Category Archives: Marketing and SEO

The Brand Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn shared by your Virtual Assistant resource

Being a Virtual Assistant, I do all my marketing online using various social platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and others. As part of my professional membership on LinkedIn, I belong to a group called “LinkedIn Marketing Solutions”. I get a lot of helping information from this group and this one in particular I found useful and thought I’d share.

The Brand Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn shared by your Virtual Assistant resource

Your prospects are doing more research online and they control when and where they engage with your brand.

If you want to help shape the outcome of the purchase decision, you’ve got to keep your company top of mind—always. We can help.

Discover how you can use the newly expanded LinkedIn Marketing Solutions platform to:

  • Get in front of the right people early and often
  • Reach and influence business professionals in the right context
  • Educate your audience with the relevant content they crave
  • Use awareness and engagement to drive bottom-funnel conversions
  • Measure the impact of your branding efforts every step of the way

Download your free Brand Marketer’s Guide to learn how you can leverage the power of LinkedIn to position your brand for success.

The Brand Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn

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Posted by on September 30, 2015 in Marketing and SEO


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How to make Email Marketing Campaigns Successful…

How to make Email Marketing Campaigns Successful…

Email iconWith internet / email marketing clearly being a huge play for businesses it’s critical that your messages are crafted in such a way that you get maximum open rates and does not bring about violations that can be costly. So how do you ensure your business stays on task in reaching your target audience? It’s rather simple but first evaluate what goes into an email marketing campaign.

Email marketing usually involves using email to send ads, request business, or solicit sales or donations, and is meant to build loyalty, trust, or brand awareness. Email marketing can be done to either sold lists or a current customer database. Broadly, the term is usually used to refer to sending email messages with the purpose of enhancing the relationship of a merchant with its current or previous customers, to encourage customer loyalty and repeat business, acquiring new customers or convincing current customers to purchase something immediately. Madison Logic posted global data in April 2014 that claimed 122 billion emails are sent every hour.

Email marketing can be carried out through different types of emails:

Transactional emails are usually triggered based on a customer’s action with a company. To be qualified as transactional or relationship messages, these communications’ primary purpose must be “to facilitate, complete, or confirm a commercial transactions that the recipient has previously agreed to enter into with the sender”, along with a few other narrow definitions of transactional messaging.

Triggered transactional messages include dropped basket messages, password reset emails, purchase or order confirmation emails, order status emails, reorder emails and email receipts. The primary purpose of a transactional email is to convey information regarding the action that triggered it. But, due to its high open rates (51.3% compared to 36.6% for email newsletters), transactional emails are an opportunity to engage customers: to introduce or extend the email relationship with customers or subscribers, to anticipate and answer questions or to cross-sell or up-sell products or services.

Many email newsletter software vendors offer transactional email support, which gives companies the ability to include promotional messages within the body of transactional emails. There are also software vendors that offer specialized transactional email marketing services, which include providing targeted and personalized transactional email messages and running specific marketing campaigns (such as customer referral programs).

Direct email or interruption based marketing involves sending an email solely to communicate a promotional message (for example, an announcement of a special offer or a catalog of products). Companies usually collect a list of customer or prospect email addresses to send direct promotional messages to, or they can also rent a list of email addresses from service companies, but safe mail marketing is also used.

Email marketing is popular with companies for several reasons:

An exact return on investment can be tracked and has proven to be high when done properly. Email marketing is often reported as second only to search marketing as the most effective online marketing tactic. Email marketing is significantly cheaper and faster than traditional mail, mainly because of high cost and time required in a traditional mail campaign for producing the artwork, printing, addressing and mailing. Advertisers can reach substantial numbers of email subscribers who have opted in (i.e., consented) to receive email communications on subjects of interest to them.

Disadvantages that companies find in their email marketing:

A report issued by the email services company Return Path, as of mid-2008 email deliverability is still an issue for legitimate marketers. According to the report, legitimate email servers averaged a delivery rate of 56%; twenty percent of the messages were rejected, and eight percent were filtered. Companies considering the use of an email marketing program must make sure that their program does not violate spam laws and if they are not familiar, inadvertent violations may occur.

So now, how do you do it right so that your business puts out a successful marketing campaign? By employing a knowledgeable resource that uses a trust worthy and respectable marketing platform you help eliminate the risk of violations. Further to that, you want to be sure that your resource is knowledgeable in the means of crafting your message and the very first words your client (or potential client) will see is your subject line. You have to start at the beginning and a solid foundation with your resource is your ticket to successful email marketing campaigns. Many small to medium businesses already have a database of clients that they simply are not utilizing. Keeping your business name on your clients’ radar is key to repeat business. A top-quality virtual assistant can help your business produce these successes.

At The Write Hand, LLC we use a reputable email marketing platform that is in full compliance with CAN-SPAM. We have the knowledge and expertise in crafting successful messages that engage your clients and result in high open rates. Contact us at: for a free consultation and we can help you get your email marketing campaign up and running swiftly.

So many Options... Let's Get Started Now!!

So many Options… Let’s Get Started Now!!


Posted by on March 23, 2015 in Marketing and SEO


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Invest in Your Success: Strategic Planning for Small Business

I found yet another great article that provided me some fresh insight for my small business at The Write Hand, LLC and reminded me of a few things I need to never forget. If you are a small business owner, I think you will like this article by Clate Mask from Small Business Trends online



Running a small business can be chaotic. It’s easy to get sucked into the day-to-day operations required to keep things running smoothly and profitably. By taking the time to invest in a strategic planning process, you’re saying, “I am ready to take this business to the next stage of success.”

I’d like to share the best practices I’ve used to grow Infusionsoft from a start-up with a handful of employees to a thriving, venture-backed organization with 450 employees. They are rooted in the philosophies of experts like Jim Collins, Verne Harnish and Tyler Norton and vetted over 10 years of real-world application. I believe in this process and its power to help small businesses achieve success, and I know it can help you too. So let’s get started.

Strategic Planning for Small Business

1. Articulate Your Vision—Your Purpose, Mission & Core Values

Creating, articulating and sticking to your vision is the single most important job you have as a leader. A clear vision is needed to guide and influence your strategic planning process. Have you ever asked yourself, “What is the purpose of my business?” If not, sit down right now and figure it out. Our purpose at Infusionsoft is quite simply, “To help small businesses succeed.”

Once you’ve clearly articulated why your business exists, it’s time to identify the concrete “what” behind it—the three to five-year Mission you’re embarking on. Your Mission should be bold, inspirational and compelling and just gutsy enough to give you butterflies in your stomach. Think of President Kennedy’s Mission to put a man on the moon and return him safely home within a decade. Our Mission is, “To create and dominate the market of all-in-one sales and marketing software for small businesses, with 100,000 customers worldwide.”

With your Purpose and Mission in place, the last piece you need is Core Values. This is the “how” of your business. Core Values should articulate what is already true about your business and culture, not describe how you want it to be:

  • How do you go about your work?
  • What do you value in yourself and your employees?
  • What characteristics do you want your customers to experience?

These are your Core Values.

Once you have your Purpose, Mission and Core Values in place, it’s your job to hire, train and also fire employees that don’t align to it. It sounds like extra work, but you’ll actually discover that finding good people is much easier when you’ve clearly articulated your Vision. At Infusionsoft, we’ve found that our Purpose, Mission and Core Values attract the right candidates and repel the wrong ones.

2. Understand How Strategy Drives the Plan

When you take the time to define the why, what and how of your business, you’re ready to identify strategies to achieve your Mission. To determine what those strategies should be, examine the company strengths that you can employ to achieve a strong return on your investments. Look for resources and capabilities you can leverage for maximum gain. To develop a competitive advantage that is sustainable, I recommend focusing on no more than three to five core strengths.

I firmly believe that strategy is an exercise in saying “no.” Focus is an incredible thing. Just think about the power that’s achieved when you focus a magnifying glass on a very small area. By focusing your resources on a few core areas, you maximize your chances of success.

Remember: Identify three to five strategies that are borne out of your greatest strengths, all highly focused on achieving your Mission.

3. Link Your Vision to the Annual and Quarterly Priorities

It can sometimes be a challenge to bridge the gap between your long-term vision and the daily operations. The structure we use to bridge this gap is called our “Strategy Planning Methodology.” It breaks down our current Mission into the annual and quarterly priorities we need to complete in order to achieve our Mission. The work of the quarterly priorities then gets broken down into SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound) objectives that are owned by employees and have deliverables.

Here’s a closer look at the structure of our Strategy Planning Methodology:

  • Mission: This is typically achievable in three to five years. It should be bold and exciting.
  • Strengths to Leverage: Three to five key strengths you will need to use to achieve your Mission.
  • Strengths to Develop: Three to five strengths you will need to develop to achieve your Mission.
  • Annual Priorities: Three to five priorities you will focus on this year to leverage your current strengths or develop new strengths to get closer to reaching your Mission. It important to remember that the annual priorities must: Support the current mission, be set annually by the leaders and not become individualized by department or employee.
  • Quarterly Priorities or Tactical Operating Priorities: Three to five priorities that support the annual priorities.
  • SMART Objectives: Projects and/or tasks that are required to accomplish the quarterly priorities.

Using this Strategy Planning Methodology makes it possible to connect your Mission to the annual, quarterly and even daily operations of the business.

4. Establish A Rhythm for Success

Strategic planning isn’t a one-time event. Once you’ve laid out your strategy, it’s crucial to stay focused over the long-term. I’ve found that it’s vital to schedule a steady rhythm of productive meetings—annually, quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily. During these meetings, evaluate the plan, what’s working and what needs to be adjusted. You may be tempted to skip these meetings, but don’t do it. You’ll waste a lot more time throughout the week, month and quarter if you’re not clear on your goals. Make this investment in regular meetings and you’ll get the best thing to help you succeed—confidence.

As an entrepreneur, I’ve always believed in measuring performance to help people and companies make steady progress toward their goals. One of my favorite quotes is:

“Where performance is measured, performance improves. Where performance is reported, performance improves dramatically. Where performance is reported publicly, performance improves exponentially.”

At the end of every quarter, each department goes through what we call a SWOT + exercise. During this time we do a SWOT analysis where we analyze our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. We take it a step further by evaluating the accomplishments, lessons learned and strategic issues from the quarter. (How do we achieve X outcome, given Y situation?)

By doing this, we are able to make informed decisions about what the next quarterly priorities should be.

Effective strategic planning is the linchpin for your long-term business success. Grounded in your Purpose, Mission and Core Values, a solid strategy can help you develop a plan of action and maximize your likelihood of success in achieving your vision.

Full article and credits can be viewed here.


Posted by on March 6, 2015 in Marketing and SEO


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Why Every Business Should be Blogging…

Great article from Kristin. Give consideration for your business and if you need help setting up a blog, creating posts, and maximizing your SEO; hit me up and I can help you grow your business. Cheers, Ursula

Blog for Business

Why Every Business Should be Blogging

January 8, 2015 — Posted By Kristin Hovde

Why Every Business Should be Blogging
Thanks to modern technology, all it takes to gain the attention of your target audience is a few clicks of the mouse on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, just to name a few. With a majority of people using their social networking sites throughout the day, it makes sense to get on the bandwagon and follow what the crowd is doing. Social media is also one of the most cost efficient marketing mediums available, making it a necessity for small businesses or small budgets.

One often-overlooked, yet critical piece to any good social media marketing campaign is blogging. It allows you to keep your audience posted on the latest news with your company, industry or products. As important as this blogging point is, there are many more reasons why you need to take the plunge and start a blog for yourself.

1. Brings Traffic to Your Website
Having the blog directly connected to your website will bring plenty of new traffic, as long as the content is well-written and useful to your audience. If the blog is not connected to the site, include a link to your homepage in a visible location on the left or right menu bars. After each blog post, take time to post a link to the article on all of your social media sites in order to attract more attention to it.

2. Shows You Are an Expert in Your Industry
One of the best things about writing blogs is it gives you a chance to shine in your industry. Writing about topics that your readers will find helpful and that you have a great knowledge of will help build your reputation as an expert in your field. This is an excellent way to gain the trust and loyalty of customers and prospects.

3. Can be Used to Connect with Customers
Respond to each comment or question left on your blog as a way to show your customers that you hear them and are available to help them. Also, if one commenter has a question, there’s a good chance other people will have the same question. Consider writing an article dedicated to this question as a way to educate your audience on a subject that has been brought to your attention by other readers.

Everyone likes to know they are listened to and by responding to comments or writing blogs based on questions or concerns will leave customers with a positive and lasting impression on your company.

4. Builds Brands
Every social media or blog post you put out there will increase your online presence. The reason for this is because, as long as keywords are also being placed in the articles, potential customers will have a much easier time finding your company when they search for one of those keywords. Also, the more someone sees your company’s name, the more it will be remembered.

5. SEO Purposes
This somewhat ties into building your brand in tip #4. Consistently putting articles online will help your search engine rankings and will leverage your brand. Another important SEO reason to start a blog is because the search engines love new content.

When there is new, quality content that isn’t overly stuffed with keywords, it shows search engines, such as Google, that your website is active and up-to-date.

All of these reasons should be enough for you to stop procrastinating and finally take charge of starting a blog. As I previously mentioned, make sure to stay consistent and write quality content that your customers would want to read. Happy blogging!

Why Every Business Should be Blogging – Full Article Here


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Website vs Social Media vs Blog for My Small Business

Website vs Social Media vs Blog for My Small Business

With so much of our communication going viral these days, it is with increased vigor that small businesses are trying their hand at marketing online. There are many platforms with many benefits, and if used effectively together can actually be a painless and fluid process to boosting your business and online presence.


Connect to the World w A New Website

Connect to the World w A New Website

I like to start here because your business should have a website where you own the domain name. This is somewhere that all other things tie back to in the future. Your website is going to be your client’s one place to find everything they could ever need to know about your business. From here all your other media and communications will stem outward.


Using a blog can work in many business scenarios. For most of my clients I write blogs that are mostly information sharing in the general field of their business. In most of these cases our goal is to keep the potential client engaged until they need us. A blog is also a great way to build your business portfolio of activities. You can show and write about the latest refurbish job you did on that 1902 Hoosier cabinet to highlight your restoration skills; etc.

Many small businesses have turned to free blog platforms to set up their “website” for their business. While these platforms can work and do work, I find that over time a client ends up paying more for adding on this, that, and the other thing; than if they had paid for an annual website designer specifically for their business purposes. Use caution!


We are going here next because as a small business owner you can get a lot of great news and information to help with your business plans on LinkedIn. You can seek like-mind professionals with whom to collaborate, groups that work like think-tanks, and so much more. LinkedIn is a great way to showcase your skills, your business, and connect with others on a socially professional level.


Social Media Galore

Social Media Galore

When used properly for business, Facebook can be a very useful marketing tool. Many businesses make the mistake of setting themselves up as a person or a fan page rather than a business. All varieties of pages on Facebook have a purpose and built in features that will help you get the best experience out of the platform. Being setup properly, finding and building followers, and keeping your audience engaged without being pushy are just a few of the keys to effectively use Facebook for marketing a business.

Most folks are familiar with ‘Mayhem’, the troublesome character in the insurance commercials that effectively reminds us of our human flaws. If you visit Mayhem’s Facebook page, you will see he has over 1M followers and people are engaged on the page, but nowhere do you see the insurance company advertising their products; but I bet you remember them…


I like to think of this as the social encyclopedia of everything and nothing. Quick snippet searches can often lead a client right to your front door, so Twitter is not without its benefits. There is some time involved in using it continuously, but for small business purposes we start by focusing on getting your name out there first.

So many places, So little time...

So many places, So little time…

So what does all that mean?

What I like to tell my clients is to make things as automated as possible and start at the beginning whenever possible. Here’s a very basic social media marketing plan that I implement more and more with my clients this past year…

·         Establish a Website

·         Establish a Blog (perhaps)

·         Establish all social media platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube…)

Use the website to hold all content. Use a blog to send a periodic detailed message to followers or share continuously useful information. Use social media to send out frequent posts to engage followers. Keep your name ever in their presence and when they need you, they will remember you. Give them something for nothing; information is free!

By starting at the beginning we are able to establish your website and use the verbiage therein to build the other media as we go along. Once the site is established we begin to distribute communications on a regular schedule to maintain automation and time savings, uniformity and professionalism, and constant online growth and presence.

We do have other options for growth, but that’s a great foundation on which to build. Virtual Assistants are perfect for helping small businesses implement these types of plans as well as to manage other tasks that take up valuable time when you should really be focusing on the products or services that make the wheels spin.

So many Options... Let's Get Started Now!!

So many Options… Let’s Get Started Now!!

Where ever you need help within your business, let’s have a conversation and see where I can help you free up some of your time to start with and to also get your business headed in an organized and vision oriented direction.

Ursula Wachowiak – The Write Hand – Virtual Assistant –


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Blogging w/ WordPress at MindFlow Cafe

Blogging Effectively

Being a Virtual Assistant I don’t often get to be in front of my clients. Since using MindFlow Cafe as my WiFi ‘go-to’ place until I leave for The BROAD journey, not only have I picked up a steady client, but I got the opportunity to join forces with their mission and teach a class on Blogging with WordPress.

Today I taught some new bloggers the in’s and out’s and the tips and tricks of blogging. We covered a great many aspect of beginner and intermediate blogging.

Ursula teaching a Blogging ClassSetting Up Your Blog

Posting w/ Pics and Vids

Back Links, Keywords, Open in New Window

Search for Yourself

Be Unique but not too Far Out

Reading your Stats

Oh the list goes on and on. Blogging is a great tool for sharing information on any subject you find interesting, and believe me, if you like there’s others that will too. Reaching your target audience can take a little time and effort, but with the right knowledge and self determination; you’ll be a Blogging Guru in no time.

I guess I forget that not everybody knows what SEO is; Search Engine Optimization. Folks really found great value in the SEO portion of the session and in the fact that you really need to be sure at least the first 150 words of anything you post should always be unique. Typically this would be the case naturally, but with some businesses they think if they recycle the same message over and again, they make their lives easy. NOT SO!!!  You simply find yourself lost in the Google Sandbox or becoming a “bad neighbor” and will not make your way to the top of search engines.

Oh so much information, but I really enjoyed teaching this class and I greatly appreciate the opportunity that MindFlow presented me. In fact, I’ve been working from MindFlow for well over a month and have even gotten a client out of the deal.

So yeah, score one for The Write Hand and for MindFlow – network, network, network.



Ursula teaching a Blogging Class



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Out of the Google Sandbox and to the Top of the Search

Introduction to Sandbox

For a considerably long period, Google happened to provide new sites with a temporary boost, known as “fresh boost” or “new site bonus.” But recently this search giant seems to have set a new trend in place for Search Engine Page Rankings (SEPRs). It was found that that Google SERPs of brand new sites turned out to be pretty pathetic after the initial glorious days at the top of the search rankings. This phenomenon is popularly referred to as Google’s Sandbox.

Google’s Sandbox is like quicksand

Though “Sandbox” sounds pretty pleasant, it very much resembles a quicksand than a playground as suggested by its name to many web professionals.

When a new website is indexed in Google, it gets propelled to the top of the SERPs charts for a short yet glorious time, and then, slides downhill only to be buried deeply in the sand at Google. In other words, Google’s Sandbox is about a brand new website being placed on probation, or a hiatus or in a moratorium and kept lower than expected in searches, before being given full value for its incoming links and content.

How does Sandbox affect your website?

The Google’s Sandbox is said to be a filter placed on new websites to discourage spam sites from rising quickly, getting banned, and repeating the process. Websites in the Sandbox does not receive good rankings for its most important keywords and keyword phrases. The new website will be there in the result pages, but it does not rank well no matter how much original, well optimized the content is and how many quality inbound links the site does have.

Which websites are vulnerable to the Sandbox?

While all types of sites can be placed in the Sandbox barring a few exceptions. The problem appears grave for new websites seeking rankings for highly competitive keyword phrases. More competitive keyword driven Websites seeking rankings in highly competitive searches are likely to be in for a much longer duration.

How long does a site remain buried in the Sandbox?

Hiatus in the Sandbox varies from one to six months, with three to four months being the average stay time frame. It has been observed that less competitive searches are given the much shorter stay, whereas hyper-competitive keywords often get sojourn in the sand for six months. The most frequent time of burial is said to be about three months for most search terms.

What distinguishes sites trapped in the sandbox with Google’s penalty?

Sandbox is a Google-only event. Many folks while they see good rankings in Yahoo and MSN Search of their sites mistakenly believe that they have triggered a Google penalty. However this is generally not the case in point.

Sites penalized by Google do not appear in the Google search engine results pages for even the less important searches. Moreover, sites which have invited the wrath of Google show no page rank, and have a grey bar on the Google Toolbar. And none is true in case of sites mired in the Sandbox.

Google’s Sandbox: Letting website grow to its natural evolution

Google is looking ahead for Websites that offer quality content. It is an effort to prevent spammers from creating web sites that are just a flash in the pan, and to discourage the violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines which was not an exception in the past, to say the least.

Google’s Sandbox has deliberately been instituted to put a check on the use of throw away spam sites to build early traffic, and to slow down the purchase of expired domain names, among other things.

Google continues to strive that its ranking algorithm, inbound links, original content rich with keywords, and the use of anchor text are not tampered with for a short term gain severely affecting its credibility and quality standards. This stand is driven by the vision of Google that Website should grow gradually to its natural evolution.

Getting grounds before getting grounded in Sandbox

Getting grounded in the Sandbox is almost near-universal for sites. So, it is the best to be prepared for the eventuality. Planning ahead to be buried in the Sandbox may lessen the damage, using the time to your best advantage. To keep the Sandbox filter from causing severe harm to your online, and even your offline business, employ the following strategies:

– The sojourn in the sand may be cut short to a degree by purchasing and sending live a website, before it is ready for prime time.

– Make it sure that you add as many incoming links as possible to get keep on adding content to your site. Do anything but increase your site’s appearance on the Internet

– Purchase and register a domain name and park it. By so doing, some of the sand time will be run through the Google hourglass, before your site is ready for launch. In the meantime, you can be preparing content when your site goes public

– Plan the time of your website launch to have the Sandbox time period passed off when your site needs high search engines rankings the most. Plan for entering the Sandbox by putting your site live at least three months earlier than expected.

Rising from the moratorium: Key strategies that really work!

All your apprehension and concern apart, your stay in the Sandbox is simply an excellent opportunity to improve upon your site, and enrich it the way Google will never ever refute to accept in the top rankings. You can dig in the sand to carve out a niche in your site optimization.

Here’s how you embark …

– Use the time in the quicksand to add incoming links to your website whilst you are in Sandbox. Better still, if you can employ a link exchange strategy right at this time.

– Reach out to useful directories as good sources of one-way links, additional Page Rank, and potential visitor traffic. Submitting to the various Internet directories, including The Open Directory Project, is quite advantageous in the long term

– Design and develop promotional and marketing strategies for your website to raise and maintain traffic levels during your hibernation in the sand.

– Building a community, or building strong inbound links through partnerships pays better off. If you establish traffic sources outside of search engines, you will see a welcome increase in your traffic levels once you get out       of Sandbox.

– When you got trapped in Google’s sand, you may put aside a budget for an Adwords Program, i.e., Google’s pay per click advertising program. This will, of course, help you out in getting exposed and promoted on Google as well as many search and contextual partner sites

– Prefer not to discount traffic from other search engines such as Yahoo, Ask Jeeves and MSN, all of which do not seem to have any type of Sandbox. It may work pretty fine because sites that have well “on the page” search engine optimization do very well in these engines.

What do you need the most while in the Sandbox?

Right Strategy Mix, Time and Patience

The Sandbox is not something you are eventually doomed to. It is not the ringing of death knell for your site either. It is not aimed to hold you back from succeeding.

Time and patience are your best friends while faced with this predicament providing that you execute the right strategy mix. You may not need to pull all the hair out of your head. Adding some powerful incoming links, with strong link anchor text, and adding relevant and rich keyword, and fresh content will help your site rise from the Sandbox, sooner than the later.

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Posted by on December 17, 2012 in Marketing and SEO


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