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Backlink Building in SEO

In this guide, we have covered various aspects of backlink building for optimizing your search engine ranking. Most importantly, you need to avoid certain things like planning to harm other’s site.

1. What are Backlinks?

Backlinks are the simple links directing to your website from other sites. Some webmaster refers these as an inbound links. It is very important to build backlinks as it not only indicates the popularity of the site but also for SEO purpose.

Google gives more weightage to sites having good number of quality backlinks and rank those websites in top of the results pages for a search query. Check out free 14 days trial with Semrush to learn more and start backlink building from quality sites.

2. Types of Links Related to SEO

Based on SEO the links can be classified into the following categories:

Inbound links

Outbound links

One way links

Reciprocal links

When other site owner links to any of your site’s page then this is counted as an inbound link. An outbound link is located within your site and navigating to some other site’s page. An inbound link is the most important ones from SEO perspective which can be categorized in to one way or reciprocal links.

Below picture shows the representation of one way link which points from site 1 to site 2.

One Way Link

One way links are the most recommended links which are considered by search engines for calculating link weightage since it is considered as a measure of counting your content’s real value. The more one way links you get for your site the more possibility that your site will top in search results. Moreover, search engines like Google will assign improved PageRank based on the inbound link count.

Reciprocal link is represented in the below diagram where two of the sites interlink each other.

Reciprocal Link

Normally webmasters create reciprocal links with mutual agreement and hence search engines treat these links as a negative factor assuming these links are created manually.

3. Why You Should Start Backlink Building?

Ideally website owners do not have any control over the backlinks and you cannot predict how many sites will point towards your site. The simple factor is your content quality which ultimately attract more people to use your webpages in their sites. More the backlinks better the search engine ranking of that page. In reality even the best content needs promotion to attract more visitors and hence the backlinks.

3.1 Link Popularity

Link popularity is the major things in backlink building for search engines. The concept is that the quality content will automatically attract more visitors and more inbound links to that page. Hence search engines previously ranks the page with more link count in the top. But nowadays with smart search engines like Google can easily identify the unnatural links by looking into the source page’s popularity, content and relevancy.  The inbound links from an already popular page relevant to your page is highly considered value and bring good results for your page in the search results.

4. What are the Ways for Backlink Building?

The whole concept of backlink building works based on the quality content and offering simple solution to the most searched problems. Unfortunately it does not work so simple. You should already have a reputed site for the page to appear on first page of Google. For a new site it will take years to appear on the first page whatsoever the best quality content you have.

Ultimately we are not talking about sites like CNN, which does not rely on search traffic at all. We are talking about the sites especially created to provide information. Besides the quality content, new site owners should follow certain promotion techniques to ensure the content is reaching out the targeted audience. This may be needed for a while till the time the brand name is established and the site starts appearing on first page of Google, Bing and Yahoo!

But the truth is that most of the new site owners don’t have patience and fall prey to black hat SEO techniques. They make mistakes by building unnatural backlinks quickly. This will result in search engines remove the site from the results instead of ranking up.

4.1. Have a Blog

Typically a business site will have less than 10 pages and having such a small site will not take you anyway in long run. The simple way to make your site popular is to have an attached blog and start writing content related to your main business.

Over the period of time people will start linking to your articles and your brand reputation will improve. This will also increase the number of visitors to your site and increase the possibility of getting more customers from the visitors.

So we highly recommend having a blog to generate backlinks instead of spending money on SEO agencies and link exchange programs. Learn more about the importance of having a blog on your business website.

4.2. Guest Posting

Well, guest posting is known to be a dying technique for generating backlinks. This is true when you provide your link on unknown and irrelevant sites that is nothing but spam. Here are some guidelines for getting quality backlinks from guest posting:

Search for the relevant sites accepting guest blog posts. If you are writing about WordPress then shortlist sites that are talking only about WordPress. Submitting your WordPress article to an essay writing website is simply ridiculous.

Check out the submission guidelines on the site and understand the terms clearly. If required discuss with the site owner and make things clear before article submission.

Ensure the site accepts do follow links in the article.

Do not stuff irreverent links in the article and limit the links to one or at the maximum two.

Submit the article with author bio with your company details and social links.

At any case, if guest posting does not earn quality backlinks, we are pretty sure at least it will improve your online exposure.

4.3. Forum Posting

Posting your articles with your site information in the related forums and blogs will notify other users about your site. This again not only publicize your content but also drag potential visitors to your site. Similar to guest posting, forum posting helps to increase your knowledge as well as to get good exposure to your site. Be sure to be part of the popular and relevant forum as your site’s niche. Most of the reputed forums need the participant to get certain status before posting links or adding signature links.

Ensure to follow the guidelines and become a reputed member. Later you can offer your article’s link to relevant questions. Select the respectable forum to make the backlinks quality and understand the rules of the forum whether posting links in articles are allowed.

Warning: We recommend not to use signature links which will be shown on each of your posts. Only provide the link of relevant article when it is useful in that situation.

4.4. Use Your Social Strength

Nowadays it is common to have hundreds of friends, fans and followers on Facebook and Twitter. When you run a website, especially a local business site, ensure to make use of your social strength.

Social network is becoming more and more powerful and each of your fan / follower can have another hundreds of their own. Ensure to share your articles, discount offers and special events in social media. There are high possibilities that your content will get a boost when people share or like it multiple times. When the article becomes popular it will be referred in other’s sites and get quality backlinks.

If you don’t have much fans or followers then start running a paid social campaigns to start building your community to reach out with your content.

4.5. Paid Advertising 4.6. Directory Listing

The easiest way to create more quality links to your site is to submit your site to SEO directories. This also helps your site noticed by search engine and attract potential visitors. Site submission to the directories is generally free but the issue here is you need to wait for long time to get your included.

4.7. Blog Feed Submission

Submitting your blog feed in Google Search Console and feed reader programs is another way to create quality backlinks to your blog. You need to be careful in selecting the quality programs for exchanging your URL or feeds.

5. What to Avoid?

It is a fact whatsoever the quality of your content people may not refer your site unless they know its existence. So back linking is an unavoidable strategy in every site owner’s agenda during initial phase of site building. Avoid the followings during this initial phase:

Do not exchange your URL with unreliable free link exchange programs and SEO companies. The mistakes done by your SEO company needs to be borne by you.

Avoid reciprocal links with your own sites linking each other. Search engines may demote the ranking of both of your site.

Avoid using irrelevant anchor keywords like your name for linking.

Avoid flooding with inbound links which can easily be identified as unnatural links.

Review your SEO company activities and monitor them to prohibit building unnatural links.

Never buy links from other websites.

The main reasons to avoid these sources are that the links obtained will not be quality backlinks. Search engines will consider these links as unnatural links and ban your site from listing in search results if your site gets thousands of backlinks in a short period of time.

6. Checking Backlinks

Webmaster tools account is a free option where anyone can check the inbound and outbound links for their verified sites. Especially Google Search Console offers highly reliable link count and you can download all links pointing to your site. If you worried about unnatural links from low quality site then immediately contact that site owner and inform them to remove the link. When you do not get response from site owners, use disavow links tool to inform Google that specified links are of no value to you and not consider those links for search ranking.

If you notice sudden dropping of your site’s search position then ensure that there is no manual spam action on your site in Google Search Console.

Manual Spam Check in Google Webmaster Tools

What you need to do is very simple – follow steady approach of building your links through relevant forums, listing in directories and promote your content through newsletters. In addition, you can use tools like SEMrush to check the backlinks and take corrective actions.

Conclusion

Creating a website and making it stand out of the crowd often needs lot of time, effort and investment. The truth is that wrong doing at any point of time will spoil all your hard work and bring you back to square one. The above explained techniques need either time or money but definitely will yield good results.

You're reading Beginners Guide To Backlink Building In Seo – Webnots

Beginners Guide To Cryptocurrency – Webnots

Gone are the days you have to carry wallet for keeping your currency. Nowadays, digital payments are common through mobile apps. Cryptocurrency is one of the popular alternatives for the physical currency we are primarily using now. Though may countries do not legally allow using cryptocurrencies at this moment, it will guarantee become a standard soon or later.  In this article, let us explore more on what is cryptocurrency and basic properties.

Peer to Peer Electronic Cash System

Cryptocurrency is not an isolated invention, it stems from a radical innovation of Satoshi Nakamoto. He first invented the Bitcoin, one of the most popular cryptocurrencies at this point of time. It was not his intention to create a new currency. He simply wanted to develop a peer-to-peer electronic cash system where double spending of the same money would be impossible. It needs a system with no server or central authority and completely decentralized.

Note: Satoshi Nakamoto is not a real person with identity. There is no evidence, it is an individual person or group of people.

In order to use money digitally, it is important to have a payment network with balances, accounts and transactions. A major problem that current payment networks have is the avoidance of double spending. Currently, a server or central authority such as bank does this and monitors the balance sheets.

In a decentralized network such as the Bitcoin, a server or authority does not exist and therefore each participant must take on this task. Each ‘peer’ (participant) in the network has a list of all transactions that are made and checks whether the future transactions are valid or are an attempt to double spend. If the peers of the network can not agree on a balance, then the whole transaction will not take place, even if it concerns a small detail. There must be absolute agreement for a transaction to happen.

Approval and Miners

Here is how a transaction will happen in the peer to peer system. Peer 1 gives an x number of Bitcoin to peer 2. This transaction is signed by peer1’s private key. After the signing, the transaction is included in the peer-to-peer network. The entire network knows almost immediately that the transaction was made, but it takes a while before it is actually approved / confirmed. The approval is the most important part and it can be said that cryptocurrency is all about approval. As long as this is not the case, the transaction will always remain pending. Once an agreement has been given, it will be included in the overview of historical transactions and can not be reversed. We also call this overview of historical transactions as the blockchain.

Only miners can approve transactions. This is their task within the cryptocurrency network. They deal with transactions, label them as legitimate and distribute them in the network. After the approval each node will add it to its database as it has become part of the blockchain. Every computer that is connected to the network is called a node. The miner receives a reward in the form of a token / proof of the cryptocurrency for his task.

Cryptocurrency Properties

The name cryptocurrency is used because the use of cryptography in the entire process for strong protection. It is not protected by people, but by pure mathematics. Therefore, the chances of affecting a Bitcoin transaction is remote. In order to understand things better, we can classify the properties of cryptocurrency into transaction and monetary properties.

Transaction Properties 1. Irreversible

Unlike traditional currency transactions that you can cancel after completion, you can’t cancel or return a cryptocurrency transaction after the approval. Therefore, you should check the address with at most care before sending a cryptocurrency payment. It is also important to protect your wallet against hackers. There will be no option to get the money if a hacker transferred your money to his / her account.

2. Pseudonym

It is important to understand both transactions and accounts in cryptocurrency world are not related to any identity of a company or person. You will receive coins at your own randomly assigned address consisting about 30 characters. It is thus possible to analyze the transactions of addresses back and forth, but it is not possible to see between which identities they are made.

3. Fast and Global

You may need to wait for many days to complete an international bank transaction. However, all crypto transactions are immediately included in the network and within few minutes after the approval. Since it is included in a global network of computers, no one is aware of where the transaction comes from the world. It does not matter in terms of speed whether you send a coin to your local city or to an international location.

4. Safety and Permission

A public key cryptography system holds every cryptocurrency transaction. However, only the owner of the coin owns a private key and can receive or send coins. This makes the cryptocurrency transactions safer than traditional currency exchanges. In addition to safety, you do not need anyone’s permission to use cryptocurrency. There is no authority that prevents you from using cryptocurrency.

Monetary Property – Controlled Offer

Most of the currently available cryptocurrencies limit the supply of coins and tokens. For example, the number of Bitcoins released will decreases over time. Probably, the last coin mining will happen around 2140. Though there is a limit of the coins issued, a planning of this issue is written in the code of the currency. This means you can already reasonably estimate the supply of the tokens for the future.

Cryptocurrency System

Putting all the above properties together, a cryptocurrency system should meet the following criteria:

No central authority for controlling the transactions

System needs to hold each unit.

Assigned ownership for each unit cryptographically.

System can define the release of new coins if needed and assign ownership accordingly.

Allows transactions for changing the ownership.

System executes only one transaction when receiving two identical instructions.

Popular Cryptocurrencies

Here are some of the most popular cryptocurrencies in the world.

Bitcoin

Ethereum

Ripple

Litecoin

Bitcoin Cash

Cardano

Stellar

EOS

NEO

NEM

As per Wikipedia, below is the market capitalization of the popular cryptocurrencies as of 2023.

Final Words

After the introduction of Bitcoin in 2009, there are many cryptocurrencies started rolling around the world. However, many countries do not allow the legal use of them. We expect this can take many years to slowly replace the current financial system. If that ever happen, the financial world will look completely different.

Beginners Guide To Create Your First Blog – Webnots

Blogging is increasingly becoming the future dream for many youngsters, thanks to the boom in the website building arena. Content management systems like WordPress offers end to end blogging capabilities helping different range of people to achieve their dream. It also changed the time spent by many people on mere entertainment to sharing thoughts in better ways. Nowadays it is common to see the profile of people quoting blogging as their hobby or part time job. In this article, we will explain how to start your first blog in 5 simple steps with an infographic.

Planning Phase

It is very easy to start a blog using one of the free website builder tools like Blogger, Wix, Weebly, chúng tôi etc. But that is not your own blog and anything you start doing it on free basis will not exist for long time. Either you will loose interest over the period of time or you will not be able to cope up with the changing trends. So, the important thing before you think of starting a blog is to understand that continuous blogging needs dedicated budget and investment of time.

Here are some guidelines before you choose blogging as your career or financial choice:

Read and understand the webmaster guidelines from Google and Bing. This is essential to have a good roadmap for your future plan.

If you are planning a single author blog, start learning things on your own before buying any third party services.

Do not buy links or spam other’s site with unrelated links from your site. Also never go for traffic exchange or any type of multilevel marketing to increase the traffic of your site.

Focus on content at least for the first six months to bring decent traffic from search engines before thinking of making money from your blog.

It is a good idea to refer the design concepts followed by your competitors or your favorite sites, but never copy or duplicate the content. Remember how you feel if someone copy your content without permission and never do that mistake.

5 Steps to Start Your First Blog

Unlike 9 to 6 salaried employment, blogging has lot of uncertainties beyond your influence. But with the focused approach it will take few years to setup your own brand and collect the followers to build your own community. You need to have patience during this time to harvest the benefits later. Most of the bloggers set wrong expectation and leave the site unattended just in few months. So, we strongly suggest to plan your budget and time for at least two years to create an established blog. Now let’s go to the beginners guide for creating your first blog.

Step 1 – Buy a Domain

There are lots of myths in buying a domain, let’s put together some guidelines for buying a domain name:

Choose simple and one word domain name for easy remembering and branding.

Avoid using trademarks of other companies like Google, AdSense, AdWords, Apple, etc. This may end up in the violation of trademarks usage and prevent you to do certain things. For example, if you use the word “Google” in the URL, then you will be rejected when applying for AdSense account.

When you choose non-existing word (like the domain name of this site), it will take long time for Google to recognize the word as a domain name. Essentially this will result in reduced traffic during initial time, but on other side the brand name will start penetrating as a unique name.

Step 2 – Buy a Hosting Server

The domain name is merely a name for your site and you need to have storage space to save all content of the site. The hosting server allows you to store all your content and the hosting company charges based on the capacity you need. Generally the service is based on the storage space and the number of times the content is retrieved from the server (bandwidth). There are different types of hosting catering to specific needs. As a beginner, you can start with the lowest plan which is referred as shared hosting plan.

Under shared hosting you will share the resources of the server with multiple other sites. When your site grows in size you may need to move from shared hosting to separate server (this may need many years in general). There are many popular hosting companies like SiteGround and DreamHost offer cheap shared hosting service as low as $3 per month. You can compare the price and specifications to choose the best one suitable for your need.

Bluehost Pricing Plans

Check out the below articles to understand how to create your first blog in various hosting companies:

Step 3 – Setup DNS

Now you have a domain name and the hosting server to save all your content. The next step is to connect your domain name to the IP address of the hosting server through Domain Name Server settings. Login to your hosting account and then navigate to the DNS editor. Here you can add the necessary entries to point the domain name to the server’s IP address.

Step 4 – Install CMS

Though you have purchased a hosting server space you need a front end building platform to create pages for your site. The platform is generally referred as “Content Management System” and offers various features to create blog posts by adding text content, images, musics, videos and files. WordPress is one of the popular CMS and powers more than 40% of the websites on the internet. WordPress also offers highend blogging features and can be downloaded free from chúng tôi site.

Learn how to install WordPress on Bluehost, SiteGround and manually on any server.

Opening site at this point of time will show dummy pages from the CMS you have installed.

Step 5 – Start Building Your Blog

First delete all the dummy content part of the default installation.

Install a free or premium theme to give shape your site’s layout. You can start with free themes like Astra or Kadence and upgrade to premium version if required.

Install basic plugins for security and SEO to add additional features.

Start creating blog posts and publish to make your blog online.

Check out this WordPress starter site checklist on how to prepare your site before publishing for public.

WordPress Admin Panel

WordPress offers Gutenberg block editor with hundreds of drag and drop elements. You can simply insert required blocks and start creating your content the way you like. Avoid using page builder plugins or themes that come with bundled plugins which will impact your site’s page loading speed.

Over to You

Each step in the process will directly impact your blogging journey. However, waiting for perfectionism will kill your online dream. You can always learn from the mistakes and start a steady journey after few months of starting your first blog. As mentioned, put lot of effort and allocate budget so that things will go smoothly. Below is the infographic of the complete process of creating your first blog. You can download this image, paste it on a visible place and motivate yourself to kickstart your blogging journey.

A Beginners Guide To Spark Dataframe Schema

This article was published as a part of the Data Science Blogathon.

 Introduction

Datatypes in Spark

Spark supports all the traditional data types like String, Long, Int, Double, etc. A lot of documentation is available on them online. I will speak of 2 particular datatypes in Spark which are Struct and Array, which are very useful while working with semi-structured data like a JSON or an XML. In this guide, I will take a sample JSON and show you how a schema can be manipulated in Scala to handle data better when it is too complicated to work with.

So, let’s start with creating a JSON record and create a DataFrame from it.

import org.apache.spark.sql.types._ val sample_json_1="""{"a":{"b":"1","c":"2","d":[1,2,3,4,5],"e":{"key1":"value1","key2":"value2","key3":"value3"}},"d":1,"g":2}""" val df_a=spark.read.json(sc.parallelize(Seq(sample_json_1)).map(_.toString)) val sch_a=df_a.schema

Now that we have the data frame and its schema, let’s see what operations are allowed on the schema.

Struct Data Types of Spark

A schema is a Struct of a list or array of StructFields. Struct is a data type that is defined as StructType in org.apache.spark.sql.types package. StructField is also defined in the same package as StructType. As per Spark’s official documentation, a StructField contains a lot of attributes but we will focus on just 3 of the attributes, which are field name, field data type, and field nullability. The field name and field datatype attributes are mandatory. To know all the attributes that it supports, please refer to the official documentation . Now to start with operations that can be done on a schema.

Listing fields, Their Names, and Indexes

You can get the list of all field names from the schema using either the “names” or “fieldNames” method on the schema as shown below

sch_a.names sch_a.fieldNames

Sometimes, it is not enough just to have the field names as the schema contains all the information of those fields. So to get the fields with all their attributes using the “fields” method.

sch_a.fields

To get the index of the field in the schema, “fieldIndex” can be used.

sch_a.fieldIndex("a")

DataTypes in StructFields

As mentioned earlier, StructField contains a datatype. This data type can contain a lot of fields and their data type in it, we will see it later in the guide. To get the data type of a field in the schema.

sch_a.fields(0).dataType.typeName

Datatypes as simple strings that can be used with Hive. These strings can be used as it is while writing the create table statement to define the datatype of the columns in that Hive table.

sch_a.simpleString

You can also go look for the first element in the schema using head operation.

sch_a.head Adding New Fields to Schema

To add a new field to the schema it can either use the method “add” or the short hand “:+” as shown below

val add_field_to_schema=StructType(sch_a.add(StructField("newfield",StringType))) val add_field_to_schema=StructType(sch_a:+StructField("newfield",StringType)) Deleting a Field From Schema

To remove a field from the schema “diff” method can be used as shown below. The field “g” is being removed from the schema.

val del_field_from_schema = StructType(sch_a.diff(Seq(StructField("g",LongType)))) Concatenating 2 Schemas

Let say you have 2 schema and you need to merge them in 1 single schema. To do the same, follow below code block, where I am creating an additional DataFrame, so that we can have 2 schema to merge them.

val jsonb="""{"h":"newfield","i":"123","j":45.78}""" val df_b=spark.read.json(sc.parallelize(Seq(jsonb)).map(_.toString)) val sch_b=df_b.schema

Fig 7 Creating a new data frame so that both schemas can be merged

Now, to merge the schema of “df_a” and “df_b” data frames, the “++” operator can be used. It can also be used to merge 2 lists or arrays.

val merge_two_schema=StructType(sch_a++sch_b)

Working with Subfields

Now with the basic operations taken care of, let’s take an example where we want to read the JSON “Jason” in a data frame but we want to keep the field “a.e” as a string, you can see that initially when we read the JSON “Jason” into a data frame, the field “a.e” has been read as a Struct.

This can be done simply by changing the data type of the said field in the schema. To start with, if you look carefully at the output of the “sch_a.fields” output, you can see, there are only 3 elements namely “a”, “d” and “g”. Each element is a StructField and so consists of a field name and field datatype. The datatype of field “a” is StructType, which contains its children. So to make any changes to the data type of field “a.e”, we have to first get datatype of field “a”

val subfield_a=sch_a.fields(sch_a.fieldIndex("a")).dataType.asInstanceOf[StructType]

Now that we have the subfields of field “a” separated in a variable, we can update the data type of field “e”. unfortunately, there is no direct way of doing that, so we will remove the element first and then add it with the new data type.

val subfield_a_datatype_e=subfield_a.fields(subfield_a.fieldIndex("e")).dataType val subfield_a_updated=StructType(subfield_a.diff(Seq(StructField("e",subfield_a_datatype_e))):+StructField("e",StringType))

Let’s understand that this newly updated subfield should be updated in the parent schema, as the datatype of field “a” before using it to read the “Jason” JSON, for the changes to reflect

val sch_a_update=StructType(sch_a.diff(Seq(StructField("a",subfield_a))):+StructField("a",subfield_a_updated))

In the below screenshots, you can see the difference between the outputs, when using the read with the modified schema, the json values in the “a.e” field remains unparsed and are read as string instead of Struct

.

JSON of Schema

There are 2 more methods that I would like to specify, these are “json” and “prettyJson”, both of these are used to convert the Struct value into a json, I found them helpful with different use cases. You can explore them as well, below is an example

The media shown in this article is not owned by Analytics Vidhya and is used at the Author’s discretion.

Related

A Complete Guide To Vegan Muscle Building

This post has been updated. It was originally published on 1/7/2024.

When articles proclaim that “veganism is growing in popularity,” it’s not just because Instagram and Youtube makes it feel that way. It’s because veganism is, in fact, growing in popularity.

Some fast facts:

On Dec. 30, 2023 more than 14,000 people formally promised (by signing up through this website) to not eat animal products in January. Participation in Veganuary has more than doubled every year since the campaign began in 2014.

Last year, restaurant consulting group Baum + Whitman identified plant-based food as a major trend for 2023. “That’s still true” for 2023, the copywriter(s) note [PDF], adding that this year lab-grown meats “look like profound long-range game changers.” (The brief writer also describes cows as “prolific poopers,” so BRB going to hire them to write for Popular Science.)

In 2023, Nestle—whose brands range from Hot Pockets to Coffeemate to Haagen-Dazs to Digiorno—also identified plant-based foods a trend the company, in the words of its Executive Vice President of Strategic Business Units, “believe[s] is here to stay and amplify.”

6 percent of U.S. consumers now claim to be vegan, up from 1 percent in 2014. That’s a 500 percent increase, or a difference of 1.6 million people.

Ariana Grande is vegan.

If you are one of the millions of folks who now call themselves vegan (or plant-based or whatever) and you have divulged this fact to anybody, you have probably been asked about your protein sources and intake. People may have wondered about your muscle mass, or your strength. And it’s not a totally unreasonable concern. Generous protein intake is essential for maintaining and building muscle. Eggs, meat, and dairy make up roughly 62 percent of the protein consumed by US adults—and that number may actually be greater when you consider that 8 percent of the protein consumed “could not be classified” (hot dogs?). The remaining 30 percent is plant protein, the largest dietary source of which is bread, which doesn’t exactly have a reputation for being protein-rich.

When I transitioned out of animal products a year ago—there are many science–backed reasons to reduce your animal product intake—the move seemed to run counter to my goals for athleticism and overall beefcakiness (pun intended). I’ve drained hours researching what humans need to build muscle optimally. When I tried to find research on how people who don’t eat egg whites, whey protein powder, or 93-percent-lean ground beef can optimize their gains, the Google Scholar well ran dry.

But even without recent or replicated peer-reviews papers, we have proof enough that getting buff with plant-based protein is, in fact, possible. There are enough vegan bodybuilders and Olympic athletes to show us it can be done. But how? I asked four experts and compiled their knowledge below.

Our panel: (1) Dr. Anastasia Zinchenko, a vegan bodybuilder, powerlifter, and coach with a PhD in biochemistry and books full of high-protein bake recipes. (2) Jordan David, a vegan bodybuilder, health coach, and founder of Conscious Muscle, which sells coaching, apparel, and supplements. (3) Dr. Rachele Pojednic, an assistant professor of nutrition at Simmons University. (4) Kendrick Farris, a vegan weightlifter who represented the U.S.A. in the 2008, 2012, and 2024 Olympic Games.

How much protein the aspiring buff vegan should eat

As previously mentioned, the survival of our species does not require as much protein as many Westerners are led to believe. Adequacy, according to the US recommended dietary allowance, is just 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. So, for example, a person who weighs 170 pounds (or 77 kilograms) should eat about 62 grams of protein (that’s 77 x 0.8). Most people (especially meat eaters) get that without even really trying. A peanut butter sandwich on wheat bread, for example, has about 18 grams of protein.

[Related: You don’t have to eat vegan to reduce your environmental impact.]

Zinchenko, who shares tips on her website Science Strength, recommends vegans eat 2.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (or about 1.1 grams per pound). That’s a lot higher than what governmental organizations recommend, but her clients want to bulk up, not simply be healthy. And muscle gain requires the amino acids in protein. (More on that below.)

People who go to David for coaching are prescribed 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, which shakes out to just a bit less protein than Zinchenko prescribes. Pojednic, a nutritionist, recommends training athletes get anywhere from 1.6 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

For context, a 170-pound individual would consume 185 grams of protein on Zinchenko’s plan, 170 grams of protein on David’s plan, and 123-169 grams of protein on Pojednic’s plan. That difference in protein consumption equates to roughly two protein shakes, or a block and a half of tofu.

The difference between vegan proteins and proteins that come from animal products

If you aren’t vegan, Zinchenko says, you can get away with eating 2.1 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, because the amino acid profiles in animal products are slightly better for making muscle. Pojednic notes that amino acid composition is “one of the key distinctions” between a vegan and an omnivorous diet.

Both Zinchenko and Pojednic call out amino acids leucine and lysine, in particular. Animal proteins generally have more of these amino acids than plant proteins (here’s a graph), which is significant because these building blocks seem to be particularly good drivers of muscle protein synthesis. You can boost your levels by incorporating a supplement, which Zinchenko recommends, though Pojednic notes that there are plenty of vegan sources of leucine: soy isolates (like soy protein powder), seaweed and spirulina, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and tofu.

[Related: What to know before investing in a pair of running shoes]

“It’s not just about getting enough protein,” Zinchenko says, “The distribution of amino acid types is also important. It’s like building a house. It must have windows, bricks, and doors. You can have all the bricks in the world, but without a door, it’s not going to be a house.”

That doesn’t mean you need to make sure each serving of protein includes a mix of all the necessary amino acids, Pojednic says. If you’re eating a variety of foods throughout the day, there’s no need to pair up rice and beans for every meal. Your body can still put all the pieces together.

Fiber and protein bioavailability

Even if your lunchtime salad has all the nutrients you want, your body may not be absorbing them. Some foods are harder for the human digestive system to turn into nutrients. Compared to meats, eggs, and dairy, vegetal proteins are not as bioavailable, meaning your body might not actually get to use all the protein contained in the raw spinach you scarfed.

Whole (also known as unprocessed) foods, which are recommended by the USDA, contain fiber and other substances that can limit absorption in the small intestine. “If you eat a raw vegan diet, you may need to aim for 2.7 grams per kilogram of body weight, which is just an insane amount of broccoli and beans,” Zinchenko says.

Whole foods generally take longer to digest, which is why serious muscle-builders may want to chug a protein shake on a relatively empty stomach—and why both David and Zinchenko recommend some sort of protein supplementation. Pojednic suggests it too, particularly if your stomach can’t handle a full meal after lifting.

Do vegans need to supplement?

Vegans need to take a B12 supplement. Most of the B12 humans get in their diet comes from animal products, as a result of microorganisms being processed in the guts of cattle and sheep. Without foods from those critters, it’s a lot harder to get adequate B12, which means vegans rely on fortified plant milks and cereals or supplementation. (Unless they are really into eating seaweeds like spirulina or dried nori, which contain B12.)

Otherwise, no, you don’t need to use a protein shake or branched chain amino acid powder—but they can make it a whole lot easier to get your protein in. Otherwise, 150 grams of protein a day (without just oodles of carbs) can be overwhelming.

The ideal ratio of vegan protein sources

Zinchenko encourages vegan lifters to “err on the side of caution” and eat about 50 percent of your protein from legumes (beans, peas, soy, etc.), 25 percent from grains, and 25 percent from nuts and seeds to make sure you’re getting adequate amounts of the necessary amino acids.

Meal timing

“The most recent recommendations clarify not just how many grams of protein you should eat, but also how those grams are pulsed throughout the day,” Pojednic says. “Scientists are thinking now that there’s only a certain amount of protein your muscles can uptake and utilize in one sitting. If you flood your system with amino acids, at some point they’re a little bit wasted.”

Aim to get 0.25 and 0.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per meal. Or, to put it way simpler, space out your protein over 3 or 4 meals a day, not just all at once in a mega smoothie.

The other science-backed tip is to make sure you’re eating 20-30 grams of protein within 30 minutes (up to an hour is probably fine) of training. “The literature shows that ingesting both protein and carbs in that window promotes muscle growth and recovery, which helps you stay up on your training regimen.” Yes, that can be a protein shake—but it can also be a peanut butter sandwich.

But the most crucial aspects of gaining muscle have nothing to do with being vegan.

It’s not all about getting enough amino acids. You’ve got to eat enough calories to gain mass, and you’ve got to train hard. Farris, who went plant-based in November 2014 (between Olympics appearances), is a world-class athlete who happens to be vegan—and he doesn’t track his protein at all. Still, he was able to “make some gains and, more importantly, stay healthy.” He says a vegan diet has let him recover faster. “If you can do that, you can do more work. You can beat your body up more. Simply, just train.”

[Related: What’s the best total-body exercise?]

(It’s worth noting that part of the reason Farris had no qualms about changing his diet while in a high point of his career was because he spent his prime lifting years (19-22) gaining strength without reliable access to any type of food at all. “If I could lift and do it all when I didn’t have access to regular meals, how was I going to get weaker eating enough food but switching out the ingredients?”)

In case that doesn’t drive the point home, know that every single person I spoke to for this article mentioned the importance of simply eating enough food.

“A big problem for vegans is that they can easily under eat,” Zinchenko says. “Especially active people who eat a lot of whole foods. Without calories, your body can’t make muscle.”

“The main thing is high-volume weight training and getting adequate nutrients,” David says. “That’s it. There are no shortcuts. The harder you hit it, the more you feed it, the more it will grow.” (I believe we were talking about butts at this point in the conversation.)

“Obviously diet is going to give you that tiny push at the end, but the training and the dedication is really what’s going matter in the long term for high-level athletes,” Polojic says.

Oh, and for what it’s worth, we sorely need more research on vegans. “Even the studies that examine vegan protein powders are not done on vegans,” Zinchenko says. “If there is somebody who would like to donate money to study vegan muscle growth, I would be happy to run the study.”

Success Factors For Building Your Brand In 2024 Using Seo

Examples of developing your brand in 2024 by building your Digital Knowledge Centre

SEO technology provider, Searchmetrics, recently released a white paper: SEO Rank Correlations and Ranking Factors 2014 – Google U.S., evaluating factors impacting organic search results and an analysis of search engine algorithms. This post highlights some of the findings for organisations SEO brand strategy. I have condensed the 83 page document into some of the key factors brands need to be aware of.

The searchmetrics report provides some good news for brands. Whether an established player or an emerging start-up, brands need to wake up to the opportunities the ever changing search landscape offers.

There has been a fundamental shift in the types of brands monopolising the search landscape along with the rapid growth in content marketing, the brands winning this game are the brands that have re-defined their online value proposition by turning themselves into knowledge centres.

What is a knowledge centre?

Knowledge centres began to take centre stage as a digital strategy during 2014 in part due to the growth in anyone and everyone launching their own content marketing strategies, cue an explosion of content in all shapes and sizes engulfed us all by littering our social media channels, search results, inboxes and video streams. It was assumed the more content being created, more the opportunity to drive traffic. WRONG

As highlighted in the whitepaper, searchmetrics emphasise the importance of ‘high quality and relevant content is increasingly the focus of search’ and this provides a sound justification as to why brand marketers should develop their proposition by becoming a knowledge centre. In other words, to differentiate your digital content proposition by focusing on crafting remarkable, trusted content that your users and prospects will take the time to read, share, favourite, recommend and return to you as a trusted source for reliable content.

To transform your brand proposition into a digital knowledge centre, brands should define their search strategy to consider three key pillars:

1. Authority – Is your search strategy delivering your brands voice of authority? Are you informing and delighting your audience by telling a great brand narrative through the content you’re delivering and that is found through search?

2. OVP – Do you have an online value proposition at the heart of your digital strategy? Take the time to analyse your competitors as well as benchmark your search proposition against other brands operating in different sectors to understand how they have differentiated themselves from their competitors

3. Are you building a narrative – Fine tune your digital narrative that can be communicated through your online content. Engage in conversations through social media channels with your audience and reach out and build direct relationships with your customers and audience giving your brand a personality and a human element to your proposition and online reputation.

Key findings of the SEO Ranking Factors and Rank Correlations 2014 report

Let’s visit some of the key findings of the searchmetrics report and what brands should leverage to help support their strategy in becoming a knowledge centre. I have broken the findings down into key sections and which pages to refer to for further reading within the searchmetrics report.

What this means for Brands ? Ensure your brand in included within the keywords of your on-page copy as well as headings and within page titles and meta descriptions. Utilising your brand helps to drive the CTR in driving search traffic to visit your site.

2. Content: (searchmetrics report: page 22)

Historically, having the right technical SEO (on page, site architecture) was the first stage but using similar SEO strategies to better optimise the content being created on page is becoming just as important especially in light of Google algorithm changes such as Panda, Penguin and more recently Hummingbird.

More importantly it’s about creating content that will delight your audience and provide real value (over the competition) rather than driving content purely based on keyword research A recent infographic by Quicksprout highlights the changes in content creation and how it’s associated with old SEO strategies to how you should be re-inventing your content creation.

What this means for Brands? Ensure you’re developing and building your library of content working across office by running a content audit. Look to optimise the content e.g. on page how is it graded, current link profile of your content pages and how the content is performing through social platforms? Look to monitor and measure current performance and begin to identify benchmarks as well as gaps and opportunities to build on your content strategy.

3. Content Hubs (searchmetrics report: page 30)

Below is a searchmetrics graph listing the content features which have increased in importance and the enhancements made by Google to better understand the meaning behind keywords has accelerated how the search engine is beginning to move towards better understanding “content hubs” e.g. topic areas as summarised by searchmetrics

‘The more topics a text reflects, the more holistic it is – and, at the same time, the more relevant it is for users with different search intentions. Consequently, the copy also ranks better for related, additional keywords as well as the primary keyword’.

What this means for brands? Look to create content hubs, analyse the long tail search opportunities for content subjects and look to map out content hubs that provide a rich verticle knowledge hub that caters for the head terms and long tail search terms. Archive these content hubs into a content library which can then be used to support your search activity and social outreach.

4. Internal linking (searchmetrics report: page 37)

Structuring your internal link structure is seen as a vital component for your domain performance. The graphic below, taken from chúng tôi shows how a site architecture should be set and provides the greatest positive impact for the flow of internal linking.

From an SEO perspective, attracting external links to your website has always been seen as the priority to assist in search engine ranking performance but it’s clear more emphasis needs to be put on the user experience and providing relevant internal links on pages to provide the perfect UX and retain relevancy of articles to the user.

What this means for brands? Scope out your current site architecture and structure of your site and identify the most important pages of your site based on external links (followed), social shares and internal linking. The audit will then provide you the opportunity to clearly map out how content and associated content begin to interlink to different sections of the site as well as provide potential gaps and opportunities to exploit.

5. Backlinks (searchmetrics report: page 43)

Searchmetrics identified larger brands attract a higher majority of new links, more referring domains as well as generating more deeper linking to relevant content areas, the below infographic taken from the whitepaper provides some more insights in the opportunity of a backlink strategy and how it can benefit your performance.

What this means for brands? Monitor, manage and measure your analytics reports. Audit who is linking to your site but more importantly are they linking to the correct content pages? If not, this provides an opportunity to reach out to the partner site and encourage them to link to deeper pages of your site that is more relevant from a content point of view.

For pages that do drive a high volume of links from external websites, monitor the performance of the page – is it retaining the referral traffic? Have you optimised the page to why the external website is linking to you? Are you looking to provide internal linking to other pages on your site to retain the user?

Work with your press office and communications teams for any content or press releases that could be used to drive new back links from websites that mention your brand and content stories. Fresh Web Explorer is a great tool to use to identify new website that are not linking to you

 6. Social Signals (searchmetrics report: page 60)

From the Searchmetrics study, ‘sites that have risen in the SERP’s have strong, positive correlations to social signals’. From a brand point of view, it’s clear to see that social networks play a key role as a key traffic referrer

What this means for brands? Your social media activity should be integrated with your content strategy and used as a tactic to help drive your content to different audiences and demographics. Better understand and take the time to listen to different audiences that choose to follow your brands social channels e.g demographics, types of content being consumed and tailor your content to their needs and requirements.

Social Media also provides your brand a vehicle to real-time listening – to ensure your brand strategy encompasses the need to deliver real-time content within your content sector to service the needs of your social audience. Make sure you are providing the necessary opportunities for your website/mobile content to be shared through social by your users by ensuring your pages are providing a call to action to offer social sharing

7. Mobile (searchmetrics report: page 77)

A recent article by comScore highlighted key insights on the emergence of mobile which is now the leading digital platform accounting for 60% of digital media time spent in the US.

What this means for brands?  It will be ever more essential for brands digital proposition can be translated to a mobile or tablet device from desktop whilst retaining points of difference. Google recently rolled out ‘mobile friendly’ labels emphasising the importance the search engine has for brands who think about their digital proposition across different platforms.

Analyse your desktop site on performance and relate the relevant content to a mobile experience – this may mean optimising long form content into mobile bit size chunks. What’s your mobile USP and think about how your competitors differentiate their mobile proposition over their desktop environment and the content made available?

Key Takeaways for brands from searchmetric’s whitepaper

1. Content – There is an urgency for brands to deliver more content to remain competitive within the search sectors. However it’s important to note that more content does not necessarily mean better content – the emphasis should be on delivering industry leading, authoritative content that is relevant to their audience

2. Technical – increasing in importance, internal linking (p.37), Html of pages p.34) – Ensure you getting back to basics of SEO by making sure that basic on page optimisation and technical considerations have been taken into account e.g. site architecture and page load speeds

4. Backlinks – Backlinks are considered an important indicator however the emphasis is on the quality of backlinks rather than quantity. Through social listening and content generation there is an opportunity for brands to hijack real-time demand for trusted news content and with it the opportunity to drive backlinks off the back of a real-time content strategy.

5. Social Media – integrated within your content strategy and to be used as a tactic to drive content to different audiences and demographics.

Brands need to wake up before it is too late to capitalise on the changes in the search landscape that are crying out for brands that are trusted, authoritative and willing to put at their heart of their digital strategy, content. The brands winning this game are the brands that have re-defined their online value proposition by turning themselves into knowledge centres. In summary,

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