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Reputation is important in the business world, there is no question about it. For each individual, this may be a different story, but chances are, if you’re selling a product or service, you want people to be saying good things about you – especially the important ones.

This holds truer yet on the Internet, the reason being, because searches are based on (a series of algorithms which determine) the priority of one website over another for various keywords. Naturally, a successful SEO campaign will improve your website’s position in natural search rankings for your keywords and key phrases.

However, have you ever typed the name of your company into a search engine to see what results were returned? I should hope that your website is the number one result, but the following results may amount to thousands that do not take the user to your site, and some of those results may be negative comments about, or poor reviews of, your business. Should you come accross a popular blog or major review site to which that one unreasonable or unsatisfied customer belongs, you may be wishing you had invested in some Reputation Management.

Believe it or not, Reputation Management is not so much about Public Relations as it is about securing good information about your business, and ensuring that is what potential customers will see in the first page or two of natural search results. Sure, with enough money, man hours, and “tactful encouragement”, anything can just disappear from sight, but an Internet Marketing Firm like Reciprocal Consulting prefers ethical business practices, and we respect clients’ budgets. We like to refer to our approach as Proactive Reputation Management.

The idea behind the proactive approach is not to rid the World Wide Web of negative opinions – after all, the Internet is about freedom of information, which is why you are advertising your business online in the first place – but to populate the search results for your company with positive opinions, and kind words; that is our goal. The key to a successful Reputation Management campaign is very similar to that of a successful SEO campaign, only instead of optimizing your one website for your keywords, we optimize others for your name. These others may depend on your particular needs, but generally, an informational blog will be among those content rich candidates with the sole purpose of saying nice things about your business.

If you’d like to protect your reputation, or even if you think it’s too late, please don’t hesitate to read about how Reciprocal Consulting can help protect your reputation. After all, you only have one.

It is no secret that link building is tedious, at best, and many have experienced the hard way that time spent building links to your website can often be in vain if poorly informed as to the effect of certain types or levels of link building. While many methods can be successful, there are many more that have little to no effect with the way search engines rank importance.
 
I should note, as I always will, that when I say rank, I refer to the actual importance measured by search engines, not a number between 1 and 10 that shows up on your toolbar. As I’ve said before, and I’ll say again, you should focus purely on building solid links, not on page rank, be it Google, Yahoo, MSN, or whatever search engine is showing you a number representing rank. For this reason, it is that much more important to wisely spend your time and money on quality links, not by leaving comments on average blogs, buying links from link-farms, or purchasing links that will appear in lists, or at the bottom of a page, as this appears to be a lot less natural to the search engines.
 
Believe it or not, guest posting can be an effective way to build quality, relevant links. While you may not be able to find a surplus of blogs directly related to your niche, you should be able to utilize enough of them to make a difference to the search engines. If you are unable to find a lot of blogs on which to guest post, the keywords for your niche are probably not as competitive, and therefore, you wont need to post as much. If you are within a competitive niche, then there should be plenty of blogs relevant to yours.
 
One advantage of guest posting on a blog, indirectly related to link building, is the networking aspect. I wont go in to all the advantages of networking on the Internet, as they pretty much speak for themselves, but the general idea is: 1) The further your reach, the more varied your links can be, 2) the better your contacts, the higher quality your links will be, and 3) the more quality contacts you have, the more quality links you will be able to get. Another primary advantage of guest posting is the cost, as it will generally be absolutely free.
 
Another great thing about generating your own content which links to your site is the control you will have over the anchor text, as well as the surrounding text. Search engines don’t read just the link text, they also read the surrounding text. You can see this when you preform searches, as each search link is followed by the text surrounding the anchor. Therefore, it is important that links to your site contain plain text around the anchor text, and that, furthermore, that plain text contains relevant text to your site, and also looks natural. Guest posting allows you all these liberties. The more liberties you have, the easier it will be to optimize your site for search engines.
 
There are, however, many things to consider before even pursuing a spot on blogs as a guest.
  1. Do you have your own blog already?
  2. Is the topic of the blog relevant to your business?
  3. Do you trust the administrator of the site not to altar your posts in a way that could damage your reputation or efforts?
  4. Do you have enough free time to consistantly write blog posts?
  5. Do you have enough content to consistantly post?
  6. Are you a decent enough writer to not have your posts frowned upon when compared to the usual on-site content?
  7. Are you sacrificing good content on your own blog for the posts on your guest blogs?
  8. Is the information in the posts between your blog and your guest blogs varied enough?

There is no doubt that quality external links increase the importance of a site on the Internet, just as a home which requires water needs plumbing to flow from an outside source. The question as to whether or not internal linking on site is important is like asking whether a resident would prefer to draw their water from a well or have a working plumbing system that brings water to multiple faucets within their home. It’s pretty simple – internal linking is important, at the very least for usability, flow, and convenience of on site navigation.

But how important is internal linking for optimizing a website for natural search? Given the current analogy stated above, consider a plumbing system in a public place, such as a hotel, as its functionality for visitors can make it a more or less desirable place to visit, but more important, to stay. In a private home, only those who reside within will be affected by the current system, inconvenient for them if they cannot access hot or cold water from every bathroom, and convenient if they can. Having said that, if your site is strictly for your own personal use, then no, it does not matter if it works if you don’t care. However, if you plan to have visitors, which will be the case for 99.99999% of sites on the Internet, then it matters a good deal.

The whole idea behind optimization is making something better, but furthermore, making it the best it can possibly be. The optimal conditions of any system require no adjustments for full functionality, or very few adjustments, realistically. Given the nature of a well optimized site, it is no wonder that search engines are programmed to favor such convenient, well designed websites over those that lack the usability that visitors would prefer.

Internal linking structure, as a network of pipes, must therefore be overly convenient, as in, water being able to flow from each room to the next if there is a clog between the source and the destination faucet. However, there is a difference between overly-convenient and excessive linking, which can confuse things. The real life plumbing example of over-linking would be T-Pipes between faucets that link to rooms which already have ample flow from every other room. Too many links from one page to the next can confuse the user, and search engines.

In short, correct on site structure is considered by many to be among the top three important SEO friendly practices, and therefore should be given considerable thought. If you are unsure about how to acheive an optimal internal linking structure, consult an Internet Marketing Firm like Reciprocal Consulting.

There’s a good reason why the Internet is referred to as the World Wide Web; there are many strands of information meeting other strand at various junctions, and it is all too easy to get hung up on it. Okay, that’s some pretty corny humor at the end of that statement, but true nonetheless. Discerning a quality piece of information from one with an ulterior motive can be tricky, which is where interacting with others via the social media end of the spectrum can be to your advantage.

Some businesses will view comments, reviews, and opinions on various sites as potential damage to their reputation, but to many, they play a large part in the decisions they make for shopping, using services, and so on. The same goes for services that utilize directory listings, which provide those that prefer to do thorough research with an invaluable source of information.

However, many directory listing sites are comparable to scams, which sell irrelevant listings for the majority of their profit, and sell ad space to supplement the rest. There are also a lot of blogs with a similar purpose, which are often classified as “made for Adsense”, since they are created not to provide valuable information, but to make money.

So where does Social Media fall into the scheme? Utilizing these sites can be a good way to make friends who know the ins and outs of the industry; both your particular industry and the Internet marketing industry. By creating profiles on these sites, finding contacts who share your field of interest, and joining communities focused on your niche, you not only amplify your Social Media Optimization efforts, but you also gain the opportunity to match minds with others like yourself, who invariably are not in the market to get rich quick, but to share quality information, and possibly some quality links to your site.

Moving focus back to the directory listings, consider the difficulty of truly knowing the difference between the good and the bad; it sure would be nice to have a second opinion, wouldn’t it? There are tips one could follow in order to better understand what makes a listing untrustworthy, such as ludicrus requirements like reciprocal links, an increase in visibility with higher costs, 100% guarantees, etc. Still, the best source of information comes from others with experience in the field.

Understanding the marketing world on the Internet can be hard, but there is help. An Internet Marketing Firm such as Reciprocal Consulting is a good place to start.

Many people have a hard time grasping certain concepts, as they pertain to the Internet. It’s possible that someone who has been in print advertising for years will know absolutely nothing about Internet Marketing, but a lot of people have an easier time understanding something if it is compared to something with which they are familiar. I’ve always liked analogies, because they are a simple way to associate something you get, with something you otherwise wouldn’t get.

Let’s say the Internet is a network of people, which is it. That network is comprised of bodies, all with their own purposes, intentions, desires, needs, etc. Just as a social network of aquaintences relates to eachother in the real world, by means of communication (be those means telephones, letters, newsletters, newspapers, or face to face), the online social network communicates very similarly, only through chat, emails, blogs, articles, and video.

When talking about Search Engine Optimization, the status of your site is like your own personal status, among your group of aquaintences. What it all comes down to is who you know, who knows you, how important you are to the community, and whether or not you are a reliable, trustworthy friend. These things can all contribute to your personal social status. Likewise, the status of your website is based on numerous factors having to do with the ultimate importance of your site.

Pay Per Click Management is comparable to your shopping habits, as well as your interests and hobbies. Those things which you choose to spend money on are representative of your character, of who you are. Likewise, with the keywords you bid on for your business, their relavance to your site and its purposes will better reflect you as being trustworthy, reliable, and significant in the community.

Consider your reputation. They say that out of every ten people, nine will be more likely to share a negative opinion about you or your business than a good one. This can apply to Reputation Management, which works to populate search results with more of those honest, good opinions. Likewise, in the real world, many people and businesses will go out of their way to satisfy customers or their friend, not just for their own sake, but to re-instate their good purpose.

While these strategies for Internet Marketing success can be compared to how we live our lives apart from the Internet, it is near impossible to imagine a world without the World Wide Web, and therefore it is becoming ever more crucial to the success of a business to utilize the Internet for their marketing efforts.

I watched an interview with Sergey Brin, cofounder of, and president of technology, at Google, in which he discusses the reasons for Google’s late entrance into the browser race with the beta release of “Chrome”. Chrome is Google’s answer to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Apple’s Safari, and according to Brin, the success of Mozilla’s Firefox was a primary reason for the decision to develop the browser.

General first responses to the beta version, including my own, is positive in outlook. Based on Google’s success in the past with Web Applications, such as GMail, Google Docs, Adwords, and iGoogle, it’s a fair bet that many are looking forward to future versions of the Chrome browser software. Considering how well Google has managed to integrate their web apps into other browsers, it should be a treat for regular Google web apps users to customize a fully-functional version of Chrome.

The main feature in Chrome is a combined search and website bar. What this means is, there is no need to visit a search engine site, such as Yahoo, MSN, and of course, Google, in order to perform a search. This is similar to having Google Toolbar installed on your computer. Basically, you can type in a URL or search term, and Chrome will either take you to the website entered or return a list of results for a search term entered. A list of color-coded suggestions are also available in a drop down menu while typing.

Another key feature of Chrome is the most visited page, which automatically displays when a new tab is opened. This page displays a number of browsing options, the most pertinant being a series of thumbnail previews of the most common sites you visit.

In my opinion, this is a good step for Google. Many people are questioning the timing of the release of a new browser software, especially from a company such as Google, who many would have expected to have done so years ago. However, many questioned the release of Mozilla Firefox among giants such as Internet Explorer and Safari, and as many know, it has become a huge success. What it comes down to for most people is preference. The decision for others, however, will be their daily browsing habits. For those that utilize many of Google’s web applications, future versions of Chrome will likely be their browser of choice.

The main problem I see for Google Chrome is the support of third party developers, or lack thereof. Assuredly, Google will eventually integrate equivelants to many popular browser plugins, such as Robo Forms, Delicious, the Stumble bar, or other common toolbar downloads. The question is, does Google really need the support of these third party developers?

At present time, I would only recommend downloading Google Chrome for simple browsing, as it’s main offers at present time are easy search and a larger area for browsing. For anyone who uses toolbar plugins, it may be pointless until further versions are released. As a consistent user of Google web apps, I am looking forward to the culmination of Chrome.

What will Chrome mean for the Internet Marketing world? It may mean that your Internet Marketing Firm will be able to improve by utilizing Google’s subsequent releases of Chrome, but only time will tell.