If you’re business owner wondering how to improve your website’s Google search ranking, you could spend a lot of money on an SEO consultant. Or you could go to the source. On February 23, Google quietly announced the debut of the Google Webmaster Central YouTube Channel. The announcement got scant attention from the media but it’s blockbuster news for anyone seeking better search-engine placement. Google calls the channel “your one-stop shop for resources that will help you with your crawling and indexing questions, introduce you to offerings that can enhance and increase traffic to your site, and connect you with your visitors.” You try to find reasons to dislike Google, because they’re so damn huge. But they just keep doing things right.
The next credit crunch. Arianna Huffington posted an interesting column recently about the next shoe to drop. It will be a steel-toe boot to the shin of the already limping bank sector. According to the Federal Reserve, American credit card debt reached a record $950 billion in 2008. About a third of that is held by subprime customers. This, as Huffington notes, suggests the imminent arrival of Toxic Debt Avenger Part II. Turns out banks have been handling credit card debt much the same way they handled all the iffy mortgages they sold: packaging it up and selling it to third parties.
How can we miss you if you won’t go away? Could the credit-card-debt problem get bad enough that card companies stop giving you awards to use your card and start giving you awards to pay off your balance and go away? It’s already happening. That’s one way to get more cash on your balance sheet.
Job losses “spread aggressively” to small firms. It’s never good when news on the economy calls to mind images of terminal cancer. But that’s the allusion in the March 4 ADP National Employment Report. Total private-sector job losses in February totaled 700,000. Employment among businesses with 50 or fewer workers fell by 262,000. “Sharply falling employment at medium- and small-size businesses clearly indicates that the recession is spreading aggressively beyond manufacturing and housing-related activities,” notes the report. As for a turnaround, report contributor Joel Prakken predicts unemployment will keep climbing and reach 9 percent by mid-2010. It’s gonna be a long year.