Local SEO Industry: Current Status and Future Projections

What Is SEO?
This is a common question that most people especially those who are either new or not familiar with online marketing might be asking. SEO stands for search engine optimization. In layman's language, it the process of capturing traffic from the search engines such as Google listings. Through this read, I am going to give you facts about the SEO business, current market status of SEO as well as the future projections in this field.

The Major SEO Players
Like any other industry in the world, the online SEO business has its players. This includes SEO local tools providers such as small digital agencies, SEO free lancers and web-designers among others.

Returns for SEO Players
The major reason as to why people get into business is to profit and expand their economic status. In the field of SEO business, the rates of returns are promising. This is because a recent research on SEO returns for a period of 12 months shows that at least all the players had something to take home. However, the returns are varying depending on a players' hardwork and skills in the field. For example, according to this research, 34% of the interviewed SEOs said they received an amount less than $ 30,000 while another group of respondents, 17% said they received returns that were above $ 500,000.

From the above statistics, it is evident that the size of an organization played a role in the determination of the amount of returns received. It beats logic for one to expect a large organization to receive low amounts of returns and vice versa. In addition, the presence of part time SEOs as well as the entry of newbies into the market could have let the low rates of turnover due to low operation capacity. However, it is hard to predict the course the SEO market is likely to take due to lack of clear shift in SEO earnings since the year 2011. However, the demand for local SEO services seems to be growing day in day out and this is appealing more players theseby tightening the competition among SEO service providers.

The Emerging Issues with the Current SEO Returns
With the above distribution of returns, several questions emerge. This includes the following:

• From the statistics, a large percentage of SEOs receive a low income something that suggests low pricing of SEO services.
• It is also possible that small and medium businesses do not understand the value of SEO services provided to them.
• The low SEO income earners, those who received less than $ 30,000 annual returns are also being doubted if they can provide quality services while earning that low.
• It is also unknown if most SEOs will still be in operation if their income remains static.

The Current SEOs Income Per Customer
Just like the annual SEO returns, SEO income per customer also varies. This is because there are those clients who would pay less than $ 100 a month while others will pay more than $ 5000 a month. This variation in income per client can be attributed to the type of services provided as well as the depth of services. The size of business a client is seeking SEO services for also play a role in determining the amount to be charged. For example, small businesses are charged less simply because their requirements are much smaller as compared to large multi-location franchise businesses.

Research also shows that some SEO service providers operate on high volume basis. Such SEOs provide simple SEO services at very low monthly rates. As a result, such SEO service providers end up having a high customer churn with a large dedicated network of sales team.

Similarly, some SEO service providers provide services that are more comprehensive in a much more professional manner customized according to the client theby leading to a low number of clients.

Due to the above statistics, it there becomes essential for any SEO service provider in the current market to operate in a manner that matches his / her setup.

Handling Capacity of the Modern SEOs
Currently, SEOs are handling more clients as compared to the previous years. Statistics show that about 40% of the SEOs in the market handle at least 11 clients while 23% SEOs handle at least 21 clients. Such large numbers of clients to handle lead to more audits to be done, lots of tasks, research, reports and even more calls from the clients to be attended to. The high numbers of clients also demand a high level of efficiency so that the clients can be assured of quality services.

Market Structure for Most SEOs
SEOs have been using several marketing techniques to promote their businesses. Offline marketing channels such as word of mouth has been cited by most SEOs as the most effective marketing technique. This can be attributed to the trust level, business reputation as well as relationships build during the offline campaigns.

Alongside offline marketing, SEOs also practice online marketing such as the use of LinkedIn and social media. However, most SEOs have cited LinkedIn as the best option as compared to the social networks because it is better placed for lead generation and networking.

Services Offered by SEOs
Majority of the SEO players offer onsite optimization with 91% of the SEOs practicing this. Google+ optimization has also a good number of SEOs practicing it as 86% claimed to be offering this service to their clients. For affiliate marketing, only a small percentage (11%) of SEOs are offering this service to their clients.

Other services offered by SEOs:

• Content creation / optimization
• Link building
• Citation building
• Social media marketing
• Website development
• PPC
• Mobile site development
• Video marketing and mobile marketing.

The most demanded service by SEO clients is onsite marketing, while the least demanded service is affiliate marketing. The other services are somehow averagely demanded. However, most small and medium businesses do not understand the opportunities that video and mobile marketing can unlock to them and therefore tend not to use these services. SEOs therefore need to educate their clients on these marketing channels so that they can go for them.

When asked about the online SEO services SEOs feel effective, 82% of them said that the General search is the most effective for generating leads. Local search appears to be the second best after 62% of the respondents in an SEO survey voted in its favor. PPC is the 3rd with 53% while social media is the 4th with 26%. Daily deals appear to be an appealing to most SEOs because only 1% voted in favor of it.

Tedious SEO Tasks
55% of the current SEOs in the market find link building to be the most tedious and time-consuming work. Others, although 15% only believe that content writing is the most tedious and time consuming task among all the tasks they do. It therefore emerges that to the 55% who find link building tedious, this task is also boring to them.

Future Projections
This is an outline of what we expect in the near future as far as SEO business is of concern.

Expansion of SEO Businesses
Compared to the previous years, SEO businesses has been growing and expanding steadily. Most SEOs (about 93%) are not only optimistic about expanding their businesses, but are also expecting to grow their business. In what seems to be a determined move to grow their businesses, most SEOs (82%) are willing to recruit more staff members so as to realize their desired levels of growth.

The social media is also expected to grow and be more effective even than the local directories. This is because most SEOs believe that social media can perform better because of recommendations from friends. Mobile usage is also expected to grow further and become relevant for local businesses.

Upsurge of Confidence in SEO Business
Unlike other businesses, the SEO business is showing a positive growth of confidence among the players. Despite this being a dynamic and innovative industry, most SEOs are still willing to recruit more staff to help drive their businesses ahead. 84% of the sampled SEOs in the SEO research are also optimistic that the SEO business is going to be more profitable starting this year 2013.

Confidence is also running high that if the SEO players increase the understanding of SEO / social among the business owners they serve in future, they will not only increase the business owners' rate of investment, but also make them transfer their marketing budgets from other channels to the digital channels.

Power of Branding and Freedom of Poetry

Maya Angelou once said (I'm paraphrasing) '' the purpose of all life is to be able to live like a poet one day. '' She went on to say that since poets already live like poets, their lives were not a postpone project, but the-ultimate-goal-realized by default.

How many times we have heard of those retirement dreams … the narratives that inevitably start with '' one day I'd like to … '' and continues with a description of one idyllic state or another … a beach house in Key West … playing golf eight hours a day in Arizona … buying a summer house in Florida and moving for good … writing (ah, at long last) that great novel, the chapters of which are lying somewhere inside those moldy cardboard boxes in the basement … to take the oath of chastity and join a monastery or a yoga ashram … take that trip to the Far East … or maybe even to throw itself with passion into a cause that is much larger than one's own limited life, like a political party, a crusade, a fund-raising juggernaut perhaps … on and on.

But underneath it all the aim is to arrive at that sublime state of inner peace and gentleness, something ill-defined but real, fuzzy but warm, a feeling that we feel is our birthright. Underneath it all we do not all point the gyroscopes of our lives to that nebulous state of elation and redemption that we sometimes refer to as '' poetic ''?

The rest is mostly a life-long process of branding ourselves as a desirable product in this increasingly globalized and fickle marketplace.

A brand is a total image with a price, a consistent package with defined and perceived borders. We are engineers. Attorneys. Machinists. Singers. Doctors. Teachers. Experts. Go-to guys. Ministers. Project managers. Historians. Curators. Tank drivers. Chefs. Shrinks. Plumbing … and, yes, Poets. Poets come in branded varieties as well. There is even a '' Poet Laurate '' for the whole United States (for the last few years we were extremely fortunate to have Billy Collins and Stanley Kunits and Ted Kooser as the PT Person).

All branding by definition shuns contradiction and ambivalence like a plague.

Fuzzy logic is fine for hi-tech digital cam-recorders but not for the experts that command healthy speaking fees. CEOs and four star generals are not expected to wear their troubling questions on their sleeves. Researchers at NIH do not get grants and doctors for not knowing what to do in the face of a new virus strain.

If things do not make sense outside a certain framework, then a branded professional knows how not to step outside that framework. A brand provides reproducible solutions to carefully-worded questions. Existentential panic does not command a premium price on the capitalist auction block.

Poetry, on the other hand, is a vulnerable exploration into everything that is left out by branding. It has no guarantees. No guidelines.

You can certainly encourage people to write poems. But I'm not sure at all if you can '' teach '' how to write poetry with the kind of money-back-guarantee bravado that is commonplace for a successful brand.

It is the only Odyssey that each person has to take all alone, go out and wander in the world, meet his demons, take them on one by one, beat them and return home victorious … only to do the same all over again the very next day.

Poetry, to use an analogy that Billy Collins has used in an Alaskan Quarterly Review interview, is like finding something curious sticking out from the sand in a desert and removing all that sand to discover the rest of the intriguing object. In that, poetry represents a vast freedom to rediscover all that is hidden from or by power.

Poetry raises all the in-between states and ambiguities censored by branding. So it is subversive by default.

However in that subversion there is also a deep affirmation of the most basic human value of all – freedom. That's despite the only thing branding can not buy and sell in the marketplace. A brand's power depends only on consumption. Poetry, on the other hand, is free the moment it is produced.

Our world needs more poets get into branded power play. Certainly someone like Leopold Sedar Senghor, a poet who became a statesman, will be remembered for his uplifting and dignified approach to international conflict. And conversely, I hope more branded professionals get into poetry as a way to humanize the market place of good and services.

What if the United Nations held a Poetry Workshop for one day of the year, with mandatory participation for all heads of state?

What if everyone in the world voted for the best Power Poet of the year through the Internet and the winner was declared on Valentine's Day?

Or what if Fortune 500 companies had poetry classes for their managers? Would not that be the ultimate out-of-the-box thinking and problem-solving bonanza on stereoids?

And what would happen if before one country attacked another, the presidents and top generals from both sides were forced to lock themselves in a room and write at least one poem, expressing why they hate the "other guys" and why they must fight? What if those poems were then distributed to the citizens of both nations and the world? Perhaps they would still go on and fight. And otherwise, just a tiny little shivering perhaps, they would not.

Without poetic abilities, branding easily degrades into a repetition of the past. If you are building a bridge, repetition of the past experience might actually be a beneficial discipline since no one wants to re-discover trigonometry every time there is a river to cross.

But in much more complex affairs of the heart, of which I consider international politics to institute just a small subset, the vulnerable freedom of a poem could be the only thing standing between our endangered humanity and the discovery of our birthright freedom – and even perhaps salvation.

Traveling With a Toddler – 5 Tips to Keep You Sane!

Traveling can be taxing and difficult on its own, nonetheless, traveling with a toddler. In order to ensure a good, fun, and happy trip, here are a few helpful tips!

1. Bring A Special Bag

My daughter is currently obsessed with Dora and Diego. So in preparation for a recent trip, we purchased a Diego backpack for all of her toys. Not only was my daughter thrilled with the backpack, but she was also able to wear it while traveling, so freeing my hands for something else!

2. Pack Lots of Toys and Drawing Supplies

Being prepared is the key for pleasant travels. You can never have enough books, coloring books, crayons, stickers or toys for a toddler. To make sure that it's really special and new, start buying supplies in advance. That way there is extra excitation and eagerness to read a new book or use new crayons. A great place to find inexpensive and small items is the Dollar Store.

3. Bring the Favorites

A great tip I learned from a season mom is to start putting away favorite toys before a trip and then re-introduce while traveling. Not only are the kids excited to see the toy, but you already know they will happily play with it!

4. Do not Forget The Snacks

Food and drinks are always a necessity while traveling. Juice boxes and goldfish are an essential; however, bringing new items may also work. Try making trail mix and have two bags … one for the trip there and one for the way home. And be prepared, if you are flying, security may seize your opened containers. I found that they allowed my daughter's sippy cup with juice, but that might not be the case at all airports. Bottom line, have a "plan B" in place!

5. Maintaining A Schedule

Although you're on vacation, following your typical schedule and routine can be comforting to a toddler. If your child is use to taking a daily nap, do everything in your power to maintain that schedule. Otherwise, you could be vacationing with a cranky and unpleasant child … which is not relaxing or fun!

Traveling with a toddler can be lots of fun, but be sure to plan ahead. Be prepared and expect the unexpected! If you can roll with the punches, everyone is sure to have a great time!

Why Illustrations Are Important to Everyone

Not everyone is blessed with the gift of speech or writing. At the other end of the line, it is also true that not everyone has the capacity to fully understand what they are listening or reading about. There lies the need to bridge the gap of these two groups of people. The solution is to include illustrations.

Illustrations are basically visual representations of whatever is being said or written. It helps in conveying the message to whoever it is intended to.

There was a time when you had to listen or to read properly in order to get the message. Those relaying the message knew as well that there was no other way, and they had better do something about it. However, starting in the nineteenth century, several technological advances became available to make everything more visual.

This has continued today, and as a result, more people are less acute to reading long paragraphs or hearing winded statements. If a person sees several hours in a computer or television, chances are, he or she is part of a large group who would respond better with illustrations.

Graduate students tag along drawings and figures so that their presentations can be given better-than-average marks. Entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to investors by including sketches and flowcharts for their ideas. Businesspersons expound and arrive to concluding by showing graphs together with their reports.

Reports around the world have become much easier on the eyes today, thanks to presentation software. With programs like Microsoft PowerPoint, it became possible to improve one's message through animation, graphics, and video.

In general, it became apparent that illustrations would become more popular with the advent of computers. Creating flowcharts, plans, and entire designs became quicker to produce and easier on the budget. Today, illustrations appear in different forms together, and all are able to convey a message.

Computers even put to rest some issues. Some might ask, Is a table of values ​​an illustration? In some respects, it is because it provides an easy comparison for the audience. However, one can argue that there's a lot of people who have an aversion to numbers as much as those with little attention span. We now know that it's better to simply convert a table into a graph, so that trends can easily be seen.

Today's challenge is to reduce the number of misleading and outright false message using illustrations. It seems that everyone wants to capitalize the public's need for visuals that they simply hide imperfections behind illustrations or simply put them in fine print. In almost all media, people are bombarded with claims that are supported with illustrations or graphs. The problem is that such illustrations do not represent the actual features of a product. There have been a lot of consumers who are being enticed by things that they see only to find out they are not getting what they expect from it.