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Albany is one of the oldest surviving European settlements from the original thirteen colonies and the longest continuously chartered city in the United States. The Hudson River area was originally inhabited by Algonquian-speaking Mohican (Mahican), who called it Pempotowwuthut-Muhhcanneuw, meaning "the fireplace of the Mohican nation." Based to the west along the Mohawk River, the Iroquoian-speaking Mohawk referred to it as Sche-negh-ta-da, or "through the pine woods," referring to the path they took there. The Mohawk were one of the Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, or Haudenosaunee, and became strong trading partners with the Dutch and English. It is likely the Albany area was visited by European fur traders, perhaps as early as 1540, but the extent and duration of those visits has not been determined.
Permanent European claims began when Englishman Henry Hudson, exploring for the Dutch East India Company on the Half Moon (Dutch: Halve Maen), reached the area in 1609, claiming it for the United Netherlands. In 1614, Hendrick Christiaensen built Fort Nassau, a fur-trading post and the first documented European structure in present-day Albany. Commencement of the fur trade provoked hostility from the French colony in Canada and among the natives, all of whom vied to control the trade. In 1618, a flood ruined the fort on Castle Island, but it was rebuilt in 1624 as Fort Orange. Both forts were named in honor of the leading family of the Dutch Revolt, members of the House of Orange-Nassau. Fort Orange and the surrounding area were incorporated as the village of Beverwijck (English: Beaverwick or Beaver District) in 1652. In these early decades of trade, the Dutch, Mohican and Mohawk developed relations that reflected differences among their three cultures.
When New Netherland was captured by the English in 1664, the name was changed from Beverwijck to Albany in honor of the Duke of Albany (later James II of England and James VII of Scotland). Duke of Albany was a Scottish title given since 1398, generally to a younger son of the King of Scots. The name is ultimately derived from Alba, the Gaelic name for Scotland. The Dutch briefly regained Albany in August 1673 and renamed the city Willemstadt; the English took permanent possession with the Treaty of Westminster (1674). On November 1, 1683, the Province of New York was split into counties, with Albany County being the largest. At that time the county included all of present New York State north of Dutchess and Ulster Counties in addition to present-day Bennington County, Vermont, theoretically stretching west to the Pacific Ocean; Albany became the county seat. Albany was formally chartered as a municipality by provincial Governor Thomas Dongan on July 22, 1686. The Dongan Charter was virtually identical in content to the charter awarded to the city of New York three months earlier. Dongan created Albany as a strip of land 1 mile (1.6 km) wide and 16 miles (26 km) long. Over the years Albany would lose much of the land to the west and annex land to the north and south. At this point, Albany had a population of about 500 people.
In 1754, representatives of seven British North American colonies met in the Stadt Huys, Albany's city hall, for the Albany Congress; Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania presented the Albany Plan of Union there, which was the first formal proposal to unite the colonies. Although it was never adopted by Parliament, it was an important precursor to the United States Constitution. The same year, the French and Indian War, the fourth in a series of wars dating back to 1689, began; it ended in 1763 with French defeat, resolving a situation that had been a constant threat to Albany and held back its growth. In 1775, with the colonies in the midst of the Revolutionary War, the Stadt Huys became home to the Albany Committee of Correspondence (the political arm of the local revolutionary movement), which took over operation of Albany's government and eventually expanded its power to control all of Albany County. Tories and prisoners of war were often jailed in the Stadt Huys alongside common criminals. In 1776, Albany native Philip Livingston signed the Declaration of Independence at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
During and after the Revolutionary War, Albany County saw a great increase in real estate transactions. After Horatio Gates defeated John Burgoyne at Saratoga in 1777, the upper Hudson Valley was generally at peace as the war raged on elsewhere. Prosperity was soon seen all over Upstate New York. Migrants from Vermont and Connecticut began flowing in, noting the advantages of living on the Hudson and trading at Albany, while being only a few days' sail from New York City. Albany reported a population of 3,498 in the first national census in 1790, an increase of almost 700% since its chartering.
On November 17, 1793, a large fire broke out, destroying 26 homes on Broadway, Maiden Lane, James Street, and State Street. The fire originated at a stable belonging to Leonard Gansevoort and was suspected to be arson set by disgruntled slaves. Three slaves were arrested and charged with arson: a male slave named Pompey, owned by Matthew Visscher; a 14-year old slave girl named Dinah, owned by Volkert P. Douw; and a 12-year old slave girl named Bet, owned by Philip S. Van Rensselaer. On January 6, 1794, the three were tried and sentenced to death. For reasons unknown, Governor George Clinton issued a temporary stay of execution, but the slave girls were executed by hanging on March 14, and Pompey on April 11, 1794.
In 1797, the state capital of New York was moved permanently to Albany. From statehood to this date, the Legislature had frequently moved the state capital between Albany, Kingston, Hurley, Poughkeepsie, and the city of New York.[failed verification] Albany is the tenth-oldest state capital in the United States, but is the second-oldest city that is a state capital, after Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Albany has been a center of transportation for much of its history. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Albany saw development of the turnpike and by 1815, Albany was the turnpike center of the state. Simeon De Witt developed a grid block system in 1794, and renamed streets that had honored British royalty, using names of birds and mammals instead. This grid was intersected by the major arterials coming out of Albany, which cut through the city at unexpected angles. The construction of the turnpike across the state, in conjunction with canal and railroad systems, made Albany the hub of transportation for pioneers going to Buffalo and the Michigan Territory in the early- and mid-19th century.
In 1807, Robert Fulton initiated a steamboat line from New York to Albany, the first successful enterprise of its kind anywhere in the world. By 1810, with 10,763 people, Albany was the 10th-largest urban place in the nation. The town and village north of Albany known as "the Colonie" was annexed in 1815. In 1825 the Erie Canal was completed, forming a continuous water route from the Great Lakes to New York City. Unlike the current Barge Canal, which ends at nearby Waterford, the original Erie Canal ended at Albany; Lock 1 was north of Colonie Street. The Canal emptied into a 32-acre (13 ha) man-made lagoon called the Albany Basin, which was Albany's main port from 1825 until the Port of Albany-Rensselaer opened in 1932. In 1829, while working as a professor at the Albany Academy, Joseph Henry, widely regarded as "the foremost American scientist of the 19th century", built the first electric motor. Three years later, he discovered electromagnetic self-induction (the SI unit for which is now the henry). He went on to be the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. In the 1830 and 1840 censuses, Albany was ranked as the 9th-largest urban place in the nation; it dropped back to 10th in 1850. This was the last time the city was one of the top ten largest urban places in the nation.
Albany also has significant history with rail transport, as the location of two major regional railroad headquarters. The Delaware and Hudson Railway was headquartered in Albany at what is now the SUNY System Administration Building. In 1853, Erastus Corning, a noted industrialist and Albany's mayor from 1834 to 1837, consolidated ten railroads stretching from Albany to Buffalo into the New York Central Railroad (NYCRR), headquartered in Albany until Cornelius Vanderbilt moved it to New York City in 1867. One of the ten companies that formed the NYCRR was the Mohawk and Hudson Railroad, which was the first railroad in the state and the first successful steam railroad running regularly scheduled service in the country.
While the key to Albany's economic prosperity in the 19th century was transportation, industry and business also played a role. Largely thanks to the city's Dutch and German roots, beer was one of its biggest commodities. Beverwyck Brewery, originally known as Quinn and Nolan (Nolan being mayor of Albany 1878–1883), was the last remaining brewer from that time when it closed in 1972. The city's location at the east end of the Erie Canal gave it unparalleled access to both raw products and a captive customer base in the west. Albany was known for its publishing houses, and to some extent, still is. Albany was second only to Boston in the number of books produced for most of the 19th century. Iron foundries in both the north and south ends of the city attracted thousands of immigrants to the city for industrial jobs. To this day, one can see many intricate wrought-iron details that were constructed in those years on what are now historic buildings. The iron industry waned by the 1890s due to increased costs associated with a newly unionized workforce and the opening of mines in the Mesabi Range in Minnesota.
Albany's other major exports during the 18th and 19th centuries were furs, wheat, meat, and lumber. By 1865, there were almost 4,000 saw mills in the Albany area and the Albany Lumber District was the largest lumber market in the nation. The city was also home to a number of banks. The Bank of Albany (1792–1861) was the second chartered bank in New York. The city was the original home of the Albank (founded in 1820 as the Albany Savings Bank),KeyBank (founded in 1825 as the Commercial Bank of Albany), and Norstar Bank (founded as the State Bank of Albany in 1803).American Express was founded in Albany in 1850 as an express mail business. In 1871, the northwestern portion of Albany—west from Magazine Street—was annexed to the neighboring town of Guilderland after the town of Watervliet refused annexation of said territory. In return for this loss, portions of Bethlehem and Watervliet were added to Albany. Part of the land annexed to Guilderland was ceded back to Albany in 1910, setting up the current western border.
Albany opened one of the first commercial airports in the world, and the first municipal airport in the United States, in 1908. Originally on a polo field on Loudon Road, it moved to Westerlo Island in 1909 and remained there until 1928. The Albany Municipal Airport—jointly owned by the city and county—was moved to its current location in Colonie in 1928. By 1916 Albany's northern and southern borders reached their modern courses;Westerlo Island, to the south, became the second-to-last annexation, which occurred in 1926.
Erastus Corning 2nd, arguably Albany's most notable mayor (and great-grandson of the former mayor of the same name), was elected in 1941. Although he was one of the longest-serving mayors of any city in United States history (1942 until his death in 1983), one historian describes Corning's tenure as "long on years, short on accomplishments." Grondahl cited Corning's preference for maintaining the status quo as a factor that held back potential progress during his tenure. While Corning brought stability to the office of mayor, it is said even those who admire him greatly cannot come up with a sizable list of "major concrete Corning achievements." Corning is given credit for saving—albeit somewhat unintentionally—much of Albany's historic architecture.
During the 1950s and 1960s, a time when federal aid for urban renewal was plentiful, Albany did not have growth in its economy or infrastructure. It lost more than 20 percent of its population during the Corning years, as people moved to newer housing in the suburbs, followed by most of the downtown businesses moving there as well. While cities across the country grappled with similar issues, the problems were magnified in Albany: interference from the Democratic political machine hindered progress considerably. In 1960, the mayor sold the city's stake in the airport to the county, citing budget issues. It was known from then on as Albany County Airport until a massive upgrade and modernization project between 1996 and 1998, when it was rechristened Albany International Airport.
Governor Nelson Rockefeller (1959–1973) (R) tried to stimulate the city with new monumental architecture and large, government-sponsored building projects; he drove construction of the Empire State Plaza, SUNY Albany's uptown campus, and much of the W. Averell Harriman State Office Building Campus. Albany County Republican Chairman Joseph C. Frangella once quipped, "Governor Rockefeller was the best mayor Albany ever had." Corning, although opposed to the project, was responsible for negotiating the payment plan for the Empire State Plaza. Rockefeller did not want to be limited by the Legislature's power of the purse, so Corning devised a plan to have the county pay for the construction and have the state sign a lease-ownership agreement. The state paid off the bonds until 2004. It was Rockefeller's only viable option, and he agreed. Due to the clout Corning gained from the situation, he gained inclusion of the State Museum, a convention center, and a restaurant, back in the plans—ideas which Rockefeller had originally vetoed. The county gained $35 million in fees and the city received $13 million for lost tax revenue. Having the state offices in the city enabled it to keep good jobs and retain middle-class residents.
Another major project of the 1960s and 1970s was Interstate 787 and the South Mall Arterial. Construction began in the early 1960s. One of the project's main results, since regretted, was separating the city from the Hudson River, its source of development. Corning has been described as shortsighted with respect to use of the waterfront, as he could have used his influence to change the location of I-787, which now cuts the city off from "its whole raison d'être". Much of the original plan never came to fruition, however: Rockefeller had wanted the South Mall Arterial to pass through the Empire State Plaza. The project would have required an underground trumpet interchange below Washington Park, connecting to the (eventually cancelled) Mid-Crosstown Arterial. To this day, evidence of the original plan is still visible. In 1967 the hamlet of Karlsfeld was the last annexation by the city, taken from the Town of Bethlehem.
When Corning died in 1983, Thomas Whalen assumed the mayorship and was reelected twice. He encouraged redevelopment of historic structures and helped attract federal dollars earmarked for that purpose. What Corning had saved from destruction, Whalen refurbished for continued and new uses. The Mayor's Office of Special Events was created in an effort to increase the number of festivals and artistic events in the city, including a year-long Dongan Charter tricentennial celebration in 1986. Whalen is credited for an "unparalleled cycle of commercial investment and development" in Albany due to his "aggressive business development programs".
Prior to the recession of the 1990s, downtown Albany was home to four Fortune 500 companies. After the death of Corning and the retirement of Congressman Sam Stratton, the political environment changed. Long-term office holders became rare in the 1980s. Local media began following the drama surrounding county politics (specifically that of the newly created county executive position); the loss of Corning (and eventually the machine) led to a lack of interest in city politics. The election of Gerald Jennings was a surprise, and he served as Mayor from 1994 until his retirement at the end of 2013. His tenure essentially ended the political machine that had been in place since the 1920s.
During the 1990s, the State Legislature approved the $234 million "Albany Plan", "a building and renovation project was the most ambitious building project to affect the area since the Rockefeller era." Under the Albany Plan, renovation and new building projects were initiated around the downtown area. Many state workers were relocated from the Harriman State Office Campus to downtown, helping its retail businesses and vitality.
Fortune 500 companies with offices in Albany include American Express, J.P. Morgan and Chase,Merrill Lynch,General Electric, Verizon, Goldman Sachs,International Paper, and Key Bank.
Albany won the All-America City Award in both 1991 and 2009.
Historically, Albany's population has been mixed. First dominated by Dutch and Germans, it was overtaken by the English in the early 19th century. Irish immigrants soon outnumbered most other ethnicities by the mid-19th century, and were followed by Italians and Poles. In the mid-to-late 20th century, the African-American population increased with thousands of people from the rural South, as part of the Great Migration. As historian (and Albany Assemblyman) John McEneny puts it,
Until after the Revolution, Albany's population consisted mostly of ethnic Dutch descendants. Settlers migrating from New England tipped the balance toward British ethnicity in the early 19th century. Jobs on the turnpikes, canals, and railroads attracted floods of Irish immigrants in the early 19th century, especially in the 1840s during the Great Famine, solidifying the city's Irish base. Albany elected its first Irish Catholic mayor (Michael Nolan) two years before Boston did.Polish and Italian immigrants began arriving in Albany in the wave of immigration in the latter part of the 19th century. Their numbers were smaller than in many other eastern cities mainly because most had found manufacturing jobs at General Electric in Schenectady. The Jewish community had been established early, with Sephardic Jewish members as part of the Beverwijck community. Its population rose during the late 19th century, when many Ashkenazi Jews immigrated from eastern Europe. In that period, there was also an influx of Chinese and east Asian immigrants, who settled in the downtown section of the city. Many of their descendants have since moved to suburban areas. Immigration plummeted after the Immigration Act of 1924.
Albany was also a destination of internal migration, as many African Americans moved north in their Great Migration from the rural South before and after World War I to fill industrial positions and find new opportunities. In the early years, they lived together with Italians, Jews and other immigrants in the South End, where housing was older and less expensive. The black community has grown as a proportion of the population since then: African Americans made up 3 percent of the city's population in 1950, 6 percent in 1960, 12 percent in 1970, and 30 percent in 2010. The change in proportion is related mostly to middle-class white families moving to the suburbs, and black families remaining within city limits during the same time period.
Since 2007 the number of Burmese refugees has increased, who are mostly of the Karen ethnicity; an estimated 5,000 reside in Albany as of January 2015.
As of the 2010 census, there were 97,856 people living in the city. The population of the census area in 2009 was estimated to be 1,170,483. The population density in 2010 was 4,572.7 per square mile (1,779.2/km2). There were 46,362 housing units at an average density of 2,166.4 per square mile (842.9/km2); 5,205 of these units (11.2%) were vacant. The racial makeup of the city residents was 52.3% white; 27% black or African American; 0.06% Native American or Native Alaskan; 7.4% Asian; 0.1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander; .06% from other races; and 3.6% from two or more races. A total of 9.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.Non-Hispanic Whites were 52.0% of the population in 2010, compared to 87.0% in 1970.
As of the 2000 census, the top five ancestry groups in the city were African (27%), Irish (18.1%), Italian (12.4%), German (10.4%), and English (5.2%); (33.1%) of the population reported "other ancestries". Albany is home to a Triqui language-speaking community of Mexican-Americans.
The population had 20.0% under the age of 18, 19.3% from 18 to 24, 29.2% from 25 to 44, 18.1% from 45 to 64, and 13.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31.4 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.5 males. Some 81.3% of the population had completed high school or earned an equivalency diploma.
There were 40,709 households in 2000, out of which 22.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 25.3% were married couples living together, 16.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 54.8% were non-families. 41.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.11 and the average family size was 2.95.
The median income for a household in the city in 2000 was $76,801, and the median income for a family was $79,708 (male, year-round worker) and $72,306 (female, year-round worker). The per capita income for the city was $58,752. About 16.0% of families and 21.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.8% of those under age 18 and 12.5% of those age 65 or over. The rate of reported violent crimes for 2008 (1,095 incidents per 100,000 residents) were more than double the rate for similarly sized US cities. Reported property crimes (4,669 incidents per 100,000 residents) were somewhat lower.
Demographically speaking, the population of Albany and the Capital District mirrors the characteristics of the United States consumer population as a whole better than any other major municipality in the country. According to a 2004 study conducted by the Acxiom Corporation, Albany and its environs are the top-ranked standard test market for new business and retail products. Albany, Rochester, and Syracuse all scored within the top five.
About New York
New York is a city that is divided into five boroughs namely, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx and Staten Island. These are some of the most densely populated cities in the United States of America. Each borough of New York is responsible for maintaining and preserving its own historical legacies. Demographics of New York City provide interesting details about the history and development of this city.
New York City comprises five boroughs sitting beside the Hudson River, which is its primary bay. In its center is Manhattan, a highly populated borough which is among the world's major commercial, financial and political centers. Its iconic sites are skyscrapers like the Empire State Building and wide sweeping Central Park. Broadway shows off the best of Broadway with musicals and plays showcasing all the best aspects of human life. Movie lovers can view all their favorite movies along with great shows in movie theaters at New York's Times Square and Hollywood.
But New York's crowning glory is its cultural diversity. It has an amazing assortment of neighborhoods that showcase every facet of New York City. From the very hip East Village to the quiet neighborhoods of Ridgeway and Williamsburg, the cultural diversity of New York City is simply mind blowing. Some of the most famous neighborhoods of New York City are Chinatown, Little Italy, Soho, and Greenwich Village.
If you're looking for a cheaper place to live, then New York City might not be your first choice. However, if you look hard enough, you will find some wonderful places in New York City that are affordable. One of the areas that has recently been booming with development is the Lower Cost Housing Units. The Brooklyn Bridge Park has brought a lot of attention to this part of Brooklyn, as well as other Brooklyn housing developments such as Jay Street and Williamsburg. With a lot of new loft conversions and new home starts, the neighborhoods in Brooklyn have really just started to pop up.
There are also five boroughs of New York City: Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island. The boroughs each have their own unique style, and some of the most popular neighborhoods of New York City include Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn. Each borough has a unique style, but a common thing that every borough shares is a very diverse climate.
The weather in New York City can be compared to the great deserts of the Middle East. You can expect to get hot in the summer and cold in the winter. If you are looking to experience New York to the fullest, then head out to the five boroughs of New York City. This will give you a complete tour of the entire city. If you live in New York, you can take a New York tour bus and soak in the culture of this interesting place.
Living in Brooklyn is quite unique. The rich cultural life of this borough is highlighted by its multi-cultural neighborhoods. Many of the neighborhoods in Brooklyn boast a brownstone's lifestyle, while others have hip condos and apartments with white picket fences. If you are looking for a comfortable place to raise a family, a one-bedroom apartment in a hip neighborhood of Brooklyn is for you.
If you are looking for a more cultural experience in New York, head out to the southern tip of the island. Here, you can enjoy the hip culture of the hip hop scene and shopping at its best. On the west side of the island, you can enjoy the beautiful waterfronts of New York. The best thing about the west side of New York is that it has little to do with the city's downtown subway system. You can enjoy a nice lunch on your balcony or walk down to the ferry to go downtown. So, if you are looking for a place with a little bit more cultural experience, make your way to the Brooklyn New York state.