6 Steps to Keyword Success

6 Steps to Keyword SuccessIt is surprising how often keyword research is overlooked when people talk about optimizing their website, blog or other online assets for search engines.  The thinking often goes that when you come up some keywords that represent your product, and you optimize your online efforts around these keywords, your target market will find you.  There are several variations of this thinking.

It’s a good start; however, this is only part of the equation.  A key factor is missing, which is how many internet searchers are typing those particular queries into search engines.  It is imperative that, before beginning any kind of search optimization, you find out what queries people are using to search for your type of product or service.

6 Steps to Keyword Success - keyword researchFor example, you may think that “keyword research” is a great keyword.  If you dig deeper, you would find that “keyword tool” and “google keyword” are relevant keywords which are actually searched more often in Google.  Depending on the context, these may be better keywords to optimize for.

It’s the small step of gathering that intelligence which will make all the difference to your search optimization.  It is surprisingly quick, easy and free to gather all of the information you need to make informed keyword selections.  Here are six steps to keyword success:

  • Brainstorm keyword ideas and themes: Use your knowledge of industry jargon and key terms to create a basic list. Include everything you can think of that is relevant to your product or service.
  • Use a keyword tool: Take brainstorming a step further and gather intelligence. To get expand reach and increase awareness for a brand, marketing agencies use a variety of marketing tools. You should do the same. The best keyword tool for every reputable marketing professional out there, without doubt, is the free Google Keyword Tool.  While other search engines exist, SEO efforts should be focused on Google search results.  Where better a place to gather keyword intelligence than Google itself?
  • Build out a list: Spend some time with the Google keyword tool and build a list of every conceivable keyword combination that has search volume.
  • Do a ranking scan: Find out how you are currently ranking in the Google SERP’s for the most relevant keywords in your keyword list.
  • Look at your analytics: Log in to your Google analytics account and take a close look at what keywords your organic search traffic is coming from currently. Watch the video below to learn more about Google Analytics.

  • Analyze your keywords: Once you’ve gathered intelligence on your keywords, sit back and look for opportunities. For example, is there a keyword in your list where you are currently ranked 15th, that is already bringing decent traffic to your website and has big search volume (i.e. big traffic potential)?  That’s probably a keyword you should target.

Keyword selection should be based on more than just what sounds good.  It should also be based on search volume (i.e. traffic potential), current rankings and current traffic volume.

Finally, of course, your keywords should always be as relevant as possible to the content of the page that you are optimizing.  For, all of the non-relevant traffic you can get will not bring you results of it does not convert. To allow yourself to focus more on other equally important aspects of your business, think about increasing your online visibility with the help of a firm that specializes in professional SEO services.The services provided are cost-efficient and convenient and can be customized according to your needs.

Keeping Your Eyes Healthy

Keeping your eyes healthy

The eye is one the most important organs in our body. While not necessary for life, our vision is integral to how we experience and relate to the world around us. It has been estimated that as much as 80% of our perception and comprehension of our surroundings comes through vision. In other words, while the other senses like touch, taste, hearing and smell are important to understand the things we come in contact with, they only contribute 20% of our knowledge, while sight makes up the other 80%!

We can understand why it is therefore so important to keep our eyes healthy. Despite this, there are a lot of people who will visit a dentist every year but will never go and see an optometrist because they think they don’t have to. They, therefore, have no idea how healthy their eyes are or what issues they have a higher risk of having to deal with as they get older.

What is this post about?

Let’s start by what it is not about. It is not about encouraging you not to have regular eye examinations with a qualified professional. Any advice you may get from this website will never be as good as someone actually looking at your eyes in detail.

So what is it about then? Our aim is to increase awareness about different eye and vision issues, to suggest possible treatments for common and straightforward problems that are easily and readily available and most importantly to help you get the best information about ensuring that your eyes stay healthy and feel great!

So many questions!

Keeping your eyes healthy - dry eyes

We get asked literally asked questions about different aspects of the eyes and vision and we can see that people are desperate for some direction in these areas. Just over the last couple of months we have been asked a whole variety of questions, including:

  • What causes dry eyes? What can you do about it?
  • What are the advantages of  water gradient contact lenses over ordinary ones?
  • Is an oral antihistamine good enough for the eyes during hay fever or do I need eye drops, too?
  • Do I have to have a cataract operation or can I just take drops?
  • Am I at risk for glaucoma? What is glaucoma?
  • My grandmother has macular degeneration, am I likely to get it too?’
  • What can I do about the bags under my eyes?
  • Is there cosmetic surgery for the eyes?
  • My glasses prescription keeps on getting worse, how can I slow it down?
  • How important are sunglasses or are they just a fashion item?

We hope to eventually cover all of these questions over the coming months and we will be regularly posting more, essential information so keep checking back to see what’s been added.

And if you have any questions about your eyes that you want us to address or would want to know about prescription eyewear particularly contact lenses that can be worn for a week, be sure to comment and we will either reply or set up a blog post to answer them the best way we can.

Keep well and stay healthy!

Green Energy and Oil

Renewable Energy Supplies About 7% of our Needs

What is the future of our energy landscape? Renewable energy has a long way to go, but there are need and opportunity.

Renewable energy supplies about 7% of all energy consumed in the United States, says the Energy Information Administration. More than 50% of renewable energy is used to generate electricity. China leads the world in total renewable energy consumption thanks to several large hydroelectric projects, but the U.S. is second in renewable electricity production. However, the U.S. is by far the largest consumer of non-renewable energy in the world.

Oil is Important but it is Not Renewable.

Though energy (including petroleum) consumption is down in this recessionary period, the annual U.S. per capita consumption is about 25 barrels of oil, as opposed to Japan at 14, Britain at 11, and China at 2 (and growing). As Peter Tertzakian’s book is titled, world oil consumption is “A Thousand Barrels a Second”. Oil is very ingrained in our society, supplying the fuel for our cars and planes, the means to heat and cool our homes, to fertilize lands and feed animals, to store and cook food, to transport goods nationally and internationally.

Petroleum-based products are as diverse as heart valves, aspirin, computer parts, footballs, and disposable diapers. Oil and natural gas provide 61% of our domestic energy needs, are powerful sources of energy and they are necessary. But, on the negative side, they are not renewable and supplies will one day start to recede (sooner or later). The U.S. imports about 65% of its oil needs, and though this number may have gone down over the last year due to the recession and lower consumption (some estimates are at 57 to 59%), relying on imports can be an issue for national security. And of course, oil is not friendly to the environment.

All Sources of Energy Need to be Developed

There is no question that oil is necessary, and that no other energy can meet its strength. However, it also seems clear (even to oil companies) that we need to develop all sources of energy. Indeed, renewable energy is expected to grow. The EIA projects the total American electricity generation from renewable energy may reach 16% by 2030. Wind power has made the largest strides among renewable energies recently, growing by 50% between 2007 and 2008 (yet still providing a minuscule percentage within the overall renewable energy category). Renewable energy has a long way to go.

Something that may help it along is state-mandated Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). RPS essentially requires a certain amount of electricity be generated (or acquired) from renewable sources. More than half of the U.S. states have RPS in place, but many have escape clauses if the costs go too high. Others have delayed implementation. The EIA, among others, tracks the states and their RPS policies.

Difficulties Facing Green Energy?

What can work against the development and implementation of renewables?

  • The new technologies are often capital-intensive, and these days the banks are not open to much financing and capital is not abundant. Consumers (whether they are residential consumers or commercial consumers) have to weigh the cost and immediate benefits.
  • To help offset the expense, tax credits or other federal or state incentives need to be in place for a long period of time, rather than short periods.
  • Some of the technologies are still being developed, and consumers may hesitate to buy, waiting for the next best version.
  • There is also some resistance to change and the unknown. And there can be other kinds of resistance, too. There are many stories of residential communities fighting against windmills in their “neighborhoods”, for instance.

Renewable energy has a long way to go, but the frontier is opening and many see it as full of opportunity.

Going Green with Geothermal

One small community battles the current economy to implement abundant geothermal resources in a one-of-a-kind greenhouse.

A Gardening Dream

The desire is obvious. “Going green” is catchy, and for many, the ideal way to fashion one’s life. People pride efforts when the sun is harvested with solar panels, when wind farms capture the wind’s energy, and applaud new approaches to fuel vehicles and industries working off renewable methods. The dilemma many encounter is the initial cost of the green technology. Yes, the renewable energy may eventually save money, but with the economy in recession, getting by the next month has interrupted future investments. The Geothermal Greenhouse Project is the grassroots effort of local citizens attempting to overcome the troubling economy in order to fulfill a dream, a hope of a greenhouse, powered by geothermal heat.

With dwindling construction jobs and scant real estate sales, Pagosa Springs, a town nestled in the San Juan Mountains in Southwest Colorado, has been as hard hit as like the rest of the nation. An abundance of mountain views offer seasonal tourism which, fortuitously, generated increased revenue for the past few years amongst the heart of the recession. Unfortunately, tourism is unable to recreate the profits from the industries of construction and real estate. The response, by a town of just over 3 thousand residents and only 13 thousand Archuleta County citizens, is a geothermal greenhouse.

The assortment of minerals—sodium, potassium, magnesium, iron, and sulfate (the cause for the unique smell) has coined the geothermal water as “healing waters.” These mineral springs have lured Native Americans like the Utes and other Southwestern tribes. Settlers also rested in the pools near the San Juan River. In the 1970’s, the use of the geothermal water as heat began to be a substitute for the increasing energy costs during that time. Investment in the geothermal water heats downtown businesses, public schools, government buildings, and some homes today. The heat is being proposed for the geothermal greenhouse.

Growing a Mountain Town

Mountain communities are not known for an extended growing period. The geothermal greenhouse is perceived as an ideal use of green energy to provide fruits and vegetables year-round.

The Geothermal Greenhouse Project representatives presented the latest findings at a public meeting on June 7. Kathy Keyes, a local business owner and a member of the grassroots Geothermal Greenhouse Project, explained, “This project will help the economy overall by utilizing our intrinsic resources, showing we can grab our own bootstraps while educating local children.

Three geodesic domes are proposed for the estimated $1.4 million project. One dome is planned to be for community gardeners. Another dome is to be a learning tool for local schools, reminding the students of the agricultural roots of the community. The third dome is idealized as a commercial dome, a way of branding Pagosa Springs products around the nation, even around the globe. Solar power is intended to provide lighting during the darker days of the Rocky Mountain winters.

Support by the Town of Pagosa Springs has been witnessed through a loan of land for $10 a year as well as 100 gallons per minute of the geothermal water effluent(heat) after it has gone through the local system, heating downtown communities. In-kind community donations continue to mount up as well. However community support has only gotten the project so far. Cash is needed. Financing green projects is no easy feat. Financing a green project in a recession is an even more formidable challenge.

Finding the Green

A request to Colorado Senator Michael Bennett as well as Congressman John Salazar for $1.2 million for federal appropriations stimulus monies is pending. The project is currently one of thirteen remaining projects out of 150 still being considered for the federal stimulus appropriations. Applications to the Colorado Governor Energy office as well as numerous granting agencies have also been requested.

Residents enjoy their open spaces. The construction of domes on a downtown park is not viewed favorably by all citizens in the community. One concern voiced at the meeting by residents is that the domes will be an unsightly invasion of public space on the donated Town of Pagosa Springs property, known to locals as Centennial Park. Michael Whiting, a member of the Geothermal Greenhouse Project, stated that landscaping outside the domes might be tended to by the local gardening club, and the trail, traversing through Centennial Park, would be repaired and would meander in the gardens surrounding the domes.

Whiting recognized that the two years plus of project planning already past appeared to be excruciatingly slow progress. He insisted the planning for the greenhouse needed to be as frugal with finances as possible, keeping in mind the necessity for the project to be as efficient as possible with all its resources.

The geothermal water has enticed many to soak in the “healing waters”. The citizens of Pagosa Springs hope the waters also heal the economy, by attracting travelers to soak in the green energy of a geothermal greenhouse.

Alternative Energy Sources: Wave Power

The oceans are a huge repository of the sun’s energy. There are at least three ways to recover this energy. This article looks at one – wave power.

Among many indicators of global warming is the fact that the amount of heat stored in the oceans is increasing. So it makes sense to use that heat to provide for mankind’s energy needs. The US Navy is among those developing ways of doing so. The other sources of energy from the sea are tidal power and wave power.

When the worldwide price of crude oil rocketed following the Middle East crisis of the early 1970’s and the subsequent formation of OPEC to control supplies there was an upsurge of interest in alternatives and ways of harnessing the power of the waves received significant volumes of government investment in the UK and elsewhere. Probably the best known of the devices that were developed during this period is the Salter Duck.

Europe’s Marine Energy Development Centred on Scotland

Further government funding was denied to this device in the 1980s when fears about future trends in crude oil prices had subsided. Professor Salter’s facility at the University of Edinburg remains in business however and continues to play a significant role in the testing and development of wave power devices.

Indeed, a significant proportion of the world’s wave power development is centred on Scotland, with the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) based at Stromness providing facilities for full scale testing of wave and tidal power devices in some of the most adverse conditions likely to be encountered anywhere in the world.

EMEC plays a leading role in assisting developers by creating standards and ensuring that environmental impacts are properly assessed as part of the design process. Devices currently or soon to be deployed at EMEC’s wave power testing facility include Pelamis 1 and 2, Oyster and Penguin.

Off-shore Energy on Ireland’s West Coast

Meanwhile Ocean Energy Limited (OE) of Cobh in County Cork, Ireland have developed a device which has been tested in Atlantic gales and, since February 2010, have been in partnership with US multinational Dresser-Rand Corporation. In addition their platform is being used in Galway Bay by Europe’s Hydraulics and Maritime Research Centre (HMRC) as a testbed for peripheral devices such as control systems, telemetry and grid interface technology. All of these technologies are essential requirements for the efficient transfer of wave generated electricity into a nation’s power grid.

Elsewhere, Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) have deployed devices at test sites in Hawaii, Atlantic City and Spain as well as at the EMEC test site in Orkney. OPT also intend to deploy an array of their devices at Wave Hub off the Cornish coast. This is a similar facility to the one operated by EMEC. OPT are developing “wave parks” at Reedsport and Coos Bay, Oregon.

Need to Lower Total Cost of Wave Energy

Critics of the current state of wave power development believe that there is a basic mistake being made in concentrating on areas where there are frequent high waves. In addition to the difficulty of designing equipment capable of surviving in such harsh conditions, such locations are often far from major centres of industry and population.

One such critic is Cliff Goudey, whose own wave energy company won an entrepreneurship competition in November 2010. In January 2011 he stated in a comment on the Renewable Energy World website, that developers need to “recognize that Kw/$ is what matters.” Generating a lot of power, most of which is lost in transmission, can be seen as wasteful. Accepting that lower outputs of energy at source makes sense if the cost of the equipment required to do so can be kept down and the transmission losses reduced because of the relative proximity of the generating devices to the point of use.

Solar Power for the Roofless: Off-site Solutions

Innovative Programs Offer Greater Accessibility To Clean Renewables

Novel models can overcome common solar qualification obstacles. There is hope for those with shade trees, divided roofs, poor roof pitch, orientation, or no roof at all.

Eighty five percent of Americans polled would rather have clean, renewable energy (Efrid, 2009). However, after nearly three decades of tax credits and rebates, only seven percent of the nation’s usage is clean, renewable energy; only one percent of the nation’s usage is solar (E.I.A., 2009).

Innovative solutions increasing accessibility to solar power have emerged. Among these and discussed this article are: Solar Shares, Solar Community Gardens, Forced Air Window Sill Solar Space Heaters, and Community Choice Aggregates.

Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) Solar Shares

Per the SMUD.org website SolarShares is a program that is the first of its kind begun by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), in Northern California. It is the largest in the nation serving between 800 and 1,000 customers that have purchased shares of its 1MW solar farm.

As the solar farm generates electricity, that amount of Kwh produced will pay out as a credit on the customer’s bill. The size of the credit will be deducted from a flat monthly upfront fee that is agreed upon during the signing of the agreement.

The program is best appreciated during Sacramento’s long hot summers. There are more customers than there are available shares, and so SMUD is expanding the program to accommodate demand.

Solar Community Gardens

Colorado State Representative Claire Levy (D-Boulder), has introduced HR 1342 that would create solar community gardens. Residents would buy into the off-site solar gardens like shareholders, and receive a portion of the energy produced.

Laura Snider (January, 18, 2010) of the Dailycamera interviewed Levy. “The intent of (the bill) is so people can have the benefit of what they would get if they had solar panels on their rooftops,” Levy said. “It’s for people who are renters, who live in condominium projects and don’t have rooftops, people whose lots are shaded, people whose houses aren’t the right orientation — a whole variety of things.”

Joy Hughes writes in a note posted on the Facebook page Solar Gardens “Solargardens.org has been organizing in counties around Colorado. Potential sites include a public library, a food co-op, a farm, a ranch, a church, an office building, and a land-based community energy group. Each of these community institutions could benefit financially from hosting solar panels.”

Forced Air Window Sill Solar Space Heater

Kevin Campbell tells Suite 101 that his first Window Sill Solar Space Heater was “just a cardboard box with tin foil, and some saran wrap with a computer fan.” That was many units ago. The Window Sill Solar Heater will fit comfortably into a window frame and heat a 600 square foot space he says. The panel collects heat from the sun. An automatic fan will turn on and off as is needed per the thermostat inside the panel.

Typically persons are discouraged from going solar with a lack of desired southern exposure. However, Kevin’s customers have told him they have been able to put the unit into an eastern facing window and migrate it to a western window in the afternoon, to track the winter sun. Customers buy the heaters for their cabins, houses, and businesses. Kevin thinks architects ought to make it a standard practice to design windows and homes to capture the heat of the sun.

During a sunny winter with little cloud cover, the unit has saved up to 30% on winter heating bills. As the standard heat he sells is roughly only $300.00, the cost is easily recovered within the year.

Community Choice Aggregates

Community Choice Aggregates (CCAs) are to energy reform what the public option is to health care. Cities form the equivalent of a buyer’s cooperative by purchasing bulk energy on the market to build local green-power facilities. That electricity is then re-sold to local residents and businesses using the distribution system built by the city’s current private electric service provider, PG&E.

Dan Walters (2010), reporter for the Sacramento Bee writes “Nearly a century later, PG&E is still resisting efforts to create publicly owned utilities.” The provider has recently collected enough signatures from paid gatherers to qualify as an initiative termed Proposition 16 New Two-Thirds Vote Requirement for Local Public Electricity Providers. Initiative Constitutional Amendment. Walters writes this will cost PG&E at least 25 million dollars to persuade voters to adopt the constitutional amendment.