Tag Archive | "Matter"

If Google says H1s don’t matter for rankings, why should you use them? Here’s why

Even if Google says its ranking systems work just fine without them, accessibility and readability are good reasons to use headings correctly.



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Review counts matter more to local business revenue than star ratings, according to study

Womply also found businesses claiming their listings on multiple sites generated 58% more revenue than the average.



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Back to Basics: Do outbound links matter for SEO?

Google cautions SEOs to be mindful about outbound linking.



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It Doesn’t Really Matter What Microsoft Does, Says Slack CEO

“Whatever Microsoft does we’re still going to do the same thing that we would do for customers,” says Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield. “If the performance of our applications, like the number of milliseconds it takes to startup, is an important thing for customers, we will do that. If shared channels are an important feature we will develop shared channels. It doesn’t really matter what Microsoft does. We don’t spend a lot of time worrying about it.”

Stewart Butterfield, CEO of Slack, discusses the potential impact of competition with Microsoft in an interview by FORTUNE at Brainstorm Tech 2019:

It Doesn’t Really Matter What Microsoft Does

First, Microsoft is an incredible company. I’m a big admirer. They also have been a great partner for us. There are 500,000 active developers on the Slack platform and Microsoft would like them using Azure. Azure has also been a great partner. We just launched Office 365 calendar integration and a bunch of other stuff. So they’re big enough that they end up working with and competing with all kinds of people around the world. We don’t spend a lot of time worrying about it (Microsoft competition with Slack). 

Whatever Microsoft does we’re still going to do the same thing that we would do for customers. If the performance of our applications, like the number of milliseconds it takes to startup, is an important thing for customers, we will do that. If shared channels are an important feature we will develop shared channels. It doesn’t really matter what Microsoft does. But having said that I think the emphasis has been a little bit different. Our emphasis has been really broadly on interoperability because we would like to be the two percent of your software budget that’s a multiplier on the value of the other 98 percent. 

There are 1,600 apps in the app directory but there are also 450,000 different applications developed internally by our customers that are actively used every week on the Slack platform. That can be things like notifications flowing in or workflow approvals or purchase orders. It’s really varied from teams in finance, legal, engineering, sales, and customer support. That activity is really important to us and is where we see Slack going.

Size Doesn’t Matter, Real Traction With Customers Does

Five years (from when Microsoft was still in Albuquerque) they kind of pulled the rug out from under IBM which was at the time the biggest, most powerful, and most valuable company in the world. Go forward about 17 years and this one is kind of mind-blowing. Microsoft has a 95 percent share of operating systems with Windows. It has 90 plus percent share of internet browsers with Internet Explorer. It bought Hotmail, had MSN, and had probably the biggest engineering presence for stuff online.

It literally controlled almost all of humanity’s access to the Internet and they saw this little company in Mountain View starting to make a real business around search. Over the next couple of decades, tens of billions of dollars into that, and their (Bing) market share is now 9 percent or something like that. 

You might think that’s special because the people at Google are real geniuses. But the same thing happened six or seven years later. In 2007, Google sees Facebook where people are spending a lot of time on social networks and that might be a good medium for advertising as well. If you wanted to comment on a video on YouTube you had to use Google Plus. I think the only time that Google ever promoted anything on its home page it was Google Plus. It was also promoted in Gmail and it didn’t matter. The fact that they had a thousand times more engineers and a thousand times more resources (didn’t matter). 

They had access to maybe over a billion users even by that point and it just didn’t make a difference. The lesson that we take from that is that a smaller company, if it has real traction with customers, in some cases, has a bit of an advantage against a large incumbent with multiple lines of business. This is like the first 40 or 50 pages of The Innovators Dilemma. There are plenty of companies that have been crushed as well. I think that it’s hard to maintain a real focus on quality and on user experience and the bigger you get the harder it is. 

If the competition was based on the quality of user experience and that’s where all the effort is that would be probably more daunting for us. If it’s based on their bigger distribution I don’t think that’s really a threat.

It Doesn’t Really Matter What Microsoft Does, Says Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield

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The 5 SEO Recommendations That Matter in the End

Posted by Paola-Didone

One of the biggest challenges in SEO is measuring impact — we know what matters (or doesn’t matter) until the rules of the game have changed. And when they do, we’re all scrambling to find a baseline again. 

I decided to put together a list of what I consider to be steadfast SEO recommendations. This list has yielded wins for a number of my clients — they had an impact that we were able to identify and quantify — and might be useful to you and your clients. While not all of them may be applicable (they should ultimately be tailored to your site’s specific needs) I will provide further details and examples of what I mean within each.

Here are the five SEO recommendations that I’ve consistently seen make a positive impact in SEO’s ever-changing world.

1. Structured data matters

The short explanation of why structured data is helpful is that it tells crawlers what there is within your page. If you are not familiar with this you can follow this helpful Structured Data guide to get you quickly up and running.

This is a clear example of tailoring the advice to your site’s needs and industry — I have consistently seen structured data making a positive impact for clients in different industries, but different structured data will be required for different sites and pages within the site.

Below, I show the increase in impressions that occurred after we updated the information included on structured data of product pages. In this case, the correct type of structured data was already selected, but the information given to it was incomplete or inconsistent with what was on page:

Above is an anonymized graph of a client’s impression performance during a month after the structured data update.

Here are the industries where I’ve seen structured data being useful:

  • Jobs/recruiting
  • Events
  • Beauty services

Structured data makes it faster and easier for crawlers to understand the information within the page, making it a powerful (but often misused) tool. If applied correctly, it will make quite a positive impact on your pages.

Here are a few additional steps to help you get started:

2. Page freshness

Your page’s freshness is determined by multiple factors, but simply having a date on a page is one of the easiest ways to indicate to Google how fresh your page is. This applies to blogs and news, but it’s also relevant for product pages related to dates, such as event sites.

If you think about page freshness from a user perspective, it’s easier to understand why it matters so much. When you obtain search results that have an old date, such as articles, depending on the subject, you might consider them less relevant than if they had a recent date. Crawlers know this too and have the ability to differentiate between fresh and old content whether it has a date or not.

For one of our clients in the event industry, an old date took a toll on their rankings. After updating their page’s content to ensure it was search relevant, we went through and made sure no content within the page (i.e. page copy or text at the bottom of the page) was referring to older dates. We also updated the date on structured data to match the new date.

After the update, we observed improved ranking on SERP results, which doubled impressions and CTR.

Page freshness matters for any industry, and while dates are helpful, your content freshness should always reflect and target what users are searching. Here are a few other things to consider if you think you may need to refresh your pages:

  • How often have you conducted keyword research in the last 18 months and updated your page’s content based on keywords results?
  • Are you featured on SERP results with dates and if so how old are these dates?

3. Internal linking (still matters)

The right balance of internal linking is never a straightforward answer, so I am not here to advise you on the absolute right way to do it. However, I am here to tell you that not having too many links on one page can make a positive impact.

For example, linking to all categories from your homepage could be the best user experience or the fastest way for crawlers to discover your pages but it will also impact the amount of equity the page is sending to all the pages it links to.

If all of your category pages are crawled and indexed, as was the case for my client, you can decide to link from the homepage only to specific categories or services. There are many factors to consider when changing how you internally link from the homepage, some of which are:

  • Likelihood of these pages to better compete
  • Revenue that comes from these pages

When we recommended a change in internal linking to one of our clients in the personal beauty service industry, we saw an overall 21 percent increase in sessions from the previous month for the site as a whole. About half of these came from the category pages we kept a link to, which offset any loss in session from the category pages we excluded.

Balancing internal linking is definitely an important ranking factor because it will dictate how users and crawlers discover your pages. If you are revisiting your site’s internal linking, or think that your client should, my colleague Shannon wrote this helpful guide on the subject that covers all the various aspects of balancing internal linking for SEO.

4. Title tags

Changing your title tags and finding out if they made a positive impact can be quite difficult to prove. At Distilled, our ODN clients can easily test and measure how a different title made a positive or negative impact. I’ve tested this many times for clients in different industries, and changing a title has always changed (positively or negatively) the amount of session variant pages were getting.

How you change your title will depend on your page type, so there is no absolute rule on what to change a title to. In my client’s case, we’ve positively tested the following changes:

Include the year in the title, which also signals freshness. 

    Here is an example I made up:

    Original title: “Book a Trip to Hawaii Now | [brand name]”

    Changed title: “Hawaii Trips 2019/2010 | Book Now | [brand name]”

    Include the lowest product price of the page, for example:

      Original title: “Cheap Flights to Hawaii – [brand name]”

      Changed title: “Cheap Flight to Hawaii from $ 400 – [brand name]”

      We also tested these following changes, which had a negative result in terms of the number of sessions:

      • Adding the number of products for sale on the page to the title tag
      • Adding emojis to the title tag

      The successful tests were measured in the travel industry particularly, while the negative tests occurred in the fast fashion industry. Specifically, through the ODN platform, we measured a 7 percent increase in sessions for pages with a year or price in the title.

      What you change your title to will depend on many factors, so a year or price might not help in your case. However, if some of your category pages have seasonal products or your industry competes heavily on prices, adding the year — or date, if applicable — or a price in the title could be quite beneficial.

      5. Obtain backlinks

      One thing that consistently helped my clients to obtain external links is creative pages — not shocking, I know. These are usually interesting articles or campaigns related to the business, not commercial pages (pages that are just trying to sell something), and they end up obtaining quite a lot of coverage from different sources and, subsequently, external links.

      Building successful creative pages are not easy and won’t guarantee that an increase in any specific amount of backlinks, but it’s one of the safest ways to obtain organic backlinks. The process can also be quite expensive for big pieces but we’ve also experienced a positive impact with more lightweight pieces on a smaller budget.

      If your budget or your client’s budget is on the modest side, you can still create a great piece. Here are a few tips to achieve that:

      • Think about the data you have collected and what insights it might have for users who do not have access to it: can you spot trends and patterns that could be interesting for a wider audience?
      • Surveys: you can certainly reach an audience to ask questions on a topic you want to create a piece of content for. If you can’t reach an audience for free, you can do this cheaply through paid surveys and collect your data this way.
      • Hire freelancers: there is a lot of great talent you can scout on sites like Upwork to help you create a visually enticing piece

      One of the best examples I have is a Distilled client who increased traffic by 70 percent (yes — really!) thanks to creative content. While this client’s budget was not small, the traffic obtained paid off the initial investment. My colleague, Leonie, who led and worked on the project, does a great job detailing what they achieved after publishing creative content for this client. I would summarize the main takeaways of her post with these reminders:

      • Know your primary campaign goal
      • Do not expect short term — focus on the long term strategy
      • Measure results with multiple tools

      Wrapping it up

      Measuring the impact of SEO changes is a consistent challenge and not every SEO technique you throw at content will work. My hope is that this short list can provide you with some ideas and directions on things to consider when helping your site or your clients. As I mentioned above, these are not hard written rules, but they are the ones worth their weight and are certainly worth analyzing for the sites you are working on.

      If you’ve you been able to measure an impactful SEO change that consistently helped your clients, please share your experience in a comment below.

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      Zoom CEO: If We Cannot Make the Customer Happy, Nothing Will Matter

      Zoom Founder and CEO Eric Yuan says that the number one most important thing for a business is to make the customer happy. He says it really comes down to these three areas of focus; Product, Process, and People.

      Eric Yuan, Founder, and CEO of Zoom, recently sat down with industry analyst Michael Krigsman, who conducted another fascinating interview for his CXOTALK video interview platform:

      If We Can’t Make the Customer Happy, Nothing Will Matter

      I think, every day as a CEO who manages a company, I have so many things to work on but, ultimately, I’ve got to understand what’s the number one important thing as a business, right?

      If we cannot make the customer happy, nothing will matter. That’s why this is our number one priority. If a customer is happy, everything else will be easier. Customers will like to talk with us, share our stories with others and, essentially, will help us to further improve our product experience and also make our business better.

      Look at Everything From a Customer Perspective

      You’ve got to look at everything from a customer perspective. If you truly care about them, you are not only going to look at it from your perspective. When you build a product, you will say, “Hey, will this product, will this feature, deliver happiness or add value to a customer or not?”

      Anything you do, look at it from a customer perspective. Then, actually, the customers, they will feel more like a part of your business. They’re happy to grow your business.

      Focus on Product, Process, and People

      Ultimately, it’s three things. When we talk about happiness, first of all, your product has got to work, right? Every time a customer is using Zoom, they really like it. That’s the number one thing; your product has got to work. Every time after the meeting is over, customers say, “Yes, this experience is great.” They enjoy using your product.

      The second thing is your process. When you do business with customers, you’ve got to make sure your process is very simple but very easy.

      The third thing is about the people. Meaning, because not only do those customers use your product but, also, we want to make sure every interaction between Zoom employees and the customers  — say like support, a customer success manager, engineers, our product managers — every interaction between our company and the customers, they enjoy it. Process, people, and the product, from all those three aspects, we make sure the customer is happy.

      Watch the full 44-minute interview below or read the full transcript at CXOTALK:

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      Brand Transparency: Why It Should Matter to Your Business

      Consumers nowadays have become savvier, thanks to the easy accessibility of information via the Internet. They are not easily swayed by false advertising claims and fancy marketing spiels. Younger consumers have become especially more loyal to brands that appear to be transparent in how they do business. 

      But what is brand transparency, exactly? Why is it crucial for companies, and does it really have an effect on consumer behavior and loyalty?

      Brands are developed as a means to identify and differentiate one business from the other. Effective branding creates inherent value that affects purchasing behavior and consumer preferences. These days, consumers are demanding more detailed information about a product before making a purchase. They want to know all the product specifications, the materials used to make it, where those materials came from, and the actual people who make and distribute the products. For these reasons and more, brand transparency should not be considered just another marketing buzzword; it should be a top priority for businesses.

      Studies have shown that transparency resulted in increased loyalty and boosted brand worth.  2016 Label Insight Study, revealed that out of 2000 respondents, 94 percent were likely to be loyal to a brand that commits to full transparency. About 56 percent would remain loyal for life if a company remained open to its disclosures. Of those surveyed, 73 percent were willing to pay more for a brand that is completely transparent. 

      Some consumers will even switch to a brand and consider its entire product portfolio, all because of its openness.  

      Brand transparency builds lifetime loyalty and strengthens trust from consumers. About 58 percent remain distrustful of a brand without ‘real world proof’ of its promised claims. Businesses are seen as ethical if they are truthful in informing people of what to expect from offered products and services. It is a guiding principle for companies and advertising channels alike in their marketing strategy to earn trust. 

      Full transparency requires a conscious effort in disclosing information to the public. It allows companies to prevent mistrust from happening when information is only made available after the incident. There are several ways to promote brand transparency and earn consumer trust.  

      1. Holding Your Brand Accountable

      Any lapses in brand standards should be pointed out and serve as an example to do better. A business is responsible for delivering its brand’s promise on products and services. If possible, everyone in the company should share accountability, as behaviors in the workplace also reflect the brand’s values.

      2. Focusing on What Your Brand Represents

      Avoid portraying the company inaccurately. Staying true to what your brand stands will help it to maintain a positive image. Amidst the changing business landscape, companies must remain open with their consumers without losing sight of the brand’s purpose. Core values and a clear mission statement should be communicated and upheld throughout the company.

      3. Connecting With Consumers

      Companies should take advantage of social media in communicating their messages to target markets. With digital-savvy consumers, businesses must turn to social networking platforms and acknowledge feedbacks or queries addressed through these channels. By adjusting how they communicate, companies can establish a recognizable brand voice and encourage engagement with consumers. This builds trust in the brand and establishes a loyal relationship with its customers.  

      Keep in mind that brand trust and loyalty do not happen overnight. There are several factors involved in creating a long-lasting relationship with your customer, but one that stands out is brand transparency. 

      [Featured image via Pexels]

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      Do SMB websites matter anymore? YP doubles down on ‘yes’ with new ‘pro’ SEO product

      Company says program resulted in a page one ranking on Google for 70 percent of keywords within a few months.

      The post Do SMB websites matter anymore? YP doubles down on ‘yes’ with new ‘pro’ SEO product appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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      Which Page Markup + Tags Still Matter for SEO? – Whiteboard Friday

      Posted by randfish

      Should you focus on perfecting your H1s and H2s, or should structured data demand all your on-page attention? While Google hasn’t completely pulled the rug out from under us, don’t let the lack of drastic change in page markup fool you. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand outlines where to focus your efforts when it comes to on-page SEO and offers some tools to help with the process.

      Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

      Video Transcription

      Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we are going to chat about page markup and tags and which ones still matter for SEO.

      Now, weirdly enough, you would think that over the last, say, seven or eight years we would’ve had an enormous growth in the number of tags and the optimization options and what you have to do on a page, but that’s not actually the case. Google kind of gave us a few that were important — things like rel=author — and then took some away. So it’s changed a little bit, but it is not as overhauled massively as you might think, and that’s a good thing.

      Old-school SEO markup

      Old-school SEO best practices were sort of like, okay, I had to worry about my title, my meta description and keywords tag — keywords a little less though, keywords haven’t been worried about for maybe 15 years now — my robots tag certainly, especially if I was controlling bot behavior, rel=canonical and the rel=alternate tag for things like hreflang, which came about six or seven years ago, and my headline tags. Some potential basically markup or text tags that could change the format of text, like strong and bold and EM, these have gotten less important. I’ll talk about that in a sec. Obviously, with URLs worrying about rel=nofollow and other forms of the rel tag, and then image source having the alt attribute.

      This was kind of the basic, bare-bones fundamental minimums. There were other tags that some people employed and obviously other tags that Google added and took away over time or that they paid attention to a little bit and then didn’t. But generally speaking, this was the case.

      Modern SEO markup

      Nowadays there are a few more, but they’re really centered around just a few small items. We do have metadata now. I’m going to call this SEO even though technically it is not just for the search engines. Those are Open Graph, Twitter Cards, and the favicon. I’ll talk about that in a sec why that actually changed even though favicon has been around for a long time. Then, things like the markup for Google itself, the structured data markup that’s part of schema.org that Google is employing.

      I want to be clear. Google is not using every form of schema. If you go to schema.org, you can find schema markup for virtually anything. Google only uses a small portion of that. While certain websites have seen an uptick in traffic or in prominence or in their visibility and display in the search engine results, it is not a guaranteed rank booster. Google says they don’t typically use it to boost rankings, but they can use it to better understand content, which in my opinion, better understanding content is something that often leads to better rankings and visibility, so you should be doing it. As a result, many of these old-school tags still apply of course — alt attributes and in the header tag the title and the meta description, meta robots, canonical.

      What’s changed?

      Really what’s changed, the big things that have changed, added to the header of pages, I would tell you generally speaking that you should think and worry about:

      • Twitter Cards
      • Open Graph markup
      • The favicon

      Twitter Cards is pretty obvious. Basically, because Twitter is such a big distribution network for content and can be, it pays to have your cards optimized rather than to just have the URL exist on its own. You can stand out better in Twitter that way.

      Open Graph markup, this is basically used by Facebook, an even bigger distribution platform than Twitter, and so of course you want to be able to optimize how you appear in those. Because social media in general is so well correlated with all sorts of positive SEO things, you want to put your best foot forward there. Therefore, I’m going to say this is an SEO best practice as well as a social media marketing one.

      Favicon is a little weirder. Favicon’s been around for forever. It’s the little graphic that appears in your browser window or at the top of the browser tab. The reason that it matters is because so many sites — social media platforms and many distribution sites, places like Pocket, places that scrape, places that will show your stuff including sometimes, at least in the past, Google’s knowledge cards — will sometimes use that favicon in their display of your site. For that reason, it certainly can pay to have a good favicon that stands out, that’s obvious and clear, much more so than it was, say, a decade ago.

      Not as important…

      The H1, H2, and H3

      I know what you’re going to say. You’re looking around like, “Wait a minute. I still see a lot of recommendations from tools, even like Moz Pro, that say I should use H1, H2, H3.” It is a best practice. I’d say H1 and H2 are best practices, but they are not going to transform or massively help your rankings. They’re not very well correlated with better rankings. In lots of testing, folks could barely ever observe a true, reconcilable difference between using the headline tag and just having those headlines be big and bold at the top of the page. However, I’m saying this alone. If you are using itemprop to describe a headline, an alternate headline, in your schema.org markup, that actually can be more useful. We do think that Google is at least using that, as they say, to better understand your content. I think that’s a positive thing. Then, there are lots of other sites that can use schema as well. Google is not the only place. That can certainly help your visibility too.

      Strong, bold, and EM

      It just kind of doesn’t matter as much. With CSS taking things over, you don’t need to worry about visual display of text in your HTML code nearly as much and certainly not from the search engine perspective.

      Added to body

      I’m adding to the body tag of course all of the schema.org options. I’m just showing the article ones here, but you should consider any of the ones you’ve got — recipes or news or videos or all sorts of stuff.

      What about…?

      Questions that folks might have around page markup:

      • What about other metadata? There’s the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative and other forms of open metadata and other forms of markup that you could put in there. I’m going to say no, don’t bother. Until and unless something gets truly popular and used by a lot of these different services, Google included, it just doesn’t pay, in my opinion, and it adds a little bit of extra weight to a page that just doesn’t matter.
      • W3C validation, does it matter if I have valid HTML code that’s sort of very, very perfect? Nope, it doesn’t seem to matter much at all. It didn’t matter back in the day. It doesn’t matter now. I would not worry about it. Most of the most popular and most visible sites in Google do not actually validate at all.
      • Schema that Google hasn’t adopted yet? I’m going to be a little controversial and say it’s probably worthwhile. If Schema has already stated this is how this format works, but you don’t yet see Google using it, it could still pay to be an early adopter, because if and when Google does do that, it could bring benefit. Now, if you’re worried about heavy page load or if this is very time-consuming for you or your dev team, don’t worry about it too much. You can certainly wait until Google actually implements something before you go and add that relevant schema to your site.
      • Other forms of semantic markup? I know there are lots of people who believe semantic markup is the future and those kinds of things, but I don’t. I don’t think that until and unless the engines adopt it, it probably does not pay. Certainly we have not seen browsers, we have not seen search engines, and we have not seen big organizations that in the social media world start to adopt this semantic markup stuff, so I would worry less about that. I think, to be honest, the engines of the future are worried about parsing the content themselves, not about how you mark it up on your pages.
      • Header, footer, sidebar labels in CSS? This was like a spam or manipulation or link counting thing for a long time, where SEOs worried that page markup that called out this is in the header, this is in the footer, this is in the sidebar of the visual of the page, like I’m saying these links are in here or these links are over here or these links are down here, this was a concern. I am less worried about it nowadays. If you are very paranoid or concerned, you certainly could use alternate things. I just wouldn’t worry about it very much.

      Want to check your pages?

      If you want to check these pages, you want to go through a process of actually reviewing all this stuff, there are a few tools that will do all of this stuff for you. They’ll look at all of these different tags and markup options.

      The free one I love the most happens to be a Moz tool. I just really like it.

      • MozBar. You can download it for free. There are almost 400,000 people who use it regularly for free, and that’s awesome. It does have a little on-page checking option. It’ll run through all this different stuff for you.
      • View source and do it manually in your browser.
      • Google Structured Data Checker tool, which is linked to from the MozBar’s on-page checker, but also you can Google it yourself and then plug stuff into it. You don’t need to be logged in to your Webmaster Tools or Search Console account. It will validate at least the schema.org options that Google considers, which is great, and some ones that they don’t use, but that’s cool too.
      • Facebook has the same thing with Open Graph checking.
      • Twitter with their Card Validator.

      If you want to use a paid service to go crawl your site automatically and surface all these issues for you:

      With these options, I would love to actually hear from you in the comments if you have seen markup or tag options that are not covered here that you think are influencing SEO for a wide range of folks. Please bring them up. Let’s talk about them. Let’s talk about any of these you disagree with.

      We’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

      Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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      Your Qualifications Do Not Matter, But Your Results Do

      I was frustrated. I just couldn’t get through to him. To me, his path was obvious. To him, he was stuck because of one big fear. He just didn’t feel qualified enough to help other people. He was afraid that he would be ridiculed because he wasn’t a medical professional,…

      The post Your Qualifications Do Not Matter, But Your Results Do appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

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