A couple of years ago, we saw Rhett & Link put a telephone conversation through YouTube’s caption generator, and the video was hilarious. Now, YouTube’s Collective Cadenza, or “cdza,” has run the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” theme song through Google translate several times through several languages, and the results that they received back became this entertaining video, where the song is sung with new lyrics. One day, captioning and voice recognition won’t be so comical. But today, it is, and it brings us some fine entertainment.
Fresh Prince: Google Translated
Here you go:
Once again, translating technology gives us a good, hearty laugh. People in the future must be rolling on the floor at our primitive computer translating. But hey, what do you expect when so many languages have so many different rules? Right now, that requires a human to correct the intent and meaning. And thus, laughs ensue when the computer fails to recognize these differences.
This channel has a unique vibe to it, playing around and having fun with music in a variety of ways. Their very first video covered “lyrics that aren’t really lyrics” and it chalked up over a million views. That’s right, on their first try:
Another big hit was when they sang “misheard lyrics:”
The channel is fairly new, with 16 videos, so it becomes a sort of “one to watch” in the upcoming year. If they continue to have fun with music like this, they’ll be a surefire brand name on YouTube.
It’s not uncommon for first-time home buyers to ask: “Can my mom and dad give me money to help me buy this house?”
The good news is yes, you can receive a gift from your parents to buy a house, but the way that you actually receive the gift is very important. Mom and dad can’t just leave money under your pillow like the Tooth Fairy did when you were younger.
The process of accepting a gift for your down payment isn’t complicated, and by following these simple rules, you can be sure that the underwriter who is reviewing your file will look at it with an approving eye.
Write a gift letter
If someone is going to be gifting you money to help you buy a house, you’ll first need a gift letter. The gift letter needs to be a short, sweet letter that is hand-signed by you and the person giving the gift. It needs to contain the following:
- The relationship between the home buyer and the person giving the gift.
- The amount of the gift.
- The address of the home being purchased.
- A statement that the money is a gift and not a loan that must be paid back.
Establish a paper trail
Next, you’ll need to create a paper trail. This is important because underwriters will look for where the money came from and where it went. In simple terms, they will look for proof that the money came from your parents’ account and went into yours.
Each situation will be slightly different, but be ready to provide paper proof of your parents’ account having money in it, money coming out of that account, a deposit into your account and proof that your account now has the money in it. Accuracy matters when creating this paper trail, so make sure each transaction is for the exact amount of the gift.
Write a gift letter and use this shortcut
Creating a paper trail correctly has proven to have its fair share of hassles. Getting copies of transactions is time-consuming, and underwriters seem to question every little thing in the process (“where exactly did the $10,000 transfer that I see coming into mom and dad’s account come from?”).
The good news is that there’s a shortcut when it comes to gift letters — one that makes the entire process easier.
Simply add one sentence to the letter that says: “Will wire the gift directly to escrow at time of closing.”
If you add this line to your gift letter, you can avoid all of the paper chasing that most underwriters will require. A day or two before closing, you can get wiring instructions from your escrow agent for mom and dad to wire the exact amount of the gift directly to the escrow company working on your transaction.
Alex Rodriguez was scheduled to undergo hip surgery in New York today, but Miami is where the perennial MLB All-Star is expected to spend the bulk of his six-month recovery process. He has the perfect house just for that purpose, now that the Yankees third baseman has pulled his waterfront modern off the market.
Rodriguez listed the 9-bedroom, 13-bathroom custom-built beauty for $38 million in August, but Gossip Extra reports that the slugger has decided now is not the time to sell. Instead, A-Rod will make use of the pool, state-of-the-art gym and batting cage to rehabilitate his surgically-repaired left hip.
The goal is to get back into the Yankees lineup after the All-Star break in mid-July. By then, A-Rod will be turning 38, and he’ll be eager to prove to critics that his Hall of Fame-caliber baseball career is not over, especially after his horrific postseason performance that helped knock the Yankees out of the playoffs.
The search engines are always changing, but link baiting strategies never die. Here are the three core elements of an effective link bait campaign, which will only be more vital in the year ahead:
1. Understand Shareability
A link is, fundamentally, really just a social share from somebody who happens to run a website. While the platform (HTML) is different, the psychological forces in play are the same. Content that goes viral on social networks will tend to attract links as well.
And, if you pay attention to social networks, you’ll notice that there are definite patterns. Most viral content has at least one of the following attributes:
The popularity of conspiracy theories on the Internet is perhaps one of the best examples of how bold opinions attract attention and propagate rapidly. A strong stance can alienate you from a large portion of your potential audience, but it can also expand your existing reach and strengthen your following. It’s probably best to stick to values you actually believe in, of course, to avoid a PR disaster at some point down the road.
The humor site Cracked currently has over 2.3 million Facebook likes and a Domain Authority of 88. They have accomplished this simply by collecting interesting facts and making them hilarious.
It’s insider information
The Wall Street Journal linked to WordStream, an online ad-consulting firm, because they published their own proprietary data about Google. The original source of new information tends to attract more links than the site that re-purposes it, unless they are extremely good at re-purposing content, or already have a larger following.
Cats rule the internet, and according to this article on the science of Internet cats, this is largely because they’re cute and vulnerable. Cute pictures and videos of babies and dogs also abound on the Web. There’s something about cuteness that demands to be shared.
It’s bizarre and quirky
Gawker hired Neetzan Zimmerman to produce the viral content that, as Gawker’s primary editor said, “for the sake of the other writers, [is] a necessary cog.” Zimmerman, who created The Daily What, says “When something goes viral, it tends to be something that is not expected to go viral.” Headlines like “This Pizza Has a Crust Made Out of Cheeseburgers,” and “Dead And Buried Hamster Emerges From Grave Alive And Well And Hungry For Brains,” tend to go viral more than what would traditionally be called “headline news.”
As Zimmerman said, A “taxidermied cat being that’s been turned into a helicopter—that’s clearly going to be successful, right? Because it’s got that element of shock, it’s got that element of a cat, you know, it’s basically just tailored to the Internet.”
It should hopefully be obvious from all of this that shareability is only one component of success. A piece of content that’s designed only to go viral is also likely to be poorly branded, irrelevant, and unlikely to lead to conversions down the road. For some more examples of successful link bait campaigns, we recommend taking a look at these 10 examples from WebPageFX.
2. Brainstorm Frequently
What should also be obvious from all of the above is that linkbait demands originality in some form. If the information isn’t new, the presentation must be. If the topic is “boring,” it takes creativity to transform it into something bizarre, quirky, or hilarious.
And while “cuteness” doesn’t necessarily demand creativity, if you keep pushing that button too often, it’s going to be seen as obvious pandering. Besides, it will still take creativity to transform a branding message into something even remotely cute.
Here are a few brainstorming tips to help you launch a successful link bait campaign:
Small groups are best
Put too many people in a brainstorming meeting and most of them won’t contribute. Groups of three to five are better for group brainstorming. In larger groups, people forget their ideas before they’re called on, and it’s difficult to get into a productive rhythm.
Individual brainstorming is a must
Some of the brainstorming should be done by individuals brainstorming alone. Many psychological experiments on the subject have demonstrated individual brainstorming sessions result in more ideas. Group brainstorming is a necessity in order make sure ideas are aligned with business goals and long-term strategy, but individual brainstorming is an important component that shouldn’t be ignored.
Try “brainwriting” instead of brainstorming
Studies have shown that this technique beats the pants off of traditional brainstorming. The process is simple. For three minutes, everybody writes at least three ideas. Then they pass their sheet to the left, read the previous ideas, and again record as many ideas as they can for three minutes. Keep doing this for either a set amount of time or until the group feels its ideas are exhausted.
Write it all down
Whether you’re brainstorming alone or in a group, write down every single idea. As we mentioned over at ProBlogger, psychology suggests that we reject creative ideas, even when we think we want them, and rationalize this by telling ourselves the idea wasn’t creative. Do not reject any idea that comes to mind. There’s plenty of time to weed through the list later.
Encourage constructive debate
This probably goes against everything you’ve ever heard about brainstorming, but the science is clear. Debate has a positive effect on brainstorming. While you should definitely record every single idea, debates paradoxically make people feel more liberated, and more comfortable sharing minority viewpoints. This allows more ideas to make their way into the discussion. Don’t get carried away with this, of course.
If there is only one thing you should take away from all of this, it’s that mixing and matching ideas together is the best way to come up with new ideas. Don’t confine yourself entirely to your niche: Pull in ideas, concepts, facts, and stories from other disciplines in order to spice things up and draw analogies with your own subject matter.
Clearly, some of these tips contradict each other (debate vs. brainwriting vs. working alone, for example). Use more than one brainstorming method and measure the results. You may find that some techniques work better than others, or you may find that you need many different types of brainstorming in order to achieve the right variety of ideas.
3. Find Effective Sources of Information
Sometimes research comes before brainstorming, and sometimes it comes afterward. Both methods work fine, but result in different kinds of posts.
When the research comes first, it provides the raw material to combine and mash up into a unique idea. The advantage here is that you already have some idea of what facts and elements are going to go into the post. The disadvantage is that your ideas will be somewhat confined by the body of knowledge you’ve researched.
When the ideas come first, it forces you to stretch in your research and pull information from more unique sources. This can result in more unique ideas. The downside, however, is that you may discover the facts contradict your original idea, and that making your idea work would simply stretch things too far.
Hopefully, it’s clear that you need both kinds of posts, and that it’s actually a good idea to do some research both before and after brainstorming in most cases.
As we said before, “insider information” is far more likely to go viral than a redundant article. You can’t always be the next Bob Woodward, but you can get your information from places most people aren’t willing to look:
Peer reviewed articles and scholarly papers aren’t easy to read, but that’s precisely what makes them so useful as a source of information. There’s a lot of information contained in these texts that has never made it’s way into the blogosphere, and most of it is only “boring” because it’s presented in a very technical way. Pull out the most surprising facts and the key takeaways and you’ve got yourself some “insider” information, of a sort.
This isn’t the first time we’ve mentioned how useful your client can be as a source of information, and it won’t be the last. Odds are your client has a proprietary database of some kind. If you can, take advantage of it as a source of raw data.
Industry Experts (and People in General)
Get in touch with experts in your niche. The well known ones can help with exposure, and the less well known source can also offer some “from the front lines” information that you can’t find anywhere else. Watch the nightly news and notice how even an interview with a random person on the street can help a bit with credibility. There’s no reason to limit sources of information to your own research. Mine people for ideas, opinions, and information. Be a journalist.
Yes, it still exists. Believe it or not, this is also a great place to look if you want to find information that’s never made it’s way online. Yes, this still happens sometimes!
Anything That Could be Considered “Raw Data”
Whether it’s government statistics or an industry survey, raw data that’s never been turned into an article or blog post is one of your most useful “insider sources.”
We might be repeating ourselves a bit by saying this, but we can’t emphasize it enough. While the other research strategies demand looking through dense material, this one allows you to skim lighter blog posts and news articles and use them as insights for your own field. This makes the research part easier, but the creative part becomes more involved. This is the tradeoff.
To produce linkbait, you need to “get” the Internet, and understand why things go viral. It takes a comprehensive brainstorming strategy and a keen understanding of where to find original data in order to pull this off. The sweet spot between these three strategies is the launching pad for your most successful link bait campaign.
Did you learn anything new from this post, and do you have something to add? Let’s keep this going in the comments, and please pass this along if you liked our contribution. Thanks!
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Melpomen
Yesterday Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, unveiled the next big step in the social network’s development. Soon Facebook users will be able the search within the walled garden for things their friends like, places they’ve been, and pictures they’ve posted. Currently users can add themselves to a wait list to get this first iteration of search, so it’s not available for use just yet.
This does, however, cause traditional SEO and Social to come colliding into each other when it comes to your business presence on Facebook. After all, what kinds of things can your friends “like?” Or more importantly, how many of any given user’s friends “like” your business on Facebook? Right now you have a golden opportunity to give your business page a tune up before English speaking Facebook users start searching.
According to facebook-studio.com:
Here’s how Graph Search works:
- The search bar first returns the top search suggestions, including people, Pages, apps, places, groups, and suggested searches. People can search for things like restaurants near them, hotels in places they want to travel to, photos posted by Pages they like, or games that their friends like to play.
- These search suggestions take people to a unique results page. The results returned are based on factors that include information that has been shared by your business and the connections of the person searching.
- As has been the case for some time, we may also make search suggestions in the search bar that then can trigger web searches. Web searches will display Bing results and Bing ads, similar to results on Bing.com.
- Pages and apps can still use sponsored results, which appear to people whether or not they have Graph Search (sponsored results have been globally available since August 2012). There are no new ad formats available today.
There are several things to keep in mind as you set your page up for search success.
Howard Lo shares some great tips in his article for zdnet.com
- Number of likes becomes more important–since search will begin with people connected to Pages, the more people liking your Page means more people connected and thus the higher frequency of showing in search results.
- Fill out Page fields properly–for your business Page, ensure each field is filled out with the relevant, properly-formatted information. Don’t try to create your own sub-category, follow the standards. Don’t put text into phone number fields. Facebook should be pulling lots of data from these fields.
- For the open-ended text in description fields, write copy that includes keywords, as if you’re writing copy for Google to “crawl”.
- Tag your photos with locations, such as your business, and dates–I wonder if there is opportunity here to somehow create searchable product catalogs.
- Tag your photos with a Page name (for example, my business Page is “Standing Sushi Bar”)–Assuming Facebook treats a photo where Standing Sushi Bar is tagged similarly to how it treats a tagged human, then “Show me photos of Standing Sushi Bar” would show photos tagged with Standing Sushi Bar. Slightly different than tagging location.
Over the course of the next few weeks we will be digging deeper into what this significant change means for your content, engagement, advertising considerations and much more for your Facebook business presence. What questions do you need addressed right away?
Keeping up with Google’s ever-changing algorithm updates on WordPress blogs requires constant monitoring and adjustments, which many webmasters fail to keep up with. Following the Penguin algorithm update, millions of bloggers experienced a halt or decrease in traffic.
Although keeping up with industry trends does require frequent updates to continue performing well in search, most tasks are not time consuming at all. This guide will help you understand recent changes to Google’s algorithm and how to update your WordPress blog to follow the new industry standards.
The Penguin and Panda Revolution
The Penguin and Panda algorithm updates targeted low-quality websites full of duplicate content, spammy linking, and poor user experience. WordPress is a wonderful content management system and blogging platform out-of-the-box, but it does create massive amounts of duplicate content.
The days of large scale link exchanges and linking to unrelated, low-quality websites were abruptly ended by the Panda update. In previous years, many bloggers would create low-quality sites with poor internal linking structure, few quality pages and banner ads taking up majority of the pages, which was halted by Penguin. Many bloggers, especially personal bloggers, were left wondering what to do and how to monetize their blogs.
Link Building for Blogs in the Post-Penguin World
Sure, the days of quick and easy links are over, but this doesn’t mean there is any less value to link building. In fact, high-quality, relevant links are valued more than ever. Before building new links, it is imperative to go back and fix your current link profile. Start out by pulling a backlink report of your website. Sift through each of the results, identifying any low-quality or irrelevant links. Contact each webmaster to remove the links. If you cannot find contact information or the webmaster refuses to remove the links, consider using Google’s new disavow links tool.
Now that you have removed all low-quality links pointing to your website, take a look at who you are linking to. Many personal bloggers sell text link ads and sponsored posts for extra income. These days are nearing their demise. Your PageRank is not only determined by inbound links, but also outbound links.
Unless implicitly stated by the advertiser, I would highly recommend adding the NoFollow attribute to any paid links on your website. Let’s say you own a travel blog, and a travel company purchased a sponsored post from you with the anchor text “cheap holiday travel packages.” You would change the markup for the link to look like this:cheap holiday travel packages
This will remove any value passed on from your website to the advertiser, and will help your website conform to Google’s webmaster quality guidelines for link schemes.
Fear not, your blog can still be monetized. Consider signing up for Google’s display advertising network: AdSense. Offering display advertising options is the safest way to continue monetizing blogs. After all, Google wouldn’t offer it if it would hurt websites. Be careful not to overdo it with the display ads.
Websites with 50 percent or more advertisement saturation will be penalized, so placement and ad quality will be key to allowing effective ads that will make you money. Consider looking into conversion optimization and a/b testing to find which ads perform best in different spots on your website, and be sure to filter the types of ads that can be displayed so they are relevant to your audience. YouTube videos can also be monetized, so consider starting a YouTube channel and incorporate video into your blog.
Although most link building practices have been blacklisted by Google, there are still many ways to build links to blogs. Instead of exchanging links on lengthy links pages, consider exchanging guest posts with highly relevant blogs. Write high-quality, enticing content that other websites will want to reference with links. Sign up for Google Plus and set up Authorship.
Look for websites containing recommended blog lists relevant to yours, and inquire about getting listed. Review products within your industry, and use social media to let those companies know you reviewed their products. They may include your review in their list of testimonials. Attend or exhibit at industry events which list attendees on the event’s website with links. Become a thought leader in your niche by creating and promoting linkable assets like white papers, guides, videos, ebooks, and best practices.
Setting up Your Blog for SEO
Optimizing WordPress blogs requires a few plugins and configurations to meet today’s industry standards. Start off by downloading and installing a plugin called WordPress SEO. This is the best SEO plugin available for WordPress, and it has an import feature to import any settings from other SEO plugins.
Download and activate another plugin called W3 Total Cache. This is the best caching plugin available, and works in unison with WordPress SEO. W3 Total Cache will help decrease page loading speeds by creating a cache of each page. Any time you mark a comment as spam, save a draft of a post, or click off the page editor, WP creates a duplicate copy of those pages.
Using the WP-Optimize plugin will purge all those unnecessary copies, which will save server space and speed up your website. WP-PageNavi is another must-have plugin for optimizing your pagination by adding the rel=prev and rel=next attributes. This will help your website be indexed more efficiently and increase crawl depth.
Once all those plugins are installed and activated, you will need to configure them. Use the WordPress SEO plugin to set up Google and Bing Webmaster Tools from the “Dashboard” menu on the plugin settings. Next, go to the Titles &Metas menu. On the General tab, check the box to force rewrite of titles if your custom title tags are not showing up. Check the box to Noindex subpages of archives. Check all four boxes to clean up the head by hiding RSD links, WLW manifest links, shortlinks, and RSS links.
On the Home tab, write a custom title tag and meta description for your homepage. You will also want to go through all pages and posts on your site and write custom titles and descriptions for each using the post editor. Enter in the URL of your blog’s G+ brand page in the Google Publisher Page field. This will set up the rel=publisher attribute for your homepage and connect your blog to your G+ page.
Once all those options are set up, go to the Taxonomies tab. WordPress creates massive amounts of duplicate content through taxonomies. Every time a category, tag, date, or author archive page is indexed, it creates a duplicate copy of each of those posts.
Check the box to noindex, follow the categories, tags, and format. Go to the Other tab and noindex, follow the author archives and date archives. Don’t worry about crawl depth from doing this. As long as you have optimized pagination set up through the WP-PageNavi plugin, your website will still be crawled effectively. I recently ran an experiment on noindexing taxonomies in WordPress to test this theory out.
Next, go to the XML Sitemaps menu in the WordPress SEO plugin. Check the box to enable XML sitemap functionality, and submit your sitemaps in Google and Bing Webmaster tools. Check the boxes to ping Yahoo! and Ask.com. Check the box to exclude taxonomies for categories, tags, and format.
Now go to the Permalinks menu and check the boxes to strip category bases and remove ?replytocom variables. You will also want to go to the WordPresspermalink settings and strip categories and datestamps out as well. On the Internal Links menu, check to enable breadcrumbs and implement breadcrumbs on your posts. A snippet of code will be provided in the plugin.
Setting up G+ Authorship
Setting up Google Plus authorship is very quick and easy on WordPress sites. Download and install a plugin called Google Author Link. Under the settings menu for the Google Author Link plugin, select an author for the homepage of your website. Now go to the Users menu in the WP dashboard and edit each user’s profile. Add in the URL to each author’s G+ profile. Next, ask each author to add a URL to your website on the “Contributor To” section of their G+ profile. Authorship is now set up on your blog.
Setting up Microdata
Microdata is still a relatively new concept, first introduced with HTML5. Schema.org is a joint project by Google, Yahoo and Bing to help webmasters mark up their websites so search engines can better understand their content. Bing and Yahoo give a boost in rankings just for setting it up while Google changes the appearance of your listings in search engine result pages to increase clickability.
Before setting up microdata, you will need to change the doctype of your website to the HTML5 format. To do this, go to Appearance>Editor. Select the header.php file. At the very top of the header.php file, you will see a doctype. If it is not already in HTML5 format, change the doctype to <pre><code><!DOCTYPE html></code></pre>. After updating the file, check your website to make sure this did not cause any compatibility issues.
Now that your website is HTML5 compatible, you will need to download and install a plugin called Schema Creator by Raven. Once activated, the plugin will automatically add schema.org microdata throughout your website.
Setting up microdata is as simple as that. If you would like to add in more microdata, go to your post editor or page editor, and you will notice a small icon with the letters “SC” in it at the top of the editor. This tool will allow you to add in microdata for people, products, events, organizations, movies, books, and reviews. It will create a short code and place it within the page for you.
A Few More Quick Tips
Now that your website conforms to today’s Google algorithm standards, there are a few other simple maintenance activities to keep in mind:
Always update your version of WordPress and all plugins as soon as updates are available. If you fail to keep up with updating plugins and versions, you may run into compatibility issues later down the road that will break your website.
Also, make an effort to publish new content at least once per month. Google loves fresh content, and favors websites that are updated frequently. If you get lazy about posting regularly, your traffic and rankings will suffer.
One final piece of advice is to monitor your analytics and webmaster tool accounts at least once per month. This will help you monitor technical issues that may arise as well as traffic drops. If you notice any abnormalities or receive warning messages in webmaster tools, act on these issues in a timely fashion.