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Microsoft Ventures Into Checkout-Free Retail, Takes on Amazon

Microsoft is reportedly taking on Amazon, as the company ventures into retail territory. The company is said to be looking into checkout-free shopping, an innovation that Amazon has pioneered.

Reuters reported that at least six people have talked to them about Microsoft developing technology that will give retail companies the option to have cashier and checkout-free shops. Microsoft is said to have partnered with fellow Redmond-based company AVA Retail. The company develops systems that can collate information about shoppers. This time around, it will be working with the renowned software company on innovations that could be used on brick-and-mortar stores.

Interestingly, Microsoft will not be installing said technology in their own stores. According to the sources, it has instead reached out to Walmart about the possibility of a joint effort. If this pushes through, the two companies could give Amazon a run for its money.

Microsoft is said to have around 10 to 15 employees working on researching and developing their new retail technology. There aren’t a lot of concrete details at the moment, but one report said the research team has explored using cameras attached to shopping carts as a means to track the customer’s purchases.

If successful, this could potentially do away with the need for cashiers. It also means a store won’t need to put up hundreds of cameras the way that the Amazon Go pilot store did.

This approach suggests that Microsoft is looking to offer retailers a more cost-effective system. Stepping into the checkout-free store arena would also pit the software company against retail giant Amazon. Heated competition between the two is nothing new. Microsoft’s Azure cloud service is second only to Amazon’s AWS.

Walmart has declined to comment on the news and a Microsoft spokesman said the company “does not comment on rumors or speculations.”

There’s no question that Amazon leads the way when it comes to changing the face of retail. If Microsoft or other businesses want to get ahead of the company, or at least be on the same standing as Amazon, they better get a move on.

Amazon has already opened to the public its first cashier-less convenience store, Amazon Go, in Seattle early this year. Shoppers entering the store are required to swipe an app which enables computer-vision technology to monitor and track them and their purchases as they walk around the store. Once done with their shopping, consumers simply walk out and their purchases are charged via their Amazon app.

[Featured image via Pixabay]

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Tom Corson-Knowles: How To Tap Into Amazon’s Kindle Platform To Sell Thousands Of Copies Of Your Book

[ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Raw RSS ] Tom Corson-Knowles recently invited me to appear on his TCKPublishing podcast. During our conversation it became clear that Tom had an interesting story of his own to share, in particular, his success publishing books on the Amazon…

The post Tom Corson-Knowles: How To Tap Into Amazon’s Kindle Platform To Sell Thousands Of Copies Of Your Book appeared first on Yaro.blog.

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Join the Copyblogger Book Club and Dive into a ‘Killer’ Resource for Content Writers

Did you know that Copyblogger has a book club? It’s very new, so it would be understandable if you didn’t! We’re just in our second month, and this month we’re going to tackle an ultra helpful resource for anyone who wants to sharpen up their “killer” skill set — Ryan Levesque’s Ask. Ryan is a
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PayPal Will Soon Integrate More Payment Options Into Google Services

Google’s rebranding of Google Pay this year was done to make twofold transactions go more smoothly. Now, the company is integrating PayPal into the mix. This will enable PayPal users to pay bills and make purchases without having to log in or out of Google services.

The integration between Google and PayPal will go live later this year. It will cover any services and apps using Google Pay, like Gmail, the Google Store, and YouTube and will also work with peer-to-peer transfers.

The two companies working together is not new. PayPal has already been a payment option for Google Play since 2014 and in online and in-store transactions that are handled by Google Pay since 2017. Google is also working with other payment partners like Braintree, Cybersource, Mastercard, Stripe, and Visa.

The expanded relationship between Google and PayPal will undoubtedly benefit the two companies. For the former, it will mean a reduction of users leaving the site just to complete a transaction, a move that more often than not results in abandoned purchases. This will also give buyers more payment alternatives, ensuring that more sales are completed. As for PayPal, the union will also give its members an incentive to use its services to buy things, thereby leading to higher transaction revenue.

This partnership also underlines the changes and challenges happening to online payments. A large number of consumers are already willing and ready to pay for services and items online. The problem is that with so many payment options and shops, it’s difficult to keep consumer interest. The challenge now for app publishers, shop owners and platform owners is how to keep people engaged in the product and not migrate to another site.

The solution is to introduce services where payment transactions are already enabled at the point that they’re needed with minimum fuss. This means no jumping to another site or app, no logging in several times or taking additional steps just to finalize a payment. 

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How to Turn Leads Into Clients with Modern Email Marketing

When it comes to building an audience that builds your freelance or consulting business, email remains the undisputed heavyweight champion. Email was the original “killer app” — everyone uses it, and that’s why it’s been the absolute best channel for digital marketing and audience building. And yes, that’s still true in 2018. The stats don’t
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Jayna Dall: How To Turn Kids Lesson Plans Into A $250,000 A Year Subscription Revenue Online Business

 [ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Raw RSS ] Jayna Dall started a website that offers teachers downloadable curriculum for teaching children acting classes. At the time of this podcast recording, Jayna’s business had turned over $ 250,000 in the previous year, a fantastic result for a…

The post Jayna Dall: How To Turn Kids Lesson Plans Into A $ 250,000 A Year Subscription Revenue Online Business appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

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Dropbox Announces Plans to Integrate Google G Suite Tools into Its Platform

One of the minor inconveniences plaguing the modern day workplace is the proliferation of different apps and tools that might not be totally compatible with each other. Thankfully, users of both Dropbox and Google Suite will have it easier in the near future as cross-platform integration is in the works.

Dropbox recently announced that it plans to partner with Google to integrate G Suite tools to its file sharing and storage service. This is a smart move for the company as it would greatly improve the functionality and ease of use for its service considering that 50 percent of Dropbox users also maintain a G Suite account.

This partnership will allow Dropbox users to easily access useful G Suite features once the integration is completed. For instance, they will be able to open and edit compatible files such as Google Slides, Sheets or Docs directly from Dropbox. For Dropbox Business administrators, the partnership will also allow them to manage Google Docs, Slides and Sheet that are in Dropbox.

On the other hand, G Suite users will also be able to open, edit and even create Google Docs in Dropbox. They can also make the same kind of file manipulations for other G Suite files such as Google Sheets and Slides.

“We want to make it easy for our users to work across devices with the tools they love,” explained Dropbox Vice President of Engineering Tony Lee, reflecting the trend of intercompany cooperation to make their different products work seamlessly with each other. Dropbox also partnered with Microsoft in a similar arrangement a few years back.

The recent weeks have been eventful for the San Francisco-based file hosting and syncing company. Just last week, Dropbox went public in a bid to raise $ 500 million in fresh funding to finance its latest R&D efforts.

[Featured image via Dropbox]

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A Look Back at a Great 2017: 5 Major Moz Product Investments and a Sneak Peek Into 2018

Posted by adamf

It’s hard to believe that 2017 is already past. We entered the year with big ambitions and we’ve made some great strides. As has become tradition, I’ve compiled a rundown of some of the most interesting updates that you may have seen (or missed) this past year. We’ve intentionally focused on significant product updates, but I’ve also shared a little about some newer programs that provide value for customers in different ways.

TL;DR, here are some of the larger and more interesting additions to Moz in 2017:

  1. Keywords by Site: Keyword Explorer adds site-based keyword research and competitive intelligence
  2. Site Crawl V2: Overhauled Site Crawl for better auditing and workflow
  3. Major investments in infrastructure: Better performance and resilience across the Moz toolset
  4. New instructor-led training programs: Targeted classes to level-up your SEO knowledge
  5. Customer Success: Custom walkthroughs to help you get the most out of Moz
  6. Bonus! MozPod: Moz’s new free podcast keeps you up to date on the latest industry topics and trends

Big updates

This year and last, we’ve been spending a disproportionate focus on releasing large infrastructural improvements, new datasets, and foundational product updates. We feel these are crucial elements that serve the core needs of SEOs and will fuel frequent improvements and iterations for years to come.

To kick things off, I wanted to share some details about two big updates from 2017.


1) Keywords by Site: Leveling up keyword research and intelligence

Rank tracking provides useful benchmarks and insights for specific, targeted keywords, but you can’t track all of the keywords that are relevant to you. Sometimes you need a broader look at how visible your sites (and your competitors’ sites) are in Google results.

We built Keywords by Site to provide this powerful view into your Google presence. This brand-new dataset in Moz significantly extends Keyword Explorer and improves the quality of results in many other areas throughout Moz Pro. Our US corpus currently includes 40 million Google SERPs updated every two weeks, and allows you to do the following:

See how visible your site is in Google results

This view not only shows how authoritative a site is from a linking perspective, but also shows how prominent a site is in Google search results.

Compare your ranking prominence to your competitors

Compare up to three sites to get a feel for their relative scale of visibility and keyword ranking overlap. Click on any section in the Venn diagram to view the keywords that fall into that section.

Dig deep: Sort, filter, and find opportunities, then stash them in keyword lists

For example, let’s say you’re looking to determine which pages or content on your site might only require a little nudge to garner meaningful search visibility and traffic. Run a report for your site in Keyword Explorer and then use the filters to quickly hone in on these opportunities:

Our focus on data quality

We’ve made a few decisions to help ensure the freshness and accuracy of our keyword corpus. These extend the cost and work to maintain this dataset, but we feel they make a discernible difference in quality.

  • We recollect all of our keyword data every 2 weeks. This means that the results you see are more recent and more similar to the results on the day that you’re researching.
  • We cycle up to 15 million of our keywords out on a monthly basis. This means that as new keywords or terms trend up in popularity, we add them to our corpus, replacing terms that are no longer getting much search volume.

A few improvements we’ve made since launch:

  • Keyword recommendations in your campaigns (tracked sites) are much improved and now backed by our keyword corpus.
  • These keyword suggestions are also included in your weekly insights, suggesting new keywords worth tracking and pages worth optimizing.
  • Coming very soon: We’re also on the cusp of launching keyword corpuses for the UK, Canada, and Australia. Stay tuned.

A few resources to help you get more from Keywords by Site:

Try out Keywords by Site!


2) Site Crawl V2: Big enhancements to site crawling and auditing

Another significant project we completed in 2017 was a complete rewrite of our aging Site Crawler. In short, our new crawler is faster, more reliable, can crawl more pages, and surfaces more issues. We’ve also made some enhancements to the workflow, to make regular crawls more customizable and easy to manage. Here are a few highlights:

Week-over-week crawl comparisons

Our new crawler keeps tabs on what happened in your previous crawl to show you which specific issues are no longer present, and which are brand new.

Ignore (to hide) individual issues or whole issue types

This feature was added in response to a bunch of customer requests. While Moz does its best to call out the issues and priorities that apply to most sites, not all sites or SEOs have the same needs. For example, if you regularly noindex a big portion of your site, you don’t need us to keep reminding you that you’ve applied noindex to a huge number of pages. If you don’t want them showing your reports, just ignore individual issues or the entire issue type.

Another workflow improvement we added was the ability to mark an issue as fixed. This allows you to get it out of your way until the next crawl runs and verifies the fix.

All Pages view with improved sorting and filtering

If you’re prioritizing across a large number of pages or trying to track down an issue in a certain area of your site, you can now sort all pages crawled by Issue Count, Page Authority, or Crawl Depth. You can also filter to show, for instance, all pages in the /blog section of my site that are redirects, and have a crawl issue.

Recrawl to verify fixes

Moz’s crawler monitors your site by crawling it every week. But if you’ve made some changes and want to verify them, you can now recrawl your site in between regular weekly crawls instead of waiting for the next crawl the start.

Seven new issues checked and tracked

These include such favorites as detecting Thin Content, Redirect Chains, and Slow Pages. While we were at it, we revamped duplicate page detection and improved the UI to help you better analyze clusters of duplicate content and figure out which page should be canonical.

A few resources to help you get more from Site Crawl:


3) Major investments in infrastructure for performance and resilience

You may not have directly noticed many of the updates we’ve made this year. We made some significant investments in Moz Pro and Moz Local to make them faster, more reliable, and allow us to build new features more quickly. But here are a few tangible manifestations of these efforts:

“Infinite” history on organic Moz Pro search traffic reports

Okay, infinite is a bit of a stretch, but we used to only show the last 12 months or weeks of data. Now we’ll show data from the very inception of a campaign, broken down by weeks or months. This is made possible by an updated architecture that makes full historical data easy to surface and present in the application. It also allows for custom access to selected date ranges.

Also worth noting is that the new visualization shows how many different pages were receiving organic search traffic in context with total organic search traffic. This can help you figure out whether traffic increase was due to improved rankings across many pages, or just a spike in organic traffic for one or a few pages.

More timely and reliable access to Moz Local data at all scales

As Moz Local has brought on more and bigger customers with large numbers of locations, the team discovered a need to bolster systems for speed and reliability. A completely rebuilt scheduling system and improved core location data systems help ensure all of your data is collected and easy to access when you need it.

Improved local data distribution

Moz Local distributes your location data through myriad partners, each of which have their own formats and interfaces. The Local team updated and fine-tuned those third-party connections to improve the quality of the data and speed of distribution.


4) New instructor-led training programs: Never stop learning

Not all of our improvements this year have shown up in the product. Another investment we’ve made is in training. We’ve gotten a lot of requests for this over the years and are finally delivering. Brian Childs, our trainer extraordinaire, has built this program from the ground up. It includes:

  • Boot camps to build up core skills
  • Advanced Seminars to dig into more intensive topics
  • Custom Training for businesses that want a more tailored approach

We have even more ambitious plans for 2018, so if training interests you, check out all of our training offerings here.


5) Customer Success: Helping customers get the most out of Moz

Our customer success program took off this year and has one core purpose: to help customers get maximum value from Moz. Whether you’re a long-time customer looking to explore new features or you’re brand new to Moz and figuring out how to get started, our success team offers product webinars every week, as well as one-on-one product walkthroughs tailored to your needs, interests, and experience level.

The US members of our customer success team hone their skills at a local chocolate factory (Not pictured: our fantastic team members in the UK, Australia, and Dubai)

If you want to learn more about Moz Pro, check out a webinar or schedule a walkthrough.


Bonus! MozPod: Moz’s new free podcast made its debut

Okay, this really strays from product news, but another fun project that’s been gaining momentum is MozPod. This came about as a side passion project by our ever-ambitious head trainer. Lord knows that SEO and digital marketing are fast-moving and ever-changing; to help you keep up on hot topics and new developments, we’ve started the Mozpod. This podcast covers a range of topics, drawing from the brains of key folks in the industry. With topics ranging from structured data and app store optimization to machine learning and even blockchain, there’s always something interesting to learn about. If you’ve got an idea for an episode or a topic you’d like to hear about, submit it here.

Join Brian every week for a new topic and guest:


What’s next?

We have a lot planned for 2018 — probably way too much. But one thing I can promise is that it won’t be a dull year. I prefer not to get too specific about projects that we’ve not yet started, but here are a few things already in the works:

  • A significant upgrade to our link data and toolset
  • On-demand Site Crawl
  • Added keyword research corpuses for the UK, Australia, and Canada
  • Expanded distribution channels for local to include Facebook, Waze, and Uber
  • More measurement and analytics features around local rankings, categories, & keywords
  • Verticalized solutions to address specific local search needs in the restaurant, hospitality, financial, legal, & medical sectors

On top of these and many other features we’re considering, we also plan to make it a lot easier for you to use our products. Right now, we know it can be a bit disjointed within and between products. We plan to change that.

We’ve also waited too long to solve for some specific needs of our agency customers. We’re prioritizing some key projects that’ll make their jobs easier and their relationships with Moz more valuable.


Thank you!

Before I go, I just want to thank you all for sharing your support, suggestions, and critical feedback. We strive to build the best SEO data and platform for our diverse and passionate customers. We could not succeed without you. If you’d like to be a part of making Moz a better platform, please let us know. We often reach out to customers and community members for feedback and insight, so if you’re the type who likes to participate in user research studies, customer interviews, beta tests, or surveys, please volunteer here.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


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There’s Treasure Everywhere: Turning waste into profit

Throughout history, curious business people have launched entirely new companies off their company’s waste. Read on to learn how you can you find similar waste-to-winning opportunities.
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Jump into a Creative and Productive New Year

Happy new year! I hope your holidays were good and that you’ve managed to re-find some semblance of your routine. (Or maybe even some cool new routines.) On Tuesday this week, Stefanie Flaxman gave us seven ideas for how to thrill your boss, editor, or clients with your writing professionalism. And on Wednesday, Brian Clark
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