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SEO Tips to Dominate the Competition in Your Niche Market

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Starting a new website or blog can be very exciting and fulfilling. The only downside is waiting for your site to get a decent Domain and Page Authority score, quality backlinks, and waiting on those rankings to increase. For some sites and brands, this is something that happens pretty quickly, while others anxiously and impatiently wait and wait and often end up with disappointing results.

What gives? Well, unless you really have a good grasp of SEO, then you’ll end up frustrated and want to give up. Don’t give up though because we’re about to give you some of the best tips to help improve your rankings more quickly and also boost your motivation. If you are completely new to the concept of SEO, you can follow these beginner tips, otherwise, keep on reading for the more advanced SEO best practices and working methods below.

Research and Study the Competition

It’s good to know as much as possible about your competition as possible so that you can know who you’re up against and what you should strive for. For instance, you may want to start by finding out how many incoming links your competitors have. This way, you have a good idea of how many you need in order to pass them. Also take a look at where they rank in search engines, what keywords they’re using, and what’s in their meta tags. You can’t strive for the top spot unless you know what you’re competing for. So be sure to analyze your competition as an initial plan of action.

A perfect niche market to make an example of is the world of online surveys and ‘get paid to survey’ review sites. Just by going to Google, we can see a wide range of sites for the search term “get paid to take survey” — which is made up of a mix of businesses (actual survey company), list articles, and review sites. The main difference between those that are ranking higher than others are the Domain/Page Authority of the site, and it’s incoming backlinks. If you take a look at the list articles, you will also find that they are often 2,000+ words in length as well.

As you can imagine, the online survey market is heavily saturated due to the fact that it’s one of the best ways to make money online with affiliate marketing. If you were to take a look at any typical survey review site, you would likely find a list of the top survey sites to join, as well as individual reviews for each — which also helps with the long tail ranking of these review sites for individual survey name searches as well.

Analyze Your Keywords and Your Competitors

It’s one thing to optimize your website for keywords, but if you’re using keywords that are not even being searched for then it’s a huge waste of your time. There are plenty of free tools available on the Internet that can help you find the best keywords that are being searched for consistently. These are the keywords that you want to optimize your site for. Also think about using long tail keywords, which are keyword phrases that have 3-5 words in them. These are great for drawing in targeted, quality traffic. Lastly, be sure to use evergreen keywords which have longevity and will be relevant for years to come. This way you can always count on them to bring you traffic.

When it comes to SEO research and seeing what sites rank for what (and where), SEMRush is one of the best tools out there. All you need to do is plug in the URL of any site, and you will instantly see not only what keywords they are ranking for, but also their current position, it’s monthly search volume, a competition score, and the ranking URL on their site.

You can see an example of all of this in the screenshot below, which was done for Buzzfeed.com. This tool is great for keyword research and finding phrases that you would never have thought of otherwise. Who would have thought the longtail phrase of “fun games for when your bored” would get searched over 40,000 times per month!

Now that you’ve seen this concept in action, start plugging in some of your top competitor’s URLs into SEMRush and see what kind of unique and crazy search phrases they might be ranking for.

Write Better Content than the Competition

If you’re not writing quality content, you really don’t stand a chance at ranking very high. Your content needs to be useful and original. When you create content, keep in mind that you want something that will make others want to link to it and share it. Try to focus on How To, tutorials, and lists because these tend to generate the most traffic. If you can, add numerous supportive facts and references. Also be sure to link keywords within your content to other useful and relevant web pages. When others see that you’ve linked to them, it will encourage them to link to you which will in turn help boost your rankings. Images and visual examples like charts, videos, images, and screenshots are also very useful and add to the quality of your content.

Again, this will all come down to not only the type of content you are creating for your site, but also how you promote it. To see an example of this in motion, head over to Google and search for “how to boil an egg”. It’s a super generic term but has been written about thousands of times. You will also notice that many of the site names ranking for this term are well-known or very large sites (ie: Pillsbury, AllRecipes and Martha Stewart) — which can make analyzing the content on these sites even more exciting. Who has the best text content? Which brand created custom videos and tutorials? How is each of them getting quality backlinks to their sites?

The search phrase “how to boil an egg” is currently searched more than 200,000 times per month, and has a difficulty score of 89 (via SEMRush). With so much competition in this space, it really does come down to who has the best site content and how they are effectively promoting it.

Deep Linking to Other Pages on Your Site

Deep linking involves linking to other pages within your site (other than the homepage) from within your content. It’s important to link to internal pages with anchor text that contain at least 3 of the keywords for that page. This will not only help with rankings, but it also helps to keep people on your site longer – thus reducing the bounce rate.

Depending on how many pages and posts you have on your site, this might be easier or harder than you think. This is something you probably notice a lot on bigger sites that focus on covering every topic within their niche. If you are a reader of The Penny Hoarder, you will notice how well they interlink to other site content within their articles. Each of the arrows below is pointing to a link that goes to another article on their site, and that is only the first few paragraphs on this one article.

Deep linking on websites and blogs takes a lot of time, but it can definitely pay off in the long run. It’s definitely recommended to deep link more often to your best and evergreen content, as they will keep working for you no matter when someone comes across your content and improve the chances of those pages ranking in Google.

Optimize Everything! (Site Headings/Subheadings/Images)

Just like your meta tags, you also want to be sure to optimize your headings and subheadings. These are your H-tags (H1, H2, H3, etc) and they really play an important role in organizing the information on your web pages. You should have only one H1 tag (the largest header) on your page; this is usually the title of the page or the title of your article (i.e. if you have a blog). You can then break up sections into H2 tags and even further into H3 if needed.

Next, we have the title and alt tags that are used within images to describe what they pertain to. Again, these can be optimized with keywords to help you rank higher. Remember that most search engines now have image search capabilities. When users search for specific images, the search engines use the keywords within your title and alt tags to help them display relevant images. This is why it’s so important to use them and include your keywords so that people can also find your content through image searching.

Each of these heading tags should contain keywords that you want to rank for. Since search engines consider the headings to be more important than the actual content, it’s really important to get those keywords in there. To best explain the many factors and components of creating a perfectly optimized page, simply refer to the infographic below and this super detailed articled provided by Moz.

Just like we analyzed other websites and blogs in each of the examples above, the same should be done with checking out your competition as well. If a site is ranking on the first page of Google for a really good search term, it’s likely they have great ON-site and OFF-site SEO. Study your competition, learn as much as possible, and then be sure to implement these same methods into your own brand, business, or blog.

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Link Building For Beginners: A Digital Marketing Agency’s Guide

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Despite a lot of discourse throughout SEO communities and digital marketing agencies alike, link building, earning, or acquisition (whatever term you are more comfortable with) is still incredibly important in SEO. In this article, we will cover some of the best link building strategies and techniques that you can employ to get ahead in your niche and climb the rankings to organic success.

Link building is considered by some to fall into the darker realms of SEO but this blog will guide you through the darkness with an illuminating white hat. Not only will you find that many of these methods are accepted by all and work extremely well, many of them can be accomplished with little or no money — but instead with your time, effort and resources.

White Hat Link Building Techniques

Link building has a long and storied past in SEO but we’ll start just before April 2012 and just before the release of Google Penguin. Prior to Penguin, businesses and digital marketing agencies could essentially buy their position on Google (and I don’t mead with Adwords) with cheap and plentiful low-quality links!

Before Penguin, Google’s ability to evaluate the quality of links was very limited and relied on more basic metrics, in comparison to the more modern link analysis methods. Without going into too much detail, quantity used to matter a lot more than it does now. Since the rollout of Penguin, website owners and digital marketing agencies have had to innovate their link building tactics to create value that earns links.

Below are some examples of link building strategies that SEOs can use to increase rankings and stay in Google’s good book:

Create Meaningful Relationships

Links are the online equivalent of an offline referral from somebody who knows a thing or two about the thing you are asking about. Just like in the offline world, relationships and communities are incredibly valuable in SEO. If you can strike up relationships with people within your given niche, the reach of your website will greatly increase, as will the likelihood of people linking to your site.

A good idea is to start a forum or group on a social media platform. If you can demonstrate value within the community you have created or joined, people will begin listening to you, and (hopefully) linking to resources or blogs on your website.

Something to keep in mind here, is that backlinks and references rarely often happen. No matter how great the content is you create, one must really put in the necessary time and effort to establish relationships, ask for links/references, and continually provide value in the process.

Nathan Elly is the branch manager of digital marketing agencies and had the following to say on the importance of creating meaningful relationships.

Everyday we work with a wide range of companies and brands that are looking to establish new relationships online, and also gain powerful backlinks in the process. Not only is this something we’ve been able to help out with, it’s something we’ve mastered and taught to many brands and companies over the years as well. Even with the enviornment changing, it’s always come down to the simple practice of direct relationships and not just expecting backlinks to come in. Start a relationship, provide value, and ask how you can help other site owners succeed. This is one of the best ways to find longterm relationships and gain high quality backlinks and references in the process.

Create Meaningful Content

Following on from point 1, you need to demonstrate value – enough value that other people and websites want to reference your work. You need to ask yourself questions like:

  • What is my audience interested in?
  • What is currently a hot topic within my niche?
  • Can I produce content that is evergreen?
  • Are there resources already being linked to that I can improve upon?

If you can answer these questions and produce content that other people value and promote it through the platforms you participate in, then you will get links! Evergreen content, or content that has a very long shelf life, can have a fantastic ROI in the long term. Content that effectively answers age-old questions can bring in a steady flow of links.

At the same time, we can always look back at some of the most obvious basics to great content writing, as provided by Yoast. Yes, these are basic, but so many websites, brands, and bloggers still neglect to follow many of these rules.

  1. Think before you write.
  2. Write down the structure of your blog post.
  3. Use paragraphs, headings, and signal words.

There are a few more recommendations from Yoast, but most of these are covered within their Yoast SEO plugin when you scroll down to the bottom of any content you are writing within WordPress.

These are basic, but spending a few extra minutes to implement these into your writing can result in a much higher-quality end result. I personally have started using the “structure” tip with my writing, and thrown in ‘audio to text’, then will clean my content up afterward. With all of this in place, it definitely makes writing 2,000+ word articles much easier and faster.

Resource Page Links

Some websites have a page dedicated to linking out to valuable resources within their niche. Instead of sharing your content within your communities and hoping these webmasters see your engagement, you can actively seek them out! Google’s search engine allows for specific inputs to retrieve certain results. Using the below search strings, you can discover resources pages in your niche!:

  • “Keyword” + inurl:links
  • “Keyword” + “helpful resources”
  • “Keyword” + “useful resources”
  • “Keyword” + “useful links”

Once you have shortlisted the websites you feel you could add value to and vice versa – reach out to them with an email or phone pitch promoting your content. Hopefully, you and your content are persuasive and valuable enough that they create a new link to your content, or replace an old link with your new improved resource.

I get these emails all the time from random people and they are quite annoying — almost as much as the 50+ guest blogging requests I get daily as well. However, on the internet, it’s all a numbers game and if only 10% of the sites respond and end up linking back to your site, it’s a working strategy. If you are looking for more link building options like this one and want to put in the manual outreach, investing some time into 404 broken link building as well.

Business Directories

Business directories can be an extremely valuable link building resource for businesses, particularly for those competing in a local market. In a lot of cases, business directories are quite authoritative which is then passed back to your website. They also have the added benefit of allowing local businesses to list their business details like Name, Address and Phone Number.

In the SEO world, we call these NAP details. Having consistent NAP details across all of your online web assets (website, directories, Google My Business, etc…) is a strong ranking signal for Google in local markets. When you are creating listings on these directories, be diligent with your inputs and make sure everything is consistent.

To identify useful directories for your business, we can use some more search strings (yay) and Google. Below are some you can take advantage of:

  • “industry” inurl:directory
  • “industry” inurl:links
  • “industry” intitle:directory
  • intitle:industry inurl:directory
  • related:industry inurl:directory

If you are a local business or have a physical location, you should definitely spend some time on your Google My Business listing. With nearly all searches being made through Google, it’s important to make sure your site or business information is showing up correctly in Google — especially if it’s for a local address, operating hours, or getting in touch with your brand.

Conclusion

So, there you have it; our beginners guide to white hat link building for digital marketing agencies! These four tips will certainly be a good start for your burgeoning business and put you on the right track for sustainable rankings. This is by no means an exhaustive list but it does highlight some of the more accessible ways a business can begin expanding its organic reach through the means of link building.

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7 Ways Site Owners Can Improve SEO Rankings in 2018

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Search engine optimization is very tricky because each year Google is making changes to their algorithm. The old fashion techniques are no longer working as well, and bloggers are trying to find creative ways to rank their content. It essentially comes down to the following:

If you can rank your content higher than your competition, you’ll be able to drive a lot of traffic to your website. With the popularity of social media, this targeted traffic can double or even triple within a short time. With that said, I’ll be exploring 7 ways which bloggers can increase their rankings in 2017. I’ll visit what expert bloggers are saying about linking building, and what strategies they have been using to get an edge on their competition. Let’s get started.

1 – Focus on Web Analyzer tools

These are tools that provide you with a lot of interesting data. We are now in a time where you shouldn’t be wasting time building links that don’t add value. This means you should know who your competition and what they are doing to outrank you in the SERP’s. Many new web analyzer tools will provide you with loads of great information like:

  • Who links to your competition
  • The value of each link
  • The referring domain
  • The referring anchor text
  • Current keyword rank in search engines
  • And much more.

What all this information does is help you focus your attention on the data that matters. This will help you put your time, effort and skills where they matter most. But, it’s important you use only the best web analyzer tools so do your research online and start to research some of them.

2 – Optimize Your Website

It’s important to optimize your website for performance because other factors matter when it comes to ranking. There are now over 200 ranking factors and load time, mobile compatibility, clean design, and reduced clutter are all included. If your site is lacking in one of these areas, it can quickly pull down the rankings of your site as a result of it.

With a very high performing site, you are increasing the user experience, and this means a lot to search engines. This is especially true with mobile speed and responsiveness as well. Companies like Google are in business because they provide people with information in an organized fashion. Not only that, they provide people with the best information available online. The next time you are skimming through your website, look for ways you can optimize your blog it going forward by either changing the content font, color, and making it mobile compatible. You also want to test the current load speed which must fall below 3 seconds.

3 – SEO Traffic, Remarketing and Emails

With so much emphasis on ranking higher in the search results and getting as much free organic traffic to your site as possible, site owners should want to take as much opportunity of this high-quality traffic as possible. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by setting up a remarketing campaign through Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, or any other remarketing platform.

When moving forward with a remarketing campaign, it’s important to make sure you have ad creative for all sizes and ad spots possible. Digital Monopoly Perth has a great article on their site that shows all of the sizes and image formats that are currently being used for Google Adwords.

The best way to rebrand and remarket to an audience is to have your ad banners display your logo, site colors, and also a call to action that will remind them on why they were previously at your site in the first place.

At the same time, while we are talking about the importance and value of search traffic, it’s key to get these users on your mailing list as well. You can see a perfect example of how this is being used at TerritorySupply.com. This site ranks very well for a wide range of products they have listed on their site. While the average person is going to visit the search from a search they did in Google, it’s likely most of them won’t make a purchase the first time around. The best way to turn this organic visitor into a longterm visitor and potential customer, is to offer them a free 20% discount coupon and getting them onto their mailing list.

This is a tactic that is being used by millions of sites, but only a small portion of those sites are doing it correctly. Take advantage of what popup tools like OptinMonster have to offer, by creating different popups and call to actions based on the pages your audiences are visiting, and also where they are coming from. Remember, most SEO visitors to your website will leave and never come back after the first visit. It doesn’t have a lot to do with your content, but instead that there are simply too many sites and distractions out there already.

4 – On-Page SEO

Many bloggers spend too much time building external links but fail to optimize their own website. There is no point in building links with strategic anchor text if your website doesn’t have the same keywords in the title, description, and URL. You should spend a lot of time with on-page SEO and understand what keywords work best at ranking your website. Personally, I think you should be focusing on the title, URL, description, and body. In the body, you should include not only targeted keywords but some which are related to the main keyword you are trying to rank for.

It’s stated, 75% of your ranking has to do with on-page SEO so you should work very hard on optimizing your site, and content.

When it comes to On-Page SEO and ranking factors, there are always going to be debates and discussions on which methods work best. Fortunately, there are now more reports out than ever before, showcasing which factors are likely working best. You can see a preview of these ranking factors in the graphic below from SearchMetrics.com.

5 – SkyScraper Technique

For you to outrank your competition, you’ll have to get creative, and nothing is more creative than the skyscraper technique. It involves finding related content to yours which has been published and looking for broken backlinks within the content. When you locate them, you need to first figure out what you can do to replace this link. Since your searching on a relevant blog, you know you can write content which is better, and up to date. After, you simply contact the blog owner letting them know about your content, then asking them to link to it as a replacement.

Many blog owners don’t have a problem replacing low-quality content with higher quality content. If the link is broken, then you’ve increased your chance of securing that link. However, just make sure you focus on quality when writing content, and you find a blog which is related to your niche. The last thing you want to do is ask for a link for a non-relevant blog.

When it comes to using any type of SEO or ‘working strategies’, it’s important that you are still relying on new and working SEO methods, and not old ones. A good way to stay updated with these changing trends is to keep an eye on what your competition is doing, while also looking at the most recent infographics, case studies and SEO reports from different agencies, especially like the one below.

6 – YouTube Traffic

This platform has changed the way people interact online so make sure you make use of it. With the right type of videos, you can generate a lot of traffic to your blog within a short time. However, for you to benefit, you’ll have to start creating videos which are not hard at all. You can use affordable software, and many of the operating systems come built-in with a video recorder, camera, etc. Do some research on YouTube looking at what others have created in terms of video, and try to create something better. Here’s the trick,

Once you go live, you want to make sure you optimize your video by adding the right keywords in the title of the video, description, and you add a link to your blog. You can add links to your social media accounts too. Again, create high-quality videos offering a lot of great value, and you’ll increase your brand awareness within a short time.

7) Social Media Traffic

The biggest networks are Facebook, Twitter and Google+ so use them to build an audience. Imagine having 100,000 Twitter followers, and what this can do for your traffic when you share a valuable post with them. Top bloggers generate 5,000 visitors within minutes after sharing their recent content with their followers. You can also build your brand by taking advantage of Facebook Ads which is great to promote an event, brand, post or even take a survey. Social media is able to connect and engage readers quickly so don’t let this avenue slip out of your hands.

Here’s the great thing, to join these networks doesn’t cost any money, and all it takes to increase traffic is a retweet from a power blogger in your niche. It’s important to network with other bloggers within your niche because they’ll be more than happy to share your content with their followers. Whenever you decide to share your content on social media, it’s important to make sure you optimize your title and add keywords within the description before sharing. This helps build engagement too.

Getting the Most Out of Your SEO Efforts in 2018

As you can imagine, with more websites and blogs on the internet than ever before, it’s going to be tough to rank your site on the first page of Google — however, it still is possible. Bloggers, brands, and businesses that want to rank higher in Google, need to put in the time and effort to make sure each of the factors above are implemented and live on their sites asap.

Follow these SEO tips, implement them into your site, and then watch and see as your SEO and site traffic continue to improve.

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Google My Business – Local SEO Strategies for Small Businesses

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If you have a website or business on the internet, you are likely thrilled with any search traffic and rankings you might receive. However, if you are a local-based business, it’s all about ranking for keywords that are relevant to your location or specifically about your business.

In most cases, local businesses won’t really understand the metrics of SEO or how to improve their rankings in the search results. More often than not, they will simply be happy if they are appearing at the top of Google for their brand name, and also have a Google Business Listing with their hours, location and business details.

This is ideal… but there are definitely more opportunities for traffic, growth, and improvement — especially when you start considering online traffic and content options with geo-targeted traffic.

Google My Business is a great place for local businesses to start with their online journey, but it’s definitely not the beginning and end. Implement these three components into your content creation and marketing efforts to get even more out of your local business listings in Google.

Start a Website or Blog for Your Local Business

Most small businesses and local retail locations should already have an online website or blog, but many still don’t. Unfortunately, way too many businesses think that a listing in Google Local or Yelp is going to represent them well online — however, this isn’t the case at all. Instead, it could actually be hurting them in the long run.

Without an official website for your business, there is no way for your audience and customers to really get in direct contact with you. Any information that might be found on other websites or local directories might also not be updated or accurate. At the same time, without a website of your own, you are letting customers leave reviews on other websites that you have no control over.

With a site of your own, you are always in control over what people see, find and discover about your business. This is also a great way to make a better first impression (through a nice website, pictures and company info). Once the connection has been made, you can then showcase your best customer feedback and ratings that appear within your Google My Business page.

Wouldn’t you rather be sending people directly to your own website when they search for your brand online, versus sending them to another third party website? You should.

Take Advantage of Facebook Advertising

There are currently over 1.8 billion users on Facebook. While the social network has worldwide exposure, it’s also done wonders for localized businesses and brands in the process.

Through the use of both Facebook Page and Facebook Advertising, local businesses can reach audiences within their area, while also growing a following at the same time. This is why you commonly see flyers that say “Like Us on Facebook” in your favorite retail locations. It’s a simple, fun and easy way for brands to connect with their audiences, while also allowing them to build a ‘social mailing list’ in the process.

Advanced local businesses and brands can also take advantage of the demographic and geo-targeting options that are available through Facebook Ads. The same can be said for ‘custom audience’ targeting options, which allows site owners to display ads through Facebook based on visitors to a website or emails on a mailing list.

Keeping with the theme of how to maintain a great online presence and building up your Google My Business profile, Facebook Pages and marketing can also be a great way to lead people to your local search listings where users can leave ratings and reviews of your own. Since your audience is already following you on Facebook, there is a good chance their review and rating would be positive.

Focus on Local SEO, Content Creation and Competitors

The third and final tip for improving a local business’ presence online, is to simply know how to rank your site in Google. As mentioned, it’s not hard to claim your Google My Business listing in Google… but that doesn’t mean you are going to listed at the top of the search rankings for generic search phrases like ‘car repair’, ‘food services’ or ‘pizza’ in your area, even if the geo-location settings are turned on for results. To improve your rankings you need to understand how to do each of the following;

  • Rank for Local Keywords – Ranking in Google is a science. If you don’t already know the basics of SEO, you can follow them here. In short, you need to create valuable content for your website and gain backlinks to your site. Those are the two most simple and straight to the point methods for explaining how rankings work in Google. The same thing goes for Google Local rankings as well… the more content and rankings back to them, the more likely they are to rank higher.
  • Create Local-Based Content – A listing in Google is great for your business, but there is a lot more opportunity if you are willing to put in the time, work and effort. For example, think about the many different things your potential customers might be searching for in Google (besides your company name). Ratings, locations, coupons, how to’s, local events… you name it, all of it can be used for potential content ideas you can create through your own site.
  • Know Your Competitors – As a local business, your competition is everything. If they have a bigger store, better advertisements and higher search rankings… you need to know! Tools like SEMRush and Google Alerts will allow you to keep an eye on the competition, both through search ranking movements and any new content appearing in Google your competition might be ranking for.

Another method that has worked for various businesses to help improve the look and activity of their sites, is to send geo targeted traffic to their sites. This type of traffic marketing will help with Alexa and SimilarWeb rankings. While these aren’t key components to SEO or determining how successful or big a site might be, they are metrics that brands and businesses do keep an eye on. Also, depending on the size of your business, this type of paid traffic can also bring in new audiences and customer to your website (and even local business as well).

Claim Your Google My Business Page, then Build Out Your Own Site

I’m all for having a Google My Business page for your local business, but don’t rely on that for everything. I always tell my audience the same thing — you want to own your own content! This is why it’s so important to have your own domain name and web hosting, versus starting a website on Blogger.com or WordPress.com. At the same time, you don’t want to have 100,000 fans on your Facebook page and not leading them to join your own mailing list of visiting a site you actually own.

No matter how much of your business is coming from local residents in your area, your online presence is of the utmost importance. Follow these Google My Business and local SEO marketing tips to stay ahead of the competition.

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Hi, I’m Zac Johnson

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