SEO accomplishes so much more than vanity metrics. When done well, it helps real businesses achieve real goals for their success. When done wrong, it’s a destructive tactic that quickly kills the SEO message.

While SEO isn’t necessarily bad, the term itself is often misunderstood, misused and overused. And that’s putting it mildly. But as long as people are able to understand what’s going on, and how it actually affects the end user, SEO is useful. When taken wrong, it can absolutely ruin your campaign. So don’t think it doesn’t happen to some of you, just because it might not to you.

Do you have any tips for combating the SEO dross that plagues your marketing efforts? Let us know in the comments!

Want to learn more about SEMrush SEO services? Download our ebook to discover how I helped my business double its search engine rankings. Click here to download your copy now!

Get on the Smart SEO wagon and start understanding how Google works. Visit to start learning everything about it!

Did You Know?

Our search algorithms determine how and what is shown in the SERP. They determine what’s clickable, what isn’t. They create an accurate, quantifiable level of relevance to a search. Just as important, they help content get discovered.

SEO is inextricably linked to search engines. Search engines determine the search rankings of a website. A high-quality website helps increase the search engine rankings of a site. The more traffic a site gets and the more time that goes on in the SERP, the higher its search engine rankings go.

So, if a site receives a lot of organic traffic, but the SERP shows lower rankings than other sites, it’s not because the site is less authoritative. It’s because the content isn’t good enough.

Google’s algorithm automatically provides the page with the best possible ranking. Because a search engine evaluates a number of factors, there is a lot of room for variation. They didn’t just pick one number. They’re always looking to improve what they believe to be the best answer.

Dedicated hosting allows enhanced security, particularly important for companies handling sensitive transactions over FTP or SSL.
With the advent of the World Wide Web, more and more people are turning to the internet for their information needs and to keep their information safe. With over 800 million users worldwide, web hosting is more popular than ever, with more than 600 million web sites now online, everyone just want to find the best wordpress hosting providers.

Web hosting

The average web host in the world today is a multi-site business, operating from multiple locations in different time zones around the world. In addition to the normal web hosting activities, web hosts often handle hosting services for other companies, such as domain registration and web hosting. Make sure to find the best game server hosting here to keep leveling up on your favorite games.

Some web hosts host a variety of sites, while others focus on just one, or even just two, categories of sites. It is important to choose a web host that allows you the flexibility to host as much or as little content as you need.

Some web hosts offer you a free tier of web hosting, which limits the amount of sites you can host. Others offer a paid tier with more features, such as additional domains, more database connections, unlimited bandwidth, and more.

A premium web host may also offer additional services, such as e-mail and FTP servers, backup and recovery, SSL certificates, and more.

Some companies offer a free web hosting plan, but it’s only as good as the number of websites that are hosted. In order to earn money on web hosting, you’ll need to get your own domain, create an unlimited amount of websites, and host them for a long time.

Many web hosting companies charge a flat rate, or even a percentage of the website’s revenue. For this reason, choosing a web hosting company can be expensive. Some offer affordable plans, but it depends on what type of plan you’re looking for and how you plan to use the website. Other types of hosting providers offer variable pricing plans, and they usually have a free plan with restrictions that limit you to a certain number of files or folders.

Preventing Cyberattacks

Network security is the umbrella term given to the strategy, practices, and software that protect your business systems from cyberattacks. The main problem with most businesses today, both in the United States and internationally, is that they aren’t taking reasonable measures to improve their level of security. They are still using unsecured connections. Since almost all the attacks come from outside the country or country’s network, reducing the number of vulnerable systems on your network makes you a target. To prevent this, check out reliable and secure business phone internet packages for your business.

Georgia Tech Cyber and Network Security Boot Camp | Atlanta

Identifying and addressing software bugs is important in order to maximize the security of your company (visit Fortinet to learn why). However, you can’t always be sure when or where the bug has been introduced in your software. Also, the presence of software bugs in your software, which cannot be fixed or adjusted, is a warning that something is wrong within your system and you need to address it immediately. Once the bug has been identified, you need to check if it is currently being exploited. In cases where exploits are identified, you can adjust your security to ensure that the exploit won’t be used again and that it won’t create other security vulnerabilities. This will cost money, but it’s very important for your business. For example, you might decide not to exploit the vulnerability again because you’re taking proactive measures to protect it.

Preventing hackers from getting into your network can also be beneficial to you. This is true especially when dealing with systems that are running production-level software and/or systems that have other user accounts that the attacker could use to create other opportunities for attack. You should prevent unauthorized users from gaining access to other users’ accounts.

Keep your personal data on an encrypted hard drive

If you store your personal information on a public web server, remember to lock the login window when you’re not using it. Keep it closed when you’re at home and unlocked when you’re at work. You may need to protect this access like this colocation for your employees to access it in case they need it for work.

Keep your personal data private

Encrypt your hard drive using a trusted, third-party application, such as TrueCrypt. If you are storing files on an external hard drive, choose one that encrypts all of the data in a disk folder. To know more of data privacy and data virtualization, look for Delphix.

His Name is Charlie

For the past few years, I’ve watched with some amusement and bewilderment at the popularity of the “Elf on the Shelf.” For a mere $30, you can buy a book and an elf, then spend hours perusing Pinterest, Facebook, and countless blogs for ideas to have some fun with the kiddos.

But the thing is, I grew up with that elf. And the elf had a name: Charlie.

My grandma moved in with my family when I was around seven years old. When she moved in, she brought all her old (and I do mean old) Christmas decorations with her, including a cheery-faced elf she called Charlie. We had some other elves that were kind of similar but smaller; they sat with their knees pulled up to their little pointed chins, their arms looped around them. Charlie was bigger than these and had long since had his legs freed. I can’t remember when it began, but before Christmas one year Charlie started getting into trouble. When my sister and I would get home from school we would find Charlie in the craziest predicaments. I remember finding him dangling from a high branch on the Christmas tree, a doorknob, the corner of a picture frame, or other potentially dangerous spots for an eight-inch elf. He also got into some other problems that were obviously of his own doing, like when we’d find just a red felt leg hanging out of a cookie jar. But these problem spots often clued us in to treats that grandma had conjured up while we were at school, like freshly baked cookies in the cookie jar that Charlie had gotten stuck in.

I found his twin on eBay!

I found his twin on eBay!

My memories are a little hazy, but I think one year Charlie stuck around after the holidays. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think he was around for a whole year that time. We didn’t find him in a new spot every day, but he would occasionally pop up when we didn’t expect it. I can remember finding him on my nicely-made bed… and I hadn’t made it before school that day. Or with clean laundry that had been put away for me. Or with more freshly-baked cookies. 

Unlike the current version of the elf, I don’t think Charlie’s adventures were something that my grandma had carefully thought through in order to orchestrate good behavior from my sister and me, or to try to engineer happy memories. It just kind of happened. Even though grandma and I didn’t always get along very well, little things like Charlie let me know that she did love me. And the un-engineered, just-happened happy memories are obviously still with me.

After I got married, Charlie came to live with me. Most Christmases found him once again dangling from a high branch on our Christmas tree. He hadn’t yet started getting into real trouble when we made the move around the world. The move meant that we had to get rid of most of our possessions… but I still have Charlie. He’s in a box in my sister’s basement with other Christmas decorations that didn’t make the move to Thailand with us. I’m planning to bring him back with me after we visit the U.S. next summer. I don’t see myself going down the “Elf on the Shelf” road with elaborately planned elf-adventures like I’ve seen on Pinterest. But still, I wonder what kind of new trouble he could get into in the tropics?

It’s everywhere you want to be.


If you’ve been following us on Facebook lately, you might have noticed a couple of posts where we complained about our visa troubles. Now that (we think) we have things straightened out I thought I’d explain what’s going on.

First of all, a visa is what allows a person to enter a foreign country. Thailand has many different types of visas–exactly how many I don’t know. An official Thai government website lists six different categories, most of which also have subcategories. I counted 16 different types and subtypes on that page and I don’t know if it was a complete list. The visa type determines how long a person can stay, whether they can leave the country and return, and whether they can work; and the requirements and qualifications for each type of visa are different. Needless to say it can be very confusing to figure out exactly which visa category one is supposed to fit under and how to go about getting it.

Before we came to Thailand initially we did a lot of research and finally figured out what we needed: a one-year, non-immigrant, multi-entry O visa. This visa was good for one year and allowed us to stay in the country for 90 days at a time.That’s the reason for our border runs; we had to leave the country before 90 days were up, but since our visa allows for multiple entries we could just turn around and come right back. We are allowed to do volunteer work but not get a job in the country. That visa expires on May 8, but since we did a border run last weekend we’re allowed another 90 days in the country. However, if we leave the country after May 8 we cannot return since our visa is no longer valid for entry.

We knew before we came that when our first visas expired we would need to get a different visa type. Many visa types require you to be sponsored by a foundation or agency. Before we even got here we spoke with the national foundation that our organization uses. We were told they would have visas for us and we could begin the process of applying for them after we were in the country. Right after we arrived the foundation informed us that there had been a mistake and they did not have any visas available for us. Back to square one, but at least we had a year to get it sorted out.

Fast-forward about six months: we hadn’t been able to work out how we were going to get new visas, and we were starting to get a little concerned. Even if everything goes smoothly visas can take up to three months to process. Then after a lot of effort by a lot of people we finally came up with a plan. We would still go through the same foundation but in a different way. The new visas we were applying for would eliminate the need for border runs; we would have to report to the local immigration office every 90 days and let them know we’re still here, but not make the four-hour drive to the border. For an extra fee we could get permission for multiple entries, so we would be able to travel to other countries and still be allowed back in. We pulled together loads of paperwork, letters from all over the globe, photographs, and copies of everything from birth certificates to college degrees and handed it all off to a Thai national who would take it through the next step for us.

The next step was not the Thai government, however. It was the foundation. We thought that since we were going about things in a different way everything should work out fine. But it didn’t. This time it wasn’t that they didn’t have a visa for us; the foundation had changed its internal requirements for approving visa applications and they said we no longer qualified. Our paperwork never even made it to the immigration office.

We found this out about a month before our visas were due to expire. By this time our options were very limited. In fact, we had only one option left: an education visa. There are many language schools in Chiang Mai, quite a few of which are approved by the Ministry of Education for granting ed visas. We did some quick research and narrowed it down to three schools. The schools’ requirements varied by quite a lot, from two hours of class twice a week to three hours of class three times a week. Out of those three, we ended up choosing the school with the highest requirements. We had a couple of reasons for this: a big one is that this school works with many people in similar situations to ours. I (Lisa) will be the one getting the ed visa; Tim and the girls will be granted a non-immigrant O again, attached to me and my ed visa. Our school will help us with not only the ed visa but the visas for the whole family. The other schools not only weren’t able to help us with the rest of the family, but weren’t even sure what to tell us to do or whether it was possible. The other reason we chose this school is that we’re thinking that this is actually a good opportunity for us. For the past year we’ve been taking private lessons, first three times a week then two times a week for two hours each day. We’ve made decent progress but not as much as we could have if we were spending more time and effort on it. We decided that if we’re going to be forced to go to language school we might as well jump in with both feet and push ourselves hard to get a good grasp on the language.

Ed visas are single-entry (meaning that if you leave the country you can’t come back), but like the other visa type we were trying for it can be changed to a multiple-entry for an extra fee. We’ll need to do 90-day reporting at the immigration office, but not border runs. These visas will be good for one year, after which time they can be renewed. We have also made contact with a different foundation that has told us to get in touch again in about six months to see if they might be able to help us next year, so maybe we’ll be able to switch visa types to one without the requirements of an ed visa.

We have started the paperwork process with the school and they’re telling us that it should take four to five weeks for everything to be complete. We’ll start classes the first week of June. We know this is going to be a challenge: three half days a week of school for Tim and me (we’ll be taking classes together even though I’m the only one with the ed visa) along with outside study time, required field trips, work for him, and homeschooling and co-op for me. The girls will most likely tag along with us to the school and find a quiet place to sit and do their own schoolwork, read, or (once their schoolwork is done) watch videos or play games on their iPods. We may leave them home some of the time as well.

One sad thing will be losing our current Thai teacher. She’s a dear sister and wonderful teacher who has been great with us and with the kids. The kids won’t be taking lessons anymore since our schedules will be so full. But as Tim and I are able to improve our own language skills we’ll be able to speak Thai to them more and more, which should help in their language acquisition. And perhaps as we get settled into a new routine we’ll be able to start their lessons back up.

So there’s a very long explanation of a very complicated subject. Hopefully next year everything will go smoothly and we won’t need to go through anything like this again.