seriously with an aim of ultimately making a profit from the process. There is a danger of developing the mindset of a collector if you are seeking financial gain.Investors make money in art when they sell to collectors — not the reverse.SummarySo why invest in art? Probably the most compelling reason is the reduction of portfolio risk by diversification and as an inflation hedge. Although a 4-6% return on investment surpasses money-based assets, it falls behind stocks and precious metals. However, price reflects supply and demand. The supply of investment grade art is diminishing as contemporary artists gravitate to electronic art mediums. Paint on canvas for the current generation of artists is passé, and new electronic forms of art-making add nothing to inventory of marketable art. This trend may not be immediately felt on the art market, but could have a tremendous effect in twenty or thirty years. And art investment is always a long-term proposition.By combining the possible financial gains from investing in art with the emotional pleasure of owning and displaying the art, then art investment can become “profitable.”

Health Anxiety and Solutions

It’s always important to take care of oneself using all the principles of good health. Regular check-ups, proper nutrition and healthful living all enable one to keep on top of their health in a careful yet reasonable way. Often one becomes overly concerned with health issues and caught up in a cycle of health worries. One health issue is reconciled when another immediately pops up to take its place. These worries become all encompassing and exhausting after a while.Eventually, the individual realizes that this cycle of health anxieties has intruded upon the quality of their life. A dark cloud, always hovering over daily living, this intrusive form of anxiety has to be addressed. One begins by determining why this is occurring, what purpose does it serve and how to interrupt this behavior.Reason for Health AnxietyHealth worries actually serve a purpose and this purpose is not difficult to detect if one looks deep enough into this pattern of behavior. Often this pattern involves the brain distracting from specific emotions which the individual finds difficult to address.Many emotions are so overwhelming, such as anger, grief or fear, that the brain looks for ways to distract. Health worries fit the bill because when one worries intensely about their health, there is little room to address an upsetting emotion.Health worries blanket every other thought and this WORKS. This is the perfect distraction from unsettling emotions. When one worry is reconciled, another takes it place to veil the unaddressed emotion. Each health worry has a strong purpose, as it masks the true upsetting emotion, which is much more difficult to face in the long run.Solution- Recognition and acknowledgment of the Health Anxiety habit, one worry quickly following another in a noticeable loop that never ends. Awareness of this cycle is always the first step to reconciliation of the issue.- Determining if this health worry is a true physical problem by visiting one’s primary physician and ruling out a definite physical cause for the difficulty. Always rule out a physical cause before assuming it is merely health anxiety.- Noticing that these health worries settle down when you become intensely interested in another topic or swept into a new relationship, job or cause.- Identify your patterns. Do you experience twinges of symptoms that often jump from one area of the body to another? Do you find yourself overestimating physical intrusions and instantly jump to the conclusion that they signify danger or warrant the attention of an alert?- Find interests that involve your entire being. Lose yourself in things that allow you little time for inward thinking. True illness does not surface through boredom as do these behaviors. True health problems do not generally follow the same time table as health anxieties do. Health worries are stronger during times of boredom and when one lacks interests. An intelligent mind requires challenges and goals.- Activity is an important therapeutic tool against health worries. Exercise and movement invigorate and stimulate the mind and body in a positive way. Endorphins are released and Serotonin levels are boosted naturally when activity is a part of a daily routine. Moderate walking, jogging, tennis, swimming and dancing are all helpful activities that bring forth positive results.- Nutrition is also essential to good health which in itself helps eliminate the strong habit of negative thinking, often concerning health worries. When eating properly, Serotonin levels are naturally boosted and blood sugar levels remain stable. This helps settle down an over-reactive mind, leading to a lessening in health anxieties.- Talk back to the brain by firmly telling it to stop when health worries enter the mind. Shift into a more positive mode of thinking because you always have a choice in what you think about.The mind will respond by quieting down as negative thoughts subside. The brain, caught red handed in this behavior is instantly embarrassed causing it to suspend this cycle of negative thought. This is comparative to a child being caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Embarrassment at being caught, stops this intrusive behavior.- Be aware of “what if” thinking. If the majority of sentences you think begin with “what if” then this is proof of a strong health anxiety habit. Change “what if” thinking to “so what” and watch the cycle break.Most of all, understand that worry solves nothing. Health worries, in particular will only serve to exhaust and deplete both mind and body. Consciously make a concerted effort to change the way you think and you will succeed in changing your life. You will go from self victimization to freedom from the intrusive habit of fearful worry.You always have a choice. Life can be wonderful and fulfilling when you learn to alter your perspective and chose a more positive point of view. You always have a choice. Never define yourself by your habit of worried thinking. Do not be victimized by health anxiety and fear. With a few simple corrections, especially in thinking, you will find your life changes from being difficult and upsetting to becoming easier and much more fulfilling on a daily basis.