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Essential SEO Tips For Your Website

Essential SEO Tips For Your Website

These tips are essential in a good SEO marketing strategy. Making a site does not mean just putting in content and some photos or images. If you want it to be visible to others, it is important to follow some basic rules. These points should not to be forgotten but should be present in all your web projects. This may sound basic, but it is always good to review the basics of SEO.

Your site must have a central subject

Obviously, you can talk about several topics on your site, but you must have one central topic, which will govern everything. A main subject which will be the guideline of your content. If you do not have any ideas, do a little keyword research (with Google Keyword Planner for example). This will also let you see the potential audience of a keyword.

Mention the key phrase when you must

Once your keyword is chosen, do not swing it all over the content of your site without thinking. It is important to place it in strategic places like the domain name (even if it is discussed), the title of the site, the description of the site, the categories, the content. When writing titles, descriptions, articles … always have in mind your key phrase to work around it.

To manage elementary SEO elements of the site, use Yoast SEO under WordPress. It makes a good difference and allows you to manage it right as it should clean off all the mess of the metas, titles and company.

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Add internal links to your site

It sounds basic but it is a crucial element. Linking pages together can share the juice inside your website and to direct the visitor on “similar” contents. Personally, I use the WordPress plugin and SEO Smart Links, although it’s better to link the contents manually because the plugin can be exceeded

Use SEO-friendly URLs

This may sound stupid, but the structure of a url is important. Do not use urls with numbers to identify your posts or pages, but instead use optimized contextual urls such as “http://www.mysite.com/CATEGORY/ARTICLE-TITLE” Example: http://www.mycarcomparison.com/sportscar/mercedesbmw.

Avoid urls of the type “http://www.mysite.com/?p=69”. With WordPress, you can easily configure all this in the permalink settings.

Ensure you have a quick website

The loading time of your site is a crucial element for SEO. There are many elements that make it possible to optimize its speed. Under WordPress, the W3 Total Cache plugin is a must have. Well tuned, it can drastically increase the speed of your site. To test this, use Pingdom Tools or GTMetrix.

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Use keywords in the names of your images

Do not do it all the time, but try to name your images properly. Often use a few keywords of the content in which you have integrated your image and some keywords that describe the image. Also add an alternative tag and title and a caption. It allows you to find some of your images in Google Image and catch some traffic.

For example, if you have an image with the picture of a black BMW sports car, try to rename the image in “car-sport-bmw-black.jpg” By reading the name of the file; one knows what the image is about.

Make links to external sites of the same topic

Yes, you read right! It is even a recommendation that counts! Do not hesitate to include external links in your content. For example if you make a car comparison between BMW and Mercedes, include a link to the description sheet of each car on the manufacturer’s website. In your articles, always put some external link.

Regularly add content to your site

When I say regularly, it’s not necessarily every hour or every day. I happen to post only one article in the week. But you must continuously keep your site active, on the one hand for your visitors, on the other hand for Google.

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In general, this means to set a minimum of one article per week. But when you have inspiration, try to write an article as often as possible, even if you have already posted one the day before. If you have several ideas on the same day, put them in as a draft and publish them later to not have too many newly published articles at once.

To find content ideas, rely heavily on Twitter to see current trends and your lists of RSS feeds to search for targeted content.

Netlink

Basic but very important: netlinking. Having external sites that point to your site is an important factor in positioning. Of course, it does not do everything, but if you have good sites (not directories that you can find everywhere) that link you, it will send you juice SEO on your site.

In general, to have some targeted and easy links make some trustful and reliable directories. At the beginning of a project, make about one directory every 2-3 days to start quiet. While it becomes a challenge to making the perfect choice, it’s not a shame to seek for an expert or a maestro in this field to make it easier for you.

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As said, have a netlinking strategy that is close to zero. There are much more worked out netlinking strategies. But to start your site, a few well-placed little links will suffice. Obviously, it also depends on the competition on the keyword you have chosen.

Make “human” articles

Write like a human. Do not try (not immediately in any case) to make content automated, it may be disgusting and Google will let you know. As said above, look for a good theme, a good idea, look to the left and to the right at what the others do and write in your niche, with your words and your ideas.

Never try to go too fast. Build your project; feed it with ideas and content by laying down articles, tests, tutorials – all which will really interest your visitor.

Do not hesitate to be inspired by what others do. But be careful, I’m not telling you to copy / paste like a novice. But get information from here and there and then build your content with your own words

Featured photo credit: Luis Llerena via unsplash.com

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Published on July 7, 2020

Brain Training: 12 Fast, Fun Mental Workouts

Brain Training: 12 Fast, Fun Mental Workouts

Exercise isn’t just for your body. Just as important is keeping your mind strong by training your brain with fun mental workouts.

Think of your mental and physical fitness the same way: you don’t need to be an Olympian, but you do need to stay in shape if you want to live well. A few cognitive workouts per week can make a major difference in your life.

The Skinny on Mental Workouts

Physical fitness boosts your stamina and increases your muscular strength. The benefits of working up a mental sweat and brain training, however, might not be so obvious.

Research suggests that cognitive training has short- and long-term benefits, including:

1. Improved Memory

After eight weeks of cognitive training, 19 arithmetic students showed a larger and more active hippocampus than their peers.[1] The hippocampus is associated with learning and memory.

2. Reduced Stress Levels

Mastering new tasks more quickly makes the work of learning less stressful. A stronger memory can call information to mind with less effort.

3. Improved Work Performance

Learning quickly and remembering key details can lead to a better career. Employers are increasingly hiring for soft skills, such as trainability and attention to detail.

4. Delayed Cognitive Decline

As we age, we experience cognitive decline. A study published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that 10 one-hour sessions of cognitive training boosted reasoning and information processing speed in adults between the ages of 65 and 94.[2]

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Just like in physical exercise, what’s important isn’t the specific workout. To be sustainable, cognitive workouts need to be easy and fun. Otherwise, it’s too easy to throw in the towel.

Fun Brain Training Exercises for Everyone

The best about fun mental workouts? There’s no need to head to a gym. Feel free to mix and match the following activities for daily brain training:

1. Brainstorming

One of the simplest, easiest ways to engage your brain? Coming up with solutions to a challenge you’re facing.

If you aren’t good at solo ideation, ask a partner to join you. When I’m struggling to come up with topics to write about, I call up my editors to bat ideas around. Friends or co-workers are usually happy to help.

2. Dancing

Isn’t dancing a physical workout? Yes, but the coordination it requires is also great for training your brain. Plus, it’s a lot of fun.

Studies suggest that dance boosts multiple cognitive skills.[3] Planning, memorizing, organizing, and creativity all seem to benefit from a few fancy steps.

3. Learning a New Language

Learning a new language takes time. But if you split it up into small, daily lessons, it’s easier than you might think.

With language learning, every lesson builds on the last. When I was learning Spanish, I used a tool called Guru for knowledge management.[4] Every time I’d learn a verb tense, I’d create a new card to give me a quick refresh before moving on.

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4. Developing a Hobby

Like languages, hobbies take time to develop. But that’s the fun of them: you get a little better—both at the hobby and in terms of brain function—each time you do them.

If you’re trying to train your brain and improve a certain cognitive skill, choose a hobby that aligns with it.

For example:

  • Attention to detail: Pick a hobby that requires you to work patiently with small features. Woodworking, model-building, sketching, and painting are all good choices.
  • Learning and memory: Choose an activity that requires you to remember lots of details. Your best bets are hobbies that require lots of categorization, such as collecting stamps or coins.
  • Motor function: For this brain function, physical activities can double as fun mental workouts. Sports like soccer and basketball build gross motor functions. Fine motor functions are better trained through activities like table tennis or even playing video games.
  • Problem-solving: Most hobbies require you to problem-solve in one way or another. The ones that test your problem-solving skills the most, however, take some investigation.

Geocaching is a good example: Using a combination of clues and GPS readings, geocaching involves finding and re-hiding containers. Typically done in a wooded area, geocaching is a fun way to put your problem-solving skills to the test.

5. Board Games

Playing a board game might not be much of a physical workout, but it does make for a fun mental workout. With that said, not all board games work equally well for cognitive training.

Avoid “no brainer” board games, like Candy Land. Opt for strategy-focused ones, such as Risk or Settlers of Catan. Remember to ask other players for their input.

6. Card Games

Card games build cognitive skills in much the same way board games do. They have a few extra advantages, though, that make them worthy of special attention.

A deck of cards is inexpensive and can be played anywhere, from a kitchen to an airplane. More importantly, a deck of cards opens the door to dozens of different games. Challenge yourself to learn a few in an afternoon.

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7. Puzzles

Puzzles are great tools for building a specific cognitive skill: visuospatial function. Visuospatial function is important to train because it’s one of the first abilities to slip in people struggling with cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s.[5]

Choose a puzzle you’ll stick with. There’s no shame in starting with a 500-piece puzzle or choosing one that makes a childish image.

8. Playing Music

Listening to music is a great way to unwind. But playing music goes one step further. On top of entertaining you, it makes for a fun mental workout.

Again, choose an instrument you know you’ll stick with. If you’ve always wanted to learn the violin, don’t get a guitar because it’s less expensive or easier to pick up.

What if you can’t afford an instrument? Sing. Learning to control your voice is every bit as challenging as making a set of keys or strings sound good.

9. Meditating

Not all cognitive exercises are loud, in-your-face activities. Some of the most fun mental workouts, in fact, are quiet, solo activities. Meditating can help you focus, especially if you have pre-existing attention issues.

Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never meditated before. It’s easy:

  • Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down.
  • Set a timer for 10 minutes, or for however long you have to meditate.
  • Close your eyes or turn off the lights.
  • Focus on your breathing. Do not try to control it.
  • If your thoughts wander, gently bring them back to your breath.
  • When the timer goes off, wiggle your fingers and toes for a minute. Slowly bring yourself back to reality. Remember the sense of serenity you found.

10. Deep Conversation

There’s nothing more mentally stimulating than a good, long conversation. The key is depth: surface-level chatter doesn’t get the mind’s wheels spinning like a thoughtful, authentic conversation. This type of conversation helps in training your brain to think more deeply and reflect.

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Choose your partner carefully. You’re looking for someone who’ll challenge your ideas without being confrontational. Stress isn’t good for brain health, but there’s value in coming up with creative arguments.

11. Cooking

When you think about it, cooking requires an impressive array of cognitive skills. Developing a cook’s intuition requires a good memory. Making sure flavors are balanced takes attention to detail. When something goes wrong in the kitchen, problem-solving skills come into play. Motor control is required to stir, flip, and whisk.

If you’re going to cook, you might as well make enough for everyone. Invite them into the kitchen as well: coordinating with other chefs adds an extra layer of challenge to this fun mental workout.

12. Mentorship

Whether you’re the mentee or the mentor, mentorship is an incredible mental workout. Learning from someone you look up to combines the benefits of deep conversation with skill-building. Teaching someone else forces you to put yourself in their shoes, which requires empathy and problem-solving skills.

Put yourself in both situations. Being a student makes you a better teacher, and teaching others gives you insight into how you, yourself, learn.

Final Thoughts

Your mind is your most important possession, and training your brain is needed to maintain its health. Don’t let it get soft.

To keep those neurons firing at full speed, add a few fun mental workouts to your schedule. And if you’re still struggling to get your brain in gear, remember: there’s an app for that.

More Tips for Training Your Brain

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

Reference

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