Search Engine Optimization

Parxavenue Top Calgary Search Engine Optimization Company – SEO and SEM

What’s the point of building a website if it’s going to rank on Google’s last page?

Building a website in 2018 is a lot different than it was 10 or 15 years ago. Back in the day; companies could create a website and use all kinds of flashy and spammy methods to rank their site in search engines, and it was quite easy to do. Search engines’ algorithms have become a lot smarter in the past decade and can now detect these old-school methods in a matter of seconds. Can you imagine a time when you can rank on Google’s first page 24 hours after building a website stuffed with 20 exact match keywords? Ranking your site used to be, that easy!

Many penalties have been given out lately as algorithms get smarter with the growth of technology. If your website has been penalized in any way whatsoever, many experts in the SEO industry will tell you that it might be easier to purchase a new domain and start fresh. Recovering from a penalty is time-consuming. Building back the trust you once had, won’t be easy – possible, yes, but not easy.

Parxavenue Ltd. an excellent SEO company based in Calgary, Alberta; has experimented with multiple domains, using all major search engines to see how hard they can “push.” The answers didn’t come right away, but after a few short months, they did find out how easy it is to receive a penalty and even have your website de-indexed!

Search Engine Optimization
Calgary SEO – Calgary SEM – Parxavenue Top Search Engine Optimization

If your SEO staff, team, or agency is using “Old-School” methods today in 2018, be aware that these techniques will catch up to you faster than you might be thinking. The best-ranking websites from any niche market have a very natural flow to them, using exact match keywords only when completely necessary. When working with the best SEO tools on the market today, it is quite clear that you have to follow Google’s best practices and again, that’s how simple it is. “Don’t be Evil” For helpful information regarding the best ways to go about working on your own website’s SEO, please click here.

The Growing Problem With E-Mail Security

E-mail security has been a huge issue since the technology’s emergence in the mid-1990s, and for all of our tech sophistication and heightened awareness of the problem, it’s only gotten worse.

Cybersecurity specialist Kazpersky Labs, for example, reports that while the volume of spam dropped last year, the firm’s tracking showed a 59 percent jump in phishing attacks. But the bad actors are a creative lot – just when you think you have a handle on one e-mail scam, they change tactics and you have to adjust your defenses.

Throughout most of 2017, for example, the types of e-mail to look out for contained malicious URLs, linking back to sites hosting malware. Proofpoint found the volume of these e-mails jumped by 600 percent in the third quarter – a 2,200 percent from the same 2016 quarter. But by the fourth quarter, cybercriminals switched their preferred scamming methods from malicious URL use to messages carrying malicious attachments. The volume of these messages jumped by 300 percent during the fourth quarter from the third.

Keeping up is almost like trying to win at the whack-a-mole game.

It’s fascinating (in a train wreck kind of way) to look at the ebbs and flows of the scams that the bad guys use to convince people to act, and how adept they are at seizing on major events and issues to get past their guard.

Last year’s big opportunities?

The FIFA 2018 world cup preparation, giving rise to fraudulent, if official-looking messages about lottery wins and promising free tickets. And the cryptocurrency craze has provided a rich vein of blockchain-themed tricks, like malware-laden websites disguised as cryptocurrency exchanges. Another trick is malware in spam emails, billed to be utilities for earning Bitcoins.

There is a cost to all this. Phishing scams alone cost American businesses about $500 million a year. But there are a lot of impacts of cyber attacks – obvious and those beneath the surface – to think about, as a study by Deloitte showed.

The firm identified 14 cyberattack impact factors with direct and/or intangible costs that will add to the pain of a major cyber incident. The direct costs ranged from attorney fees and litigation to customer notification, and technical investigation to cybersecurity improvements. Beneath the surface? Operational disruption, for one. Then there are increases in your insurance premiums and the lost value of customer relations and contract revenue. It’s not a pretty picture for potential damage, Deloitte’s modeling showed.

Any number of solutions will help mitigate the risks that come with our increasing dependence on e-mail as a fast, efficient and inexpensive way to communicate with each other.

The best place to start is to make people aware and equip them to be on guard against malicious e-mails that might make their way into e-mail boxes. The tips bear repeating: Never click on a link or an attachment on an unsolicited e-mail. Always check the sender. Bad actors can be quite skilled at replicating logos to look like the real deal, but your bank is not going to ask you to share sensitive information like your social or account number or bank account password through this channel. And common sense applies. Offers that seem too good to be true usually are, especially if the outreach is out of the blue.

But e-mail security issues have a broad scope, and are an enterprise-wide concern. It makes a holistic, enterprise wide approach to secure messaging the imperative for any organization that exchanges sensitive information with customers.

The way of the future? Increasingly, it’s moving toward integrative solutions that enable users to control, track, share and protect sensitive business information as a means of heading problems off at the pass.

AI, Marketing and the Skilled Workforce Needed to Drive Its Progression

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning have become common components of emerging modern technologies, from the algorithms that recommend new products for purchase to the chatbots that provide customer service assistance on many commerce websites.

Some digital marketing now incorporates AI to great effect, and these approaches can be beneficial, particularly in highly competitive spaces.

  • The use of AI in digital marketing can help optimize a user’s website experience by predicting consumer behavior, personas, cycles, and customer service needs.
  • As mentioned above, AI helps to optimize processes, which can benefit return on investment (ROI). AI can make a payment process more secure and frictionless, and machine learning can help collect better data from customers.
  • Search sessions on a site will be improved by AI assistance, since AI will be able to better predict user behavior and search terms.
  • Reaching the right audience for your brand will be an easier and more efficient process with the help of AI, which can allow for better targeting based on behavior, demographics, etc.
  • AI will improve sales models and other predictive elements, as machine learning and other AI-related tools can process data more fully and more quickly than humans.

However, many wonder about what sort of skills or talents are needed in the workforce to fully take advantage of all the benefits of AI-aided marketing. How can AI be implemented in marketing approaches if there is a lack of professionals who know how to develop and manage machine learning and AI-based tools?

While there is currently a talent gap between the needs of these emerging AI-related jobs and the skills present in much of the existing marketing workforce, many marketing professionals are taking the talents they possess — creativity, resilience, and risk tolerance — and working to build up their analytical skills. Many successful marketing professionals are learning skills related to AI, machine learning, and data proficiency through online courses or short-term workshops, or going back to school to learn more about data analytics, programming, and mathematics.

In addition, since AI is a quickly evolving field, agility is one of the qualities most prized by companies seeking individuals who can innovate and develop the technology for new applications. Many companies are finding that, when it comes to working with AI, it is useful to hire professionals who are creative thinkers, who have a high degree of resilience, and who are not afraid to take risks — and then encourage those employees to acquire and refine their skills through training programs or experience on the job.

AI and machine learning are already present in much of the digital space, and the influence of these technologies will only increase in the next few years. AI-aided marketing and AI-skilled employees will be less of a luxury and more of a requirement for companies and brands in the future.

How Social Payments Are Transforming Financial Transactions As We Know Them

In honor of arrival of the Year of the Dog in February, I sent my nephew in China a gift of money through a chat app on my phone. He pocketed it happily, using the same app to express his appreciation, thanks and best wishes back at me for the new year.

It was another day, another dollar, as they say, or the everyday sort of transaction that people in some countries like China don’t think twice about. For people in most Western nations, though, this sort of payment system is still something of a curiosity.

That’s changing fast, though. And as the social sharing economy continues to evolve, look for such peer-to-peer transactions over people’s social feeds to become the norm. It quite possibly may disrupt the traditional banking system as we know it.

Venmo, PayPal’s free digital wallet, was an early player in Western economies, launched in 2009, but really taking off in 2014 as Android Pay and Apple Pay made their much vaunted debuts. Other entries since – Facebook Pay, Google Wallet, Square Cash – speak to a concept whose time has come. Case in point: Venmo handled $17.6 billion in transactions in 2016; that almost doubled to $34.2 billion last year.

If there’s a model for the rest of the world to follow, it’s China’s. Its system was a response in a country that had no credit card use, and whose banks were inefficient and underused. In less than 10 years, two rival payment services, Tencent’s WeChat and Alibaba’s Alipay, have transformed China’s financial ecosystem by making mobile payments – especially social mobile payments – an easy and accessible option.

As social payments continue to catch on in the U.S., the U.K., Canada and other nations, it’s moving us ever closer to becoming cashless economies. In fact, Sweden may be an example today of how we’ll all be operating in the not-to-distant future. A mere 1 percent of the value of all payments made in Sweden are in coins or notes. Its citizens live for their bank cards, but over half Sweden’s population depends on the leading social payment smartphone app, Swish.

It’s not just the world’s more privileged societies that stand to benefit from this evolving financial ecosystem. Social payments stand to bring much needed financial services to countries with significant populations of unbanked or underbanked people. Financial inclusion, of course, is key to lifting them from poverty.

Even if traditional banking services aren’t available to such populations, mobile phones increasingly are. Their pace of adoption is on a positive trendline, at 37 percent of the populations of underdeveloped economies.

Not surprisingly, both Tencent and Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial (formerly known as Alipay) see an opportunity to make inroads in countries where people may be unbanked, but not unphoned. Both are moving aggressively in Southeast Asia as part of that quest; at the end of last year, the Alipay service reportedly had 280 million users of its four local payment platforms in Thailand, India, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

The sharing economy is real and expanding rapidly. By 2025, a PricewaterhouseCoopers study found, spending in the five components that comprise it (travel, car sharing, staffing, streaming and, no surprise, finance) may hit $335 billion – or half of total spending in those areas.

It’s not just social payments that will help to reshape the financial sector. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin will be another facet, a means for settling payments directly and without much hassle or effort.

Either way, though, if this new social order we’re developing can advance those who currently have no access to things the rest of us take for granted like financial services, then it’s all to the good.

Blockchain and Its Impact on Supply Chain Security

As our society has grown more digitized, there’s been an exponential increase in the complexity of our supply chains that makes security an even more pressing issue. Many believe that blockchain — the distributed ledger technology — holds substantial promise as a solution.

Cyber breaches cost the international community $2.1 trillion annually – and many subject matter experts believe those losses will only mount as hackers grow increasingly sophisticated in their capabilities.

Every link in the supply chain is susceptible to security issues. Cargo theft, for example, causes $30 billion in losses each year. But it’s in the growing importance of IT systems and interconnectedness where some of the most prominent dangers lie: With manufacturing systems linked to those for sales and operations that are in turn linked to transport management systems, if one is hacked, a lot of doors are likely to be opened.

Blockchain’s structure makes it an ideal platform for supply chains in a global digital economy where networks must be expanded to include more trusted partners – if success is to be scored. But the more players, the greater the security risks.

As a distributed ledger technology, blockchain mitigates much of that risk. It creates a shared and virtually unalterable record of events and transactions and gives real-time and trusted data to verified parties in the supply chain. This, in turn, enables more secure transactions that are less vulnerable to fraud and theft. And since data is distributed, residing on multiple PCs versus a centralized server, cyber attacks are virtually impossible to carry out.

Other security issues also stand to be mitigated with the blockchain solution.

Manufacturers, for example, expect reassurance that items used on their production lines have solid and traceable provenance and the products they ship out aren’t tampered with. Blockchain’s structure allows for precise and transparent product tracking, so that risk of fraudulent goods slipping into the system is reduced. Goods are registered on the ledger, providing a solid audit trail that also includes information like cost, location, date and production and transportation partners.

A variety of projects have been launched that show the various areas where blockchain could be beneficial in fixing some of the more persistent security issues on any number of fronts in the supply chain. IBM, for example, has a service where customers can track high-value items through complex supply chains via a cloud-based blockchain. The company had initially tested it for increased transparency in the diamond market – one that’s rife with criminal activity and violence.

These are exciting times — and challenging ones, too — for an increasingly vast and complex supply chain. Evolving technologies like blockchain promise a system that achieves higher levels of efficiency, transparency and security in the process.

Understanding the Differences Between Financial Advisors and Brokers

Advice Channel
Advisors Channel

As a fee-only financial advisor, I am surely biased to this type of advisor. I do think everyday investors are much better off if they have someone in their corner who is recommending a particular investment product because it actually is the best product for them, given their circumstances and life stage. Not because there’s a commission on the sale at the end of the day.

That doesn’t mean, though, that you shouldn’t be mindful of possible issues – and that’s for any financial advisor, whether fee-based or full-service brokers. For that matter, you also should be mindful of potential drawbacks to other options that may seem (superficially, at least) appealing.

Let’s look at the options.

Fee-only financial advisors are considered advantageous because there’s no inherent conflict of interest as there can be with full-service or commission-based brokers. Brokers often recommend investments owned by their company, which is an inherent conflict.  You simply have to consider whether the products recommended are going to be best for your personal financial goals.

What you pay for is financial guidance, planning and assistance. This may be a flat fee. Some advisors charge a percentage of your account’s assets. You may be able to negotiate the amount. But, the fees you pay do not fluctuate according to the type of investments that are being recommended. What you get with this approach is objectivity and investment advice that’s unbiased. Your interests and your advisor’s are aligned.

The commission-based approach to financial advisory services is less the norm today than in the past. You open an account or buy a stock or bond and your advisor gets a percentage. Recurrent trading may also be encouraged – which may not be good for investors with a longer-term perspective. This all can pose a conflict with your best interests and goals.

And on the do-it-yourself front? Well, as attractive as this might sound on the surface, consider the relevance of the saying about the attorney who represents himself. For investment purposes, you might find good information online, but it’s just as likely you’ll find speculative information, if not real fake news. Investing is a risky business; if you don’t have the time or the expertise to do an adequate job of qualifying research, get a professional to help. Your future – financial and otherwise – depends on it.

Speaking of your financial future, it’s never too early to start planning for it. That means Millennials – and even the oldest Generation Zs who are just entering the workforce – should be putting money aside as they think about their long-term financial goals. It’s a challenge, of course, especially for those who are still trying to pay off college. Retirement is maybe too much to think about, right?

With that said, I’ve developed a service package to make it less painless. My new Robo-Advisor Professional service package is specifically targeted to the needs of Millennials and utilizes an in-depth financial data collection sheet, as well as a plan discussion with myself, to collect essential information about your financial background and goals.  This provides a strong base of understanding for clients to invest in ETFs through WealthSimple with a superior portfolio manager with a track record of beating the index.

ETFs are ideal for those with more limited resources, as a “wrapper” around a group of securities. They have a cost advantage over individual stocks and can be traded commission free. They’re similar to mutual funds, but with more flexibility as they can be traded throughout the day, not just once.

Ed Rempel Org

What is The Cash Flow Dam?

What Is The Cash Dam and How Does It Work?

 The Cash Dam (sometimes referred to as a “cash flow dam”) is a simple but powerful concept, and it’s an especially attractive option for those who are familiar with the Smith Manoeuvre or other tax minimization strategies. Cash Dam can help you with tax optimization if you have a mortgage and own either a small business or a rental property.

What is cash damming?

 The Cash Dam allows the owner of a small business or rental property to more quickly pay down their non-deductible mortgage on their home. It’s a variation on the Smith Manoeuvre, but without additional investing. The Cash Dam is essentially an expedient way to change bad debt into good debt.

For someone who’s using the Cash Dam, what it involves is using a line of credit to pay for business expenses. Then, while using the increased business cash flow, you pay down a non-deductible mortgage or loan. This, in turn, produces an increasing tax-deductible business loan, while paying down a non-deductible mortgage or loan. Be advised that the Cash Dam as described above will only work for those who own a non-incorporated personal or partnership-based small business or a rental property.

Example:

 If you own a small non-incorporated business that has $2,000 in expenses each month and you also have a readvanceable mortgage, then the $2,000 per month expense would be paid by the home equity line of credit (HELOC). You then use the additional $2,000 you have in your business expense account to make a payment on your non-deductible mortgage. Interest paid on money that’s borrowed for business expenses is tax-deductible; by using the Cash Dam, you’ll be left with a tax-deductible business loan and a non-deductible mortgage that’s been quickly paid down.

One of the keys to the Cash Dam, however, is capitalizing the interest on the business line of credit. That way, you avoid using any of your own cash flow and you keep the business line of credit tax-deductible.

How does the Cash Dam differ from the Smith Manoeuvre?

The Cash Dam relies on using a tax-deductible business loan to allow you to pay down a non-deductible debt, while the Smith Manoeuvre allows you to buy investments. Investing from your credit line is why the Smith Manoeuvre has much higher risk and return than the Cash Dam.

Potential applications

 Say that you’re a rental investor, instead of using your own cash flow to pay for rental-related expenses, you can use the Cash Dam and a line of credit. In this instance, using the Cash Dam would help you pay for your personal mortgage and help you satisfy your tax obligations as well.

And if you are a small business owner, the Cash Dam can be extremely advantageous. The strategy gives you a way to quickly pay down your non-deductible mortgage and convert that debt into a tax-deductible business loan.

Ed Rempel Org

Ed Rempel – Not Sold on ETF’s and Index Funds

Why I Won’t Own an Index Fund or ETF

 Skilled Fund Managers

Many investors are skeptical that there exist fund managers who have skill and who can beat the index over the long-term. Other investors believe that there are fund managers who have skill, but that it’s impossible to identify them ahead of time.

There are skilled fund managers that can be identified ahead of time. I know quite a few of them. You just have to look using the right criteria.

Identifying Skill

When looking at funds, many investors take an objective approach and study recent returns, look at ratings or statistics, or try to forecast which sectors will perform well.

Other kinds of skill evaluations are more subjective and rely on insider judgments, e.g., doctors assessing other doctors, or even actors judging performances of their peers.

The evaluation of a fund manager falls somewhere in between those two approaches, the objective and the subjective. I believe that, to find the best fund managers, you have to study them, not the fund.

Start by finding fund managers that have beaten their index over their career or long periods of time. This could be in more than one fund. They do not need to beat the index every year – just over time. Then study them to find out how they do it. Is it because of stock-picking skill?

Outperforming the appropriate indexes is just one factor in the criteria. Top fund managers are usually not trying to secretly follow the index–they’re more likely to have an effective style (like value investing), and have high “active share,” which means that they’re investing in a way that differs from the index; they also often have great experience and have their own money invested in the funds that they manage, i.e. “skin in the game”.

My All-Star Fund Managers

One of my special skills is identifying all-star fund managers — it’s essentially my main focus related to investments. I’ve found around 50 fund managers over the years who I would characterize as having superior skill, and all of them have beaten their index over long periods of time.

Most of those 50 managers are on my “watch list”. I own only a handful of those funds. Although I’m resistant to the idea of sharing statistics about my own personal investments, mostly because my investment style may not be suitable for every investor, I want to emphasize that it’s possible to identify skilled fund managers early and ahead of time.

Why I Will Never Own an ETF or Index Fund

I won’t ever own an ETF or an index fund because I’m not happy with below-index returns. I choose investments based on the fund managers–I want to invest with the Albert Einstein of investors, the absolute best. ETFs and index funds don’t have fund managers, so I’m not interested. The goal of investing is to obtain the highest long-term return after fees, and a skilled fund manager provides enough value to pay for those fees and more.

Above-Index Returns

There are really two options when you’re pursuing above-index returns: one, you can find yourself an all-star fund manager, or, second, you can choose a portfolio manager who’s paid by performance fee. When portfolio managers are paid by performance fee, they’re motivated to beat their index. If they don’t beat the index, the fees are similar to ETFs. If they do beat the index, the fee pays for itself.

Getting above-index returns is all about finding skill.

Ed Rempel CFS

Ed Rempel Top Key Note Speaker at The Canadian Financial Summit

Ed Rempel is a well known Canadian “Financial” Keynote Speaker and shares his enthusiasm and many years of experience to primed financial audiences that want, need and deserve more and better insight and information. Join Ed Rempel a senior financial industry expert with a host of other top speakers at the Canadian Financial Summit. www.canadianfinancialsummit.com September 13-16 Online Event.

 

 

Is Your Leadership Training Working? Here’s How to Look at It

What many organizations fail to come to grips with is the fact that “leadership” is more than just the here-and-now team that currently occupies the executive suite.

Studies by Deloitte, in fact, speak to the problem. While 86 percent of business leaders understand an effective leadership pipeline is critical to their organizations’ future, 87 percent lack confidence in their succession plans. In fact, more than half say a shortage of future leaders has hurt their business. When businesses spend over $15 billion on leadership training, something is clearly out of kilter.

A leader has more than a fancy title and a corner office. A leader is someone who can inspire and motivate others and make them eager to follow, who actively seeks advice and perspective in order to make the hard decisions, is authentic and trustworthy, thoughtful and empathetic and communicates well. A “leader” can just as easily be found on the factory floor as that corner office.

The challenge is to recognize those who have the potential and help them develop it. And then make sure that the training is working.

The problem lies in several areas.

One problem comes in the form of training initiatives styled in the one-size-fits-all manner. Further, required competencies are typically neither specific, nor necessarily aligned with what the business needs. Do you really need innovators – whatever those are – when your organization is so siloed that its future lies instead with skilled bridge builders who can bring people together?

Your culture and long-term strategy are among the most important indicators of the types of skills, capabilities and mindsets that need to be fostered in your leaders. As a result, leadership training should be grounded in the specific competencies your particular organization needs to ensure it moves forward. That way a culture of leadership can embed in your organization and ;any the foundation for success.

From there, another issue needs to be tackled: that of ensuring your program is mindful of the time-honored axiom: What isn’t measured isn’t managed. And so it goes with your leadership training. How effective is yours?

Ideally, you should use two approaches to evaluate your progress: one qualitative, the other quantitative. These approaches should tie back to your results-oriented, leadership training goals, and they should be evaluated against solid benchmarks.

Qualitative, of course, has to do with non-numeric outcomes, or impressions and feelings. To that end, feedback is key. How do your developing leaders feel they are doing? Can they identify areas where they’re falling short or exceeding expectations? And how do others who work with them feel? Are they seen as authentic leaders? This is how – through quizzes and surveys – you monitor behaviorial change so you know what skills are taking and where reinforcement might be needed.

Quantitative measures are more-by-the-numbers, hard-and-fast indicators that your program is working…or not. These can include tracking retention rates or engagement levels. Specific achievements can be monitored, as well.

Talent is a terrible thing to waste. The way to keep that from happening is to apply more rigor to your leadership training program and how you measure its outcomes. Remember that an investment in leadership training is not simply taking a product out of the box, but rather thinking about who you are as an organization and what you need. Only then can you thoughtfully program and deliver the kind of training that will impact your culture and your success for years to come.