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Half Marathon Training Week 9 + Memorial Day Thoughts

July 19, 2021

Just checking in on this Memorial Day. Hope the long weekend is treating you well! It has been a great weekend thus far and I am looking forward to spending today with friends and relaxing.

In the midst of today as we enjoy time off, relaxing with friends and family, take a moment to reflect on the meaning of this day and the significance of the ultimate sacrifice so many have made in service to our country so that we can live freely. I am forever grateful for these brave men and women.

Week 9 of training has come and gone. It feels like these weeks are just flying by! It could be because I have been very busy but I think it also has to do with nerves as the culmination of all my training will be here in just 3 short weeks!

This week has been a good combination of pushing myself and resting. Monday was strength training and foam rolling like crazy! This never feels good in the moment but my quads and hamstrings thanked me after. Tuesday was 5 miles outside and the air was crisp with temps in the mid 40s.

Wednesday it was back to the gym for a speed workout- 9×400 at 8:09 pace with a half mile warm up and cool down. I was a sweaty mess after but that just shows it was a good workout! I recently bought this Reebok drip-fit top from Marshalls and I love it (similar here ). Not only is it a pretty color (very important stuff) it is light weight and breathes great. I have good luck there for running clothes at a great price.

Thursday was the typical 3 mile run and then to the gym for 25 minutes of strength training. I have been really focusing on my quads and core this training cycle and I can really tell the difference; my legs don’t get as fatigued and tired during long runs compared to my last training cycle last summer. Progress!

Friday was a rest day that I took very seriously. I didn’t sleep in much though since Milo had to go to the groomer by 7:30AM. Poor guy hates going but he sure is happy when I pick him up! (And yes, that is a patriotic scarf for Memorial Day that the groomed put on him- too cute!)

I decided to do my long run on Saturday instead of Sunday because the forecast showed rain for Sunday. Saturday morning I set my alarm at 7AM ( I wanted to sleep in a bit). Temps were in the low 50s and the sun was shining! After downing a banana, some Honey Stinger chews  and water, I was out the door. The past two weeks my stomach has hurt a bit for the first 2 or so miles so I really need to experiment with my pre-run fuel. I think I’m going to try just half a plain bagel with jam next time and see how that goes. I also ordered some cocogo  that I plan to try in my handheld. I usually carry water but again, its good to experiment to see what works best! I will follow up with how I like it.

I took my usual route to Frame Park and boy, this does not get old! The morning could not have been more beautiful and I made sure to soak up the scenery, so pretty.

As I was running around the river, a fellow runner stopped me to tell my a bird has swooped down and hit her on the head! She was nice enough to warn me as I was about to pass by the area. Thankfully I dodged the angry bird and continued on my way.

My intention for this long run was to keep as steady pace as possible. With my goal race pace at 9:09 I am making sure to practice this through out my training. Splits were as follows- 8:56, 9:07, 8:53, 9:07, 8:58, 9:03, 8:55, 9:11, 9:09. I am going to keep working at it. The wind picked up which always makes it more challenging for me to gauge my pace. Overall, I was happy with keeping it fairly consistent.

I immediately came home and sat outside with Milo and drank so chocolate milk. Then a shower was oh so necessary!

Sunday was an optional rest or easy run. I woke up feeling soar and my shins were hurting so I decided to opt for the rest day. Part of training is proper recovery! Its so important to listen to your body and mine was definitely asking for a rest day so it was compression socks and PJs this morning on the couch with Milo. I swear by my compression socks. I wear them as part of my recovery the day of/after a long run and I have yet to get shin splits or an injury (knock on wood!).

How was your week for running? If you didn’t run, what did you do for exercise?

What’s your favorite way to recover?

Memorial Day plans?

Blog

Halo Ladder Information

July 12, 2021

2V2 HALO LADDER SYSTEM RULES

1. Challenging an Opponent

A challenge must be made and accepted by the opposing player(s) before a league match is considered official.  Also, a WYSIWYG employee must schedule an appointment for the match.  A player(s) must accept to play their challengers within seven days of being challenged, otherwise, they will forfeit. In addition, a team can only make one challenge per week and can only challenge ten percent up the ladder.  For example, if there are one hundred teams you may only challenge ten teams up.

2. Players in Attendance

The players who are present at the time of the challenge must be the ones that play the match as well. If a player(s) has to leave a substitution cannot be called in and the team will either play one man down or forfeit.  However, there will be special consideration on a CASE BY CASE basis.]

3. Pre-game Drop

If a player needs to leave, the rest of the team will have to play the match with a handicap (i.e. two teams are participating in a 2v2 and one player has to leave, the team who has lost a player will have to play the match as a 1v2).

4. In-Game Drop

If a player is dropped from the server the players’ team must continue to play with the handicap or forfeit the game.

5. Forfeits

If the opposing team leaves unexpectedly after a challenge has been accepted (or during a league match) and does not return within 5 minutes, you have the right to call a forfeit. At that point a Referee Admin would be called in to make a ruling which would in most cases result in the non-dropping/leaving team being awarded the win. Please keep in mind though that making someone forfeit a match is not always necessary. Please be honourable in the way you handle drops and players having to leave a game for an emergency or something similar. If you have an emergency and need to leave, just let the other team know, instead of just leaving without saying anything. Most players would understand (provided the reasons were genuine and you don’t make a habit out of it) but it is still up to the other team if they choose to forfeit you or not.

6. Lag

Lag is something that at some point every gamer deal with in some form or another. Lag is what occurs when you are seeing things that happen in your game later than they are happening in real time, usually only by a couple seconds or less later but this may vary.  Therefore, to offset the lag issue a bit, the team which is allowed to host the game will not be able to choose the colour of their team.

7. Match disputes

If you feel you need help from a Referee Admin to make a ruling on a match please state so.  Also, when contacting an Admin, please list your dispute entirely without letting your anger get the best of you, and provide any evidence that is needed.  Once a Referee Admin has been contacted, they will review the dispute and the evidence, and then he will make a ruling based on that. The Admin will hear both sides of the dispute in any case, unless one side chooses to not respond.

8. Match Draws

A match is considered a draw when both teams have the same score, whether it is the same amount of flag captures in CTF, the same amount of kills in Team Slayer, or same amount of hill time in King of the Hill. This goes for any other game type as well. In this case, the teams can either opt to play a rematch or just consider the match void, as if it never happened. No match reporting/confirmed is required if it is chosen to void the match.  All players must unanimously agree for a rematch.

9. Team Set-up

The team set-up will be 2v2.

10. No-Naming

Every player will have at least one letter or at least one number as their official “halo name.”

11. Map Selection

The map selection for this ladder system will cycle through Chill Out, Derelict, Prisoner, Longest, Blood Gulch, Rat Race, Battle Creek, Wizard, Hang Em High, and Damnation.  Each map will also be played for three weeks before moving on to the next map. This map cycle will take effect June 28TH 2004.

12. Game Type

The game type used for this ladder system will be two Team Slayer games and the team with the most frags at the end wins.

13. Glitches

Map based graphic interfaces glitches may not be utilized and may disqualify the team immediately.

14. Timers

Timers may be used during game play without interference with opposing team play.

RULES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE

ALL MATCHES MUST BE PLAYED ON PRE-PAID TIME

 

POINT SYSTEM

Placing on the ladder will be based on a team point total at the end of the match.  Points will be assigned as follows:

Win with a challenge                                         15 points

Win without a challenge                                    10 points

Least Deaths                                                       2 points

Most Assists                                                       2 points

Flawless (Win+Least Deaths+Most Assists)          3 points

vincible (Win+No Deaths)                                 4 points

MVP Award (Win+Running The Boards)              5 points

Penalties (Team Killing or Suicide)                    -2 points each

SIGN UP ANYTIME!!!

 

Blog

Real Advice for College Students – Adventure Year

June 28, 2021

I had my first day of class as a big bad Super Senior yesterday. I tried so desperately hard (maybe too hard) to make it an awesome day. Let’s just say the universe threw INSANE challenges at me. And I got a migraine on top of it. I was struggling. The one thing that really stood out to me yesterday was going to Peer Teach an Anatomy & Physiology class. It’s this opportunity that Temple has that if you do really well/have a good relationship with your professor, you can help the students conquer the material. A&P is a GIANT (read: there are 600 people in the class) lecture with students of all ages. Watching all of them furiously scribble down the difference between anatomy and physiology (good luck, guys), I realized that I have a lot to say about college.

 

* Make friends, but realize that your “group” is not the be all and end all. I was in love with all of my friends freshman year. It was a HUGE freaking group. I was so happy that I wasn’t alone. But it still felt a little like high school went drama went down, and Lord knows, it’s college, it’s going to go down. Just make sure to try and make friends everywhere you go . Chances are, you aren’t going to see a huge gaggle of juniors walking around together. You will all find your way, so don’t seclude yourself!

Yes, there’s a lanyard around my neck. No I didn’t wear it like that. Just say no to lanyard neck.

* If you’re in a high school relationship and you’re long/short/mid-distancing it, just break up with them. Ouch. That was harsh. But it’s going to save a lot of pain someday. I know there are high school sweethearts out there that will argue this until the cows come home. But that’s my opinion.
* Just say no to the dining plan. Unless you go to Virginia Tech and have the best food in the country, just say no. Get creative. Use that group kitchen. Your body will thank you. Every time I would come back to school from visiting home (read the sentiment above), I would get MAJOR stomach aches. Be kind to your stomach. Because your liver’s going to need someone strong.

Plus: can you bake cupcakes in aprons and sports bras in the dining hall? NO.

* I’m all for saying yes to things (except that freaking dining plan), but know that it’s okay to say no. I think 100% that you should never turn down a sporting event, a road trip, a trip into the city, etc. if you’re down with it. Go for the 90:10 rule here. That being said. Going out and getting completely messed up is just not my style. Sometimes I said yes hoping that I would have fun. I usually didn’t, unless there was dancing involved. Find your “partying style” and embrace it. I find house parties much better than crazy intense frat parties with people puking all over the place.

PJ Party at American. ‘Nough said.

* I know you’re busy, this is all very overwhelming, yadayadayada. Get a job as soon as you can. I’m not talking a “big boy” job here. I’m talking scooping wudder (for you non-Philadelphians, that’s “water”) ice at a Rita’s until 11 o’clock at night sort of job. Nothing teaches you how to prioritize like getting a chunk of your time taken away. And I know it’s fun to get spoon fed by your parents, but it’s AWESOME to support yourself. Even though right now I can see the horrified looks. Just get a job and pay for that junior to go get your alcohol by yourself.
* Accept the fact that you might hate your school. I chose Temple because they gave me a scholarship, I wanted to be in a city, and I didn’t have enough money to go anywhere else. I met amazing people there, but I’ve also met people that I want to shake and tell to grow up. Including some professors/administrators in my department. Definitely weigh the pros and cons here, but if you don’t like something…stand up for yourself. It took me a really long time to realize this, but my department is in for a world of hurt this year if I don’t like something.

Just because I hate it doesn’t mean I can’t embrace it.

* You had to know this was coming, but study abroad. Get away from the place you call your home. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Travel. Even if you don’t want to study abroad, take a semester off and just LEAVE. Do it. Maybe you’ll be happy you did it (probably), maybe you won’t (unlikely). But you’ll learn more about yourself  in doing so than sitting in a classroom for four (ahem…five) years straight.

Is the Trevi Fountain on your quad? No? Good, go to your study abroad office NOW.

* Sort of related to that last point of taking time off. You go to college and they tell you, “Don’t be afraid to change your major! Learn about yourself! Try new things!” THEY WANT YOUR MONEY. Unless you make an inter-college major switch, you will have to take more classes. People have done it before without too much trouble. But if you really don’t know what you want to do (hello, Amanda at a younger age), take some time off. Unless you’re fine with taking 6 years of classwork in 5 years and staying a year after your freshman class graduates, really think about it. They don’t tell you this, but changing your major looks bad when you’re going for certain big, important scholarships. I hate the way this system is, so I would recommend discovering something you really want to do, even if you have to take time off. However, if you’re in a major you hate, screw everybody and change it. And then come talk to me. We can share some ice cream.

And that’s all she wrote for today! Keep in mind that this is coming from a bitter super senior that is not all head-over-heels in love with her college. Some people’s tips will be totally different from mine. But I’m a really, really big fan of my tips.

Do you have any college tips for those freshmen/students in general? I could have gone on for days! Share your insight!

Blog

Quitting Smoking Side Effects

June 21, 2021

Irregardless of what anyone tells you, there are no negative quitting smoking side effects. There are, however, countless positive quitting smoking side effects. This article will discuss the health benefits of the many positive quitting smoking side effects. It will look at them in the order that they occur after you quit smoking. However, before it looks at those effects, this article will briefly discuss one of the effects that many people think they may suffer from when they quit smoking.

Many people claim that they cannot quit smoking because they will start to overeat. They claim that trading the problems of smoking for the problems associated with obesity is not a good idea. However, this is a fairly erroneous claim. The average weight gain for someone who has just quit smoking is only about ten pounds. The health effects of gaining ten pounds is fairly minimal. Saying that you will not quit smoking because you do not want to get fat is as absurd as saying that you will not go to college because you do not want to gain the infamous Freshman fifteen.

The first of the positive quitting smoking side effects happens within the first twenty minutes. Twenty minutes after your last cigarette, your blood pressure and your heart rate will return to their normal levels. Within eight hours, you will experience another of the quitting smoking side effects. The oxygen levels in your blood will have returned to normal. You will feel less fatigued. After a mere day, your risk of a sudden heart attack decreases a lot. After merely two days, your sense of smell and taste which have been subdued by smoking will return to normal. Within only three days, your body will be clear of nicotine.

You will need to wait until day ten to experience more of the great quitting smoking side effects. Ten days to fourteen days after you quit, your body will be used to being smoke free. It will no longer want the many toxins and hundreds of gases that are found in each puff. Three weeks to three months after you smoke your last cigarette, you will notice other quitting smoking side effects. You will notice that it is easier to breathe as your lung capacity has regained thirty percent of what was lost while you were a smoker.

Your general circulation will have improved and you will not feel as cold as often as you did when you were still a smoker. As you spend more and more days as a non-smoker, you will notice more and more positive quitting smoking side effects. Your lungs will suffer from fewer infections. Your risk of heart disease will decrease. After fifteen years, your chances of having a stroke, a heart attack, or even getting lung cancer will return to nearly that of someone who has never smoked.

If you have read this article carefully, you will understand that there are many positive quitting smoking side effects. With all the reasons to quit, there is really no reason to continue smoking. All you need to do now is find the cessation program that is right for you.

 

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Test Drive Unlimited 2- Ironworks Gaming Crew

June 14, 2021
Having heard some curiosity from other members about this game I figured I’d put pen to paper – er forum and let you know what I think thus far.
 
First – I was a huge fan of the first game. I spent countless hours completing challenges, exploring the island and collecting cars and properties. To say that I was excited about the sequel is an understatement.
 
Having said that – here are my thoughts on the game thus far, I’m about 2.5 hours into it and have driven my first car about 140 miles.
 
The first thing I noticed were the cut scene graphics and voice acting. They’re not horrible, but there’s definitely room for improvement. I find the story silly and unnecessary. Once I got through the initial cut scene it was time to take my first car out for a ride. Right away I noticed that Forza this was not. The handling just feels a bit wonky. There are 3 settings to choose from in the options menu – from full assist to no assists, but I find my current car doesn’t handle the way I think it should. It could be that me in my lowly first Lotus just aren’t sporty enough to begin with to really see how the cars handle.
 
My biggest gripe isn’t the handling it’s the gearbox. There is an option to use a manual gearbox (my preferred choice), but there’s no option to change which buttons shift which way. The default is that Y shifts up and B shifts down. Now in every racing game I’ve ever played on the 360 (with possibly the exception of TDU) I’ve used B to shift up and X to shift down. This is hardwired into my brain and training it in the new configuration has been frustrating.
 
Another issue I’ve found is the inclusion of off-road trails. There are several vehicles in the game that can take advantage of them, but the GPS does not distinguish between them and their asphalt cousins. Following the GPS over 5 miles of off-road terrain in an old Lotus at 45mph is not fun. It’d be nice if it offered an all asphalt route.
 
Overall the Island looks nice. The cars look cartoony but I think that is consistent with the arcade nature of the game.
 
The bread and butter however is the multi-player. The whole island is like an open lobby. While you’re driving along to your next destination you’ll see icons of nearby players, their level and how far away from you they are. Getting together with a group and cruising the island looking for new locations is a nice way to spend an afternoon. There are also in game clubs you can create for your friends to meet in and post challenges to and I feel overall there was lots of time spent on enhancing the community feel to this game.
 
Though it has some short comings – I’m not entirely ready to give up on this one yet. I think having an IGC group online would be cool and if you can get past some of the annoyances there may be a diamond shining under all that coal, somewhere or at least some marginally less sucky stone.
 
If it’s any consolation the game sells for $49.99 at retail (remember the good old days?). If not add it to your gamefly and I’ll see you online!
Blog

The 25 Best Games For the Nintendo Wii

June 7, 2021

The Nintendo Wii, like its predecessors, is the all-time best selling console out there. In spite of the gains that the XBOX and Sony PlayStation are making the Nintendo Wii is far ahead when you look at sales of the console and games. What has made the Wii a best seller is the type of games, ease of play and the overall popularity of the Nintendo brand.

Over the course of a year, hundreds of games and accessories are released for the Nintendo Wii – some catch on, while others can be found within months for as much as 90% off of the MSRP – but some games continue to command respect and high prices despite their age.

We’ve put together the Top 25 Games for the Nintendo Wii – these games continue to show up in Top 10/20/50/100 lists because they are good and gamers are still willing to pay the original prices for these games. You will find few of these games in the used bins at reduced prices.

Where we felt, we’ve added our own commentary for the games mentioned.

1. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption – Metroid has been a staple in the Nintendo games catalog for years.
2. Super Mario Galaxy – Super Mario is a household name, any game that features this lovable character will always capture the hearts (and pocketbooks) of gamers everywhere.
3. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess – The Zelda series of games is another staple in Nintendo’s games catalog. This is one of the original role playing games, and has garnered a loyal following.
4. Okami
5. Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure
6. Super Paper Mario – It’s Mario and it’s Super, what more can you say?
7. de Blog
8. Wii Fit – This wouldn’t be a top 25 list if we didn’t include the Wii Fit, there is still a lot of debate whether the Wii Fit will help you lose weight, and stay fit, but until there is a clear winner people are buying the Wii Fit, accessories and software for it.
9. Super Smash Bros. Brawl – A game that pits player against player AKA Mortal Kombat or any single or two player fighting or wrestling game, but the twist here? You play using some beloved characters from the Nintendo universe.
10. Resident Evil 4
11. Wario Land: Shake It!
12. SSX Blur
13. Scarface: The World Is Yours
14. Trauma Center: New Blood
15. Boom Blox: Bash Party
16. Medal of Honor Heroes 2
17. Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 – This game has been called revolutionary, and unique. If that doesn’t make you buy it, then nothing will – especially if you are a sports game fan.
18. No More Heroes
19. Mario Kart Wii – I could speak for hours about this game, and probably write as much. It’s been in the top sellers list of many major retailers for years for the simple reason, it’s multi-player and it’s fun. You will not get tired of it. My son and I have played this game over 3,000 times (the Wii tracks how much you’ve played the game).
20. Excite Truck
21. Mad World
22. Tiger Woods PGA World Tour 10 – Forget about what he’s done and try the game. You will love it.
23. Excitebots: Trick Racing – If you like racing, and you like Excite Truck you will like this.
24. The Conduit – Got this game, and it’s tough to put it down though I wouldn’t let younger kids play it as some of the scenes are really meant for older kids or adults playing.
25. Punch-Out!

Blog

All in One SEO Review – SEO Done Right

May 28, 2021

All in One SEO and Yoast are probably the two most used SEO plugins on WordPress websites. Which one you choose will depend on how you work and which feels most comfortable to you. They both do an excellent job of getting your website ranked so try each and make your choice.

I have used both of them and, for me, All in One SEO is easier to use and has more flexibility when it comes to setting the options. It is now my choice for all my websites.

 

HOW IT WORKS

Like all SEO plugins, the purpose of All in One SEO is to help webmasters get the best search results they can get for their content. They do that by giving you a place to write the titles and descriptions you want the search engines to see and then adding them correctly in the HTML meta code on your page.

You are still responsible for doing good keyword research and writing good titles, content and descriptions. The plugin is just an aid but, ideally a very useful one. All in Ones SEO fills the bill in that sense.

MAIN FEATURES AND CAPABILITIES

All in One SEO can do a lot of things that are all aimed at getting your website ranked higher by the search engines. Features include:

 

INSTALLATION AND SETUP

Installation of the free plugin is normal. Just click Add New under Plugins then type “all in one seo pack” in the search box and hit return. Click Install when the plugin comes up.

Activate the plugin on the following page and the installation is done.

You will see two places where you can access the setting now. In the left sidebar you will see a section for All in One SEO and in the top menu bar will be SEO. Hover your mouse over one of them to see the settings available. I would start with Feature Manger.

You can just activate all of the modules while you are here. That way all the settings will be available to you.

For the most part you can just leave the default General Setting alone until you have a specific reason to change them but here are a few you should change now.

In the Home Page Setting Section add your site name it the Home Title box and a short description in Home Description box. You can also add a few good keywords separated by commas. Those question marks in the circles will give you a little help. Most of them also have a link to more complete documentation.

Scroll on down to the Webmaster Verification section and enter your verification codes for Google, Bing and, Pinterest (if you have one). If you don’t know where to find those refere to the documentation which is very good.

In the next section you should add your Google+ ID if you have one. More important is to add your Google Analytics ID and make sure Use Universal Analytics is checked. This Google tool will be a great help in collecting stats about how your site is doing so take the time to set up your account and add the code now.

Finally, move down to the Noindex Settings block and click the box by “Use noindex for pagenated pages/posts. This will prevent extra pages from being indexed and help keep your index compact. These pages get created as your archive grows. You end up with /page/2/ etc. There is no point indexing these and checking the box will prevent it.

You can skip Performance and move to XML Sitemap settings. Assuming you set your Google and Bing verification codes, you can make sure that file name prefix just says “sitemap” and that Notify Google and Notify Bing are checked. Just leave the rest set to defaults unless you have a good reason to change them.

The Social Meta module of All in One SEO is a powerful tool and you should make use of it. I wont go into the detail sin this review but I did write a post about it that you can access by clicking here.

Robots.txt, File Editor and Importer & Exporter are tools you can use later as needed. The documentation is there fir you to read.

Referral spam is junk traffic that can mess up your Google Analytics numbers. You can read more about it in this Wikipedia article.

Be careful with Block Bad Bots. It seems like a good thing to check but some people have reported getting locked out of their own sites after turning it on. Use with caution!

That is it. All in One SEO is ready to use

 

USING ALL IN ONE SEO DURING CONTENT CREATION

Now that you have the setting done the plugin will go off and do it’s thing – automatically adding meta data where appropriate and feeding info to the search engines. Your job is to give it the data you want to be seen. You do that as you edit each post or page.

Look below the WordPress Visual Editor and you will see the All in One SEO Pack settings area. For most of your content all you need to do is enter the title you want, a short description and a few keywords.

The other setting in this box will only apply in special situations. There will be times when you don’t want pages indexed by the search engines. Those might be your privacy policy, affiliate disclosures, landing pages and so on. For these just click the NOINDEX and NOFOLLOW boxes to exclude them.

It is just that easy to set up the on page SEO for each pieces of content. The meta data will be added in the correct places in the header when you publish the content.

 

THE GOOD AND NOT SO GOOD

 

WHO IS IT FOR?

All in One SEO pack is an excellent choice for every WordPress user who wants better rankings from Google and the other search engines. It will help you get your website seen by more potential visitors.

 

PRICING

The basic All in One SEO pack plugin is free to use. The pro version does include a few extra features and some additional training and support but I have nut yet found it neccessary to upgrade. The free version does what I need and does it well.

If you do need the extras in the pro version the cost is $39 plus a monthly support fee of $10. That gets you:

CONCLUSION

All in One SEO is my choice for all my website. I use the free version and have not found any reason to pay for pro. I like the settings interface and the simplicity on setting up the on page SEO for my content.

I have used Yoast and it does have on feature that All in One SEO lacks. For each piece you write, Yoast shows you colored lights that help you optimize the SEO within the content. This is helpful and will teach you a lot about on page SEO.

My main problem with it is that I don’t really agree with all the suggestions Yoast makes. For example, I try to use my main keyword 2 or maybe 3 times in a piece of content. Yoast is looking for a higher keyword density. Other things like using the keyword in the first paragraph and in a heading tag I think are too restrictive. Still, many people use and like Yoast so my opinion isn’t necessarily the same as most.

Both Yoast and All in One SEO are great products and both will improve your search engine optimization. I recommend that you try both and choose the one that you prefer using.

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Become a Freelance Graphic Designer in 5 Steps

April 28, 2021

The abundance of freelance graphic design jobs made available through the web is almost unfathomable, and talented designers who can take advantage of this fact stand to make a pretty good career for themselves. But because the business is so competitive, the talent element really is crucial, as are promotional skills and a willingness to work hard. If your dream is to be able to work as a graphic designer and not be tied down to a boring office job, here is what to do.

1. Get credentials: Although a wealth of talent can make up for a lack of degree, newcomers to the graphic design field tend to do much better if they have some sort of degree they can put onto their resumes. Of course, degrees from recognized institutions are best. And one should consider getting a degree not just because it helps get work, but it also provides useful skills that all freelance graphic designers can use.

If you don’t have a degree and don’t care to get one, you can make up for it with a strong portfolio, good work credentials, and a professional presentation of your services.

2. Build a portfolio: Freelance graphic designers live and die by their portfolios. If you don’t have a good one, you’re not going to get far. It’s important to keep in mind that your portfolio should contain nothing but your strongest work. If you feel you don’t have enough very strong pieces to make a convincing portfolio, take the time to make some new ones. Having subpar items in your portfolio is only going to hurt your job prospects.

3. Professionalize your office: Even if you don’t plan to be doing all your graphic design work in one place, it helps to have an office that can serve as your home base for your business. Here you should have all the necessary supplies a freelance graphic designer needs, and it should be a comfortable work space where you will be willing to spend long hours. It’s best if this space is devoted solely to your work. This will help keep you on task when those deadlines are approaching.

4. Build a website: This is where the difficult parts begin. As a graphic designer, you need to have a great website. Even if web design is not your skill, prospective clients are nevertheless going to judge you based on how your site looks. There’s just no way around it. So take the time to build a site that looks good, and if you can’t handle it yourself you might want to hire someone to give you a nice-looking site.

Once your site is up, make sure it contains all useful information about you that your clients may want or need to know. Include information about your work conditions, and consider putting up a basic outline of your prices. And of course, your portfolio should go here as well.

5. Get active online: Only after you have your portfolio and website ready to roll, start signing up for the major online services connecting freelancers to clients. Focus on two or three sites that look promising, and build professional-looking profiles. Then it is time to start bidding on jobs. This will be a challenge at first, and it may be a while before you land gigs consistently, but keep working at it and you will be rewarded for your persistence.

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How to Leave Comments on Blogs

April 17, 2021

Since last week i am wondering that why my blog is growing so quickly. I am getting a good traffic to my blog and alexa ranking is improving day by day. Isn’t it sounds good if you are leaving a number of websites ,blogs behind youself.

Yes of course it is. This is my personal experience from last two weeks. All is the result of leaving comments on the other blogs. You were thinking there’s nothing new in the previous line.

Yes there nothing new but, leaving comments on blogs is a special kind of art that a good blogger should possess. Comments are always used to increase backlinks and the traffic rank. Only If you are leaving comments on blogs in a good manner then you will surely get the attention of that blog on which you are commenting.

While leaving comments on blogs there are a few point that should be remembered. Whenever you create a post you always wish to have a number of comments on it. And after publishing your post you get disappointed to see just two or three comments. Can you tell be the reason behind it. can u ? no. The reason behind it that you are not caring for your blog.

If you are thinking by creating a nice article or post you will get number of comments then you are wrong. Because comments on blogs follow a 90:9:1 rule. This rule says

* 90% of readers consume your content
* 9% of readers are editors and comments regularly
* 1% of reader are passionate people who leave long comments after each post.

The art of leaving comments on blogs is very simple but you need to keep some point in your mind. These point helps you to have attention of blogs towards your blog and you get sufficient amount of traffic to your blog.

Always read about what the blog is about. Try to tell more about the the article topic. Avoid the comments that say just only “Thnx ..nice article”. You should give them proof that you really like the post and and thankfull to the writer. Give your opinion about that post in the comments. The blog owner while seeing such a comments that are genuine will pay attention on the commenter and will contact again via his response.

Comments such as “Thanx admin for sharing“, “nice written,you should check this URL” are not worthy.These kind of comments seems to be the spams. And the blog owner avoids and doesn’t pay attentions towards you. They could not find it genuine and ignore it. So try to leave comments that seems to be real.

The same you should follow for you own blog. Whenever anyone leave comments on your blog, you should give him an immediate response and offer him about some related articles and try to have conversation. These kind of thing will attract more the reader and commenters towards your blog and you’ll get audience for your blog.

If you think you can increase you comments on blog and you have tried some more better techniques that worked ? Leave a comment.

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Spoilers For The 6/5/14 Impact Wrestling Show

April 10, 2021

Impact Wrestling (Airing June 5, 2014):

 
In a backstage segment (not sure of when it will air on TV), Borash recapped for the crowd how last night there was a drinking contest between James Storm and Mr. Anderson. They showed a promo and both guys were very drunk. Anderson then reveals that he was acting and that Storm is drunk an starts eating him up in the bar and then they take it to the street. Anderson slams Storm into a dumpster and lays him out.
 
Mr. Anderson came to the ring to James Storm’s old theme dressed as a cowboy. He mocked Storm and got in the ring to talk with Christy Hemme and said how he likes beer. He said “sorry about my damn breath.” He said last week “Anderson” whipped his ass in a beer drinking competition. James Storm came to the ramp. He said he thinks Anderson thinks it’s funny to befriend and drink with a man only to realize he isn’t drinking at all. Anderson said he did find it funny. Storm said Anderson pissed him off and he wants to go another round and that kind of round can’t go down in a bar. Storm said his time is a lot better than these people’s time so what he’s saying is he is closed for business tonight. They ended up brawling around ringside. Storm got the upperhand. He put Anderson in the ring then delivered The Last Call. Storm took a mic and said on June 15th, bring your boots. No idea if they are just doing a singles match or not*
 
Match 1) Angelina Love w/Velvet Sky defeated Madison Rayne to retain the Knockout’s Championship. Madison got sent I the outside and Brittany came to ringside but didn’t do anything besides stand and ringside and watch while Madison wondered why she was out here. Velvet used the hairspray on Madison and Angelina rolled her up with the tights. Brittany shook her head in disappointment when Madison lost.
 
Match 1) Willow defeated Bram by DQ. Bram went for a weapon on the floor. Magnus came out and took the weapon from Bram and ended u using it on Willow, causing the DQ.
 
Samoa Joe’s music hit and he came out. Joe calls out MVP. MVP comes to the ring with Kenny King and Bobby Lashley. Kenny takes a mic and said this is getting old. Joe cuts him off and asks if Kenny is his mouthpiece which case Kenny should kiss his ass. MVP says he doesn’t have much time for this. Joe calls him a scumbag a tyrant and a liar. Joe says they go way back and says how MVP said he was going to do something for the fans but says he is corrupted. MVP updates Joe on his changes since Joe took his ball and went home and said he did his job, Joe did not his. Joe said he will make up for it and challenges the three of them to a fight by himself. MVP says this is a long time coming but now he has a few friends and said that what he wants isn’t going to happen but perhaps he can accommodate him in some other way. MVP says doesn’t he have someone to even up the odds. Joe tells him to put up or shut up. Aries came out and said MVP has his tail tucked between his legs because he only wants to fight when he can stack the deck in his favor. Everyone knows it’s true. MVP said this situation does not concern Aries and said Joe is in breach of his contract and his hands are tied. Aries tells him to untie his hands and make this happen. MVP says since the two of them want a fight, he will give Joe a match where if he wins will be a full time member of the roster. His opponent will be Austin Aries. if either of them lose, they are done.
 
Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards come out. They are scheduled to have a singles match with each other. Kenny King came to the stage and told them if they dog their performance they will lose the tag titles.
 
Match 2) Eddie Edwards defeated Davey Richards via rollup. Davey went for a German but his ribs hurt him and Eddie rolled him up. During the match when they were doing some chaining, Kenny would get on the mc and tell them to pick it up.
 
Kenny came to the rig and told them to fight. He once again threatened to take the belts away from them. The Wolves laid him out.
 
Backstage they showed Brian Hebner getting ready. MVP told Brian there is a very important match tonight and he needs a clear cut winner and loser. If there is a double countout he doesn’t count out. Double DQ, nothing. No funny business. Brian says it is clear.
 
Match 3) Austin Aries and Samoa Joe did end up going to a no contest. Hebner was doing fast counts on the floor and for pins. Eric Young came out and talked with him. Ray came out and punched him. Eric said this is about something bigger than them like their two jobs. MVP King and Lashley come out and they say does he think he won’t fire him. Ray said MVP had a god complex and says MVP stands for most valuable piece of crap. Ray says about they do him, EY, Austin Aries, and Samoa Joe vs the three of them and EC3. EY said something to Ray and said how about an 8-man first blood match. Kenny jumped the fun and said yes which MVP and Lashley were not happy about it.
 
All three members of the Bromans came to the ring. Zema’s booth was already set up in the ring. They took a mic. They talk in the ring about the tag titles and The Menagerie come to the ring. Robbie asks who they think they are. Knox said they are The Menagerie and that they are just like them except Rey have her. Crazy Steve starts squeaking his horn and he and Zema get into a horn battle. The Freak grabs Zema and holds him up. Knox takes out Rovvie and hits Goddarz with a boot, all while The Freak is still holding up Zema. He tosses Zema out of the ring onto the other two members on the floor. In an accidental moment, when he pressed Zema to the outside his mask came off and they had to cover him up, which will probably be edited.
 
Match 4) In an 8-man tag First Blood Match, Austin Aries/Bully Ray/Eric Young/Samoa Joe defeated Bobby Lashley/EC3/Kenny King/MVP when Ray busted open EC3 with his chain. They worked the match like a traditional 8 man tag for a while, working over EY. The other three went to the ramp when the face team got the upperhand.
 

Xplosion:

 
Match 1) Sanada defeated Tigre Uno via roll up in a non title match.
 
The advertised Madison/Angelina match will likely be taped tomorrow. Other than that, nothing is known for tomorrow’s taping. They once again did not say what the other One Night Only will be on Saturday but said the Knockout one will be taped in the evening.
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3 Tips on Using a Very Effective Landing Page in Traffic Exchange

April 6, 2021

Everybody who joins traffic exchanges surely needs and desires streaming traffic to his or her site. This is the goal of every traffic exchange; and this goal can only be met by a cooperative member. It is not enough to sign up then sit and wait for traffic to go to the nominated sites. Every member must exert his or her time and effort in order to get the desired results.

There are lots of ways to maximize the advantages one can get from traffic exchanges. One of the ways is to create a very effective landing page. A landing page is a page that the surfers will see as assigned by a member on his or her website list. It is best to get the desired traffic directed to the site, but there are other ways to make use of traffic exchanges effectively for future marketing strategies.

1. Make an enticing landing page. Having a squeeze page or a splash page is very effective. A squeeze page or a splash page is a one page web page that the other internet marketers will see while they are surfing. As most of the people in traffic exchanges are browsing to get traffic directed to their sites, it is best to have the landing pages a very interesting one to catch their snobbish attention. It is also important to have landing pages instead of plain advertising in order to gather potential customers and to know their interests.

The landing page must be a very simple one so it will load up quickly. This is best for traffic exchanges as there is a time limit set for every page to be viewed within a program. It must contain a killer headline, brief list of benefits, a photo, and a signature. It is important to have simple graphics.

2. Make it a goal to capture leads through the landing pages. This is a very good mindset in joining traffic exchanges. Leads are the contact information of the web visitors. A landing page will have a certain focus and theme when this goal is set in an internet marketer. The leads that will be gathered will serve as the list of contacts to refer to for future marketing techniques; such as up-selling, pre-selling, sending a sales letter, newsletter, or other trial offers or free offers.

3. Give free offers. This is what will push the viewers to leave their contact details. Once the web visitor gets interested with the offer, he or she will enter his or her contact information on the spaces provided in the landing page. Free offers can be reports, software, e-book, or anything that the potential customer can really get upon signing up. There must also be email verification before the prospect will have access to the offer just to make sure that it is a valid email address.

Entice the other internet marketers and business success will surely come. As the other internet marketers are the first prospects, then in it better to grab their attention in order to get something out of them. Use traffic exchange properly and the venture will experience victory.

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Small Business SEO, What to do when Google Hates You

April 1, 2021

SMALL BUSINESS SEO: WHAT TO DO WHEN GOOGLE HATES YOU

Are you having trouble getting your website to rank well in Google search results? Search engine optimization (SEO) techniques can send your website to the top of the search engine rankings. If you need your site to rank higher, there are many things you can do to optimize your content and HTML.

When you do a Google search you expect the most relevant results. Google provides them because they want you to keep coming back. The last thing they want is for you to go to another search engine. Google makes its money selling Pay Per Click (PPC) ads, which would not sell if there was not an audience to read them.

Google uses “spiders” to explore websites across the Internet and check out their content. Then Google performs algorithms to rank the sites. Website show up in search results when their content correlates to a search query. No one but Google knows the algorithms and how they are weighted. However, people have spent a lot of time testing Google results to determine which signals the algorithms use.

Many small business owners have found it easier to hire a company to handle SEO for them. Web design companies are now offering additional services to cater to their clients, such as SEO marketing and social media. Here is a sample of what SEO experts have learned is important to include in a website in order to raise your ranking:

PAGE TITLE

The spiders look at your page title for keywords. That is why it’s essential that you make your titles relevant. That doesn’t mean you should write enormously long titles or repeat your keywords over and over. Google can tell and will hold it against you, lowering your rank. Take time to craft a strong title that reflects your content.

 

PAGE CONTENT

Optimizing your page content takes more skill. First your primary keywords should be weaved throughout your content without disrupting the flow of the text. If you insert your keyword into sentences that make no sense, you will be penalized for keyword stuffing. You should also consider putting some of them towards the top of your text. They still have to make sense.

 

META DESCRIPTION/META KEYWORDS

Your meta description is a short summary of the page content, usually between 2 and 3 sentences. Meta keywords are the keywords and keyword phrases used in your content. Prioritize them from most important to least important. That is because sometimes the search engine caps the number of keywords they will catalog.

 

If you hire a good web design firm, like a Blue Frog Web Design, they will handle SEO for you. That is one of the benefits of working with a company that does more than just develop your site. Having a reputable company maintain your site can save you a lot of time and frustration.

Paul Floyd is the Owner/Operator of Sacramento based Blue Frog Web Design. He is a leading expert on Web Design, WordPress, HTML, Graphic Design, SEO, Local Marketing, Social Media Marketing and much more.

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Cheap Web Design Between Your Hard Drive and the Internet: Uploading Intelligently

March 31, 2021

Have you got your brand new shiny website all polished up and ready to share with the world? Is the hosting service picked out and ready to go? It’s a momentous day! All you have to do now is upload your data and let the rest of the world check out your site. You know how to upload data to a web server, right? No? Well, thank goodness you have found this article! Don’t worry; uploading will be a breeze.

If you’re in a real rush to get your site online and you don’t want to waste any time, you can always use the upload tools available through your web hosting service. These will most likely be browser-based and user-friendly. They’ll be able to guide you through the basics of picking out the folders where you’ve stored your site and transferring them to the server. Like any computer interface designed for novices, though, this method has its limitations.

Let’s say that instead of leaving it until the last minute, you decided to learn a thing or two about handling uploads before it was time to take your site live. Smart! In that case, you should get to know your way around FTP. FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is the venerable, reliable way to get data off your computer and onto the hosting provider’s server. The strength of FTP transfer lies in the unbeatable level of visibility it gives you. You’ll be able to see (and manipulate) exactly how your files are laid out on the server, which can be essential if you intend to run a site with advanced features.

Although FTP is powerful, it’s time-consuming, and even experienced users can get confused with it. As an alternative, you can teach yourself more modern, advanced file transfer methods. Look into SCP or an SSH client. If you get really ambitious, you can install an upload client of your own. You’ll have to learn a lot to handle your uploading this way, but it will enable you to tailor the process to your exact needs. This can be a time saver, especially if you intend to do a great deal of uploading.

Here is a quick note on security. Whatever upload method you use, it will require a password. This password may be the most important one associated with your website. Protect it vigilantly! Change it frequently, too. Since it needs to be very secure and should be changed often, making it memorable may not be possible each time. If you have to write your server password down and refer back to a note each time you log in, that’s a small price to pay for the security you need.

This should give you a general overview of what it takes to get your site uploaded to your server where it belongs. You can pick out an upload method that suits your current level of expertise. You can always move to a more advanced system in the future; all it will take is a little bit of additional self-education.

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Photographing The Eclipse

March 30, 2021

So on Friday morning (20th March 2015) at around 8:30am we are due a partial eclipse. Depending on where you are located in the UK will depend what percentage the eclipse will be but somewhere between 83% and 94% is predicted for the country. The further south you are, the less the percentage will be. It will be a total eclipse of the Sun and Moon in Norway so much of Scotland will be over 90%.

So I’ve been asked over the last few weeks how to go about photographing such a rare event. the last one was in 1999 and from memory, everyone got very excited about it and spent a long time talking about it and then it was the cloudiest day ever with heavy rain so the event was pardon the pun, a wash out! SO here is hoping for some better luck this time.

In order to photograph the sun successfully you’ll need a Solar Filter. You can buy them from Amazon and prices start at around £15. However, if you’d like to try and photograph it but you don’t have time to get one, I’ve been looking at a couple of DIY options. I must say at this point, try these at your own risk. There is no reason that I can see why they won’t work and they should’t wreck your sensor but there is always a chance. The first option that seems to be the most popular is to just buy an emergency foil blanket. You can buy them from Outdoors shops, DIY stores or Halfords for just a few pounds. Simply wrap it twice over the front of your lens and put an elastic band around it and you are good to go. Another method that some people have tried is using a A blank cd has also been used but they’re not as effective as the emergency foil blankets. If you look through them and hold them up to a bulb you’ll see through them just about. I’ve seen examples where people use an empty round small ice cream container covered in gaffer tape but these are a little overkill I think.

So now you have figured out what you need, you need to remember a few basics before you try this. First off DO NOT EVER look through your viewfinder at the sun. It may well blind you! If your camera has live view then just use this.

1. If you are aiming to shoot just the eclipse as your subject then use a telephoto / Zoom Lens. At least 200mm which will be around 300mm on a cropped camera.

2. Look through your viewfinder at a stationery subject in the distance at least 50 + metres away.

3. Set your camera to manual focus on the lens and the camera body or in the settings.

4. Turn your lens focussing barrel all the way around either clockwise or anti clockwise until the subject in the distance is in focus. Infinity focus is usually just back a little bit.

5. Now your focus is ready, make sure your camera is set to fully manual.

6. Adjust your aperture to the smallest aperture. That is the largest F number (around F22) This makes sure that the smallest amount of light possible hits the sensor.

7. Turn the ISO down all the way. You’ll have either 100 or 50 ISO as your minimum. Again, this in effect makes less light fall on the sensor.

8. Now adjust your speed accordingly. Try starting out with a 1/4000th exposure.

9. Now either attach your solar filter and then wrap the emergency foil twice around your lens and secure it with tape or an elastic band. make sure you don’t knock your focus ring.

10. Aim your camera on a tripod towards the sun and line it up with live view. It is a fairly good idea to lock your mirror up too if you know how to do it. It will be in the menu settings.

11. Now place a little black tape or masking tape over your viewfinder just so you don’t look in to it.

12. Switch live view on and you are now good to go. Experiment with exposures. Ignore pretty much what your live view shows apart from the framing. Check the images afterwards and use your histogram where applicable to check that large portions are not thrown out.

The latest information I have is that the eclipse should start in the middle of England around 8am and end around 9:30am.

Should you get the bug for this and you would like to learn the art of shooting Star Trails and making time lapse videos then our on line ‘Shooting Stars’ video workshop make s great starting point.

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How To Rank Higher On Google

March 30, 2021

There is no sure fire way you’ll ever ace Google’s smart algorithm every single time. However by using this simple 10 step process you will have a better chance of success.

Remember every article you write equates to a sales rep that works 24/7 for you. So you effectively want to achieve the best representation of what you have to offer with your words and good quality Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices.

LET’S GET STARTED SHALL WE?

1. Select a keyword phrase as your theme. Your first step is to choose a keyword phrase to base your article on. Use your keyword as a theme and try not to solely focus on that phrase alone. Otherwise your content becomes narrow in discussion and you’ll end up keyword stuffing your content.

2. Check your competitors in the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERPS). Ideally you should check your competition in Google before committing to a phrase. Although your keyword software suggests that a phrase is low in competition it could be the case because there are too many authority sites listed in the results.

The keyword tool I use is Jaaxy which gives an excellent gage on competition data. You can try 30 searches for free.

3. Write your content in small chunks. This is due to the fact that there are more mobile users accessing the Internet. It is also ideal if you write using a mix of:

*Small Paragraphs
*Header Tags
*Bullet Points
*Numbered Lists
*Bold
*Italics
*Underlining

You only have 8 seconds to convince a visitor to stay on your page. Following these guidelines will ensure he or she will stay on your page long enough, equally reducing your bounce rate.

4. Adding your keyword to the Meta Title. Some may argue the next two steps. I however have done some testing and I have found it is important to add your keyword to the Meta Title. Also ensure you keep the text to 55-60 characters.

5. Adding your keyword to the Meta Description. Again you’ll need to keep your text to a minimum which is 155-160 characters. If appropriate I also add a simple call to action such as “Click Here” or “Read More”. You can achieve steps 4 and 5 with the All In One SEO plugin.

6. Include an image or more where appropriate. Adding an image to your content will help you achieve social sharing with sites such as:

*Flickr
*Pinterest
*Instagram

A good free resource for images of which I use is CreativeCommons.org. They have a fantastic range of images to suit all niches. Your only requirement is to provide a link back to the owner of the image and a link to Creative Commons for the licence.

7. Link to an internal page on your website. Link to other pages on your website especially older content. Internal linking is fantastic for SEO and improved rankings. Make sure you use anchor text that is relevant to both pages and link out to an authority site in your niche if possible.

8. Test your Conversion Optimization. To test if your page is going to convert well, incorporate a small PPC Campaign. You could spend around $5-$10 to see if your page is achieving the results you want.

Although this won’t directly impact your rankings it does help you to prepare and get the most out of your top rankings when achieved.

9. Socially share your content with the major networks. Gaining social popularity is very important for search engine rankings. The top networks who play a major role in your ranking scores are:

*Facebook
*Twitter
*Google Plus
*Pinterest

You can get a number of free WordPress plugins that will automatically submit your posts to these networks. Be sure to add social sharing buttons to your pages and posts.

10. Create a YouTube video or a podcast. YouTube videos are a great way to achieve higher rankings. If you’re not comfortable being on camera you can always do a PowerPoint presentation with your voice or appropriate background music.

The other option is to create podcasts and record your article. This is easily achieved with your voice recording app on your phone.

—————————————-

 

BONUS STEP – HOW TO RANK HIGHER ON GOOGLE

Once you have made all the necessary changes you can complete the process by telling Google you have updated your page. For this final step I will be assuming you have Google Search Console.

1. Go to Crawl
2. Go to Fetch As Google
3. Enter Your Updated URL
4. Select Fetch and Render
5. Select Submit To Index

The final part of this process is to select whether you want only the URL in question to be crawled or all direct links. Select Go and your done! I would also recommend re-submitting your sitemap for good measure.

There’s no guarantee your page will be indexed higher than it currently is but these simple steps can greatly increase your chances. Every time you write a new article use these steps then move on to your next article. Give Google a chance to analyse your page.

Also remember that over time, there are literally hundreds of other keywords you will rank for. Just because a keyword phrase has a low search volume, keep in mind that your entire page is full of additional keyword phrases! The more content you write and publish the easier it will be for your pages to be indexed and ranked much higher naturally.

The above steps are available on a replay of Jay’s Live Video Classes at Wealthy Affiliate. If you would like to subscribe for this class and other replays inclusive of a weekly class CLICK HERE .If you have any questions about these steps to rank higher in Google please leave your comments below.