Saturday, August 28, 2021

Hear the Haunting Cry of the Ghost Bird - Check Out Their Amazing Camouflage

 The Common Potoo Bird (Ghost Bird) Wins the Prize as the Craziest Living Creature of All 

Nature is amazing, there is not denying that. I offer you my choice for the weirdest living creature on the planet. Here is my argument for bestowing that honor to Nyctibius griseus (commonly called potoo or ghost bird.)

The aptly name ghost bird (actual name potoo) in the light of day looks like something dreamed up by Steven Spielberg. The first time I saw this creature, I stared at it for several minutes trying to discern if it was a sock puppet, a CG, or an actual living creation. Of course, I've spoiled it for you, but even knowing it is real, it is almost hard to believe.

The ghost bird looks like a puppet
 The potoo eats flying bugs and the occasional small bat that it catches when perched as above or when flying at night. The ghost bird certainly takes on the appearance of a sinister creature more likely to be part of a Stephen King mystery when flying about at night. 

Ghost bird, potoo bird in flight looks very eerie

My award is based on the above two weirdnesses, but the potoo is not done yet. During the day, the bird has learned to camouflage itself by appearing to be the extension of a broken tree limb. It points its weird beak up towards the sky and hold this position most of the day.

Camouflage for potoo is amazing

Now, let's turn to potoo eyes. The huge yellow eyes help it to see well at night, but a second eyelid covering allows it to close the eyes to a small slit, but still see. They do this when camouflaged, as the yellow eyes would give them away. Since they can still see, the often allow predators to get very close before they fly away. 

Who is this potoo looking at?

The potoo's final attribute that gives it game-set-match is its haunting call. Watch this video. The entire video is quite cool, but if you just want the call, go to 



Do you have a better choice for weirdest living creature. Let me know in the comments. 

This article is sponsored by Bill Rayman of Homeowners First Mortgage. If you are looking for solid direction and advice regarding your mortgage, whether for a new property or a refinance in California, you should call Bill. He has mortgage products, especially for Jumbo loans, that few other lenders offer.  Call now: (310) 453-4016

 Created by RandyKirk & Associates - See our website at

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

4000+ Page Views per Month on Your Blog - Every Time

We Can Do This and More for Less than You Can Imagine

We have developed a perfectly legal, white hat method for dramatically increasing traffic to your blog, and or starting a blog and building it to 4000 or more page views per month in a short period of time.  Moreover, the blog we create or add to for your benefit will be building up a huge number of posts that will continue to create visibility for your company, product, or organization for years into the future.

Our approach will utilize creation of high quality blog posts by our staff of professional writers along with social media activity that will generate visibility over and above the 4000 or more page views on your blog. The blog posts, the high activity on the blog, and the massive social media effort will also help your website and other media to get better online rankings. 

We will be more than happy to show you example after example of blogs that are already hitting 4000 or more page views per month or as above, far, far, more. 

Marketing experts are very clear on the huge benefits of blogs, but a blog that is getting 10 page views or so per day is not going to be much help. But 48,000 or 100,000 page views per year will clearly add to your bottom line.

Give us a call and we can discuss your business opportunities in a free 30 minute consultation.  Ask for Randy at 310-910-1848.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Google Places Changes Name to Google My Business - See New Blog, Too!


Google My Business is a really good name.

And the new dashboard that Google is offering with the new branding is better by a lot than their earlier offerings. So, I have decided that it makes no sense to continue to use this blog to advise you on how to optimize the Google local business directory when the brand of this blog is two names out of date.  The content here is very much still correct for use at Google My Business.  So you will still want to get lots of citations, use the same NAP everywhere, and fill out the profile completely and within the guidelines.

You will still want to generate great and lots of reviews. And there are still techniques for getting your business to show up highly ranked. Over the next few weeks, I will rewrite the posts found here on that are relevant, and update them with more current information.

The new blog will also give you massive amounts of additional resources to check out. I will list any and all of the various top gurus who I have come to trust.

Thanks to you who have subscribed here and made this site successful. May I recommend that you join me again at the new place. You might also enjoy following others of my writing at these blogs:

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Google Places Changes the Game with One Descriptor Word in Name or Title ALLOWED!

What does this really mean to millions of small businesses on Google Places?!?

I have been largely missing from my own blog for the last six months or more.  That is basically because Google has been in so much flux with Google Place, Maps, Plus, algo changes, and even changes to providing tracking on keyword success, that I felt anything I said on one day might be wrong the next day.  In point of fact, most of what is on this blog right now is still the best practice.  

Now Google has changed a major aspect of the way that you Name your business.  The Title of your Page, which is the same as the Name of your business, has, until now, had a requiarement that it be the exact name of your business.  It should be the name on your corporate charter, your dba, your business card, your sign outside.  You will find many places on this blog where I have recommended that you go ahead and add one additional word to your name if your name was not descriptive.  So, if your name is Joe's, go ahead and add Restaurant or Pizza or Seattle.  But my advice was, only add one word.  Moreover, I had suggested that it would be better to change the name of the business legally, and that way you could be Joe's Seattle Pizza Restaurant.  It was my analysis that Google was never going to catch you or ban you for one extra word.  

 Moreover, I stated in several places that this Name or Title with the extra word should be the same everywhere on the internet.  You need the NAP (Name address and Phone) to be consistent anywhere it is found on directories, blogs, websites, etc.

Google has now announced a change in their Title policy allowing that extra word.  Maybe they read my blog.  You can add the word without chaning your name legally.  The fact this has gone from tacitly to specifically legal may result in some issue of spam.  However, I think the decision is correct.  
Be sure that if you change your name on Google Places, Maps, or Plus, that you change it everywhere.  You still need that consistency throughout the web.  

My consulting business on these issues has the maximum number of clients that we will handle, but if you need help and don't mind being on a waiting list, please contact me at 310-910-1848.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

New at Linkedin! Find Out Who Viewed Your Linkedin Profile

Find Out Who Is Checking You Out.  Might Be a Potential Customer, Employee, or Supplier

So, a hat tip to one of my favorite online resources, .  They posted that Linkedin has added a free feature to their tools to help you make more money.  You are now able to see the details of who has been looking at your profile. 

I immediately jumped on this.  You kind of feel like a spy.  So right away I see that a competitor of one of my new clients was checking me out.  Not sure how he knew I was now doing marketing consultation work for a home care service in Jupiter, FL, just know that he checked out my credentials. 

It was nice to see that a couple of potential clients were also reviewing me.  I had sent out an email to 2400 bike shops around the US.  This is my primary vertical with 40% of my clients being bicycle retailers.  So there were several from the list who had taken the extra step of reviewing my profile.

There were also the obvious ones.  I had sent out some invitations to connect.  I saw a few of those had potentially scratched their head, "Do I know this guy?" or "I see we have a lot of shared connections, but who the heck is he?"

I did see a few folks that potentially might want to sell me something.  While most of us are not that excited to have more sale people calling on us, sometimes that could be an important line or needed service. 

This service at Linkedin used to be something you paid for.  At least for now, it is free to use.  Maybe they want to get you hooked and then pull it away again.  I'd say, take the risk.  Go to your Linkedin home page.  Over on the right hand side you'll see "Whose viewed Your Profile."  And you also see the option to "see more."  When you click on the "see more," you'll go to a page with 90 days worth of who has been checking you out.  There are also some nice analytics for you to evaluate.  Things like keywords that led to folks seeing you in Linkedin Search. 

If you are in need of a marketing consultant to help you grow your business in sales and profits, please give a call.  We are a boutique company and handle only 20 clients at a time.  As of June 29, we are sold out, but are taking a waiting list.  Call now at 310-910-1848. 
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Monday, June 10, 2013

7 Steps to Blogging Perfection

From 150 a month to 2000 per month by doing these steps


200 Page Views a Day Is Possible if You Follow This 7 Step Approach

Here is is.  This is really all you need.  If you have any questions, post them in the comments on this page or any of the posts in this list.  There is no cost to any of this.  You won't find anything for sale except my services if you want them.  You can call anytime.  I answer the phone.
1.  See my post here on the perfect blog post
2.  See my post here on how long a post should be
3.  See my post here on how to write titles for blog posts
4.  See my post here on the use of images on blog posts 
5.  See my post here on using social media to promote your blog posts
6.  Be certain to use most recent posts, most popular posts, and recommended posts in the columns and under the post in order to keep people on your blog.
7.  Then see my post on how to use Twitter as a broadcast media

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Social Media Examinar Looks at Linkedin Contacts - They LOVE IT!

 How to Use the LinkedIn Contacts Feature

social media how toAre you looking for a smarter way to stay in touch with your most important business relationships?
What if you could store all of your contacts in one place?
Well now you can with LinkedIn Contacts.
In this article, you’ll discover how LinkedIn Contacts looks and take a tour through its features.

What is LinkedIn Contacts?

LinkedIn announced the new LinkedIn Contacts in April.
This new feature brings together all your address books, emails and calendars, and keeps them up to date in one place.
From these sources, LinkedIn will automatically pull in the details of your past conversations and meetings, and bring those details directly into your contact’s profile.
Contacts hasn’t been rolled out to everyone yet, so you may have to check back later or join the waitlist.
To see if you have this new feature, click on Contacts in the top navigation. If you’ve been given access to the new functionality, it will look like the screenshot below.
mail sources
The first screen in the new LinkedIn Contacts feature.

Manage Your Network With LinkedIn Contacts

From the front page of Contacts, you can easily add tags and hide or remove a connection entirely.
contacts front page
Perform relationship-management tasks right from the Contacts front page.

Sync Your Contacts and Calendars

You can sync your email contacts from inside LinkedIn, as well as from Gmail, Google Contacts, Yahoo! Mail & Contacts, Outlook Mail and Contacts and the iPhone Address Book. Calendars from Google, Yahoo! and Outlook are also available for syncing. After the initial sync, the files update once a day to keep everything current.
If you have trouble with the sync function, there’s also an option to import everything. The thing to remember is that if you import, you will need to do an import again at some time in the future to catch your latest email contacts when needed.
Refresh your browser and click on Contacts to start exploring.

Send Congratulations Updates

From the left-hand navigation, click on Your Day and you’ll find that it’s much easier to see who has good news to share.
This section will alert you to career changes and birthdays in your network, which provides a perfect opportunity to stay in touch with a quick message.
Look for the cake icon to wish people a happy birthday, and congratulate a colleague on a new position or job when you see the briefcase icon.
stay connected
A great way to stay connected with friends and colleagues.

New Search Functionality

Over on the left side of your screen is the new contacts Search functionality. There are several sorting parameters to choose from, including Connections, Saved, Tags, Companies, Titles, Locations, Sources, Potential Merges and Hidden.
You can sort your contacts by several criteria: where they came from, whether they were imported into LinkedIn some time ago, by the Outlook contacts you’ve recently added and also by any apps you may use such as CardMunch.
sort contacts
LinkedIn allows you to sort your contacts into several different categories.
The image below shows an extra filter functionality that’s now available to sort your connections by a variety of options.
additional categories
The additional LinkedIn categories help you better manage your Contacts.
Click on Recent Conversation to see whom you last chatted with on LinkedIn or reconnect with someone you haven’t interacted with in some time by clicking on Lost Touch.

Map Your Connections

Do you want to meet up with potential clients in the city you are visiting next month? Or would you like to find out who’s near you today?
Sometimes you’ll want to know where your contacts are located. The Locations option, in the left navigation of your screen, pops up a handy map that shows you the geographic locations of your connections.
contact location maps
You can see where all of your LinkedIn contacts are located and zoom into a location you’re interested in.

Curate Information on a Connection’s Profile

Let’s talk about what’s new over on LinkedIn profiles.
Now, when you click on the profile of your first-degree connections or people you have sent an InMail to, you’ll see more information about your past correspondence and relationship with them.
There are several places to make notes and keep helpful details. What you enter is not publicly viewable, so you can write as much as you need to.
The Relationship tab is especially robust.
last contacted someone
You can now see when you last contacted someone in your network and you can even add notes, set a reminder and jot down other useful information.

Set Reminders to Stay Connected

Do you need some contact management help? LinkedIn now makes it easy for you to stay connected.
Create a Reminder and set it to alert you in one day, one week, one month or to recur. Type in what you need to remember and choose the option that best applies.
This function helps streamline tasks that are related to your connections.
set reminder
Set Reminders while viewing a connection’s contact profile.

Store Relationship Details

Store the details of how, when and where you met your connection and who, if anyone, introduced you.
This is especially useful when you’re following up with a new connection. You may want to mention specific details or someone’s name that you both have in common to help set the right context with the person you’re contacting.
make notes on how you met
Save notes on how you met for future reference.

View Your Messages

LinkedIn Contacts makes it easy to manage your networking activities.
If you’ve exchanged messages or an InMail with a connection, a copy of the first few sentences of the latest conversation will be on display to refresh your memory. Click on the subject line to read the whole message.
past message
Past messages are accessible directly from the Relationship tab.

Share Your Calendar for Better Event Networking

When you import or sync your calendars, shared calendar events are also shown. The image below shows a Rotary Changeover event that both my connection and I are attending. It’s easy for me to use this information to create a Reminder to find him at the event.
Sharing your calendars enables LinkedIn to show you when other connections are attending the same event. Note the options to create a reminder and add useful notes.
It’s interesting to note that in the image above, the tags are clearly labeled along the top but they were not on his profile. This is because this is a second-degree connection.

Go Mobile

You can also stay connected on the go. LinkedIn Contacts is available as a standalone app for iPhone for U.S. users, so you can stay in touch with your contacts wherever you work.
With all of these new features, you might want to expand your LinkedIn marketing tactics and take full advantage of them thanks to the mobile option.
Your Turn
The new Contacts feature from LinkedIn creates an easy-to-manage, all-in-one interface for your email databases and LinkedIn connections.
Will this become your contact management tool of preference?
What do you think? Have you tried using Contacts yet? What do you find most helpful? What else would you like LinkedIn to add? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Advanced Linkedin Tutorial - How to Prospect Using Linkedin

Use Linkedin Advanced Search to Add High Quality Prospects to Your Connections

In the "olden" days, prospecting was a painful experience.  When you decided to start doing business in a new industry, community, or level of trade, you didn't have any idea who the players were.  You could buy lists, but that didn't give you much additional information about the prospects.  It certainly didn't provide you with any better way to connect.  You could use the list to call or send a mailing.  But that meant 2% responses on mailings or cold calling prospects and listening to endless answering machines.

All that has changed with Linkedin.  Say that I decide to expand my marketing consulting business to include a new vertical.  I have been very successful with my one and only mortgage broker, so I decide to get more mortgage broker clients.  I could still call Info USA and get a national or regional list.  I could go online and search for mortgage brokers and start looking at websites.  I could look for mortgage broker lists online.  Or I could go to the advanced search option on Linkedin.

With the search engine on Linkedin, I am tangentially connected to over 200,000,000 professionals who have at least some kind of listing and profile.  The more sophisticated the individual, the more likely that their profile will provide you with all kinds of useful information.  It can help you determine if they are a prospect, and whether they are the right person to call in the company.  But with the free service you can also read the details of profiles of all 2nd level connections, including their biography, schools attended, previous work history, recommendations of others, and get an idea of how successful they are.  

But what if you don't have many connections, so have only limited 2nd level connections?  Increase your connections.  Adding more 1st level connections results in an exponential growth in 2nd level connections.  I would advise trying to immediately move towards 500+ connections if you aren't already there.  Other posts explain how to get to that number over a month or so.  You can elect to pay the nominal fee and see all profiles.

Using Inmail to Make an Initial Contact with a Prospect

You can send anyone an inmail to start the conversation rolling.  You are limited to 10 per month on the first level paid service.  Inmail is a Linkedin mail service that doesn't disclose your prospects email.  The open rate for these kinds of emails is a staggering 40%. I bet cold calling doesn't get you that kind of result.  Of course, the prospect can still ignore your email, but the response rate is also amazingly high on Inmail.

Keep your first email very casual like a first meeting at a party.  Save the selling for later.  Keep in mind that almost all of the prospects that receive this inmail are likely to check out your profile.  Therefore you need to make sure that the profile is a "selling machine."  See our earlier posts on how to create a great LinkedIn profile

To use the advanced search I merely insert any keywords that I like, such as mortgage broker.  Then I can modify the search by many potential criteria such as their Title (Owner, President, CEO, Manager).  If I really want to drill down on criteria, I will have to pay Linkedin a modest monthly fee.  But for free, I can look at a defined geographic area, limit the search to various levels of connections, and call out the industry they are in (e.g. Financial Services).

Keep in mind that the keyword does NOT have to identify a profession, but can be anything that might show up in the profile.  So if you are a wedding photographer and you are hoping to connect with other wedding professionals in your area, you can just type in the keyword wedding.   Up will pop wedding planners, wedding cake decorators, wedding ring retailers, etc.

Setting Up a Continuing Alert for Prospects on Linkedin's Automatic Search Alert

Once you find a good set of criteria that is delivering relevant prospects, you can warehouse these by saving them.  You can have 3 saved searches for free.  Now, by paying the upgrade monthly fee you can not only save more groups of prospects, but you can also set up the Automatic Search Alert.  With this system, Linkedin will send you a notice if anyone is added to Linkedin that meets your requirements.  In my case, any time a new mortgage broker listed himself with that keyword on Linkedin I would get a notice.

Another way to use the Search capability is to surround the wagons.  I have a client who wants to do business with several large customers.  They have many buyers, sales managers, vice presidents, and field reps who might have a say in the decision to carry his products.  By adding one member of that organization, I will now have 2nd degree connections to many of the others.  By adding a few of those, I'll probably have most of the sales staff and also purchasing.  As I add each one, others who I invite to connect will see that we have many connections in common, making their decision to connect easier.

Once I have a large number on board, I can start to inmail them to build up my case from the bottom up.  I might do this through polling them on subjects related or even unrelated to my product line.  Or I might just chat them up about people we know in common.  By looking at profiles I will also know a lot about them.  When appropriate I can start to make the case of my product.

Help us help others.  How are you using the Linkedin Search to prospect for clients?

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Monday, May 20, 2013

My Los Angeles Mortgage Broker Thinks I'm a Genius - That's One!

Bill Rayman does mortgages in Los Angles

But the Same Client Wishes I Was a Genius on Mortgage Los Angeles, Too!

I am just a little guy.  Small time Randy.  Usually 20 - 25 clients at any given time.  And the largest is only $10m in sales.  Most are under $1m.  The goal of my tiny enterprise is to help each of them get their sales and profits increased to their hearts content, and I think I've done that for Bill Rayman. 

Bill is another little guy.  He does mortgages in Los Angeles.  He is an independent, but puts most of the loans through Mortgage Capital Partners.  He has one or two assistants, depending on the market at any given time.  But he is one of the busiest mortgage brokers in the Los Angeles office of Mortgage Capital Partners. 

Other than the fact that he is a brilliant guy, (degrees from Yale and Wharton Business), he would be the first to tell you that a bunch of his current success is due to his position on Google Places (aka Google Maps, Google+ Local).  He is number 2 on the general search for Mortgage Broker Los Angeles.  He sent me an email the other day to tell me that I was a genius.  Something about a major loan application that he picked up that day which came directly from that ranking on Google Places.

But try as I might, I haven't been such an amazing magician when it comes to the even more valuable mortgage Los Angeles.  Bill is currently ranked around 16 for that keyword and that has been the case for a long time.  So I thought I would do a little thinking out loud while I make a list for you of next steps to get this other keyword.

1.  Website - How is his website doing?  Not nearly as well as Places.  That is not unusual.  Google doesn't like to give prized positions to both your website and Places.  But I think the first thing I'm going to do is try and up the game on the website.  Better Title Tag.  More keywords on home page.  Maybe be sure that the primary keywords are linked to solid inside pages or blog posts. 

2.  Backlinks - Bill has been in the news a lot lately.  He was on a local radio show and Yahoo home interviewed him.  Maybe I can leverage those appearance into some guest blogging to create backlinks on high ranking and relevant blogs.  Keep in mind, they need to be relevant, not merely high ranking.  Zillow or Trulia would be good.

3.  Citations - I generally add about 10 citations a month.  Maybe the citations could be very pointedly relating to mortgages, as opposed to mortgage broker for the next couple of months. 

4.  Reviews - No question he needs more reviews on Google+.  I also think I will see if those reviewers could specifically say something like, "In Los Angeles, Mortgages were hard to get, but . . ."
5.  Don't - I want to make sure that nothing I do hurts that other ranking.  So only add to, don't subtract from any references to Mortgage Broker Los Angeles. 

There is my Todo list.  Would you have any thoughts to add to that?  I'm totally open for anything that might move this effort forward. 

Bill's website is http://mortgagehelplosangeles, and you can reach him at:

Bill Rayman
phone: 310-295-6213
fax: 310-481-2087

12400 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 900
Los Angeles, CA 90025
License #01780076

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

8 Basic Rules for Local SEO - Keywords and Backlinks for Miami Criminal Lawyer

Eric A. Kay, Criminal Attorney in Miami

Miami Criminal Lawyer Ranking Gives Local SEO Consultant Heart Burn

Do you just love a challenge?  I sometimes think that ranking Miami Criminal Lawyer for both the website and the Google Places listing might be the ultimate test of SEO smarts.  I recently built a website for one of my clients at .  It isn't as old or as big or have as many backlinks as dozens of other Miami Criminal Attorneys, so I'm holding my breath waiting to see if I can move up in the ranks. 

Here are the basic rules I live by for writing online content in order to generated views and back links in 2013 that haven't changed:

Rule #1 - Headlines and content should be written for the viewer, not Google.
Rule #2 - Rewrite for back links without compromising the quality of the writing.

Both of these rules will please the Google Beast.  You must first feed it strong, healthy food, then you can add in the Extreme Moose Tracks.  For a while in 2010 - 2012, this was not necessarily the case.  You could write, "spell article by criminal lawyer in Miami attorney for criminal law around special patterns," and hyperlink Criminal Lawyer in Miami to their home page.  Then you would merely place this sentence in an article, press release, forum,  and/or "guest blog," and Google was giving the links credit.

But algorithm changes Panda, Penguin, and assorted others changed everything in early 2012, and today this same practice might actually cause the beast to eat you.  There are some new rules in 2013.

Rule #3 - Don't overuse the same exact keyword from the same source.   We used to believe that you just needed to keep the total use of a keywords under 5% of the total on the page (or some other percent depending on which guru you were reading).  Now you can lose the value of keywords or even get negative attention if the keyword is overused even in the same website or blog.

Rule #4 - Solve the overuse problem by using synonyms.  Google wants you to write naturally, and knows that good writers don't use the same words over and over.  A good writer will say that, "The Miami criminal lawyer was noted for having one the hat trick award while working for the Broward County Public Defender's office.  The Miami based Criminal Law Attorney now provides a website that gives South Florida residents a place where they can understand if and when the need an attorney for a traffic ticket, DUI, possession, or felony murder case.

Rule #5 - You will note in the above rule #4, that each link is to a different URL that the dealer hopes to help to rank.  In this case, one is to the website and the other is to the blog.  It would be easy to also point out that,"The Law Offices of Eric A. Kay, P.A.  has an active presence on Linkedin and provides updates to those who are connected on a regular basis.

Rule #6 - Google also knows that good writers will commonly provide a "natural" url instead of a hyperlink.  So they like to see variations in this theme as well.  "Another way that Miami criminal attorney, Eric Kay helps clients and potential clients is through an extensive blog designed to help consumers understand legal issues.  The blog is available at

Rule #7 - I also changed the URL for this blog to have /Miami-criminal-lawyer appear first in the internal page portion of the URL.  Google looks at URL's, and believes that what you put in the URL is what is most important to you.

Rule #8 - I created a "Search Description" which is the equivalent in Blogger for the description tag.  This tag should be written as a teaser and have 140 characters or less.  

The blog post above provided my client with 5 back links to 4 different URL's with 3 different keywords.  And you'll also note that one of the links was in the H1 headline.  The article sounds perfectly normal, not jammed with inappropriate or weird sentences designed to merely spam.

What would you add to this analysis?  Are there other techniques that you are currently using to provide great content, but that also benefit your sites with links?
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