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Diane Ivey :
Lady Dye Yarns, LLC

Head of SEO at TripAdvisor Gives Tips on Optimizing Your Website



Jon Mellen, Head of SEO at TripAdvisor, gives his advice on optimizing your website

It was a star-studded week at the Sandbox. First, Jim Mill (Founder of Fire+Ice) connected with our Sandbox Accelerator Finalists about his successes and failures (see post below for full recap). Then, Jon Mellen (Head of SEO at TripAdvisor) stopped by to do a session on the basics of Search Engine Optiimzation. Here were some of his tips:

Basics of SEO

  • Definition: SEO is a science to support Free Search
  • Risks: The right SEO can net you thousands of visitors and attention, but the wrong moves can hide your site deep in the search results where visibility is minimal (putting up bad content or links)
  • Index + Rank: In addition to making content available to search engines, SEO also helps boost rankings so that content will be placed where searchers will more readily find it

Always Collect Authentic & Relevant Links

  • Links are an essential tool for SEO. Once Google discovers your page through at least one link, your page becomes “indexed”
  • A single link is enough to be discovered. But multiple links increase your credibility, and can help you to rank better next to a competitor
  • Links must be authentic (not purchased)
  • Relevant links are more valuable (if you have an event business, it's more valuable to get a link from flowers.com than lawyers.com)
  • Links from high value pages are more valuable (i.e. Boston.com)

Develop Content that is Relevant to Both Users & Search Engines

You should always build your website for users, not search engines...but still consider some important factors:

  • Search engines typically cannot read images, video, or flash--so always use html & text
  • Text should be written based on how people search
  • Keep content consistent across a page (and in the page title), to avoid confusing search engines (and users)
  • Be unique: avoid duplicate content, both across your site and between other sites


Fire+Ice Founder & CEO Connects with Sandbox Finalists About His Successes & “Fckups”

Jim Miller, Founder & CEO of Fire + Ice, connects with Sandbox Accelerator Finalists

Jim Miller, Founder & CEO of Fire + Ice, connects with Sandbox Accelerator Finalists

On July 15, our Sandbox Finalists took part in a special session. Jim Miller, the Founder & CEO of Fire + Ice stopped by to share his experience as a serial entrepreneur. He called the session “Fckups – Success, Failure & How to Know the Difference.” Here are some tidbits from his session: 

An entrepreneur always has courage & narcissism:

Meaning it takes a bit of both to believe that your idea is great and then have the guts to go out and try it. But then an entrepreneur has to do “a massive transformation" to become a humble and listening person. Always be willing to ask questions. Jim shared a story about starting a bus service company to bring students from Cambridge down to the Newport Folk Festival, which ended up being super successful. But then when he had raised a lot of money to start a laser eye surgery company it failed because they made all these wrong assumptions and never really asked the customers questions or listened. The reason the bus company was successful because he was the customer and knew all the other customers.

Good entrepreneurs ask:

  • Who is their customer
  • What are their channels
  • What is their value proposition

Always set criteria & goals:

Because if you as the entrepreneur aren’t setting them, someone else is. So make sure that you’re the one as the entrepreneur that is driving this.

Your company won’t start where it began—the ability to pivot is the ability to become successful:

Always know that it’s a dynamic market and listen to your customers, things will change.

You always need a partner to bounce ideas off of:

Whether it’s a co-founder, spouse, friend, etc. Basically a confidant you can trust and bounce ideas off of

Success is not killing yourself:

Use your own intuition – for example every day we make purchases that validate someone’s success – step back and think about why we make those purchases, understand the systems. You don’t have to be at your computer everyday dawn till dusk to be successful, making the smart choices and listening is much more likely to lead to success.


Sandbox Featured in Forbes


Today, Forbes featured a great article on how the Sandbox is promoting Entrepreneurship For All! The article entitled "Finding the Next Zuckerberg in Lawrence,MA" talked about the impact of the Sandbox is having through its various program including the Sandbox Entrepreneur Program & the Sandbox Lanza Tu Idea Program.

Click here to read the article!