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Link building as an SEO practice is reaching a high-level of maturity.

Google’s imposition of penalties for spammy practices made the lives of shady SEOs more difficult.

On the other hand, it prompted decent SEO practitioners to explore more ways to earn links – consequently leading them to discover the value of relationship building.

In his PeepCon 3.0 presentation, Jason Acidre, founder and CEO at Xight Interactive, shared valuable techniques on building links that every SEO pro can try this year.

Best known for his blog Kaiser The Sage, Acidre had this to say about link building.

“Link building is more of a branding tool. It’s both art and science. You get to let search engines and users know the entities who vouch for you – to build trust. And trust can’t be built through numbers and technology alone. The practice requires creativity, psychology and a ton of human effort (or marketing).”

He further added that while we’ve built processes around link building, what we mostly miss out on is “the human side of it” which is the right mindset.

Here are more valuable insights taken from Acidre’s talk.

You Still Need Quality Content to Earn Links

To build links in 2023, we still have to take a content-first and audience-first mentality.

Content should be created around keywords that matter for the business, and they should be:

Genuinely useful and/or educational.

Evergreen and authoritative.

10x better than the ones currently ranking.

Have high chances of attracting and earning links.

And you can confidently promote on a massive scale through outreach (or paid social campaigns).

Some types of content that you can produce are:





Visual content

Case studies (data)

Success Stories

Build Relationships & The Links Might Follow

Relationships might also translate to links.

Connecting with the right people in your industry can enable you to take part in:

Exclusive/curated listings

Strategic partnerships

Interview opportunities

Regular columns

You also get the chance to have industry authorities amplify your content.

Who Should You Connect With?

Here are a few people you can target when it comes to creating content that earns links and how you can reach out to them.

Sales People

Create content related to a product or service that can help validate the idea that sales people are selling and would likely promote.

Content Creators

Position your brand to attract and earn more links through featured snippets.

Find featured snippet opportunities by targeting low-competition, industry-specific terms.

Offer high-quality branded images – such as infographics, data visualization, product manuals and videos – to independent bloggers which can complement existing blog posts or generate new ideas.


Produce and promote more content that provides value to students.

Broken link building also works for .edu resource pages.

Offer student or faculty discounts.


When doing email outreach, focus heavily on value proposition and personalization.

Provide better topics to pitch. Do a content gap analysis to be sure.

Analyze why their content didn’t work. And explain what will be different about yours.


Identify the big movers in your space and then study, analyze and emulate the kinds of content they share, link to, and learn from. This is the best way to reach their audience.

Mention them or their work in your own authoritative content. Get their feedback.

Indirect Competitors

Create content geared towards building strategic partnerships

Your Future Brand Advocates

Focus on a specific niche where you can excel. And build your brand through making a firm stand.

Building Links in 2023

There are a plethora of innovative ways to build links in 2023. And most of them will work only if you provide high-quality content that your target audience can relate to.

Educating and offering value makes building relationships and links more successful.

More than 300 search marketing pros came together Feb. 17 in Manila for PeepCon (“The People’s Conference”). You can view the speakers’ presentation decks here and here. Also, check out the PeepCon 3.0 album on SEJ’s Facebook page to view photos from the event.

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Defichain Blockchain Is The Most Secured Option To Build Dapps

DeFiChain is a blockchain platform built to leverage the potential of decentralized finance within the Bitcoin network

Decentralized applications, or DApps, are essentially blockchain-based smart contract-powered versions of apps popularized by the Ethereum network. Now, who could have thought that you can run a distributed healthcare or fintech application where both consumers and providers have an equal say in how data gets aggregated and shared? DApps act just like traditional apps — a user shouldn’t even notice a difference — but provide much more in terms of a feature set. DApps represents a new way of interacting with personal finance. When one thinks of traditional finance, often money lending, borrowing, savings, and similar entities come to mind. Each of these is powered, if you will, by a central authority such as banks or other financial institutions. DApp developers choose secure and robust networks and pay close attention to bitcoin. Therefore, building Dapps on the DeFiChain blockchain is the best and most secured option, as it provides crucial benefits and opportunities.

What is DeFiChain?

DeFiChain is a blockchain platform built to leverage the potential of decentralized finance within the Bitcoin network. DeFiChain is supported by a network of nodes or computers to facilitate fast and low-cost transactions. It also aims to resolve issues relating to security, decentralization, and scalability. Launched in 2023, DeFiChain was created to offer financial services including lending, borrowing, and investing. As it is a decentralized platform, no single authority controls the network.

Now, why should you consider building dApp on the DeFiChain blockchain?

Using Bitcoin as an additional layer for security and mechanism for achieving high confidence immutability, DeFiChain brings a single-purpose, DeFi-only blockchain to the Bitcoin ecosystem. DeFi on Bitcoin is a lot to unpack, and along with the arrival of the long-awaited taproot soft fork, it may be the kind of development that heralds a new era of Bitcoin-based smart contract platforms. The most recent chain is always fully secure and immutable and can be checked against the most recent record anchored to Bitcoin. Over time, DeFiChain will space out the anchors at larger intervals. This anchoring mechanism ensures provably immutable records from day one and defends against attacks, hackers, and vulnerabilities that can cause concern in emerging chains.

Carbon-neutral network

Companies, processes, and products become carbon neutral when they calculate their carbon emissions and compensate for what they have produced via carbon offsetting projects. Offsetting carbon emissions, in addition to avoidance and reduction, is an important step in holistic climate action.

Using Proof-of-Stake serves another crucial purpose within the DeFiChain ecosystem. As it is a more efficient network and one that enables better energy efficiency, it paves the way for DeFiChain to become carbon neutral. Last year in November 2023, it was announced that DeFiChain is a 100% carbon neutral blockchain which is another reason why you should consider building your DApp on the DeFiChain blockchain.

Community-driven blockchain ecosystem

The blockchain ecosystem is a network of participants in a blockchain that shares business objectives and processes. Blockchains have surged in popularity ever since bitcoin introduced the world to cryptocurrency. There has never been a new technology that has grown this fast. All DeFiChain community members can contribute to this process through DeFiChain Improvement Proposals (DFIPs). It is a solid example of achieving decentralized governance and putting community members in the driving seat. Moreover, it creates a place for conversation and healthy discussion, which can push the DeFiChain ecosystem to new heights.  

In conclusion, the DeFiChain blockchain is a striking example of how DeFi systems, with continual updates, innovations, and refining processes, are becoming the stronger financial system when compared to centralized investing. While traditional pathways of investing are impeded by geographical restrictions and trading limits, DeFi is free of these problems.

Colorware Is The Way To Buy Incredible Custom Color Airpods Pro

Last Fall a very exciting rumor circulated with some vigor, claiming that new AirPods Pro would come in up to eight different colors. This would mark an aggressive change in Apple’s accessory profile, while moving away from the traditional white color scheme. When Apple failed to offer a matching Midnight Green, or any other variation, I turned to ColorWare to solve my AirPods Pro color lust. ColorWare is known across the tech community as the best modification shop and my matte black case and cosmic purple AirPods Pro did not disappoint.

ColorWare custom AirPods Pro

ColorWare has been modding tech gadgets for more than a decade. With a process similar to the precision provided in the auto industry, their painting process is extremely detailed and elegant. ColorWare tears down gadgets to just their outer cases and then carefully paints the shells, without damaging the interior hardware. After the meticulous paint job, the gadgets are methodically pieced back together.

The finished product is shockingly well done. You cannot help but smirk with pleasure and some disbelief when you unbox your item. Previously, I worked with ColorWare to observe their work on a custom Nintendo Switch controller and a Super Nintendo inspired pair of Joy Con. This time, they were generous enough to send over a brand new set of AirPods Pro, which are still difficult to even get from Apple.

The process to order your custom ColorWare AirPods Pro is extremely simple. As shown above, the product builder on the site allows you to customize each individual AirPod, the charging case, and even offers engraving. Color choices are offered in solids and metallics. Each version also comes in either matte or or gloss finishes. Consequently, you are able to choose from up to 64 different options. If my math is correct, that is more than 4,000+ different combinations when considering a different color and finish for each AirPod!

To ensure a proper graphic representation of the mockup, the case and AirPods color preview are actual pictures of real units painted with those color combinations. This ensures you know exactly what to expect. Of course, depending on your monitor and other factors, the representation will not be absolutely exact, but I appreciate their real photographic images.

ColorWare custom AirPods Pro are delivered in the Apple stock box, with a couple additions. First, a warning, indicating that if you have acidity in your sweat and ear wax, it may cause some minor reaction with the paint over time. Your mileage may vary. ColorWare adds, wiping off your AirPods Pro after each session will prevent any would-be deterioration, should you have sweat and earwax that include the higher acidity. Wiping with a sterile alcohol pad or a moist microfiber cloth is recommended.

Obligatory warnings aside, toss the paperwork and find the brand new custom color charging case waiting inside the stock Apple case wrapper. I love the attention to detail. Anyone that obsesses over new gadgets wants to pull that wrapper off themselves and ColorWare, in fastidious nature, re-wraps the case to give you that joy.

The charging case is incredibly well painted. Aside from the charging LED, back hinge, and lightning port, the exterior is completely coated. I chose a matte black finish for the case to dramatically contrast the standard Apple-white as possible. The matte finish is smooth, yet rough in the hand. It seems like a sturdy coating and I have not noticed any scratching or noticeable imperfections after carrying them around for about a week; albeit, I have been careful not to put them in my pocket with anything else and same goes for my daily backpack.

Above, you can see the reflections in the metallic finished paint, when zoomed in.

The actual AirPods Pro are just stunning. I would argue, a piece of tiny gadget art. To contrast the solid matte black finish case, I chose metallic gloss in cosmic purple for the earbuds. ‘Precision’ is again the best way to describe the paint job. Each port and sensor is still operable and uncovered, but the full plastic portion of the bud is perfectly covered. As shown in the picture above, even the tiny, stainless mic tips are perfectly painted around.

Metallic cosmic purple is a deep, rich color and you can see the depth thanks to tiny flecks in the paint. It is exactly like a premium color paint coat on a luxury vehicle. It’s as if there is a clear coat over top and then the metallic paint clearly shines.

I have been putting the AirPods Pro through their paces and wiping them down after each wear to prevent any ear wax build up. The paint finish is showing neither signs of normal wear nor any scratches from wiping them down. As mentioned, ColorWare recommends an alcohol pad or microfiber for cleaning. I’ve been wiping them down on my shirts, hoodies, or anything else I’ve found nearby that’s soft. Certainly, if you have a soft cloth nearby all the time, use that, but I haven’t had trouble with my daily habit.

Questions still remain about durability over time. Popping them in and out of the case multiple times a day, gives a chance for wear to develop. The AirPods Pro case is very smooth and contours to the design. A perfect fit in the case should prevent any long term frustrations, but that is yet to be seen.

Order your own ColorWare custom AirPods Pro

These completely customized AirPods Pro are only available via ColorWare. Their online design store is the specific way to grab a pair of these impressive buds. My matte black case and cosmic purple buds came to $429. Stock Apple AirPods Pro are $249. Doing the math, you are paying a $180 premium to have your own custom pair. If you want to save a little on the customization, you can order just the AirPods Pro to be painted and leave the case stock Apple-white. This will save $50, lowering the premium to $130. No one sees the case anyway, right?

The question to ask yourself is: would I love a completely unique, specifically mine, no-one-else-has-them pair of AirPods Pro? I assume the answer is, ‘of course!’ Now, decide if $130 is worth that experience.

If you have access to that kind of headphone budget, definitely buy them! No doubt, the work put into the ColorWare custom AirPods Pro is undeniably impressive. These are not for everyone and I’m not intending to suggest general AirPods Pro consumers should go out and pay extra for custom work.

I am definitively saying, if you want something completely unique and the extra investment is an option, then absolutely buy a pair of these custom AirPods Pro. You will be incredibly pleased with the final product.


It was a tough choice to pick matte black and purple. Here are a couple other designs I considered:

Abyss Blue solid matte case with mint metallic gloss AirPods Pro

Candy Apple metallic matte case with Abyss Blue solid gloss AirPods Pro

Formula solid matte case with Formula solid gloss AirPods Pro

ColorWare’s incredible custom painting is now available for the new AirPods (4/5/2023)

ColorWare: the ultimate way to customize Apple (or Nintendo!) accessories (4/1/2023)

Custom-painted AirPods sporting classic Macintosh look (7/10/2023)

What Is The Preferred Way To Concatenate A String In Python?

The preferred way to concatenate a string in Python is by using the + operator or the join() method. Here’s a step-by-step explanation of each method −

Using the + operator

To concatenate two strings using the + operator, simply put the strings next to each other with a + sign in between them.


In this example, we concatenate the name variable with the greeting string using the + operator. The resulting string is “Hello, John!”.

name = "John" greeting = "Hello, " + name + "!" print(greeting) Output Hello, John! Using multiple + operators

You can also concatenate more than two strings by using multiple + operators −


In this example, we concatenate the name and age variables with the greeting string using multiple + operators. Note that we use the str() function to convert the age variable to a string before concatenating it with the other strings.

name = "John" age = 30 greeting = "Hello, my name is " + name + " and I am " + str(age) + " years old." print(greeting) Output Hello, my name is John and I am 30 years old. Using the join() method

To concatenate a list of strings using the join() method, first create a list of the strings you want to concatenate, and then call the join() method on a separator string with the list as an argument.


In this example, we create a list of three strings called words. We then call the join() method on a space ” ” with the words list as an argument. The resulting string is “Hello world !”.

words = ["Hello", "world", "!"] sentence = " ".join(words) print(sentence) Output Hello world ! Using the join() method with a custom separator

You can also use the join() method to concatenate strings with a custom separator −


In this example, we create a list of three strings called words. We then call the join() method on a comma and space “, ” with the words list as an argument. The resulting string is “apple, banana, orange”.

words = ["apple", "banana", "orange"] fruit_list = ", ".join(words) print(fruit_list) Output apple, banana, orange Using the + operator Example

In this example, we concatenate the first_name and last_name strings with a space ” ” in between them using the + operator. The resulting string is “John Doe”.

first_name = "John" last_name = "Doe" full_name = first_name + " " + last_name print(full_name) Output John Doe Using the join() method Example

In this example, we create a list of three strings called names. We then call the join() method on a comma and space “, ” with all but the last element of the names list as an argument, and concatenate the resulting string with the last element of the names list and a greeting string using the + operator. The resulting string is “Hi, John, Jane and Bob!”.

names = ["John", "Jane", "Bob"] greeting = "Hi, " + ", ".join(names[:-1]) + " and " + names[-1] + "!" print(greeting) Output Hi, John, Jane and Bob! Using the + operator and string formatting Example

In this example, we use string formatting to insert the name, age, and height variables into a message string. We use curly braces {} as placeholders for the variables and call the format() method on the message string with the variables as arguments. The resulting string is “My name is Alice and I’m 25 years old. My height is 1.65 meters.”. Note that we use :.2f to format the height variable as a floating point number with two decimal places.

name = "Alice" age = 25 height = 1.65 message = "My name is {} and I'm {} years old. My height is {:.2f} meters.".format(name, age, height) print(message) Output My name is Alice and I'm 25 years old. My height is 1.65 meters.

The Best Way To Strip Paint Off A Fighter Jet? Laser

Most of the Air Force’s F-16 fleet is painted a shade of grey. In addition to their camouflage effect, the top coats and primer below them prevent the pricy metal planes from corrosion due to moisture. Just like a house needs to be repainted from time to time, so do fighter jets.

Sometimes, a maintenance crew can throw new paint on top of a plane after smoothing out what’s on there already. But unlike houses and other objects that don’t fly, weight on a plane matters, and if those layers get too thick and heavy, they need to come off before the new paint goes on. Stripping that old stuff off has been a time-intensive process that produces around a ton of hazardous waste per jet—debris that includes hexavalent chromium, which causes cancer. The new way? Autonomous robots zap the aircraft with lasers to carefully combust the paint off the surface of the fighter.

“Every time we blast an F-16, we generate 2,000 pounds of dust,” Crowther says. “That entire 2,000 pounds is all hazardous waste.” Most of that dust is from plastic debris, but it’s been mixed with the materials coming off the surface of the plane, which include hexavalent chrome as well as cadmium, also a carcinogen.

The new way is better: it’s not only faster, but instead of one ton of hazardous waste, it produces just 10 to 12 pounds of ash.

It works thanks to two robots that use 6-kilowatt continuous-wave lasers to strip the paint off. Crowther notes that they restrict access to the space so no humans walk in when they shouldn’t. “We can’t have anyone walking in the room when lasers and robots are running,” he says.

The laser-wielding robots start the process already having a crude, blocky sense of what the fighter jet looks like. Then, with one robot on each side of the fighter, each one uses onboard lidar sensors—the same kind of sensor that a self-driving car uses as part of its perception system to see the world around it—to carefully map the three-dimensional topography of the plane. That detailed information allows the robots to get in closer to the working surface. Each bot will work from about five to six different stations on its side of the plane. “In each location, they will stop, and then they will do a higher-fidelity scan of just the area that that robot can reach,” Crowther says. It then has the information it needs to figure out how to strip that paint.

The system, which analyzes each section in little squares, can determine whether or not to hit that part with the laser, and it can also dial up or down how much power it zaps the surface with. “This is so precise, we can go down and leave the primer alone,” Crowther says.

The laser hits the coating with energy, which then combusts. “You’ll see a bright flash of light,” he says—that’s the paint leaving the surface and burning. A powerful vacuum sucks it up. “We’re actually pulling the flame off the surface of the aircraft,” he notes. That’s where the 10 to 12 pounds of ash come from.

The other benefit is that, unlike the plastic bead blast, the lasers don’t fatigue the jet, so there’s no limit on how many times they can strip the paint off an aircraft this way. The Air Force has been using the new method since 2023, and has since zapped 20 production F-16s. They hope to scale it up to be able to hit about 40 or 50 per year. The next aircraft on their list, besides the vipers they’re already lasering, are A-10s, F-22s, and F-35s. (Meanwhile, the pressurized plastic system isn’t going anywhere.)

Not all Air Force planes are grey, and the lasers at Hill Air Force base actually struggle with aircraft that have glossy white paint on them: that means that this method wouldn’t be a good way to strip the paint off the sleek F-16s that comprise the Air Force’s air show demonstration team, the Thunderbirds— those are red, white, and blue. “We’re working on other lasers that don’t have a problem with white,” Crowther adds, “but these ones do.”

How To Improve The Way Videos Look In Vlc

You may think the colors are a bit off on a YouTube video. Or you might have failing eyesight, like yours truly, and think every video looks fuzzy, like if your screen was coated with Vaseline. VLC is here to help.

There are countless guides explaining how you can tweak your videos to enhance their looks, but they all end up demanding the recompression or transcoding of your files. This is a procedure that can take anywhere from five minutes to five hours, depending on your content and your PC’s capabilities. Why spend so much time, effort, PC resources, and electricity if all you want is to watch a video, but upgraded with better contrast and maybe more pronounced details?

Read on to see how you can apply VLC effects and filters in real time, as the video plays, for that purpose.

Effects and Filters

Although it can be used as an editing tool, VLC is, first and foremost, a media player. Thus, the effects and filters it has work primarily in real time.

This means you don’t have to pre-process a video but can enable and modify it as it plays on your screen to tweak it to your liking.

Hue and Saturation

After enabling “image adjust,” you can shift the full range of colors with the Hue slider. This will rarely be required, compared to the Saturation slider that regulates the richness of the colors in a video stream. All the way to the left, and your video will turn black and white, while at the opposite edge, it will make the video look like an old VHS tape.

Brightness, Contrast and Gamma

Can you see some grey block dancing in pitch-black areas of the video, or do lights and shiny white surfaces look to be like a dull grey? You have a brightness and contrast problem.

Tweak the two sliders until everything looks right. A quick “cheat” is turning the Brightness down until the darkest point of a dark frame looks as black as your screen can get, then increasing the Contrast until the brightest part (like a light or a shiny metal surface) looks the opposite, as bright as your screen can show.

If your whites and blacks look OK but somehow every frame feels washed out or, the opposite, every shape pronounced like a cartoon, tweak the Gamma value.

Sharpen and Film Grain

To people with perfect eyesight, the results of the following tweaks will look horrid. If, nevertheless, every video looks too fuzzy to you, enabling the Sharpen effect and increasing its Sigma value might make you feel like you’re wearing brand new glasses, boosting the finer details.

Don’t overdo it, or your video will turn to a late-Picasso in motion. Stay left of the first mark.

Film Grain emulates the annoying noise that was noticeable in analog video signals. The reason you might want it enabled is that the pixels it adds in flatter areas of a frame and help our used-to-detecting-motion eyes perceive more detail.

It might be an illusion, but try it out on a low setting, and you might find the result a surprising upgrade.

Case-by-case scenarios

Those simple tweaks will help you upgrade every video you watch in VLC – or at least tailor its looks to your liking. Every person is different, so what looks too colorful to one might feel like greyscale to another.

It’s not only a matter of personal preference, as each individual video is a different case. As an extreme example, colorful anime videos usually need a different set of tweaks compared to old Hitchcock thrillers.

Odysseas Kourafalos

OK’s real life started at around 10, when he got his first computer – a Commodore 128. Since then, he’s been melting keycaps by typing 24/7, trying to spread The Word Of Tech to anyone interested enough to listen. Or, rather, read.

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