How Local Businesses Can Quickly Get to the Top (Or Near the Top) Of Google For Free

Thanks to a free service provided by Google, it is now possible for local businesses to rank at the top (or near the top) of Google when their potential local customers type out their product or service and the name of their town or city in the Google search engine.More and more people are now using the internet to find a supplier of goods and services in their local area (and less are using Yellow Pages and other traditional methods.) Amazingly, many local businesses are still not listed in Google Maps. In addition, the ones that are listed are not taking full advantage of this FREE service, which can propel them to the top of Google, when a potential customer uses Google and types out “Your product or service + name of your City”.The first step to get your business listed onto Google Maps is to visit Google and then Google Maps.Secondly, to submit your business (for free) you need to use your Google account or set one up (again it’s free). Then go to “My Account” and “Local Business Center”. Then you can add a new listing. In order to increase the number of enquiries from prospective customers you can add photos and video to your listing. (Video testimonials from happy customers are particularly powerful). In addition, reviews can be added.One very important secret: In a business listing you get six categories. Choosing these categories is very important – they should match keyword phrases that your prospects and customers will be looking for in Google.You can add more keyword phrases in the “additional details” section (again all for free).How high a business ranks on Google Maps will very much depend on the KEYWORDS searched for. Google Maps ranks business listings based on their relevance to the search terms entered, as well as geographic distance (where shown) and other important factors.A business listing can easily be changed at a later date to include more photos and videos etc.This tip was shared with a friend of mine who is a local disc jockey. He added some video to his free Google Maps listing via his mobile phone and YouTube. Amazingly, within the hour he got a $500 booking. When he asked the customer where they found him, they said “Google Maps”, and they also said that it was the video which persuaded them to book there and then.So we know this works and it can work extremely well.The secret to doing better with Google Maps is to include appropriate photos and if possible video of your products or services (and also a couple of testimonials from happy customers.) Approximately 99% of businesses listed on Google Maps either don’t know about this free facility or if they do know they can’t be bothered to do anything. However, for a few minutes work it can pay enormous dividends. If a potential customer has a choice of telephoning a company which has a short video of their business as opposed to a company which does not, tests have proven that they ring the company first who has pictures or video on their listing. The public love video! They may even ring a company to make an enquiry about their goods or services even BEFORE they have looked at that company’s website.Google Maps are a completely free service. As a result, it is not possible to pay for a higher ranking. In addition, Google do their best to keep the details of their algorithm a closely guarded secret in order to make the ranking system as fair as possible for every local business who uses the service.It needs to be emphasised that to get to the top of Google (or near the top) using this technique, you do not necessarily need a website (although it is highly recommended that you have one!)An investment of a few minutes of your time is all it takes for you to benefit from this amazing free service which Google offer.

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How to Make Your Smart Home “Smarter”

With the way technology works these days, owning a smart home has become even more exciting. From your home’s lighting, temperature control and even safety, the devices you can add are almost limitless. These things can easily make you want to keep adding more. If you already own a smart home and are currently thinking of upgrading it, here’s a quick rundown of what you need to do to make your smart home “smarter.”Add Voice-Controlled DevicesFormerly, voice-controlled devices could only play music. Now, there are voice-controlled devices that can act as your assistants. They can set your alarms, control your lights and even give you directions, even without pressing any buttons. Some of these devices can even alert you if anything unusual happens at home.Install Smart LightingAutomating your lights can slash a huge portion of your electricity bill. Pair them with sensors, dimmers and wireless control and you’ll be able to save even more. You can set your lights to turn on and off, depending on your personal schedule or, add motion sensors, so you won’t waste energy. You can even use your smartphone to control the brightness, color as well as the ambiance of your home.If your smart phone isn’t enough, you can install a smart device that can notify you when you have left your lights on. Apart from the alerts, this device can also give you an estimate of how much energy your home has already consumed.Secure Your RouterWhen you’re building a smart home, your concern shouldn’t be limited to the kinds of devices you’ll invest in; you also have to take proper measures on how you’ll secure everything inside it. Your router is one of your home’s weakest spots. Much like your front door, you should strengthen it to keep intruders out.Start by changing your password. As soon as you receive your router, change its default password with something that can’t easily be guessed. Refrain from using your birth year or the last digits of your phone number. As much as possible, create a lengthy password and make sure to use alphanumeric characters to make it even harder to crack.It’s also a good idea to constantly upgrade your security software to decrease your devices’ vulnerability to new threats, like spying tools and viruses. Install a malware protection to prevent suspicious and malicious programs from running on your computer.Upgrade Your Smoke DetectorAn ordinary smoke detector that gets activated can cause confusion, especially if you have several units at home. If it isn’t monitored, there’s no way you’ll get alerted about a possible fire – unless you have some friendly neighbors looking after your home. For your safety and security, it’s best if you can upgrade your smoke detector to something smarter.Most smart smoke detectors today are industrial grade and can last a long time. Some of them even come with dedicated apps to help make monitoring a lot easier. Apart from battery life, they can also tell you exactly which area of the house is showing increased temperature. They can even connect you to your local police and firemen for a quick resolution.These extra features can mean a higher price tag. However, considering that they can augment your home security and initiate a faster response, they can be considered as valuable investments.If you are on a tight budget and investing in new devices doesn’t seem feasible at the moment, your next best option is to invest in a device that can turn ordinary devices into smart ones.Get a Smart DoorbellAs home automation becomes even more sophisticated, you’ll find yourself being able to do the things that seemed impossible before. Take, for example, answering your door, even if you’re not physically at home.You’ll be able to tell the delivery man where to leave your parcel or check on someone who’s been showing interest in your front gate for several days. Burglars favor houses that are unoccupied. By being able to answer the door and show that you can see what’s happening around your property, you’ll be able to make your home a lot less favorable for burglary.Smart doorbells can do so much more than that, especially when they are equipped with the right features. With night vision capabilities, live streaming and a two-way talk feature, you’ll be able to detect intruders and burglars even before they execute their plans. You can even record videos to serve as hard evidence in case someone manages to get inside your property.Also, by monitoring your feed, you can check on your kids and know when they arrive home safely from school. You can also get alerts whenever they leave the house without your permission.Over To YouHow Smart is your Home? Have you upgraded all your security devices and installed new ones available in the market? Have you made your home “safe enough”? I would give this a second thought and re-visit all the points mentioned above to have a stress-free life without having to worry about your home safety.

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Reasons to Avoid Mortgage Life Insurance

Please see below on why you should consider owning an independent life insurance policy (or term life) vs mortgage insurance (creditor insurance) sold from the bank:1. Post-Underwriting – Bank insurance is post underwritten. Companies investigate the eligibility AFTER a claim has been made; ie you may be paying premiums for years and in the event of a tragedy your loved ones may discover you never qualified for the insurance in the first place.2. Cost – Often, mortgage life insurance with less features and flexibility actually costs MORE than an independently owned insurance policy.3. Portability – If you buy the coverage from your lender, it may disappear if you refinance, however in the case of a new lender it will require a new policy based on attained age at that time. Just as you want to avoid depending on your employer’s life insurance coverage, in case you change jobs, you should also make sure your insurance isn’t going to vanish just because you found a better mortgage.4. Named beneficiary – The proceeds if something were to happen will bypass your loved ones. Mortgage insurance plans purchased through the bank automatically pay off your loan no matter what situation your family faces at your death. An individual life insurance policy lets you name your spouse or children as beneficiaries, giving them flexibility to pay off the mortgage when they feel the time is right.5. Declining benefit – As mentioned above the banks creditor policy is a declining benefit ie the benefits may vanish before your eyes. Mortgage insurance benefits gradually decline in an attempt to match the declining balance of your debt (declining benefit). Those plans are like a runaway train, you may move into a bigger house with a bigger mortgage, but the death benefit keeps shrinking anyway. Buying an individual life insurance policy keeps you in the driver’s seat, letting you lower the benefits as you see fit or keeping a level benefit for life.6. Convertibility – An individually owned term insurance policy in most cases will allow the policy to be converted without medical to a permanent (life long) solution. A creditor insurance policy owned through the bank does not provide this benefit, which is especially important if one gets sick and can no longer qualify for coverage.7. Preferred underwriting – an independently pre-underwriten policy allows the insurer to determine if you qualify for “preferred” rates which will lower premiums even further8. Consolidation of benefits – by combining your mortgage insurance, with other insurance needs such as income replacement, child care, education etc you will benefit from fees saved on multiple policies and tiered discounts (typically insurance companies discount in 250K bands of insurance), along with simplicity of understanding how much coverage you have in one place. With a bank you can only insure your mortgage.9. Discussed with a licensed insurance professional – Most bank staff selling creditor mortgage insurance are unqualified and unlicensed in life insurance. Licensed professionals shop the market10. Shop the market – buying an independent life insurance policy from a licensed broker allows the market to be shopped to find the best possible solution from a wide range of insurers. Banks often work with only 1 insurance company to provide a singular solution. Furthermore, licensed professional have a responsbility to sell based on a Needs Based approach and can accurately assess your needs.Lastly, while looking at life insurance, make sure to consider disability and critical illness insurance in case you become unable to pay your mortgage due to serious illness or injury.Please contact your local independent life insurance expert to evaluate your options.

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