Digital Marketing Expert Predictions for 2019: 5 Key Takeaways
Jan31

Digital Marketing Expert Predictions for 2019: 5 Key Takeaways

Every day, the landscape of online marketing seems to shift. As the first month of 2019 draws to a close, digital marketing experts make forecasts about where the industry’s variable winds will next blow. While some urge companies to embrace new innovations, others caution that abandoning fundamentals could be a huge mistake. We’ve gathered the advice of 11 experts to help you and your website thrive in 2019. Here are a few major takeaways: Diversify Your SEO Skills Search engine optimization has always been a multistep process. Most businesses use a plethora of strategies to help their website rank. However, Nick Stone, founder of Charlottesville SEO Web Development, says that as Google increases the number of ranking factors under consideration, SEO resellers need more tools in their toolbox to achieve results:   “Achieving and maintaining top rankings for high-traffic keywords requires the expertise to impact an increasing number of ranking factors as Google decreases the weight of individual signals. Achieving results requires a multidisciplinary approach. In this evolving arena, SEO resellers can provide an essential gap-filling role for small agencies and independent consultants.”   John Locke of Locke Down Design makes a similar observation, explaining that at every level, companies throughout the digital marketing industry are transforming and expanding their toolsets and platform preferences:   “At the lower end of the market, I see more people implementing DIY SEO. Existing SEO software in tools can help people get part of the way to their goals. In the midmarket, I see people putting less effort into Facebook and Pinterest than in previous years, and more effort into Instagram and YouTube. More midsize businesses are exploring ongoing relationships with SEO companies.”   While small and mid-size businesses might be seeking both individual SEO growth and growth with outside companies, even high-end, large corporations need partnerships with SEO companies. By offering a wide variety of services, an SEO company can appeal to bigger business that need extra help here and there.   “At the high-end of the market, we are seeing companies look at SEO, social, and other digital marketing as mature channels in their overall marketing strategy,” Locke says.  “Large companies usually have in-house development and marketing teams, but are partnering up with specialty agencies that have expertise in skills they lack in-house.”   Overall, Locke believes that companies of all sizes need the help of outside agencies with in-depth knowledge. He says that  “across all markets, specialized SEO insight is valuable. Many sites were hit by the Google updates in August, September, and October 2018. Companies that are focused on improving content, UX, and brand awareness will do well in...

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Conspiracy? Queen Elsa Arrested By Illinois Police Department In Midst Of Polar Vortex
Jan31

Conspiracy? Queen Elsa Arrested By Illinois Police Department In Midst Of Polar Vortex

This past week, people haven’t had much reason to leave their houses. Apart from seeing the coldest temperatures in a generation, parts of the Midwestern United States have declared states of emergency, travel bans, and the like, all in the face of the polar vortex that’s gripped areas with temperatures far below zero. Extra attention has been paid to Illinois, as Chicago has faced the brunt of the arctic blast that has since claimed at least 11 lives. Authorities are taking it very seriously and the city has put most operations on hold except for the necessities. Frozen train tracks were being literally set on fire to keep them operational. Police and emergency services are making sure people aren’t out and about unnecessarily, warning of conditions where frostbite and hypothermia can take hold in a matter of minutes. Still, some places haven’t entirely lost their sense of humor in the face of temperatures reportedly colder than Antarctica. The average woman changes her hairstyle 150 times in her life and one fictional Queen might’ve opted for a disguise over the past week. Queen Elsa of Frozen, with her unmistakable blonde braid, was pictured being arrested by an Illinois police department. “ATTENTION: Due to the EXTREME COLD weather, all criminal activity and acts of stupidity and foolishness have been canceled. Even Elsa has been placed under arrest with NO BOND until further notice. Thank you for your attention and understanding to this matter. Respectfully, the McLean Police Dept.,” the Facebook post read. Combining a little light-hearted humor with a warning against foolishness in the face of very real danger seems to have gotten the message across. Much to the chagrin of the arrested Ice Queen, who was detained without bail, she’ll have to wait out the storm and answer some questions about the extent of her involvement. The temperatures are expected to warm up over the weekend, but when temperatures still below freezing feel balmy in comparison, we can truly say the cold never bothered me anyway. Stay toasty out there. We all know this story ends happily with the Spring Thaw and the Queen on her...

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Tax Filing Season Has Officially Begun: Here’s What You Should Know

Tax season has officially begun as of January 28, but the historic 35-day partial government shutdown may cause some delays, according to Forbes. According to new reports, the IRS has an estimated backlog of more than five million pieces of mail to answer. At some parts during the shutdown, the IRS received an all-time high of 700,000 pieces of mail per day. This high volume is, in part, a result of the government shutdown. As taxpayers began looking for preparation assistance for the 2018 tax season, there were few people to answer their queries. Tax professionals couldn’t work to answer taxpayer questions and with the fax lines, phone lines, and assistance centers closed for the shutdown, all of these questions had to be sent to the Internal Revenue Service by mail. Forbes estimates that this backlog could take more than 25 days to handle, and that’s only if the IRS hires more people and increases their budget. Unfortunately, this option is unlikely. The IRS has already prompted taxpayers to reschedule appointments made before the shutdown. It’s far more likely that the backlog takes almost a year to be fully resolved. The government shutdown has created a hectic start for this year’s tax season, but the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act might make it a little more difficult. This is the first year that the act is in place for taxpayers. It essentially doubles the standard deduction and limits itemized deductions, including a $10,000 cap on tax deductions at the local and state levels. As such, fewer people are expected to itemize when filing their taxes this year and more parents are expected to benefit from the increased child tax credit. It’s estimated that only 10% of households will itemize deductions. However, there may also be fewer audits. During the month-long government shutdown, the IRS was unable to conduct any new audits. By putting court hearings and collection activity on the backburner during the shutdown, this tax season is expected to be a long one. Just because the IRS hasn’t audited you, however, doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods just yet. The IRS can audit a business tax return within three years of filing and it can also collect on back taxes owed for up to 10 years. As the IRS picks itself up by the bootstraps, we’ll have to brace ourselves for a drawn-out...

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United States Slams Huawei With Indictments For Fraud, Stealing Trade Secrets
Jan29

United States Slams Huawei With Indictments For Fraud, Stealing Trade Secrets

The controversy concerning one of China’s largest telecommunication firms, Huawei, came to a head on Jan. 28 when the United States Department of Justice unleashed more than one criminal charge against the company. In show of obvious disapproval, the D.O.J. showered Huawei with 23 indictments. The multitude of indictments is partially made of a 10-count indictment alleging that Huawei stole trade secrets from T-Mobile starting in 2012. In connection to this indictment, Huawei allegedly offered bonuses to its employees for stealing confidential information from other companies, specifically T-Mobile. A 13-count indictment accounts for the rest of what the D.O.J. imposed against Huawei. This indictment charged four defendants, including Huawei and Meng Wanzhou, the company’s chief financial officer, with financial fraud. “The charges unsealed today clearly allege that Huawei intentionally conspired to steal the intellectual property of an American company in an attempt to undermine the free and fair global marketplace,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray in a statement regarding the charges. As the world’s largest supplier of telecom equipment and the second-largest smartphone maker, this denouncement indicates just how far Huawei has to fall in the eyes of the world. About 40% of consumers state that they would end their business with a company or brand if the business suffered a security breach in the past. The United States has been doing just the same in its relationship with Huawei. U.S. officials have banned the sale of Huawei’s networking equipment in the country. The Trump administration and lawmakers — from both sides of the political aisle — have denounced Huawei for allegedly having links to China’s communist leadership. Other countries around the world have started to follow suit. A number of nations are either considering a ban or have already enacted a ban against Huawei conducting commerce in their country. Canadian authorities arrested Meng Wanzhou in early December on charges of violating sanctions against Iran. The U.S. had requested that its northern neighbor make this arrest, further straining the already precarious relationship between the U.S. and China. In an attempt to hammer out an elusive trade agreement and bring an end to the long-standing tariff war between the two economic powerhouses, representatives of the Chinese government are meeting with U.S. officials later this...

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Number Of Volunteers On The Rise Amidst Government Shutdown
Jan28

Number Of Volunteers On The Rise Amidst Government Shutdown

The partial government shutdown has led to a number of problems throughout the country since its implementation more than four weeks ago. It’s estimated that hundreds of thousands of people have been impacted, from state employees to people who want to enjoy our national parks. Countless parks throughout the country have reported increasing levels of litter, vandalism, and illegal activities as a result. With the startlingly small number of employees available to keep the parks in good condition, many are getting worse without volunteer intervention. However, one national park isn’t following the national trend. The Rocky Mountain National Park had a line of more than 16 volunteers lined up at the park’s entrance to help clean up the area. But when they arrived, they were greeted with clean bathrooms, very little litter, and working facilities. There was a variety of contributing factors to the park’s cleanliness, but none so heart-warming as the efforts made by other volunteer groups. According to volunteer organizer Jason Moore, other groups have been cleaning the park throughout the shutdown. Another volunteer group that ventured to clean the Longs Peak trailhead was met with a similar scene: practically no litter and near-immaculate conditions. Young and old, busy or bored, volunteers from throughout the state have been helping in a number of ways during the government shutdown. Along with cleaning our national parks, restless employees affected by the shutdown have reached out to volunteer centers and food pantries to help people in need. It’s estimated that over 50% of adults aged 65 and older participate in volunteer work, but now it’s the furloughed government employees who are hoping to make a difference during the shutdown. Justin Wright was one of those people. A side-lined computer programmer for the U.S. Geological Survey, Wright grew tired of doing nothing. “I felt like I needed to get out and help do something. I googled places in Lakewood that have volunteer opportunities and sent an email,” he said in an interview with CBS. “Everyone else is just like me and you just wish you could go back to work. But we’re kind of stuck and there’s really not much we can do. I’m hoping to come in regularly until I hear something different about the whole shutdown.” As the government shutdown continues, CBS suggests that more volunteers will likely follow Wright’s...

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