Saturday, January 28, 2017

Magic of Warmth - Moments defining Humanity

We are faced with a constant pressure to run faster every day to stay relevant. Yet, one should still take time to stop and look back at some of the glorious moments we have experienced. The little moments of kindness,help and love received in time of need is something greater than any wealth.
I feel a sense of gratitude and in permanent debt to people who have reached out to , especially at rock bottom. Irrespective of past enmity, caste/religious/gender differences the help offered without any expectations can truly be a heart melting moment. When I recollect such moments in life, I should mention the two instances where humanity won than the larger issue at hand. 

Humanity Gestures during December Floods

moments defining humanity chennai floods
Source : BuzzFeed
Do check out my previous post on this. A situation no one in the country might have seen. We have may witnessed heavy  rains and little bit of flooding in streets. But no city in the world can handle more than 500mm of rainfall in a single day. Chennai was faced with such a delirious situation and most ground floor houses were flooded, huts washed away. Several thousand people were stranded on streets without food, shelter or water. However at this moment, several volunteers mostly comprising youngsters came together to help. They rescued them from flooded houses, offered them shelter and food, when even money had no literal value at that moment. People of different religions gladly opened their door for others without even a slight sense of hesitation or fear. Even cinema theaters and a few malls offered the homeless to stay inside their complex until the situation became normal. I too received some timely help from a lot of people during this time and feel forever grateful.

Unification for a Cause : The Jallikattu Protest

moments defining humanity marina jallikattu protest

When the Supreme court came up with a ban on the Jallikattu sport,  several thousand youngsters in the state came together as one to protest peacefully. They all assembled in Marina Beach for days together and urged the government to repeal the ban. During this week long protest, people of all walks of society sat together and gave their voice for the support. The people in the protest offered food, water and support to fellow protesters in the crowd. They might have been foes in the day , but when it came to this, it was all for one mission and unity prevailed. Dozens of news channels covered many heart melting moments in these protests. Personally, unity among strangers for a cause is definitely a heart melting moment at any given time, when you experience the Magic of Warmth

I’m blogging about my #MagicOfWarmth moment at BlogAdda in association with Parachute Advansed Hot Oil

Friday, January 27, 2017

Decoding Jallikattu Protest - What went right, what didn't ?

If you were in India, you probably would have heard about the massive protest that happened across TamilNadu against the ban on the popular "Taming the Bull" Sport, "Jallikattu". This was done on an unprecedented scale and ended up being a successful protest . In contrast to any other protests, this was done largely on a peaceful scale , assembling in the popular Marina Beach and causing almost no disruption to everyday life. The people who gathered in these protests were largely youngsters,(college students, some school students, and even professionals) who took time to come and sit in these protests.

Source of Image:

The protest however took an anti climax turn, when political parties started to interfere for their own political gain. They brought in the miscreants, who tried to shift the theme against the current government and incite violence . The final day of the protest saw the bill being passed permanently in the legislature, sadly with a lot of damage to properties and people. The papers only said, the city was in a battlefield state, rather than actually celebrating a success that they fought for pretty hard.

So here's a quick look on what actually went right and what didn't.

Positives of Jallikattu Protest

  • The biggest highlight of the Jallikattu protest was the unification of youth, who came out in large nos against the ban. Messages were primarily spread through social media such as Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter and it gained momentum as the days went. 
  •  Not just the youth , but we also saw professionals, families including their kids and single women coming together to make a powerful impact.
  • It's probably the first peaceful protest organized by the students, that actually made both the central and state governments to notice and come up with quick resolutions
  • It's also the first time, when a supreme court order has been challenged by the people of a state, but in a peaceful way. Finally a revised order was made by the state government (with approval from the centre) to revoke the ban.
  • For the first time, politicians and film actors were strictly denied entry to join the protests and to keep it as civil as possible.
  • It sent out a positive message to neighbouring states and countries, that one could protest in a peaceful manner without violence/strikes . A simple large gathering motivated purely through the issue at hand and not monetarily can definitely make a huge difference

Downsides of Jallikattu Protest

  • Celebrities including film actors, who earlier campaigned for PETA (or even supported animals) were trolled, abused, threatened and harassed beyond reproach.
  • People were not allowed to have a different opinion on the matter, and such people were suddenly called anti-nationals.
  • The final day of the protests saw some ugly scenes. Police tried to dismantle the protesters through force, instead of waiting it through or negotiation talks.
  • The single motive of revoking Jallikattu ban became diluted into multiple asks. Protesters suddenly wanted the following things
    • Ban of PETA organization
    • Ban of Pepsi, Coke
    • Removal of current government, claiming it showed inaction during the issue

  • Racial/Religious targeting and abuse of people who wanted the ban on Jallikattu. The Trolls of Twitter and FB, who hid behind fake names and profile pictures, began to unleash profanity and vulgar language.
  • A friend of mine , who had participated in a Jallikattu ban group was threatened and abused for several days. He was abused, not on his opinion but on his caste, relgion, work and even his dressing sense. Not only him, but his wife and family were also not spared from abusive Facebook messages.
  • When film actors voiced their support for pro Jallikattu, it was remarked that they did it for publicity and to promote their movies. If they didn't voice an opinion, they were abused and told they didn't have any social consciousness.
  • It was ok if you didn't believe in Hinduism, Christianity , Islam or any religion. It was ok if you were anti BJP or anti Congress or anti any party. But if you happened to be anti Jallikattu, you were suddenly called a traitor and a non-Tamilian.
  • Miscreants, slum dwellers, fishermen, funded by political parties began to disguise themselves as normal people and blocked all main junctions in the city during peak hours.This caused a massive delay for all office goers, school children, unable to return back home by any means. A city being held hostage by such miscreants should have been prevented at all costs.
  • The protest site began a breeding ground for the anti nationals to raise unwanted slogans against the leaders and even started demanding

It's always inevitable that a certain downside happens to every protest , no matter how peaceful it starts. Yet some of the points above could have been prevented easily. Irrespective of how I feel about this issue, I'm atleast glad that a resolution was passed to ensure the smooth functioning of the sport,in all places

Thursday, January 19, 2017

10 ways to improve Blog Score

increase blog score domain authority

Setting up a blog in Wordpress or Blogspot is pretty easy and free as well. You can sign up with an email id in seconds and start blogging almost instantly. With a quirky title, a blog address and a couple of posts down the line, you now look ahead to become a professional blogger. However, you realize there isn't much-expected traffic as you wanted. The blog remains largely invisible in search results. Additionally, your blog ranks and traffic scores may not be largely impressive to get brand collaboration assignments. This is one of the reasons for this post of top 10 ways to improve blog score.

The key blog score metrics that one should follow are:

  • Alexa ranking(Global, Country ranking)
  • Moz Ranking
  • Page Authority 
  • Domain Authority. 

Check your scores here : , by entering your domain link

In my earlier post on "How to SEO Proof You Blog", I had written about how to optimize blog layout, write good content, use Focus keywords and employ long tail keyword research to make it SEO friendly. In this post, I'll be guiding you how to make your blog rankings to increase in the shortest time possible.

Top 10 Ways to Improve Blog Score

1. Frequency of Posting:

If you blog has a lot of good content (on a related topic) with a high frequency of posting, it is highly favourable for search engines. Google search results always bring up the recently published posts. So make sure you blog at least once a week, if not more. It's been clearly established that blogs and websites having more posts have far better ranking than the ones with some old redundant posts.

2. Submitting Blog to Google Webmaster & Bing Webmaster

Though you have created a blog in Blogger or Wordpress, and set visibility to public for google search, it may still be undiscovered for quite a while. Submitting your blog to Google's Webmaster and Bing Webmaster and claiming it is a mandatory step in improving rankings.

You can do the following things : 
  • You can direct Google to direct traffic from a specific country like US, India etc
  • You can claim your blog and get it authorized from Google and Bing
  • Submit a sitemap for faster indexing of your website/blog and easier to crawl
  • Track crawl errors
  • Use Rich cards, data Highlighter for improved search appearance
    Improve Blog Score - Crawl errors
    Crawl Errors from Google Webmaster

    Improve blog score - Structured Data
    Structured data Analysis from Google Webmaster

    Submit it in these two sites


    3. Increase Backlinks to your Blog

    The only sureshot way in improving your blog score is to increase backlinks. More the backlinks, higher the popuarity of your blog. So you have to essentially identify sites that wouldallow you to backlink to your blog. Some of the points in 4,5 can help you do this effectively.

    increase blog score backlinks
    Source of Image :

    4. Commenting in other's blog

    It's not sufficient that you blog in your page alone. You need to visit other blogs, probably in a related category and drop in your valuable comments. This will then index back to your website and hence creates more backlinks for your website. Comments should be descriptive and more accurate than just a "nice" or "good" one line comment. Comments also generate traffic when other readers gets to read your blog link that has been posted along with your comments. This, to me , is one of the easiest way to improve blog score.

    5. Guest Posting in Blogs

    Being a contributor, you can not only post some good content in your blog, but also do a guest posting in other's blog. This not only establishes your popularity in other blogs, but also gives you an additional backlink to your site. While contributing to the guest post, ask for a simple backlink back to your blog. Google treats this as a high credibility link and hence credits you with a higher score. There are several blogs in the net that offers free guest posting (along with a do-follow backlink). A quick search in the web and even several blogging forums have people inviting other bloggers to do a guest posting in their blog.

    6. Owning a Custom/ Self Hosted Domain

    There is only a level to which your blog score is going to increase if its in a ".BlogSpot" or a ".wordpress" domain. If you are serious about blogging and making it big, buying a custom domain ( either a .in, .com , .org) is key in building your credibility.  Though there's no hard and fast rule, search engines generally considers a self hosted .com or .in domain much more seriously and ranks it higher compared to the former.

    Get yourself a domain for as low as 99Rs/Year in  Godaddy. Second year onwards it costs 50/month and this helps a lot in establishing yourself as a professional. 90% of brands and PR firms disregard your blog if it ends with or  . So dont mind the small cost and get yourself a nice domain quickly and start your earnings

    Get your domain here and use promo code : gdbbk1005 to get 40% additional discount :)

    7.Blog Directory Submission

    This is a common practice among all bloggers to submit their blog links in all blog forums, blog directories that'll provide them with a Dofollow link. A Do-Follow link is a link that passes the "juice" (a blog's ranking ) to the blog it is linking as well. So, if a highly rated blog is mentioning you with a Do-Follow link, consider yourself very lucky.

    8. Focus Keyword in Blog Content

    There used to be a time when I wrote random articles on different topics. I didn't really worry about keyword placement, search engine placements, CPC etc. However, I realized that focusing on a particular set of keywords and optimizing the blog post can boost your scores immensely. Everything from Blog title, blog permalink, blog subheadings, alt text in images holds key in promoting the focus keyword . I have written about this in detail in my previous post. In case you wanted to know, the focus keywords for this post is "Improve Blog Score".

    9. Social Media Promotions

    Social Media doesn't restrict to Twitter and Facebook. It also includes LinkedIn, Instagram, Quora, Pinterest and so many other websites that can drive a lot of traffic to your blog. So when you write a status update or post an answer to a question in Quora or even post a pic in Instagram, always remember link it back to your blog.

    10. Use SEO Plugins, SemRush Tool & Spam Score Checker

    If you are using a wordpress blog, you can install plugins like Yoast to automatically optimize your post in terms of SEO as well as readability. Additionally you can sign up to a free account with a tool called Semrush to help you analyze your posts. This will tell you how your posts are ranking , and what keywords in your blog are having a high value and CPC. Google webmaster will further tell you the spam links that's making your site weak and this can prompt you to add blacklist sites. This helps in preventing Google to consider your blog as spam.

    Sunday, January 01, 2017

    2016 - A blogging year recap

    To all my wonderful readers who keep coming back to read my posts, my heartiest thanks . I also wish you a wonderful and a happy, prosperous new year 2017

    2016, despite not being a great year in many aspects(including the Demonetization move, Chennai Cylone etc), it was a phenomenal year for blogging. My blogging skills along with my blog developed in so many aspects that I dont even know where to begin with. To start with I wrote a massive 125 Posts for Tata Tiago's Blog marathon campaign, that ranked me second out of a thousand bloggers who wrote for it.

    I also got to engage with several brand campaigns across the country. Some of great learning experience included client engagements, PR, SEO's and trying to multiply my blog traffic in a big way. I have documented some of my learnings in my previous post : How to SEO Proof your blog

    In early October, I also had the privilege to be invited by Tata Motors to witness the launch of the new Tata Hexa in Hyderabad. This was a huge launch and really felt honoured to be in the top 60 bloggers in the country to attend this launch

    2016 also saw the launch of my two self hosted domains , something I wouldn't have even considered given the investment cost for domains and hosting space. But I felt, its a mandatory step, if you want to move anywhere higher in the blogging sphere and become succesful. More importantly my migration of the travel blog to Wordpress to make it really powerful on the SEO front (though I was a blogspot guy for almost a decade now)

    This blog is my primary domain while the second domain is my travel blog : Chronicles of a World Traveller ( Please do take a few minutes of your valuable time to check out my travel blog and give your opinions on the same

    To all the others who need help in improving your blog, making it to the next level , please feel to reach out to me via the Contact Us option in the sidebar or drop in your comments here. I'd get back to you on the earliest

    Here's to a great beginning of the new year 2017 !! Cheers Guys !