Yes, internal links are important for a number of reasons. First of all you need to understand that for web crawlers like Googlebot links are comparable to flights into a destination. Web crawlers use links to get from one web page to another, so think about it this way, how easy is it to get to New York City by airplane. Now think about how easy it is to get to Fort Dodge Iowa (population 20,000) via airplane. If you make a page within your website difficult for the web crawlers to get to, they’re not going to travel there that often. For that reason alone you need to put a little thought into your website’s internal linking structure.
Secondly search engines look to link popularity within internal site link structure to tell them how important publishers think a specific area of the site is. In their view a page that can be reached through the site’s global navigation page is more important than one which can only be reached after 6 or 7 clicks, and should be treated as such.
There are additional reasons why internal link structure is important, but these are two of the biggest.
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“Do you know what Google is or how it works?” I ask three to five small business owners this question every day. Half the time I get a 10 second stare followed by such uncomfortable attempts to change the topic as: ”Uh, we have chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla… can I get you a cup of coffee…or my personal favorite… how about those Cubs???” The other half of you attempt to bluff your way through, but truthfully, I knew the real answer before we ever sat down. Yep, we know exactly how well a business owner understands Google 60 seconds after sitting in front of a computer. Don’t worry if you’re not completely up to speed, some days I wonder if 3/4 of the web designers on the planet are either. The good news is a solid understanding of what Google is and how it works can make a serious impact on your business and it’s online visibility. Don’t believe me, give us a ring, I’ll put you in touch with a two location auto repair shop in Kansas City who uses their understanding of Google so well that they recently received a call from the owner of a large auto repair chain in Seattle who wanted to know why Sallas Auto of KC kept coming up number one in Seattle. Apparently Google had turned the Seattle owner down earlier that day when he offered to sell his soul for the number one spot. If you’re the guy from Seattle, you might try Bing or Yahoo, or better yet give us a call and we’ll happily teach you, it’s what we do. So what is Google, how does it work, and how do I make it work for my business or website?
Google Is A Librarian
The first thing you need to know is Google is essentially a really awesome, hot, happening librarian with a card catalog rivaled by none. When I was a kid the local library had a room full of big wooden boxed drawers with cards arranged by subject so we could find the book, tape, record, or magazine on whatever topic I was researching. If you really needed help you asked the librarian and if she was good she told you which book was the newest, with the most information, and was most respected. When you search Google, you’re doing the same thing. You’re asking the search engine to find you the best website, video, or business listing on the subject you’re researching. If it repeatedly gives you lousy results you’re not coming back, so it’s in Google’s interest to try and provide the best information.
The Google Algorithm, What Determines If Your Website | Business Is Seen
When you enter a Google Search it’s not searching the entire Web right then. Instead it’s searching a database or personal card catalog that Google has assembled. For search engines those big wooden boxes we talked about earlier look more like a building full of servers that run through a mathematical program called an algorithm. Google’s Algorithm considers many things when you start a search, just a few of which are, relevancy, content, your physical location, and coming soon, your friends/social circle. But all in all, the Google algorithm is the librarian trying to match you up with the very best results. If you start to consider things from the librarian’s view things start to take shape. The librarian doesn’t want to give you the two page pamphlet from 1903, written by the guy everyone considered a quack, instead it wants to give you the website with the most information, by the most well respected individual, who wrote everything last week, RIGHT! So, if your online marketing presence and website consist of 5 pages of junk about how you’re great and only need 40 more gold stars to become President, Google’s probably not going to post it in front of many people. On the other hand, if your business or website produces 100 pages of really informative and helpful quality information, that librarian is much more likely to suggest your website, blog, of Twitter account.
Bots, Spiders, and Crawlers: How Google Reads and Views Your Website
As you’ve probably guessed, Google is not paying a building full of people to read or view every website on the internet daily. Instead they send out an army of programs called bots, spiders, and/or web crawlers to scour the internet and report what they find back to Google. Instead of calling them bots or web crawlers, think of them a junior librarians fresh out of college, charged with performing the grunt work. They read and sort each individual web page not just by the title, or meta tags, but by the actual written content on the page, and they’re getting smarter every day. Two years ago you might have been able to get away with things like keyword stuffing and content farming, but if you do it today, you’re going to get caught, and when Google’s hammer falls you’re going to feel like you just went 5 rounds with Mike Tyson in his prime, plus you’ll be missing the ear. You may cheat the system for a while, but the truth is, it’s just not worth it, and you can get just as good or better results from doing things right in the first place.
Google Finds Your Site, The Moral Of The Story
So how do I get Google to find my sight? You need to inform Google that it’s out there, which starts by setting up a Google account, telling them you’re the owner of the website, and giving them a sitemap. From there you have to consistently produce relevant and interesting material. You’re the author, Google’s the librarian, have you written something that people are going to WANT to read, or have you just produced the equivalent of a really lousy 30 second cheerleading session at the local Detroit inner city middle school. Of course there’s a whole lot more, but having a basic understanding is the first step in the right direction. In the mean time keep coming back (we’re always sharing) make some comments (we appreciate your feedback) or give us a call (we’d love talk to you). Thanks again and remember…
It’s A Good Life!
“Absolutely I’ll read your blog”… I just never promised I’d get any farther than the third line.
Not the most inspiring intro for the guy looking to get you the end of this one. Don’t worry, I save my “So do you come here often” pitch for the Saturday evening crowd. The truth is most of us have been told, “if you want to build your business you should write a blog.” Ehhhh! Correction, you should PUBLISH a blog. There’s a difference, and those gory little details tend to determine whether your blog drives business or drives everyone you know into facial gestures closely resembling Kim Jong Il during a United Nations nuclear oversight meeting every time you ask what they thought about your latest post. Now that I’ve effectively insinuated that there may be no one reading your blog aside from your mother, let’s get down to the brass tacks.
Blogging versus Advertising: Blogs are an asset
First of all, I’m going to take the soapbox and talk a little about why your business should publish a blog. Well here’s always the 900 lb. gorilla. Recent statistics cited by Hubspot indicated that an examination of 1500 small to medium business revealed that those with a blog experienced 55% more web traffic. Yep, blogs drive people in the virtual door. Now that I’ve embroiled your attention let’s keep going and look at blogging versus advertising. What happens tomorrow if I don’t pay my advertisers? My ads disappear right! My phone stops ringing, my inventory backs up, and suddenly I’m stuck with a living room full of those creepy garden gnomes I was previously selling like hotcakes. The company blog scenario paints a little different picture. Whether I’m spending marketing dollars or not the business blog visibly stays out there, and as long as I’ve provided relevant content to my prospective customers they continue to find and shop at my business… as an added bonus I don’t end up sharing the couch with four porcelain figurines in pointy red and green hats. In other words, the company blog becomes an asset that drives business in the door on a continuing basis. So how to I turn my blog into an asset.
Pull versus Push Marketing
The key stems from the mindset you use when you publish the blog versus writing it. Notice I keep chalking that publish word in there. Your company should be publishing interesting, useful, and relevant information designed to pull your potential customers in. Magazines, newspapers, and Ted Kopple all contemplate what’s going to capture the attention of their prospective audience prior to ever penning a single line of rhetoric and so should you. You’re company is giving useful information to the people you want to turn into customers. Yep, giving! Give, ask, then receive. It’s like chumming the waters before I start trying to hook Jaws. Future customers are much more likely to bite my line while they’re salivating over the metaphorical chuck steak I’ve thrown in the water – I save the porterhouse for the client appreciation dinner after they’ve signed. It’s called “pull” versus “push” marketing and it’s dead on effective. If you’re that garden gnome company, you’re not sending people junk mail or spam (both push marketing) with the hope they’ll buy that oversized chachki they weren’t really looking for when they woke up this morning. Instead your blog is giving them information on all the hottest trends in landscape design, which happens to include that latest and greatest fashion statement, garden gnomes, including pictures and details on how they can pick theirs up today before you run out, “or they go the way of shag carpet and orange formica countertops… if garden gnomes are your thing you might refrain from mentioning that one.” Either way you get the gist. Your blog should pull them in with solid information on the radar of your future customer.
Call to Action
Ok, so now that we’ve established that you made it past the third line let’s wrap this bad boy up. I’m finishing you off with that all important piece, my blog call to action. I’ve given you the tip of the iceberg… the chuck steak so to speak… so if you want that porterhouse I need you to: look me up, give me a call, send me an email and if today’s not the day… come back and read my blog.
If you’ve spent much time around orthopedics, tendon injuries are a way of life. Tears and strains affect individuals from all walks of life creating a continual push for new a better treatments. In recent years there has been a substantial murmur surrounding platelet-rich plasma therapy as a potential treatment of the injuries. While innovation is always exciting there appears to be some conflicting data coming back.
Platelet-rich plasma therapy or PRP is centered around the idea that growth factors from platelets will increase tissue healing. Tendons in particular are less vascularized and tend to heal slower than many other tissues of the body. The idea has been to use PRP to aid with partial tears, strains, and chronic tendinitis. It’s currently experimental but garnered press last year when two members of the Pittsburgh Steelers received PRP treatment prior to winning the Super Bowl. The original story in the February 16, 2009 edition of the New York Times cited some promising studies, but studies in recent months are bring the treatment into question.
In 2006 a study published in The American Journal of Sports Medicine outlined a study of 20 patients, 15 of which received PRP therapy. The patients receiving PRP noted a pain measurement improvement of 60% compared to 16% in the control group. However according to a March 19th 2009 article available on PubMed that used MRI’s to track postoperative healing after ACL surgery showed no difference between patients receiving PRP treatment and those receiving none. Additionally a recent article in the January 13th 2010 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association concerning the treatment of chronic Achilles tendon disorder found no measurable difference when compared with a placebo saline injection.
The disparity between studies would appear to indicate that further trials are needed before a conclusion can be reached as to the effectiveness of PRP in treating tendon related injuries.
Anyone reading medical research headlines in recent years has become aware of how charged the topic of gene therapy is. Recent clinical results treating certain types of blindness and adrenoleukodystrophy may leave people re-examining some of their thoughts and positions.
Leber’s congenital amaurosis is an inherited eye disease that appears shortly after birth. It’s caused by a recessive gene called RPE65 that controls production of an enzyme that recycles retinol. The result is sluggish pupil response with blindness or severe vision loss which until recently, doctors have been unable to treat. Doctors at both Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and London’s Moorfield Eye Hospital have had substantial success treating this disease with gene therapy. The physicians surgically deliver modified adeno-associated virus (AAV) prepared by a Seattle company called Targeted Genetics behind the retina. AAV can affect both dividing and non-dividing cells with in the body and begins recoding the DNA for proper formation of the enzyme. One of the keys seems to be treating it at a young age, but the results of these trials particularly in the Philadelphia study are astonishing, and appear to be free of side effects according to Moorfield’s article in April 2008 New England Journal of Medicine article. Pretty astonishing.
The astonishing advancements don’t just stop there. Adrenoleukodystrophy, the subject of the 1992 film Lorenzo’s Oil, is another inherited disease. Instead of blindness adrenoleukodystrophy leads to progressive brain damage and death. Sufferers of adrenoleukodystrophy fail to transport a necessary enzyme for breaking down very-long chain fatty acids to where it’s needed. The eventual build up leads to damage of the adrenal glands and an inability of the body to myelinate nerves, leaving them unable to conduct impulses. The November 2009 publication of Science magazine has published the results of a French study in which two children with adrenoleukodystrophy have been successfully treated using gene therapy.
While both of these studies are in clinical trials and not yet available to the public they do offer hope of exciting advances in the near future. Additional studies not yet in clinical trials such as the University of Washington’s success in producing color vision in squirrel monkeys or the successful growth of bigger, stronger muscles in monkeys at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus will undoubtedly lead research relating to color blindness of muscular dystrophy. Either way, the results of gene therapy are beginning to bear some of the fruits long talked about in the years of debates.
I’m old, not really, but I feel that way some days. I’m old enough to remember when the first web browser came out my junior year of college. It took until graduation for the dial-up connect to download that first web page I attempted to open the year before. I also remember that first round of Fortune 500 sales training when they introduced ACT and computer based contact management systems. I know many a sales rep who turned to heavy drinking after unsuccessfully attempting to get ACT to do what they wanted. Fortunately times have changed and so have automated options for keeping in touch with your clients
If you’re not familiar with contact management systems and the effect they can have on your numbers you’re selling yourself short. They are a major tool in deepening client relationships, generating referral business, and staying at the forefront of your clients’ minds. While they should never replace networking or actual sales calls, they are an effective and powerful tool in your arsenal. I use a couple of different things in conjunction with each other but one of my favorites in Send Out Cards.
Send Out Cards is an online service that allows you to design and send regular or custom cards. Specific campaigns can be set up for groups, individuals, or your entire client list. Let’s look at an example or two. I like to send my clients something personal once a quarter; holiday cards, birthdays, event invitations, etc. I can sit down for 45 minutes once a year and ensure that every single one of my clients receives these specific regular hand written cards exactly when I want without any additional effort or time whatsoever. Send Out Cards fills out the cards, puts them in the envelopes, puts the stamps on them and drops them in the mail for about a dollar forty a piece. If a doctor shares with you that they’ve had a family member pass you can log in instantly and in under a minute send a signed card expressing your condolences before you ever have a chance to leave the office and forget. Handwritten cards are always opened, read every time, and consistently pass the gatekeeper at the front desk. Send Out Cards does chocolates and gifts too. I used it to send my mom brownies after she had a rough day last week. I’ve walked in six months later and still seen my card sitting on a back desk, something I can never claim about most other literature I’ve dropped off. It’s takes the work out of something we all know we should do but rarely have the time to follow through with. Drop by their web site and check it out soon.
There’s something new in the air for people trying to quit cigarettes and it’s not the smell of smoke. In case you haven’t read about it yet, Nabi Biopharmaceuticals is currently running their nicotine vaccine NicVax through the paces of the FDA’s phase three clinical trials. NicVax is surrounded by an understandable excitement and fervor, but what are the facts?
First it’s important to outline what NicVax is not. It’s not a cure for the rigors connected with the fight to quite smoking or a guarantee that one will be successful at stopping. NicVax is intended to be an aide to smoking cessation and the clinical trial numbers on Nabi’s site appear to indicate just that. Of the test subjects with a high antibody response 16% showed significant abstinence at twelve months versus 6% in those that received a placebo. While 16% may not be the results recovering smokers where hoping for, the odds of success are substantially greater than without. So how does it work?
NicVax works on a similar philosophy to most vaccines but there are some important differences. Upon injection into the bloodstream NicVax triggers the immune system to begin producing antibodies that specifically bind to nicotine molecules. The binding of the antibodies with nicotine creates a particle too large to cross the blood-brain barrier thereby inhibiting the trigged release of stimulants like dopamine. While many of the vaccines the public is accustomed to require only a single dose, NicVax requires four. Additionally the life expectancy of the vaccination is roughly a year.
Again, even though these results and statistics many not be the golden ticket people hoped for, they are a compelling improvement over current alternatives. Moreover, time may give Nabi the opportunity to fine tune dosages and further improve results. In any case, there are definitely more than a few people eager for FDA approval.
by Ward Sieben
NicVax Clinical results
So I spent a little time watching a unicompartment knee replacement with one of the new custom knee replacements units. First let me say that the fit and installation ease with these appears to be superior to off the shelf units. Each unit is custom built for the the patient using a 3d CT scan and comes with custom guides for installation, way cool. Toward the end of the surgery there was a practice that’s becoming more common and is being shown to help with post operative knee replacement recovery and pain management, injection of a cocktail of drugs into the joint capsule and surrounding tissue during the operation. For you orthopedic reps out there this represents an opportunity for you to bring your doctors another one of those informative tidbits that differentiate you from the competition.
Generally the cocktail will include a numbing agent, anti-biotic, morphine, and an antiinflammatory steroid. Studies have indicated marked post-op improvement in function, mobility, and patient satisfaction. Examining the components in the cocktail, the improvements don’t come as a big surprise. I’ve included the link to the surgery as well as a short article on eOthopod about. I encourage you to do a little more research and bring something extra to your orthopedic surgeons today.
by Ward Sieben