SSgt Raymond Gonzalez (USAF-SEP) has worked the streets of New York City as an Emergency Medical Technician, chased bad guys with the New York City Housing Police Department and explored the world as a Flight Medic with the United States Air Force. After serving his country, he pursued his entrepreneurial goals owning car dealerships in the Saint Louis Metro East, Southern IL region.

He lives in Plymouth, MA, has worked remotely for Shop.com deploying eCommerce enabled websites and social media solutions for small businesses and recently stood up the Business Development Center for Honda of Plymouth.

Currently he is the Massachusetts Veteran Program Coordinator for Vantage Mobility International and founder of the American Wheelchair Van Society connecting disabled warriors with State, Federal and Private funding for the purchase of specially adapted wheelchair vans in Boston, MA. His work has afforded the heroes of Massachusetts the independence and mobility they deserve.

Another Online Scam…

*WARNING* to the online community:

Our technical team received a call from 510-943-3040. The caller said they were from Microsoft and stated the computer at that location had issues, and needed to log in. Our staff did not comply and hung up. We searched Google and found it is a new scam; don’t fall for it. Looking out for my ‘peeps’ is what I do, have yourself an awesome day!


Source: raymondgonzalez.com

9 Pro Tips for Developing a Killer Internal Link Structure.

By: April 23, 2012

Internal linking is the most overlooked and undervalued tactic in all of search engine optimization (SEO). What many search marketers don’t realize is that you can often get just as much “SEO value” from internal links placed on high-value pages on your own site as you can from inbound links.

Internal linking also promotes healthy link equity flow throughout a site, allows you to strategically channel link juice to target landing pages, lifts deep pages higher up in the site structure, and improves usability and overall crawlability making it easier for users and engines to find your content. It’s also far easier to structure your desired anchor text and secure priority on-page placement for internal versus inbound links.

When you start working with a new client, one of the first things that will move the needle is to develop and implement an internal linking strategy. Here are nine tactics to get you started.

1. Tap the Most Linked-to Pages

For a new internal linking strategy, start by going to Open Site Explorer. Grab a list of the most linked to (and most authoritative) pages on a client site and drop links on those pages to my “SEO landing pages,” (i.e., pages you’re targeting specifically for organic traffic). Theoretically those pages are the biggest reservoirs of link equity, and your goal is to harness and effectively distribute the flow of link juice.

2. Interlink All Your Target SEO Landing Pages

It’s a good idea to scale your link building efforts as much as possible. Interlinking all the target SEO landing pages on a website is a great way to scale because each time you build an inbound link to one SEO landing page, that link equity subsequently flows to your other SEO landing pages, thereby multiplying your efforts. The easiest way to interlink SEO landing pages is to add a list of “related links” at the end of a page or in a sidebar.

3. Drop Links on the Home Page

The home page is often the most linked to page on a website, so it should be a prime target for tapping equity. Also, anything linked to internally from the home page sends a pretty strong trust and authority signal to the engines that your organization places high value on those pages.

Politics within companies can make adding a home page link impossible at times. But if you run into resistance, you can often sell the concept by suggesting the links live below the fold in a discreet “resources” or “top searches” sidebar content block. Granted, that’s not as strong a signal as above the fold, but sometimes you have to take what you can get.

4. Drop Links on Pages Higher in the Information Architecture

Pages that are high in the information architecture (IA) may or may not be the most linked to pages on a site, but they’re only a click away from the home page. This means that a higher percentage of the link equity from the home page flows to these pages. What’s more, adding links here helps move deeper pages of content higher up the IA ladder.

5. Look for Unconventional Places to Grab Links

Some of the best pages to tap for link equity are pages “off the beaten path,” like company leaders, privacy policy, terms of service, contact us, etc. Unless a client is opposed to including internal links on these pages (and, yes, you should be very transparent with a client and don’t do anything link-wise until you get the green light), these pages are great because not only are they high in the architecture but they’re often free of other links, meaning you aren’t competing with a dozen other internal or external links for a page’s cache of link juice.

6. Use the Footer

There’s debate over whether Google devalues footer links. To me, footer links are inherently “less valuable” given their position on a page, which sends a signal to both engines and users that these pages or a lower priority.

That said, while links to “external sites” in the footer may be devalued, links to “internal pages” definitely pass value (how much is debatable and differs site to site). Implement dynamic footers across your site to make this region more interesting to engines.

7. Use Breadcrumbs

For most, breadcrumbs are a navigational tool, allowing users to return to a previous page without hitting the back button or truncating the URL. However, breadcrumbs are great for internal linking. Not only can you flow equity between pages, but you can use anchor text to send a relevance signal where it makes sense.

8. Don’t Ignore the Bblog!

Blogs and aged blog content are prime source of pooled link equity, so it’s important that you don’t overlook the blog in your internal linking strategy. To flow equity throughout the blog, you can use related post plugins, top post widgets in the sidebar, categories, breadcrumbs and better pagination.

You can also leverage the blog to push equity and PageRank over to your sales or services pages on your main site, since those “money pages” can often be “link poor” and need some added link juice and keyword relevance to goose them higher in the SERPs. Find aged blog content with links and authority and use Open Site Explorer to pull a report of top blog URLs to siphon link juice from.

9. Create an Internal Linking Dashboard

Keep a journal of all your internal linking activity. Having a record of your linking efforts comes in really handy if you want to revisit and revise preexisting link text on a site (say, for example, you decide to shift keyword targeting strategies for a group of pages, or we find that certain keywords convert better than others, etc).

Principles of PageRank
Principles of PageRank (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The link log also helps you keep track of which pages have already been “linked up” and which ones are still “virgin ground.” Some of the data points you can track in your internal link log include:

Which pages on a site you’ve added internal links on.

How many internal links I’ve added to a page - too many links on a page dilutes the amount of equity passed to each link and can look noisy/spammy to the user.

Which anchor text and link text variations were used.

Number of times each instance of link text was used.

In addition, track the dates the links were added, potential SERP position of the dates the links were added, and any subsequent ranking flux that occurs, which helps gauge the efficacy of internal linking on a page-by-page and even a site-by-site basis. Note: you can also import internal link data from the Webmaster Tools internal link dashboard to create a similar link log, but it can be a little messy, so you’ll need scrub, organize and customize it based on your preferences and goals.


Source: raymondgonzalez.com

Apple gives Google Maps the boot on iPhones.

The big news in the tech world right now is the World Wide Developer’s Conference which Apple just concluded. That’s where the House that Jobs Built unveiled its latest operating systems for both computers and mobile devices, its latest laptop computer design and more. But what does this all have to do with cars, you ask? Plenty.

First off, Apple used the high-profile press conference extravaganza to announce the integration of its Siri voice service into cars, starting with nine automakers (among them the massive General Motors group) that will be putting a dedicated button on their steering wheels to allow drivers to activate the service on their iPhones and iPads without taking their hands off the wheel or their eyes off the road. But that’s not all that’s of relevance to motorists from WWDC 2012.

Apple has also announced the launch of its own Maps application, replacing the Google Maps utility it had begrudgingly integrated into its devices until now. Resulting from Apple’s acquisition of several erstwhile independent digital cartography operations, Maps aims to improve on the popular Google service with such features as spoken turn-by-turn directions with real-time ETA, smooth-scrolling 3D imaging, aerial flyover views of city centers and important landmarks, Siri integration and real-time traffic information.

The latter is reportedly crowdsourced anonymously from other users, leaving us with some questions regarding privacy issues. But we’ll leave that to the guys with the tin-foil hats while we blissfully revel in Big Brother’s latest offering to the masses.

Source: autoblog.com

Building your own personal brand.


Google's homepage in 1998
Image via Wikipedia

With traditional publicity vehicles and the Web’s resources at hand, making a name for yourself is easier than ever.

It’s much easier to market your business when customers readily associate a face with your brand. Many companies, from Apple to Zappos, have drawn success from their leaders’ knack for capturing the public’s attention and inspiring new schools of thought in their field. Today, business owners have an array of options for getting in front of potential customers. The Web and social media have opened up new avenues to share expertise and reach people of influence. And with the concept of entrepreneurship gaining more prominence in popular culture—even spots on prime-time television—more and more audiences are clamoring to hear from those who have found success starting their own companies. Here are some strategies for gaining greater exposure.

Building Your Personal Brand: Picking an Area of Expertise

Before seeking the spotlight, the first question you should answer is, “What do I have to offer that no one else can?” While many people claim expertise in a broad topic such as marketing, identifying subsets of that field in which you have a unique experience will help you stand out from the crowd. For instance, Leslie Haywood, founder of grilling accessories maker Charmed Life Products, who has appeared on The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch and Shark Tank, regularly speaks about her experiences of founding a company as a breast cancer survivor and a mother of young children.

It also helps to identify personal qualities that you want others to associate with your brand. A magnetic personality is often a key differentiator in a crowded field, particularly for solo practitioners, says Lisa Elia, who runs an eponymous public relations firm in Los Angeles. Once you have established a niche, it’s important to reflect that personality in each of your day-to-day interactions. “It should come across in how you answer the phone, how you greet people who come to your office, how you treat your vendors and your staff,” Elia says. If you seek to become a service guru, for instance, a nasty exchange with a disgruntled customer could end up tarnishing your image.

How to Build Your Personal Brand: Branding through the Web

Nowadays, Google is often the first destination for learning more about a particular person or brand. So after you have identified your area of expertise, make sure your website is up to snuff. The writing on your website should be clear and concise but also reflective of your personality. (For more on good and bad business writing, see this column by Jason Fried.) Elia recommends striking a balance between a friendly and an expert tone: warm and inviting, but still authoritative.

In addition to describing your company’s services, your site should give visitors a good sense of the person behind it—you. Include a personal biography, and don’t forget to add a photo. Posting videos on your site is even more effective in connecting quickly with visitors, says Elia. “I’ve had clients say, ‘I feel like I know you, because I’ve seen your videos,’” she says. “They got a sense of who I was before they even called me.”

Social media can help you extend your brand even beyond your website. To gain more visibility, create profiles on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and YouTube, which are all proven means of boosting your ranking in Google’s search results. More importantly, they will help you engage with people, particularly key industry contacts, who may not land on your main page. Simply following someone on Twitter and retweeting one of their updates can help you gain notice, Haywood says. “It’s like the highest form of flattery,” she says.

How to Build Your Personal Brand: Writing and Blogging

Regularly conveying your thoughts about your company and industry through writing not only brings increased exposure but also invites discussion from others. The easiest way to find readers is to start a blog, which you can easily create using platforms such as Wordpress or Blogger, and update it at least once a week. While your tone will depend upon your personality, it’s best to be as open as possible, says Haywood. One of her posts, for instance, includes a candid description of her first sale, which was made as she was undergoing breast reconstruction surgery. “My personal life and my business are very intertwined,” she says, “and my blog reflects that.”

To spread the word about your blog, include links to it on your main website and in your LinkedIn profile. Whenever you write a new post, let your followers on Facebook and Twitter know by sending out the link to that post. Another way to encourage loyal readership is to allow others to subscribe to your posts, either through a newsletter or an RSS feed. You may also consider joining a blog network. Established networks with loyal followings, such as BlogHer, can help you reach a wider audience more quickly and gain familiarity within a particular niche. Haywood, for instance, blogs at Mompreneurs Online, which features entries from mothers who run their own business.

Once you have begun blogging regularly, you might consider writing at length about your expertise or compiling your best advice into a physical book. Traditionally, doing so has required finding an agent to sell your book proposal, then securing a contract with a publisher. But thanks to services such as Lulu and Xlibris you can publish your book yourself without incurring extraordinary costs. Barry Nadell, the co-owner of employee screening firm InfoLink Screening Services, found that his self-published book was like “having an infomercial that costs nothing.”

How to Build Your Personal Brand: Making Headlines

Appearing in the media as a source of expertise can go a long way toward building your brand. To gain press, identify media outlets that are most applicable to your particular areas of expertise and send them targeted pitches. If you want to be a talking head on radio or television, it also helps to give producers a preview of your personality by referring them to video clips on your site.

As with print, the Web has also democratized the world of radio. Through venues such as BlogTalkRadio, anyone can host their own broadcasts—or find a show on which to appear. Haywood, for instance, has appeared as a guest on several BlogTalkRadio shows, including that of Kim Lavine, author of Mommy Millionaire. To secure guest spots, she searches for relevant shows on the site, then contacts the hosts through Twitter or Facebook. The appearances yield benefits even beyond the initial broadcast; she refers others to the recordings by posting the links on Twitter, Facebook, and her blog.

How to Build Your Personal Brand: Appearing at Events

After you have honed an area of expertise, you will find that there are plenty of opportunities to take your message on the road. Becoming active in professional organizations and attending conferences offer valuable opportunities for networking. As you become more familiar within a certain field, more and more people will call on you to share your expertise. Making an appearance as a vendor at an event can also offer long-term personal branding benefits, says Haywood. She found that it offered a quick means of honing her presentation skills. “It’s the best practice ever,” she says. “By the end of the day, you’ve done your spiel hundreds of times.”

If you seek to book speaking engagements, start locally. Often, community groups call on active members to present workshops and give talks, says Elia. Smaller events also serve as good training grounds to help you refine your message. Organizations such asToastmasters and professional coaches offer additional help in crafting an engaging speech.

When you are scheduled to attend or speak at an event, make sure to let your followers on the Web know, through your website and social media profiles. After the event, include a video or audio clip of your presentation, if possible. If you seek to pursue a steady stream of engagements, Elia suggests creating a separate page listing your past events and topics of expertise, including speech titles. You might also consider seeking an agent to help you secure more high-profile engagements.

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Source: raymondgonzalez.com

Google Street View has inspired art projects, identified possible robbery suspects and even snapped photos of a naked woman in Florida.

Now, the search giant’s panoramic mapping tool has taken some toys on vacation.

Tom Jenkins, the co-founder and creative director of the UK-based production company The Theory, has created a stop-motion video depicting toys going on a Google Street View adventure.

The short is explained on The Theory’s Vimeo page:

A lonely desk toy longs for escape from the dark confines of the office, so he takes a cross country road trip to the Pacific Coast in the only way he can – using a toy car and Google Maps Street View.

Watch as the toy, assisted by the persistent clicking of one of his friends, makes his way from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Pacific Coast.

According to The Theory’s Vimeo page, Jenkins produced, animated, filmed, lit and edited the short. He didn’t use any screen replacements for the animated imagery, and notes that the music is from Cinematic Orchestra.

HANNOVER, GERMANY - MARCH 02:  The camera of a...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Source: raymondgonzalez.com