- WEALTHY: Investing – where do we go from here? (Rick Pendergraft)
- HEALTHY: How to prevent muscle soreness when you exercise (Craig Ballantyne)
- WISE: William A. Foster on quality
- Improve your AdWords campaign right now (Howie Jacobson)
- 3 no-hassle steps to traveling with your laptop (Lori Allen)
- It’s Fun to Know… about weird scholarships
- Add “bagatelle” to your vocabulary
The House of Representatives voted against the $700 billion bailout plan for the financial sector. The bailout was very unpopular on Main Street because too many viewed the bill as a bailout of Wall Street.
Unfortunately, the bill was more than that. It had become a bailout for the U.S. economy. The credit markets have become so tight that it is virtually impossible for businesses and consumers alike to conduct business.
Instead of working on solutions to the problem, the politicians are too busy trying to keep their jobs and pointing fingers.
While I didn’t think the bailout was going to solve all our economic problems immediately, I did see an approval as something that would bring about some sense of order.
Now what? Obviously the market isn’t going to fix itself – so where do we go from here? That is a good question. Only time will tell, but Sir Isaac Newton probably got it right with his first law of motion: An object in motion will stay in motion and an object at rest will stay at rest unless acted on by an unbalanced force.
At this point, the market is in motion… and that movement is on the downswing. The bailout could have been the opposing force to halt the downward motion, but now we will never know. This economic slowdown is far from over. ETR readers have been advised many times about ways to protect against the downside or even profit from it.
If you insist on investing in stocks at this time, discount retailers like Costco and Dollar Tree have decent-looking charts. Two others that jump out are consumer staples Pepsi and McDonald’s.[Ed. Note: Keep your money safe during these shaky times by making smart investment choices. Companies with strong fundamentals are best equipped to withstand major market changes. But don’t be afraid of fluctuations in the market. These movements can offer you the perfect opportunity to profit. Learn more with investment expert Rick Pendergraft’s KISS System.]
“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”
William A. Foster
Minimum Cost Per Click (CPC) is one of the crucial metrics you should know when you begin a Google AdWords campaign. Each time a potential customer clicks on your AdWords ad, you pony up some cash to Google. How much you are required to pay for a single click on a keyword can determine whether you can afford to advertise using that keyword. If you can get your average CPC lower than that of your competitors, you have a small advantage that you can easily turn into market domination.
One way to lower your average CPC is to improve the Quality Score (QS) of your keywords. The Quality Score, according to Google, is based on “how relevant your keyword is to your ad group and to a user’s search query.”
Improving your keywords’ Quality Score will change the CPC of an individual keyword and often improve its position on the search engine results pages. And the QS typically has the greatest impact on CPC. A “Great” keyword may require only a nickel, whereas the same keyword with a “Poor” score may demand five bucks.
How can you improve your QS? Start with your landing page. That’s the page people are directed to when they click on your AdWords ad.
What You Should Change on the Landing Page
Look at two things: the title tag and the meta description. If your title is something brilliant like “new page 1” or “Stuff for Sale,” Google doesn’t have a clue what the page is about. So take a few seconds to recreate your title. Don’t stuff keywords into the title willy-nilly. Just explain the gist of the page in a few words.
Your page’s meta description (found near the top of the page source, above the body tag) expands on the title. But unlike the title, the meta description allows you up to several hundred words to explain exactly what your landing page is all about. Again, don’t stuff the meta description full of keywords. Stuffing keywords is a definite no-no. Google is getting pretty good at knowing when you’re trying to do this, and they don’t like it.
Google now recalibrates the Quality Score of your AdWords ad instantly as it relates to the match between keyword and ad. They take longer – as much as a few days – to reevaluate your landing page. So if you do improve your landing page, you may find that your keywords muddle along with exactly the same CPC as before for a couple of days. That’s painfully slow feedback.
The Presto Change-o Solution
Delete and re-enter the keyword, and Google will instantly recalculate the minimum CPC.
If you keep track of the date, you can compare the performance of the “new” keyword with the “old” one to see the difference an improved Quality Score can make. (I know the two keywords are exactly the same, but don’t tell Google.)
If you still have QS problems after those two fixes, the problem may be your business model. Google has very strong opinions about what types of websites constitute Search Engine Spam, and penalize them accordingly.
So how do you know if Google is punishing your site? Here are three examples of sites Google doesn’t like (taken directly from a leaked Google document):
• Thin Affiliate Sites
A thin affiliate site is defined by Google as one in which the visitor is taken from the landing page to another website that pays the AdWords advertiser for the traffic. In other words, a straight traffic broker, trying to come between Google and a legitimate site.
You can still be a legitimate affiliate and use AdWords. However, you need to “add value” in Google’s eyes. Instead of just shooting your visitors over to another site, add value by including product and price comparisons, recipes, lyrics, quotes, contact information, or coupons and promotion codes.
• Keyword Stuffers
In the old days (say, 1997), if you wanted your Web page to rise to the top of the search engines for a particular keyword, you would stuff that keyword into the page as many times as you could. In meta tags, in title tags, in white font on a white background, you name it. The result was a page that machines might love, but humans hated.
Google rose to prominence so quickly because it figured out ways to reward pages that humans found valuable. And it still looks at keyword stuffing as a prime indicator of spam. (And, incredibly, people still do it.)
• Pages With Pay Per Click Ads (!)
Even though Google’s revenue comes almost exclusively from its own pay per click program (AdWords), Google still regards PPC ads on a Web page as a sign of spamminess. In a way, you can understand this. Google doesn’t want its customers bidding on cheap keywords and then making half the money on more expensive ones. Also, from a visitor’s experience perspective, Google considers it inefficient for a searcher to have to go through an extra page to get where they want to go.
If your business model is the problem, either change it or find traffic sources that don’t depend on Google. (Good luck with that!) Otherwise, get to work on your ads, titles, and descriptions. Think clarity, specificity, and relevance. And value, always value![Ed. Note: Google AdWords could be the key to more traffic and more sales for your company. You can master AdWords from the inside out with Internet marketing expert Howie Jacobson’s book AdWords for Dummies.
Now you have the chance to pick Howie’s brain in person. He’ll be speaking at ETR’s 2008 Info Marketing Bootcamp – sharing a method you can use to make an extra $100,000 in 2009. And he’s not the only one… 11 other marketing and business-building experts have responded to our Internet Ultimatum. Learn how you can make $1.2 million or more next year, right here…
Get Howie’s complimentary AdWords ER Report “Why Most AdWords Campaigns Fail – and How to Make Yours Succeed” at www.AskHowie.com.]
By Lori Allen
You know the airport-security drill. Take off your shoes. Empty your pockets. Off with your belt and metal jewelry. But now there’s one less hassle at American checkpoints. As of this past August 16, you can leave your laptop in its bag. If, that is, the bag is “checkpoint-friendly” and TSA-approved.
If you already own a laptop bag, it probably won’t make the cut. But more than 60 manufacturers are coming up with new TSA-approved designs, many of which are available already.
Here’s what to look for when shopping for a new laptop bag:
• There are three approved styles: (1) The “butterfly,” which zips in half and lies flat, with your laptop on one side and the rest of your stuff on the other. (2) The “trifold,” which has a laptop section that folds out. (3) The “sleeve,” a simple laptop case without any bells and whistles.
• Make sure there are no pockets, snaps, zippers, or buckles on the outside of the laptop compartment of the bag. (And keep in mind that the only thing you can put in that compartment is your laptop.)
• Don’t get a bag with thick dividers or emblems/seals on the outside. They give the TSA screener a foggy image.
For more details – and to see some diagrams of acceptable bag designs – check out TSA’s site at TSA.gov.[Ed. Note: Truth is, high gas prices and checked-bag fees may be troublesome for some, but not for people who have a “Get Paid to Travel” plan. To find out more about how to defray some of your travel costs, sign up to receive The Right Way to Travel free e-letter.
When you reach a certain income level, small price increases just don’t matter. Learn how you can make between $100,000 and $1.2 million in 2009 right here.]
My trademark attorney just e-mailed me and said he was going to the gym for the first time in 18 months. I quickly e-mailed back and told him to take it easy.
As anyone who has started a new exercise program knows, his muscles are going to be sore. But why is that? And why does it take a day or two for it to happen?
Researchers asked the same questions, and published their findings in the Journal of Orthopedic Sports Physical Therapy. Sixteen sedentary young men did an advanced resistance-training workout, doing three sets of seven exercises at 80 percent of their one-repetition maximum.
By the way, this is not the type of workout I’d give a beginner, because it is sure to lead to extreme muscle soreness. But, of course, that was the point of the study – and I’m sure the subjects knew what they were getting into.
This workout significantly increased their white blood cell counts (a marker of inflammation), as well as an enzyme called creatine kinase (a marker of muscle damage). As a result, the subjects experienced “delayed onset muscle soreness” – the tenderness we all experience 24-48 hours after a new workout. (In fact, I’m writing this on a Thursday night and the soreness from my Wednesday morning leg workout has just reached its peak.)
The best treatment is prevention. Just don’t do too much when you are getting back into working out or starting a new program. Do only one set of each exercise for the first two sessions. Choose a weight that you can do 15 times, but do only 10-12 repetitions. Don’t go to failure (the point where you can’t complete a repetition with good form).[Ed. Note: Don’t let fear of muscle soreness prevent you from working out. With fitness expert Craig Ballantyne’s suggestions, you can ease into a routine. And once you start exercising, you’ll get stronger and leaner. For an exercise program that can help you burn fat and build muscle, check out Craig’s Turbulence Training program.
And for ideas about how to eat well, the newest breakthroughs in health, and exercise tips, sign up for ETR’s natural health e-letter.]
Most scholarships are given out to the most talented, hardest working, and most deserving students. But not all. Here are a few of the weirdest:
• Tall Clubs International (TCI) offers several $1,000 scholarships each year. Requirements: You must be under 21, about to begin your first semester in college, and, most important, at least 6’1″ (for males) or 5’10” (for females). Applicants also have to write an essay on what being tall means to them.
• For the Van Valckenburg scholarship, you have to share the last name of Van Valckenburg. If you do, and you can write a good 500-word essay, you get $1,000.
• The Frederick and Mary F. Beckley scholarship is for financially “needy” (their word) students – with a catch: You have to be left-handed.
• $6,000 goes to the annual winner of the Duck Brand Duct Tape Scholarship. To enter, you have to create a full prom ensemble out of – you guessed it – duct tape.
(Sources: edfed.com; navvf.org; tall.org; ducttapeclub.com)
A “bagatelle” (bag-uh-TEL) – from the Italian – is a trifle, a thing of little or no importance.
Example (as used in The Guardian): “So if you eat at his restaurant every day – off the menu, of course – and slosh the grub down with a 1966 Chateau Margaux… even a Ritz bill will seem a mere bagatelle.”
[Ed. Note: Become a more persuasive writer and speaker … build your self-confidence and intellect … increase your attractiveness to others … just by spending 10 VERY enjoyable minutes a day with ETR’s new Words to the Wise CD Library.]