SEO Company in Hilton Head Island, SC

If you are a business owner, there's probably a good chance that you have asked yourself this question before. It's a question that many entrepreneurs ask, and for good reason.

According to a recent study, the first five organic search results on Google account for about 67% of all website clicks. With more than 2.3 trillion Google searches in 2019 alone, it has become clear that if customers can't find your website online, you're missing out on a huge opportunity to grow your business.

The good news is, with a trustworthy SEO company in Charleston on your side and an effective SEO campaign, your website can show up on the first page of a Google search. The bad news is, many "SEO agencies" offering such services provide clients with outdated, a la carte options at ridiculous prices - and good luck getting them on the phone if you have a question that needs answering.

Unlike some of our competitors, mediocre customer service and ineffective digital marketing strategies aren't in our digital DNA.

Our innovative, all-inclusive SEO patented technology and services work together to form a digital marketing machine, unlike anything on the market. We call it Local Magic®.

What local SEO services in Hilton Head Island can you expect? Keep reading to find out.

 SEO Company Hilton Head Island, SC

Comprehensive Link Building

 SEO Hilton Head Island, SC

Most veteran SEO professionals agree that one of the most important signals that Google uses to rank websites is backlinks. Backlinking is essentially a link that is created when one website links to another. According to recent statistics, 91% of webpages that don't get organic traffic are because they don't have any backlinks. Mr. Marketing solves this problem for you through comprehensive backlinking techniques, which adds authority to your website over time so that Google recognizes your website as trustworthy in your industry.

Online Review Management

 SEO Companies Hilton Head Island, SC

Positive online reviews can be incredibly beneficial for your business. 93% of online shoppers say that online reviews play a part in their purchasing decisions. The problem is, many business owners don't have the time to request online reviews from happy clients, manage those reviews, or display them on their company's website.

That's where Mr. Marketing's Review Manager comes in. Review Manager is the world's first comprehensive reputation management system, allowing you to get more from your reviews. With Review Manager, you have the ability to request reviews via SMS and Email, track pending review requests, and even publish your most favorable reviews right to your website, with a few taps on your phone.

Website Optimization

 SEO Agencies Hilton Head Island, SC

As local SEO consultants in Hilton Head Island, we see a lot of good-looking websites. While a website might be attractive on the surface, it needs to be optimized on the backend for it to have a better chance of showing up in a Google search. Our team of skilled web developers will optimize your website both on the surface and "under the hood", so that your business gets noticed by customers who are already looking for the products or services you sell.

Website Hosting & Updates

 Local SEO Services Hilton Head Island, SC

To make life a little easier, we are happy to host your website on our servers, so you don't have to hunt down a separate hosting service. If you have updates that need to be applied to your website, we will handle the heavy lifting for you. We even implement security measures to prevent hackers from accessing your data.

Google Ads Management

 SEO Firm Hilton Head Island, SC

Here's a fact you might not know - Google controls more about 71% of the search engine market. If you want customers to find your business online, you need to show up in Google searches. As part of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy in Hilton Head Island available from Mr. Marketing, Google Ads can be an excellent wayfor new clients to discover your business both on mobile devices and on desktops. Much like online reviews, however, managing a Google Ads campaign can be burdensome and time consuming for busy entrepreneurs. Our team will work closely with you to figure out the best ways to use Google Ads to your businesses advantage so that you can focus on day-to-day tasks while we grow your presence online.

Does Your Local SEO Company in Hilton Head Island Care?

At Mr. Marketing, we really do care about your businesses success. Many local SEO consultants in Hilton Head Island only care about their profits, but that's not a mantra that we agree with at Mr. Marketing. For that reason, we also include monthly digital business coaching as part of our Local Magic package. That way, your knowledge of digital marketing grows alongside your businesses website rankings.

When We Say All-Inclusive, We Mean It

Believe it or not, you get even more customized SEO services in Hilton Head Island than those we listed above. While you may certainly pick and choose which digital marketing services work best for your unique situation, with our Local Magic package, you also gain access to:

  • Conversion Optimization
  • Programmatic Ad Management
  • Advertising Landing Page Development
  • Google My Business Management

So, what's the next step? We encourage you to reach out to our office or fill out the submission form on our website to get started. Once we understand your goals and business needs, we'll get to work right away, forming a custom marketing strategy for you. Before you know it, your phone will begin ringing, your reviews will start to pour in, your online connections will grow, and your website traffic will explode with interested clients looking to buy your products or services.

Latest News in Hilton Head Island, SC

4 Possible Health Perks to Planning a Wellness-Inspired Vacation

Ever feel like you need a vacation after you take a vacation? Perhaps you might consider wellness tourism as a framework for your next break. Wellness travel is essentially a form of self-care: It involves intentionally unplugging from life’s stressors...

Ever feel like you need a vacation after you take a vacation? Perhaps you might consider wellness tourism as a framework for your next break. Wellness travel is essentially a form of self-care: It involves intentionally unplugging from life’s stressors to recharge your batteries, and keeping health and well-being in mind so you can reenter daily life feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.

Wellness tourism looks different for each individual. Some travelers might sign up for a yoga and meditation retreat, stay at a hot springs or spa resort, camp and hike to connect with nature, or even create a DIY itinerary with healthy activities to enhance a preplanned business or family trip. Others might plan a staycation where they find a local Airbnb or hotel to simply get away from their usual environment and rest up for a few days. And others might opt for immersion-based wellness travel, like a pilgrimage, intensive yoga training, or a visit to a humanistic integrative education center to deepen their self-inquiry path.

Unlike other forms of travel, wellness tourism differs from your typical vacation in that well-being remains the primary focus. And beyond offering an opportunity to reestablish healthy habits like sleeping better, eating well, and exercising daily, it may offer other potential physiological and mental health benefits, too.

“Wellness getaways are a prime opportunity to achieve a mental, physical, or emotional reset,” says Lisette Cifaldi, the director of behavioral health at Hilton Head Health, a weight loss and wellness resort on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.

After retreating to a place with well-being-supportive environments and activities that suit your budget and interests, you may return home happier and less stressed, more motivated to tweak unhealthy behaviors and improve your heart and brain health over time.

Just keep in mind that many of the potential benefits of wellness tourism are anecdotal. Most research focuses on the health benefits of general travel instead of wellness tourism specifically. That said, here are some potential perks of wellness-inspired travel that may last long after you get home.

1. It May Boost Happiness

Do you return from vacation feeling happier than before you left? Research suggests this mood boost may have long-term mental health benefits — provided you keep up your travel habit. In a past study of 1,500 women, those who vacationed twice a year were less likely to suffer from depression and chronic stress than women who vacationed less frequently.

There are many reasons why regular time off makes you a happier person. One explanation may be that travel offers a change of scenery, sparking brain activity that has a positive effect on mood.

For example, the authors of a study published in 2020 in Nature discovered that people with more variability in their daily environment were often happier than those who tended to stay put. They also took brain scans of the study participants, and found that people who changed up their location more often also had greater hippocampal-striatal brain circuit activity. The hippocampus is an area of the brain that’s linked with spatial location and the detection of novelty. According to past research, exposure to new environments lights up the hippocampus and releases dopamine, a feel-good brain chemical.

Plus, there’s a lot of learning that takes place on vacation. You get the opportunity to try new foods, experiences, and cultures, “which is the opposite of when you’re living your ordinary life at home,” says Michael Brein, PhD, a travel psychologist living on Bainbridge Island, Washington. With new stimuli come new decisions you have to make about where to go, what to eat, and what to do. Every time you make a “good” (read: healthy) decision, you’re rewarded with a boost in self-confidence, Dr. Brein notes. This sense of accomplishment may lift your mood and inspire you to make changes in your daily routine.

More research is needed to understand why travel boosts happiness, and whether wellness tourism — like dedicating a week to backpacking, spa treatments, or meditating — has unique effects.

2. It May Provide Lasting Stress Relief

It’s well known that stress can create health problems if you don’t find ways to manage it. When you’re constantly stressed, your body stays on high alert even when there’s no real danger. According to MedlinePlus, this can increase your risk of high blood pressure (hypertension), heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and depression or anxiety, among other health issues.

Taking a trip to focus solely on your well-being is one way to manage stress. It gives your mind and body a break from everyday pressures and allows you to participate in relaxing activities and experiences, such as massage therapy, yoga, nature therapy, and meditation. Wellness-focused activities like these bring stress levels down. And you probably won’t have to wait long to notice the effects: According to a nonacademic online survey by Expedia referenced in 2018 by the Global Coalition on Aging, 88 percent of people feel relaxed by day two of their vacation.

Disconnecting for a few days may make your usual responsibilities feel more manageable once your wellness getaway is over. “These experiences help build resilience, allowing travelers to return home feeling refreshed and better equipped to handle day-to-day stressors,” says Jeanette Lorandini, LCSW, a New York City–based licensed clinical social worker and the owner of Suffolk DBT.

A short trip may even reap lasting stress relief. In a study published in 2018 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 20 midlevel executives spent four nights in a hotel outside their usual environment, while a control group of 20 spent their vacation at home. Both groups noticed immediate improvements in stress and well-being. The managers who spent their vacation at a hotel saw greater benefits in improved strain and perceived stress, with the effects lasting 45 days post-vacation.

3. It May Improve Heart Health

The stress-lowering effects of travel may offer good news for heart health.

One small study published in 2019 in Psychology & Health found that full-time workers — participant demographics were 70 percent female and 93 percent Caucasian and earned a middle-class income — who took more vacations over the previous year had fewer symptoms of metabolic syndrome (a group of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes) than workers who took fewer vacations. In fact, the risk of metabolic syndrome decreased by nearly a quarter with each additional vacation, the researchers noted. The study included only 63 people, which makes it hard to know how these findings might apply to a larger group.

And in another past study, researchers followed more than 12,000 middle-aged men at high risk for heart disease over nine years. The authors discovered that men who reported they had taken a vacation in the previous year were 17 percent less likely to have passed away than men who hadn’t traveled.

While these findings may seem promising, the authors noted that healthier people may be more likely to travel, which may explain why frequent travelers have healthier hearts. More research is needed to determine if and how travel — wellness tourism in particular — could benefit cardiovascular health. According to research published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology in April 2021, there may be other barriers to taking time off, like financial restraints and the stress of leaving roles and responsibilities, among others.

4. It May Boost Memory and Creativity

Visiting new environments through travel stimulates the brain, helping you stay sharp, according to the aforementioned report from the Global Coalition on Aging.

In a past study involving more than 2,000 older adults, researchers discovered that those who regularly participated in social or leisure activities such as traveling during the three-year study period had a lower risk of developing dementia, a general term for when the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions interferes with everyday life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Exposure to new stimuli may also get your creative juices flowing. In a study published in 2021 in Frontiers in Psychology, employees — the participant group was 74 percent female, 39 percent had children, and over half had a college degree — rated their work-related creativity as higher post-vacation. The researchers speculated that workers were able to recover and restore their mental bandwidth during vacation, which helped them feel more productive and creative once they returned to work. Other explanations for this creativity boost may have been present, and more research is needed to know how, exactly, wellness tourism offers improved creative function.

In reporting on wellness tourism, we're aware there are challenges to taking formal vacation time, including the cost of travel, lack of paid vacation time, and responsibilities at home and at work, among others.

Counting is actually for the birds as humans on Hilton Head notch species and Christmas tabs

HILTON HEAD ISLAND — Every year around this time, the Audubon Society enlists tens of thousands of volunteers to inventory the feathered creatures in the Western Hemisphere.The endeavor sounds more like a riddle than an actual task: How do you count the birds?On Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge on Dec. 14, Rose Johnson, 71, a visual artist and retired university president, had a very precise answer. She divided the scene in front of her into thirds.“If you looked at this like a picture, you’ve g...

HILTON HEAD ISLAND — Every year around this time, the Audubon Society enlists tens of thousands of volunteers to inventory the feathered creatures in the Western Hemisphere.

The endeavor sounds more like a riddle than an actual task: How do you count the birds?

On Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge on Dec. 14, Rose Johnson, 71, a visual artist and retired university president, had a very precise answer. She divided the scene in front of her into thirds.

“If you looked at this like a picture, you’ve got the reeds, then you’ve got the water and then you’re getting to the sky,” Johnson said.

Lifting her binoculars, Johnson scanned for anything feeding, floating or fluttering. Suddenly, six semipalmated plovers burst out from behind a boat.

“Okay, there goes a whole flock of birds that I would not have seen,” Johnson said.

Just then, her husband, Tony Johnson, 66, a retired nonprofit executive, came crashing through the palmettos and wax myrtle with a tripod. He’d been tracking a common loon on Mackay Creek, trying to get a visual on the source of its distinctive, wavering call.

“Just so you know, we’re up to 29 species,” he said.

The Johnsons are part of the Hilton Head Island chapter of the Audubon Society, a national environmental nonprofit dedicated to conservation. To say the chapter participates in the society’s annual aviary census, called the Christmas Bird Count, doesn’t do its feat of organization justice.

For a 24-hour period between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5 each year, it coordinates about 20 teams to go birding in designated areas across a 15-mile circle: the whole of Hilton Head Island, Pinckney and Daufuskie, the waterways and into Bluffton, Palmetto Bluff and the Colleton River Community and Moss Creek.

Armed with a list of what they’re likely to see, along with apps such as eBird and Sibley, groups of two to four set out to tally the feathered fauna.

They’re not really looking for rare or unusual birds, although a glimpse of a gadwall or a merlin or a pine siskin would be nice. Instead, they’re noticing whichever species happen to be around: a lot of crows and chickadees; some snowy egrets and red-winged blackbirds; scores of yellow-rumped warblers.

“It’s great the first day you’re out and you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh. It’s a yellow-rumped warbler,’” said Bob Speare, a professional naturalist who participates in the count.

But for frequent birders, the vast number of warblers who come to the Lowcountry in the winter to eat the wax myrtle berries can become a nuisance. “It’s really important to learn their call so after a while you can say, ‘That’s just another yellow-rumped warbler,’” Speare said.

After surveying their assigned territories for several hours — 30 minutes or more for backyard birders — the volunteers submit their checklists to an area captain. The captain reports to a panel of experts, who try to make sure the lists are accurate.

“They might say, ‘OK, you saw a red-headed woodpecker. Are you sure it was red-headed and not red-bellied?’ ” said Susan Murphy, who handles the logistics of Hilton Head’s count.

The panel is also concerned about duplication, especially for birds on the wing. If two groups reported white pelicans, for example, the panel might ask, “Which way were they going and where were they resting?” in order to make sure that two groups didn’t count the same flock.

Once the numbers are as accurate as the chapter can make them, they’re sent first to the regional editor and then to the Audubon Society’s headquarters where they’re pooled with the results of more than 2700 other count circles across 20 countries in the Western Hemisphere.

The combined counts generate so much data that it takes an entire year to process the information. The Audubon Society didn’t release the 2021 results until Dec. 9, just a few days before the 2022 count got underway.

It reported that in 2021 the Hilton Head Island chapter counted 26,681 birds and included 324 participants — the third-highest number of volunteers in all the count circles in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the few in which some volunteers carried out their mission on golf carts.

Changes to the bird population

No one suggests that the Christmas Bird Count is a perfect catalogue.

Instead, Speare compared it to snapshots that have been taken at the same place on around the same day for more than 100 years. “We can lay them down almost like an animation over time and see how things are changing,” Speare said.

At a meeting of the Hilton Head Audubon Society before the count, biologist Robert Rommell singled out the bobwhite quail as an example.

Forty years ago, they were common in the Lowcountry. He remembered walking his dog through a pine forest, when all of a sudden the ground seemed to explode in front of him. “There was 8 to 10 quail, and they they flew maybe 100 feet and then landed, and then went back into the leaf litter,” he said.

But only about 25 bobwhite quails were recorded in all of South Carolina in 2021, and none in the Lowcountry for more than a decade, Rommell said.

He doesn’t know why bobwhites are dropping in numbers here, especially since they’re doing well in other places, such as Florida and Texas.

But the Audubon Society’s annual census helps scientists at least get an idea of what’s happening. Participants collect far more data than any individual or team could gather, and the process has been replicated since 1900 when an ornithologist started the tradition to replace the Christmas bird hunt.

In addition to changes with the bobwhite, Speare said the count has helped document other dynamics in the island’s bird population.

Some waterfowl species are beginning to arrive in Hilton Head later in the winter than they used to, as lakes and ponds up north are slower to freeze.

And wooded and open grassy areas here have almost disappeared, taking wild turkeys and eastern meadowlark with them. “We might see them during migration in the fall, but none of them stay anymore,” Speare said. “For sure, the development of Hilton Head Island has impacted bird populations over the years. No question about it.”

A holiday of sorts

Volunteers for the Hilton Head Audubon Society are well-aware that the bird population is dropping — North America has lost 3 billion breeding adults since 1970 — but the mood on the Dec. 14 count still felt festive.

“People look forward to this all year,” Murphy said.

At the Pinckney parking lot, 13 volunteers in jackets and hiking boots stood ready to go at 8 a.m., eager to spread out across their six territories early enough to see the ducks.

“The strategy for this morning, for the big day, is to go to the places on the time we are most likely to see the birds,” Rose Johnson said.

When they got the go-ahead, she and her husband jumped into their Subaru Outback and bounced over Pinckney’s old hunting roads to Nini Chapin pond. The Christmas Bird Count is the one occasion that cars are allowed on the reserve, and the unusual act of driving around its 4,000 acres added to the holiday feeling of the event.

Even the lack of a merganser on the pond didn’t deflate the Johnsons’ mood; they were content with the sight of a black-and-white bufflehead skidding across the water, the whistling sound of a Carolina wren, the cool feel of gray clouds holding back rain.

“This is pretty relaxing for us,” Rose Johnson said, noting this is the fourth year that she and Tony have participated in Hilton Head’s count. More than two dozen happen across the state between mid-December and early January, and the Johnsons participate in the one in Savannah, too.

They are what Tony Johnson called “heavy birders,” able to distinguish at a glance male from female, juvenile from mature, breeding from non-breeding. They understand one does not count the birds by looking only at feathers, but at behavior, habitat, the shapes of beaks and legs.

When a pair of silhouettes appeared high in the sky, the Johnsons didn’t even need binoculars. They recognized the bald eagles simply by the rhythm of the raptors’ flap-flap-glide.

Speare explained that birding is popular in part simply because birds are so common; once a person starts to look or listen for them, they seem to be everywhere.

The Johnsons also like the opportunity to be outdoors, engage all their senses, and pursue a hobby together. As they hiked around Dick’s Point, they slipped into a shared language, pointing out to each other ringbill gulls, laughing gulls, Forster’s tern.

At a wide spot in the trail they stopped to record the sight of a couple of brownheaded nut-hatches, and in the sudden stillness the maritime forest burst into chirping, sawing, peeping, twittering, honking, scolding, smacking, chittering, churring, cooing. The Johnsons paused to look and listen, their faces soft with pleasure.

“Do you hear that, love?” asked Tony Johnson, and his wife murmured yes, the two sounding briefly like another pair of calling birds.

Christmas toys for everyone in need on Hilton Head, and the lasting gift from a giver

Editorials and other Opinion content offer perspectives on issues important to our community and are independent from the work of our newsroom reporters.It’s supposed to be a Santa Shop, and it certainly is that.But the bustling scene of red and green, with “elves” aflutter stocking shelves with stuffed animals, toy trucks, books and bicycles, and even some pretty far out lava lamps, tells the story of Hilton Head Island — and whether it has been naughty or nice.The Deep Well Project, the island&r...

Editorials and other Opinion content offer perspectives on issues important to our community and are independent from the work of our newsroom reporters.

It’s supposed to be a Santa Shop, and it certainly is that.

But the bustling scene of red and green, with “elves” aflutter stocking shelves with stuffed animals, toy trucks, books and bicycles, and even some pretty far out lava lamps, tells the story of Hilton Head Island — and whether it has been naughty or nice.

The Deep Well Project, the island’s primary nonprofit social services agency, has been distributing Christmas toys to families in need for decades.

But this Christmas, it took 100 volunteers to organize and run a Santa Shop on steroids.

Agency Director Sandy Gillis said it “went viral” in 2020, the year the coronavirus tried to snuff out Christmas, but failed miserably.

“The pandemic started in March and by December all these people had been trapped in their houses and couldn’t go see grandchildren, and grandchildren couldn’t come see them, so they started ordering on Amazon and the whole island became their family,” Gillis said.

The Santa Shop unwraps the inner child, apparently, with retirees hoping their passions will ignite a new and much different generation.

Book club members donate books.

A charter boat captain donated 40 kids’ fishing kits.

Choral Society patrons brought musical toys for Deep Well at their Christmas performance.

Motorcycle clubbers roared in wearing heavy boots and chains to deliver sparkling toys that volunteers sorted.

It’s a good thing all these Santas come to what was in effect a community Christmas tree — and, yes, someone delivered a slightly used Christmas tree to be given away as they left town last week.

It’s a good thing because Hilton Head’s working class is hurting.

Deep Well has twice the demand for food this year over last year.

Maybe that’s why moms, some in tears, came to choose perfect gifts in the back room at Deep Well, filling bags with donated toys and clothes.

Maybe that’s why one woman came straight from chemotherapy to pick up toys for the grandchildren she is raising.

Their children and grandchildren — a record total this year of 800 kids — will have a Christmas after all.

“It’s Hilton Head’s Santa Shop,” Gillis said. “It really is. We just house it and organize it.”

Santa would surely like the fact that “inflation did not diminish the giving,” as veteran “elf” Pat Kenworthy put it.

She’s more valuable to the operation than, say, Rudolph because she speaks Spanish and a good 60% of the clients are Hispanic.

Before tracking the bicycle donations for 10 years on a spreadsheet, before putting her PhD to work organizing a wall of books, Kenworthy was for 30 years a Spanish professor at Vassar College.

Now she speaks the language of 20-inch and 28-inch bicycles — 140 of them given away this year at Deep Well.

The Bike Santa is an island real estate agent.

Jeff Hunt donated 300 bicycles this Christmas — 100 for Deep Well, 100 to a Boys & Girls Club and 100 for children in Jasper County.

Actually, others, led by his colleague Mark Lynch at Dunes Real Estate, helped by raising $10,000, which paid for 80 of the bikes and 300 helmets.

Hunt said he had loving parents, but they didn’t have much when he was growing up, his dad moving constantly for construction work and Hunt putting together his own first bike from parts in a junkyard behind their trailer park.

“It enabled me to have freedom,” he said. “I could go places. I could see things. I could be with my friends who lived farther away. It opens up your world.”

Last year, Hunt was ranked the sixth most-successful real estate agent of some 30,000 working the trade in South Carolina.

Over the past two years he sold almost 200 properties worth more than $100 million. This year, he did about 75 transactions, worth some $68 million.

His life would not be the same, he said, without an uncle who loaned him $500 to go to aviation school, or the school administrator who let him stay when he couldn’t pay his bill on time.

And then there was his junior high teacher, Mr. Johnson.

“I was acting up in class one day back in the back, talking, and he threw an eraser at me, and I caught it and jumped up and threw it back at him and hollered, ‘He’s safe’ or something like that, something smart-ass, that kind of thing.

“And he said, ‘Go out in the hall.’ I go out in the hall and of course they call my mom, and my mom comes and while we’re out there, he tells my mom, he says, ‘One day you’re going to be very proud of this young man, and today is not that day.’

“And that really stuck with me. That one little comment, in junior high. That someday, somebody would be proud of something I did. I couldn’t have gotten to where I am today without going through all of that.”

Christmas when Hunt was a kid never involved a new bike.

It was usually one toy and some clothes, like Toughskins jeans from Sears “that were literally like wearing cardboard when you first got them,” he said.

He hopes the Christmas bikes can open new worlds for Lowcountry kids, and give hard-working parents a boost.

But there’s more to it than that.

“The most influential people in your life are the people who did something for you very subtly,” Hunt said. “It’s not the person who bought you a car or something like that, it’s the kind word and the belief in you.

“The message should be: Everybody needs something. I don’t care who you are. I don’t care how much money you have, how much time you have, how old you are. Everybody needs help at some point in their life.

“If people would just open the door for somebody else, or say a kind word, and then hope that they do it, too.”

David Lauderdale may be reached at [email protected]

These are the most popular languages to learn in SC, new study shows

Looking to learn a new skill, expand your knowledge or further your career?A new study by the Writing Tips Institute, a website that helps users learn how to write and solve writing problems they have come across, revealed what the most popular languages to learn in South Carolina are based on residents’ Google searches.In first place, Spanish was found to be the most favored language ...

Looking to learn a new skill, expand your knowledge or further your career?

A new study by the Writing Tips Institute, a website that helps users learn how to write and solve writing problems they have come across, revealed what the most popular languages to learn in South Carolina are based on residents’ Google searches.

In first place, Spanish was found to be the most favored language to learn in the Palmetto State.

This result was found after the company analyzed the number of average monthly Google searches in each state for learning a language. Then, the search volume for each term, plus the selected language, were combined to discover the total average monthly searches in each state, according to the Writing Tips Institute.

The Spanish language is spoken by 534 million speakers and is the official language of 21 countries, as was detailed in the study. In addition, the language is the second most spoken language in America.

The Japanese language landed in second place for most popular language to learn in South Carolina.

The Japanese language has approximately 128 million speakers and is the ninth most spoken language worldwide, according to the study by the Writing Tips Institute.

In third place for the most popular language to learn in South Carolina, German took the spot.

Around 155 million people around the globe speak the German language, which places it as the 11th most spoken language of the world, the company states. In addition, German is the most spoken language in the European Union.

Like South Carolina, the Spanish language is the most popular language to learn across the U.S. with a total of 476,900 average monthly searches. This also landed Spanish as the top language in every state. In second place nationally is the Korean language with a total of 44,090 Google searches. Lastly, following close behind in third place was Japanese with a total monthly search volume of 40,260, according to the Writing Tips Institute’s study.

For those looking for an easy, quick way to learn a new language on the go, there are several online applications to choose from. Some of these language learning apps include Duolingo, Babbel, Rosetta Stone, Falou and Memrise.

St. Helena’s Penn Center gets $2 million. Meet the billionaire behind the surprise donation

Novelist and billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has donated $2 million to South Carolina’s Penn Center, the site of one of the first schools for freed slaves that today serves as a cultural and educational center.The $2 million donation from Scott was the largest single gift in Penn’s 160-year history.It was a drop in the bucket for Scott, who’s turned heads with the generosity of her gifts — she once gave the ...

Novelist and billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has donated $2 million to South Carolina’s Penn Center, the site of one of the first schools for freed slaves that today serves as a cultural and educational center.

The $2 million donation from Scott was the largest single gift in Penn’s 160-year history.

It was a drop in the bucket for Scott, who’s turned heads with the generosity of her gifts — she once gave the Girl Scouts of the USA $84.5 million — as well as her no-strings-attached approach.

For Penn Center, which had no idea the money was coming, the donation “hit like a ton of bricks,” said interim Executive Director Bernie Wright.

“We’re grateful,” Wright said.

Penn Center has no regular revenue stream and heavily relies on donations, Wright noted, with checks coming in daily that may range from $5 to $200. “That’s why,” Wright says, “we so graciously appreciate what people do for us.”

Wright says part of the money is being spent on restoring old buildings on the site that are important in preserving and interpreting Penn’s history and role in the Reconstruction and Civil Rights eras.

Scott’s charitable giving website, called Yield Giving, says it conducts “quiet research to identify candidate organizations working to advance the opportunities of people in under served communities.”

Penn Center officials, Wright said, did not apply for a donation from Scott and was not informed one was in the works. “We didn’t lobby her.”

Penn Center first disclosed the gift in April, describing it on its website only as “transformative.” Wright told the Beaufort Gazette and Island Packet on Wednesday that the gift mount was $2 million, and that the donation was actually made in 2021.

“Thanks to MacKenzie Scott’s support,” said Deloris P. Pringle, chair of the Penn Center’s Board, “we can preserve the past while elevating our public offerings and expanding our impact in our own time.”

The 50-acre Penn Center, which is located on St. Helena Island off Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, was opened in 1862 by northern abolitionists Laura Towne and Ellen Murray, friends who began teaching in the Sea Islands. They were eventually joined by Charlotte Forten, the first Black educator from the North to come to the Sea Islands during Reconstruction.

Today, Penn Center promotes historic preservation and economic sustainability throughout the Sea Islands and is committed to community development, education and social justice. Located within a National Historic Landmark District, it has 25 buildings and structures. It’s part of the The African American Civil Rights Network and Reconstruction Era National Park.

Many of the buildings, Wright said, are in rough shape and the center is in the process of repairing them. Half of Scott’s gift is going toward the restoration work and general operations. The other half was placed in an endowment.

Penn Center also has received $1.8 million from the state Legislature, Wright said, to restore the buildings and roads within the campus.

Currently, the Orchard Cottage is under construction, Wright said. It was built in 1942 as a teachers’ residence. In total, 14 buildings have been identified for restoration.

Maintaining the buildings is critical in preserving the historical context of Penn Center, Wright said. Penn Center, he added, benefits the entire region because it is a tourist attraction just like historic downtown Beaufort.

For example, when families attend graduations held weekly at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, Wright noted, they usually do not immediately return home.

“They linger,” Wright said. “That’s where we benefit and we have something to show. They want to see Penn Center. They want to see downtown Beaufort. They want to see the historic district. So that’s a natural draw. We want to keep it pristine and keep it historic to continue to have that draw.”

Scott, who has published two novels, was a student of author Toni Morrison at Princeton and worked as a research assistant for her, according to a Forbes profile. She was married to Amazon founder Bezos for 25 years. As part of their 2019 divorce, she received a 25% stake in the online retailer, according to Forbes, and soon after pledged to give away at least half of her wealth.

To date, Yield Giving says, Scott has donated $14 billion to some 1,600 not-for-profits “to use as they see fit for the benefit of others.”

A report on giving by the Center for Effective Philanthropy found that Scott’s median gift in 2020, her first year of giving, was $8 million, which was unprecedented, Philanthropy News Digest said. The not-for-profits, Forbes said, have full control over how to best deploy the funds they receive from Scott.

This story was originally published January 16, 2023 8:00 AM.

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