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India still doesn’t give SEO the importance it deserves

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We have all contributed, and been witness to the exponential rise of internet usage in India. The advent of the smart phone and affordable internet access has radically transformed the digital landscape in the country, and has spurred new behaviours in all areas of life. From being a space to look for information, to connecting with others via social media, to digital payments and making purchases for everything from a pin to a plane (well, almost), ordering food and online learning as well, Indians from all walks of life have taken to digital and how! It isn’t surprising then to see that digital marketing has also grown at an equally fast pace, and has become a regular part of most marketing plans today.

Digital Marketing in India today sees a YoY growth of 30-35% on an average.

With companies getting the desired results from digital, digital budget allocations are no more considered optional. However a point to note here is that for most companies, digital primarily revolves around maintaining a website, and paid marketing efforts. We see many companies investing heavily in building snazzy responsive websites, mobile apps and social media communities, then promoting these through paid search, display and social media. Paid efforts no doubt give quicker results, and agencies often push these to demonstrate the performance of their digital services. This also looks good in year-end reviews, no doubt! But in all of this, SEO, a crucial aspect in digital marketing, often gets sidelined or put on the backburner.

Understanding SEO, the underdog in digital marketing

SEO, an acronym for Search Engine Marketing, is a process by which you can optimize your webpages for better organic visibility on search engines, for a specific set of keywords. What this will do is that it allows your webpages to rank higher on search results for your industry / work, and this will allow your business to be seen by many prospects. A higher visibility on search will translate to a higher number of visitors to your website, a higher number of leads and eventually, more business. And all of this will continue to grow over time, so you can enjoy incrementally more unpaid traffic without having to rely on paid marketing efforts.

With all these advantages, it is only natural to wonder why SEO hasn’t gained its time under the sun as much as other tactics have.

Here is why SEO is not as popular with Indian digital marketers

Despite the host of benefits that SEO can offer, there is a small catch, and I wouldn’t even call it a catch.

  • With SEO, you need to go slow and steady

SEO is a time-consuming, technical process that takes time to start showing results. This could vary from a few months to over a year, depending on your category and objectives. And in this era of instant gratification, both consumers and marketers look for quicker results from everything they do. Organizations and marketers often end up losing patience in the slow but sure process of SEO, and are sold on the promise of instantaneous results that the paid marketing approach offers.

But once you start seeing results, there is no doubting the efficacy of this strategy.

  • It is not as glamorous as the other stars of digital marketing

There is an industry joke that refers to SEO as a behind-the-scenes performer that pales in comparison to the paid marketing stars on the digital stage. Most brand managers focus on the communication and the UI when it comes to their owned digital assets. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that almost 90% of their attention and efforts are in creating really good digital assets, and SEO is then left to the IT teams or agencies. In the ideal process, marketers need to collaborate with their digital agency to create a robust SEO strategy with a long term view.

In conclusion, you cannot afford to ignore SEO if you are looking for long term growth.

SEO is important for the exact same reasons that a website is important. While a website serves as your online presence, it will not be very helpful if your prospective consumers don’t know who you are or how to find you. Optimizing for search can help solve this problem, and can play an important role in brand building online.

This is not to say that SEO will only benefit online businesses. There are numerous examples and case studies of erstwhile and heritage brands using SEO to drive higher offline footfalls and sales. And these again, are just one Google search away.

Web search, then becomes the most valuable marketing channel that you can use for generating quality leads at a low investment. Not ranking high on search results for your category is akin to losing out prospective business to your competitors. SEO can also offer continuous, incremental growth over a period of time, and an ROI that is way higher than paid marketing.

So if you are a business owner or marketer who is invested in the long term growth of your company, you know what to do.

Kunal Shah is the director of Rank My Business. He completed his Bachelor of Computer Engineering from Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Technology Mumbai in 2006 and masters in IT from Melbourne. His company, Rank My Business, is one of the most successful digital marketing agencies of Australia (headquartered in Melbourne) and services over 400+ clients. The company expertise in SEO, Adwords, Google remarketing, website development, Youtube ads, conversion rate optimization. Kunal believes that the surest way to success is to see your clients grow.

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8 Finance Mistakes of First-Time Small Business Owners That You Should Avoid

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Just started your own business? Congratulations! After years of sleepless nights, careful planning, and raw dedication, what was once a small idea in your head is now an income-generating machine you can count on

Running a business comes with a ton of complications and risks. Over time, you’ll eventually come face-to-face with many tricky situations, and the way you manage things can ultimately define your long-term stability.

Research shows that 20% of new businesses fail within the year due to finance and management-related issues. If you want to thrive in the years to come, you should start by taking note of the mistakes of others. The guide below will teach you how to avoid and overcome these common small business challenges.

  1. Not separating personal and business expenses

As you claim your clients’ payments, you may feel the urge to use that money for your ventures. But, before you cash out for your new car, it’s important to take a step back and remember what your priorities are. Always remember that cash generated by your company should go to the business first.

Many first-time entrepreneurs make the common mistake of not separating their personal and business expenses, and this behavior can be consequential in the long run. Not being able to draw the line paves the way for bad spending habits and will give you a difficult time determining your actual financial standing.

With this in mind, you should start by creating separate bank accounts. Having everything in one place or using one credit card for all your transactions may feel more convenient, but making a clear distinction will make all the difference in your accounting.

  • Mismanaging cash flow

For your business to maintain its stability, you need to have a positive cash flow. Many new entrepreneurs make all sorts of accounting mistakes, and this ultimately gets in the way of their day-to-day operations. Hiring someone else may do the trick, but if your budget says otherwise, you need to take matters into your own hands.

Luckily, cash flow mistakes can be solved with some diligence. Monitoring your accounts religiously and making sure that your partners understand your payment terms will lead to seamless transactions. If you feel the need to hone your financial management skills further, you should consider taking online classes. 

  • Expecting income to arrive instantly

Everyone knows the age-old saying, “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” Your clients and customers may owe you some money in the months to come, but this doesn’t mean that you should bolster your spending.

Given that daily business life is unpredictable, don’t expect your clients to settle their balances on time. Money that’s promised to you shouldn’t count as an asset just yet.

  • Immediately making big purchases

It’s normal to feel excited once you win a big client. After they’ve officially closed a deal, you may want to provide new laptops, replace old work equipment, or upgrade to new software as soon as possible. However, don’t let the rush cause you to make an irrational decision. Making a big purchase without care will strain you more than you like.

Similar to how you divide your monthly income for food, electricity, and rent, you need to keep the same approach when it comes to your business expenses. Given that you’ll need to spend on work equipment, monthly salaries, affordable marketing strategies from your partner agency, and so on, a guide to follow will ensure that your spending doesn’t go overboard.

Note: Saving money? Don’t trim your marketing budget! Boost your promotions and take note of these simple ways to create marketing.

  • Not paying yourself

Many business owners tend to forget about their efforts. They treat their businesses as if it were their own children, but neglect themselves in their effort to sustain it. Because of this mentality, it’s easy to be misled into thinking that you have gained profits when, in fact, you are working for free.

Even if it’s your business, don’t forget to pay yourself.  Always consider that if you are not there to handle these responsibilities, you will need to hire someone else to take your place. To help you calculate your own salary, think objectively of the work requirements and determine how much you will compensate another person for doing this job.

  • Not seeking professional help

As the head of your company, it’s natural to want to stay in control of everything. However, there are times where the best course of action you can take is to seek help from others. Running a business will take more than just sheer will power, and finding the right partners can make an incredibly huge difference.

If you’re unfamiliar with tax laws, seeking the services of a CPA can save you from hefty fines. If you’re dealing with an intellectual property issue, having a lawyer can save you a lot of trouble. Professional fees may look unattractive, but they can save you more money in the long run.

  • Failing to create an emergency fund

If there’s one thing all business owners can take away from COVID-19, it’s the fact that building an emergency fund has turned into a must. Your business may be flourishing at the moment, but you’ll never know when a crisis will strike and turn things upside down.

Without preparation, you may need to look at credit providers for a way out, or worse, you may be forced to shut down. 

Having extra money set aside can save you a lot of trouble. Financial experts recommend that your emergency fund should be at least three to six months’ worth of your monthly income. While this may not be enough to curb your losses, it’ll keep you from incurring debt and enable you to stay afloat for the meantime.

  • Careless hiring

Compare your business to a car. You may be the one steering it, but your employees are the components that allow you to run at full speed. Without the right fuel and parts, you can expect things to break down sooner or later.

Always screen candidates with the utmost care. You may be excited to fill your vacancies, but hiring carelessly can be one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Settling for anyone just to address your requirements is problematic, as it won’t just cause operational and service quality issues; it can also be a tough blow financially.

As you go about recruitment, always remember that getting talented people will naturally take more time and money, but it should be worth it.

Preparation is Key

It’s common for new ventures to run into challenges, so you must have a plan for when you need to face them because one wrong decision can make or break your business. While you should take some time to unwind and enjoy the fruits of your labor, it’s important not to get distracted. After all, starting a business is one thing; maintaining is another.

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5 Workplace Trends That Are All About the Future

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Our workplaces have changed a lot over the past few decades. They’re always evolving, keeping pace with the latest technologies, large-scale social transformations, and new levels of human freedom. Sometimes these changes are quite slow, but there are moments in human history that can cause business owners, government officials, and other policy-makers to speed this process up.

The COVID-19 pandemic seems to be a historical event of this kind. It has affected our workplaces dramatically. Now we’re all wondering which of these innovations are temporary and which ones are here to stay. In any event, employers have gained a new perspective they wouldn’t have developed otherwise, and they have more info to act upon and make decisions about this. Here are some of the most important trends we’re already seeing in our workplaces that are all about the future.

 Telecommuting

Surely the most obvious change we’ve experienced since the start of the epidemic is a huge increase in remote work. Of course, many companies started utilizing telecommuting a while ago, but many others first introduced it only recently as a response to social distancing measures.

So what are the consequences of this massive experiment? A lot of businesses have realized that they have increased productivity and/or cut expenses after most of their employees started working from home. Surely, this fact wasn’t unheard-of before the crisis, and giants like AT&T or Dell reported they had saved millions of dollars thanks to different telework initiatives. But only now it is becoming a fact wide-spread enough that we can expect it to cause changes on a global scale.

Moreover, remote work suits employees as well. As much as 91% of them say telecommuting is a good fit for them, and 37% would agree to receive a 10% pay cut in exchange for working from home. Also, the number of available different jobs that can easily be done from any spot on the planet is on the rise, so telecommuting seems like one of the trends that will only grow in popularity.

Emphasis on work-life balance

If we want to understand the workplace of the future, we need to recognize that the upcoming generations have different priorities. Chasing more and more money at whatever cost doesn’t seem too appealing to millennials and Generation Z. This should turn out to be beneficial for companies as well, as we can expect more productive workers once the stress levels start to fall. Namely, a staggering 60% of workers experience performance drops as a consequence of chronic work-related stress.

Of course, businesses will have to adapt to this reality. The best salaries are not sufficient to attract the best talent anymore. The new generation’s priority is to have the best possible balance between work and life and to have an opportunity to live their lives to the fullest. That’s why we’ll see companies investing a lot in employee experience. This includes providing some essentials such as sick leave or flexible hours, but also some apparently less important perks like cozy offices, game rooms, or creative team building ideas. Organizations will have to adapt their entire cultures to this new set of employee demands.

Some companies even allow power naps at work. It may sound silly, but it’s actually perfectly sensible given that the effects of sleep deprivation include lack of focus, poor memory, emotional stress, and erratic behavior. It seems that in the future, businesses will want their workers to be stress-free and well-rested so that they can truly excel at their jobs.

Flexibility

A certain amount of flexibility from both employers and employees is becoming a must for any successful company.  We’ve already seen that workers will expect less rigidity about when they will work and where they will work from. But we’ll also see executives expecting employees to show some adaptability.

Most businesses of the future will have their work processes and activities dictated by new technologies as well as their ever-changing markets. This means they’ll need some quick learners on the team, who should even be ready to unlearn some of the things they know in order to adjust to new circumstances.

Furthermore, the focus of employee training will be acquiring a wider set of skills and cross-functional knowledge that can prepare them to jump in new positions whenever necessary. In combination with increased talent mobility, this will allow companies to scale their business easily.

AI assistance

You don’t really have to be a prophet to anticipate artificial intelligence taking a large part in the workplace of the future. Up to 47 percent of US jobs might be at risk of being completely automated in the next 20 years.

This makes it even more important for workers in many branches to diversify their skills if they want to survive in the new, AI-driven reality. As Marc Andreessen, a famous American entrepreneur put it – in the future, there will be two types of jobs: people who tell computers what to do and people who are told what to do by computers.

AI already has a significant influence on the world of business today. Different AI-backed softwares help companies streamline workflows and increase productivity. They collect and interpret massive amounts of data that affect practically all important business decisions. And because they’re basically self-learning and self-teaching algorithms, they’ll only get better at it.

Fewer long-term commitments

We’ve already seen that new circumstances will lead to a lot more flexibility at work, in terms of talent mobility, diversification of skills, and roles and positions that are not as well-defined as in the old days. This will have another important consequence. It will inevitably lead to a less stable job market, which means fewer long-term contracts and more contingent workers.

And it’s already happening. More than 90 percent of millennials expect to stay in a job for less than three years. The fact that there are more and more independent short-term projects and on-demand work has influenced a huge increase in the number of freelancers, and this increase won’t be stopping any time soon. Thirty-six percent of Americans are freelance workers, with this number predicted to hit the 50-percent mark as early as 2027.

Given the convenience of freelancing and the evolution of different platforms for freelancers, this doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. However, the gig economy has many downsides, and the never-ending uncertainty it entails can be stressful and overwhelming. Freelancing is a great path to take when it’s a matter of choice, but when it’s a matter of no choice, it can be difficult and distressing.

Conclusion

As always, the workplaces of the future will shape the workers of the future. These places will be exciting and unpredictable, but also vicious sometimes. And this job market will demand dynamic, agile, and versatile candidates that can adapt quickly and fit multiple different roles.

That is, if there are no major surprises in the forthcoming years. But we’ve seen we can’t take that for granted. We have no idea just how bad the consequences of the current epidemic-induced crisis could be, let alone predict what the decades ahead of us will look like. We can only be sure they won’t be boring.

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How To Become a Successful Forex Trader In 2020

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Forex stands for Foreign Exchange – a marketplace where you can exchange currency around the globe and achieve a sizeable profit.

Most people don’t know much if anything about the exchange, and are therefore at a disadvantage. In fact, most Forex traders operate with losses and don’t actually see the return on their investment they were hoping for.

If you are looking to get into Forex trading this year, there are some basic rules and principles to stay on top of – but the most important piece of advice anyone can give you is to always keep learning, always keep exploring, and never stop improving your knowledge and expertise on the market, because the practices that have worked yesterday may not work as well tomorrow.

Here are some tips to get you started.

 Find a broker

The first thing you will need to start trading is a broker. Brokers are companies that facilitate the purchase and sale of foreign currency, and they come in all shapes and sizes, and not all of them will be trustworthy. Brokers need to have a license to trade, but you also need to look out for their reputation – as some may only look good on paper.

You will need to take several facts into account when choosing a broker, and you can read up more on the subject here or here.

Determine your risk profile

Forex trading comes with its own risks and potential profits, and you need to be prepared to lose. However, you also need to be prepared to win, and in order to do that, you will need to figure out how much risk you are willing to take.

Do you want to be very aggressive, or are you looking to play things safely? The answer to this question will determine the way your strategy plays out.

Come up with a strategy

There is no right and wrong here – and the reason you are defining a strategy in the first place is to be prepared for the kinds of situations that are likely to arise. You don’t want to leave it to yourself in the heat of a trade to make the right call – and you don’t want to be doing things on a whim and without any rhyme or reason.

Your strategy should be based on the currency pair you are trading in, and the market you are looking at. A certain strategy might work well for one pair, but be completely fruitless for another, so you will have to keep working on it.

There are two rules here you should always follow:

  • Only invest what you can afford without a loss impacting your current standard of living.
  • Diversify your investment as much as you can, and don’t tie up more than 20% of your investment in one market (no matter how lucrative it seems).

Set a stop loss and a take profit

There are two kinds of orders you need to set, no matter the currency pair and market.

A stop loss is an order that defines the closing price of your trade – a trade will close at this level, even in your absence. In other words – this is your limit, the number you don’t want to go below, and your safety net. It will ensure you never lose more than you have limited yourself to lose.

Take profit is a frequently used order in the world of forex – it allows a trader to close at a certain position automatically when the prices have reached a certain level. This is where you make your profit.

Bear in mind that you need to adjust these orders to your risk profile – and examine how low or how high you actually want to go.

Keep up with the market

Keeping up with any and all market news is the essential key to success – and markets are driven by political and world events, or the predictions of these events. Staying on top of them, even if you make your trades based on charts and analysis, is vital.

Even if your technical strategy is working well, you should still keep an eye on market news before you place your orders, as current events can often cause fluctuations a chart cannot predict.

Keep up with the industry

You should also devote some time to reading the latest Forex trading tips and news, as you may get additional ideas to develop your strategy from these sources. You don’t need to test out moves you don’t believe in yourself – but you should know what your peers in trading are saying, and take these rival strategies into consideration when planning out your own.

There are trends in trading like there are trends in fashion – and knowing what a whole host of other traders (especially those just getting into the game) are more likely to do will give you a significant edge.

Try not to overtrade

Overtrading happens when you see opportunities to make money where there are none, which will cause you to put your investments at risk and lose.

You can overtrade either by trading too frequently or by trading with too much volume. In short, you get dazzled by the opportunities and forget that you don’t need to miss a lot in order to make a hit. There is nothing wrong with waiting a day or two for the right opportunity to arise. Your money will be just as able to provide a return on investment as it is today.

 Always keep your cool

Finally, one more piece of advice: never trade when you are not completely calm.

Whether it is excitement at the prospect of a great coup, a need to blow off some steam, impatience at not having traded for a few days – don’t look at the markets unless you are calm, collected, and ready to make logical decisions. The market is not about the emotion (no matter what Hollywood might try to tell you) – it’s about logic and reason, so use them when making your decisions, and leave your ego aside.

Final thoughts

In order to become a successful Forex trader, you will need to put in a lot of hours and get as good at the game as you possibly can. Be prepared to lose, but plan to win – and remember that the market is usually a decent reflection of the state of the world.

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