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Choosing Organic for Health

Monday, 31 March 2014

We come from a society where growing organic and just growing produce and livestock for food Was once one of the same. Small, family farms still grow their own food using traditional methods passed down through the generations. As commercial farming became big-business, however, growers and farmers started to investigate methods of increasing crops and building bigger livestock in order to increase their profits. This led to increased use of pesticides and drugs to enhance yield.

In this article, we will look at what is required in order to call a product organic, how choosing organic eating and farming impact the environment and our health, discuss the benefits of eating organic foods, and what research says about the nutritional benefits of organically-grown produce.

Calling it Organic

In 1995, the US National Organic Standards Board passed the definition of organic, which is a labeling term denoting products produced under the authority of the Organic Foods Production Act. It states, "Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain, and enhance ecological harmony."

The primary goal of organic agriculture is to optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals, and people.

The philosophy of organic production of livestock is to provide conditions that meet the health needs and natural behavior of the animal. Organic livestock must be given access to the outdoors, fresh air, water, sunshine, grass and pasture, and are fed 100 percent organic feed. They must not be given or fed hormones, antibiotics or other animal drugs in their feed. If an animal gets sick and needs antibiotics, they cannot be considered organic. Feeding of animal parts of any kind to ruminants that, by nature, eat a vegetarian diet, is also prohibited. Thus, no animal byproducts of any sort are incorporated in organic feed at any time.

Because farmers must keep extensive records as part of their farming and handling plans in order to be certified organic, one is always able to trace the animal from birth to market of the meat. When meat is labeled as organic, this means that 100 percent of that product is organic.

Although organic crops must be produced without the use of pesticides, it is estimated that between 10-25 percent of organic fruits and vegetables contain some residues of synthetic pesticides. This is because of the influence of rain, air and polluted water sources. In order to qualify as organic, crops must be grown on soil free of prohibited substances for three years before harvest. Until then, they cannot be called organic. When pests get out of balance and traditional organic methods do not work for pest control, farmers can request permission to use other products that are considered low risk by the National Organic Standards Board.

The Environment

According to the 15-year study, "Farming Systems Trial", organic soils have higher microbial content, making for healthier soils and plants. This study concluded that organically grown foods are raised in soils that have better physical structure, provide better drainage, may support higher microbial activity, and in years of drought, organic systems may possibly outperform conventional systems. So, organic growing may help feed more people in our future!

What is the cost of conventional farming, today? The above-mentioned 15 -year study showed that conventional farming uses 50 percent more energy than organic farming. In one report, it was estimated that only 0.1 percent of applied pesticides actually reach the targets, leaving most of the pesticide, 99.9 percent, to impact the environment. Multiple investigations have shown that our water supplies, both in rivers and area tap waters, are showing high levels of pesticides and antibiotics used in farming practices. Water samples taken from the Ohio River as well as area tap water contained trace amounts of penicillin, tetracycline and vancomycin.

Toxic chemicals are contaminating groundwater on every inhabited continent, endangering the world's most valuable supplies of freshwater, according to a Worldwatch paper, Deep Trouble: The Hidden Threat of Groundwater Pollution. Calling for a systemic overhaul of manufacturing and industrial agriculture, the paper notes that several water utilities in Germany now pay farmers to switch to organic operations because this costs less than removing farm chemicals from water supplies.

What About our Health?

Eating organic food is not a fad. As people become more informed and aware, they are taking steps to ensure their health. US sales of organic food totaled 5.4 billion dollars in 1998, but was up to 7.8 billion dollars in the year 2000. The 2004 Whole Foods Market Organic Foods Trend Tracker survey found that 27 oercent of Americans are eating more organic foods than they did a year ago.

A study conducted by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation reports that the number of people poisoned by drifting pesticides increased by 20 percent during 2000.

A rise in interest and concern for the use of pesticides in food resulted in the passage of the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act, directing the US EPA to reassess the usage and impact of pesticides for food use.

Particular attention was paid to the impact on children and infants, whose lower body weights and higher consumption of food per body weight present higher exposure to any risks associated with pesticide residues.

Publishing an update to its 1999 report on food safety, the Consumers Union in May 2000 reiterated that pesticide residues in foods children eat every day often exceed safe levels. The update found high levels of pesticide residues on winter squash, peaches, apples, grapes, pears, green beans, spinach, strawberries, and cantaloupe. The Consumers Union urged consumers to consider buying organically grown varieties, particularly of these fruits and vegetables.

The most common class of pesticide in the US is organophosphates (OPs). These are known as neurotoxins.

An article published in 2002 examined the urine concentration of OP residues in 2-5 year olds. Researchers found, on average, that children eating conventionally grown food showed an 8.5 times higher amount of OP residue in their urine than those eating organic food. Studies have also shown harmful effects on fetal growth, as well.

Pesticides are not the only threat, however. 70 percent of all antibiotics in the US are used to fatten up livestock, today. Farm animals receive 24.6 million pounds of antibiotics per year!

Public health authorities now link low-level antibiotic use in livestock to greater numbers of people contracting infections that resist treatment with the same drugs. The American Medical Association adopted a resolution in June of 2001, opposing the use of sub-therapeutic levels of antibiotics in agriculture and the World Health Organization, in its 2001 report, urged farmers to stop using antibiotics for growth promotion. Studies are finding the same antibiotic resistant bacteria in the intestines of consumers that develop in commercial meats and poultry.

Is it More Nutritious?

Until recently, there had been little evidence that organically grown produce was higher in nutrients. It's long been held that healthier soils would produce a product higher in nutritional quality, but there was never the science to support this belief. Everyone agrees that organic foods taste better.

In 2001, nutrition specialist Virginia Worthington published her review of 41 published studies comparing the nutritional values of organic and conventionally grown fruits, vegetables and grains. What she found was that organically grown crops provided 17 percent more vitamin C, 21 percent more iron, 29 percent more magnesium, and 13.6 percent more phosphorus than conventionally grown products. She noted that five servings of organic vegetables provided the recommended daily intake of vitamin C for men and women, while their conventional counterparts did not. Today there are more studies that show the same results that Ms. Worthington concluded.

Considering the health benefits of eating organic foods, along with the knowledge of how conventionally grown and raised food is impacting the planet should be enough to consider paying greater attention to eating organic, today. Since most people buy their food in local supermarkets, it's good news that more and more markets are providing natural and organic foods in their stores. Findings from a survey by Supermarket News showed that 61 percent of consumers now buy their organic foods in supermarkets. More communities and health agencies also are working to set up more farmer's markets for their communities, also, which brings more organic, locally grown foods to the consumer. The next time you go shopping, consider investigating organic choices to see if it's indeed worth the change!

National Student Survey Reminder

The National Student Survey closes on Wednesday 30th April.

If there's anyone who hasn't yet taken part in the survey then I urge them to do so. The NSS is an independent survey which seeks to determine directly from final year students how well they rate the quality of their Higher Education experience.

You can access the survey here. It takes no more than 10 mins to complete/


Massage Therapy And Its Benefits

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Massage therapy is by far one of the oldest types of therapies used. Research has proven it was practiced in the Far and Middle East for at least 5000 years. Additional research also suggests that massage therapy has long been practiced in Egypt, China, Greece and Rome. It is known for its numerous benefits to the body as well as to the spirit.

Massage is a therapeutic technique that involves manipulation of the soft tissues of the body. It is the calming, therapeutic process of kneading, stroking, and pressing the different areas of the body. It is used to alleviate pain, relieve stress, tension, or to relax, stimulate, and tone the body.

Massage is more than being an excellent tool for calming and relaxing the body. I am emphasizing that it is not just practiced for feeling good anymore. Research has indicated that it does much more than create a pleasant sensation on the skin.

One of the major benefits is that this therapy works on the soft tissues of the body; such as muscles, tendons and ligaments. It even enhances the muscle tone. Although it does bring a great relief to the muscle under the skin, the benefits that this practice can offer may even affect the deeper layers of the muscles and the body organs themselves.

The therapy is further described as a holistic approach that alleviates blood pressure, heart rate, and increases the lymph flow and blood circulation. One report that has been published describes what massage can do in the systems of the body.

Another report indicates that massage works to aid the lymphatic system, which runs parallel to the circulatory system. This is what actually makes massage a great tool for enhancing the elimination of waste or unnecessary elements throughout the body.

Along with these benefits, massage therapy boosts the range of motions, and even increases the endorphins, which are the natural painkillers of the body.

Listed below are a few of the benefits of massage therapy:

* Soothes and relaxes the body

* Alleviate pain, tension and stiffness

* Improves breathing

* Improves circulation of the blood

* Heals the mind and body

* Improves sense of well-being

Given the information of the benefits of massage, it's no wonder that today the traditional health care systems all over the world have considered massage therapy as one very important and effective technique for treating illnesses.

Additionally, more and more people are also using services of licensed massage therapists these days. In fact, according to some surveys, most consumers spend about $2 billion to $4 billion annually just for massage therapy.

There is concrete evidence to show that massage therapy is gradually becoming a mainstream therapeutic practice. And, with an ever growing research on the much deeper beneficial effects of massage, thousands of health care professionals today are highly recommending patients include massage therapy in their health care plans.

Warning Signs of Teen Drug Abuse at School

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Teen drug abuse is one of the major health concerns in the United States of America. But this particular habit among the school going kids can be controlled by identifying the drug abusing symptoms at the right time and taking necessary preventive measures. Since teens spend most of the time in their schools, it is the mere responsibility of the teachers and the school authorities to look after their well-being. Further, establishing a drug free learning environment will help them to stay healthy and safe.

Following are the few warning signs of teen drug abuse at school, followed by the effective methods to control them.

Irregular attendance: There could be two reasons for being irregular to the school. One, ill health caused due to drug use and the second could be drug dependence. When a person starts using drugs, he feels high and hyper active which makes him use the drugs quite often leading to drug dependence. This makes him stay away from school in order to get and use those drugs. However, frequent absenteeism doesn't always mean that the person is using drugs.

Unexplained sudden drop in grades: The academic performance of a drug abusing teen will be marked by poor grades. This could be due to the lack of interest and concentration towards their studies as a result of drug abuse - it directly affects the functioning of the teen's brain. Also, teens tend to waste their time by socializing more often due to their desperate need for drugs.

Loss of interest in extracurricular activities: Drug abusing teens never show interest in extracurricular activities. They try to stay isolated from the crowd or from their regular peer group and try to spend time all alone or with other drug users. Even if a teen has a lot of interest in sports and games, he tries to avoid them after using drugs.

Disciplinary issues: Certain behavioral changes can be seen in the teen drug abusers. They ignore their personal care and grooming habits. They report arrogant behavior and aggressive reactions at schools even for simple things. They lose patience quiet easily.

Reports of intoxication at school: At times, their excessive drug use results in intoxication at schools or some of their classmates may report about their drug use at schools. This could be the best identity to find their drug abusing habit.

Not returning home after school: Irregular in-time/out-time from/to the house may not necessarily mean that a child is abusing drugs, but the drug abusing kids often tend to spend more time outside or in a secluded place.

Hiding school reports at home: As a result of sudden drop in their grades, these teens try to hide their school reports from their parents and try to deceive them by telling fake stories. If the parents are particular about the report cards and the school attendance, they can easily find out their poor performance and hence can search for the valid reasons.

In order to create a positive, safe and healthy learning environment, the school authorities should take preventive measures to eradicate this dreadful habit among the future citizens. They need to create awareness among the teens by educating them about the negative impacts of drug abuse. Further, conducting random drug tests help in controlling the drug abusing habits in teens.

School authorities need to take the responsibility of providing necessary counseling to the drug abusing students and also encourage them to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Vehicle Access to Bedford Campus

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

As part of the programme of works on the Bedford campus normal vehicular access to the campus, adjacent to the library building, will be closed from 31st March to 21st  to the 22ndApril inclusive

Access during this time will be via the current exit road and this has been widened to accommodate two way traffic.  Please take extra special care when driving on site during this period.  Pedestrian access will only be slightly affected and any new routes clearly marked.

Refererencing articles in DISCOVER

If you're confused about how to reference articles found with DISCOVER, here's a little reminder.

If an article is available in full text online, then it's an electronic journal and should be referenced in the following way:
  • Author's name(s) 
  • Year published (inround brackets)
  • Title of article 'in single quotation marks'
  • Title of journal (in italics, Title Case)
  • Volume number, (Issue number), page numbers
  • Name of electronic journal supplier (in italics)
  • [Online]
  • Available at: URL of electronic journal supplier
  • (Accessed: day month year)

Axford, N. (2010) 'Is social exclusion a useful concept in children's services?' British Journal of Social Work, 40(3), pp. 237-754 SocINDEX with Full Text [Online]. Available at: http://0.search.ebscohost.com.brum.beds.ac.uk (Accessed: 26 March 2014)

You can find out which database an article is from by looking at the Database entry at the bottom of the abstract.

New Ofsted Report Says The Extent Of Child Neglect Is "Not Understood"

A new report by Ofsted claims that local authorities are not doing enoguh to protect children from neglect.

The report Child Neglect: The Scandal That Never Breaks states that figures suggest that most children know another child suffering from neglect. The Ofsted inspectors found "inconsistent approaches" to assessing neglect, and conclude that children are being left for too long in harmful situations in nearly half of the long-term cases they examined.

The report also recommends that social work training is improved to increase professional understanding of the impact of neglect on children's lives.

You can read more about this report and its findings on the BBC News website here.

How to find out if an article has been peer-reviewed

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Peer-reviewed articles will have been scrutinised by a panel of academic researchers and assessed for quality. Only if they they are considered to be of a high enough standard will they be published. This means that peer-reviewed materials have the greatest authority.

You can find out if a source has been peer-reviewed in the following ways:
  • If searching with DISCOVER tick the box for "peer-reviewed". This is on the Advanced Search page. You must tick the peer-reviewed box before you press search, then all your results will come from peer-reviewed material.
  • If you're using a print journal check out the "Instructions for Contributor's" page - usually at the front or back of the journal. It should tell you if the journal is peer-reviewed.
  • Go to the journal's home page. You can easily find this by typing its name into nay search engine. The "About" section should tell you if the journal is peer-reviewed.
  • Ask your librarian! If you're not sure remember you can always drop me an email with the details at sally.fensome@beds.ac.uk

New Website Launched For Children With Mental Health Issues

The Department of Health has funded a new website MindEd to raise awareness of children with mental health issues.

Experts have warned that thousands of children and young people may be "slipping through the net" because adults do not recognse the warning signs of mental health problems.

A surveyof 21,000 adults backed by groups including the Royal College of Paeditrics and Child Health revealed that a third were unsure of signs of depression in children.

More than 850,000 children in the UK have a mental health problem. Possible warning signs include:
  • Loss of appetite / weight loss
  • Waking early
  • Excessive boredom
  • Poor concentration
You can read more on this story on the BBC News website here.

The Difference Between Academic & Non-Academic Materials

Monday, 24 March 2014

It's vital to understand the difference between those materials which are "academic" and those which are not. So here's a reminder for everyone.

Academic materials are written by academic researchers, usually attached to universities. These people are considered to be experts in what they are writing about and their views and opinions have authority. Using them in your assignments will give authority to your work and will help you to get better grades.

The most authoritative materials of all are those which have been peer-reviewed. This means that the material is first scutinised by a panel of academic researchers who will assess it for quality. Only if they consider it of a suitable standard will they allow it to be published.

The most usual sources of academic material are:
  • Journals
  • Books
  • Conference proceedings
  • Research reports
  • Postgraduate dissertations & theses
All of the above can be found by using DISCOVER. Be sure to tick the box for "peer-reviewed" if you want to find only peer-reviewed materials.

Non-academic materials are not written by academic researchers and the authors may not be experts in what they are writing about. The work is unlikely to be researched in depth and does not have the same authority as the academic sources. Relying only on non-academic sources for assignments means that your work does not have authority and you are unlikely to get a very good grade.

Some of the most examples of non-academic materials include:
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • DVDs
  • TV & radio programmes
  • Websites
  • Youtube videos

Top Ten SEO Mistakes of Dealer Websites-Used Car Dealers Specifically

1.) Sites Made Entirely Out Of Flash

As any SEO will tell you, or nearly any web designer with the slightest knowledge about the behavior of search engine spiders, designing a site entirely in flash is a recipe for disaster. As search engines become more sophisticated, the game of search engine optimization has become more complex....indeed, the process of becoming a highly ranked site has become quite a complex task. But at the most basic level, sites designed in flash are essentially invisible to search engines. A large component of determining the relevancy of a site by a search engine spider lies in the spiderability (ability of the spider to crawl) of high quality, keyword rich content. In the car industry, there are literally thousands of keywords that can be built into a website to dramatically increase traffic. In west palm beach alone, the location of a used car dealership I am currently in the process of optimizing for, there are literally hundreds of car related keywords which can be used to pull new traffic. This means that any new content that can be built into the site, any content which contains keywords that customers may be searching for, is content that can and should be seen by the search engines. It is content that should make it onto the web. If this content is presented in flash, however, it will never be indexed, and will therefore provide absolutely no value to ranking goals of the site. The bottom line is:

2.) Duplicate Content

For those sites not built entirely in flash, an even more ominous problem is usually lurking. Duplicate content is abhorred by search engines. As many may know, a great deal of keyword rich spam sites are generated dynamically through scripts that scrape the internet for content that is likely to be searched for by the general public. With a strategy designed to create revenue through volume, huge spam networks have been created (thousands of sites have been generated) by scraping or stealing content from legitimate websites. As a result, search engines approach duplicate content through a process known as canonicalization. What this means is the the search engines look at sites containing duplicate content and make a judgment about which site best represents the content contained on all of the sites. Whichever website is chosen as the most relevant for the content it contains then becomes the only site that is given any weight by the search engines and all other sites are completely devalued...or de-listed. To illustrate how extensive this problem is, visit any dealer.com site. Then examine any non-flash content, choose a text string (perhaps a piece of text from the about us section), and enter that text into Google or yahoo with quotes around it. The results are astounding. Google has crawled literally thousands of pages created by dealer.com that contain the exact same content. In fact, almost every page created by dealer.com that is in the slightest bit search engine friendly (meaning it was at the very least not built in flash), is keyword content that belongs to hundreds of pages already on the net. The bottom line is:

Many Dealer Websites do great harm to themselves by having their only spiderable content be content that exists in duplicate on the pages of dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of similar sites.

Any site containing non-original content will very likely be heavily penalized in the SERPS (search engine result pages), or will be de-listed altogether.

3.)Hidden Sitemaps and Links

One of the primary ways to garauntee that a site will be completely indexed (all pages will be crawled and included in the SERPS) is to include a sitemap on index pages or main pages that are sure to be crawled. A sitemap is essentially a list of links to all of the pages on the site, organized in an organized fashion. The inclusion of sitemaps is seen by many seo's as essential, and is a step many dealer website have taken in the right direction with regard to designing sites that have a chance to rank well. What they do wrong in this regard is the inclusion of sitemaps whose links are either a.) Hidden Behind Flash Movies or b.) Hidden using CSS. Hiding text behind a flash movie is fairly easy considering Flash typically floats above any site content when properly positioned, and is desirably for many designers wishing to create a seamless and immersive flash experience for their visitors. This has largely been the goal of many dealer designers such as BZ results. While often beautifully designed, the templates set up by such companies are often designed in such a way that links, sitemaps, and often keyword rich text is hidden from human eyes in an attempt to lure search engine spiders into indexing deeper pages. This type of design trick may have been a work around solution in the past, but it has become a major no-no in the SEO world. A basic rule of thumb is that search engine spiders have a great aversion to any attempts at trickery. This means that if you have hidden content on your site, whether it be links to other pages or just text, you will be penalized in the SERPS, or de-listed. Search engines see hidden content as an attempt to trick search engines into thinking a page is about something other than is being showed to that site's visitors. As you can imagine, in the eyes of a search engine, this makes such a site irrelevant to all search terms. The bottom line is:

4.)Heavy Reliance on Meta Tags

In the early days of the internet, much less sophisticated techniques were needed to deliver very high quality search results to users. As the net became a place where revenue was considered by many to be directly related to traffic volume, sites hungry for profit began to use the system in place to deliver more and more traffic. In the past, search engines used what are known as meta tags to determine what a site was about, and therefore what types of searches it should be shown for. Meta tags are basically tags written in the head of HTML documents that contain a list of keywords relevant to the site (as determined by the webmaster), as well as a description of the site. This information was once the primary method for determining relevancy in the SERPS. Due to misuse, however, the use of meta tags has become nearly obsolete. Unfortunately, many dealer websites have not kept up with the times, and still rely on meta tags as one of the only ways they inform search engines of their content. This is usually done with a very large list of words in the "keyword" metatag. This type of optimization can be seen by examining the source code of any dealer.com, bz results, reynolds & reynolds, or cobalt site. What is even more disturbing is that the keywords in these meta tags are often the most general and therefore some of the most competitive keywords in the industry. As a poignant example, my current client's old site did not contain the words "west palm beach" or "used cars" in its keyword list. These keywords were the most important keywords for driving traffic to this site. Instead, dealer.com chose to include in its keywords a list of every car manufacturer in the world....even though my client rarely sells a number of these brands. Additionally, for the local keywords that were included, there were major spelling errors that in this case held absolutely no value for my client.
The bottom line is:

Many Dealer Websites still see meta tags as a viable means of communicating a site's content, and remain for many sites the only method exposure.

The use of meta tags in SEO is, at best, a slightly useful way of optimizing a page, if the proper keywords have been chosen, and at worst, completely worthless as a tool in increasing search engine position or relevance.

5.)Poor Keyword Research/Choices/Optimization

As was mentioned in my treatment of the use of meta tags, the majority of dealer websites fail to take into account the large variety of relevant keywords available and optimize only for the most highly competitive and least targeted terms. For sites like the one being optimized for my client, a concentration on the "long tail" is the most effective method in gaining quality traffic. What this means in terms of keyword choice and seo is that the keywords which are of most importance are not those that get the most searches and are the most competitive. What this means is that the most highly qualified keywords, and those most likely to bring in buying customers are those keywords that are on the long tail, bring in less searches, but are more relevant to our consumers. This means that choosing the key phrase "used cars in west palm beach Florida" would be much more effective in bringing customers than the term "used cars," which is arguably a very competitive phrase. Additionally, keyword optimization for a word such as jaguar would not be nearly as effective in our treatment as, say, "jaguar s type Florida." Many dealer websites ignore altogether the need to optimize both for specific key phrases, as well as specifically targeting and tailoring keywords locally. The more specific and tailored the keyword, the better. Although such terms will undoubtedly generate less traffic, they will be more highly targeted. With effort, a large list can be compiled and can be used to generate traffic that is cheaper (when used in pay-per-click campaigns) and also much more effective. The bottom line is:

Many Dealer Websites are unwisely optimizing for keyword that are too competitive and not targeted (both in terms of attracting customers who are ready to buy and in terms of attracting local clientel.)

Keywords that are not well targeted are useless. They result in high exit rates, wasted resources and WASTED MONEY.

6.)Major Design Flaws (not anticipating the customers needs)

As anyone involved in the new Web 2.0 Culture will tell you, the internet is shifting. Internet users are increasingly hungry in their search for information. They are finicky and impatient and are most concerned with finding the information they are looking for in a an efficient manner. The days of flashing lights, rotating banners, animated gifs and marquees is far behind us, and the days of flash intros and bandwidth hungry animations seems to fading away as well. To replace the old web is a return to simplicity, a return to what matters most on the internet; information. In some ways, many dealer website have taken this sentiment to heart in that they have begun to include a large wealth of information about individual cars on their sites. In fact, this was a major selling point for my client in his initial decision to outsource his website development to one of the major dealer site developers. Where Dealer websites have largely missed the boat, however, is in creating sites that are very flashy and seem good in their attempt to attract customers, but are off the mark in anticipating what their customer is truly looking for when they visit a website. Each hit a dealer site receives is an opportunity for that site to convince the customer of the trustworthiness, helpfulness, and value that can be offered by that dealership. In print and television advertising flashy advertising has worked well, but on the internet their has been a major shift. People have learned to tune out anything that tries to hard to grab their attention. Nobody clicks on those popups claiming you've won $10,000, and peoples eyes are no longer drawn or remain fixed to text that scrolls. Web users, as the philosophy of Web 2.0 emphasizes, are more drawn to well organized, simple to understand information. We skim the pages we read, switch windows quickly, and ignore content and information that is not readily at hand. I would even go as far to say that any extraneous material is not only unnecessary, but is an obstacle in helping customers to find the information that they are essentially searching for.

Additionally, many Dealers make the mistake of trying to mirror their real life presence on the internet, meaning their website become the equivalent of the typical ways dealerships have hooked customers in the past. A Dealer Website should not be giant stickers and balloons in cyberspace. While a loud looking sign and gimmicks may work well to draw in drive by customers, it doesn't work well on the internet anymore. The bottom line is:

Dealers waste their customer's time and insult their intelligence by trying to hook them on the internet the same way you hook them on their lots

The majority of web users are less impressed by flashy design and are more satisfied when presented with the information they are looking for in an easy to understand fashion.

7.) Little to no use of analytics

For any web marketer, the use of analytics (measures of website usage) is essential in creating highly effective sites that provide the best return on investment. In the past, analytics programs were beyond the scope of small businesses or beyond the ability of certain providers to offer their clients. Today, however, highly sophisticated analytics programs can be obtained at little to no cost, and many dealer site developers offer limited or even more extensive analytics as a value added service. For those providers who do offer high quality analytics, kudos, but for many out there (such as dealer.com)....analytics that are useful in making changes to the site that will actually increase traffic, productivity or ROI are severely lacking. There is more to site statistics than simply number of clicks. Analysis of page views, exit points, conversion ratios, and much more is essential to tweaking a site so that the most leads can be generated. Looking at a real life example of this lack of analytics comes from my experience with my current client and their use web analytics. After my own analysis of their site and the implementation of Google analytics (which far surpassed their previous measures), we were able to see that their landing page was losing almost half of all new visitors. This was astounding, not only because it meant that they were losing half of all of their traffic after the first page load, but also with the realization that traffic could be greatly increased simply by redirecting to the main inventory page. (which makes sense considering our model of the new internet consumer, who is more interested in information than anything else.) The bottom line is:

Dealers are losing large portions of customers to design mistakes that cannot be tracked due to poor analytics. Furthermore, Dealers do no usually have the ability to configure their websites to the degree necessary to help their site improve.

Web site design is not a one step process....it requires a degree of testing as well as trial and error.

8.) Illegal redirections

Illegal redirections are the backbone of the spam industry (if it can be called that). Their use through javascript, meta refresh, and many sophisticated methods of cloaking (exchanging one website for another behind the scenes) is an art that has been perfected....and the search engines are perfecting new methods of detecting this sneaky redirects. Now, it can be argued that redirection and cloaking has its benefits, and it does. For instance, one could use javascript to detect browser versions and then redirect to the page most easily viewed by the detected browser. Or perhaps a redirect might be put in place in order to do testing on different ads or lead generation techniques. If you look at many dealer websites, you can see this type of redirection taking place. In fact, you'll sometimes see the script run quickly before the page loads....being confronted with a "determining properties" title page before you're brought to the main site. This tactic is highly illegal in the SEO world, the world of google, and is a recipe for disaster if employed on your website. It is almost unfathomable that this type of redirection is still going on, especially with the common knowledge that such tricks are a sure fire way to be de-listed completely.

Another problem plaguing dealer websites is a lack of proper redirection on sites that carry more than one domain name or exist with multiple sub domains. As was mentioned earlier, duplicate content hurts the listing of your website. The way search engines see it, duplicate content exists if two domain names point to the same site. So, if a site like my clients: http://www.usedcarwestpalmbeach.net points to the same IP address as his other domain: http://www.autoadviceoffl.com, Google will see duplicate content because it sees both domains as separate entities. This is also true in terms of the use of subdomains...especially the WWW. For many dealers, their site can be accessed at [http://www.dealersite.com] or dealersite.com. Google treats these as different entities, and more often then not, punishes both versions of the site for duplicate content. This needs to be fixed with a properly configured 301 redirect, which is a permanent redirect.

9.) Backlinks

For Google, one of the most important measures of a site's relevance is the number of links pointing to that site. This is true for the other search engines as well, and seems to increasingly be a main measure in the ranking of sites in the SERPS. Quality backlinks from sites that the search engines deem "authorities" are the most valuable links that can be obtained. Additionally, backlinks should have anchor text (the text that is hyperlinked) that are relevant to the keywords on the site. Google's infamous Page Rank, is based upon this model of backlinking, and as a result has facilitated the rise of Google as the internets most used search engine. Backlinks are arguably the most important aspect of SEO. Building backlinks is also arguably the MOST IGNORED seo tactic by nearly all of the major players in dealer site game. Searches for cars in most major cities reveal results targeted to dealership sites only in the pay-per-click side. Dealer sites nearly never show up in the organic side, and those that do have no doubt concentrated their efforts on backlink building. This is a real problem in the industry. Dealers are shelling out thousands of dollars a month to websites that are paying for traffic they could be getting for free....with proper backlinking and minimal optimization techniques. The bottom line is;

Dealers are losing customers by not doing proper backlinking, thus cutting off one of the most important methods for increasing ranking in the organic SERPS.

Backlinking is not an automated process, but requires a plan of actions and follow through.

10.) Poorly Formed URLs

Creating URL's that can be easily spidered is simple if a few key rules are followed. First and foremost, URLs must be properly formed and must obviously link to their proper destination. Whether in a flash movie or as a simple hyperlink, I am often surprised to see how often broken links exist. (these serve only to take away from the credibility of the dealership and causes users to leave your site). More importantly for SEO purposes, though, is the use of URLS which are created dynamically....meaning they look something like [http://www.cardealer.com/vehicle_model?id=12324213]. This URL is not search engine friendly because search engines do not usually properly crawl dynamically generated URL's, and if you are lucky enough to have a dynamic URL indexed, more often then not, the dynamic content is cut off, leaving you with something like: [http://www.cardealer.com/vehicle_model]. This URL will not lead to the intended page, and will result in duplicate content being indexed if such links are crawled at all. Any server running apache with mod rewrite access can fix this simply, and should fix it. Properly formed URLS that have been further optimized to contain keywords can go a long way in helping the ranking of a site, and as we have discussed, getting more pages indexed properly means more content and more hits. The bottom line is;

There is no excuse for broken links, malformed and seo unfriendly URLS

Rewriting URLS so they are search engine friendly is not necessarily a difficult process and is one that can greatly improve the ranking a relevance of a site.

Please visit our website at http://www.autoadviceoffl.com to get a better idea of how to implement what you've read above!

Used Car Dealership in West Palm Beach Florida

Linking to articles in DISCOVER

Last week a student came to see me who was panicking. She had searched DISCOVER and found some vital articles for her assignment but had then simply copied the URL at the top of each page into a Word document. When she tried clicking on the link to retrieve her articles she couldn't find them.

To avoid this happening to you I would recommend setting up a personal account with DISCOVER and saving any useful articles that you find. This is really easy to do:
  1. Go to DISCOVER.
  2. Click on Sign In (top right of the screen).
  3. Click on Create a new account on the Sign in to my EBSCOhost page.
  4. Fill in the form (make a note of the username and password you choose).
  5. Click the Save Changes button.
You've now created your own account with DISCOVER and can save any articles you add to the Folder so they'll be waiting for you next time you sign in.

How Drug Testing Acts As a Deterrent Against Workplace Drug Abuse?

Friday, 21 March 2014

Workplace drug abuse has become a major concern for many organizations across the United States. Apart from reducing productivity of drug abusing employees and increasing the instances of casualties, drug abuse at workplace negatively impacts the company's morale as good employees start leaving the company to avoid drug abusing colleagues.

To avoid such situations every organization should follow an effective drug testing program to ensure safe, healthy and productive working environment. Read this article to understand how an effective drug testing program in place acts as a deterrent against workplace drug abuse.

Employers need to conduct effective drug testing programs:

Employers might stay aloof from the fact that the employee is under the influence of drugs, as long as it does not interfere in performing his regular duties. However, it becomes a matter of concern when the employee's performance drops, which leads to increased number of sick leaves, frequently coming late to workplace, inadequate grooming, increasing number of errors in work, lack of coordination and cooperation at workplace, aggressiveness, etc.

During such situation, it is necessary for the employer to be sensible and undertake measures such as conducting regular i.e., scheduled or random testing. Conducting scheduled testing is likely to be helpful for newly joined employees. But for the existing employees, as they come to know the scheduled period for drug tests, they may get smart to go unaffected by such tests. For them random testing is often recommended. In random testing, the date and the persons who are going to be tested are not known beforehand.

With such tests the suspected employee will have a chance to make necessary corrections in terms of drug using behavior, that is, to get rid of influence of drugs. The employer, however, should make sure that there is strong ground to suspect the employee.

Employers should also make sure that they are in compliance with state laws with regard to workplace drug testing. The provisions of law vary across states. Your employees may bring cases of litigation against you, if they feel that your organization has breached their privacy.

In order to conduct a successful testing program the employers should use reliable test kits that not only show accurate results but also are convenient for on-site testing. They can use urine and saliva test kits. These kits are cost effective, fast, simple, safe, accurate and above all convenient to administer at workplace.

Urine test kits can be used to detect drugs like marijuana, cocaine, opium, methamphetamine, benzodiazepines and the like. Saliva drug test kits can be used to test amphetamine, opiates, cocaine, methamphetamine, THC and other metabolites. Based on the drug abuse pattern in the workplace employers can choose either single or multi-panel drug test strips/cups.

Drug testing at the workplace is likely to check the influence of illicit drugs among employees. Also it gives a strong message to the employees that working under the influence of drugs is highly unacceptable. It, thus, increases the fear of losing job in them and acts as a deterrent against such behavior, as there is a fear of getting caught.

This way employers can establish a drug-free workplace. Employees are, therefore, better focused and hence become more productive. Further, it also improves employee-employer relationship as the employer might reward the non-abusers, as a policy measure.

Drug testing at the workplace is likely to help the organizations maintain a healthy, safe and drug-free environment. Such organizations will have optimal employee productivity and reduced medical treatment costs.

Alternative Healing - The Answer to the Health Care Crisis?

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Are you well? Have you made a commitment to your self, to your health and wellbeing? Do you know how to begin to turn your health around, or to enhance the gift of health you already have?

Why not?

Have you settled for less than optimal health? Do you live with discomfort that traditional western medicine can't heal? Are you resigned to declining as the years advance?


Maybe it's because you don't know that there is an option. Or maybe you think that only a lucky few get to experience vibrant wellness. Maybe you worry all that alternative stuff is for crackpots and tree huggers. Or maybe you're just a little afraid to take the first step to investigate your options.

All of this is understandable. The contemporary western medical system has a stranglehold on information. Western medicine is based on a few basic assumptions that narrow its potential. And the money that's involved misplaces the focus of health care off of the wellbeing of the patient (where it should be) and onto the competition for dollars - from research funding to drug company profits to health insurance company bottom lines.

Our health care system is more than broken. It is mistaken at its core assumptions. Let's take, for example, the assumption that all illness is wrong or bad. In fact, dis-ease in our bodies usually pushes us to examine our priorities, forces us to rest, and/or allows us to receive care from others. Just about everyone would agree that these three activities can vastly improve our quality of life - and that people rarely do them without the impetus of an illness.

We need to question other assumptions too. Is it true that our bodies are merely predictable chemical machines? Or is there something to the ancient teachings about life force energy that animates our bodies? Is it best to continually alleviate symptoms? Or might it be worthwhile to look for underlying causes of conditions? Is it most effective for medical personnel to prescribe and order jargoned treatments? Or might a more effective healing occur when a patient steps into responsibility for his or her own care?

These questions are not even being discussed in the current "health care debate." Luckily, we don't have to wait for our government to decide how to bandage a broken health care system. We can take our own wellness into our own hands right now!

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) reports that at least 38% of Americans have sought out an alternative or complementary healing treatment. You probably know several people who have had successful and satisfactory interactions with homeopathic, hypnotherapeutic or vibrational medical practitioners and treatments.

The range of alternative and complementary medical techniques is huge and can include massage, homeopathy, acupuncture, vitamin/mineral supplementation, herbal remedies, Energy Medicine, Reiki, JoRei, QiGong, hypnosis, guided imagery, aromatherapy, Ayurvedic medicine, magnet therapy, spinal manipulation, meditation, sound healing, Naturopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, prayer and spiritual healing, Tai Chi, Yoga and more.

If you don't know what some of these modalities are, you are not alone. Some are modern; others have been around for centuries. They represent a vast reservoir of knowledge and experience that is almost completely untapped - and frequently ridiculed - within the western medical paradigm.

Alternative medicine is defined as treatments that replace traditional medical treatments. An example might be getting a massage to alleviate a headache rather than popping a few ibuprofen. Complementary treatments are those that people use in addition to traditional medical treatments, for example, using herbs to counteract the nausea that frequently accompanies chemotherapy.

The NCCAM website also includes tips for talking to your doctor about alternative and complementary medicine. In my experience, doctors are usually interested in information about alternatives and welcome the discussion. In fact, many physicians use alternative or complementary remedies themselves!

Most people have no idea how vibrantly healthy they can be. We have gotten used to feeling OK most of the time, tolerating a cornucopia of little aches and pains, accepting the "fact" of declining with age, and being content if we stay out of the hospital. We see some people living long healthy lives; the doctors tell us it must be their genes. We know others who never get sick; the medical establishment tells us they must have strong immune systems, but can't tell us how we can achieve that too. We've all heard of or know someone who made a remarkable recovery from a serious condition; we are told that this is a "medical miracle" or "spontaneous remission." Maybe they're wrong.

Maybe we can all aspire to long, healthy lives. Maybe we can each jump out of bed every morning, excited and energized. Maybe we can find ways to treat the health issues that come our way in a manner that increases our vitality and enhances our experience of life. Maybe we can take more responsibility for researching and choosing treatments that will work for us. Maybe one or more of these alternative and complementary modalities hold the answers we are looking for. Maybe these are the topics we ought to be debating, studying, investigating and funding.

Of course we have to be careful, savvy consumers and look a little deeper than the hard sell infomercials on TV. But the more interest we show, the more discussions we have with our medical professionals about alternatives, the more minds will open and the more attention - and dollars - will flow towards the study of modalities that have the potential to help us achieve unheard of levels of wellness and vitality. I'm ready for that. Are you?

An Overview of Reflexology - Self-Health Therapy

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Reflexology or zone therapy is the practice of strategically applying pressure to areas of the feet and hands that correspond with specific body organs. By stimulating nerves on specific areas of the feet and hands, we can stimulate blood flow and eliminate toxin buildup in the corresponding organs and systems of the body.

As a holistic treatment, reflexology is used for a variety of ailments. Not only is it beneficial as a tool for relaxation and stress relief, but it is also an effective tool for improving circulation; relieving pain, and as an immune and nervous system stimulator.

In fact, many people with illnesses such as allergies; chronic sinus problems; acid reflux; migraines; PMS; menopause; insomnia; fertility problems and even arthritis have been helped tremendously by zone therapy treatments.

Children can benefit from this simple form of massage therapy in many ways as well. A few of the most common reasons for conventional medical treatment for children today are ear infections, constipation, colic and bed-wetting. Reflexology has been shown to dramatically improve these problems, and many more in children. In fact, research has actually shown that children with cerebral palsy who received this zone therapy actually had increased growth rate over the kids who did not receive therapy. The list goes on and on.

Far Eastern cultures have been using alternative treatments for thousands of years and still do so today. Even the most technically advanced countries such as China and Japan, appreciate the effectiveness and simplicity of natural medicine. So why not try a form of massage therapy that is effective, yet has no side affects?

Reflexology is fairly simple to perform and even simpler to incorporate into your daily routine. There are many online guides and diagrams that you can use which will show you where to apply this massage therapy and how it will improve your body's health. If you are really serious about learning the techniques, there are numerous online reflexology schools where you can take classes and learn in-depth techniques for more specific sicknesses and diseases.

Zone therapy is not only effective for self-healing, but has made it's mark as an effective detoxification procedure as well. And maybe most importantly in today's society, it is free, as you can do this form of therapy yourself. Of course, there are also professional reflexologists that you can consult.

Although this form of massage therapy is proven to be beneficial for a multitude of problems, your reflexologist cannot diagnose or claim to cure any diseases. They are not medically trained.

Zone therapy is meant to bring your body to a state of well-being. Only in this state is your body able to heal itself. If your body is full of toxins, your immune system is severely compromised, making you much more likely to succumb to sickness. And, unlike our current health care system, reflexology therapy is basically available to everyone!

International Women's Day

Monday, 10 March 2014

Saturday 8th March 2014 was International Women's Day. In celebration, Routledge have put together a free to access collection of articles from a wide range of journals. 
This year's IWD theme is 'Inspiring Change'. To reflect this, this campaign is split into four collections that celebrate the social, political and economic achievements of women internationally: 
- Women and Politics
- Women and Development
- Women, Work and Business
- Inspirational Women

You can access the free articles here: http://bit.ly/1ictaaY
Drug Abuse Online Lottery Games Drug Abuse Health and Fitness Health and Fitness free music downloads Law Reports Wallpapers Artist online shop originals Product Auto Parts Web Developer online shop originals Product Insurance Company Health Life Technology System Home Security Beauty Cosmetic Online Travel Agency Linux Tips Guide Shooting Simulator Gadgets Technology Project Build Houses Payday Loans Health News Information Animals Shop Travel Agency North Owl Network Dentist Healthy Aging asian pretty The Tool Hospital Barbecook Best way to make Money with Forex Trading Green Home Design Online Lottery Party Clothing lawyer salary information auto car loans and insurance European Education Technology Terms The shirts and Jackets Design Capital One Credit Cards Commercial Real Estate travel channel and rental cars Pharmacy and drugs Herbal Medicine Cheap Car Insurance Quotes Health Pregnancy dental clinic free software smartphone advice on benefits insurance Small Business Insurance Quotes Business Insurance Covers Personal Loan Plan Health love Niche Blog Cheap Car Insurance Opening the Book Safe Chemical Act Presspeople System Software Plan Life Insurance Top Best Home Improvements Cheap Car Insurance Auto Parts and Service Swiss Business Acting in Real Time Fitness Equipment Tips Bodybuilding Tips Search Engine Optimization Cardio Tips free readings Home Solution Real Estate Financing Lucepedia Sports and Fitness Train Now Business Economy Global auto car loans car loans insurance Health Information how to prevent diabetes Best Credit Cards Cheap Wedding Dresses Small Business Finance Systems Body Health Home Improvement Services Guide Android Apps and Games fashion design Alcoholism Android Phones Board Games Cheap Tickets and Vacation Packages Online Prevent Child Obesity Prevent Premature Ejaculation Labor Lawyers Home Interior Design Ideas plumbers and carpet cleaning service diet and slimming Beautiful Picture Doctors Dental Care music video art BurningPedia Guide Planning Home Improvement Beauty Cosmetic Web Development Company lawyer requirements Books On Children Education security innovation work iPhone and iPad Turkey The Medical School Barbecue Electric The Linux Documentation Project Mental Health Care New Car Buying Guide House Curtains Dentist All System Education iPhone Specifications Cloud Trading Strategy mortgages and loans Pharmaceutical Info Online Application Service Provider The Masterchef Business Service Delivery Arts and Entertainment Pokerstars Real Money The Masterchef Electric Motors Gadgets Technology Casino Zone Small Business Solutions Home Advice Fashion Design Clothing Adventure Games Health and Fitness Hospital Equipment Plan Life Insurance public transportation services Prevent Premature Ejaculation Best Professional Carpet Cleaning Web Hosting Vehicle Emissions Inspection Drug Abuse Collection Travel Agency Medical Herbs color vision casting Aromatherapy Tips community film Cardio Tips Top Best Home Improvements Article Marketing Colon Cleanse Tips Terms and Conditions of Sale Products for Treating Acne Scars Natural Beauty Products Seo Web Marketing Business Prospects Trade Online Tool House Cleaner Bathing Equipment Financial Solutions Credit Loans Business Insurance Best Supplements Online Affiliate Marketing Web Design Jobs Online Business Degrees Travel and Leisure Hotel Business Online Payment Processor Women Management Criminal Law Marketing Product Webdesign Transportation Services The Marketing Business Prospects Trade Online Shop bed furniture free movies online Direct Hardware Supply Free Download PDF Technology Ipad doctors Specials Medical Dictionary Legacy Landscape Bank South Pacific Carpet Cleaner Best Internet Business Seo Web Marketing Doctor Healthy Doctors Diet Program Health Benefits of Drinking Water ups pills drugs Best Supplements dynasty fine jewelry Ceramic Floor Tile Online Business Degrees Property Residential and Commercial Real Estate All About Medical Bankruptcy Prevent Child Obesity Handbag and Shoes Education of Children physiotherapy school Cheap Airline Tickets Healthy Life PET online Interzoo Rehabilitation Center electric hybrid vehicles Baidu Software Center Automotive Advertising Agencies Health and Care Virtual private network Student Education Technosound Wedding Dresses excel archives Classic Car Restoration Defense Audit Banking Travel and holiday Forex Trading Jobs naura lagi mandi Nauraa Naura naura berhijab 1 naura berhijab Naura Mandi Bola Naura Single Photo

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