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SEO Basics: 18 Essentials You Need For Optimizing Your Site

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seo basics for optimizing site

Customers are of great value to every business enterprise. It is because of the customers a business expands and flourishes in the market.

In the conventional business model, attracting customers was not an uphill task. The shop owner had to set up a great storefront to catch the passerby’s attention and lure them to visit the shop. However, that’s not how it works for an eCommerce store.

In the current era, businesses have to use multiple channels to reach their potential audience. One of the most common channels is through search engine result pages.

Google.com has become a one-stop solution for internet users for all their problems. People enter their queries and google displays all the websites with relevant content or answers to their questions.

Google handles around 3.8 million search queries every minute worldwide. It means businesses have a remarkable opportunity to appear on the result pages and reach their prospective audience.

So, do you want to unveil SEO optimization techniques to rank higher and increase your visibility on the result pages? If yes, keep reading this blog post.

In today’s article, we have put together an SEO checklist 2021; it will tremendously help your business reach out to prospects and invite them to your website.

Let’s begin…

18 SEO Essentials You Need For Optimizing Your Site

1. Create Quality Content

The first item on the SEO checklist 2021 is creating informative and engaging content on your website for your audience. Creating blog posts on your website is a surefire way to increase your chances of ranking on search engine pages.

Create helpful and interesting articles on your website. Include pictures and infographics to make it more engaging. Marketers can easily integrate core keywords in the article to become visible on the search engine and reach the prospective audience.

Hence, come up with exciting ideas to compose the articles. Do not create blog posts on the abundantly available topics on the internet; instead, think of unique ideas to pique your audience’s interest and keep them hooked to your website.

However, ensure not to stuff your article with keywords. Your content should be first designed for humans and then for search engine bots.

2. Seamless User Experience 

There is a reason why people prefer Google over any other search engine. It is because Google is constantly upgrading its algorithms to provide an impeccable experience to its users. The giant search engine displays websites with relevant content to the user’s query and the ones which provide a good user experience across their websites.

Thus, if your website is slow or of poor quality and fails to provide a seamless user experience to the visitors, Google will not rank your website higher. 

Therefore, before you roll your sleeves and look for solutions to boost your SEO, work on your website’s layout and appearance. Ensure that it looks professional, trustworthy, and attractive to the visitors. If your website is built on WordPress or Shopify, select an attractive theme for your website.

3. Site Speed

The dependence on the internet has increased manifold because it provides convenience and saves peoples’ time. Whether connecting with a friend or purchasing monthly groceries, the internet and smart technology have made it easier for people to do everything with just a few taps or clicks.

If your website fails to load quickly, people will bid farewells to your website and switch to your competitors’ websites. Ideally, a website should load in under 3 seconds. Websites that take longer than 3 seconds to load lose up to 37% of the traffic. It means that prospective audiences sometimes quit the website without even exploring its content.

Thus, ensure that your visitors do not have to wait for the website to load. Instead, optimize your website speed and make everything readily available for your visitors.

4. Responsive Design

Laptops and personal computers aren’t the only mediums to access the internet and browse different websites. The advent of smartphones has changed the way people connect with the internet. With just a few taps or voice commands, a person can look up and browse different websites.

Mobile devices generated 54.8% of the total web traffic. Hence, web developers have become crucial to make their websites responsive to various digital devices to provide a good user experience to mobile users. In contrast, a website that doesn’t function or display correctly on mobile devices is abandoned by mobile users. Thus, increasing its bounce rate and affecting the SEO ranking on SERPs.

5. Internal Linking

Internal linking refers to the practice of interlinking the website’s pages and content. For instance, a marketer can provide the link of a previous blog post in a recently published article or provide the link of any web page of his website with other web pages on the website.

Search engine bots have limited time to crawl the websites and index them in result pages. Therefore, having a good number of internal links works as a gateway for search engine bots to crawl maximum pages. On the contrary, if the web pages and content are not internally linked, bots will not crawl the maximum pages in a limited time.

Therefore, do not overlook this vital item on the SEO checklist 2021 to optimize your SEO.

6. External Linking

External linking is the practice of linking high-authority websites on your web pages and content. For instance, if you have written a detailed article on COVID- 19, a link to the World Health Organization on your content will increase its credibility.

The content linked to the high-authority website makes your content appear trustworthy and relevant to the search engine algorithms. In addition, your website’s audience will also trust the stats and information that you have shared in your content.

Hence, whenever you state any figure, stats, research, or studies, link it to high-authority websites to build your content’s credibility and win your audience’s trust. 

7. Meta Description And Title Tags

Title Tags inform the search engine and users about the content of the website in a concise way. Title tags should be 50 to 60 characters long; more than that will not be displayed on the result pages. Moreover, include your main keywords in the title tag; it increases the chances of the link getting clicked by users.

Meta Description is a brief paragraph that is displayed on the SERPs under the website’s URL. Meta description informs the users about the content available on the web page.

Though Meta descriptions do not play a vital part in improving one’s rank, they are beneficial to increase the chances of getting the clicks on the link. When a user reads that his desired information is available on the page, he instantly clicks the link to learn and explore more. Therefore, always write short paragraphs to summarize what content users can expect on your web pages. 

8. Optimized Images

Using attractive images is essential to make your content and website appear interesting, attractive, and engaging for the audience. Therefore, you would definitely want search engine bots to crawl your images, too, right? If yes, then don’t forget to use the alt tag to optimize your images for SEO.

The famous search engine Google cannot see your images. However, it can read and understand what the picture is about if it’s described in the alt tag. Therefore, never leave the alt tag without describing explicitly what the image is about. In addition, include the keywords in the alt attribute to make your image rank higher in the image result pages.

9. Snappy Headlines And Permalinks 

Use the old-school method of attracting visitors to your website by writing attention-grabbing headings. Make sure that your headlines contain a maximum of 55 characters. More than that will not be displayed on the search results.

Keep in mind that there is a difference between creating attention-grabbing headlines and clickbait headlines. The latter is a common tactic deployed by many marketers to increase their clicks. While this may be a smart approach to making the users visit the website, it can also backfire in an increased bounce rate if the user doesn’t find the information they were promised in the headlines. Hence, refrain from taking this path.

Keep the permalink of your webpage simple. Make it easy for users to understand the location of the content on your website.

10. Engage On Comments Section

Another tip for optimizing your site is to engage with your audience in the comments section. Unfortunately, many websites turn off the commenting option under their posts. So beware, it is not a good approach. Instead, you should ask for your audience’s feedback and answer their queries related to the published content.

Engaging with your prospects helps you understand the content they like to read and engage with. Their valuable customer feedback can help you create content that can improve your site’s ranking.

11. Fix Broken Links

How would you feel if you click on a link and arrive on a page that displays: Error 404, Page not found?

You will feel frustrated or irritated, right?

Your audience will feel the same way. Hence, ensure that all the links present on your website are working correctly. If not, fix it or remove it from your website to reduce the bounce rate.

12. Switch To HTTPS

Since 2014, HTTPS has been considered an important ranking factor by Google. As a result, HTTPS has become a safety badge for websites to ensure online users can safely browse the website without risking their information.

Websites that are not switched to HTTPS are displayed as ‘not secure’ websites by Google to warn its users.

Thus, make your visitors feel safe and label your website as secured by switching to HTTPS protocol.

13. Build Backlinks

Backlinks are the links that are earned by a website from another authority website of the niche. Remember the example of the World Health Organization, which we shared above? If different websites link to the World Health Organization website, we can say that WHO has earned backlinks.

Google considers the number of websites linked to your web pages for ranking it on the search result pages. Thus, create quality content that people would love to share on their social profiles or link to their website.

14. Take Advantage Of YouTube SEO

YouTube is the search engine for video content. It has more than 2 billion users. In addition, more than a billion hours of videos are watched on this site daily.

Wait… that’s not it… YouTube videos are also ranked on the search engine result pages before the listing of the websites. Thus, use this platform to create informative, engaging, and helpful information for your audience and increase your chances of ranking higher on SERPs.

15. Refresh Your Old Content

Creating new content is no joke. It takes a lot of time, research, and effort to brainstorm, design, and publish content on the website. As a solopreneur, it gets tough to juggle all the business activities, including content creation.

Therefore, when you are drowned in work and have no time to spare for creating new content, put your old content to use.

Update the stats and figures mentioned in your post, attach new pictures, include interesting infographics, and integrate core keywords in your content to make it compete for a higher ranking on the SERPs.

16. Optimize For Voice Search 

Did you know 40% of smartphone users use the voice search feature to browse the internet? It results in 1 billion searches each month.

Hence, it’s high time for marketers to optimize their content for voice search. For example, include long-tail keywords in the content to make your site visible to a potential audience who searches the internet by voice commands. 

17. Use Schema Markup

Suppose you search for the recipe of a strawberry sundae, and numerous results are displayed on the result page. Which of the following results would you click?

A) The Result with title, web URL, and short description

B) The Result with title, web URL, picture, star rating, cooking time, and customer votes

The majority of the people would select Option B because the result displayed is rich and attractive. Moreover, it provides more information to the user about the content available on the web page.

Use the schema markup tag of HTML to display your results with pictures, ratings, and other information and increase the chances of receiving more clicks than your competitors.

18. Use SEO Optimization Plugins

Tried everything on the list?

Well, it’s now time to take help from advanced SEO optimization tools to boost your website’s visibility and ranking.

However, ensure to set up these tools appropriately. Take help from an SEO expert if required. Failure to set these tools correctly can cause serious damage to SEO.

Wrapping Up

Phew… quite a long list, isn’t it?

But that’s how SEO works. It is not a one-time setup; instead, it is an ongoing process to keep your website ahead of your rivals on SERPs.

Marketers have to pour in real efforts to make their websites rank higher and appear in front of potential audiences.

So, dear readers, what are you waiting for? Roll your sleeves and start planning strategies to optimize your SEO, increase website ranking, and escalate conversions.

Good luck!

Ricky Hayes is the Co-Founder and Head of Marketing at Debutify - a free Shopify theme, helping dropshippers build high-converting stores in minutes. He is a passionate entrepreneur running multiple businesses, marketing agencies, and mentoring programs.

SEO

SEO in 2022: How Long Should a Blog Post Be

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How Long Should a Blog Post Be

It’s no secret that SEO is constantly changing. What works today may not work tomorrow, and what worked yesterday may now be considered obsolete. So it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in SEO, in order to ensure that your website remains competitive.

One of the most important aspects of SEO is the length of your blog posts. In general, longer posts tend to rank better than shorter posts. But how long should a blog post be? And what are the latest trends in SEO when it comes to blog post length?

In this article, we’ll explore the latest trends in SEO when it comes to blog post length, and we’ll provide you with some tips on how to write longer posts that will rank well in Google search results.

Trend 1: Longer blog posts are better for SEO

A recent study by Backlinko analyzed 1 million Google search results and found that the average word count of a first-page result was 1,890 words. This is a significant increase from previous years; in 2014, the average word count of a first-page result was only 935 words.

This trend is likely due to the fact that Google’s algorithm has become better at understanding the meaning of content, rather than just matching keywords. As a result, longer posts that contain more information are more likely to rank well in Google search results.

Trend 2: Blog posts with an “inverted pyramid” structure tend to rank better

An “inverted pyramid” is a term used to describe the structure of a blog post, where the most important information is at the beginning of the post, and the less important information is at the end.

This structure is effective for SEO because it allows Google to quickly understand what your post is about, and it also allows readers to quickly find the information they’re looking for.

Trend 3: Lists and “how-to” posts tend to perform well in Google search results

Lists and “how-to” posts are popular because they’re easy to read and they offer readers a lot of value. And as it turns out, these types of posts also tend to perform well in Google search results.

A recent study by BuzzSumo analyzed the most popular types of content on the web, and they found that lists and “how-to” posts were among the most popular types of content.

So if you want your blog post to perform well in Google search results, consider structure it as a list or a “how-to” post.

Trend 4: The ideal blog post length is 1,890 words

As we mentioned earlier, the average word count of a first-page result is 1,890 words. So if you want your blog post to have a chance of ranking on the first page of Google, aim for a word count of at least 1,890 words.

Of course, this is just an average, and there are always exceptions. For example, if you’re writing a list post, you may be able to get away with a shorter word count. But in general, longer posts tend to perform better in Google search results.

Trend 5: Blog posts with images tend to rank better

In addition to length, another important factor for SEO is the use of images. Google’s algorithm favors blog posts that contain images because they tend to be more visually appealing and easier to read.

So if you want your blog post to rank well in Google search results, be sure to include at least one image.

Tips for writing longer blog posts that will rank well in Google

Now that you know the latest trends in SEO when it comes to blog post length, here are some tips for writing longer blog posts that will rank well in Google search results:

1. Plan your post before you start writing

Trying to write a long post without first planning it out is a recipe for disaster. You’ll likely end up going off on tangents, and your post will lose focus.

Instead, take some time to plan your post before you start writing. Outline the main points you want to cover and make sure each point ties back into your overall theme.

2. Write in a clear, concise style

Just because your post is long doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. In fact, longer posts tend to perform better when they’re written in a clear, concise style. So don’t try to impress readers with big words and complicated sentence structures; just focus on communicating your ideas clearly.

3. Use subheadings to break up your text

Breaking up your text with subheadings makes it easier for readers to skim your content and find the information they’re looking for. Not to mention, it also makes your post look less daunting.

4. Use images and videos to break up your text

In addition to using subheadings, you can also use images and videos to break up your text and make your post more visually appealing. Just make sure you’re using high-quality images and videos that are relevant to your content.

5. Conduct research and cite your sources

When you’re writing a long post, it’s important to back up your claims with research. So conduct some research on your topic and be sure to cite your sources. This will not only add credibility to your post, but it will also give you more content to work with.

6. Edit your post before you publish it

Once you’ve written your post, take some time to edit it before you hit the “publish” button. This will help ensure that your post is free of errors and easy to read.

7. Promote your post once it’s published

Just because your post is live on your blog doesn’t mean people will automatically see it. You need to promote your post if you want it to get traffic.

So once you’ve published your post, be sure to share it on social media and other online platforms. You can also reach out to influencers in your niche and ask them to share your content with their followers.

With these tips, you can write longer blog posts that will perform well in Google search results. So if you want your blog to succeed in 2022, make sure you’re paying attention to the latest trends in SEO.

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SEO for early-stage startups: 6 steps to grow on a budget

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SEO for early-stage startups

If you’re just launching your startup, you’ll have a lot on your plate, including determining market fit, researching your target audience, developing feasible marketing strategies, etc. However, everything begins with building a website, as no one will find you if you are not visible. When it comes to establishing an online presence, we eventually consider SEO.

Despite the fact that search engine optimization is a lengthy process, you should get started from day one if you want to reap the benefits of free traffic and almost automatic growth in the future.

If you’re running an early-stage startup on a shoestring budget, it’s definitely worth investing in Google-friendly website optimization. To avoid blowing your budget, it’s important to develop a strategy based on industry best practices and constantly improve your SEO score.

Fortunately, you aren’t alone. There are a lot of free resources available to help you get started in the right direction. One of them is this article.

Continue reading to discover the top 6 steps for SEO for startups, based on expert advice and best practices.

Why should early-stage startups invest in SEO?

People are constantly looking for the best products or services online. SEO can assist them in locating your services. Even the representatives of Good say – “People look for a product first, not for you.” Before your brand is recognized, people will need to search for [your brand name] and find you through general search queries. 

Let’s enumerate the main benefits of investing in search engine optimization for early-stage startups.

Free traffic

Startup owners are always on the lookout for the cheapest ways to promote their products, but at the same time, they need results. What about obtaining qualified leads for free? Yes, that’s what every business needs and SEO is a good way to build a lead generation channel.

SEO is not free, as time and resources must be invested in creating optimized content and outbound promotion. However, once the flow starts, you will not have to pay for every impression, click, or lead, as with paid advertising campaigns.

Influence over a large number of marketing funnels

The hidden power of search engine optimization lies in its ability to boost other marketing efforts and influence different stages of your integrated marketing funnels.

For instance, creating great educational content that is search engine optimized is essential to your inbound marketing strategy. Your audience needs your help to learn your product or service better and faster, obtain advice related to your niche, etc. Internal linking within your blog allows you to recommend useful resources to your readers and build loyalty.

Working on SEO for your startup’s website will impact every phase of your marketing funnel.

Brand awareness and credibility

Before ordering a specific product or service in today’s digital world, everyone relies on online proofs. A great website and blog are essential for growing your startup credibility and being recognized as a leader in your niche.

For example, if you respond to users’ queries via blog content in an expert and comprehensive way, they will begin to recognize your brand and consider your startup a great solution for specific needs.

SEO can help you grow your business online in 6 simple steps

  1. Focus on the basics

Because early-stage startups usually don’t have a large SEO budget, it’s critical to divide the resources as evenly as possible. Concentrate your efforts on the most important things, such as creating content, ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly, and ensuring no technical SEO issues.

Do you recall the Pareto Principle? It states that 80% of your results will come from 20% of your efforts. So, the first step in starting your SEO process is defining and focusing on the fundamentals that will lead to that percentage of effective efforts.

You can expand your SEO activities and grow more quickly with a larger budget.

  1. Define goals and craft a feasible strategy

Obviously, the primary goal of search engine optimization is to generate organic traffic from search engines and convert online leads into customers. However, this end goal should be broken down into specific steps to achieve the desired results.

Setting SEO goals entails thinking about what you want to achieve and how to achieve the KPIs. Ahrefs, a well-known SEO tool, suggests envisioning SEO goals as a pyramid.

Source – https://ahrefs.com/blog/seo-goals/ 

Begin with small goals and work your way up

For example, for early-stage startups, you could set the following SEO goals for the first 3-6 months:

Increase organic traffic to 2K+ unique monthly visitors. 

How to reach: fix technical issues, optimize meta descriptions, properly gather semantic data, and create SEO optimized content.

How to measure: data in Google Analytics, Google Search Console, or rank tracking tools, like Semrush or Wincher, can be used.

  1. Find the resources

To make your SEO strategy a reality and begin receiving organic traffic, you need to consider the available resources and allocate a budget for specific actions.

Speaking about resources, there are three elements:

Human resources

According to the goals and tests you set up in the previous paragraph, you should consider dividing responsibilities among your colleagues or hiring freelancers or part-time employees to get the job done.

It’s always a good idea to have an inbound content manager run a blog because this person will be fully devoted to the startup and will understand the product better.

Consider hiring a part-time employee to help with keyword research and off-page SEO. You’ll save money while covering all of the SEO basics.

Budget

Unless your startup has a consistent huge revenue stream, your budget for search engine optimization is limited. Invest 10-20% of your overall budget in SEO. If the KPIs and pull of efforts are chosen correctly, it will eventually pay off and bring you a consistent flow of leads and profit.

SEO tools

I wouldn’t recommend purchasing expensive SEO tools at once for early-stage startups, especially if you can hire a freelancer or part-time employee to handle basic SEO stuff. They usually have their own tools for conducting keyword research or performing SEO audits. 

Google Analytics and Google Search Console are the first platforms you should set up. There is no need to invest money in these Google products because they are free. But they are indispensable if you want to remain aware of your SEO results and measure online performance.

You can also look for a keyword rank tracker. It will give you accurate information about your search engine rankings and content marketing results.

If you want to start SEO at an advanced level, consider buying Semrush or SimilarWeb subscriptions. They will provide you with a huge range of data, needed to analyze your competitors, conduct research, and measure the performance of your website.

Technical SEO

It’s crucial to get your technical SEO in order before you start working hard on outbound promotion for your business and investing in a blog.

Check that Google can find, understand, and index your pages. Otherwise, all of your efforts to rank will be futile.

Conduct keyword research and begin creating content

This is, in my opinion, one of the most important points. Because conducting proper keyword research and selecting the appropriate semantic for your web pages and blog is the foundation of a long “friendship” with Google.

Find the right key phrases you want to rank and optimize each web page to improve your SEO. It is important to investigate how people search for what you do, their intentions, and so on. Here’s a good resource for beginners to learn the basics of keyword research.

Basic link building

Link building is the process of getting links from external sources to your website. It’s important to build your domain authority and amplify all the other SEO efforts. 

I must admit that this part of link building is pretty complicated for beginners. It requires enough knowledge and practical skills. 

Consider free options such as guest posting (contributing to other blogs with your own piece of content) and HARO to start earning backlinks for your website (providing your expert quotes to journalists)

Conclusion

Search Engine Optimization is an investment that will definitely pay off. It won’t happen overnight, but consistent efforts to improve your online visibility will increase brand awareness, free organic traffic, build brand identity, and amplify all your marketing efforts.

If you are on the lookout for a reliable way to scale your early-stage startup, start working on SEO for your business website right away.

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5 Important Ways Web Hosting and a Domain Name Can Impact SEO

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Web Hosting and a Domain Name Can Impact SEO

When starting a new business, creating a functional, memorable, and visually appealing website is considered to be one of the most important aspects, as well as focusing on search engine optimization (SEO) efforts that will make your site more visible and highly ranked in search engine results, thus possibly attracting a wider audience. But when attempting to achieve online success, your website will heavily depend on two factors many often forget: your domain name and your web hosting provider. These aspects can significantly impact your SEO strategy, and here are just some ways in which this could happen:

1.   Significance of a domain name

From appealing to your target audience to pleasing search engines, a good domain name can have a significant impact on the overall success of your website. However, one of the most important roles of a domain name is to establish trust with your customers, which can easily be achieved through customization. For instance, simply using a top-level extension such as the trusted me domain can help to personalize your website and genuinely appeal to your audience.

Apart from being a safe and secure option, such domain extensions are also an incredibly quick and simple way to create a more memorable website name that easily evokes images of a more refined, humanized, and trusted business. This is one of the most efficient ways of attracting new customers to your website, while slowly building up their trust and loyalty over time.

2.   Keywords in domain names

In an effort to rank higher on search engine results and appear more relevant, many businesses will decide to incorporate a number of keywords in their domain name. Unfortunately, this could often have an adverse effect, especially if businesses don’t follow through on their websites by utilizing reviews, product descriptions, and other on-site copy.

While it’s true that relevant keywords could help your website rank higher, it’s recommended to only stick to one creative keyword that succinctly describes your products and services. Short and simple domain names that are easy to remember are often favored among audiences, which is why implementing one relevant keyword in a memorable phrase or playful manner might be helpful when it comes to search engine recognition, as well as attracting and retaining potential customers.

3.   Increased website speed

Once a relevant and memorable domain name is chosen, it’s time to select the best web hosting options. When it comes to purchasing hosting, speed should be one of your top priorities. While we might think that customers have more patience and understanding, the truth is that a simple delay in loading speed of a couple of seconds could lose you around 40% of your audience.

Apart from leading to a loss in customers and revenue, slower loading speeds might also impact search engine results. For instance, Google has recently started rewarding websites that provide a better and more favorable user experience, meaning that if your website is significantly slower than other similar sites, this could lead to a noticeable drop in rankings, as well as overall SEO.

4.   Improved website security

Although every website could be a potential target for hackers, this becomes an even larger concern when it comes to businesses. When you’re looking for the best web hosting provider, it’s not only the security of your own information you have to take into consideration, but that of your customers as well. In case your website gets infiltrated by someone wanting to exploit your site’s data, your customers might be subject to personal data breaches and identity theft, which could take a significant toll on your business’s reputation.

For this reason, opting for a superior host that offers maximum security and protection is always advised. But apart from the safety of your business and your customers, the host you select might impact your SEO as well, as websites that are often under attack tend to deter visitors, thus lowering in rank.

5.   Availability of the website

Ultimately, no customer will be able to locate your site if it’s never there. A website that often crashes, goes through long maintenance periods, or simply takes several tries in order to fully load will truly destroy your SEO efforts, more quickly than any other aspect.

Of course, no host will be perfect. Even large websites such as Twitter and Facebook experience an occasional crash, but a good web host provider will ensure near-ideal network uptime. Apart from costing you new users, potential customers, and higher revenue, having a website that is constantly down might also communicate to search engines that you’ve closed your business, being one of the worst things that could happen to your SEO.

While web hosting and a domain name might not seem quite as important at first, they are clearly the key to a stronger online presence. The more you invest in the intricate decisions mentioned above, the higher your chances will be of surviving influxes of new customers, higher revenues, and overall growth.

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