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Creating a dynamic social media space that both promotes your brands and engages customers is no simple task. A truly robust Facebook page or Instagram account is a delicate balance of user interaction and straight ahead marketing that must be built up over time.

Given the importance of social media to any industry, and the time it takes to build up an audience, some website publishers have turned to shortcuts such as purchasing fake followers and fake likes. While this idea may sound good at first blush, it’s actually incredibly counter intuitive and may cost more over time than it saves.

Here are a few real facts you should know about fake followers.

In many ways, fake social media followers are a bit like parasites that feed on your body’s nutrients, but don’t actually support good health or growth. That’s because as long as the social platform thinks your fake followers are real, it’s going to treat them as real. So when you have 5,000 fake followers who will never post a comment, like a Tweet, or share a Facebook post, it negatively impacts your engagement metrics. As your engagement rates go down, so will the number of posts that get sent out to news-feeds.

Even worse, social platforms include your fake followers when deciding how much to charge your for ads that aimed at your followers. In short, you’ll be paying a higher price for advertising that’s aimed at accounts that will never ever convert because they simply don’t exist.

In the world of social media, there are no shortcuts – just an endless grind of building and maintaining followers.

The post Buying fake social media followers is a waste of money appeared first on .

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Executing a full-throated SEO plan is not something that can be done once and forgotten about. It’s an ongoing process that must be revisited often and audited on a regular basis. Assuming that your actually auditing your SEO strategies, there are some steps that you should be taking based on the information gathered from the audit itself.

This after-audit process was recently the subject of an article on SEO Journal by Corey Morris titled, Your SEO Audit is Complete – Now What?. Here are a few of Morris’ tips that are relevant to web publishers of all sizes.

Once your SEO audit is completed, it’s time to start drawing some conclusions. This means that it’s time to turn those vague conclusions into actionable items. Do you need to hire outside help? Do you need to re-focus your keywords? Developing an action plan will help you keep your audit from turning into a forgotten list of things you should be doing but aren’t.

Morris then recommends developing a list of high-priority items based on their level of impact. While this can be tough on some levels, it should be more plain on others. For example, re-tooling keywords is a higher priority than adjustments to the Contact Us page.

With your action plan in hand, it’s always useful to augment it with a timeline detailing exactly how you’re going to implement the plan and whether or not you’ll need outside help.

Finally, you can you use your baseline data to measure the overall impact of your action plan. Any changes should be very visible in your analytics accounts.

Remember, SEO is like a river that just keeps flowing. Your audit is only a section of that river.

The post What to do once the SEO audit is done appeared first on .

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Website migration is a stress inducing experience for most SEO consultants and content marketing professionals. After all, it takes a lot of time and effort to build up page-rankings and not very much time to lose them completely while migrating to a new server. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way if you’ve planned ahead properly.

In a recent article in SEO Journal titled, 4 Reasons Why Website Migrations Fail & How to Overcome Them, author Steven van Vessum lays out a strategy for web publishers who are preparing for a website migration that minimizes SEO losses as much as possible. (Spoiler alert, this strategy involves lots of advance planning.)

Planning ahead is van Vessum’s number one bit of advice for anyone planning a website migration. In this case, it means involving your entire team, including copywriters and SEO consultants, as well as preparing checklists for each of them to use throughout the process. This is, he points out, the most critical stage of the process.

Van Vessum also advises web publishers to make certain that they know exactly what the risks of a migration are. He points out that search engines owe you exactly nothing when it comes to SEO. That means that if you lose all your page rankings because of your migration, there’s no one at Google who’s going to help you earn them back.

Finally, van Vessum stresses that a successful website migration is going to be a team effort. Everyone needs to know their role well in advance of the move and be prepared to implement their checklists with as little strife as possible. While there will always be some loss involved with any website migration, it can be greatly mitigated with a little bit of advance preparation.

The post Ensuring a successful website migration that preserves SEO appeared first on .

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Irish lawmakers are considering imposing a ban on gambling products that allow players to wager on the outcome of a lottery, whether it’s in Ireland, or anywhere else. Irish bookmakers, the ones who’ve been providing exactly that kind of product to players for more than a quarter of a century, aren’t so sure that’s a great idea.

Much of the strum and drang regarding what are known as a lottery experience is coming from authorities at the Irish National Lottery. They say that lottery experience products are poaching their players and, in the process, diverting precious tax revenue away from government coffers. In their estimate, Irish players spend about €400 million ($5 million USD) on lottery experience products every year. If that same amount of money was spent on the National Lottery, it would have generated an additional €110 million ($137 million) in tax revenue that would have been used on various social programs.

Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire spoke to RTE News on the matter saying, “The National Lottery’s biggest beneficiaries are ordinary sporting clubs, community, voluntary and charitable organisations throughout the length and breadth of this country. €100,000 every day, millions upon millions every year. So it is a loss to them when people instead of playing the National Lottery play some other form of game play and imitation play.”

Sharon Byrne, Chair of the Irish Bookmakers’ Association points out that Irish Bookmakers make a pretty big contribution to government coffers, too saying, “Our members fund The Dunlewey centre and Gambling Awareness Trust in addition to the nearly €100 million per year in betting duty which is used by the government to fund many things including the horse and greyhound industries.”

Efforts to ban lottery experience products have been shelved for now, but proponents say they’ll be revisiting them in the very near future.

The post Irish lawmakers aim for lottery betting ban appeared first on .

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Regulators at the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) are doing a bit of a flip flop on a recent Sky Bet sports betting ad featuring sports announcer Jeff Stelling. It’s an unusual situation that draws into stark relief the absurdity of the ASA’s decision making process, especially when it comes to their Javert-like pursuit of gambling operators.

The advertisement in question featured Stelling touting the features of Sky Bet’s Request a Bet product, which allows players to build their own multi-faceted wagers. In describing the product, Stelling says, “Forget ‘anything can happen’, in sport anything does happen. But could it be better? With Request a Bet it could. Spark your sports brain and roll all the possibilities into one bet. Three red cards, seven corners, five goals: lets price that up. Or browse hundreds of request a bets on our app. The possibilities are humongous. How big is your sports noggin? Sky Bet, Britain’s most popular online bookmaker. When the fun stops, stop.”

While that statement seems pretty innocuous to most people, two (yes, two!) complained to the ASA that the ad suggested that increased sports knowledge increases your chances of winning wagers. Earlier this year, the ASA agreed and pulled the ad.

Sky Bet appealed the ruling, arguing that the ad was, “in line with similar sports betting treatments, where the focus was on the excitement and possibilities within sports for fans, rather than on the outcome of the bet or on the possibilities of winning,” according to a report on SBC News.

The ASA agreed with Sky Bet saying, “The phrase “in sport anything does happen” explicitly recognised the uncertain nature of sporting outcomes. We therefore concluded that the ad was not socially irresponsible and did not breach the Code.”

While the ASA should be lauded for recognizing the folly of its original decision, the fact that the decision was made in the first place speaks to the absurdity of its decision making process a whole.

The post UK ad regulators flip flop on Sky Bet sports betting ad appeared first on .

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Regulated sports betting is coming to Washington DC and plenty of folks are not happy about the way the contract for the operator who will be handling the action was approved. Late last night, DC Council approved a five-year, $215 million contract with Greek gaming firm Intralot to oversee the introduction of regulated sports betting in the crippled city state.

Awarding the contract to Intralot, which is the current technology partner of the DC Lottery, was not without controversy. Critics of the deal, which included at least five council members, balked at the idea of Intralot receiving a no-bid, no-competition contract with the lottery. (DC’s lottery was awarded a monopoly on sports betting earlier this year.)

They also point out that Intralot will be holding a third of all the wagers taken. In practical terms, this means that players will be wagering against atrocious odds and will be highly motivated to take their action elsewhere, including the still-flourishing black market.

Supporters of the deal say that regulated sports betting had to be rushed so that DC could beat neighboring Maryland and Virginia to market. (Though none of them explained why those states couldn’t simply offer a better product and keep their players playing at home.)

One supporter of the bill, Councilman Jack Evans, was relieved of his duties as Chairman of the Council’s Committee on Finance & Revenue right before the vote due to a fair amount of conflict of interest on the matter. That did not, however, stop him from voting on the matter.

Councilwoman Elissa Silverman said, according to a report on Legal Sports Report, the whole deal, “stinks”.

The post Intralot get Washington DC sports betting contract despite controversy appeared first on .

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The regulated Philippines online gambling industry is one of those unique markets that focuses exclusively on players in others countries – specifically China. Of course relatively few Filipino citizens speak Mandarin Chinese, so huge numbers of Chinese-speaking employees have brought in to serve the legions of Chinese players gambling on Chinese-facing sites that are based in the Philippines.

Many of those Chinese employees were brought into the country illegally and that’s a big problem for the country’s tax collectors, until now. Late last week, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III announced a new tax framework for gambling operators who employ Chinese citizens. Under the terms of the deal, the government expects to reap nearly $39 million a month in additional tax revenue. That’s particularly impressive given the fact that the country only pulls in about $144 million in online gambling tax annually.

The idea behind the tax is that regulated operations will fund investigations against illegal operators, an idea a government employee laid out in simple terms for a report on Inquirer.net recently saying, “Once all our legal employees receive their documents from the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Immigration, it will be easy to clamp down on unregistered operations, because everyone without proper documents will be illegal.”

All of this discussion on Chinese employees in the Philippines sidesteps the fact that it’s illegal for Chinese citizens to gamble online at all. Representatives of the Philippine government talk their way around this issue by saying that their country’s gambling laws require operators to only market to players who live in countries where online gambling is legal.

The post Philippines gambling employee tax aimed at unregulated operators appeared first on .

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There’s no question that the UK government has declared war on regulated gambling. Between handing out fines for absurd “violations” of advertising codes and cracking down on bonus offers, this war has made life extremely difficult for licensed operators. But none of these recent actions has had the visceral hit that the reduction in stakes on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs), as is witnessed by a recent announcement from GVC Holdings.

GVC, which also operates Ladbrokes and Coral, is planning on closing 900 of its retail betting shops due to revenue losses from the FOBT stake change. As the shops shutter their doors, around 5,000 employees will lose their livelihoods.

An official from GVC told SBC News the news in a statement saying, “We now expect up to 900 shops to be at risk of closure, affecting up to 5,000 roles, over the next two years as a result of the reduction in maximum stakes on FOBTs to £2 that came into force on 1st April, and there are a number of shops that have been identified for closure as part of this process.”

As bad as the closing of 900 gambling shops sounds to the casual observer, things could have been considerably worse for the company. In their original projections, they thought they might lose 1,000 shops. The same dynamic applies to their revenue losses which were predicted to be £145 million ($181 million USD) as a result of the stake change, but have only been £120 million ($150 million).

A spokesman for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) offered little in the way of sympathy for the newly unemployed workers saying, “The gambling industry has had over a year to make preparations for this change, including to mitigate job losses. We now expect them to provide the right support to any staff affected by planned shop closures.”

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Can regulated sports betting help revitalize the hurricane-battered economy of Puerto Rico? Lawmakers on the island are betting that the contents of House Resolution 2038 (HR 2038) will do just that as sports betting gives well-heeled tourists one more place to spend their hard earned dollars when on vacation.

According to a report from the news site Yogonet, the Puerto Rico Legislative Assembly gave their approval to the bill earlier this week. HR 2038 has already received the blessings of the Puerto Rico Senate. Its widely expected that Governor Ricardo Rosselló will give his approval to the bill, officially making it the law of the land.

Governor Rosselló is highly supportive of the gaming industry as a means to help revive his country’s economy and, according to CalvinAyre.com, recently said, “This industry has the potential to convert Puerto Rico into a jurisdiction in the vanguard of allowing the establishment of this new model, which will have a positive effect on our economy. We have worked on aggressive legislation that aspires at being able to market the island at the international and national levels as an attractive destination for the millions of people who bet on sports events.”

Under the terms of the bill, Puerto Rico operators would be eligible to offer wagers on professional sports, esports, and fantasy sports. As is standard in most parts of the US where regulated sports betting has taken hold, wagers on amateur sports will not be allowed.

HR 2038 also provides for the establishment of an island gaming commission as well as taxes of seven percent on income earned from land-based wagering and 12 percent for income earned from online sports betting.

So far there’s no word on when the first sportsbook is likely to offer regulated sports betting to Puerto Rico residents and visitors.

The post Puerto Rico sports betting bill headed for Governor’s desk appeared first on .

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As of July 1, the State of Arkansas became the ninth US State to launch regulated sports betting. Sporting wagers can be placed at two sites that were once horse tracks, and more sites are on the way. It’s a model for the sports betting industry that other states are likely to follow as the newly legal business continues to snake its way across the American gaming, and the American heartland.

Standing front and center of the newly minted Arkansas sports betting industry is the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort, located in historic Hot Springs and Southland Casino Racing. Prior to the Arkansas legislatures quick move to legalize sports betting, these two venues both stuck exclusively to horse racing. Thanks to a voter-approved measure on last year’s ballot, the two tracks were given the option of offering casino-style table games and an operating sportsbook. (The measure also allowed for two more standard casinos to be built in the state.)

In its current iteration, the sportsbook at Oaklawn is being run by SBTech, which is a European sports betting technology provider – though it may not remain SBTech for long. Recent reports suggest that SBTech could be acquired by DraftKings, which is doing everything it can to dominate the emerging US sports betting market.

The owners and operators of Oaklawn are extremely confident that regulated sports betting will be a hit in a part of the country where college football is followed with something just short of religious fervor. Company officials have already spent more than $100 million remodeling the venue for its new role.

The post Arkansas becomes ninth US State to offer regulated sports betting appeared first on .

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